Saturday Double Feature: Homefront (2013) and…

Saturday on the blog means Saturday Double Feature, right? Remember, the basic idea here is to take a movie that is out in theaters now, and pair it up with another movie from the 1980s or before. Sometimes the connection will be obvious, and sometimes it’ll be a little less so, but that’s part of the fun.

Passing up some of the bigger openings this week, when I looked at the trailer and plot description for this week’s Homefront I was immediately reminded of a movie straight from 1976. First, though, let’s take a look at that Homefront plot:

“Hoping to escape from his troubled past, former DEA agent Phil Broker (Jason Statham) moves to a seemingly quiet backwater town in the bayou with his daughter. However, he finds anything but quiet there, for the town is riddled with drugs and violence. When Gator Bodine (James Franco), a sociopathic druglord, puts the newcomer and his young daughter in harm’s way, Broker is forced back into action to save her and their home.”

and here’s the trailer:

So, what was that movie that popped into my head? Well, given that there’s a character called Gator, an ex-DEA agent, and the bayou setting, well I just had to pair it with this:

Oh, and just for the record, and for those who enjoy that kind of thing, Gator is actually a sequel to an earlier Burt Reynolds vehicle, the perhaps better-known White Lightning:

So, do you have any other ideas for pairing films with Homefront? if so, let me know below. And also let me know of any other upcoming movies you’d like to see “double featured”. Consider it, if you will, your chance to challenge me to come up with an interesting pair.

Until next time, Happy Viewing!

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Old Time Radio Thursdays – #020: Jack Benny Celebrates Thanksgiving

The short intro: For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, Old Time Radio is the phrase generally used to refer to the time when radio was (mostly) live, and was full of a variety of different shows, as opposed to simply being a means for record labels to use robots to promote the top records of the day. Old Time Radio Thursdays is my chance to explore some of those old radio shows, their connections (both old and new) to movies, and hopefully to encourage some of the rest of you to take a look at a probably unfamiliar source of entertainment that I truly love. If you want more info on OTR, and some examples of the variety of shows that were made, be sure to check out this introductory post.

Last week we started our Thanksgiving celebration with a sampler from various shows as they celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday, and we’ll pick that back up next week, but I thought this week we’d actually take a look at how one long-running comedy show featured the holiday throughout the years.

The Jack Benny Program has long been one of my favorite Old Time Radio comedy shows, and obviously, considering how long the show ran, I am not alone in that feeling. Since the setup of the show was that it basically chronicled the stars lives as they went through them, it was only natural that each year there would be a show featuring how the gang celebrated the holidays. So, here’s a look at how they did that over time.

Next week? Even more Old Time Radio shows to be thankful for.

Until next time, Happy Listening!

See Blade Runner (1982) In A Stunningly Beautiful New Light – The Aquarelle Edition (2013)

There have been various different cuts and editions of the 1982 Ridley Scott film Blade Runner, but never before has it looked quite like this. According to Swedish artist Anders Ramsell, this animation consists of 12,597 handmade aquarelle paintings. Each painting is approximately 1,5*3cm in size.

The result is an absolutely gorgeous adaptation of the film which runs approximately 35 minutes.

For more information on the artist, the project, and the paintings, you can visit Anders Ramsell’s website, located here.

See The Other Side Of That Gravity Conversation – Aningaaq (2013)

Here’s an interesting curiosity that was meant for release on the DVD/Blu-Ray of this year’s Gravity. Fair warning, if you haven’t seen that film (and you should), you may not want to read any further or watch this short.

So the setup of Jonas Cuaron’s Aningaaq is this: at one point in the movie, Sandra Bullock’s character Ryan Stone makes radio contact with someone on Earth. At first she hopes that it is NASA or someone else who can send her aid, but it turns out to be simply a random contact, and one who doesn’t even speak English at that. Nonetheless, she is at the point where any human contact is welcome, and she tries to talk to them as long as possible. This short reveals the other side of that conversation.

Going With The Wind – Here’s The New U.S. Trailer For Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises (2014)

Master Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki has stated that The Wind Rises will be his last film. If this is true, it will definitely be a huge loss not only for animation fans, film lovers, and, of course, Studio Ghibli, but for lovers of all things beautiful.

Here’s the trailer:

Top 250 Tuesday: #141 – The Apartment (1960)

Continuing to wend my way through the Sight and Sound Top 250 Greatest Movies of All Time. This week, it’s #141 on the list, Billy Wilder‘s The Apartment. For a longer introduction to this series and a look at the full list, just click here. And if you want a heads-up on what I’ll be watching for next week in case you want to watch along, just head on over to the Facebook page or follow me on Twitter (both of those links are in the sidebar) where I’ll generally be posting that info later in the day.

Poster - Apartment, The_01One of the reasons for starting this project was to make myself finally sit down and watch some of those films that have always been on my list of “Yeah, I need to watch that sometime” movies. Billy Wilder’s The Apartment has been on that list for awhile now, and I’m happy to say that I’m very glad to have finally gotten around to it, as the movie is definitely one of the all-time best, and only serves to show why Wilder’s is a name that deserves to be much better known by the wider movie-going audience and not just amongst those of us who consider ourselves to be film buffs.

Wilder, of course, is perhaps best known for another film which also stars Jack Lemmon, Some Like It Hot, which derives much of its reputation and public awareness from the presence of Marilyn Monroe, but it’s a shame that that film has eclipsed so much of his other work, including this film, which may arguably be his best.

The Apartment is the story of C. C. Baxter, a man who, rather than trying to “sleep his way” to the top, actually finds himself losing a lot of sleep in order to make the same kind of meteoric rise in the insurance company for which he works. He is doing this by providing his apartment as a place for four managers (played by Ray Walston, David Lewis, Willard Waterman, and David White) to go for liasons with their mistresses. He also handles a calendar which makes it possible for these men to schedule their various liasons in a way which will keep them from finding out who the other people involved in the scheme are, and also keep them from inadvertently running into or overlapping with each other.

large_the_apartment_blu-ray_2xThis plan seems to be working well, until each of these managers write glowing reports on Baxter in order to help him get promoted to manager level, a move which catches the eye of Personnel Director Jeff Sheldrake (played by Fred MacMurray who is taking obvious glee in this generally out of character smarmy role). At first fearful that Sheldrake will fire him once he learns of the scheme, Baxter is at first relieved when he finds out that the director actually wants in on the plan and is willing to even further advance Baxter’s career if he will allow him to also schedule time in the apartment.

Of course, while this at first seems a blessing in disguise for Baxter, it really only serves to make his own already overly-complicated and wearying life even more so, and things are further thrown askew once he earns just whom Sheldrake is having his liasons with.

The_apartment_trailer_1Needless to say, this film is an utter delight, and the entire cast shines throughout. Especially of note is Shirley MacLaine who is surprisingly delightful in her role as an elevator operator who catches everyone’s eye, especially that of Lemmon’s Baxter. (MacLaine won a Best Actress Golden Globe Award for this role, and was also nominated for an Academy Award in the same category.) For those, like myself, who are really only familiar with Ms MacLaine because of her later roles, it may come as an eye-opener as far as just how charming and simply downright cute she is in this role.

Along with the Awards mentioned above for Shirley MacLaine, the film also won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Black and White Set Decoration, and Lemmon was also nominated for Best Actor, while Jack Kruschen was nominated for Best Supporting Actor.

In the end, it’s easy to see why the film was nominated and won so many awards, and the only real question that remains in my mind is why this gem is simply not better known to the public. But, at least I personally, thanks to this project, can not only cross another movie off my personal “to watch” list, and add it to my list of all-time favorites.

Now “shut up and deal.”

So what are your thoughts on The Apartment? Is it a movie that you’ve seen or would like to? If you have seen it, is it one that would make your own Top 10 list? Or would it not even crack your Top 250? Let me know below.

From Popmatters: 12 No-Brainer Additions to the Criterion Collection

Diabolique CriterionWhile becoming a part of the Criterion Collection may not be the be-all end-all that film lovers (myself included) tend at times to make it seem, there is a certain cache that inclusion in the collection can lend to a movie. Also, it certainly can’t be denied that they generally do an incredible job of including supplements and features to the films they release that not only can lead one to a better understanding of a film, but can help to put it into context of the film world around it. Just as an example, last night I watched Diabolique for the first time, and on the disk there was an interview with Kim Newman that really helped to shape my understanding of just where this Hitchcock-influenced and highly influential film fit into the overall film world of the time and in later years. There’s also a commentary on the disk to accompany the film that I’m actually hoping to get through today. And yes, you will probably see a lot of that material reflected in my own comments when I eventually do my own write-up/reflection on the film.

Anyway, that brings us to an interesting list posted last week by the good folks over at popmatters.com in which they outline what they call “12 No-Brainer Additions to the Criterion Collection“. Now I’ll admit there are a number of films on this list that I don’t know at all or know only by reputation, so I con’t really comment on them myself, but the authors, Soheil Rezayazdi and Hubert Vigilla, do make good arguments for why these films would make good additions to the collection. And, if nothing else, the list offers some intriguing titles that look to be worth checking out, whether they eventually get official Criterion recognition or not.

So, go give the article a read, and then come back here and let me know, via the comments, what you think, either about their list, any other films you think should be included, or perhaps just your thoughts/feelings on Criterion in general. I’m interested to hear what you have to say about it.