A Trip to The Moon

Moon Landing in 2001

There’s nothing like the Moon for cinema. It’s been a fascination for fiction from way before motion pictures were invented, but it’s had a very special place in the history of film. From the beginning, at least as early as 1896 when Georges Melies created a lunar-based dream for A Nightmare (watch it here), filmmakers have been portraying our planet’s natural satellite in all kinds of ways. One of the most famous movie images of all time is a silhouetted bicycle in front of a giant full moon, in E.T. The Extra Terrestrial. Even one of the Hollywood studios incorporates a crescent moon in its logo. One of the reasons the Moon is so interesting for cinema is that for the majority of the art form it was still a relatively unknown thing. Then, 45 years ago today (or yesterday, depending on where you are in the world), man touched ground on its surface and the idea of a journey to the Moon was no longer science fiction. Well, that’s actually dependent on who you ask, as well. Immediately we had hints about the Moon landing being a hoax, or if not totally manufactured then involving some other secret situation — like Apollo 11 really being a mission to investigate crashed Transformers (watch that here). Even after we officially knew there were no Cat-Women on the Moon and that it wasn’t in fact made of cheese, films have still had fun imagining the lunar body for sci-fi and fantasy stories set in […]

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Gravity

A weird thing happened on my way home from a matinee screening of Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity. I cried. Like, actual tears down my face, shortage of breath, no control crying. The pitiful kind of crying you hope nobody else sees. I’m pretty embarrassed to admit it – not because I see any shame in crying, even (or especially) over a film, but because for the life of me I couldn’t understand why on earth I was crying over this film. Gravity is no doubt an impressive technical achievement and an entertaining 90 minutes, but it hardly registered anywhere in the ballpark of emotional profundity for me. I found the trauma that Sandra Bullock’s character must overcome to be both forced and rudimentary, realized through some of the most on-the-nose thematic dialogue this side of Mad Men season 6. And don’t get me started on the 3D tears. I’m not trying to be cynical, but rather am attempting to illustrate the incredible gap I experienced between the character’s emotions onscreen and my belated visceral response to the film. I’ve seen many great films that have left me silent, even catatonic – films far “better” than Gravity that have asked me to walk away from them emotionally shattered or existentially crippled. But no film has ever elicited this type of reaction, and taken me so completely by surprise in doing so. I finally realized I wasn’t emptying myself over emotional resonance, character identification, or poignant thematics, but something a bit more abstract: […]

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Mondo

As we just mentioned in our Photo Tour of the New Mondo Gallery, the folks at Mondo opened their gallery today to a great deal of fanfare. Lines of soaking wet devotees stretched down Guadalupe St., press packed in early to mingle and in some cases (yours truly) spend all of their hard-earned allowance, and despite the terrible weather, an incredible time was had by all. And now that we’ve presented you with a photo tour, it’s time to give you a close-up look at some of the art presented for the opening. There’s a little Tyler Stout, some Phantom City Creative, some Aaron Horkey and plenty more to satiate your hearts desire for great cinematic art. And this is just the tip of the iceberg…

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Why Watch? Because it’s the first science fiction film ever made. Co-writing with his brother Gaston, Georges Méliès produced, directed, and starred in this enduringly brilliant short that features clever innovations in special effects and a unique style created by blending live-action with a very specific type of animation. Most know that it was the inspiration for the Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight, Tonight” music video (and my stalker knows it as the inspiration for one of my tattoos), but the most fascinating fact outside the film itself is that it was one of the earliest victims of film piracy. Méliès had already been making short films for years before A Trip to the Moon, and he saw the United States as a ticket to monetary success that would be cashed by this popular, science fiction dream. Unfortunately, Thomas Edison had his cronies make copies of the film in order to play it around the country – severely injuring Méliès’s ability to make money from his own work. The story and the story of Méliès’s life don’t have happy endings. Clearly, stealing movies is just as old as movies themselves. What does it cost? Just 10 minutes of your time. Check out A Trip to the Moon for yourself:

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With a little less than a week to go until I land at Nice Airport and get the hugely unglamorous Hack Bus into Cannes along with my boys from ObsessedWithFilm.com to begin FSR’s official Cannes film festival 2011 coverage, now is surely a prudent time to offer my thoughts on the biggest and brightest films showing on the Croisette this year. You already know what films are showing, so I won’t exhaustively trawl back through the list, but I wanted to take the opportunity to announce what I am particularly excited about. This also gives me the opportunity post-festival to look back at happier, simpler times when my optimism at seeing four films a day wasn’t yet destroyed by watching three incredibly boring flicks in a row, followed by a blockbuster during which I fell asleep (as happened in 2009). Anyway, lesson learned, and this year I’ll be packing as many natural amphetamines as possible. If you’re heading out there look for me, I’ll be the guy with the grinding jaw, the sallow eyes and the notepad full of doodles/plans to change the future of cinema. So anyway, here’s what I’m looking forward to most.

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The Cannes Film Festival is about far more than just the Competition titles, and the Cannes Classics line-up allows those willing to broaden their focus to experience often seminal works on the big-screen for the first time. Last year, I nearly got to see The African Queen for instance, but was sadly unable thanks to a clash in the chaotic screening schedule. This year, I’m determined to see at least one of the just-announced films in the line-up, and I shall not be thwarted. Unless there’s something, like really good on at the same time… Anyway, the official Cannes site has today released the Classics, and features some of the most important films in cinematic history, including the restored color version of Georges Méliès’ A Trip To The Moon, beefed up with a brand new soundtrack from French hipsters AIR, plus restored prints of A Clockwork Orange and special screenings of Bertolucci’s The Conformist and De Niro’s A Bronx Tale. That’s some line-up for what is usually considered only a tertiary concern out on the Croisette. The full line-up is as follows:

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culturewarrior-pixar

Now that everyone and their talking dog has seen Up, it’s time to look at its context within film history and in the legacy of Pixar.

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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.19.2014
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published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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