Posted by: ckckred | August 12, 2014

R. I. P. Robin Williams

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There isn’t another comedian out there quite like Robin Williams.  He told jokes faster than Usain Bolt can run, with each punchline coming quicker by the passing second.  He was a master impersonator, a sharp comedian, and a unique personality.

Williams was found dead on Monday in an apparent suicide.  It was no secret Williams had issues with alcoholism and depression; he went to rehab earlier this summer and talked about his problems earnestly on stage.  But his death came as a complete shock for me.  I grew up watching Williams, from Robert Altman’s Popeye to Mrs. Doubtfire.  Williams’ exuberant personality made him not only a comic icon but a comforter of the masses.  As the radio DJ in Good Morning, Vietnam, he helped relieve soldiers from the horrors of the Vietnam war.  In Good Will Hunting, Williams’ therapist helped Matt Damon’s struggling and uncovered genius realize his full potential.

Often times, Williams’ sentimental streak came off heavy-handed and cloying in pictures like  Dead Poets SocietyJakob the Liar, and, most notoriously, Patch Adams (my review caused one commenter to call me “an angry, pompous, close minded idiot, that is just one of the masses who wants to feel important, all at the expense of others”).  But even still it’s difficult to deny how personal and heartfelt Williams was.  May he rest in peace.

Posted by: ckckred | August 10, 2014

What’s Your Opinion on Deleted Scenes?

Twin Peaks - Fire Walk With Me

The recent release of Twin Peaks on blu-ray has excited die-hard David Lynch fans to not only see the nightmarish and bizarre northwestern town for the first time in high definition but for a new version of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, which includes a number of deleted scenes Lynch left in the cutting room.  While Fire Walk With Me is easily the most decisive film in Lynch’s filmography, a group of viewers (including myself) consider it a neglected and unfairly maligned picture, an ambitious if somewhat unnecessary experiment.  While I haven’t yet purchased the collection (the movie unfortunately is not sold separately from the TV series, making the whole package very expensive), I’m very excited to see what’s available.

This brings me to this week’s question: what do you think of deleted scenes?  Often times I’m excited to see them and typically when I purchase a movie on DVD, I make sure to watch them afterwards.  But while some deleted scenes live up to the hype surrounding them (the extras in Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master make it essential to buy), it becomes clear for many films that these scenes were cut for a reason: they’re non-essential or too excessive for the final draft.  So despite my interest in them, deleted scenes are usually never quite as good as the movie’s actual content.  But what about you?

Posted by: ckckred | August 5, 2014

Third Anniversary

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I didn’t realize this until yesterday, but three years ago on August 4th was the day I started Cinematic back.  So while I’m a day late, I’d still like to take some time to say some words of commemoration.

I made Cinematic to talk about my passion for film and television.  Originally I spent little time on my blogging (my initial posts consisted of mostly short blurbs), but after a year and a half I revamped the site, writing a greater amount on reviews and taking recommendations.

To all my readers, I’d like to thank you for following my blog over all the years, whether you’ve followed me since the beginning or are new.  While in the past few months I’ve written less than I did beforehand, I’m pretty proud of what I’ve done with Cinematic. Hopefully I’ll continue to improve and update Cinematic in the years to come.

Posted by: ckckred | August 3, 2014

What Do You Think of Critic Quotations?

The biggest and probably only reason studios care about film critics are movie quotations; there’s nothing that makes a film look more appealing to audiences than reading recommendations (well, other than aggressive advertising and demographic targeting).  Yet movie quotations have been pretty damning to film criticism, dumbing down astute analysis to easy-to-digest blurbs.  There’s no worse culprit to this rule than Peter Travers, Rolling Stone’s film critic, who writes every single of his reviews as if he’s pitching lines for movie posters (just check his site for the offenders).  It’s harmful for many up-and-going critics and film goers to think all film analysis is some cheap and digestible writing.  That doesn’t mean I think all quotations are harmful (I take the opinions of a few critics like A. O. Scott or Michael Phillips seriously), but poster blurbs are hurting contemporary criticism.

But what do you think?

Posted by: ckckred | August 1, 2014

The Immigrant

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James Gray’s The Immigrant is a bleak tale about the American dream as its heroine Ewa (Marion Cotillard) fights for survival in a 20’s era New York. In interviews Gray has stated that his picture is based upon his grandparents’ own immigration but The Immigrant can equally be interpreted as homage to Roberto Rossellini. With its moody atmosphere and emphasis on religion, The Immigrant may be today’s Journey to Italy. While it isn’t the masterpiece that Journey to Italy is, The Immigrant certainly deserves praise for its evocative storytelling despite its lackluster pacing.

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Posted by: ckckred | July 27, 2014

What Is Your Favorite Experimental Film?

Man with a Movie Camera

Experimental films is one of my favorite genres (even though when I was younger I considered them a slog to sit through) and after seeing The Trial I’ve gained a new appreciation of the genre.  My favorite would probably have to be Man With a Movie Camera but there are a lot of great ones.  But what would you pick?

Posted by: ckckred | July 25, 2014

The Trial

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…Say what you like, but The Trial is the best film I have ever made.

-Orson Welles

It’s well known that Orson Welles was exiled from Hollywood for a majority of his career, with much of his post-Citizen Kane work tampered and cut by studio heads. The Trial was an exception to this reckless studio intervention: backed by a group of European investors and filmed there in cities like Rome and Paris, The Trial has Welles purest vision since Kane. Based on Franz Kaftka’s novel, The Trial is less direct and domineering than Welles’ other pictures, instead taking a surreal and bleak journey, a theme among Kaftka’s work, questioning the meanings of justice.

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Posted by: ckckred | July 20, 2014

What Do You Think of Voiceovers?

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Voiceovers tend to be the trickiest technique for filmmakers to pull off.  I’ve always felt that voiceovers typically are an easy way out for directors to do tell story, preventing the audience from figuring it out.  There are exceptions (the narrations in Apocalypse Now and GoodFellas help add to the themes of insanity and power in each respective film). The best use of a narration though in my opinion would be Barry Lyndon, where the voiceover acts as a domineering force that control’s Redmond Barry’s life.  The cold indifference of Michael Hordern’s voice is like an oracle that foretell’s Barry’s fate.

But what do you think?

Posted by: ckckred | July 16, 2014

Boyhood

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Richard Linklater’s Boyhood isn’t like any film I have seen before in quite some time.  Filmed over twelve years and featuring a cast that literally grows up on screen, Boyhood is Linklater’s biggest and boldest experiment yet.  The closest companion to Boyhood is Linklater’s own “Jesse and Celine” trilogy, but even the Before films are more condensed, each taking place every nine years.  But Boyhood is singular and definitive in its storytelling, chronicling as a young child progresses from boyhood to manhood.  With its graceful humor and genuine tone, Boyhood could be the best picture Linklater has done to date.

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Posted by: ckckred | July 13, 2014

What is Your Favorite Richard Linklater Movie?

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On Friday I watched Boyhood, the newest picture by Richard Linklater.  While I’m still writing my review (expect it sometime later next week), it was an incredible experience that I shall not soon forget.  Since the early 90s, Linklater has been the master of independent cinema and has crafted some of the finest films of the past twenty or so years.  So for today, I thought I’d ask what your favorite movie of Linklater’s filmography?

For me, the answer is Dazed and Confused (though I do love the “Jesse and Celine” trilogy and Boyhood could improve even more after another viewing).  Dazed and Confused is one of my favorite comedies and has an endless stream of quotable lines (many coming from Matthew McConaughey).  It also has an amazing soundtrack featuring songs like Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” and KISS’ “Rock and Roll All Nite.”

But what about you?

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