Montage!

2012 Movie Mash-Up

Holy calamity. This is one seriously laborious edited exploration of the movies of 2012. No surprise it comes from our pal Sleepy Skunk (who we hear is pretty good at coming up with aliases and with making mash-ups). Not only did he condense great moments from 182 movies into under 7 minutes, he also managed to craft 3 meaningful movements – the first uncovering the looming theme of Dystopia while tying together common elements (like heavy rain or lights shutting off along a hallway); the second having fun with a common mash-up song and the many explosions of the year; and the third reveling in the connectivity between major Hollywood blockbusters and indie projects that are finding the kind of funding they need to play at a higher level. He was even nice enough to include a complete second-by-second guide to the movies in the video. My favorite moment comes at 6:00 when a fish bowl in Starry Starry Night tips over, its water forming a wave that becomes a huge tail of lava from Wrath of the Titans. Not only is it a gorgeous image, it also tells a one-second story of the diversity in films released this year. Well done, Skunky.

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Culture Warrior

The Oscar montage reel is a genre on its own. It’s transparently demonstrative of the overall function of the Academy Awards. These montage reels summarize and make explicit what the annual ceremony attempts to accomplish writ large: to create and solidify a canon of important American films, along with a delimited understanding of their importance. Yes, the Oscars have occasionally given a voice to the indie underdog and rush through their obligatory movies-with-subtitles category, but besides the occasional screenplay nomination for a truly innovative film and the rare foreign language film that broaches through the marginal categories, the Oscars are by and large a celebration of American cinema, specifically Hollywood cinema. During the 2006 ceremony, a moment occurred that has been seared into my memory. I haven’t been able to find a clip of it online since it aired six years ago, so I hope this isn’t wishful or inaccurate. The 2006 ceremony consisted of a spate of overtly political films, as Crash, Brokeback Mountain, Munich, Good Night and Good Luck competed for top honors, and Syriana was in the running for other awards. In likely hopes of gaining cultural capital from celebrating mainstream cinema’s rarely explored but ever-present political function, the Academy aired a self-congratulatory reel of past Oscar-nominated films that have addressed other topical social problems, from In the Heat of the Night to Philadelphia. When the lights came back and the audience applauded with anticipated decorum, host Jon Stewart then graced the stage and stated, in a […]

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Legendary Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein is one of the most influential creative minds in the history of the medium. A philosopher of cinema, Eisenstein did not invent montage, but certainly explored the vast parameters of its possibilities without precedent. Thus, a high definition release of one of his central works is understandably something of an event, and the good people at Kino have packaged a pristine new reissue of Eisenstein’s debut feature film Strike (1925) from its restoration by Cinematheque de Toulouse. Strike is essential viewing for anybody who is seriously invested in the evolution, history and potential aesthetic and political power of cinema, and this new DVD and Blu-ray version is likely the best viewing experience available.

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Why Watch? Because you shouldn’t fear black and white silence. It’s a coincidence that this is going up the same day as a very thoughtful exploration of G.W. Pabst’s Pandora’s Box, but it’s also great to see another initialed, iconic director’s early silent short works. This one, the story of a wheat king looking to monopolize production and crush the poor, was made back in 1909. That’s right. This short film is over 100 years old. Pretty amazing. It features some early advents of the cross-cutting and montage techniques as well as some stunning black and white imagery, and a final shot that’s as poignant as it is bittersweet. What Will It Cost? Just 14 minutes of your time. Does it get better any better than that? Check out A Corner in the Wheat for yourself:

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Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; the column that has elevated me to public enemy number one with the State Department of Health! Every week I make an absolute pig of myself scarfing down heaping helpings of bad films that I can’t help but love. I will also provide the perfect, decadent snack to complement the viewing experience. Because if there is one thing that goes great with junkfood, it’s sitting on our asses for extended periods of time right? Ok, Health Department, I understand now why you hate me. So grab a seat, grab and fork, and let’s dig into this week’s entry: Rocky IV. If you aren’t familiar with this film franchise then let me be the first to welcome you back to Earth after what was clearly a 35 year exploration of the outer regions of space. Rocky, the original, is the ultimate underdog story about a boxer with a lot of talent and a lot of heart who cannot catch a break. When he is finally given the chance to prove himself, he does so to a degree that shocks the world. The sequel, Rocky II, is the story of that same underdog chasing redemption. Rocky III is about professional wrestlers and Mr. T. By the time we get to Rocky IV, we have already taken a healthy detour from the spirit of the original film and end up in a land of Commie giants, robot servants, and montages. The premise is that an unequivocally enormous boxer arrives […]

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Get ready for flying fruit, knives, and fat kids… there’s a ton of ass-kicking coming out of Thailand.

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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