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Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014
Leave it to Marvel to save the Summer 2014 movie season with this amazing slice of popcorn entertainment. Here's 10 reasons why this unusual group of heroes is blockbuster boon.

It shouldn’t work. It doesn’t have the standard issue super heroes on display. It starts off in pain and continues to mine said subtext throughout while adding a healthy dose of irreverent humor. There’s a questionable villain with what appears to be a religious fervor mentality to his plotting and terrorizing. Most tellingly, one of the main features is a diminutive raccoon with a sassy, salty mouth. So how did James Gunn do it? How did he manage to make what is arguably one of the Summer of 2014’s best films? Easy: he followed his own amazing muse, and Guardians of the Galaxy is the result. Spinning several fringe Marvel characters into a cohesive whole is one thing, but to do it without the mandatory pre-Avengers origins films is another. To make something that rivals Joss Whedon’s billion dollar baby is proof of the talent both in front of and behind the lens.


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Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014
There was much more to James Garner than Bret Maverick and Jim Rockford. Here are ten movies roles which he should be remembered for, as well.

For a certain generation, he will always be the quick-witted, adroit cardshark Bret Maverick in Maverick. His slick, snide persona left a major impact, even after he walked at the end of the third season (the show ran for another two years).


For others, he remains the laid back beach bum private dick Jim Rockford, a problem-plagued PI whose questionable abilities were quelled by his flashy (?) fashion sense, beachside mobile home office/residence, street savvy, and complicated backstory (he served time in prison on a wrongful conviction). Audiences loved this Maverick-like update (co-producer Roy Huggins was responsible for both shows) and it set a standard for which actor James Garner would be both grateful and a bit glum.


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Tuesday, Jul 15, 2014
They represent some of the best (and worst) movie metaphors in the history of cinematic speculative fiction. Here's how we rate the Apes' films, from worst to first.

It’s all based on a book by French author Pierre Boulle. In said novel, an interplanetary expedition comes across a planet where apes rule and humans are used for slave labor and experiments. Famed writer Rod Serling took the first crack at the screenplay, though his ideas were deemed too expensive and incendiary to film. Blacklisted scribe Michael Wilson was then brought in to bring the concepts down to budgetary (and moviegoer) limits, and soon a sci-fi classic was born.


Audiences were not prepared for Planet of the Apes when it first came out in theaters. The Civil Rights Movement was reeling from advances and assassinations and Serling’s subtext made the roots of said racism all too real. While further script doctoring decreased some of the more provocative material, the notion of Apes as an allegory for its time remained. It was a box office smash, jumpstarting a franchise which saw four initial sequels, two reboots, one follow-up to same, and even a TV series.


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Tuesday, Jul 8, 2014
Excellence is where you find it, not where it's forced into some Hollywood genre pigeonhole.

The first six months of 2014 have already passed (time flies when you’re having… to sit through dozens of movies each week???) and there are already pundits pronouncing this the worst year ever, film wise. They point to the lackluster box office, the continuing success of bloated Summer tentpoles, and the inability for those seeking sanctuary from such spectacle to find realistic alternative outlets.


On the other hand, there have been a bevy of interesting efforts released this year that have either flown under the radar or received their standard Cineplex due, confirming that excellence is where you find it, not where it’s forced into some genre pigeonhole that Hollywood has micromanaged to influence international receipts. Indeed, the foreign film market is becoming so important, and profitable, for the Tinseltown suits that they frequently forget that US audiences count, too.


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Tuesday, Jun 24, 2014
Harvey Weinstein is a savvy showbiz staple with a tendency to re-edit film -- drastically. Here are ten cases where he tackled filmmakers head on. Few survived.
Above from the poster for Edward Scissorhands (1990)


He has a reputation for being a savvy entrepreneur, a tough negotiator, and a true cinephile. Many believe he’s done more for the independent and arthouse scene in the US than any studio tycoon before or since. He’s backed numerous Oscar winners, guided several actors and actresses to their own Academy glory, and is constantly on the lookout for new talent both at home and abroad.


So why does Harvey Weinstein also have one of the worst standings in film? Perhaps the nickname “Harvey Scissorhands” can provide some enlightenment. Over the decades he’s been in the business called show, Weinstein has made more than a few enemies, usually with his actions both outside and inside the editing room. Notorious for taking films and fiddling with them (both with and without their creator’s consent), he’s becomes a blight to some, a savior to others.


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