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Critics Poll: What Was the Worst Movie of 2012?

Critics Poll: What Was the Worst Movie of 2012? | Movies From Mavens | Scoop.it

Okay, so, the Mayan film critics forgot to carry a zero or something — it looks like the long-advertised death of cinema is going to drag out a little longer. With only one Adam Sandler vehicle and nary a Human Centipede sequel, 2012 was actually, in many ways, a reprieve. But that’s not to say the cinema didn’t have its share of the apocalyptically horrid. Where others failed to fail, the slack was picked up by crass comedies and lardy biopics that threatened to lead us off the filmic cliff.

 

Once again, Vulture polled the nation’s film critics on what they thought were this year’s most epically horrific releases, and combined their responses with the published worst-of lists in order to tabulate the ten worst films of 2012. Let these remind you of the miseries that, if you’re not careful, could still find their ways into your Netflix queue. (And remember: When picking their "worsts," critics often single out movies with the biggest chasm between their artistic or narrative aspirations and their weak follow-through. This is why you'll see Oscar bait represented here, while forgettable pablum like Resident Evil: Retribution and Here Comes the Boomaren't deemed worthy of a vote. To see each critic’s ballot and read our methodology, click here.)

 

10. Alex Cross
Movie Mom columnist Nell Minow noted that this James Patterson adaptation “asked Tyler Perry to show devastating grief and incendiary fury, make threats, throw punches, run with a gun, banter with his wife and partner, and take over a part played twice onscreen by Morgan Freeman. The six foot five Perry’s most believable moment is when his character has to reach something from a high shelf. That felt real.” Peter Travers also had it in for the moonlighting Mr. Madea: “In or out of a dress, ace detective or family matriarch, dick or no dick, Tyler Perry came off as a big drag.”

 

9. Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie
Every generation gets the Penn & Teller Get Killed it deserves, and this bad-taste magnum opus made critics misty for Run Ronnie Run. “The only film I walked out of this year,” confided Alynda Wheat of People.

 

8. That’s My Boy
Hey, it’s our old pal Adam Sandler, who was not only the valedictorian of last year’s poll — he was its salutatorian too! If the Happy Madison Productions logo at the beginning wasn’t fair warning for audiences, what about the first-act setup, which squeezed laughs aplenty out of statutory rape? Maybe it gets better? No. “It is tailor-made to be consumed by the kind of grown men who will only eat chicken nuggets shaped like dinosaurs,” pronounced Asawin Suebsaeng at Mother Jones.

 

7. This Is 40
Actually, wrote New York’s David Edelstein, that’s not all this is! “This is deadly. This is self-pity plus self-centeredness minus self-awareness. This is what happens when you’re a fantastically rich Jewish schlub who wants to show off to the world your blonde shiksa wife and kids in ways that in hindsight will seem like sabotage.”

 

6. Words
Author! Author! UNCLE! If John Cusack’s The Raven (which just missed the cut for this list) didn’t satisfy your thirst for watching forlorn scribblers trudge around in 35mm, how about this pressure cooker, in which Bradley Cooper retypes an old manuscript? “There are no words,” Dana Stevens wrote at Slateand left it at that.   

 

5. Hitchcock
Sure, he’s great for a cameo, but a whole movie? Cue the screeching violins. “Fake fake fake phony phony, the mediocre cashing in on the great,” railedEntertainment Weekly’s Lisa Schwarzbaum. “Has any person this cool ever gotten such a gallingly remedial biopic treatment?” asked Slant’s Ed Gonzalez.GQ’s Tom Carson was quick and to the point: “Just go on and stab me right now.”

 

4. Cloud Atlas
It took Tom Twyker and two Wachowskis to transform David Mitchell’s big-thoughts novel into, shall we say, a more operatic Butterfly Effect. “Redefines pretentiousness,” seethed the New York Observer’s Rex Reed. “I asked readers to explain it to me, and the avalanche of responses all mirrored the same reaction: ‘Don't know … walked out after an hour.’” Still, offered the PhiladelphiaInquirer’s Steven Rea, “Tom Hanks and Halle Berry’s postapocalyptic patois would make a great comedy sketch.”

 

3. Hyde Park on Hudson
“Remember when GZA, in Coffee and Cigarettes, identified the actor as ‘Bill Groundhog-Day-Ghostbustin'-ass-Murray?’ That's the guy who I miss,” lamented Eric Kohn of Indiewire, and many agreed. Other critics focused on the film’s painstaking depiction of manual labor: “The heartwarming tale of a venerated president getting hand jobs from a distant cousin,” sniffed Sam Adams.

 

2. Dark Shadows
With his camped-up revival of the late-sixties vampire soap opera, Tim Burton seemed to deplete any goodwill that he’d still retained with critics. “T. Burton and J. Depp have become the Poto and Cabengo of cinema, in a very bad way,” decried The Oregonian’s Shawn Levy; the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Carrie Rickey even called for a restraining order to protect Depp from future Burton projects.

 

1. This Means War
If somebody thought that Mr. and Mrs. Smith could be improved by simply adding another mister, well, that somebody was very, very wrong. Time Out New York’s David Fear boiled it down to a recipe. “Take the most toxic aspects of modern surveillance culture, rom-com chauvinism, and lowest-common-denominator pandering. Add in two rising movie stars and one veteran star, all of whom, frankly, should know better. Throw in a little cringe-worthy Chelsea Handler sex-talk for gratuitous spice. Mix thoroughly, let simmer in a lumpy, steaming pile for two hours. Serves no one.”

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Awakenings: Arrival of the "Ghost Dance"

Awakenings: Arrival of the "Ghost Dance" | Movies From Mavens | Scoop.it

Arrival of the "Ghost Dance" This Day in History: December 29, 1890 -  Massacre at Wounded Knee How did it begin, this hate for the Indian nation?  They were, after all, native to America well before the arrival of the "white man."


Via Sharla Shults
Marilyn Armstrong's insight:

As events in Canada unfold, this is an especially timely anniversary.

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Sharla Shults's curator insight, December 29, 2012 11:27 AM

Such senseless killing and for what end? And the senselessness has not stopped to this day!

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Elf (2003)

Elf (2003) - After inadvertently wreaking havoc on the elf community due to his ungainly size, a man raised as an elf at the North Pole is sent to the U.S. in search of his true identity. This post...
Marilyn Armstrong's insight:

I've actually never seen this. I'm not sure how I've missed it, but I have. I've seen a lot of Will Ferrell's work, but not this. Go figure.

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'Les Misérables' is a marvelous ride

'Les Misérables' is a marvelous ride | Movies From Mavens | Scoop.it

You hear that music building in your heart, that swell of emotion coming up from inside you knowing that anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks holiday is going to be quickly upon most of us in some way shape or form very, very soon. During the days off, a lot of people will be heading out to the movie theatres to catch the latest and greatest offerings, and opening Christmas Day is the big screen adaptation of one of the bigger musical productions to have ever hit the stage. Don’t ‘Look Down’ rather look up and marvel at “Les Misérables”.

 

Starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway

Marilyn Armstrong's insight:

I read this years ago in French (not by choice!) and have clung to an irrational resentment of the story every since. It is not Victor Hugo's fault that my French teach decided I had to read it in a language at which I was essentialy inept. 

 

Perhaps I shall give in and see this version. Time to give up childish resentiments and let bygones be bygones. Maybe.

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'The Hobbit': Jackson's return as the king of adaptations?

'The Hobbit': Jackson's return as the king of adaptations? | Movies From Mavens | Scoop.it

The first installment of Peter Jackson's fervently anticipated "Hobbit" trilogy ventures into cineplexes on Dec. 14. While "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" lacks the grandeur and scope of Jackson's last foray into Middle Earth, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King", it cannot be said that the film lacks for entertainment value.

 

48 FPS was an inspired idea, but ultimately proves to be nothing more than a distraction. See the film in standard 24 FPS and the only downside to contend with will be the case of bloat. "An Unexpected Journey" clocks in a a whopping 2 hours and 46 minutes, while Jackson has never been known for his brevity, stretching a single volume across three installments was already asking for a lot of patience from audience; taking the individual films to the maximum length possible is asking for more than some may be willing to give.


Though Jackson expands upon his source material, much of this first film is still concerned with exposition. There is action to be found throughout, but the lack of plot progress can be wearing at times. Plotting issues aside, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is a loving adaptation that is likely to make viewers nostalgic enough to revisit the entire "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, while they wait to see what becomes of Bilbo and company.

 

Marilyn Armstrong's insight:

It's on my list! At the top.

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Marilyn Armstrong's curator insight, December 20, 2012 1:21 AM

Top of my MUST SEE list!

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Tsunami warning lifted for Japan earthquake

Tsunami warning lifted for Japan earthquake | Movies From Mavens | Scoop.it

A strong earthquake on Friday struck the same Japanese coast devastated by last year’s massive quake and tsunami, generating small waves but no immediate reports of heavy damage. Several people along the northeastern coast were reportedly injured and buildings in Tokyo and elsewhere swayed for several minutes.

 

The earthquake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.3 and struck in the Pacific Ocean off Miyagi prefecture at 5.18 p.m. (1.48 p.m. IST), the Japan Meteorological Agency said. The epicentre was 10 km beneath the seabed and 240 km offshore.

 

The area was shaken by repeated, smaller aftershocks, the agency said.

 

After the quake, authorities issued a warning that a tsunami potentially as high as 2m could hit. Sirens whooped along the coast as people ran for higher ground.

 

Ishinomaki, a city in Miyagi, reported a tsunami 1-meter-high and other towns reported smaller tsunamis.

 

About two hours after the quake struck, the tsunami warning was cancelled. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center earlier said there was no risk of a widespread tsunami.

 

Aiko Hibiya, a volunteer for the recovery in Minami-Sanriku, a coastal town devastated by last year’s tsunami, said she was at a friend’s temporary housing when the quake struck.

 

“It shook for such a long time,” she said.

 

She said other volunteers who had been in coastal areas were evacuated to a square and a parking lot as they waited for the tsunami warning to be lifted.

 

Japan has barely begun to rebuild from last year’s magnitude-9.0 earthquake, which triggered a tsunami that swelled to 20 meters high in some areas, ravaging dozens of coastal communities in Miyagi and elsewhere. About 19,000 people were killed and some 325,000 people remain displaced from their homes, living in barracks and other temporary quarters.

 

Miyagi prefectural police said there were no immediate reports of damage from Friday’s quake and tsunami, although traffic was being stopped in some places to check on roads.

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“Lincoln” is amazing on so many levels.

“Lincoln” is amazing on so many levels. | Movies From Mavens | Scoop.it

It’s exactly what you hope for in a historical movie … and so very rarely get. Spielberg not only made this wonderful movie well, he made it smart. Instead of trying to cover the entire Lincoln saga or perhaps myth, he focuses on the President’s last months on earth, the period following his reelection during which he pushed through the 13th amendment that finally eliminated slavery in the United States, and ended the war. You will see more about the man Lincoln than in any previous movie or documentary about Lincoln.


The performances are universally brilliant, as you would expect. This is the Hollywood A Team where the magic comes together. Everyone is in this movie — some not even credited but you will recognize them — even if only for a tiny cameo, as if being part of this movie was an honor.


And perhaps so. I suspect actors volunteered for the privilege being included on any level. The script is intelligent, elegant, somehow managing to convey both the greatness of the man and his pained humanity. There is no reason for me to go into the details of the cast, writing, history, and so on. The review published in the New Yorker covers those bases well and you can read it here or on its original site.

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Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) – Guest Review by John

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) – Guest Review by John | Movies From Mavens | Scoop.it
This review is part of my IMDB Top 250 Films project and has been kindly done by John Lincoln, please be sure to check out his site and read on for his excellent review.

 

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) - Archeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the US government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis.

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Finally on Blu-Ray, it doesn't get much better than 'Sunset Boulevard'

Finally on Blu-Ray, it doesn't get much better than 'Sunset Boulevard' | Movies From Mavens | Scoop.it
When a film gets it right, it is something that will stand the test of time no matter when it was produced and it will speak all across generations of film fans from anywhere across the globe. Available today for the very first time on Blu-Ray from our friends at Paramount Home Video is the classic Hollywood story that has been restored to the glory that it had when it showed for the very first time in a theatre over 60 years ago. It’s time to take that walk down “Sunset Boulevard”.

 

Starring William Holden, Gloria Swanson & Erich von Stroheim

Co-Written & Directed by Billy Wilder

In the history of the genre looking back on itself, there has never been a film quite as uncompromising and emotionally searing as “Sunset Boulevard” as we follow the chance encounter of Norma Desmond (Swanson) a faded Hollywood star of the silent movie era and Joe Gillis (Holden) as a down on his luck screenwriter in desperate need of a job who takes a job with Desmond helping her with a screenplay that will mark her triumphant ‘return to the screen’.

 

A true definition of a Hollywood classic, “Sunset Boulevard” kicked off a string of iconic films from director Billy Wilder that last the entire decade of the 1950’s but this visually stunning look inside of how the Hollywood system of the time can tear you apart, felt very much like that kind of car wreck that you simply can’t look away from because even through you know the end results of the story, it is so damn compelling that you can’t look away either. Wilder’s lens turned a Hollywood mansion into a monument of decay and former glory, creating the feel of a queen locked up in her medieval castle holding on to whatever sliver of power she could must rather than that of a former film star. Wilder unfolded it all in such a classically tragic structure, that this story could have been transplanted to almost any setting and anytime. However for a Hollywood picture to make such a sure footed and bold statement about the stars and structure of filmmaking in the past that it had left behind was so shocking yet incredibly brave as it helped to establish him as a filmmaker more than willing to take a few risks as the sharp wit and dialogue of the story only aided its impact as it emotionally resonates with the audience. As visually stunning so much of this cinematic portrait really was it just wouldn’t have worked without the right two leads to take this story into the dark places that it really needed to go.

 

“All right, Mr. Demille… I’m ready for my close up” will go down as one of the iconic lines in film history and in many ways it packs more of a punch because Gloria Swanson’s character of Norma Desmond had a very similar career track to that of her own, as a silent film star who found herself getting slowly pushed into obscurity. She goes incredibly deep with this role and makes you connect with her fading star that is grasping on to that one last chance in the spotlight. Equally as a tragic yet never as universally recognized is William Holden’s turn as Joe Gillis, as his tired hack writer turned into kept man/boy-toy of the house really echoes through the cavernous old house as he embodies the last thing that keeps her clinging to the dream of a return to stardom that it slowly eats away at him and makes him sick inside. Holden as co-star and narrator of this particular story takes us through his decent with such ease and subtlety that even though we know the eventual outcome, we are still emotionally invested in the story every step of the way. With the likes of Erich Von Stroheim (a silent star and director in his own right) along with the likes of Cecil B Demille and Buster Keaton playing themselves in small yet pivotal roles, everything about this story had a real emotional gravitas to it that was born out of the excellent performances from our two leads.

 

Quite simply the picture and sound quality on this Blu-Ray were absolutely stunning, as you can tell that the restoration team undoubtedly put in the time and the effort to restore this important landmark classic back to its former glory, in many ways oddly mirroring the entire crux of the story of “Sunset Boulevard”. The special features on this Blu-Ray include a never before seen Deleted Scene as well as over 2.5 hours worth of behind the scenes and historical documentaries about “Sunset Boulevard” along with photo galleries and trailers and much more.

 

Finally available on home video in a form that is deserving of the film’s timeless standing. “Sunset Boulevard” is a must own for anyone’s Blu-Ray shelf as it is one of those films that sweeps up the dizzying highs and tragic lows of not just filmmaking, but of life into one beautiful artistic package that will never be forgotten.

5 out of 5 stars.

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Avatar (2009): The Best Space Western Since 1977′s Star Wars

Avatar (2009): The Best Space Western Since 1977′s Star Wars | Movies From Mavens | Scoop.it
After a jokey morning with my daughter where she informed me that she and a mate had decided that I was battle-scarred enough to be Colonel Quaritch in Avatar, a viewpoint I laughingly agreed with, I started thinking about the film itself.

 

We went to see Avatar at the cinema. In all its 3D glory the film was stunning. The computer generated Na’vi looked real and the SFX looked brilliant. As the movie progressed I found myself becoming more protective of the native residents in the film. When the company destroys the symbol of their culture and a large number of Na’vi I suddenly realised that this was a western and the Na’vi were the cinematic representation of my Native American ancestors.

I was entranced.

 

I had not seen a science fiction film that so clearly showed its western roots since the original Star Wars. A film that also entranced and excited me at the same time.

 

Luke Skywalker in his search for his father, his finding Obi-Wan Kenobe and learning the power and skills of a Jedi were just an updated fancy named scenario of a young man learning to be a gunfighter and leading the fight against a powerful enemy. It felt like a cross between The Magnificent Seven and Shane and any other western you could name.

 

Avatar was once described on Twitter by Kevin Sorbo as “Dances with Wolves in space.” I laughed and then immediately realised that he was right. The character of Jake Sully does study the Na’vi and becomes so enamoured of their way of life (not to mention the use of his legs again) that he actively defends them when Quaritch and his paid killers try to wipe them out.

 

James Cameron came up with the idea of the movie way back in 1994. He then sat back and waited for technology to catch up with his idea. I’m glad he did. The film in 3D was breath-taking if not a little headache inducing. The blu-ray was no less impressive and a lot easier on the eyes.

 

The plot is about a planet that has vast supplies of a new element or mineral known as unobtanium (how’s that for a macguffin type name!) that humans are in desperate need of. A company (RDA) is trying to break down the resistance of the native people who call the planet home, the Na’vi. When all peaceful means fail the company sends their profession mercenary security force to annihilate the Na’vi.

 

That Avatar is a western is beyond dispute. The planet with its rich deposits of unobtanium are just the Dakota’s and the black hills et al full of the gold that the white man so eagerly pursued. The resultant Indian wars that followed also mirror the Na’vi’s attempt to protect their home world.

 

I will openly admit that the cast (and crew) did such a good job in the making of this movie that I got swept away by the story. My brother actually got so swept away that when he watched the film in the cinema he got incredibly angry at the destruction of the tribe’s tree. He had to go into the lobby and cool down.


I was too busy being blown away by the performances and how the film looked. The 3D was so much better than any of the old-fashioned 3D that I almost felt like I was in the film or at the very least surrounded by it. That combined with the incredibly talented cast made the movie an overwhelming experience.

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Sandy Potential Impacts Norfolk to NYC, Boston

Sandy Potential Impacts Norfolk to NYC, Boston | Movies From Mavens | Scoop.it
In terms of Sandy's path during the week of Halloween, people on the East Coast could be looking at a destructive storm or breathing a sigh of relief.

 

Disaster or much ado about nothing? Watch, hope, then take your best guess.

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How Come They Don’t Simply Open the Windows? A Film Maven’s Dialogue

How Come They Don’t Simply Open the Windows? A Film Maven’s Dialogue | Movies From Mavens | Scoop.it

Earlier today, my husband the movie maven wrote me and a few of his old TV pal. He had a question, perhaps one that has long needed answering. Given the cost and scarcity of panes of glass in Ye Olde West, you'd think they'd be more careful.

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Top 10 Halloween movies to watch on DVD (Video)

Top 10 Halloween movies to watch on DVD (Video) | Movies From Mavens | Scoop.it
Top 10 Halloween movies to watch on DVD
The month of October is a great time to watch scary movies to get in the mood for Halloween.

 

It's coming ... so get those DVDs and some popcorn and settle down for a nice scary evening.

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CBS and David Mamet Collaborate On HAVE GUN – WILL TRAVEL Reboot | Collider

CBS and David Mamet Collaborate On HAVE GUN – WILL TRAVEL Reboot | Collider | Movies From Mavens | Scoop.it

Westerns have been coming back into fashion lately (in fact, they’re hotter than a whorehouse on nickel night!), from Deadwood‘s run a few years ago to the more current Hell On Wheels andJustified, and CBS is looking to get in on the action.  The network has teamed up with David Mamet (Glengarry Glen Ross)  to create a revival of Have Gun – Will Travel, which originally aired on CBS from 1957-63.

 

Have Gun, which ran for six seasons, was a huge ratings success for CBS, solidifying Richard Boone (who played Paladin) as a star, and also spawned a popular radio show.  If the reboot goes to series, it will go alongside Vegas, another CBS Western starring Dennis Quaid (The Day After Tomorrow) and Michael Chiklis (The Shield). For more on the series and why it’s likely to be a helluva hog-killin’ good time, hit the jump.

 

CBS joins other broadcast networks in developing Westerns, like NBC’s project The Frontier and Fox’s Wyatt Earp series.  As for Mamet, he’s had a history with CBS as writer and executive producer for their series The Unit, but may be better known for his plays and films (he was nominated for an adapted screenplay Oscar for 1992′s The Verdict).  If the new Have Gun series is picked up, Mamet will serve as executive producer and direct the pilot.

 

As Vulture points out, can we go ahead and reboot Bonanza, Gunsmoke and Pony Express, too?  Or my personal favorite, Rawhide (“Head ‘em up, move ‘em out, Move ‘em on, head ‘em out Rawhide!”)  The biggest question that remains though is casting — who could ever replace Richard Boone?

Marilyn Armstrong's insight:

Who indeed but Richard Boone? And the music ... how about that theme song?

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Bogart by A.M. Sperber & Eric Lax: Here’s Looking at You, Kid

Bogart by A.M. Sperber & Eric Lax: Here’s Looking at You, Kid | Movies From Mavens | Scoop.it

Duke Mantee, Fred C. Dobbs, Charlie Allnut, Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade, Harry Morgan, Rick Blane, Roy Earle, Frank McCloud, Lt. Cmdr Philip Francis Queeg, Linus Larrabee…

 

Humphrey DeForest Bogart was all these men and more. His life and career went through three marriages, survival from playing two-bit thugs, and an almost career long battle with Jack Warner. “Bogie” survived his second marriage to Mayo ‘Sluggy’ Methot, who literally stabbed him in the back, and more importantly survived his ill-advised trip to Washington to stand up to the Un-American committee. During a time of cold war paranoia and a “better dead than red” mentality that spawned a communist witch hunt in Hollywood, Bogie managed to keep one step ahead of the hunters, but he never recovered from the stress and strain of “losing face” that he had to resort to.

 

What Bogie could not survive was oesophageal cancer, despite a two surgeries and a valiant fight by the man who immortalized the gangster with a heart. When Bogart died he left the most beautiful woman in Hollywood a widow with their two young children in a state of mourning. Stephen Bogart was lucky, he got to spend some time with his famous papa, Leslie was just 4 when Bogie died so her memories were non-existent.

 

A M Sperber spent 9 years collating all the material that went into the book Bogart. When she died in 1994, the publishers had boxes of material on Bogie, but no one to put it all together. Eric Lax(what an ironic name, the same last name as the initials of the LA international airport) took over and managed to put all the collected material together in a cohesive manner.

 

This book tells a lot of things about Bogart, his childhood, his parents, and his start in the business. From a juvenile actor on Broadway to more leading character driven parts that lead to his working with English actor Leslie Howard on The Petrified Forest as Duke Mantee. Playing Mantee made Bogart and it was due to Leslie Howard’s insistence that Bogart reprise his Broadway performance in the film with Howard that ensured Bogie got his “proper” start in Hollywood.

 

I have read quite a few biographies about Bogie and this one is quite easily the most complete. The authors manage to make us privy to his private life without being overly intrusive or sensational. The book goes to great length to show the disparities of Bogies personality and his inner demons that made themselves apparent all too often.

 

It is interesting that I managed to pick up both this wonderful book about Bogart and another wonderful book about Cagney. Both actors were childhood heroes. Like many other men my age, when I was younger I would walk around lisping, “Play it again, Sam,” as Rick in Casablanca or snarl menacingly as Cagney, “You dirty rat.” Neither of which either actor really said in a film, but impressionists used both of these lines to great effect.

 

Both men started playing gangsters and both men moved to the top of their profession. Completely different backgrounds, Bogie born with silver spoon in his mouth and Cagney born into abject poverty. Cagney of course was an expert song and dance man and Bogie was a consummate actor.

 

It is also interesting that both books left you in a different state of mind after reading them. Cagney’s book left one feeling good and full of kind thoughts.

Bogart left one feeling sad and not a little depressed. Such a horrible end for one of life’s more interesting characters who was such a wonderful actor. 

 

As an actor Bogie played roles that were unforgettable, whether he was the “loner” Rick Blane forcing his true love to go with her duty instead of her heart, or whether he was the “mad” Lt Cmdr Queeg incessantly playing with his two ball bearings, Bogie brought a truth to them all. He was another of the “remember your lines and don’t bump into the furniture” type actor, like Cagney or the unique talent that was Spencer Tracey.

 

Bogart was a living contradiction. He got his start playing two-bit thugs on-screen and this continued after his break-out role of Duke Mantee. Yet he was an educated man from good stock. He was so politically active he wound up on the FBI’s list before his involvement in speaking out against the unfairness of the Un-American committee. He was at turns, a tough guy and sentimental slob.

 

Bogies story has been told with tact, humour and sensitivity. He was a perfect example of someone who “paid” for his success in terms that most of us would find too painful to accept.

This book was a wonderful telling of Bogart’s story and the people in his life that he worked with and lived with; a 5 star book about a 5 star actor and man.

 

Marilyn Armstrong's insight:

So many of my favorite movies star Humprey Bogart, from "Casablanca" to "The African Queen." Another one of a kind.

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9 Amazing Facts About The Earth

9 Amazing Facts About The Earth | Movies From Mavens | Scoop.it
Hey buddy, you know that giant spinning blue ball you are standing on right now called Earth? Well, not only is it home to all your stuff, but it's also the most incredible and unique planet in the entire Universe!
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The earth is lumpy! So am I. We match!

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'The Hobbit': Jackson's return as the king of adaptations?

'The Hobbit': Jackson's return as the king of adaptations? | Movies From Mavens | Scoop.it

The first installment of Peter Jackson's fervently anticipated "Hobbit" trilogy ventures into cineplexes on Dec. 14. While "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" lacks the grandeur and scope of Jackson's last foray into Middle Earth, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King", it cannot be said that the film lacks for entertainment value.

 

48 FPS was an inspired idea, but ultimately proves to be nothing more than a distraction. See the film in standard 24 FPS and the only downside to contend with will be the case of bloat. "An Unexpected Journey" clocks in a a whopping 2 hours and 46 minutes, while Jackson has never been known for his brevity, stretching a single volume across three installments was already asking for a lot of patience from audience; taking the individual films to the maximum length possible is asking for more than some may be willing to give.


Though Jackson expands upon his source material, much of this first film is still concerned with exposition. There is action to be found throughout, but the lack of plot progress can be wearing at times. Plotting issues aside, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is a loving adaptation that is likely to make viewers nostalgic enough to revisit the entire "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, while they wait to see what becomes of Bilbo and company.

 

Marilyn Armstrong's insight:

Top of my MUST SEE list!

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Marilyn Armstrong's curator insight, December 20, 2012 1:15 AM

It's on my list! At the top.

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The Pub at Hobbiton

The Pub at Hobbiton | Movies From Mavens | Scoop.it

Here's a view of the Green Dragon Pub at Hobbiton near Matamata in the North Island of New Zealand. Originally built as a movie set for The Hobbit trilogy, the bar recently opened to public as a licensed pub in late November. For more info, check out the article over at Noosa News.

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Watch Mel Brooks explain why he wouldn’t cameo in ‘Young Frankenstein’

Watch Mel Brooks explain why he wouldn’t cameo in ‘Young Frankenstein’ | Movies From Mavens | Scoop.it


By Brian Abrams 3 days ago


I like to save hyperbole for moments like this, because it’s not too often that the funniest man in movie history does press.


Sure, Mel Brooks made an appearance last month on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” to promote a Mel Brooks box set. Or maybe The Onion will cover a fictitious press conference on how the “Blazing Saddles” and “Spaceballs” writer/director is crusading to bring back the word “schmuck.” But for the most part we don’t hear from him.


Well, except for next week, when his special “Mel Brooks Strikes Back!” airs on HBO. Check out a snippet below where he talks about why Gene Wilder refused to play the title role in “Young Frankenstein” unless Mel agreed to not show face in the picture.

 

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‘Breaking Dawn,' 'Skyfall,' 'Lincoln' lead record Thanksgiving box office

‘Breaking Dawn,' 'Skyfall,' 'Lincoln' lead record Thanksgiving box office | Movies From Mavens | Scoop.it

The many film offerings over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend had moviegoers flocking to theaters. According to a Nov. 25 report from The Hollywood Reporter, the Wednesday through Sunday period brought in a record-breaking total of $290 million.

 

“Twilight” fans gobbled up their second helping of “Breaking Dawn – Part 2, while some went for their first, during the holiday break. According to Box Office Mojo, the final chapter in the “Twilight” franchise earned an estimated $64 million to keep its spot at number one during the Nov. 21-25 weekend, despite three newcomers opening in wide release. Its total now stands at $227 million.

 

View slideshow: Top 10 films for the Nov. 21-25 weekend


“Skyfall,” the latest film in the James Bond franchise, held onto the number two spot for a second week in a row, bringing in $51.1 million. Its total now stands at $220 million, the most any Bond film has ever earned.

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Sam's piano from 'Casablanca' on the auction block - Los Angeles Times

Sam's piano from 'Casablanca' on the auction block - Los Angeles Times | Movies From Mavens | Scoop.it

New York Daily NewsSam's piano from 'Casablanca' on the auction blockLos Angeles TimesThe piano on which Sam (Dooley Wilson) played the haunting love song "As Time Goes By" in the 1942 Oscar-winning movie classic "Casablanca" is going on the auction block.

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Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” Review

Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” Review | Movies From Mavens | Scoop.it
The title prepares you for an epic, yet the film is a cramped and ornery affair.

 

“Lincoln” tells an honest tale of Abe. For most of the movie, we join the sixteenth President (Daniel Day-Lewis) in early 1865, as he seeks to wrestle the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution through the House of Representatives. The Senate passed the amendment, outlawing slavery and involuntary servitude, in April, 1864. Now comes a rougher task, with obstacles deployed on every flank. The problem is not the opposition—Democrats such as Fernando Wood (Lee Pace), a former mayor of New York, who wanted the city to secede from the Union and reap a continuing profit from its cotton trade with the Confederacy. The problem is fellow-Republicans, notably Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones), whose perpetual head of abolitionist steam is enough to blow his wig off. He believes in racial equality in the eyes of God, not merely, as the amendment suggests, before the law. How can so fervid a figure be reined in?

 

“Lincoln,” written by Tony Kushner, directed by Steven Spielberg, and derived in part from Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals,” is a curious beast. The title suggests a monolith, as if going to this movie were tantamount to visiting Mt. Rushmore, and the running time, of two and a half hours, prepares you for an epic. Yet the film is a cramped and ornery affair, with Spielberg going into lockdown mode even more thoroughly than he did in “The Terminal.” As befits a chamber piece, we pass from one chamber to the next: from the crowded floor of the House to the Lincolns’ bedroom, a hospital ward, and the study where Stevens likes to browbeat lesser men. Then, there is the carriage with curtained windows, in which a Southern delegation, led by Alexander Stephens (Jackie Earle Haley), Vice-President of the Confederate States, travels north in secret (and in vain), to discuss a peace deal—peace being the first thing that Lincoln prays for and the last thing he needs right now, before the amendment is passed.

 

Stephens was a ferrety fellow, often in poor health, and Haley is an alarmingly close match. Almost all the actors in “Lincoln” map neatly onto their characters, aside from Hal Holbrook, who looks too cushioned and comfortable for the role of Francis Preston Blair, the architect of the failed peace agreement, and a dead ringer for Nosferatu. Still, it’s only proper that the guy who played Deep Throat should show up, because “Lincoln” devotes itself to shenanigans in smoke-filled rooms, with most of the smoke emerging from the cigar of Secretary of State William Seward (David Strathairn), whose close, confiding affection for Lincoln is well caught. No one is happier in this fug than Janusz Kaminski, Spielberg’s cinematographer, who veils events in such a rarefied and sifted haze that they seem already poised halfway to myth. Just look at the President, haloed and framed against a window, in semi-silhouette, as he sits in a rocking chair reading to his young son Tad (Gulliver McGrath). They could be in a picture book themselves.

 

Because of scenes like that, “Lincoln” becomes a fight. There is physical conflict, but it seems perfunctory: first, a murderous opening scrap between black and Confederate regiments, invested by Kaminski with the staccato desperation that he brought to “Saving Private Ryan,” and then, much later, a corpse-littered battlescape. The true tussle of the movie, however, is between the Spielberg who, like a cinematic Sandburg, is drawn aloft toward legend—hardly an uncommon impulse when dealing with Lincoln—and the Spielberg who is tugged down by Kushner’s intricate screenplay toward documentary grit. You can never tell which of the two tendencies, the visionary or the revisionist, will come out on top. Thus, on the one hand we have a John Williams score, all plaintive piano solos and sobbing horns, that could have been composed thirty years ago. In the same vein, our first sight of Lincoln is from behind, the radiance of his fame being too much to contemplate head on, and we even get a foolish coda, with our hero manifested like an angel through a flickering candle flame, as if the film were unable to leave him be. On the other hand, we get Tommy Lee Jones smacking his lips over slices of succulent speech: “We find the mephitic fumes of his oratory a lethal challenge to our pulmonaries,” he growls, staring down the hapless Wood in the House. Then, there is James Spader, an actor too little used of late, plucking a peach of a part—W. N. Bilbo, one of a trio of enforcers, hired by Seward to bully wavering House voters as the day of reckoning nears. Resplendent in whiskers and purple waistcoat, Spader enjoys every minute, haring to the White House mid-debate to beg a note from the President, and greeting the great man, as he pays a visit to the enforcers’ hideaway, with the cheery words “Well, I’ll be fucked!”

 

Lincoln is undeterred. “I wouldn’t bet against it,” he replies, with a knowing grin. It is in Day-Lewis, needless to say, that this tension between the high and the homespun coheres. One glance at his walk tells you what sort of fresh ground the performance intends to break. Not for him the long, commanding stride that carried Henry Fonda through John Ford’s “Young Mr. Lincoln” but a singular shuffle, half comic, half sorrowful, like that of a man hastening to catch up with a funeral procession and threatening at any instant to tip over and fall on his nose. The voice, too, is pitched a good octave above Fonda’s, yet how swiftly we are lulled into its anecdotal ease. “I heard tell once,” he begins, and the roomful of listeners is hushed in expectation. In a way, that is not far from Ford, although he would not have countenanced the superb moment when Spielberg, eager to crack the spell, has Edwin Stanton (Bruce McGill), the Secretary of War, peel away in exasperation as Lincoln halts a busy night—they are waiting for news, by wire, from the shelling outside Wilmington—to launch into yet another fondly polished tale.

 

We can only imagine how Liam Neeson, a gruffer presence, who for a long while was Spielberg’s choice of leading man, would have fared as Lincoln; and I hope one day to see Viggo Mortensen, whose bone structure has the right sad concavity, impress himself on the role. What we derive from Day-Lewis, though, is the mysterious—and accurate—sense of a man who by instinct and by expertise reaches out to the people he leads while seeming lost in himself. Could that be why he buffs his own boots, even when his valet is beside him? Some of his frowns, like his conspiratorial smiles, exist less in response to others than for the benefit of private rumination, and the film has barely begun before he is quoting Hamlet, on bad dreams, in the midst of a chat with his wife, Mary (Sally Field). Later, there is a contretemps with his son Robert (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who wishes to enlist. This flimsy subplot is beside the point—it could have been junked entirely—and yet, when Lincoln discusses the matter with Mary, the result is all the more distressing because the President’s harshest quarrel is not with her but with his conscience, and with his mortal thoughts. Just as the fracas over the Thirteenth Amendment has to carry the symbolic flag for Lincoln’s lifelong quest, so the spectacle of one married couple raging over whether their child should fight, and whether he might die, crystallizes the fears of a generation. Through sickness, infant fatality, and military service, these folk lived more closely with death than we can ever know.

 

At the end of the scene, Sally Field sinks beautifully to the ground, the hooped skirt of her pale dress subsiding around her like a balloon. Here, we feel, is the authentic sigh of exhaustion, emanating from a woman wracked not just by headaches but by the pressure of public performance—the unremitting demand, imposed upon her husband, for words and deeds. (To her, reëlection means “four more years in this terrible house.” That may get a dry laugh in some quarters.) Many viewers may share her vexation, for “Lincoln” is unapologetically packed with eloquence, loud and soft. The President’s speech to his Cabinet, explaining why the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 may be insufficient, comes embellished with cadenzas of legal nicety, and lasts as long as an aria. But there is nothing inherently undramatic about a surge of talk; movies as different as “His Girl Friday” and “My Night at Maud’s” exert the tightest of grips, and a Lincoln film that paid inadequate heed to the forces of rhetoric would be like a porno film that stopped at the bedroom door. Nevertheless, you can sense Spielberg’s relief as the dialogue dwindles to a crisp minimum (“War’s nearly done. Ain’t that so?” Lincoln asks), or when voices die down altogether and the glow of images takes hold. Hence the firelit sight of Tad handling photographs, on frail glass plates, of children much the same age as him, though of another color, with prices marked “Two young boys. $700.” Hence, too, the shot of Lincoln—it should have been the closing shot of the movie—ambling down a hallway on what will be his last night out. The lofty, stooping figure heads away from us, with his back to the camera, but he doesn’t get any smaller as he goes. As Tolstoy said of Lincoln, in 1908, “We are still too near to his greatness.” Ain’t that so? ♦

 

Read more: /http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/cinema/2012/11/19/121119crci_cinema_lane#ixzz2CGVSRjXl

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As I Went Down In The River To Pray

As I Went Down In The River To Pray | Movies From Mavens | Scoop.it
As I Went Down In The River To Pray, Northern Ambassadors Choir Continue reading →...

 

Some wonderful music and  a great video clip from one of my favorite movies, O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000). 

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Dentistry … Western style …

Dentistry … Western style … | Movies From Mavens | Scoop.it
I figure I’d rather face down the Clantons, the Daltons, and the Waltons … unarmed … than sit in dentist chair for even five seconds. But I just spent 11 hours over 2 days in the ...

 

I second that. Hell, I THIRD that.

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Yuma … American Southwest …

Yuma … American Southwest … | Movies From Mavens | Scoop.it

Well … it’s 3:10 … and I’m in Yuma. And it’s dang hot here. My Canadian skin ain’t used to this heat. I’m also tantalizingly close to Tomestone and Deadwood...

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