Casablanca

Casablanca

1942’s Casablanca has repeatedly been canonized as the best film Hollywood ever made. Its iconic dialogue produced a bevy of quotable lines that sealed seated their seemingly eternal place in movie culture, and it’s damn near impossible to refer to Humphrey Bogart’s iconic career without bringing to mind his worn mug reminiscing to Dooley Wilson’s iteration of “As Time Goes By” in his empty bar’s depths of night. Never has Bogie been so tragically Bogie, or, for that matter, Bergman so classically Bergman, Rains so nobly Rains, Lorre so campily Lorre, and the film’s team of studio scribes so harmoniously in tune towards a pitch-perfect example of Hollywood narrative convention. Given the vaunted reputation of Casablanca, it’s strange that the film’s director, Michael Curtiz, is so often obscured within observations of its notable ensemble, much less considered the film’s reigning auteur. Among all the beloved directors of Classical Hollywood – Howard Hawks, John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock – Curtiz is rarely included, often regarded on the relative margins as a talented director for hire, a perfect mirror to Casablanca itself: a stellar Hollywood product, but in a class altogether separate from, say, the previous year’s Citizen Kane. But Curtiz’s diverse career (for classical Hollywood) as it manifested over several decades, across horror films and gangster pics and musicals, bears evidence not only of a capable Hollywood director-for-hire, but a behind-the-lens personality whose revisited worldview throughout his career is inseparable from his individual works.

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Casablanca Movie

Sometimes, the urge to crack open a cold one when you’re stuck in the middle of a Netflix binge can get overwhelming. And it’s understandable; so many of our favorite films feature incredible bars and pubs that put our local haunts and dives to shame, intergalactic gathering spots that bring together alien races, chic international watering holes and rough roadsides that may necessitate a bodyguard or two. While we can’t frequent these cinematic watering holes, it’s okay to daydream and sip a martini or two while doing so. Here are the movie bars at which we’d love to pull up a stool.

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Matrix Origin

This content series is in partnership with smartwater. smartwater, good taste travels well. Click here to learn more. Where do movies come from? At the risk of sounding like Lucas from Empire Records (although “What’s with today, today?” is a perfectly valid question), there’s something genuinely incredible about the spark that leads to a multi-million dollar piece of art, crafted by thousands of people that a massive audience can enjoy. Someone reads a book or hears a story or finds an old family heirloom in a basement. Someone wants to recognize a figure that made a profound impact on our world. Someone stumbles across an old idea or has a Eureka Moment in the shower. It all gets put through the ringer and ends up as the only source of light in a darkened room. So, yes, there’s a magic to it all. Movies take their ideas from anywhere and everywhere (including other works of art and other movies). To celebrate that, here are five great films made just a bit more incredible by exploring where they come from.

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We rarely get to see movies being watched in other movies – probably because while it’s fun to watch films, it’s fairly boring to watch other people watch films. That being said – there are plenty of characters out there who would no doubt be a blast to watch movies with… Batman, for example. Anyway, when we do see a real life movie being watched in another movie it tends to be a film that most likely inspired the filmmakers either in their own upbringing or as a plot device in the film itself. Because of that one thing is certain – if you see a real movie being watched in the movie you’re watching, there’s a good chance that movie is awesome. Before anything though, I gotta shout out to Mr. Cole Abaius for coming up with the idea for this list. The man is a true demigod, and from what I hear the other half is pretty good too.

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What is Movie News After Dark? This week, it is like the idiotic parents’ suburban Pasadena home in Project X. The responsible party is taking some time off, so he has handed the keys to some of us on staff, and we are having the Movie News After Dark House Party of the century. We’re doing our best to remain somewhat respectable and deliver some entertainment news you may have missed this week, but at some point we all know we’ll put a dwarf in the oven. On with the show. The first story is one you’ve likely seen already this weekend, but it’s worth repeating for the sheer joy it brings. This weekend, Movies.com published the story of George Lucas doing something we can all get behind. After decades of trying to develop land in Marin County to make the biggest movie studio in the galaxy, and with his snooty neighbors blocking the $300m a year initiative for fear of causing problems, he has decided to develop low-income housing. Finally, people can pat him on the back and forget about Jar Jar, Han shooting first and a certain crystal skull.

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Warners is hoping to start a beautiful friendship with movie fans by offering digital copies of classic scripts – complete with background information and scenes embedded amidst the dialogue and description. Their digital distribution arm has announced the “Inside The Script” program which makes available these beefed-up versions of the original screenplays for classics for iBookstore, Kindle and NOOK. In addition to the script, a veritable book of production history, production notes, storyboard, pictures, posters and behind-the-scenes pictures are all included in the ten-dollar download (or $9.99 if you’re a stickler for exactitude). Right now, the program includes work from Casablanca, North By Northwest, An American in Paris and Ben-Hur with plans to add more shortly. This seems like a treasure trove of movie geek goodness, but it’ll be interesting to see if fans will shell out ten bucks for the privilege. What’s most interesting here is that this is the kind of material normally relegated to coffee table books and historic tomes that could double as anchors. It’s a sign that the studio is interested in engaging on a digital level. Now to see if that intuition will translate to film distribution itself. Either way, this program is a spectacular idea that could give a lot of fans the chance to delve deeper into a part of the movies they love. I’ll take 3 Casablancas please. For more information, check out Inside The Script’s Facebook Page.  

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This post is probably not what you think. There are no LOLCats, no Rage Comic stick men bellowing about the superiority of The Dark Knight and Inception. It’s not really a love letter to modernity. But it’s also not Sight & Sound‘s decennial Top Ten List. That prestigious publication has done great work since even before polling critics in 1952 to name the best movies of all time. They’ve recreated the experiment every ten years since (with filmmakers included in 1992), and their 2012 list is due out soon. However, there is certainly overlap. The FSR poll includes only 37 critics (and 4 filmmakers), but we’re young and have moxy, and none of us were even asked by Sight & Sound for our considerable opinion. That’s what’s fascinating here. The films nominated by those invited by S&S have the air of critical and social importance to them. They are, almost all, serious works done by serious filmmakers attempting to make serious statements. This list, by contrast, is the temperature of the online movie community in regards to what movies are the “greatest.” The results might be what you expect. But probably not.

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Since no one calls it over-rated, we might as well take a look at the #2 Movie of All Time.

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