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Posts from — June 2011

Great Scenes – BACK TO SCHOOL

There’s no easy way to segue from Tarkovsky to Dangerfield, so I won’t even try. If you haven’t seen Alan Metter‘s completely ridiculous Back to School (1986), in which cult of personality Rodney Dangerfield returns to college, you owe it to yourself to waste 90 minutes of your life with it. It’s that rare film that adds up to less than it’s individual parts – because even though it pains my film school pretension to admit it, it was incredibly hard for me to pick just one from so many great scenes. I mean, do I choose the scene where standup comedy legend Sam Kinison plays Vietnam-vet Prof. Turgeson and target=”_blank”>chews out an innocent coed? Or Kurt Vonnegut‘s target=”_blank”>hilarious cameo? Nope. I think anyone who’s scene it knows what the highlight of this king of films has to be: the Triple Lindy – a climax as silly and ridiculous as the Man himself. Enjoy.

[admin. note: unfortunately, embedding has been disabled, so you’ll have follow the link to see the clip – totally worth the extra second!]

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June 27, 2011   3 Comments

ISLE OF CINEMA + BOXING UWE BOLL = Pure Blogspherical Bliss!!!

The fine folks over at Boxing Uwe Boll asked us to contribute our individual lists of “20 Unforgettable Opening Scenes,” from which a master list was promptly selected. It’s now up for your enjoyment – just click the banner below (created by BUB’s administrator, David Micevic) and head on over there, to read a fantastic list which features contributions by our very own Rodrigo, Rockie, Marco, Sean and yours truly.

And stay tuned for our followup companion post, “20 Unforgettable Closing Scenes,” coming soon right here at IOC!

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June 23, 2011   No Comments

Cerebral Sci-Fi – STALKER

STALKER is a contemplative movie you can really sink your eyes into.

Serene and meditative, like a puzzle slowly unraveling, Andrei Tarkovsky‘s Stalker (1979) – adapted for the screen from their “Roadside Picnic” by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky – is unlike any other science film you’re likely to come across in your lifetime – even more abstract and metaphorical than the director’s previous Solaris (1972). Spanning nearly 3 hours, it’s the tale of a bleak future, where the government has cordoned off a mysterious area in the wilderness called “The Zone”: an unstable, supernatural geography that’s never fully explained except to say that it’s ever-changing, like a living space, and that within it there is rumored to be a room that grants your every wish. No one is allowed entry, soldiers ordered to kill all trespassers – but there are individuals you can hire – “Stalkers” – who can smuggle you in at great risk to themselves and the traveler. And once inside, things get weird – because if the Zone doesn’t like what you’re doing or how you’re doing it, there are consequences. A highly personal film about fulfillment, deliverance and salvation, the film follows three characters – a “Writer,” a “Professor,” and their “Stalker” as they enter the Zone, each with his own agenda. The room at the heart of the Zone isn’t far – but you don’t travel there directly, and only the Stalker knows how to get you there. Like Alain ResnaisLast Year at Marienbad, this is a movie which deconstructs not only cinema but reality itself, its sci-fi conceit serving to motivate the deconstructive act. But unlike Resnais, Tarkovsky eases you in slowly, not in any hurry to get anywhere, lingering on shots, slowly zooming in and out of others, suspending his dialogue between what feels like hours of silence, urging us to savor every nuance. The characters are often shot from behind, insinuating that we are passengers along on the quest, and Eduard Artemiev‘s soundtrack lends a hypnotic quality that punctuates the strangeness of the otherwise commonplace setting. By no means an easy movie, the viewer must invest in order to stay interested, his return being the experience itself – a complex film about the nature of reality, our interaction with the world, and the wonder of cinema – where editing and shot sequence tames the wild, unstable world of the Zone and gives it meaning. Let’s just say that Transformers this ain’t, and I’d safely wager that if you’re a fan of Michael Bay or ADD sci-fi you’re not going to make it – in other words, the Zone will kick you out. But for adventurous travelers who enjoy films that capture the strangeness of the world we live in, this is the perfect action movie – one for the frontal lobe – filled with conceptual fireworks rather than CGI robots and explosions.

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June 20, 2011   No Comments

Great Scenes – BRINGING UP BABY

Despite wonderful comedic acting, a versatile and talented director, and an inane plot involving multiple leopards, the 1938 Howard Hawks film Bringing Up Baby was far from commercially successful, though it enjoys a modern reputation as one of the best screwball comedies of its day. The highly amusing tale of an unsuspecting paleontologist’s descent into confusion and chaos begins the moment David Huxley (Cary Grant) lays eyes on young eccentric socialite Susan Vance (Katherine Hepburn), and he very quickly finds himself scrambling for his dignity as he falls prey to her nonsensical antics. Depending on your perspective, Hepburn’s character is either a probable psychopath or just a tenacious woman intent on having her way, relentless in her sudden infatuation with David. Either way, we get some laughs as hapless Dr. Huxley is repeatedly hoodwinked into accompanying her on a variety of preposterous errands that slowly dismantle his life. Foremost amongst these, David must assist Susan with the delivery of a “tame” leopard named Baby, to surprise her wealthy Aunt Elizabeth in Connecticut. During this scene at the aunt’s house, Susan manages to steal David’s clothes while he showers, forcing him to don a woman’s bathrobe, trimmed in fur. As he storms about the house frantically looking for more appropriate attire, Aunt Elizabeth comes home, and demands to know who he is and why he’s dressed in such a ridiculous manner. Mentally fatigued and justifiably hysterical, David leaps into the air, gesturing wildly, and roars, “Because I just went GAY all of a sudden!” And though the context would indicate that by “gay” he means giddy or merry, it was a particularly meaningful utterance for Grant, who was himself allegedly bisexual. As the scene continues, a put-upon David continues to suffer blow after hilarious blow from Susan, Aunt Elizabeth (as well as her badly behaved and bone-craving dog, George), and of course Baby the leopard, his mental breakdown continuing for the sake of our amusement.

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June 16, 2011   No Comments

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