From the third-season cola campaign aping Bye Bye Birdie to last year’s multiple screenings of Planet of the Apes, Mad Men has always dipped generously into the pool of period cinema to help set its scene, while simultaneously drawing inspiration from films of the era (The Apartment, BUtterfield 8, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter, and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying — starring Bert Cooper himself, Robert Morse — leap to mind). We’ve taken some guesses at the books this season’s 1969 timeframe might introduce; here are a few of the most popular movies of that year, and how they might work their way into Don Draper’s world. … Read More
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
In his Bigger Little Movie Glossary, Roger Ebert defines the “Semi-Obligatory Lyrical Interlude” (or “Semi-OLI,” for short) thus: “Scene in which soft focus and slow motion are used while a would-be hit song is performed on the soundtrack and the lovers run through a pastoral setting.” He notes that the Semi-OLI first came into prominence in the late 1960s, and though it eventually fell out of favor, it soon mutated into the “Semi-Obligatory Music Video” from the 1980s forward; the Semi-OLI or Semi-OMV remained prominent in romantic movies, though usually to show a particularly successful first date, or to compress the process of a couple falling deeply in love.
The Semi-OLI became such a cliché that it seemed had finally disappeared, which is why your correspondent was horrified to see at least three examples of it at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival — and these were in (otherwise good) independent films, mind you, not insipid Katherine Heigl rom-coms or something. Is the Semi-Obligatory Lyrical Interlude making a comeback? We hope not. For this week’s video essay, we’ve smashed together over a dozen egregious examples of this device, along with a couple of parodies for the sake of levity. Check out our latest video essay after the jump. … Read More
The weekend’s big movie, as you well know, was The Hunger Games, while DVD and Blu-ray players have been firing up Fincher’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo since its release last week. The two films have a lot in common: powerful female protagonists, adaptations of bestsellers, probable franchise kick-offs. As such, they were also each objects of carefully considered casting. It’s become part of the pre-production process, the bandying about of potential name actors for high-profile roles; Fincher reportedly talked to Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, Anne Hathaway, Natalie Portman, Kristen Stewart, and Scarlett Johansson before settling on Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander, while Hunger Games director Gary Ross’ alternate Katnisses included Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Emma Roberts, Chloe Moretz, and Saoirse Ronan.
Contemplating proxy casting choices is a fun parlor game for movie fans (perhaps second only to considering movies that never came to pass at all). After the jump, we’ll take a look at a dozen iconic movie roles, and the actors who almost, almost filled them. … Read More
On the first anniversary of his death, screen legend Paul Newman is celebrated with a king-sized box set featuring his greatest roles.
The 13-film jackpot captures the finesse and effortless charisma that made the blue-eyed icon a household name for a half-century. Beside special editions of classics like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Hustler, and The Verdict, the selection contains Newman’s work with auteurs Robert Altman and Otto Preminger, along with a lavish, 136-page book of rare photos and quotes.… Read More