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Great Moments in Horror Actressing: Margot Kidder

"This genre gives actresses some really juicy lines and roles,but denies them the acclaim that comes from more 'serious' roles.Kidder was a gifted actress who was indelible in a few films."-Lady Edith

"She won a Genie for it - because Canadians have great taste!"-Mike in Canada

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Jul 24 2019

Remembering Rutger Hauer (1944-2019)

by Nathaniel R

"All those moments will be lost like tears in the rain."

Thus went the immortal words of Roy Batty,inBlade Runner(1982) as he breathed his last,betrayed by the cruel brevity of life.Rutger Hauer improvised one of cinema's all-time greatest death scenes when he was just 38.The actor,who turned 75 this past January,has now passed on,dying at his home in The Netherlands after a short illness.

Rutger Hauer first came to worldwide fame in 1973 as the star of Paul Verhoeven's Oscar-nominated sexually provocativeTurkish Delight(the most successful Dutch film of all time).More buzzy international hits from his home country followed.Hollywood soon came calling as they usually do when someone who can speak English fluently has multiple imported hits...

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Apr 12 2016

Tuesday Top Ten: 1985 Favorites!

Because we'll be seeing what various cinephiles around the web think of Peter Weir's Witness for "Best Shot"tonight here's an entirely rando top ten list of 1985,direct from my brain.Or,rather,from web archives or my brain.Which means it's an unholy amalgam of things I loved when I was young and things I love now after many watches over the years and things I possibly would only love ironically now because I loved them when I was young.

1985 silliness after the jump...

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Jun 30 2014

Second Helpings.How Often Do You Have Them?

Ten years ago todaySpider-Man 2(2004) was released.I loved it so much that I went back the next day for seconds.This isnotin my nature.This is so infrequent for me,in fact,that I can remember every single time it's happened.The othertimes beingQueen Margot(1994) andLadyhawke(1985) and,once on DVD if you want to count that,withTrouble in Paradise(1932).Because those four movies are so similar,what.

So I guess my next-day-rewatches are on the same timetable as Cher's #1 singles and Diane Keaton's Oscar nods arriving once per decade;We're due for another.

This still from Sam Raimi's awesome movie (still my choice for best superhero film) neatly sums up how I feel about the hateful reboot franchise which is just wasting so much money and talent (Andrew Garfield,who was supposed to be one of our great new actors,has literally been in nothing else since Social Network and it's been FOUR YEARS).In case you need help interpreting the photo the reboot is James Franco and he's trying to kill the best superhero.Greed ruins everything.


How often have you seen the same movie on consecutive days?I doubt I'll ever start doing this but I will probably end up seeing movies a second time more frequenty than I used to sinceMoviePassmakes the money much less of an obstacle.I sawSnowpiercertoday and may actually need to see it a second time to clarify my feelings.

Mar 28 2014

Animal Pairs I'm Hoping To See in "Noah"This Weekend

I'm off to seeNoah.No,I don't know how or why I missed the critics screenings (boo) but don't tell me which animal pairs get screen time or cameos.I love animals muchly and want lots of screen time for them.Except for maybe mice.Mickey and Minnie aside,I never want to see them and am really pissed that God made Noah take them.

I'm hoping to spot the following couples in the massive march,slither,hop,swim (or wait,maybe he didn't have to worry about the swimming animals?),scurry,swing,and run to the ark.

A full gallery at the jump...

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Aug 05 2013

Burning Questions: Movie Killing Scores?

Michael C.hereto take a cue from the Summer movie season and release the firstBurning Questionssequel.

The story goes that at the eleventh hour the original score toChinatownwas deemed a film-ruining disaster and composer Jerry Goldsmith was brought in and given just ten days to write a replacement.Miraculously,the score Goldsmith delivered turned out to be the quintessential film noir soundtrack.When the AFI listed the 100 greatest film scores Goldsmith's trumpet-laced masterwork ranked #9.So a happy ending,which is one of the rare times when that phrase can be used in conjunction withChinatown.

This is a terrific example of the filmmakers having the resources – and more importantly the will – to strive for perfection even if it meant taking a risk late in production.We've all heard enough terrible soundtracks to know tales such as this are bound to be the exception rather than the rule.Perhaps commissioning a new score would be too much of a hassle or too big an expense.Maybe the filmmakers in question are blind to the damage the music is doing to their movies.Then there are those unfortunate cases which are merely the victims of their times.Today's trendy soundtrack is tomorrow's time capsule punchline.

These musical misfires are the subject of today's column.A few months back I posted a colum asking for the names ofgreat soundtracks wasted on lousy movies.This time it's the opposite question:Which scores are movie killers?I'm talking soundtracks that seriously distract and detract from otherwise quality movies.

I'll get the ball rolling with these three unfortunate cases that never fail to aggravate me:

Ladyhawke(Score by Andrew Powell)
I choseLadyhawkeas a particularly odious offender,but really,on the subject of disastrous scores,one could simply type "The 80's"and move on.So many of that decade's artificial,synth-heavy scores that have aged like rotten fruit,stinking up countless otherwise strong movies.(Manhunter,I'm looking in your direction) Ladyhawke's music is so bad I wonder if the film would actually work better as a silent film.Or hit the subtitles and play a classical music channel on Pandora.Any random shuffle has got to be an improvement

Planes,Trains,and Automobiles(Score by Ira Newborn)
This is also an eighties title,but I think it's such a uniquely awful case of a score bringing an otherwise terrific comedy to a screeching halt that it deserved to be singled out.Exhibit A on why experimental scores and comedy rarely go together and why you should never,ever mix snippets of the film's dialogue into the score.

Eyes Wide Shut(Score by Jocelyn Pook)
I have struggled with this title since it came out,but if there is one thing that will always stand between me and fully appreciating this fascinating waking nightmare of a movie it is that godforsaken plink-plink-plink piano score.I can imagine a psycho killer fromHannibalusing this music to torture a victim tied up in their basement.Before you say it,yes,I freely admit that this may have been exactly what Kubrick was going for,but even if I believed this to be true (I don't) it would make no difference.The music is viscerally alienating in a way that bypasses the intellect entirely,like jackhammers or squeaky balloons.Just thinking abou it sets me on edge.

Previous Burning Questions
You can follow Michael C.on Twitter at@SeriousFilm. Or read his blogSerious Film

Mar 22 2012

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: "Ladyhawke"

Time for Season 3 ofHit Me With Your Best Shot.Wednesday evenings.

from left to right: Goliath,Navarre (Rutger Hauer) and Isabeau (Michelle Pfeiffer's stunt double)

I thought we'd kick off this season with a personal favorite from the 80s.I use the word favorite emphatically because in many ways,Ladyhawke(1985) is a movie with a confusing relationship to objective quality.It's both great and bad,the score arguing that it's a feature that absolutely should not exist outside of 1985 while the mythic story fights for timelessness.The sound (Oscar-nominated) has wonderful details,maximizing the earthly details of fluttering wings,wolf howls and horse hooves while also embracing the transcendently romantic voices (Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer) but it's marred by jarring score cues that take you out of the action and weird post-production "comedy"vocal work from extras.It feels,at least for its first half,like it's a movie with several authors and endless studio interference from people who didn't believe in a romantic fantasy epic in a time long before fairy tales were hot commodities and sword and sorcery epics were the furthest thing from bankable.So,would you laugh at me if I claimed I thought it was thisclose to being a classic?People are always reediting theStar Warsprequels to try to make them into the movies they should have been but the fantasy with the easiest fix to nudge it from punchline to greatness isLadyhawke.

The one area where Ladyhawke can lay legitimate claim to greatness without lengthy conditional explanations is in the cinematography of three-time Oscar winner Vittorio Storaro (most famous forApocalypse Nowand various Warren Beatty epics).Many films throughout history have used sunsets and sunrises for their sheer beauty but Ladyhawke's reliance on light is more than vanity;it's storytelling.

Pfeiffer's beauty and Hauer's pain after the jump

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