Category Archive 'Film'
01 May 2020

Victims of Communism Day

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Human remains at Kolyma.

Ten films on the subject of Communism’s demicide.

The most comprehensive statistical source for democide statistics, Death By Government, puts the toll at 106 million. Necrometrics estimates that Stalin and Mao alone killed 60 million. Wikipedia, defining democide more narrowly, puts the toll between 21 million and 70 million. The Museum of iCommunism estimates 100 million murdered. The Black Book of iCommunism estimates 80 to 100 million.

But these are just statistics. As psychologists have pointed out, it’s impossible for the human mind to grasp the magnitude of that level of horror through sheer numbers. Just as Schindler’s List was instrumental in getting the public to come to finally terms with the Holocaust, it is perhaps through film that death toll of communism can best be understood.

Every May 1st for the last several years, Ilya Somin has written an editorial for the Washington Post declaring the “May Day” so beloved by the Left to be renamed “Victims of Communism Day.” I concur, and so, while socialists blissfully celebrate their worker’s paradise this May Day, indifferent to the human cost of their political philosophy, I propose that well-meaning people consider watching a film on the subject, both out of respect for those lost and to be intellectually armed against the ignorance of those still in denial. Here are some recommendations.


23 Jan 2019

Peter Bogdanovich Interviews the Great John Ford

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03 Jan 2019

Paris, 1890

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They had a moving sidewalk! Who knew?

23 Jun 2016

Bahubali (2015)

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One of those Facebook friends I don’t really know yesterday posted a video of some amazing battle scenes from a South Indian epic film called Bahubali (released last year in two parts), made in Telugu and Tamil. (When’s the last time you saw a Tamil-language film?) Bahubali became the highest grossing Indian film of all-time, understandably since the fight scenes are pretty spectacular.

I discovered quickly that the DVD of Part 1 with English subtitles can be ordered from Amazon. (Part 2: The Conclusion does not seem to be out yet.)

Bahubali: the Beginning

Bahubali: the Conclusion

21 Apr 2016

The Kill: Greatest Lines Before and After



Hat tip to Vanderleun.

23 Oct 2015

Good News! Big Lebowski Sequel Begins Filming in January

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There is a small category of movies which fail to make much of a mark during their theatrical release; but which, when they make it onto television, and are available to be watched repeatedly, begin to commend themselves to audiences in a different and special way and which then proceed to metamorphize into beloved classics.

Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946) is that kind of film. Nobody thought much of it at all until television networks adopted it as particularly Christmas-themed, and began making a big deal of broadcasting it around the holiday. Before long, watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” turned into a regular seasonal American ritual.

The Shawshank Redemption” (1994) was a failure in its theatrical release that did not even recapture its production costs, but Ted Turner (then owning Castle Rock, the film’s production company) later essentially sold the movie to himself (as the TNT network) and began broadcasting it in 1997 over and over again. The film slowly and gradually grew in audience acceptance as a sort of 20th century Les Miserables, and now routinely tops the IMBD list of most-beloved films of all time.

Shawshank Redemption phenomenon

The Big Lebowski” (1998) followed the same pattern, of confusing and boring viewers in the theater, but coming into its own with the aid of repetitive viewings on television.

The Big Lebowski phenomenon


Exciting news for Big Lebowski fans around the world as a sequel to the cult classic has just been announced.

Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, directors of the first Lebowski movie, confirmed with NBC News they will both be returning to direct the sequel.

“We’re thrilled to be coming back to film a second part to this classic movie,” Ethan Coen said. “For years we’ve been staying away from doing this project but when we received this new script and the cast fell into place, it was a no-brainer. We just had to do it.”

Gage Luce, who helped write the new script, spoke with CNN to shed light on the plot behind the highly anticipated sequel.

“Now 18 years later, Maude Lewbowski (played by Julianne Moore) informs The Dude (Jeff Bridges) that they conceived a son together and that he has been kidnapped. The Dude teams up with his estranged brother, played by actor Bill Murray, and fellow bowling partner Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) to track down the child’s whereabouts. Just like the first movie, there’s guaranteed to be plenty of beers, bowling, and laughs.” …

Accompanying the trio on their journey to find the missing teen is Jesus Quintana, played by John Turturro, who stole the show in the original movie. …



Bummer! The story is not true. It turns out that it was originated by the spoof news site National Report which has a very annoying habit of purveying completely plausible sounding, but entirely false, news stories. National Report often fools people, and this time a number of sources believed the story and picked it up, including me.


Thanks to Liberty News for bringing this mistake to my attention in the comments.

11 Jun 2015

Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee, CBE, CStJ (27 May 1922 – 7 June 2015)

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Christopher Lee died at 8:30 A.M. last Sunday morning in the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London at the age of 93. His family delayed the public announcement of his death until today to allow time for relatives to be notified.

Christopher Lee worked as a character actor in the course of his long career, typically in second-rate horror films, though he was obviously a first-rate human being. He stood 6’5″ (1.9558 m.) in height, spoke six languages, was a world champion fencer, and made a point of performing all his own stunts personally.

Lee was also a political conservative who volunteered to fight for Finland against Soviet Russia during the Winter War, and who then went on to serve as a British commando through the entirety of the Second World War.

He advised Peter Jackson on how properly to sound record a killing during the making of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Dissatisfied with a scene, Christopher asked director Peter Jackson: “Peter, have you ever heard the sound a man makes when he’s stabbed in the back? Well, I have, and I know what to do.”

Christopher Lee became the oldest person to record lead vocals on a heavy metal track when, at the age of 88, he wrote and performed on a progressive symphonic concept album about the life of Charlemagne, from whom he traced his own descent via his mother, an Italian countess.

Christopher Lee remained married to the same woman (a Danish model) for 54 years, and in his later years frequently campaigned for the Tories in national elections.

The younger Christopher Lee as we knew him best.

25 Jan 2015

Everybody Likes a Good Swordfight

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From Clara Darko:

Full list of films:

00:01 – Kill Bill

00:06 – Hero

00:08 – Seven Samurai

00:09 – The Princess bride

00:11 – Hero

00:13 – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

00:14 – Gladiator

00:16 – Conan the Barbarian

00:17 – Troy

00:19 – Batman Begins

00:21 – Dragonslayer

00:23 – Kill Bill Vol. 2

00:26 – The Empire Strikes Back

00:29 – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

00:33 – Zatoichi

00:35 – Hellboy 2

00:37 – The Mask of Zorro

00:40 – The Phantom Menace

00:45 – Peter Pan

00:47 – Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

00:49 – Revenge of the Sith

00:52 – The Duelists

00:54 – LadyHawke

00:55 – The Count of Montecristo

00:56 – Kingdom of Heaven

00:58 – Blade

01:03 – The 13th warrior

01:05 – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

01:06 – The Fellowship of the Ring

01:07 – Highlander

01:12 – Cutthroat Island

01:13 – Dangerous Liaisons

01:14 – The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

01:20 – The Attack of the Clones

01:26 – Stardust

01:28 – House of Flying Daggers

01:30 – Matrix Reloaded

01:32 – The Flame and the Arrow

01:35 – Willow

01:36 – Cyrano de Bergerac

01:48 – Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves

01:49 – Monty Python and the Holy Grail

01:50 – Hamlet (1996)

01:52 – Rob Roy

02:02 – Young Sherlock Holmes

02:08 – The Crow

02:12 – Casanova

02:20 – Star Wars: A New Hope

02:29 – The Four Musketeers (1974)

02:31 – Dragonheart

02:33 – The Return of the Jedi

02:38 – Hook

02:40 – Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

02:44 – Army of Darkness

02:55 – Azumi

02:57 – 300

03:01 – Excalibur

03:03 – Blind Fury

03:05 – The Curse of the Golden Flower

03:38 – Equilibrium

Hat tip to io9.

18 Jan 2015

The Tarantino Mixtape

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Hat tip to Ratak Monodosico.

28 Aug 2014

“Artistic Creation” (1901)


British, directed by former stage magician Walter Booth. IMDB

From the Public Domain Review via Karen L. Myers.

30 Jul 2014

Uma Thurman in “Mundane Goddess”

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Jameson Irish Whiskey has a Jameson First Shot Program giving three filmmakers a chance to make a short film produced by Kevin Spacey starring Uma Thurman. In this one, poor Uma (no longer Aphrodite, alas!) plays Hera, wife of Zeus, who is consulting a therapist.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

24 Apr 2014

“The Scene Had a Problem, and the Problem Was the Gun.”

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Enter the Ringo Kid.

Scott Eyman, in his new biography, John Wayne, The Life the Legend, describes the historic source of the iconic gesture in the opening scene of John Ford‘s “Stagecoach” (1939), which ignited Wayne’s career and made him a major star.

The scene had a problem, and the problem was the gun.

Dudley Nichol’s script was specific. “There is the sharp report of a rifle and Curly jerks up his gun as Buck saws wildly at the ribbons.

“The stagecoach comes to a lurching stop before a young man who stands in the road beside his unsaddled horse. He has a saddle over one arm and a rifle carelessly swung in the other hand… It is Ringo…

    “RINGO? You might need me and this Winchester, I saw a couple ranches burnin’ last night.’

    “CURLY? I guess you don’t understand, kid. You’re under arrest.

    “RINGO?(with charm) I ain’t arguing about that, Curly. I just hate to part with a gun like this.

    “Holding it by the lever, he gives it a jerk and it cocks with a click…”

John Ford loved the dialogue, which was in and of itself unusual, but the introduction of the Ringo Kid needed to be emphasized. Ford decided that the shot would begin with the actor doing something with the gun, then the camera would rapidly track in from a full-length shot to an extreme close-up — an unusually emphatic camera movement for Ford, who had grown to prefer a stable camera.

Since the actor was already coping with two large props, Ford decided to lose the horse. He told his young star what he was planning to do: “work out something with the rifle,” Ford sais. “Or maybe just a pistol.” He wasn’t sure.

And just like that the problem was dropped in the lap of his star, a young — but not all that young — actor named John Wayne., better known to Ford and everyone else as Duke.

Wayne ran through the possibilities. every actor in in westerns could twirl a pistol, so that was out. Besides, the script specified a rifle cocked quickly with one hand, but later in the scene than what Ford was planning. In addition, Ford wanted him to do something flashy, but it couldn’t happen too quickly for the audience to take it in. All the possibilities seemed to cancel each other out.

And then Yakima Canutt, Wayne’s friend and the stunt coordinator on the film offered an idea. When Canutt was a boy he had seen Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. As the overland stage raced around the arena, a messenger trailing behind the stagecoach had carried a rifle with a large ring loop which allowed him to spin the rifle in the air, cocking it with one hand. The crowd went wild. Canutt said that it had been done thirty years ago and he still remembered the moment. More to the point, he had never seen anybody else do it.

Wayne sparked to the idea, as did Ford, so they had to make it work. Ford instructed the prop department to manufacture a ring loop and install it on a standard issue 1892 Winchester carbine. After the rifle was modified, Wayne began experimenting with the twirl move as Canutt remembered it, but there was a problem — the barrel of the rifle was too long — it wouldn’t pass cleanly beneath Wayne’s arm.

The Winchester went back to the prop department, where they sawed an inch or so off the end, then soldered the sight back on the shortened barrel.

With that minor adjustment, the move was suddenly effortless. Wayne began rehearsing the twirling movement that would mark his appearance in the movie he had been waiting more than ten years to make — a film for John Ford, his friend, his mentor, his idol, the man he called “Coach” or, alternately — and more tellingly — “Pappy.”

With any luck at all, he’d never have to go back to B westerns as long as he lived.



Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World.

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