Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Oxford Bibilographies Online Cinema and Media

For Columbia students and faculty -- check out this new resource.

Cinema and Media, a new subject module, was recently added to our collection of Oxford Bibliographies Online. From the publisher's website, "Oxford Bibliographies offers exclusive, authoritative research guides. Combining the best features of an annotated bibliography and a high-level encyclopedia, this cutting-edge resource guides researchers to the best available scholarship across a wide variety of subjects."

This is a highly recommended resource for beginning research in cinema studies.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Six Degrees of an Oscar Nominated Film!

The Descendants has been nominated for five Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director and a nod to George Clooney for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role.

Matt King (Clooney) is faced with new challenges in his life. In his role as the "back-up parent" -- he now needs to take care of his two daughters, he has to resolve issues with his wife and accept her impending death as well as deal with the news that she has a lover. The film has a wandering structure but never leaves you off the road. All performances are strong.

The screenplay, written by Payne, is based on the first novel of Kaui Hart Hemmings.

The Descendants is six degrees from Carnage (2011).

Hint: Tilda Swinton

Monday, February 20, 2012

Six Degrees of an Oscar Nominated Film!

Nominated for Best Picture, The Artist is a delightful homage to the silent era. The film tells the story of silent film matinee idol George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) who at the height of his stardom faces painful consequences when he fails to adapt to the new era of the talkie. Dujardin, also nominated in the acting category, is brilliant as the dashing star who faces failure at the same time he falls for the irresistible Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo). Peppy is the star-struck ingenue who embraces the talkies to find stardom. Even though she may believe that Hollywood is for the young -- she never loses her love for Valentin.

Directed by Michel Hazanavicius, the film evokes all of the allure of the silent movies with romance, comedy, song and dance and charismatic personalities. The cast includes a delightful John Goodman as the studio boss, James Cromwell as the faithful chauffeur to Valentin and a standout performance by Uggie as the dog. There should be an Oscar category for Best Acting by a Dog -- Uggie ranks right next to Asta aka Skippy.

Six Degrees of an Oscar Nominated Film -- can you guess how The Artist gets to Sideways (2004)

Hint -- the first degree is John Goodman.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

My pick for this Valentine's Day movie -- the delightful Some Like It Hot (1959). Ranked Number 22 in the AFI's 100 Years.. 100 Movies list -- Some Like It Hot (1959) is a clever and sophisticated farcical comedy directed by Billy Wilder. Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond spent a year developing the script which was based on a 1951 German film, Fanfaren das Liebe.

Brilliant casting by Wilder -- the film stars Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and George Raft with a fantastic supporting cast including Pat O'Brien, and a delightful Joe E. Brown. The story of two jazz musicians (Curtis and Lemmon) who witness the St. Valentine's Day massacre and have to escape the threat of being killed from "Spats" Columbo (George Raft). They dress like women and join an all-girl's band. Here is where the fun begins. Joe E. Brown provides one of the most quoted closing lines from a film, "Nobody's Perfect" --Jack Lemmon gives one of his most brilliant comedic performances in the first of seven films he would make with Wilder. Tony Curtis has fun mimicking Cary Grant in one of three roles he has in the film and Marilyn Monroe demonstrates her natural comic timing and sexual allure. She is irresistible as Sugar Kane Kowalcyzki.

The National Catholic Legion of Decency found the film seriously offensive -- with subject matter that played with gender roles suggesting homosexuality. They failed to acknowledge that girls dressed as men and men dressed like women is a theatrical plot device that dates back centuries.

Orry-Kelly designed Miss Monroe's gowns. The film was awarded an Academy Award for Best Costume Design and received nominations for Best Actor (Lemmon), Best Director and Best Screenplay.