Oscar History

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200 Oldest Living Movie Actors

"Bob Newhart is still doing standup!He headlined in my city this June."-Jakey

"Olivia DeHavilland and Lois Smith are so great."-Jono

"Incredible that Max von Sydow has neither a competitive Oscar nor an Honorary by now."-Joel6

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Sep 02 2014

Best Shot Season Finale: The Matrix (1999)

I'm not proud to say so but I'd probably take the blue pill.


It's not that Irejectreality so much as that I keep misplacing it.It's easy to forget about it you're drawn to the fantasy.My spirit animal is Cecilia inThe Purple Rose of Cairo,what can I say?

So here we are completing another season ofHit Me With Your Best ShotandagainI've scheduled the final episode for the very moment I'm about to leave the country giving me no time whatsoever to produce anything like a suitable Season Finale with enough pomp and circumstance.[Note to self: Season Six must end before the suitcase has come down from the shelf for the Toronto International Film Festival.] So I'll make it up to you with a little look back at Season 5 in a couple of days.

But that image above,more than any other...apart from the cascading green symbols as visual motif (remember when that screensaver was all the rage?),is what I think of when I think ofThe Matrix.Itneedsus to embrace utter fabrication and complicated fantasy for the film to work and yet,as its narrative throughline it demands that Neo completely reject the same for cold hard wet and slimy truth.Is this what the dystopian genre is inherently for,to present dark truths about humanity and our future in the comforting garb of the unreal while screaming "REALITY!"as it pretzels itself back into fantasy like the greatest of contortionists?

I think so.

Here's what the 12 other Best Shot Participants chose as their defining image.

click on the image for the corresponding article

The Film's The ThingAntagony & EcstasyFilm ActuallyEntertainment JunkieSorta That GuyLam Chop ChopPop Culture CrazyVideo ValhallaCinematic CornerDancin' Dan on Film
Allison TooeyBest Shot in the DarkTeo Bugbee

What image definesThe Matrixfor you?Do you see it here?

Jun 05 2012

How long has it been since you've seen The Matrix?

Last weekend I decided it was time to burn through the DVD queue instead of sitting wordless at my computer.But when I opened the latest rental,The Good Fairy(1935) -- no,I can't remember why I rented it -- the disc was broken.We ended up watchingThe Matrix(1999) instead because when a black and white Willam Wyler / Preston Sturges comedy starring Margaret Sullavan is denied you,what other movie will do?LOL.

Warner Bros had sent the BluRay and The Boyfriend remarked that we hadn't seen it since opening night in 1999.It seems like one of those movies we've all seen a million times but in my case that's only because it became such a pop culture staple.Not even its gobsmackingly terrible sequels could shake its grip on the zeitgeist.

The Matrix's modern blend ofAlice in Wonderland,gun fetish porn,visual effects bravado,and technophobic dystopia was just what people craved in 1999 when the internet was so obviously and rapidly changing the world.It's tough to even think of a world without the web now but in the early 90s it was still something like a strange and unusual toy...unnerving even if you were hopelessly analog.Watching the movie now in 2012 is kind of a retro shock.

Six observations while watching the movie in 2012...

Click to read more ...亚博足彩app

Mar 16 2011

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: MEMENTO

"What are you going to do when you find him?"In honor of cinematographer Wally Pfister's recent Oscar win (Inception) and the 10th anniversary ofMemento's theatrical release (today),we're looking back on Chris Nolan's breakthrough for the season 2 debut ofHit Me With Your Best Shot.

Memory and its malleability are the skeleton themes whichMemento's inky flesh clings to.Leonard (Guy Pearce),who has lost both his wife and his short term memory to a murder/rape,is out for revenge.He tattoos "facts",quotes intended,onto his skin to remember them and he also takes polaroids;these repetitive shots of skin and photography are the movie's signature images.My "best shot"naturally combines them both.

The most ingenious thing about the screenplay's reverse construction is that as you become acclimated to it you start to wonder how each scene will begin in order to get to where you know it's already ended.The same thing happens with the polaroids.After a few of them are revealed you begin to wonder how each was taken.So in addition to Memento's overarching mystery "What exactly happened with that murder?"you get the continually evolving mini-mysteries of what the hellis going onhas just gone on?

The final crucial polaroid,which is actually the first in true chronology is this spookily cheerful one of Leonard,pointing to his chest.This is a space we already know he has left empty on purpose,for (maybe) hen his revenge is complete.But that's too literal as he's also pointing to his heart.He looks nothing like the Lenny we've come to know.

Look how happy you were.

Lenny flips it over but no clues await him on the other side.The clue we're looking for this late (i.e.early) in the game is not what happened but who Lenny is or has become.Later in the narrative (i.e.earlier in the film) he'll turn the photo over again while talking to a cop about how no one trusts him.It's an especially telling moment as it's the only time he's not looking for clues by flipping a picture over."We all need mirrors"he says at one point in the film but he obviously doesn't want to seethisparticular reflection.

Chris Nolan has returned to these themes of self deception and adjusted memory in subsequent films,but it works best inMemento.Returning to this impressive calling card ten years later,  the biggest shock to the memory is how muchfunit is.Each scene involving Dodd (Callum Keith Renne ofBattlestar Galacticafame) in particular has a bracing dark humor.

This sense of humor is not referenced to imply that the film fails to intrigue or haunt with its disturbing undertow.It's just that Nolan's subsequent films have often been clever without exactly being "a gas"(just occassionally gassy).I'd be hesitant to callMementoNolan's best film without rescreeningThe Prestigebut it sure makes a strong claim.

Do I know you?
I urge you to check out these entries.I'm usually pretty proud of my own pieces for this series but I still felt a bit of the old disconnect with Nolan (I've always had to look at the critical reception of his work at a certain remove) and honestly I think some of these accomplices have outdone me with their pieces.Bravo.

FACT 1: Pussy Goes Grrr chose a vulnerable fleshy moment.
FACT 2: My New Plaid Pants sees the symmetries and the fog of memory.
FACT 3: Cinephilia & Sass remembers Sammy Jenkis.
FACT 4: Okinawa Assault identifies the bullet casing as totem.
FACT 5: Serious Film doesn't trust Teddy's lies.
FACT 6: Movies Kick Ass doesn't trust Nolan's eyes.

and my apologies...
I forgot to link to...
: Amiresque is waiting for Natalie to come into focus.Beautiful choice,Amir!

late arrivals!

FACT 8: Against the Hype knows thatMementoknows from irony;"it peddles unabashedly in it."
FACT 9: Luisergho finds the facts touching.

Next Wednesday...
We'll be gazing at two bonafide immortals,Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando,in the well-Oscared classicA STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE(1951).It's part of our weeklong celebration for theTennessee Williams Centennial.If you've never seen it,talk about a perfect opportunity to fill that void in your life.Will you join us?