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Monday
Jun102019

"Speed" Turns 25

by Lynn Lee

When Speed was first released a quarter century(!) ago, the premise seemed ridiculous: Bomb on bus is triggered to go off if the speed ever drops below 50 mph.  A bus in Los Angeles, no less.  At rush hour!  (Actually, it’s always rush hour in L.A., then as now, which only reinforces the preposterousness of the scenario.)  Nevertheless, Speed managed to suspend viewers’ disbelief – and their breaths – with a combo of taut white-knuckle thrills that didn’t require elaborate special effects and light humor that relieved but didn’t distract from the constant tension. 

A major hit both critically and commercially, it went on to win two Oscars (for sound mixing and sound editing) and elevate the then up-and-coming Keanu Reeves to full movie star status.  Now that Keanu seems to be having another “moment” in his long and eclectic career, it feels like an especially opportune time to revisit the movie that vaulted him on to Hollywood’s A list.

How does it hold up?

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
May292019

"Up"... but to where?

Pixar's Up was released 10 years ago on this very day (the counterprogramming at movie theaters was Drag Me to Hell so you had a vertical choice that day). It seems hard to imagine it now, given that animated films rarely have the Oscar impact these days that they did in a very brief window in the Aughts, but it was nominated for 5 Oscars: Picture, Screenplay, Sound Editing, Score, and Animated Feature, winning the latter two.

Q1: Would you have voted for it in any of its Oscar categories?

Q2: If you could be dragged away by balloons today to your dream destination, where would it be?

Monday
May272019

50th Anniversary: "Midnight Cowboy"

by Mark Brinkerhoff

Gay pride month is nearly upon us, so what better time to revisit Midnight Cowboy, the first LGBT-related Best Picture Oscar winner, which arrived in theaters 50 years ago this week. It remains, incidentally, the only X-rated film (for “homosexual frame of reference" and its "possible influence upon youngsters”) ever to win the Academy’s top award. 

Centering on Joe Buck, a wannabe hustler from Texas who finds himself entirely out of his depth in the big city (New York, that is), Midnight Cowboy succeeds poignantly, in the words of its director, as an “exploration of loneliness.” It also doubles as — and doubles down on — disastrous toxic masculinity: how men often are conditioned to (mis)treat others, not to mention themselves, as disposable, degradable objects of disaffection. 

In this ambling story, callousness reigns supreme, with humanity increasingly lost in the constant shuffle, on the streets of Manhattan...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
May252019

Celebrating Anne Heche at 50

by Mark Brinkerhoff

Today we celebrate the 50th birthday of one of the best, most criminally-underrated actresses in Hollywood/by Hollywood: Anne Celestia Heche. 


Born not far from Cleveland, Ohio on this date, Heche had an unfortunately troubled family life and a hardscrabble upbringing that have been well-chronicled, including in her own 2001 memoir. And while her much-publicized relationship with Ellen Degeneres is surely the first (if not only) thing many think of when thinking of her, this is a tribute to Heche as an actress—not a re-litigation of an awfully quaint, pre-social media public spectacle surrounding a 20-plus-year-old relationship. Call her crazy if you will, call her untalented you may not.

When did you (if you did) first take notice of her? For me, a noted stan, it must’ve been around 1989...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
May182019

25th Anniversary: Danny Boyle's "Shallow Grave"

by Anna

Twenty-five years, a new British filmmaker made a dark splash at Cannes. Danny Boyle’s directorial debut Shallow Grave, which would become a significant sleeper success in 1995, opens with flatmates David (Christopher Eccleston), Juliet (Kerry Fox) and Alex (Ewan McGregor) looking for a new boarder (and subsequently trolling the prospective candidates). They settle on Hugo (Keith Allen) but he dies from a drug overdose within hours of moving in. Then the trio  find a suitcase full of money under Hugo’s bed, and that’s where the plot (and the meaning behind the film’s title) really kicks off.

Roughly a decade of award-winning films from the likes of Stephen Frears and David Attenborough, Boyle came and turned British cinema as a whole on its ear...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
May142019

50 Appropriate Ways to Celebrate Cate Blanchett on Her Birthday

by Nathaniel R

Blanchett last week at a Louis Vitton fashion showFuture screen giant and supreme actress Cate Blanchett was born in Ivanhoe Australia a half century ago on this very day. Happy 50th birthday, goddess!

Last year at this time we were enjoying the two time Oscar winner in Cannes every day as she led the most stylish jury ever assembled but this year in May we have no Cate Blanchett to enjoy! It's a weird lull in Blanchett-mania so perhaps she's celebrating her birthday somewhere private today? Or maybe she's in Cannes again? We'll see.

Her next picture, Richard Linklater's Where'd You Go Bernadette arrives in theaters in August but until that time, let's celebrate all the Blanchettian goodness we can. She's given us so much over the years, with her sharp celebrity wit, fashion savvy, and (above all else) her inspired screen performances. So herewith...

50 Appropriate Ways to Celebrate Cate Blanchett This Week
Try them and report back on your success!


01 Kneel before your queen.

02 Channel her by being intimidatingly perfect.

03 Wear something fabulous today but dont let it wear you; you ARE the red carpet. 

04 If you're not in the mood for beautiful dress, consider a stylish suit.

05 Describe someone you're crushing on as "flung out of space" and see how they react...

Click to read more ...