Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Stagecoach (1939)



MOVIE: Stagecoach
RELEASE DATE: 1939
DIRECTOR: John Ford
SCREENPLAY: Dudley Nichols, Ben Hecht
CAST: Claire Trevor, John Wayne, Thomas Mitchell, John Carradine, Andy Devine, George Bancroft

OSCARS:
Winner: Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Thomas Mitchell
Winner: Best Music, Scoring
Nominated: Best Picture
Nominated: Best Director – John Ford
Nominated: Best Cinematography, Black & White
Nominated: Best Film Editing
Nominated: Best Art Direction

John Wayne stars as The Ringo Kid, protecting a group of travelers on a stagecoach from the threat of Geronimo. When you mention John Wayne’s name, many films come to mind:  The Searchers or Rio Bravo or even the original True Grit. All wonderful films, but true cinephiles know that the film that made Wayne a huge star was Stagecoach. Wayne had been toiling as a Hollywood actor for years before John Ford cast him as the immortal Ringo Kid in this star-making movie. But it’s not just Wayne (who delivers the macho character we’re so used to) that makes this movie come to life. The supporting cast made up of Claire Trevor, John Carradine and Thomas Mitchell, among others, also contribute a great deal. And lest we not forget the great John Ford, one of Hollywood’s greatest directors, at the helm of this western masterpiece. The scenes of the stage coach racing through the desert are worth the price alone, rivaling any modern day action sequences.



Stagecoach is available on DVD and is available as a disc rental through Netflix. A digitally restored version was released on DVD and Blu-Ray via The Criterion Collection. It’s currently streaming on Hulu Plus and is available on demand on Xfinity. You can digitally rent or purchase Stagecoach on Amazon or iTunes.

OR, you can watch the full movie HERE (Hurry before YouTube yanks it!)


Monday, August 26, 2013

FORCED PERSPECTIVE, Ep.36 – Conjuring the End of Man


Everyone’s favorite movie podcast, FORCED PERSPECTIVE, is BACK with an all-new episode! Join SportsGuy515 & Adolfo as they begin their full recap of Summer 2013 in film, starting with Man of Steel, This is the End, World War Z, and Before Midnight. Then, the one and only EMPEROR BIG D joins the duo as they give an in-depth review on The Conjuring. Did the events in the film really happen? Who are the Warrens? Is this the best horror film of the last 10 years? Of all-time? Listen to find out the answers! ALMOST 2.5 HOURS OF CONTENT!! DOWNLOAD/STREAM NOW!!!


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

How The West Was Won (1962)

Originally published at Superfriends Universe



MOVIE: How the West Was Won
RELEASE DATE: 1962
DIRECTORS: John Ford, Henry Hathaway, George Marshall
SCREENPLAY: James R. Webb
CAST: Carroll Baker, James Stewart, Gregory Peck, George Peppard, Debbie Reynolds, John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Richard Widmark, Walter Brennan, Lee J. Cobb, Harry Morgan

OSCARS:
Winner: Best Writing, Story and Screenplay – Written Directly for the Screen
Winner: Best Film Editing
Winner: Best Sound
Nominated: Best Picture
Nominated: Best Cinematography, Color
Nominated: Best Art Direction/Set Decoration, Color
Nominated: Best Costume Design, Color
Nominated: Best Music, Score – Substantially Original

History lesson time: Widescreen, which is the current filming format, wasn’t always the standard. In the 1950s and early 1960s, with the advent of television, movie studios were trying anything to get people How the West Was Won… an epic retelling of America’s migration into the west told in several vignettes starring big stars like James Stewart, Gregory Peck and John Wayne. The film is worth watching purely for the spectacle, but also to appreciate some of the beautiful cinematography of the United States western frontier. It’s a stunning film to behold.
into the theaters. New concepts like 3D films came about as did the concept of making the picture bigger… more spectacular. Along came Cinerama (which got its name from “cinema” and “panorama.”) The basic idea was to take three cameras and shoot a film on 35 mm footage and then project onto 3 corresponding curved screen in specially built movie theaters. One of the first films to use this process was

How the West Was Won is available on DVD and Blu-ray, and is available to rent on disc via Netflix. You can digitally rent the film through Amazon, iTunes and YouTube or purchase a digital copy via Amazon or iTunes. If you have an Xfinity subscription, you can also watch it for free via Encore.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wings (1927)




MOVIE: Wings
RELEASE DATE: 1927
DIRECTOR: William A. Wellman
SCREENPLAY: Hope Loring, Louis D. Lighton
CAST: Clara Bow, Charles “Buddy” Rogers, Richard Arlen, Gary Cooper

OSCARS:
Winner: Best Picture, Production
Winner: Best Effects, Engineering

Oscar month continues with the first film to ever capture the Best Picture award from the Academy of The Artist had some sound that was filmed and a spoken dialogue scene.) It tells the story of two best friends, pilots during World War I, who are also in love with the same woman. While the story may seem cliche now, this was fresh material in 1927… 70 years before Pearl Harbor stole the same basic plotline. The aerial battles in this film are amazing, especially when considering they were filmed with 1927 technology. Ain’t no CGI here, these are real pilots, in close up, flying real planes and dodging and shooting at each other. It’s no wonder it also won the first Special Effects Oscar as well. Also, special bonus trivia: Wings is one of the first major films to feature nudity. It’s a blink and you’ll miss kind of moment, but if you want to catch one second of 20s movie star Clara Bow’s breasts, they’re there.

Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It’s also the only silent film in history to ever win Best Picture. (
In 2012, Paramount released a high definition restoration of Wings on DVD and Blu-Ray. It is also available for disc rental via Netflix. It is available for digital purchase and rental via Amazon and iTunes. If you have an Amazon Prime account, you can stream it for free.



Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Marvel VS DC: Why Marvel Has Won the Movie War


Since Superman: The Movie hit movie screens in 1978, essentially creating the modern superhero movie, DC characters have appeared on screen in 21 films.  In these 21 films, we’ve had 6 Superman movies, 2 Superman spinoffs (Supergirl, Steel), 7 Batman movies, 1 Batman spinoff (Catwoman), 1 Watchmen movie and 4 movies based on Swamp Thing, Jonah Hex and Green Lantern. Now, Superman and  Superman II are classics, as is Tim Burton’s Batman (and Batman Returns which I have soft spot for.)  The Dark Knight Trilogy is arguably the greatest comic book series of all time.  Watchmen and Man of Steel are debatable films, as a lot of comic book fans are divided on these. But the rest of DC’s filmography? Absolute garbage.

Meanwhile Marvel, who has not been in the movie business nearly as long DC, after some major missteps with Howard the Duck and an unproduced Fantastic Four, have managed to release 29 films in about 15 years.  And it’s not top heavy on two franchises like DC is with Superman and Batman is.  You have the obvious ones like Spider-Man (4 movies) and Wolverine/X-Men (6 movies), but Marvel also took B-List characters and made them A-List. Don’t believe me? No one cared about Iron Man ten years ago. Now? 3 enormous movies that have grossed over 2 BILLION dollars together.  Captain America? Thor? Those guys are kinda corny, right… oh, they both had succesful features? And they have sequels coming out in the next year?  Oh.  Well, that first Hulk movie sucked! Yeah, but the second one was decent and it was part of a 5 movie plan to bring together Marvel superheroes in the FIRST EVER cross-movie team-up that led to the record-breaking Avengers, legitimately the 3rd biggest movie of all time.

Have there been stumbles along the way? Of course. Daredevil, The Fantastic Four, The Punisher and Ghost Rider have not had the success (critically or financially) as some of their other Marvel brotherhood. But hey, at least there ARE Daredevil, Fantastic Four, Punisher and Ghost Rider movies. This is my point. Marvel isn’t afraid to take their properties and try to cinematize them. Sometimes you get The Avengers and sometimes you get Elektra.  But more often than not, the results are good.  Coming down the pike we have the afore-mentioned Thor and Captain America sequels, Amazing Spider-Man 2, X-Men Days of Future Past and Guardians of the Galaxy. GAURDIANS OF THE GALAXY! A team with a talking tree and a racoon with a gun.  Plus the planned Avengers sequel, Ant Man and a Fantastic Four reboot.  Avengers created an opportunity for an Agents of SHIELD TV show and characters like Black Widow, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, Deadpool, Justin Hammer, Nightcrawler, Bucky and Silver Samurai have all appeared on the big screen.

Over at DC, what do you have? A planned Superman/Batman team-up film. OK, admittedly that’s awesome. But it’s more of the same.  Where’s Wonder Woman? The Flash? Green Arrow? Aquaman? The JLA? Martian Manhunter? Booster Gold? The Teen Titans? The Atom?

The fact that ROCKET RACCOON has a movie before Wonder Woman is complete insanity.

In the comic book movie wars, even though DC has heavy hitters like The Dark Knight trilogy, Marvel has clearly taken the lead.  DC/Warner Bros. need to embrace their deep character history instead of being embarrassed by it.  You can only do Superman and Batman so many times before fans want to see what else you got.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

FORCED PERSPECTIVE, Ep.35 – Enter the Matrix, Part 3



Mr. Anderson, welcome back.

THE FINALE HAS ARRIVED!!! Join SportsGuy515 and Adolfo, along with special guest Big D, as they enter the Matrix for the final time with a discussion (fancy word for “bashing”) of the final film in the trilogy, The Matrix Revolutions. Big D also reveals the story of how he trolled the internet with his fake Matrix Revolutions script. Plus, “The Wachowskis Drinking Game”, trilogies that are BETTER than The Matrix, good ol’-fashioned TWILIGHT-bashing, Big D and Adolfo hype up The Conjuring, and MORE! A MUST-LISTEN!!! NEARLY 3 HOURS OF CONTENT!!! DOWNLOAD/STREAM NOW!!!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Thor: The Dark World - Official Trailer


Marvel Studios has released the latest (and assuming final) trailer for this November's Thor: The Dark World.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Ben-Hur (1959)



Originally published at Superfriends Universe

MOVIE: Ben-Hur
RELEASE DATE: 1959
DIRECTOR: William Wyler
SCREENPLAY: Karl Tunberg based on the book by Lew Wallace
CAST: Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Haya Harareet, Stephen Boyd, Hugh Griffith

OSCARS:
Winner: Best Picture
Winner: Best Actor in a Leading Role – Charlton Heston
Winner: Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Hugh Griffith
Winner: Best Director – William Wyler
Winner: Best Art Decoration/Set Decoration
Winner: Best Cinematography
Winner: Best Costume Design
Winner: Best Special Effects
Winner: Best Film Editing
Winner: Best Music, Score
Winner: Best Sound
Nominated: Best Adapted Screenplay

Ben-Hur is one of those legendary movies you always hear about in the same breath as Casablanca,
Gone With the Wind, Citizen Kane and The Wizard of Oz. It’s Hollywood royalty. It also, at the time, was the most expensive movie ever made. By the time it began shooting in 1959, the production budget had swelled up to $15 Million, which seems paltry by today’s standards, but adjusted for inflation that’s roughly $120 Million. MGM studios more than quadrupled their investment when the film went on to make $70 Million at the box office. According to Box Office Mojo, it is the 13th biggest movie of all time when you adjust for ticket price inflation, making an approximate $788 Million (Domestic) in ticket sales. The story revolves around Judah Ben-Hur, a rich Jewish merchant in Jerusalem who angers the new commander of the Roman garrison, Masala, a man he grew up with. Judah is exiled but vows to return and exact his revenge. The film is famous for an incredible 9-minute chariot race that has never been duplicated since (sorry, Lucas, pod-racing don’t count.) Even by 2013 standards, this has to rank as one of the greatest action sequences of all time. Ben-Hur defines the term “epic.”

Ben-Hur is available on DVD and Blu-Ray as well as disc rental through Netflix. You can also purchase or rent digital copies via Amazon or iTunes. It’s also playing tomorrow (February 16) on Turner Classic Movies at 8 PM EST.



MORE BEN-HUR:
Ben-Hur ranked in The Essential Films’ countdowns of the 100 Greatest Films and 100 Greatest Movie Heroes.