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Monday, March 6, 2006
Or, Maybe it Really is an Honor Just to be Nominated…
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 11:49 am

I haven’t so much as blogged a pixel on the Oscars or Brokeback Mountain, but this headline caught my eye (via Reuters): “Brokeback” too controversial after all:

Larry McMurtry, 69 who has spent his career challenging the stereotype West — and generally won.

That just strikes me as patently silly (and rather whiny)-the movie was nominated as one of the five (I think are normally five) best films of the year, which is substantial validation of the film, it would seem. It certainly doesn’t bespeak of rampant intolerance.

Saying that failure to win it all means utter rejection is kind of like saying that the Buffalo Bills of the 1990s were lousy because they only managed to lose the Super Bowl four-straight years. They may not have been champs, but they still were pretty darn good.

And gee whiz, Brokeback won two major Oscars: adapted screenplay and director (as well as original score (see here).

Filed under: General, Pop Culture, Movies | Comments (2) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Saturday, March 4, 2006
In the Mail: The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:26 pm

I was sent a review copy of The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till that was released at the end of last month for Black History Month and I finally got around to viewing it a week or so ago, and now have gotten around to a review.

The film itself is a pretty straightforward documentary that tells the story of Emmett Till via interviews with survivors and via news footage from the event. It is essentially linear storytelling and is, in that regard, unremarkable. However, it isn’t for the art of cinema that one should see this film; still, it is worthwhile because it does remind us of a dark portion of our own history—one that we don’t always seem willing to full acknowledge.

The degree to which this is an “untold” story is dubious (for example, there was a PBS documentary and recent press coverage because the Justice Department re-opened the case). However, it is wholly fair to call it undertold.

However, the essential underlying story is far from mundane-indeed, it is quite horrifying. The notion that there was ever a time or place in the United States of America where a teenager’s flirtation could result in his brutal death simply because he was black and she was white, is revolting, to say the least. Even worse, the kidnapping and brutal murder of the young man was not considered worthy of punishment by a Mississippi jury.

If one is unfamiliar with the story, this film is worth viewing. It is a dramatic reminder of where race relations (if one could even call them that) once were in places like Mississippi.

I will say this about the film-this is an easy and obvious source to access this important element of of past, one which we all should be familiar, and yet on balance we are not. For that reason alone the film is worth viewing.

Filed under: US Politics, Movies | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Thursday, December 8, 2005
Nooooooooooo!
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 7:21 pm

Via Reuters: Valderrama saddles up for ‘CHiPs’ remake.

I’m sorry, but some things should stay dead (although I will admit, Valderrama does look a lot like Estrada, now that they mention it).

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Wednesday, December 7, 2005
A Get Smart Flick?
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 1:14 pm

Cinerati has the scoop.

Although outside of the Cold War mileu and the 1960s spy era, I am not sure how well the concept will translate.

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The Florida Masochist linked with Would you believe?
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Is it Real, or is it Scrappleface?
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:53 pm

Stallone in ‘Rambo IV’ After Next ‘Rocky’

I hate to say it: but it’s real.

(But when I first saw the headline, I thought it was a joke…)

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Monday, September 26, 2005
86 Dead at 82
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 7:41 pm

Would you believe? Don Adams of ‘Get Smart’ dies at 82

Adams died of a lung infection late Sunday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, his friend and former agent Bruce Tufeld said Monday, adding that the actor broke his hip a year ago and had been in ill health since.

I loved Get Smart as a kid, although I haven’t seen it in years. I wonder if it would play as well in the post-Cold War era. Certainly some working knowledge of the 60s spy craze is a help to fully get the show.

I will say that the move attempt The Nude Bomb was quite bad. It was as if the screenwriters and producers didn’t even know the source material.

h/t: ProfessorBainbridge.com for the news (and who found the right quote for the occasion).

Here are some more: Memorable Quotes from “Get Smart” (1965).

Maxwell Smart: I’m getting complaints from the landlord about the gun battles in the hall, and the bombs in the lobby, and the knife fights in the elevator.
Chief: Well, when you rent an apartment to a secret agent, you’ve got to expect those things.
Maxwell Smart: But he doesn’t know I’m a secret agent.
Chief: Well, how do you explain people attacking you and shooting at you?
Maxwell Smart: Well, I told him I work for the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

——————

Agent 99: Oh, Max, how terrible.
Maxwell Smart: He desereved it, 99. He was a Kaos killer.
Agent 99: Sometimes I wonder if we’re any better, Max.
Maxwell Smart: What are you talking about, 99? We have to shoot and kill and destroy. We represent everything that’s wholesome and good in the world.

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Saturday, August 27, 2005
Intriguing
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 10:03 am

Via Reuters: Redford and Newman may pair up again on screen

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Brock Peters, RIP
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 6:55 pm

Via Reuters: Brock Peters, “To Kill a Mockingbird” actor, dies.

Peters died at his Los Angeles area home on Tuesday after a battle with pancreatic cancer, the Los Angeles Times reported. He was diagnosed with the disease in January and had been undergoing chemotherapy.

And just to show what an uncultured scifi geek I am, I know Peters as playing a Starfleet admiral in Treks IV and VI and as the voice of Darth Vader on NPR’s radio serials of Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, and have never seen To Kill a Mockingbird.

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Thursday, August 18, 2005
Proving the Worth of the Silmarillion
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 10:06 am

Well, it may not have garned much discussion, but I got at least one hit for someone Googling: The Silmarillion movie.

So, I guess my previous post was worth the effort.

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Friday, August 5, 2005
Hazzardous Material
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:25 am

Mark Hasty is revelling in stinging reviews of bad movies. Surely Pastors aren’t supposed to enjoy the misery of others…

And while he is correct about Ebert’s review, the one on NPR this morning was classic. There is little doubt that I laughed more during that review, which was maybe 3 or 4 minutes long, than I would during the entire Dukes of Hazzard flick.

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Sunday, July 31, 2005
This Doesn’t Surprise Me
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 10:12 pm

Via Reuters: ‘Stealth’ crashes on takeoff at U.S. box office.

I’ve seen the trailer twice and both times I was struck by the cliched plot, the certain predictability of the storyline and the unbelievable premise. First off we are supposed to believe that it is possible to create a robot fighter jet that is better than any human pilot by a quantum leap or two, and then that a lightning strike is able to reprogram the roboplane so that it uses its powers for evil instead of good? Yep, that’s original.

And, of course, there’s the vaunted man v. machine storyline wherein at the end we will learn that really, man is better than machine after all.

Yup-no shock at all that it isn’t making any coin.

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Thursday, July 28, 2005
A Blog Yoda Has
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:31 am

And a sense of humor

found via: Orac.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Speaking of Superhero Flicks…
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:31 am

Here’s some info on the new Superman film: Man of Steel entrances comic book fans.

Given that the X-Men’s Bryan Singer is at the helm, I have high hopes for this one.

Here’s some more info from USAT:

Superman Returns picks up a few years after 1978’s Superman, which starred the late Christopher Reeve. It’s as if that film’s three critically panned sequels didn’t exist.

“It sort of puts the first film in a vague history,” Singer says. “It utilizes elements, icons and images from that movie and helps give us a place to begin.”

The late Marlon Brando, who played Superman’s father, Jor-El, will be seen in the new movie, and computer-generated re-creation will supplement archival footage of the actor.

Singer, who also directed the blockbusters X-Men and X2, says his Superman harks back visually to the 1930s and ’40s vision of the superhero.

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Monday, July 18, 2005
Superhero Movies
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 10:51 pm

My very short review of Batman Begins stated that it was “the best Batman movie ever made�?—which is indisputable, methinks, but also that it was “one of the top superhero films of all time�?—which begat a comment from TPGBTM that I oughtn’t “get crazy.�? That comment, plus a phone convo with the selfsame PGBTM got me thinking about what I meant. So, here’s my list of the best and worst superhero movies of all time, with some middling types as well along with some brief commentary.

The Best Superhero Movies of All Time

An exact ranking is difficult here, as the space separating the following is quite small, in my opinion.

1T. The Incredibles (2004)
1T. Spider-Man 2 (2004)

It is really hard to choose, and if push came to shove, I’d probably go with The Incredibles, although that may be because I have seen it more times.

3. X2 (2003)

One of those rare case where the sequel was quite superior to the original.

4. Spider-Man (2002)

Note the dates of the top 4: all of them are of recent vintage: it seems we are in the Golden Age of Superhero movies (and superhero TV for that matter, but that’s for another post).

I would put Batman Begins (2005) fifth. The question becomes, it would seem to me, as to whether the cut-off for “best of all time�? is between 4 and 5, or 5 and 6. TPGB would put Batman Begins in the next tier, I think.

BTW-Scott Nokes has a great review of Batman Begin that I have meant to link to, but hadn’t gotten around to yet (I was planning a longer BB review myself, but that may or may not happen).

Good (but Perhaps not Great) Superhero Flicks

6. X-Men (2000)

X-Men was quite good—far better than I feared it would be, to be honest, but it still had too many pedantic moments to put it in the top 5.

7. Batman (1989)

At times too surreal, but Jack Nicholson was quite a Joker and Michael Keaton was a far, far, far better Batman (and Bruce Wayne) than expected.

8. Superman II (1980)

My personal favorite of the Reeves’ Superman flicks. Although the whole “fall in love with an earthwoman/lose your powers thing�? never has worked for me. The three Kryptonian bad guys from the Phanton Zone, however: quite cool.

9. Superman (1978)

A little slow at times, but overall a good film. And ya gotta love the music.

10. The Mask of Zorro (1998)

Perhaps a stretch as a true superhero flick, but I really liked this movie and was disappointed that there never was a sequel.

11. Batman (1966/I)

I loved Adam West’s Batman when I was a kid, and as adult, I actually still have a warm spot in my heart for it, plus I actually find it amusing .

Tolerable Superhero Movies

Quite a drop-off here—and not really rank-worthy.

Batman Returns (1992)

This is when the franchise started to expire (which is quite quickly). I knew it wasn’t as good as the first one when the Batmobile had gatling guns. And the Penguin made no sense.

Why, oh why, did these movies have to have so many characters?

Batman Forever (1995)

Wasted Two-Face and I thought the whole “I am giving up being Batman�? to be rather lame.

The Flash (1990) (TV)

Not bad for TV. Indeed, probably better than most of the aforementioned Batman flicks.

Hero at Large (1980)

Hardly a classic (indeed, you may never have heard of it), but I recall it as being fairly decent and when I saw part of it on tv recently I still thought it such.

The Basement

(No rankings: these films don’t deserve them)

Superman III (1983)

Come on: Richard Pryor in a Superman movie? Whose bright idea was that? And gee whiz, read this plot summary:

Synthetic kryptonite laced with tobacco tar splits Superman in two: good Clark Kent and bad Man of Steel.

tobacco tar?!?. Great Caesar’s Ghost!

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)

One word: ugh.

One more word: lame.

Swamp Thing (1982)

I have only seen parts of it, but it looked like a real stinker.

Batman & Robin (1997)

I haven’t actually seen it, but take TPBG’s word on its lameness.

Note: there are some notable ones I haven’t seen, such as Daredevil, Elektra, The Hulk, or the Fantastic Four but none strikes me as a likely classic.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Short Review of Batman Begins
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:46 pm

The film was fantastic. Clearly the best Batman movie ever made and one of the top superhero films of all time.

More later.

Filed under: Pop Culture, Movies | Comments (5) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

PoliBlog: Politics is the Master Science » Superhero Movies linked with [...] ay, July 18, 2005 Superhero Movies By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 10:51 pm My very short review of Batman Begins stated that it was “the best Batman movie ever made�?—which is indispu [...]
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