Friday, October 27, 2006

Be afraid

My favorite scary movies of all time ....

1. The Haunting (1963 version, not awful remake)
2. Alien
3. The Exorcist (again, original)
4. The Omen (ditto)
5. The Shining (see post below)
6. Ghost Story
7. Blair Witch Project (go ahead and mock me. i loved it)
8. Mothman Prophesies
9. The Sixth Sense
10. The Others

Send me more.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Snowbound movies

The blizzard has me thinking about my favorite snowbound movies. Of course, Kubrick's "The Shining" has to be at the top of the list.

Stephen King didn't do Colorado tourism any favors with that one. It's kind of a crazy idea that there would be a mountain resort hotel (it was modeled after The Stanley in Estes Park) that gets snowed in for months at a time.

Man, that was a creepy movie.

Yes, the book was better, but that's true of all King adaptations.

Can you guys think of any other great snowbound movies?

Monday, October 23, 2006


Don't listen to our wire critic David Germain, whose review ran in GO! on Friday. I saw "The Prestige" yesterday and found it as good as "The Illusionist," which I loved.

I was a little disappointed that "Colorado Springs" didn't look much like Colorado Springs (come on, could you not photo-shop in Pikes Peak, our biggest landmark?) and although Hugh Jackman's character stayed in a hotel that looked a bit like The Cliff House, it was never referred to buy name.

I'm curious to hear what other people thought of it.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Iwo Jima with a new dimension

A buddy of mine, Greg Williams, is a nut about stereoscopes -- you know, those three-dimensional photo things ... the predecessor to the View-Master, which is actually just a slick version of a stereoscope.

Greg, who's an artist at The Tampa Tribune, also is a history buff and loves iconic photos, especially Pulitzer Prize-winners.

So, long before Clint Eastwood released his movie "Flags of Our Fathers," Greg was into Joe Rosenthal's Pulitzer Prize-winning photo "Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima," which depicts five Marines and one Navy Corpsman raising the American flag on Mount Suribachi.

Greg knew that Marine cinematographer Sgt. Bill Genaust had filmed the same moment, and he wondered if the film footage was shot close enough, but not too close, to be able to create a stereoscope.

Sure enough, it had been.

Greg married a frame of Genaust's footage with Rosethal's photo and voila! -- a 3D picture.

Check out Greg's story and find a link to the 3D stereoscopic image.

You'll need those silly 3-D glasses. (Steal you kids from his "Shark Boy and Lava Girl" DVD.) But it's way cool.

Sex and violence overdose!

I don't recommend seeing the movie "Shortbus," which has explicit sex, right before you see the over-the-top violent "Flags of Our Fathers," and then drive home through a blizzard from Denver.

I did last night... I feel kinda shaken up ... and overexposed.

I'll have review of the films, both of which I liked, on Friday in the GO! section.

I'm curious what other people are going to think of these movies.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Movie sound check

Here's a note from Gazette feature writer Deb Acord:

We went to Tinseltown Saturday afternoon to see "Man of The Year," the Robin Williams movie. The movie was pleasantly entertaining, but there was something wrong with the sound system - it echoed and it wasn't loud enough during scenes with lots of dialogue (and there were lots of those scenes).
An older woman, in the theater by herself, took on the task of fixing it, leaving her seat several times to talk with someone out front. Each time she returned, the sound was better - crisper, louder - but it never reached the quality that Tinseltown used to deliver. And in a movie filled with fast-talkers - Williams, Lewis Black, Laura Linney - you've got to be able to hear the dialogue.
This is the second time sound has ruined a movie experience at Tinseltown. At a showing of "V For Vendetta," the sound somehow echoed - it was only clear if you covered up one ear. Now that's how I like my movies! What's up with the quality control at a theater of this size? Isn't there anyone in charge of problems?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Netflix guilt

Those white evelopes sit on my coffee table whispering to me ... "you're paying $10 a month! why won't you watch me! don't you like movies anymore? ..."

I can't stand it. I think I've paid about $70 for "The History of Violence." At first I was waiting for my wife to watch it with me. Then she decided it sounded too violent for her. (Come on, that's just the title! It's a family movie!) So, it's waiting for a time when I have some free time.

I don't. After work and the younger boy's soccer practice and the older boy's shuttles to the skate park and dinner, helping with homework, renovating the bathroom ... OK, there's some time for TV, but I'm already caught up in several of the new TV shows this season: "Heroes," "The Nine," "Jericho," "Studio 60 at Sunset Strip," "Kidnapped," "Smith," and I've recorded "Ugly Betty" and "Friday Night Lights" because I've heard such good things ... and some of my old favorites are back: "Prison Break" and "Lost." (Good thing I'd gotten advance screening copies of the first six episodes of "Battlestar Gallactica" so I caught up with that last month.)

Who has time for movies?

OK, the networks are helping by killing my favorites. "Smith" recently got the ax, and "Kidnapped" and "Studio 60" will probably follow soon.

But still ... this Netflix thing is such a great deal ... but only if you actually watch! And, here's tough part: I NEED to watch. It's my job. I can't do my backshelf picks column without watching those movies.

I know I've gotta make some tough decisions. Something has to go ... "Jericho"? Maybe. The kid's soccer practice? I don't know.

But I keep looking at those evil white evelopes on the coffee table.

I'll get to 'em. Really!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Mobsters vs. woodland creatures

Did you see the box office report this week?

Martin Scorsese's mob thriller "The Departed" topped the national charts with $27 million, a strong opening for a harsh, bloody R-rated movie with some uncompromising turns.

The latest "Texas Chainsaw," which was bad enough they didn't screen it for critics, came in No. 2 with $19 mil.

But the real story here is that at the local box office, the animated flick "Open Season" that opened Sept. 29 trounced them all.

That deviation from national box office tells me two things: We love family movies here, and my rave review of "The Departed" carried no clout at all.

Doesn't anybody listen to what I say? (OK, I get that my kids and my wife tend to ignore my advice, but come on, readers.)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Score one for Scorcese

After "Gangs of New York," I wondered what the heck Scorcese saw in Leonardo DiCaprio

But now, after "The Aviator" and his new fantastic mob flick, "The Departed," I get it. He sees in him what Hitchcock saw in James Stewart -- it's a presence ... an everyman, but with an edge.

Scorcese certainly shows his edgier sides in "The Departed," an amazing achievement for a director who exploded onto the scene in the '70s with "Mean Streets" and "Taxi Driver."

Is there a director of his generation hitting this kind of late-career stride?

Certainly Woody Allen's film "Match Point" showed him getting back in the game, although he missed the ball with his latest, "Scoop."

Spielberg, of course, remains vital, if controversial. "War of the Worlds" had some great tense moments, but was certainly a minor work for him.

"Munich" put him back on track, and, for some reason, I'm looking forward to "Indiana Jones 4."

Clint Eastwood, who started in the same era as an actor, has turned into the guy to watch with "Million Dollar Baby," a made-for-TV-calibre story elevated to Oscar level by outstanding performances and direction.

I'm looking forward to "Flags of Our Fathers" and "Letters from Iwo Jima," two films, told from different perspectives, about Iwo Jima.

So, I guess there are some Scorcese contemporaries also doing amazing things later in life, which is a great thing for us babyboomers. We grew up with these people, and it's encouraging to see them still going strong.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Starlight bites the dust

A moment of silence please for Starlight Video on the west side and out east on Murray.

It was one of the last mom-and-pop holdouts against the Blockbusters. These independents have made most of their money from porn over the past decade or two. Because Blockbuster won't touch porn, it left a niche for them.

But growing competition online and expanding chains that have a more permissive attitude toward porn have been driving out the surviving independents.

At least we still have Toons, Carefree Video, Suncoast and Video World.

Go check them out while they're still around.