Category Archives: Film
This week, Steampunk Granny got to see two movies, one with hubby and one with the youngest of the nine grandchildren. Kingsman: The Secret Service I was excited to see and the other? Let’s just say that I love my grandchildren. Did I like Kingsman: The Secret Service and The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: Sponge out of Water? Let’s find out. Read the rest of this entry
Heard of her? Probably. Name a film she’s done? Not so easy. Barbara Stanwyck earned a deserved spot in the A-List of classic Hollywood celebrity in her day. She played in 85 films over the course of 38 years, a Nick Cage-like pace punctuated with terrific range from comedies to tear-jerkers to hard-boiled film noir. She was nominated four times for Best Lead Actress but never won (though she did take home several Emmys for her later work in television), and was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute. To contemporary eyes she’s in a bit of a fog, not as clear a classic figure as the sharp-witted Katharine Hepburn or the tough gravitas of Bette Davis. Part of that haze is due to Stanwyck’s chameleonic range, the ur Meryl Streep if you will, as she tackled so many different kinds of roles with fluid aplomb. For the next two months, TIFF Cinematheque shines a light on Stanwyck’s wide-ranging career, revealing a fierce, independent icon from a bygone era. Bold and brassy, she’s all the reason they’re calling the program Ball of Fire.
Each week, one of Biff Bam Pop’s illustrious writers will delve into one of their favorite things. Perhaps it’s a movie or album they’ve carried with them for years. Maybe it’s something new that moved them and they think might move you too. Each week, a new subject, a new voice writing on… something they love.
My wife once asked me what in the world happened in my childhood that lead to my ‘unique’ imagination, and I simply responded “Barbarella.” I didn’t grow up with the internet available to me, but bless my parents, they saw the PG rating on the movie box for Barbarella and decided that I could watch it with them one magical night in the early 1980s. It didn’t take long for them to hit the ‘stop’ button on the good ol’ Betamax, but by then it was too late; I was hooked. A couple of years later, my parents gave up fighting me on it, and allowed me to watch the version that one of their friends had recorded off cable. Best…Day…Ever!
I love ghosts. They’re not strangers to me. I’ve been seeing them since I was a child, and now, as an adult, I investigate them. So, when the opportunity came up to see a good ghost film, I grabbed my two fellow investigators and headed over to the neighborhood theater. I’d seen the 2012 film, The Woman in Black starring Daniel Radcliffe. The film was great, the story, scary and the ghost, nasty. Would the sequel be as good? Grab your ghost hunting kit and follow me.
The Oscars are coming up, airing Sunday, February 22nd for over 40 million people. Yesterday I looked at one of the hardest to follow Academy categories, the award for best live action short. Today we’ll take up another short category, certainly the most fun, the Oscar for best animated short. TIFF in Toronto is showing these for at least the next week, as well, and if you’re in the States, you can find listings for the Academy Awards short programs here.
Every year at the Academy Awards, there’s a lull, one even more numbing than the Oscar for special effects or the latest garish train-wreck of a dance number. It’s when the awards for short films roll around, and it’s a damn shame. The winners are starstruck and elated and you have to feel thrilled for their tremendous spirited breakthrough, but nobody’s seen the film. Or any of them. Shorts have such restricted windows, watching them can be tough. They circulate on the festival circuit, which bars them from appearing on TV and often the internet. This year if you’re in or around Toronto, TIFF’s got you covered, with two separate programs, one for the Oscar-nominated live-action shorts, the other for the animated ones. If you’re in the States, you can also find screenings for the next few weeks all over the country here. They’re the cream of the crop, a handful on each side chosen from all over the world.
The great filmmakers are often celebrated for their extraordinary control: the exacting science of Hitchcock’s suspense, the omnipresent symmetry of Kubrick’s vision, the dour Wagnerian pomp of Christopher Nolan. But there’s a lot to be said for id, too. The chaotic subconscious mind is its own glorious school, a place for the likes of Peter Jackson, Sam Raimi and David Lynch to stretch out and just, you know, get really fucking crazy. With Spain’s Alex de la Iglesia, add one more to that subversive list. TIFF is running a retrospective of de la Iglesia’s films from January 30th to March 28th, and amid all the batshit bonkers onscreen are some really indelible moments of brilliance. From the apocalyptic satanic horror of The Day of the Beast (1995) to the jet-black comedy of A Ferpect Crime (2004), de la Iglesia isn’t for everyone, but if putting the words wild satirical dark guignol together gets you salivating like Pavlov’s dog on a leash, you’re gonna wanna dive into this head-first.
American Sniper is based on a book of the same name. It’s the story of Chris Kyle, husband, father, and Navy SEAL. It broke box office records the first weekend it was released. Did this film hit the target or miss the mark? Meet me after the jump to find out, spoilers ahead.
“I have had it with these motherfu**ing snakes on this motherfu**ing plane!” – Snakes on a Plane
Samuel L. Jackson epitomizes what a ‘scene stealer’ is all about. Regardless of the scope of his role or the length of time he’s on screen, you cannot ignore Jackson’s presence in any film. He’s battled racism, dinosaurs, sharks, terrorists, snakes, aliens…and while he’s burned through more ‘movie lives’ than The Flash has shoes, he keeps on giving audiences and fans what they want = one bad*ss motha’ fu*ka!
Check out Jacksons’s top five “Scene Stealing” performances, after the jump.
“Ninety percent of everything is crud.” – Theodore Sturgeon
“THIS IS FICTIONAL LIFE
BASED ON FACTUAL DEATH.”
So begins one of the most powerful films about World War II ever made, Samuel Fuller’s quasi-autobiographical The Big Red One (1980). Putatively, it is a story about four young soldiers and their grizzled sergeant serving in the US First Infantry Division during the war. Yet Fuller’s film transcends its setting and circumstance to become a quietly fathomless examination of war itself, and the humans who become snared within it, whether soldiers or civilians.