Category Archives: films

London in Film and Reality

What is your favorite film set in London?

Hmmmm … the first film that comes to my mind is My Fair Lady. Of course, that is not set in London in any real sense of the word. The London of My Fair Lady is mostly a stage set. So too for those old Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes films. The London in those films is what we think it should look like.

Hadley Freeman has had enough of this. And she has a point. London has become a backdrop for mildly nauseating romance stories where the perky American gal warms up the somewhat stodgy Brit. Hadley would like films to depict London more as it is — a place where posh and gutter are noit so separated.

And of course, that takes us back to My Fair Lady. Is it the ultimate story of that sort? Perhaps. And there is, of course, The Horse’s Mouth, where the posh and the arty meet.

But for my money, London comes off the best in an old Hitchcock film, Foreign Correspondent. Why? Perhaps it is just the magic that Hitchcock was able to bring to the screen. But that movie has a firm hold on my imagination.

What do you think?

The Hollywood Saga: What if Diversity Sells?

The not so secret secret is that Hollywood is not really about entertianment. It is about making as much money as possible. It just so happens that making movies that entertain is a great way to do that. And so Hollywood obsesses over what kinds of films make the most money.

That is why we get such a deluge of re-makes of re-makes of re-makes as well as endless sspecial effects driven and violent, retarded stories that feature white males. And that is why we see so little diversity. Hollywood does not believe that diversity sells.

Except that this year it does. Not just the blow out success of Wonder Woman. There are at least 3 major hits — big money makers … that do not fit the current Hollywood formulat.

Vox gets into this very interesting story.


Looking for a Great Rooftop Movie Venue?

If you live in Brooklyn, look no further!

Williamsburg has it.

A new “tailored event space,” Dobbin St, has opened in the heart of Williamsburg—and before you start wondering what goes on in a tailored event space, let us save you the trouble. On Wednesdays, head directly upstairs to the 3,000-square-foot terrace beginning May 24 for a free movie series, “The Sunset Screenings.” You have to register here but again, it’s completely free, and the views of Manhattan’s skyline are spectacular.

A key attraction – the quality of the screenings.

Check it out!

Wed May 24th, 8:15pm: The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, John Cassavetes’s masterful portrait of a seedy nightclub owner
Wed June 14th, 8:29pm: Le Samouraï, Jean-Pierre Melville’s assassin psychodrama—basically the coolest French movie ever
Wed July 19th, 8:23pm: The Man Who Fell to Earth, starring a Station to Station-era David Bowie in his most iconic role
Wed August 23rd, 7:42pm: The Conformist, Bernardo Bertolucci’s brilliant political drama, one of the most gorgeous films shot
Wed September 13th, 7:08pm: Tokyo Story, Yasujiro Ozu’s domestic heartbreaker, perhaps the most devastating film of all time
Wed October 4th, 6:33pm: Blowup, Michelangelo Antonioni’s Swinging London thriller, massively influential

Why is Alien Such a Great Franchise?

Not everyone thought that the original Alien film would be a big hit. boy were they wrong!

After numerous sequels, we are about to get Ridley Scott’s next episode – yet another grim look at a dystopic future in space.

Could it be that the attitude that these films evokes matches the fears that at least some of us nurture about the future?

As such, the era of Alien has precisely mirrored the age of modern capitalism. You see it in the story of faceless corporations killing off their staff to chase a profit – and in the xenomorph itself, remorseless and voracious. Now, the role of founding father has been assumed by Peter Weyland, a billionaire industrialist, whose expansive plans to help mankind would fit right in with those of Mark Zuckerberg or Larry Page.

But mankind’s inhumanity to his fellow man is only part of the problem.  There is stuff out there in space. Scary stuff. Ridley Scott put it this way

In the years between Alien and Covenant, the prospect of commercial space travel has advanced spasmodically at best. (Ridley) Scott for one believes other beings will get to us long before we reach them. Of course, he has said, there is life out there. It is smarter than us – and violent. Four decades after that first doomed voyage, his advice is simple: “When you see a big thing in the sky, run.”

Interesting. Going back to the enlightenment, smarter meant less violent. We have moved away from that idea, understanding that humans, at least, have only limited capacity for getting smarter. We are emotional creatures more than reasoning machines. And our emotions are rather easily stirred up.

Will you volunteer to have the poop scared out of you? I will have to think about that one.

our Future with VR Entertainment

For as long as humans have been around, we have wanted to be entertained. Largely, that means being able — at least for a limited time — to walk outside of our limited experiences into a larger world. Storytellers like Homer gave us that opportunity before there were books.  Theater gave us that opportunity as well.  More recently, we get it from movies and TV. But in all of these formats, the result is the same – if we are transported beyond ourselves, we are entertained.

So how will VR affect this? The possibilities are striking because VR gives us the sensation of bing somewhere else and interacting with the things that are not actually there. If we yearn to fly, we can fly in VR space. If we yearn to fly and talk with birds, that can be arranged as well.

In this Mashable article, Adario Strange offers a few more examples of how creative folks are experimenting with VR to make this type of experience come alive.

Stay tuned for a lot more!