Saturday, October 31, 2020

I Drink Your Blood/I Eat Your Skin

I Drink Your Blood 

I Eat Your Skin

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The closure of movie theaters this year as a result of The Virus has led to a resurgence in drive-ins. Here’s a first-hand account from this past summer of a mother taking her family to a drive-in. In Queens, a drive-in has been born (with a Brooklyn extension), plus a local diner set up one in Astoria. Others have sprung throughout the tri-state area.

Years ago, I wrote about ways drive-ins could improve, and while my suggestions would be less feasible in the face of a pandemic, I still believe they could work in normal times. As things stand right now, drive-ins are a nice way to retain the traditional theater-going experience.

In the 60s and 70s, drive-ins were repositories for, shall we say, more adventurous cinematic material, the kind that appealed to younger audiences. Horror films were among the more popular genres. 

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Love Among the Ruins

The Spencer Tracy & Katharine Hepburn Blogathon is an event celebrating the lives and careers of the famed Hollywood couple, presented by In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood  and Love Letters to Old Hollywood. For a complete list of participating bloggers, visit the links at the host sites.

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Katharine Hepburn made more TV movies than you might suspect for an actress whose film career began in 1932 and was almost as active in the theater throughout her life. 

Her migration to the small screen began after the death of Spencer Tracy in 1967, probably not a coincidence. All told, she made nine films for television, beginning with a remake of The Glass Menagerie in 1973 and ending with One Christmas in 1994, her final film role.

In 1972, Hepburn appeared on The Dick Cavett Show and was asked if she would ever make a film with Laurence Olivier, the legendary British actor who was so big they named an acting award after him. Hepburn smiled and said, “Well, neither of us is dead yet. Even though you may think so.”

And that set certain wheels in motion...

Thursday, October 15, 2020

A Lady Takes a Chance

The 120 Screwball Years of Jean Arthur Blogathon is an event celebrating the life and career of the actress, hosted by The Wonderful World of Cinema. For more information on participating bloggers, visit the link at the host site.

A Lady Takes a Chance

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Well, this movie sure has an unusual pairing: 30s romcom girl Jean Arthur, she of the squeaky voice and slightly-odd-but-still-cute looks, and John Wayne, on the verge of becoming the iconic superstar of the great John Ford westerns, together in a romantic comedy. Huh?

A Lady Takes a Chance realizes they’re an odd couple—from the perspective of a 21st century cinephile, she belongs with Jimmy Stewart and he belongs with Maureen O’Hara—but here they are. Can they believably fall in love with each other despite coming from not only different worlds but different genres?

The film begins with a message on title cards that has a surprising amount of resonance in 2020, a year that has made us all nostalgic for 2019:

“Once upon a time... It was so long ago that people drove sixty miles an hour, and skidded their tires, and drank three cups of coffee all at once, and ate big gobs of butter, and there were more fellows around than there were girls, and everybody was having a good time without knowing it, that’s when our story happened. Away back then... in 1938.

“And here’s hoping that ‘once upon a time’ goes on again some quick tomorrow. 

“Only better.”

Thursday, October 1, 2020

What’s left of the 2020 theatrical landscape

Going to the movies may not be a good idea right now, but discussing the status of the few big movies left on the year’s roster is worth noting at least. Keep in mind this list can and probably will change by the time you finish reading this post.

New York, LA and San Francisco theaters remain closed, with no indication as to when they might re-open, but an estimated 70% of American theaters are currently up and running. Assuming they make it to the end of the year, 2021 will be jam-packed with movies—but first they have to hold on a few more months in a climate where The Virus has not abated yet and audiences remain trepidatious about going to the movies.

Tenet hasn’t been the savior everyone had hoped for. According to Box Office Mojo, so far it has made $41 million domestically (but $243 million internationally), which would be outstanding for most movies, but Tenet had much higher aspirations. So what’s left this year?

Black Widow, the Candyman remake, The King’s Man and Spielberg’s West Side Story moved to next year. A horror movie, The Empty Man, will bow the 23rd of this month.

No Time to Die
, the new James Bond movie, continues to hold firm to its November 20 date, as does Soul, the new Pixar animated film; lots of folks thought it would also go to Disney+. It still might do that; who knows? [UPDATE: It did.] [UPDATE: No Time to Die has been pushed back to April 2021.]

Free Guy, the Ryan Reynolds movie that looks like a live-action Wreck-It Ralph, is set for December 11, while Kenneth Branagh’s new Hercule Poirot movie, Death on the Nile, will go a week later, the same week as the Dune remake (UPDATE: Dune moved to October 2021) and the much-delayed Wonder Woman 1984 is now set for a Christmas Day release.

And as for 2021? So far it looks sort of like this, but of course this too could change.

If you decide you must go to the movies (and if you can), I don’t have to remind you to be smart about it: mask up, check your local theater in advance to make sure it’s taking all the necessary precautions, make sure you’re socially distancing yourself from others in the theater and at least think twice about that bucket of popcorn. And no matter where you go, be it to the movies, work, school or dinner: stay home if you’re sick, especially now that we’re heading into colder weather. We’re not out of the woods yet.

After the jump: an important announcement.