Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Force(d Perspective Re)Awakens – SPECIAL EPISODE



We're home.

At long last, your favorite movie podcast, FORCED PERSPECTIVE, has reawakened, and is coming back with a short REACTION EPISODE to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Join SportsGuy515 and Adolfo, along with their special guest BIG D, as they give their first reactions to the film and speculate on/discuss many plot points.


As a result, this will be a very SPOILER HEAVY discussion. IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO HEAR SPOILERS, GO WATCH THE FILM BEFORE LISTENING TO THIS EPISODE. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!


Look for a FULL REVIEW of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on the next episode of FORCED PERSPECTIVE – with (hopefully) a few surprises thrown in! DOWNLOAD/STREAM NOW!

SportGuy’s Twitter: @SportsGuy515
Adolfo’s Twitter: @Adolfo_Acosta
The Essential Films Twitter: @EssentialFilms
FORCED PERSPECTIVE E-Mail: fpmpodcast@gmail.com

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The History of Film - Traffic Crossing Leeds Bridge (1888)

Take a look at one of the earliest films in existence. Traffic crossing Leeds Bridge from 1888, Directed by Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Seven Samurai (1954)



SEVEN SAMURAI
Akira Kurosawa
1954 • 207 Minutes • 1.37:1 • Japan
Toho

Cast:  Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima, Isao Kimura, Daisuke Katō, Seiji Miyaguchi, Yoshio Inaba, Minoru Chiaki, Kamatari Fujiwara, Kokuten Kōdō, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Yukiko Shimazaki, Eijirō Tōno, Bokuzen Hidari
Screenplay:  Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, Hideo Oguni
Cinematography: Asakazu Nakai
Producer:  Sōjirō Motoki

Awards & Honors

Academy Awards
Nominated:  Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White (Takashi Matsuyama)
Nominated:  Best Costume Design, Black-and-White (Kôhei Ezaki)

BAFTA
Nominated: Best Film from any Source
Nominated: Best Foreign Actor (Toshirô Mifune)
Nominated: Best Foreign Actor (Takashi Shimura)

Essential Films
100 Greatest Movie Heroes - #25, The Seven Samurai


This is the nature of war. By protecting others, you save yourselves.

SPOILERS AHEAD

Seven Samurai is perhaps Akira Kurosawa's masterpiece. This is saying a lot, considering Kurosawa's filmography reads like a list of Japanese film canon: Rashomon, Ikiru, Throne of Blood, Hidden Fortress, Yojimbo, Sanjuro... the list goes on. And those films went on to inspire future great directors like Sergio Leone and even George Lucas.  However, Seven Samurai combines such a rich story, wonderful acting, phenomenal action and epic scale to deliver one of the greatest films of all time.

A group of marauding bandits have decided to spare a farming village, a regular punching bag of theirs, until the time of the next harvest.  The locals go to the village elder and it is decided that they will hire a group of samurais to defend the village and drive the bandits away forever. Since they have no money, it's decided that they need to find hungry samurai that will accept payment in millet.  In a neighboring village, an aging ronin, Kambei (Takashi Shimura), rescues a hostage from a thief, which so impresses the villagers that they immediately seek his guidance in their thief problem.  Kambei agrees to defend the village, but reckons he'll need at least seven samurai to be an effective unit. Kambei recruits the remaining six, including young apprentice Katsushirō (Isao Kimura) and samurai wannabe Kikuchiyo (Toshirô Mifune).  The seven samurai then train the villagers in preparation for the siege, and the film climaxes in one of the greatest battle sequences on film.

Perhaps the most memorable character in the film is Kikuchiyo, portrayed by Mifune in a star-making performance.  According to Mifune, the film was originally written as six samurai, but it was decided that six "serious" heroes was too boring. Mifune, who was originally cast in another role, was recast as the new character Kikuchiyo.  Wanting Kikuchiyo to stand out from the pack as a wild card, Kurosawa gave Mifune complete creative license to interpret the character and his actions however he saw fit.  At times, Mifune could be accused of hamming it up for the cameras, but the end result is ultimately extremely entertaining.

It's hard to believe that this was Kurosawa's first samurai film, a genre that he would become associated with the rest of his career, and he ended up making perhaps the definitive samurai film for many cinephiles.  Especially when Kurosawa innovated, or at least popularized, new storytelling tropes.  This was one of the first "getting the band together" films, where the first act of the film is spent gathering the team together for a job. Examples of this can be seen in the Hollywood remake The Magnificent Seven, The Guns of Navarone, Ocean's Eleven, Inception and even The Blues Brothers.  It also features the "Establishing Character" trope of introducing the hero in a scene unrelated to the rest of the plot. The example in this film is Kambei, willing to sacrifice his topknot, to disguise himself as a monk to rescue a hostage. This exposes us to Kambei, tells us he is an honorable samurai, willing to do whatever is necessary and, ultimately, a bad ass.

Kurosawa also proved himself as not just a master storyteller, but a phenomenal action director. The Star Wars trilogy? George Lucas lifts them directly from this film (and also steals characters from Hidden Fortress to create R2D2 and C-3PO, but that's another story.)
final battle sequence is absolutely thrilling and Kurosawa broke from tradition to film it.  Kurosawa used multiple cameras shooting simultaneously to shoot the epic sequence: a fixed camera in a standard set-up, a camera for quick action shots and what he called a "guerilla" camera to get the hard to capture shots of action. All the action and camera work was meticulously choreographed and the end result is a spectacular action sequence that continues to thrill audiences over 60 years later.  On top of this, the film is spectacularly shot and beautifully composed by cinematographer Asakazu Nakai.  And all those "wipes" you see in the

In addition to the brilliant action, the film is also expertly written.  You would think that in a story with seven main characters, one or two might get lost in the shuffle.  Each samurai is fully realized and given plenty of screen time to develop.  You have the leader, the wild card, the teacher, the master swordsman... you even have time for the young recruit, Katsuihro, to have a forbidden romance with one of the village girls. Add to this the mix of beleaguered (and sometimes comical) villagers and the film is rich with characters and identity. The only drawback is the villains, the bandits, don't get much face time except at the end of the film when they are the threat to be vanquished. But that's OK, given how beautifully the rest of the characters are developed, it's OK if the bandits are just that... bandits.


The film is a long one, clocking in at over 3 and a half hours (with an intermission), but your patience will be rewarded.  All of the character building and plot builds to the explosive final sequence, which by the time the action goes down, is well-earned.  In fact, Seven Samurai rewards you for every minute you watch the film. It is endlessly entertaining as well as being Kurosawa's epic masterpiece.


Monday, August 10, 2015

Marvel @ The Movies – Part 1: The Captain America Republic Serials (1944)

Originally Published at Superfriends Universe

Hello all. Welcome to part 1 in what I hope to be an ongoing series looking at the history of Marvel Comics on the big (and sometimes small) screen. Enough introductions, you’ll get it as we go along.

We’re going to start with the first Marvel Comics property to ever hit celluloid: the iconic Captain America.



CHARACTER HISTORY
Captain America first appeared in Captain America Comics #1 in March of 1941, published by Timely Comics (the predecessor of Marvel Comics). Created by Joe Simon and the legendary Jack Kirby, Captain America was a star-spangled hero conceived in response to the ever increasing threat of Nazi Germany. Long before the United States was officially involved in the war, Kirby and Simon created Captain America as a political statement. The character even appears on the cover of the first issue punching Adolf Hitler in the face.

Captain America started out as Steve Rogers, a skinny 4F weakling who just couldn’t cut it in the military. His heart and patriotism for his country made him the perfect candidate for the Super Soldier experiment and was injected with a serum that made him the peak of human physical fitness. He dons a red, white and blue costume, and, along with his kid sidekick, Bucky, fought enemies foreign and domestic… all in the name of the U.S. of A. In 1944, Republic Pictures licensed the character for a 15-Chapter movie serial to be played at matinees for children, following in the cinematic footsteps of his comic book and pulp counterparts Zorro, Tarzan, Flash Gordon and Dick Tracy.



THE MOVIE VERSION
Republic Pictures made many drastic changes to the character, much to Timely Comics’ ultimate displeasure. Gone was the secret identity of US Army Private Steve Rogers, instead replaced by US District Attorney Grant Gardner. The Super Soldier serum played no part in the character’s origin. He does not carry his famous shield, and instead carries a gun. No Bucky. And despite the fact that Nazis could have provided perfect on-screen villains at a time that America was at war with Germany, they were not featured in any way. In fact the only thing that makes this film “Captain America” is the title and costume. Everything else was completely replaced. Dick Purcell plays our lead, and overall he’s pretty hammy in the role.

THE VILLAIN
No Red Skull folks. No Adolf Hitler. No Nazis. No Japanese villains either. Sorry. Instead the villain was the generically named “Scarab.” The Scarab uses a purple poison gas to hypnotize his enemies and force them to do his bidding.



THE PLOT
This being a movie serial, the plot takes a long time to unfold over the cliffhangers that happen at the end of every chapter for fifteen chapters. Long story short, The Scarab is really Dr. Maldor, a scientist who is getting revenge on members of a Mayan expedition, that somehow gained all of the members fame and fortune. Fame and fortune, that is, for everyone except Dr. Maldor. Dr. Lyman, the last remaining member of the expedition has developed a new mining technology he calls the Dynamic Vibrator (seriously), but The Scarab has now found a new use for: to cause death and destruction by simulating earthquakes. The mayor calls in District Attorney Grant Gardner to investigate, but really it’s Captain America who ultimately saves the day.

OTHER CHARACTERS
The only other notable character would be Gail Richards (Lorna Gray), Grant Gardner’s secretary, who’s only purpose seems to be getting rescued by Captain America.

THE VERDICT
The 1944 Captain America serial isn’t bad for what it’s supposed to be: silly 15 minute chapters to entertain children. It gets points for the very well-staged fight sequences, but ultimately the film bears little to no resemblance to the Captain of the comics, and really any other comic book vigilante could have been slipped in without any noticeable difference.

GRADE: C

WHERE CAN YOU WATCH IT

Believe it or not, you can buy the complete serial on AMAZON.

Enterprising comic geeks have also uploaded the chapters on YouTube:



NEXT TIME: Spidey swings into action in the swingin’ 70s!

Non-Essential Review: Fantastic Four (2015) – The Worst Superhero Movie of the Modern Era



Recently I wrote a movie review for our affiliate site, Superfriends Universe, about the recent Fantastic Four reboot.  Needless to say, I was not happy.  Read the full article HERE


Friday, July 10, 2015

The Essential Omar Sharif


OMAR SHARIF
1932 - 2015

Omar Sharif, who was born as Michel Shaloub in 1932, has passed away today at the age of 83.  The Egyptian-born actor had a storied career, starting in Egyptian cinema in the 1950s and continued working until as recently as 2013.  Shaloub became a Muslim in the 1950s, changing his name to Omar al-Sharif, and in 1961 landed the role that would change his life.  That breakthrough role would be that of Sherif Ali in David Lean's grand epic, Lawrence of Arabia, a role that would earn him an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe win for Best Supporting Actor.  Sharif later paired with David Lean again in 1965's Doctor Zhivago, a film of equal spectacle, which would again earn him a Golden Globe for Best Actor.  Sharif would go on to play a wide range of roles including Genghis Khan and Che Gueverra as well as starring alongside Barbara Streisand in the mega hit musical Funny Girl.  Sharif would work fairly regularly over the years in films like Mackenna's Gold (1969), The Mysterious Island (1973), The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976), Top Secret (1984), The 13th Warrior (1999) and 10000 BC (2008).  His last film was Rock the Casbah in 2013.  The Essential Films is saddened by this loss, and looks back on three of his most essential roles.  RIP.


LAWRENCE OF ARABIA
David Lean
1962 • 227 Minutes

Cast:  Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins, José Ferrer, Anthony Quayle, Claude Rains, Arthur Kennedy, Omar Sharif
Screenplay: Robert Bolt, Michael Wilson
Producer: Sam Spiegel
Cinematography: F.A. Young

Sharif was initially cast for a smaller role, but when casting delays for the Sherif Ali role became a problem, Sharif was promoted to the larger and more significant role. He earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor and won the Golden Globe for his performance in the epic film about the life of TE Lawrence.

DOCTOR ZHIVAGO
David Lean
1965 • 200 Minutes

Cast:  Omar Sharif, Julie Christie, Tom Courtenay, Alec Guinness, Geraldine Chaplin, Rod Steiger
Screenplay:  Robert Bolt Based on Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
Producer: Carlo Ponti
Cinematography: Freddie Young, Nicolas Roeg

Sharif went from supporting actor to leading man for Lean's next major Hollywood epic.  Adapting Boris Pasternak's famous novel, Sharif plays the title role of a married Russian physician who falls in love with another woman while during the first World War and the October revolution. Considered one of the greatest cinematic love stories, due in no small part to the handsome Sharif and his beautiful costar Julie Christie.

FUNNY GIRL
William Wyler
1968 • 155 Minutes

Cast: Barbra Streisand, Omar Sharif, Kay Medford
Screenplay: Isobel Lennart Based on Funny Girl 1964 musical by Isobel Lennart, Jule Styne, Bob Merrill
Producer:  Ray Stark
Cinematography:  Harry Stradling, Sr.

Sharif played opposite Barbara Streisand in the smash box office hit of the smash Broadway hit in Funny Girl.  Sharif was cast shortly before the Six Day War between Egypt and Israel. When Egyptian newspapers printed publicity photos of Sharif and Streisand in romantic scenes from the film, the Egyptian government actually threatened to revoke his citizenship. To quiet down the controversy the studio executives considered recasting the role, but Streisand and director William Wyler threatened to quit if they did. Thankfully cooler heads prevailed.

Friday, July 3, 2015

FORCED PERSPECTIVE, Ep.67 – The Aliens are Attacking!


THE HOLIDAY TRADITION CONTINUES…

FORCED PERSPECTIVE, Episode 67 – “The Aliens are Attacking!” Join SportsGuy515 & Adolfo, along with special guest MR. EDDIE, as they record their first NON-CHRISTMAS THEMED commentary track for the 4th of July disaster CLASSIC known simply as Independence Day! Throw in your copy of the film on your Blu-ray/DVD player and follow along with them as they give their wacky insights on what is unfolding on-screen!

DOWNLOAD OR STREAM NOW

Also available on iTunes

*Note: it is NOT REQUIRED for any listener to have to watch Independence Day while listening to this episode – the episode works with or without the film playing in the background. However, in order to get the BEST and INTENDED EXPERIENCE, the Forced Perspective team suggests syncing the episode with the film for yet another all-out WACKY DVD commentary experience!

Friday, June 26, 2015

FORCED PERSPECTIVE, Ep.66 – The Jurassic World of Tomorrow


On an all-new episode of the critically acclaimed FORCED PERSPECTIVE, join SportsGuy515 & Adolfo as they continue their trek through Summer 2015 with reviews of Tomorrowland, San Andreas, Poltergeist, Entourage, Spy, and (the record-breaking smash-hit) Jurassic World! The duo also pay tribute to the legendary SIR CHRISTOPHER LEE! PLUS:

-SportsGuy’s Christmas comes early this year…

-Tom Hanks in Big.

-What’s the point of BLU-RAY SLIPCOVERS?

-The awesomeness of BLU-RAY DIGIBOOKS, and whether or not the guys actually READ THE BOOK…

-Was Halloween III ahead of its time?

-SportsGuy and Adolfo debate the merits of Tomorrowland‘s message

-The silliness and fun of San Andreas

-Would Adolfo rather sit through Poltergeist or Annabelle again?

-What was the point of the Entourage movie?

-The MVP of Paul Feig’s Spy (and the answer is UNSURPRISING…)

-The nostalgic fun present in Jurassic World (+SPOILERS)!

-The guys answer the MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION: IF JURASSIC WORLD WERE REAL, WOULD YOU GO? The answers might surprise you!

-…and MORE!


ALMOST 2 HOURS OF EPICALLY WACKY FILM TALK!! DOWNLOAD/STREAM NOW!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Jaws (1975)


JAWS
Steven Spielberg
1975 • 124 Minutes • 2.35:1 • United States
Universal

Cast: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton
Screenplay:  Peter Benchley, Carl Gottlieb Based on Jaws by Peter Benchley
Cinematography: Bill Butler
Producers: Richard D. Zanuck, David Brown

Awards & Honors

Academy Awards
Winner: Best Sound
Winner: Best Film Editing
Winner: Best Music, Original Dramatic Score - John Williams
Nominated: Best Picture

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films
Winner: Golden Scroll Best Advertising
Winner: Outstanding Film Award 

American Film Institute
100 Years... 100 Movies (1997) - #48
100 Years... 100 Movies (2007) - #56
100 Years... 100 Thrills - #2
100 Years... 100 Heroes & Villains - #18 Villain (The Shark)
100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes - #35 ("You're gonna need a bigger boat)
100 Years of Film Scores - #6

BAFTA
Winner: Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music - John Williams 
Nominated: Best Actor - Richard Dreyfuss 
Nominated: Best Direction - Steven Spielberg 
Nominated: Best Film
Nominated: Best Film Editing
Nominated: Best Screenplay
Nominated: Best Sound Track

Director's Guild of America
Nominated: Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures - Steven Spielberg 

The Essential Films
The 100 Greatest Movie Heroes - #20 (Quint, Hooper, Brody)

Golden Globes
Winner: Best Original Score - Motion Picture - John Williams 
Nominated: Best Motion Picture - Drama
Nominated: Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
Nominated: Best Director - Motion Picture - Steven Spielberg 

Grammy Awards
Winner: Album of Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Special - John Williams 

National Film Preservation Board
Added to National Film Registry in 2001

People's Choice Awards
Winner: Favorite Motion Picture

Writer's Guild of America
Nominated: Best Drama Adapted from Another Medium



You're gonna need a bigger boat.

SPOILERS AHEAD

In honor of Jaws' 40th anniversary, The Essential Films presents a look at perhaps the greatest summer blockbuster of all time: Steven Spielberg's Jaws.

Amity Island is a small vacation community that sees a surge in tourism during the summer beach season. The new Sheriff in town, Martin Brody, discovers the remains of a shark attack victim washed up on the shore. Brody's request to close the beach until the shark's been caught is denied by the mayor, who is concerned about the impact it will have to the tourism business. After another victim is claimed by the rogue shark, this time a young boy in front of a crowded beach of tourists, the angry townspeople calls on the local government to act. The young boy's mother even puts a bounty on the shark, which brings all sorts of fisherman out of the woodwork (or out of the water, if you will.) A local fisherman named Quint offers to kill the shark for a large fee and Brody, believing Quint to be the most qualified, soon joins the effort, despite the fact that he's terrified of the water. They are joined by Oceanographer Matt Hooper and the trio embark on an adventure to capture and kill the great white predator.

Richard Zanuck and David Brown were both producers at Universal at the time of Jaws' inception. They had each read Peter Benchley's novel and decided that it would make a great movie, though admittedly did not know how it would be filmed when they purchased the movie rights.  Steven Spielberg had impressed the pair of producers with his film, The Sugarland Express, which Spielberg directed for the production duo, and soon the young director was hired for the job. Spielberg later said that he found many similarities between Jaws and his first feature film Duel, which both involved a menacing "monster" attacking an everyman. 

After some initial reluctance to take the film on, Spielberg eventually dove headfirst into production. Spielberg was unsatisfied with the first two acts of the book, but loved the final act, which focused specifically on the shark-hunting. Benchley was given the task of writing the screenplay and wrote three drafts before turning it over to Spielberg. Spielberg hired his friend Carl Gottlieb, who from that point forward became the primary writer on the film. Gottlieb drew inspiration from the actors conversations and improvisations, although Gottlieb gives the "You're gonna need a bigger boat" line and the USS Indianapolis speech credit to their respective actors.

After initially considering Robert Duvall and Charlton Heston, Roy Scheider was eventually cast as Chief Brody. Scheider was most famously known for his role in The French Connection, and Spielberg's initial concerns that his "tough guy" persona wouldn't work with the character were soon dissolved.  Scheider portrayed Brody as a man in way over his head, whose frustration at the local government officials cause him a great deal of anxiety. He has some great reaction shots in the film, which portray true fear. Most people would go to the reaction right before the "bigger boat" line, but my personal favorite is the scene where the Kitner boy is killed.  Spielberg does the Hitchcock zoom (zoom in while pulling camera back) and Brody's face tells it all. He instinctively runs to the water, but stops just short because of his phobia, all the while screaming at everyone to get out of the water. Scheider's acting is also incredible during the confrontation where Mrs. Kitner slaps him for not warning the townspeople. The other notable scene is the scene at the dinner table, when the burden of his job is getting to him, he has a sweet, goofy moment with his son. This is what gives him the strength to continue.

For the role of Hooper, Jon Voight and Jeff Bridges were considered, but Spielberg's friend George Lucas suggested Richard Dreyfuss, with whom he had worked on American Graffiti.  Spielberg urged Dreyfuss not to read the book, as the script was being re-written specifically to suit him.  Dreyfuss was a relative unknown actor, and obviously this film launched his career forward... winning an Academy Award just a few years later for the The Goodbye Girl and becoming one of America's most accomplished actors.

Sometimes that shark, he looks right into you. Right into your eyes. You know the thing about a shark, he's got... lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll's eye.

Quint was cast very close to the film's production start date, and after Lee Marvin and Sterling Hayden turned the film down, a reluctant Robert Shaw took on the role. Shaw had read the book and not liked it, but was eventually convinced by his wife to take the role. Shaw based much of his mannerisms on one of the local fisherman, Craig Kinsbury, even using some of his offscreen utterances as lines of dialogue.  Quint is the most remembered and, frankly most fun, character in the film.  His almost pirate-like cadence is as unforgettable as his iconic introduction into the film, where he scrapes his fingers across the chalkboard. His performance is simultaneously humorous and unsettling. His USS Indianapolis speech is one of the most chilling scenes ever filmed.

The film set new expectations in the suspense thriller genre, but it was mostly a series of happy accidents.  Spielberg was relatively inexperienced and instead of filming the boat scenes in a water tank on soundstage, he insisted on shooting in the Atlantic Ocean, at sea, for authenticity. This would balloon the budget and cause massive production and equipment problems. (That said, it did look good on film) A large mechanical shark, nicknamed "Bruce" by the production team, was actually built for the production. However, Bruce never seemed to fully function correctly. Always breaking down whenever needed for a scene. Very few shots of Bruce actually exist in the finished film. So Spielberg used this as an opportunity to take a page out of Hitchcock's book... he never showed the shark on film in all the lead-up to the final act. It was better to hint at the threat, but never actually show it. And what was once a major production problem, became the film's signature calling card.

Cage goes in the water, you go in the water. Shark's in the water. Our shark.

The scene where Hooper escapes the shark cage right before the shark attacks it was another happy accident. Divers were sent to Australia to get some real life footage of sharks for the film. At one point, the cameras caught a massive shark attacking an empty cage. Hooper was initially supposed to die in the scene, but the footage of the shark attacking the empty cage was so spectacular, Spielberg re-wrote the script to have Hooper escape just so they could use the footage.

The final touch added to the film, and what most everyone remembers, is the iconic score by John Williams. Williams' theme for the shark has become synonymous with anyone even remotely tuned into pop culture as a sign of oncoming danger. Spielberg initially laughed at Williams when he played him the score, thinking it to be a joke, but the score remained and has become a classic piece of music. Everyone knows the Jaws score, and it's is an enormous part of the film's success.

Jaws went way over budget, and 100 days over schedule. The disgruntled crew called the film "Flaws." Spielberg was so frightened of the crew, that he even skipped the filming of the last scene because he thought they would throw him overboard as soon as filming wrapped. He was so certain that his career was over after the film was completed. Obviously, he was wrong.

This shark, swallow you whole.

Universal employed an unusual tactic for the release of Jaws. Unlike today, major studio releases were NOT released wide in all theaters. Instead, they were released in big markets first, usually New York, LA and Chicago, and slowly distributed throughout the year as positive word of mouth built up. Wide releases were usually a sign of a bad film, not a major production that the studio had faith in. Lew Wasserman, head of Universal at the time, saw the reactions audiences were having in test screenings and decided a major marketing campaign to push the film everywhere, in over 400 theaters, an idea that was unheard of. In July, after the film steamrolled the box office, it was expanded to 700 theaters and then to 900 in August, with a similar release system internationally. Jaws went on to become the biggest movie all time, sailing past previous record holder The Godfather, earning $470 million worldwide. Adjusted for inflation, Jaws has earned over $2 billion. And thus the blockbuster was born. 

Jaws had a lasting legacy in changing the business. The wide release/massive marketing model was soon adopted by Hollywood as the new way to conduct business. Hollywood still works the same way to this very day. It also established the idea of the summer blockbuster, where studios would release all of their anticipated big money-makers in the summer, when audiences were more primed to go to the movies.  While other films like Gone with the Wind and The Sound of Music were massive box office hits before, Jaws created an entire season for it. 

Money isn't the only reason for this film to qualify for Essential status, though that is a major part of it. Jaws, is at its core, an endlessly entertaining adventure film, a chilling horror film and thrilling suspense film, no matter how much money it put in the pockets of studio executives. But on top of all of that, it also launched Spielberg's career to the moon. He had some minor successes before, but the Great White success of Jaws really put him on the map. Spielberg would go on to helm some of the greatest and essential films of the last 40 years, including Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park, Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, Minority Report and Lincoln. Jaws and Spielberg's influence on cinema is incalculable. So, don't be afraid to go back in the water and watch this essential classic.

- I used to hate the water...
- I can't imagine why.


Friday, June 12, 2015

FORCED PERSPECTIVE, Ep.65 – The Furious Follow the Mad



On this edition of YOUR favorite movie podcast, join SportsGuy515 and Adolfo as Summer 2015 continues with their latest slate of reviews for Mad Max: Fury Road, Ex Machina, It Follows, and Furious 7. PLUS:


Mad Max: Fury Road in BLACK & WHITE???
-George Clooney is STILL apologizing for Batman and Robin.
-Michael B. Jordan FIGHTS BACK against racists.
-The REAL reason why were are getting a Fantastic Four movie this year.
-The latest talk on Blade Runner 2 and Independence Day 2.
-CNN’s “The Famous Film I Never Saw” article and the RAGE that Adolfo felt after reading it!
-The practical effects of Furious 7.
-The love letter to horror films that was It Follows
-Adolfo’s CREEPIEST horror movie-going experience was…?
-The greatness of Ex Machina and how Adolfo (and SportsGuy) GOT WORKED AGAIN!
Mad Max: Fury Road = the movie to BEAT this summer.
-The “feminist controversy” surrounding Mad Max: Fury Road
-A preview of Forced Perspective’s Tomorrowland REVIEW.
-A 20+ MINUTE discussion on how Adolfo and SportsGuy ARRANGE THEIR MOVIE SHELVES – WE KID YOU NOT!
-…and MORE!


OVER 2 HOURS OF EXCITING (AND MOSTLY NERDY) FILM DISCUSSION!! DOWNLOAD/STREAM NOW!!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Essential Films of Christopher Lee


Sir Christopher Lee
May 27, 1922 - June 7, 2015

Legendary actor Christopher Lee died of complications of respiratory problems and heart failure on June 7, 2015 at the age of 93.  In addition to being a Hammer Horror icon, Lee was a classically trained actor, an author, a World War II veteran, a Nazi hunter and a heavy metal singer. He was Count Dracula and the Frankenstein Monster. He was Sherlock Holmes. He worked with everyone from Billy Wilder to Martin Scorsese to George Lucas to Tim Burton. He had iconic roles in three major franchises: Star Wars, The Lord of The Rings (including The Hobbit) and the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun.  Christopher Lee leaves behind an amazing legacy and he will be missed. These are his Essential Films.

THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY and THE HOBBIT TRILOGY
Peter Jackson
2001-2003, 2012-2014

After his career hit a bit of a slump in the 1990s, Christopher Lee returned to mainstream prominence as the traitorous Saruman in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy.  The white wizard Saruman was a perfect role for Lee, even though, as a longtime Tolkein fan, he had always envisioned himself as portraying the heroic Gandalf. But his career as playing the villain in fantasy/horror films made this casting a perfect fit.  Lee reprised the role for cameos in Jackson's recent The Hobbit trilogy as well. (NOTE:  Christopher Lee appears in the theatrical releases of The Fellowship of The Ring and The Two Towers, but only in the extended cut of The Return of the King).

THE WICKER MAN
Robin Hardy
1973

Lee plays the enigmatically charming Lord Summerisle, the leader of a small, secluded island community that bears his name.  When Sergeant Howie pays a visit to the island to investigate the disappearance of a young girl, he is shocked and disgusted by the islands pagan customs, which offend his strict Christian beliefs. Howie's investigations lead to a bigger conspiracy that culminates in a terrifying conclusion to this classic 70s horror film.

HUGO
Martin Scorsese
2011

Sir Christopher Lee appears in a small, but memorable role in this film about the adventures of a young clockmaker's apprentice, Hugo Cabaret. In the film, Lee's Monsieur Labisse is one of the few adults in Hugo's world that are kind to him, giving him a book about the adventures of Robin Hood.

HORROR OF DRACULA and DRACULA: PRINCE OF DARKNESS
Terrence Fisher
1958, 1966
DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE
Freddie Francis
1968

Hammer Horror's adaptation of the classic Bram Stoker novel.  Perhaps Lee's most iconic role. Many actors have played the role from Bela Lugosi to Gary Oldman, but Lee's was the first to truly capture the gothic romance of the novel. To add to the excellence: Lee plays opposite Peter Cushing as Van Helsing. One of the greatest pairings in horror cinema.  In Prince of Darkness, a direct sequel to Horror of Dracula, Christopher Lee returns to the role, this time to torment Father Sandor, a priest who mistakenly believes that vampires had been wiped out. The Count is resurrected and proves him wrong.  The last good Dracula/Lee film sees Dracula rise (again) while Monsignor Ernest Muller tries to destroy him and his evil forces in Risen from the Grave.

THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN
Terrence Fisher
1957

Hammer Horror takes a stab at Mary Shelley's classic tale of a driven scientist who builds a creature and intends to bring him to life. Another Cushing/Lee pairing with Cushing playing the determined-at-all-costs Dr. Frankenstein and Christopher Lee putting on the monster make up to play the famous creature.

THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES
Terrence Fisher
1959

Hammer Films takes a break from horror and adapts the classic Victorian super detective Sherlock Holmes' most famous story.  Peter Cushing plays the title role opposite Christopher Lee's Sir Henry Baskerville in one of the best screen adaptations of Holmes to date.
THE MUMMY
Terence Fisher
1959

This time Hammer Horror continues its classic monsters trend and adapts The Mummy with Christopher Lee playing Kharis, the re-animated mummified corpse of an ancient high priest. Peter Cushing teams up for another ride with Lee, this time as the archaeologist that must stop the Mummy.
CORPSE BRIDE
Tim Burton
2005

Christopher Lee lent his considerable voice talents to this animated film from the mind of Tim Burton
about a young man that accidentally marries a cursed corpse bride.  Christopher Lee plays a bad-tempered priest with a villainous past that may be directly involved with the titular character's demise.

Guy Hamilton
1974

In this installment of the famous 007 franchise, Christopher Lee is Francisco Scaramanga, one of the most memorable Bond villains of all time. Scaramanga, of course, has plans on world domination, but he is also one of the deadliest assassins on the planet, doing his dirty work with the titular Golden Gun.

Friday, May 29, 2015

FORCED PERSPECTIVE: Episode 64 - Avengers: Age of Ultron



SPOILERS!SPOILERS!SPOILERS!SPOILERS!SPOILERS!SPOILERS!SPOILERS!

On this edition of FORCED PERSPECTIVE, join SportsGuy515 and Adolfo, along with special guest BIG D, as they begin the Summer 2015 movie season with a review of the highly-anticipated Avengers: Age of Ultron!

PLUS:

-Do fans of Avengers: Age of Ultron suffer from “Phantom Menace syndrome”?
-The Ultron character: comics vs. film
-The buildup for Captain America: Civil War, or lack therof…
–Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. talk
-More on the Fantastic Four battle between Marvel and Fox
-The difference between “Actions With Consequences” VS. “Blowing Sh*t Up”
-More on the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe
-…and MORE!

The trio gets NERDY with 2 HOURS OF MARVEL/DC/STAR WARS talk – A MUST-LISTEN!!

DOWNLOAD NOW OR SUBSCRIBE ON ITUNES!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

FORCED PERSPECTIVE, Ep.62 – The Official Summer 2015 Preview Show, Part 2 [July and August]



The Exciting Conclusion is HERE!


On this episode of your favorite movie podcast, join SportsGuy515 & Adolfo, along with returning guest BRANDON DRAVEN, as they conclude their SUMMER 2015 preview by covering the months of July and August, which will see films such as Terminator Genisys, Minions, Ant-Man, Trainwreck, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Fantastic Four, and MORE hit the big screen! The exciting conclusion of the ONLY summer preview show that matters has finally arrived!! DOWNLOAD/STREAM NOW!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

FORCED PERSPECTIVE, Ep.61 – The Official Summer 2015 Preview Show, Part 1 [May-June]


‘Tis the season of the BLOCKBUSTER…



On this edition of FORCED PERSPECTIVE, join SportsGuy515 and Adolfo, along with guest co-host BRANDON DRAVEN, as they preview the upcoming SUMMER 2015 movie season. In Part 1, the trio discuss such titles as Avengers: Age of Ultron, Hot Pursuit, Mad Max: Fury Road, Tomorrowland, San Andreas, Jurassic World, Ted 2, and MORE! Listen to the ONLY summer preview show that matters! DOWNLOAD/STREAM NOW!!!


Look out for Part 2 coming NEXT WEEK!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

FORCED PERSPECTIVE, Ep.60 – The Lunch Bunch



The SKYPE ERA officially begins on FORCED PERSPECTIVE!

On this very special episode of YOUR favorite movie podcast, join SportsGuy515 and Adolfo as they reminisce and give their in-depth analyses on a film that many call the “quintessential film of the 1980s” and John Hughes’ greatest achievement – celebrating it’s 30th anniversary this year, it’s none other than The Breakfast Club! PLUS:

-SportsGuy and Adolfo share their own “detention memories”

-Was Judd Nelson almost FIRED from the film?

-The brilliance of the OPENING SCENE!

-The awesomeness of Paul Gleason

-Did Andrew Clarke truly pack a “wrestler’s lunch?” Adolfo explains!

-The origins of the ‘Brat Pack‘ name

–What happens on Monday? Are the five of them still friends? SportsGuy and Adolfo give their thoughts!

–Allison’s transformation: poignant moment or complete sellout/cop out?

-The film’s transgenerational legacy

-…and MORE!

2 HOURS OF IN-DEPTH BREAKFAST CLUB DISCUSSION (INCLUDING SPOILERS)!! DOWNLOAD/STREAM NOW!!!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Official Teaser #2

We can't lie. This brought tears to our eyes.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

FORCED PERSPECTIVE, Ep.59 – Shades of an American Imitation



#AdolfoIsMyChristian

Your favorite movie podcast returns with a BRAND-NEW episode! On this edition of FORCED PERSPECTIVE, the dynamic duo is BACK! Join SportsGuy515 and Adolfo as they reunite after over a month to (finally) recap the Oscars as well as catch up on the final set of 2014 film reviews – American Sniper, The Imitation Game, and Still Alice, before beginning their 2015 slate of reviews with Hot Tub Time Machine 2 and – that’s right – Fifty Shades of Grey. PLUS:

-SportsGuy talks about his experience at the AMC Best Picture Showcase

-Who DIDN’T cry at the end of Toy Story 3?

-Lady Gaga and The Sound of Music

Birdman wins Best Picture

-Kirk Cameron sweeps the Razzies

-Hype for It Follows

-Are big budget films and Oscar nominations mutually exclusive?

-Is American Sniper really PROPAGANDA?

-Why the name “Anastasia Steele” is the dumbest f*cking name ever

-The business of NC-17/Unrated films

-…and MORE!

OVER 2 HOURS OF GREAT FILM DISCUSSION!! DOWNLOAD/STREAM NOW!!!

P.S. Let’s all get #AdolfoIsMyChristian trending on Twitter and show the suits in Hollywood that Adolfo is YOUR Christian Grey!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The 2015 Essential Film Awards

Celebrating the cinematic achievements of 2014

Official 2014 Selections

 
 
 
 
 


Best Film of the Year


BOYHOOD
Richard Linklater
165 Minutes • 1.85:1 • United States
Color • English • IFC

Principal Cast: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Lorelei Linklater
Writer: Richard Linklater
Producers: Richard Linklater, Cathleen Sutherland, Jonathan Sehring, John Sloss
Cinematography: Lee Daniel, Shane Kelly

                              

Best Actor in a Leading Role


BIRDMAN
Michael Keaton
                              

Best Actress in a Leading Role


GONE GIRL
Rosamund Pike
                              

Best Actor in a Supporting Role


WHIPLASH
J.K. Simmons
                              

Best Actress in a Supporting Role


NIGHTCRAWLER
Rene Russo
                              

Best Ensemble Cast



THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
Ralph Fiennes, Bill Murray, Saoirse Ronan, Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, F. Murray Abraham, Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Jeff Goldblum, Jude Law, Owen Wilson, Harvey Keitel, Tony Revolori
                              

Best Director


BOYHOOD
Richard Linklater
                              

Best Screenplay - Original Material



NIGHTCRAWLER
Dan Gilroy

                              

Best Screenplay - Adapted or Historical Material


GONE GIRL
Gillian Flynn
based on her novel Gone Girl

                              

Best Film - Animated Feature



THE LEGO MOVIE
Chris Miller, Phil Lord

                              

Best Film - Documentary Feature


LIFE ITSELF
Steve James

                              

Best Film - Foreign Language Feature



IDA
Pawel Pawlikowski

                              

Best Film - Limited Theatrical Release



ENEMY
Denis Villeneuve

                              

Best Cinematography


IDA
Ryszard Lenczewski, Lukasz Zal

                              

Best Film Editing


BOYHOOD
Sandra Adair

                              

Best Visual Design


SNOWPIERCER
Ondrej Nekvasil - Production Design
Stefan Kovacik - Art Direction
Catherine George - Costume Design

                              

Best Visual Effects


GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
Stephane Ceretti
Nicolas Aithadi
Jonathan Fawkner
Paul Corbould

                              

Best Stunts and Stunt Choreography


THE RAID 2
Bruce Law - Car Stunts Coordinator
Yee Man Law  - Assistant Car Stunt Coordinator
Mike Leeder - Stunts
Yayan Ruhian - Fight Choreographer
Larnell Stovall - Guest Fight Choreographer
Iko Uwais - Fight Choreographer

                              

Best Make-Up Effects



GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou
David White

                              

Best Music - Original Score


INTERSTELLAR
Hans Zimmer

                              

Best Music - Original Song


THE LEGO MOVIE
"Everything is Awesome"
Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson

                              

Best Music - Soundtrack Compilation


GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
Awesome Mix Vol. 1

                              

Best Sound Design


WHIPLASH
Craig Mann
Ben Wilkins
Thomas Curley

                              

Best Action/Adventure Film



THE RAID 2
Gareth Evans

                              

Best Comedy Film


THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
Wes Anderson
                              

Best Fantasy Film


HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2
Dean DeBlois

                              

Best Horror/Thriller Film


THE BABADOOK
Jennifer Kent

                              

Best Science Fiction Film


INTERSTELLAR
Christopher Nolan

                              

Best Animated Short Film


FEAST
Patrick Osborne

                              

Best Live Action Short Film


THE PHONE CALL
Matt Kirkby

                              

Best Voice Acting Performance


GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
Bradley Cooper as "Rocket"

                              

The following films did not win any Essential Film Awards but are noteworthy for their cinematic contributions in 2014:

BIG HERO 6
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER
CHEF
COHERENCE
DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
EDGE OF TOMORROW
FORCE MAJEURE
FOXCATCHER
THE GUEST
THE IMITATION GAME
JODOROWSKY'S DUNE
JOHN WICK
ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE
STILL ALICE
THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING
UNDER THE SKIN
WILD
X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST