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Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014
It's not the worst picture ever made, or even the worst Spaghetti Western, but its many low-points bury its few high-points.

God’s Gun (1976), one of the few Spaghetti Western’s filmed in Israel, opens with a catchy theme song as a puppet show being held for children in the middle of the street transitions into a show of violence when a gang of bandits ride into the town of Juno City, rob a bank, and kill everyone in sight. This promising start to the film is quickly forgotten after learning that a young boy named Johnny (Leif Garrett) is going to be a major player in the story. It’s not that Garrett is a terrible child-actor; it’s just that his character gets on my nerves due to the predictability of his melodramatic antics.


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Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014
Flicker Alley's new Blu-ray/DVD combo We're in the Movies: Palace of Silents and Itinerant Filmmaking provides a glimpse into obscure corners of film history.

In a phenomenon that historians have called itinerant filmmaking, small companies made a living traveling to various towns and making films. They might advertise in the paper, or they might pitch the project to city councils or booster groups as a promotional idea. They got paid to shoot local amateurs in little stories around carefully chosen locations. The small crew, sometimes just a director and a cameraman, would shoot and edit the picture and then give the print (usually the only copy in existence) to whomever had commissioned it. Then they would move on to the next town.


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Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014
While his life was filled with many career triumphs, the late Richard Attenborough will always be remembered for these ten examples of his undeniable talent.

Richard Attenborough was born in 1923 to a founding member of Britain’s Marriage Guidance Council (a charity centering on advice for couples) and a scholar who wrote the standard text on Anglo-Saxon law. In World War II, he served with the British Royal Air Force’s (RAF) film unit (where he recorded the outcome of Bomb Commander sorties) before taking to the stage. He would soon become one of Britain’s biggest box office draws.


He costarred in the original production of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, taking a ten percent profit-participation in the production. It would go on to set a world record as the longest running stage play in history (over 25,000 performances and still going strong) and during the ‘60s, he recorded triumphs in both hero and villain roles. He even earned back to back Golden Globes (for The Sand Pebbles and Doctor Doolittle), becoming one of his homeland’s most celebrated stars in the process.


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Monday, Aug 25, 2014
This YA tearjerker could have worked, and it should have worked, but it had it's own demise already written into its DNA.

When the returns came in for The Fault in Our Stars, two studios must have been beyond happy. 20th Century Fox financed the film version of John Green’s popular YA novel, and were glad to see their old fashioned disease of the week tearjerker bring in over $48 million at the box office opening weekend. By the time the end of Summer rolls around, it will easily have banked more than $271 million worldwide.


This should have been good news for Warner Bros. as well, seeing as how it bet on another YA weeper, If I Stay, to further commercialize, and therefore capitalize on the trend. Prior to the 22 August release date, industry pundits had it easily winning the box office war, what with the nine years in the making Sin City sequel and a faith-based football title, When the Game Stands Tall, it’s only real competition. Surely it could mimic The Fault in Our Stars‘s success while beating back any lingering love for a bunch of mutant ninja turtles and a dancing tree creature and his pals.


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Friday, Aug 22, 2014
Is two-thirds of a decent Sin City sequel enough? After nine years of waiting, almost.

They say you can’t capture lightning in a bottle, that a once novel paired with a fresh concept can’t be reused to the same stunning effect a second time around. This is the main critique of sequels, in fact. Whatever made the original hit movie a cultural phenomenon cannot be rediscovered and maintained over a follow-up (or franchise).


So when Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller decided to wait nine long years to revisit their visionary Sin City, many wondered if the near-decade away from their pioneering digital neo-noir would result in something dull and derivative. The answer, luckily, is “No!” Is it as good as the first groundbreaking film? Well…


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