Archive for category Hoopla

Taking Note, When Notes Take YOU

In general, the purpose of a movie’s music is to complement the action without getting in the way. Even a soaring John Williams score, with memorable themes representing the major characters, is meant to enhance the impact of what we see on screen, not replace it.

But sometimes you — yes, you, personally — can’t help but notice the music.

Have you ever found yourself absolutely electrified by opening credits, only to be bored to tears by the movie that followed? Has a musical ever inspired you to sing along with it, even though you don’t speak Tamil or Cantonese? Have you ever gone crazy over the music for a movie you couldn’t stand — or vice versa? Has a terrible movie ever made you furious by ruining your favorite song? Love it or hate it, sometimes music follows you out of the theater and refuses to leave you alone. It’s a difficult experience to try to put into words — so that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

This month, we celebrate the movies that — for better or for worse — added something to the soundtrack of our lives. Join us as we consider movies… In the Key of B.

In The Key of B

All through November at the B-Masters’ blog!

Will Laughlin is the Braineater.

Seeing isn’t believing

 
There are films that make you laugh, and films that make you cry.

There are films that make you angry, and others that make you feel good.

There are films that make you think, and others that are mindless entertainment.

And then there are those films to which the only reasonable response is a cry of—  “WTF!?”

So join us as we take a walk on the weird side…
 


All through August at the B-Masters’ blog!

 

Liz Kingsley is the insane genius behind And You Call Yourself a Scientist!

The gentle face of horror

Born in 1913, Peter Wilton Cushing graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and began his acting career doing repertory theatre. He was in his mid-twenties when he made his first foray into Hollywood, making his film debut in 1939’s The Man With The Iron Mask—playing the back of Louis Hayward’s head. Several small roles followed, but this was a false start of sorts to his career. The war intervened, and its aftermath found Peter Cushing back in England. He had his most significant film role in Olivier’s Hamlet, in 1948—but it would be television in which he would make a name for himself during the 1950s. Working almost non-stop, Cushing won both popularity and critical praise for roles as diverse as Mr Darcy in Pride And Prejudice, Richard II in an adaptation of the play, Richard Of Bordeaux, and Winston Smith in 1984. His work won him a BAFTA in 1956, a year that also saw the founding of The Peter Cushing Appreciation Society (which is still going strong).

Then, in 1957, a group of producers began looking for a reliable, talented – and not too expensive – actor to play a mad scientist. They got much more than they had bargained for when they cast Peter Cushing as Victor Frankenstein: his brilliant, iconoclastic performance in the lead of The Curse Of Frankenstein was significantly responsible both for the success of the film, and for the birth of what came to be known as “Hammer Horror”.

And, like others before him, Peter Cushing subsequently found himself “typed”: his career from that point onwards was dominated by horror, science fiction and fantasy films, all of which were the better for his presence. One of the great “horror actors”, Cushing had the ability (often much needed) to elevate almost any production, never giving any sign of considering himself superior to his material. On his own and in partnership with his close friend, Christopher Lee, with whom he co-starred in twenty-two films, Peter Cushing would build one of the genre film’s great bodies of work.

So join us this month as we celebrate the work of one of horror’s true gentlemen:


All through May at the B-Masters’ Blog!

 
 

Liz Kingsley is the insane genius behind And You Call Yourself a Scientist!

Out of the shadows

Various lists indicate that—even leaving remakes, re-titlings, translations and straight-out rip-offs out of the equation—there have been something like 150 recorded instances of two films carrying the same title.

So that’s not so rare. What is rare, however, is both films in any given pairing achieving the same measure of ongoing success. Almost always, in the end one of the two will position itself in the public consciousness as “the” film of that name. Mention Independence Day to someone, for example, and “small-town drama” probably isn’t the first thing that will spring to mind.

Here at the B-Masters, however, “obvious” is a dirty word. So join us as we take a look at some films that live in the shadow of their title-twins—and which tend to cause confusion, cross-purpose conversation, and finally a cry of—


It’s NO, NOT THAT ONE—all through February at the B-Masters’ blog!

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Liz Kingsley is the insane genius behind And You Call Yourself a Scientist!

Out with the Old

There’s a new wind blowing, and it smells exactly like the stale old wind. As Teleport City counts down to its 20th anniversary (good gravy, Charlie Brown), it’s become a little burdensome and full of writing I did in my 20s and am not entirely excited about. So in the service of staying in the game as Teleport City shifts into archival mode (it will remain online), a new site is being launched that will take its place and do mostly the same thing, though with a little more structure. The site, called MEZZANOTTE, is based around themes that run for two months (all of which will be compiled into an ebook/print book at the end of the year). For our inaugural theme, which officially launches in February, we’re tackling giallo movies and soundtracks.

The new site doesn’t officially launch until Feb. 1, but you can get a sneak peek now, since the B-Masters has been Teleport City’s home since that fateful day a madman named Dr. Freex said to the council, “What about Teleport City?” And where better to start an exploration of giallo than with the film most often referred to as “the first”?

THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1963)

Judging Mario Bava’s The Girl Who Knew Too Much from its first scene, it would be reasonable to assume one was watching a Fellini movie, or at least a reasonable imitation of Fellini. The opening shot of a TWA plane in flight toward Rome, the bustling capital of high style, suggests the dawn of the age of the jet set, as does the introduction of the film’s main character, stylish but somewhat naive American Nora Davis (Leticia Román, in Russ Meyer’s version of Fanny Hill as well as the Elvis film G.I. Blues) who is being pestered by her Lothario seat-mate (while she is trying to read a giallo novel, no less).

You can read the soundtrack reviews here.


Keith Allison is the chief bacchanologist at MEZZANOTTE.

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…and good riddance

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Seriously.

I mean, tributes are nice, but I’d prefer less occasion for them.

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2017h3.

I’m not going to tempt fate by expressing any certainty over 2017; I’ll merely wish for a much better and kinder year for all.

Likewise, no optimistically extravagant promises for the coming twelve months, just a hope that things will be easier and more productive. Thank you to our visitors for your support and input, it is greatly appreciated.

 

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Liz Kingsley is the insane genius behind And You Call Yourself a Scientist!

Crying, talking, sleeping, walking…

…chasing, drilling, slashing, killing…

Aww, dolls. How sweet. Little miniature humans that can be played with and posed…dresses and undressed…dismantled and reassembled…twisted and tortured… Anything, in fact, that a child’s imagination can concoct.

But what happens when our playthings get tired of being pushed around? When they decide to find out what we look like with our heads turned around—or how far our arms can bend back—or what we’re stuffed with?

Join us this month as we follow the adventures of some dolls who give a whole new meaning to the term “action figure”. It might start out as just fun and games…

…but trust us, it’ll end in tears.

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It’s HELLO, DOLLY – all through November at the B-Masters’ blog!

 

Liz Kingsley is the insane genius behind And You Call Yourself a Scientist!

How low can you go?

Year by year, movie budgets continue to escalate; year by year too, the names of certain producers and directors become synonymous with bloated, over-budget productions. Sometimes it seems as if it’s more about how much you can spend, rather than the quality of what you spend it on.

But what about those film-makers at the other end of the financial spectrum? – those people slaving away in the realm of the micro-budget, for whom overcoming artistic and technical limitations is part of the challenge, and who succeed in making an entire film for around 0.01% of the budget of the most expensive movie ever made*?

Join us as we take a look at some of the films that prove you don’t need to spend obscene amounts of money^ to make a good movie…

…or in certain cases, to make a right stinker…

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It’s A FISTFUL OF PENNIES—all throughout August at the B-Masters’ blog!

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*Currently considered the most expensive movie ever made: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides ($378.5 million)
^Upper limit for this Roundtable: $50,000

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Liz Kingsley is the insane genius behind And You Call Yourself a Scientist!

Walking with Dino, what we saw…

As a teenager, Agostino “Dino” De Laurentiis enrolled in Rome’s Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, gaining experience behind the camera as a grip and an assistant director, and in front of it as an extra and in bit parts. By the age of twenty he had produced his first film, but the coming of WWII put his career on hold. When it resumed, De Laurentiis became an international name as the main producer behind the celebrated Italian neorealist movement, with both La Strada and Nights Of Cabiria winning the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. However, it was, perhaps, the 1956 version of War And Peace that most pointed the way forward, with its American cast and director drafted into a European film, in a production that was in all conceivable ways BIG.

At the beginning of the 1960s, De Laurentiis built his own production facilities outside Rome, from whence issued everything from biblical epics to pop-art spectacles, and from spaghetti westerns to Shakespeare. In the early 1970s, he relocated to the US, and initiated that phase of his career for which he is, perhaps unfairly, best-known—and most notorious—with a series of productions whose ambitions were matched only by their wrongheadedness. Meanwhile, the “DEG” logo of his production company, De Laurentiis Entertainment Group, began (like its contemporary, Cannon) to convey a certain message to genre fans, appearing on Amityville sequels, Halloween sequels and Stephen King adaptations seemingly without number; while the producer balanced out his Academy Awards when Body Of Evidence took home the Razzie for Worst Picture in 1993.

But it is hard to argue with 2000’s choice of Dino De Laurentiis as the recipient of the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award—if only for the sheer scale of his contribution to the motion picture industry: at the time of his death in 2010, he had been involved in over 600 films.

So join us this month as we consider just a few of them:

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It’s FROM THE BIBLE TO BARBARELLA—all through May at the B-Masters Blog!

 

Liz Kingsley is the insane genius behind And You Call Yourself a Scientist!

Home is where the hurt is

There are certain places in the world where the rules just don’t apply—where tragedies have occurred, and will occur again—where the dead refuse to stay buried—and where the living venture at their peril.

Such a place can be in the city, or in the country; on land, or at sea; in the middle of a crowd, or the middle of the woods. It might be a town—or a house—or a single room. It might look terrifying—or worse, it might look like home…

Welcome to The Bad Place…

badplace3All throughout February at the B-Masters’ blog.

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Liz Kingsley is the insane genius behind And You Call Yourself a Scientist!