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Entries in Hit Me With Your Best Shot (221)

Wednesday
Jun222016

Best Shot - Vote for the Next Movie!

In an effort to lure you all back to our Hit Me With Your Best Shot series -- participation has been down and we swear it's fun to do -- you get to pick two of the movies this month. Next Tuesday night's film is To Catch a Thief which is available to stream on Netflix but what do you want to do after that? The following choices are either about to hit streaming services on July 1st or they're already available to stream on either Amazon Prime or Netflix. 

 

TUES JUNE 28th
To Catch a Thief (1955, Alfred Hitchcock. US. 106 minutes)
Something light & summery as the weather becomes too hot too hot. Join Cary Grant and Grace Kelly on the French Riviera. Winner of Best Cinematography at the Oscars. [Netflix Instant Watch  | AmazoniTunes]

TUESDAY JULY 5th 
TUESDAY JULY 12th

Your Choice! See poll above. We'll announce the winners on June 28th.

TUESDAY JULY 19th
ZOOTOPIA (2016)
It's the second biggest global hit of the year and now that it's available for home viewing let's have a second look at this delightful animated comedy about a utopia threatened when predators go wild again. 

BEST SHOT SPECIAL: MONDAY JULY 24th to FRIDAY JULY 29th
Oscar Battles: Best Cinematography 1977

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND Vilmos Zsigmond
ISLANDS IN THE STREAM Fred J Koenekamp
JULIA Douglas Slocombe 
LOOKING FOR MR GOODBAR William A Fraker
THE TURNING POINT Robert Surtees 

Choose one or more of Oscar's 1977 Cinematography nominees for your "Best Shot" pleasure. We'll reajudicate the cinematography Oscar battle of 1977 over the final week of July. If this sounds crazy, please note that 1977 happens to be our "Year of the Month" and four of those five titles were also nominated for Best Supporting Actress so we'll be watching them anyway for the Smackdown so this is time management...albeit of an ambitious kind. That week at the blog we'll post our favorite image from each of those movies one a day along with links to whichever you've discussed at your blog, tumblr, twitter, or facebook. 

We'll reevaluate what to do with the 'Best Shot' series after this month when we see how this experiment goes!  

Wednesday
Jun222016

Best Shot(s): The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant (1972)

Hit Me With Your Best Shot
Season 7 Episode 16


The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant
Written and Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Cinematography by Michael Ballhaus 

When you watch a lot of movies you inadvertently end up drawing comparisons between films that you wouldn't have thought to put in conversation previously. It's as if you've accidentally become a guest programmer of a repertory theater or a local festival. Such was the case this week when I (not intentionally) watched Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966) and The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant (1972) nearly back to back and shook my fists to the heavens and cursed the name of anyone who ever regurgitated the lie that you have to "open up" stage plays to make them work on screen. 

Tears. not totally bitter yet but she's getting there.

Sometimes half the power of a text is in its site-specific constriction. So I went from George & Martha's messy drab campus housing with a bar (or at least its contents) in every room, to the stylish studio apartment of fashion designer Petra Von Kant which was paradoxically both over-decorated and minimalist, and both frozen in place and ever-shifting without explanation (Wasn't the bed over there in the last scene? Can these mannequins move around the room at will like the toys in Pixar movies?). I loved every second of both films and especially, perhaps paradoxically for someone who prefers short movies, the foreboding sense that there was no way to exit either film, ever, unless you accepted your fate and drowned in their contagious neuroses.

All it takes to make a play cinematic when it becomes a movie is great filmmakers. That's it. That's the whole formula...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun142016

Next up on "Hit Me With Your Best Shot"

Wanna join us? It's easy to play. Just...

1. watch the movie
2. pick your favorite shot
3. post that shot to your blog, twitter, instagram, tumblr or wherever and say why you chose it. Hashtag it #HMWYBS so we see it
4. we link up on the night of the event when we post the roundup

TUES JUNE 28th
To Catch a Thief (1955, Alfred Hitchcock. US. 106 minutes)
Something light & summery as the weather keeps on heating up. Join Cary Grant and Grace Kelly on the French Riviera. Winner of Best Cinematography at the Oscars. [Netflix Instant Watch  | AmazoniTunes]

Tuesday
Jun072016

Best Shot: Trevor (1994)

For Pride Month... A great moment in Oscar gayness

This week's Best Shot spotlight shines on an adorable miniature. Since June is Pride Month we're looking at Great Moments in Cinematic Gayness throughout the month. Great Moments in Oscar Gayness are rarer things and usually come with significant caveats. When they award actors for playing LGBT characters it's literally only when they are straight and labelled "brave" for playing the character and the character is either dying or victimized in some way. Their ultimate Best Picture rejection of a universally acclaimed frontrunner in Brokeback Mountain (2005) left another stain on the Academy's rainbow colors.

But in Oscar's gay history, there is a beautiful moment that comes without so many uncomfortable footnotes.

Trevor, a sweet funny short about a boy who realizes his schoolmates have figured out his gayness took home an Oscar in a surprise tie, one of only six in their history, at the 67th ceremony. To make the moment even gayer in retrospect, the late producer and casting director Randy Stone thanked Jodie Foster ("Jodie, I love you") from the stage. (Stone and Foster were frequently each other's dates at film events in the 1990s and he was even rumored to be the biological father of her sons.)

More...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
May312016

HMWYBS: Marlene Dietrich Double Feature

For this week's Best Shot episode we featured two Josef Von Sternberg & Marlene Dietrich pictures. The famous Director/Muse pair made seven films together but we asked Best Shot volunteers to do either Morocco (1930) or Blonde Venus (1932), their first two Hollywood pictures. Let's get right to the choices - click on the photos to enjoy the corresponding articles and participating blogs...

MOROCCO (1930)
Directed by Josef Von Sternberg. Cinematography by Lee Garmes
Nominated for 4 Oscars including Cinematography

What becomes a legend most?
-Dancin Dan on Film


It bizarrely holds together even when the seams look like they are going to burst apart at any second from being buffeted by sand...
-Scopophiliac at the Movies

She strikes quite a figure though throughout the film...
-Sorta That Guy 

BLONDE VENUS (1932)
Directed by Josef Von Sternberg. Cinematography by Bert Glennon

An impression she gives you in one moment she might take back with force in the very next...
-The Film Experience

The frame is much less fussy when Helen is in her element.
-Film Mix Tape 

Tuesday
May312016

Dietrich, you little so and so!

For this week's Best Shot Episode: Marlene Dietrich. I asked participants to choose either Morocco (1930) or Blonde Venus (1932).

Her most fascinating scene in Blonde Venus: the confession.

Is Marlene Dietrich a good actress? This question haunted me while watching Blonde Venus, the fascinating Pre-Code movie in which Dietrich plays dozens of archetypes within a brisk 93 minutes: loving mother, drunk floozy, hot temptress, frigid lover, forest nymph, martyred saint, gold digger, confident androgyne, isolated immigrant, jaded bitch, dazzling entertainer. It's enough to give you whiplash if you're trying to get a bead on Helen Jones, her cabaret singer / struggling mother in Blonde Venus (1932).

On the one hand she does everything "wrong." She rarely modulates her voice. Her characterizations aren't especially cohesive -- an impression she gives you in one moment she might take back with force in the very next...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
May252016

Thoughts I Had on a Second Viewing of "The Force Awakens"

This week's Best Shot topic looked back at the remake of Star Wars (1977) affectionally dubbed The Force Awakens (2016). Not that the Force ever got any rest. Pop culture could never let Star Wars be, even in the many years between films, so I'll keep this mercifully brief. But it seems strange how little attention we'd given it during its phenomenally successful release during the Christmas glut. For the record though I didn't find the movie all that much more than a fun recycling feat, a second visit reminded me just how well it performs its recycling feat of the unique Star Wars combo of family friend fun, rousing adventure, easily readable almost pantomimed humor, and broad good vs evil drama (aka the Force's light side and dark side) 

a few random thoughts to begin...

• How jealous do you think Batman was when he saw Kylo Ren's ship?

• Stormtroopers can bleed? They've died such unmessy G rated deaths for 39 years. One colored blast topples them with no carnage.  I love this disorienting image of a Stormtrooper, confused, and very much not in military formation. Send this one to reconditioning!

3 more random thoughts, 3 exciting moments, and 3 best shots after the jump...

Click to read more ...