Random Factoid #467

7 11 2010

Eek.  I hope this doesn’t mean I’m some freak of nature with my memory.

On her blog “Monkey See” for NPR, Linda Holmes wrote a post about pop culture misconceptions that we all have.  Her reawakening to the idea has an interesting genesis, which I’ll quote below:

“… it somehow came up that The Flash and Flash Gordon are not the same person. By which I mean, “it came up that I was not aware that The Flash and Flash Gordon are not the same person.” (I think I sang the Queen song when The Flash was mentioned.)

I have no idea how I’ve lived as long as I have while laboring under this particular misconception, but let me tell you: Monkey See comics guru Glen Weldon, as you can imagine, was filled with … I don’t even know if it was contempt. He later claimed it was just pity, and that was supposed to be good news. ‘So,’ I said to him, ‘you’re telling me that there is both Flash and The Flash.'”

I hate to say it, but I really haven’t had many of these for the movies.  Just look at Random Factoid #184 and understand how I’m “that person” who knows every movie, every actor, and every release date.  The day a movie comes out is how I calculate time; movies are my relative measure.

I’d say the closest I ever came to a misconception was back in 2009 confusing “A Serious Man” and “A Single Man” all the time because you can’t be Oscar contenders and have the same initials.

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Comment Contest Closure

3 05 2010

For those of you just dying to know, this was Ripley’s selection of the ten Best Picture nominees as their prize for winning the comment contest:

“A Serious Man.”  Probably my least favorite of the bunch, but to each his own.

And for those of you who want a visual on how many comments there were last month, take a look at this picture I forgot to post yesterday.

And the abbreviation for Comment Contest Closure is CCC, which is also an acronym for the Civilian Conservation Corps, which was FDR’s favorite New Deal agency because it gave jobs to young men.  Just have AP US History on the brain, and it seeps through even to here.





REVIEW: A Serious Man

27 11 2009

The Coen Brothers have been entertaining audiences with their off-beat filmmaking techniques for many years now.  In “A Serious Man,” their artistry shines bright as they lead you through a miserable string of luck in the life of Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg).  It is easy to get lost in their style while they present these events that are undeniably captivating.  Knowing that they are Oscar-winning directors and screenwriters lends a sense of confidence that they know what they are doing.  But when the dust settles and the film cuts to black, I couldn’t help but sigh, “Huh?” with a great deal of dissatisfaction.

As I walked out of the theater, the worst feeling was looming over me – not only did I not know what the filmmakers wanted me to take from the movie, I had absolutely no idea what I had just watched other than a life being ripped apart at the seams.  This is tough for anyone to feel, but I am a critic of sorts.  I couldn’t help trembling at what my readers would think if I couldn’t understand it.  “What a philistine, that Marshall, can’t even appreciate simple art,” I thought you might say.

But I’m going to imagine this as “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” because I used lifelines so I could report to you something other than my confusion.  With the help of Google and a friend’s mother, I was able to decode some of the movie.
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Oscar Moment: Screenplays

22 11 2009

NOTE: This “Oscar Moment” is a tad different from any of the prior ones.  Rather than focusing on a specific movie, this post focuses on a particular category – in this case, screenplays.

A part of the Oscar season that I particularly love is watching the studios promote their movies.  Thankfully, my friends over at Awards Daily do a fantastic job of monitoring the “For Your Consideration” ads that are placed in Variety and other indudstry magazines.  But as the Internet becomes bigger and more present in our lives, the studios have adjusted campaigns slightly over the past years.  Now, they have set up “For Your Consideration” websites designed to promote their movies to the voters but also provide a place for average moviegoers to learn more about the movies simultaneously.

A recent feature that most studios have graciously included on these sites is access to the screenplay of that movie in its entirety.  Personally, I find these a great way to learn about the different styles of moviemaking in the race.  Some movies draw heavily from their screenplay, others use it as merely a guideline.

Therefore, I feel it to be my duty to impart the knowledge of this treasure trove of movie gold to any interest moviegoer reading this blog.  Click on the links below and they will take you to the screenplay for that movie (I will update this page periodically with new screenplays when they become available).  Enjoy, because the race is just beginning!

NOMINEES for Best Screenpalay:

Click here to read the screenplay for “Precious.”

Click here to read the screenplay for “An Education.”

Click here to read the screenplay for “The Hurt Locker.”

Click here to read the screenplay for “Inglourious Basterds.”

Click here to read the screenplay for “A Serious Man.”

Other Screenplays:

Click here to read the screenplay for “A Single Man.”

Click here to read the screenplay for “Nine.”

Click here to read the screenplay for “It’s Complicated.”

Click here to read the screenplay for “Where the Wild Things Are.”

Click here to read the screenplay for “The Informant!”

Click here to read the screenplay for “The Road.”

Click here to read the screenplay for “The Blind Side.”





What to Look Forward to In … October 2009

29 08 2009

We give the movie industry late August and all of September to recover from the busy summer season, but in October, it starts to kick it into gear again.  Unfortunately, my most anticipated movie in October, Martin Scorsese’s “Shutter Island,” was pushed back to February.  But the month still puts forth several great movies for all tastes.

October 2

This week, I can promise you that I will be throwing my money not at a new release, but at the re-release of two staples of my childhood.  “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2” will hit theaters again for a few weeks.  1 ticket.  2 movies. 3-D.  Need I say more?

The week also gives us “The Invention of Lying,” which could be a sleeper comedy hit. The movie stars Ricky Gervais, who was the lead of the British version of “The Office.” Around this time last year, he starred in “Ghost Town,” a comedy with a heart that you need to go rent now, that was dismissed by audiences. I have high hopes for his latest, in which he plays a man who tells the world’s first lie on an alternate Earth. He continues to wield the power to suit his own selfish needs. The movie also features Jennifer Garner, Rob Lowe, and the always funny Tina Fey.

And not to mention, the week delivers Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut, “Whip It.” The movie stars the irresistible Ellen Page (“Juno”) as Bliss, a teenager weary of the beauty pageants that she is forced into by her parents. One day, she discovers the world of roller derby and she finds the happiness that she has been so desperately seeking. The movie boasts a hilarious supporting cast including Kristen Wiig (“SNL”), Oscar-winner Marcia Gay Harden, and Barrymore herself.

And it just keeps getting better.  The Coen Brothers (“No Country for Old Men”) are back with their latest feature, “A Serious Man;” they also wrote the original screenplay.  The movie seems to be a big risk.  It features no marquee names other than the Coens themselves. The trailer is cryptic, giving no indication of what to expect from the movie. I don’t mind an aura of mystique, but this is an aura of confusion. The movie is being marketed as a dark comedy, and I pray that it is the polar opposite of the Coens’ last foray into the genre, “Burn After Reading,” which I didn’t find funny at all. The movie starts in limited release and then will slowly expand from New York and Los Angeles.

The other major release of the week is “Zombieland,” a horror-comedy with Woody Harrelson.

October 9

The only exciting movie hitting theaters across the country this weekend is “Couples Retreat.”  A comedy centered around four couples at a luxurious tropical resort that is revealed to be a marriage therapy clinic, it appears to provide something for everyone.  It has pretty women (Malin Akerman, Kristen Bell, Kristin Davis) AND funny guys (Jason Bateman, Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau).  The movie is the directorial debut of Ralph Billingsley, best known for playing Ralphie in “A Christmas Story,” and the screenplay is written by Vaughn and Favreau.  Hopefully it can provide some good laughs in a season usually replete of hilarious comedies.

Opening in limited release is “An Education,” a movie that has been garnering massive Oscar buzz for months now.  Most of it has centered on the breakout performance of lead actress Carey Mulligan.  In the movie, she stars as Jenny, a 17-year-old in 1960s England who is set on going to Oxford.  However, an older gentleman (Peter Sarsgaard) comes along and sweeps her off of her feet, introducing her to a lifestyle that she immediately loves.  But reality bites, and Jenny is left at a crucial crossroads.  The movie has also generated buzz around supporting actors Alfred Molina and Rosamund Pike (the red-haired villain of “Die Another Day”).  Raves are also flying in for the screenplay, written by author Nick Hornby, writer of “About a Boy” and “Fever Pitch.”  And with the 10 nominees for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars, many people say it has a good chance of claiming one of the ten.

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