by D.W. Lundberg

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I'm currently at work on a Horror retrospective for the blog, but it looks like I'm not going to finish on time (that's the thing about self-imposed deadlines - you know how forgiving the boss can be), so I thought I'd run a quick opinion poll for the time being instead...

Yesterday on Facebook, I asked everyone within eye shot what they'd recommend to a friend if they were asked the question: "What movie should I rent for Halloween night?" This could run the gamut from grossest gore film to funniest scare comedy to zaniest zombie flick - anything they found particularly frightening or family-friendly (or both) for the holiday, and why that particular film should be cherished and appreciated by others. The response was about as enthusiastic as I expected, but the thing I always find so interesting is how different types of Horror movies affect different types of people. From The Blair Witch Project to The Exorcist to Psycho to Shaun Of The Dead... what's scary to one person will often have a different effect on someone else, and it was fun to get at the heart of what really scares the pants off of you this time of the season.

Monday, October 21, 2013


Our continuing foray into Disney's fifty official Animated Classics. As always, don't hesitate to share your thoughts/memories/complaints in the comments section below. Links to previous entries are also included below.

Title: The Princess And The Frog (2009; based on the novel The Frog Princess by E. D. Baker, and "The Frog Prince" by the Brothers Grimm)

The Plot: In 1920s New Orleans, a waitress who dreams of opening a restaurant and a pampered, arrogant prince are magically transformed into frogs by a voodoo doctor's curse.

The Songs: "Down In New Orleans," "Almost There," "Friends On The Other Side," "When We're Human," "Gonna Take You There," "Ma Belle Evangeline," "Dig A Little Deeper," "Never Knew I Needed" (performed by Ne-Yo)

Sunday, October 13, 2013


First in a series of blog posts in which we take a look at odd movie coincidences - scenes, jokes, dialogue, even specific camera shots shared between two seemingly unrelated films. Anyone who's sat through a particular scene in a movie and thought, "Gee, haven't I seen someone do this somewhere before?" will know exactly what I'm talking about.

We begin with The Last Samurai (Edward Zwick, 2003) and Oblivion (Joseph Kosinski, 2013), two films as distinctly different as they come. One is a historical drama set in 19th Century Japan; the other a special effects-laden sci-fi parable set 60 years in our future. Both, however, feature the same lead actor (Tom Cruise), and conclude with a strikingly similar series of shots.

In both, our hero is able to make it back, after a Long Personal Journey, to the woman he loves. As she works in the garden (with her offspring looking on), they spot each other from a distance. Each film ends on Cruise's goo goo-eyed expression:

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


The Truman Show (1998)

Continuity errors. Recycled camera shots. The Wilhelm Scream. So far, we've taken look at some of the more common cinema staples used to "cover up" gaps in editing or shave a few extra dollars off production costs. Nitpicking or no, these are all part of the cinematic language and must be addressed, if only to enrich our understanding of the filmmaking process as a whole. But what about those film flubs or lapses in logic directors purposely try to sneak into their films, in order to make specific dramatic points?

Re-watching Bolt the other week, I was struck again by the propulsiveness of its 11-minute opening sequence, which packs twice the fun of the average Michael Bay action blockbuster and three times the clarity. It also has us believing, for a while at least, that the movie will follow the adventures of 13-year old "Penny," her super-powered pet pooch, and their attempt to rescue Penny's scientist father from the clutches of evil-doers. Then, at the climax ("Bolt, speak!"), the rug is pulled out from under us: What we've been watching isn't an actual adventure at all, but the latest episode of a weekly television series, also called Bolt, with a budget roughly the size of the U.S. deficit. The joke, of course, is that Bolt himself has little idea that everything around him is a great big fake. The makers of the TV show have gone to great lengths to hide the truth from their canine co- star, strategically placing their cameras and sneaking around set. But like a doggie variation on The Truman Show, the facade can only last so long.