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Visual Effects Oscar Semi-Finals 

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Entries in MPAA (21)

Monday
Oct312016

Oscar Horrors: Patty McCormack is "The Bad Seed"

Boo! It's the "Oscar Horrors" finale with abstew

With her blonde pigtails, pinafore dress, spotless Mary Janes, and armed with an elegant curtsy, little 8-year-old Rhoda Penmark is hardly the most intimidating figure. But beneath that childish visage lies the heart of a cold-blooded killer! One that shocked audiences in the 1950s. The Bad Seed preyed on the idea that evil wasn't some devil or mythical monster, but that it lived next door in the most unassuming of places. And worst of all, that evil was a hereditary trait that could be passed on, with no control over your assigned nature. The evil child has now become a staple of the horror genre, from the towheaded Children of the Corn to the twins from The Shining, but one of the first to make her mark (literally - watch out for those deadly shoes!) was bad seed, Rhoda Penmark, brought to life by Best Supporting Actress nominee, Patty McCormack.

I was about Rhoda's age when I first saw The Bad Seed at my friend Vicky's house...

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Sunday
Aug282016

Box Office Special: 1984 Hits

Rather than talk about this weekend's boring box office results (nothing new to see here beyond a big weekend for that new kill-the-trespassing-teenagers flick Don't Breathe) let's travel back to 1984 which was a hugely influential year for franchises of many kinds. What can the biggest hits tell us about the then and the now? 

TOP TWENTY OF 1984
numbers adjusted for today's dollars via box office mojo

01 Ghostbusters $589.6  
Two Oscar nods. Spawned 1 terrible sequel, two animated TV shows, and this year's reboot

02 Beverly Hills Cop $581.5
Led to two sequels, a TV remake, and a TV pilot that wasn't picked up. Beverly Hills Cop 4 has been in some stage of development for 20+ years and is still supposedly being made. We'll believe it when we see it.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb162016

On Deadpool's Overhyped Sexuality

Social justice warriors argue that "Straight White Male" ought not to be a default setting and they're right - it's a wide & diverse world. Arguably nowhere is this default more set in stone than in superhero movies.

I actually rushed out to see Deadpool this weekend because it promised to be something different in this regard. This, despite no real desire to see the movie since the hard obnoxious sell felt like flop sweat (though it sure as hell worked and no flopping occurred). I didn't end up reviewing the film but this piece I wrote for Towleroad is as close as I got. It's called "Pansexual Antihero or Gaybaiting Joke?" because the buzz surrounding the smart ass mutant's sexual desires is empty.

Here's an excerpt but I hope you'll read the whole thing...

Deadpool fits comfortably in the X-verse, being a mutant, but also by selling the troubled 'otherness' that is the X-Men's chief inclusive draw for moody adolescents and beyond. He's neither hero nor villain, but an amoral guy who discovers he has cancer. His superpowers are unlocked through a sadistic experiment to rid himself of the cancer which leaves him badly disfigured but incapable of being killed. This anti-hero has been described as "omnisexual" by the writer of his comic and the media has consistently referred to him at "pansexual". But is he either of those things, or just a typical straight guy who loves a good dick joke?

extra random thoughts about the movie after the jump...

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Saturday
Dec052015

Robert Loggia (1930-2015) ...and 80s Oscar Movies.

Tough guy Italian American actor Robert Loggia, arguably best known for supporting roles in gangster classics, has passed away at age 85. He had been suffering from Alzheimers. Condolences to his family and his fans.

The enduring character actor's career began on the Broadway stage in the 1950s but he quickly began mixing it up on television where he starred in a few short lived TV shows and made numerous guest appearances over the past five decades (!). His first big screen role (uncredited) was as "Frankie Peppo" in the Paul Newman classic Somebody Up There Likes Me but his film career didn't hit its peak until the 1980s with a string of hits including An Officer and a Gentleman, Scarface, Prizzi's Honor, and the comedy Big with Tom Hanks.

Though the earliest Oscar ceremony memory I have is Shirley Maclaine winning (1983), the first Oscar race I actively followed was in 1985, the year Robert Loggia was nominated for the courtroom thriller Jagged Edge. Now in the paleozoic pre-internet era "actively following" the race was much different. It required 1) going to movies that adults thought were great and 2) reading a few articles in weekly and monthly magazines about who might be nominated. That's it! [More...]

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Wednesday
May062015

10th Anniversary of 'Mysterious Skin' and Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Actor

Glenn here. Look, we all know Joseph Gordon-Levitt was a child actor, and a pretty good one, too (that scene where he got skate in the face in Halloween: H20 is very memorable). But let's not kid around here. It wasn't until the release of Gregg Araki's Mysterious Skin in 2005 that most really started to take him seriously. One year later he starred in Brick and he's only continued to rise up the ranks as a popular and critically respected actor. Looking back, I can't recall if his presence was as exciting to me in this film as Michelle Trachtenburg from Buffy, but looking back now he's certainly one of the reasons the film holds up.

It's actually rather appropriate that the 10th anniversary of Mysterious Skin should occur now at around the same time as New York Magazine's article entitled “Why You Should Go to the Movies (and Do Other Stuff) Alone” has been getting shared around on social media. You see, Araki's film was the first film I ever went to see at the cinema by myself. I travelled to Melbourne all on my lonesome, without friends or family who I usually convinced to join me for a day at the arthouse, and caught a screening of the movie that had amassed so much controversy in the local media. There were threats of it being banned after a 'family organization' (code for fundamentalist "won't somebody think of the children" noddies) demanded a review of its already very restrictive R18+ rating which is the Australian equivalent of an NC-17. Given the history of sexually graphic films being banned after similar action - titles like Romance and Baise-Moi - I knew I had to see this film. And fast!

MORE...

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