Raiders of the Lost Ark

For those of you new to the column, I am revisiting formative events in my life that have made me what I am today: A Special Effects Make Up Artist searching for relevance in the 21st Century. I left my home in a suburb of Gretna, Louisiana, traveled to Valencia, California where I attended the California Institute of the Arts. I am nineteen… Being in college, in California, in 1981, was like being in the front seat of an incredible roller coaster. Unlike how it was in New Orleans, where I would be lucky if I was able to get a hold of a genre magazine like Cinefantastique because it was not consistently available in news stands, now I felt like I was closer to “the hub” than ever. Magazines, trade papers, Hollywood poster stores, all were up to date with what was happening in motion pictures. There was also the benefit of being in one of the two (or three) “preview” cities for new films. Altered States, for instance, had opened in late November rather than at Christmas time when it opened wide, nationally. This, for a fan and initiate to Make Up Effects, was like being at ground zero.

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“I don’t believe in magic, a lot of superstitious hocus pocus. I’m going after a find of incredible historical significance and you’re talking about the Boogieman! Besides, you know what a cautious fellow I am.” Anybody who has watched any amount of the History Channel knows that Hitler was obsessed with the occult. What this movie presupposes is that he probably lost the war because he diverted too many of his resources towards the doomed goal of acquiring the Ark of the Covenant, which in case you didn’t know, is the chest that contains the original stone tablets on which the ten commandments were written. According to religious hocus-pocus, any army that marches while carrying the Ark would be unstoppable on the battlefield, as they would have the endorsement of the good Lord Himself. So what does the U.S. government do when faced with the task of racing the Third Reich to unstoppable power and endless influence? They hire an archeology professor from Marshall College, one of the most rough and tumble adventurers in the world, to go out and find it first. They get Indiana Jones. The only problem with the plan is that the key to finding the Ark is in the possession of one of his ex-girlfriends, and she’s kind of a crazy drunk.

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We named the dog Indiana. The highest grossing film of 1981 has since become a modern legend after launching a series of films that are beloved by millions. The hat, the whip, the swagger, Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford introduced the world to a man who was smart enough for the classroom and rough enough to fistfight pirates. This trailer is an epic look at that man’s adventure, trying to recover a radio for speaking to God.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news round-up that, for the time being, is keeping things brief. Memorial Day weekend is one that Hollywood generally takes off, so news is light. That said, there was plenty of discussion and artful expression happening all weekend that didn’t require us to sift through the virtual pages of The Hollywood Reporter. Read: there’s some cool stuff in tonight’s edition. The Times has a report that, for some of you, can’t come soon enough. 3D is fizzling and Hollywood is scared. The report focuses on the lopsided box office of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which took in far more dollars in 2D despite a major push in the other direction from Disney. Even Kung Fu Panda 2, an animated 3D family adventure, opened soft in the additional dimension. Perhaps this will prompt some changes to be made. It probably won’t, but a guy can dream.

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as BlurryProjector and TheGeneralRulz in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, they ponder the wildly wide-spread Mark Harris article, “The Day the Movies Died,” alongside the new infographic proving movies have gotten worse. We really need a scapegoat, huh? Is marketing really to blame? Are movies really getting worse? If so, how do we, the fans, fix them?

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Looking to rebound off his first career failure, Steven Spielberg is looking for a passable archaeologist/professor/Nazi killer. He thinks he’s found him with actor Tom Selleck, a man you probably don’t know by name, but will probably say “aaaahhh, yeah” when you see him.

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captainamericawwii

Joe Johnston worked on Raiders of the Lost Ark, directed The Rocketeer, and I have no idea if he’s connected at all to Saving Private Ryan, but it looks like he’ll be bringing that signature style to Captain America.

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Empire Magazine: 500 Greatest Movies of All-Time

As if someone hasn’t done it before (or for that matter, won’t do it again soon), Empire Magazine has published their list of the 500 Greatest Films of All-Time, as voted on by their fans in what they are calling ‘the biggest movie poll of all-time.’

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Indiana Jones isn’t just back in the theaters, but he’s returned to the DVD shelves as well. Is Paramount’s new Indiana Jones: The Adventure Collection worth picking up, or is it a shameless double dip? Find out inside.

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Chug! Chug! You chose wisely!

Here’s some suggestions on how you can enhance your experience with the old Dr. Jones. But be careful, or you might end up like Indy’s friend Ox after staring into the eyes of the Crystal Skull for too long.

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Official Guide to Indiana Jones

It’s not until you look back at the original Indiana Jones trilogy that you realize just how many memorable moments there are in the series. To whittle that list of seminal moments down to just ten is excruciating, and it will be different for everyone. These are the moments that stuck with us long after the credits rolled. They are shocking, humorous and exciting. Some have become part of the iconic legends (like the boulder) while others can be quoted in pop culture with no need of an explanation (like “No ticket!” ala Kevin Smith). The reality is that the films overall are memorable and worth another look for any fan of the adventure genre. Here are our favorites… 10. “The three challenges” from The Last Crusade Although much longer than a mere moment, this scene began the climax of the third movie, giving us some booby traps that had otherwise been absent from the script. 9. “The Jones boys tied up” from The Last Crusade The addition of Sean Connery to the cast of the Indiana Jones saga was brilliant, and his chemistry with Harrison Ford was impeccable, as shown in this scene. 8. “The mine chase” from Temple of Doom While The Last Crusade was the installment that spotlighted chase sequences, it was the breathtaking mine chase from Temple of Doom that was most exciting. 7. “I hate snakes” from Raiders of the Lost Ark What better way to demonstrate Indiana Jones’ loathing of snakes than to drop […]

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Official Guide to Indiana Jones

We start our Official Guide to Indiana Jones, our week-long special feature that takes you inside the world of everyone’s favorite archaeologist, with a look back at the original trilogy. Up first, Raiders of the Lost Ark.

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