By Any Means Necessary: Kino Lorber

So the other day I browsed through other channels on the Roku that I had added. I have seen many Kino Lorber titles I’ve enjoyed, perhaps most notable was The Complete Metropolis.

Turns out it’s a very cool channel. The selection isn’t gigantic compared to the catalog, but if you like a title you can watch it. If you choose to watch it for free there will be 60-90 of commercials every 10 minutes of program or so. You can bypass commercial breaks for just $0.99 cents on all the titles made available. Next time I may go that rout as the commercials come in unceremoniously just as the flow of the film is regained.

Reel Injun (2009, Kino Lorber)

One way or another I am sure I will use it again, and I found a very good and fact-filled doc called Reel Injun.. If you have a Roku I do recommend adding this channel and checking it every so often.

Short Film Saturday: A la Francaise

A La Francaise (2013)

Last week I discussed the lack of focus after the fact on the Oscar-nominated shorts. Because the animated shorts tend to run shorter they usually include several “Highly Commended” selections. This past year this was one of the standouts. Its revolutionary France with chickens and it’s brilliant.

A la Française from à la Française on Vimeo.

Tarzan Thursday: Tarzan and the Green Goddess (1938)

Introduction

In 2012 the character of Tarzan celebrated his 100th year in print. A serialized version of the story first appeared in 1912. A hardcover collection of Tarzan of the Apes first appeared in 1914. Being in the middle of the Tarzan centennial period it’s an opportune time to (re)visit many of the screen renditions of the character. Previous posts in this and other series can be found here.

Tarzan and the Green Goddess (1938)

This is, not unlike many of these Tarzan films, is a composite serial. This is actually the first topic I wrote about on this blog, not a “blockbuster” topic to tackle but it was a buyer beware kind of tale. What happened was I got a serial I loved in a condensed version, which I didn’t want, but I also didn’t know such a thing existed.

Since then I’ve only gone into such ventures knowingly. This film is a shortened version of the 1935 serial The New Adventures of Tarzan. The opening voice over narration cuts through at least one chapter (15-20 minutes) of the serial story. This was apparent before the IMDb confirmed that this is composed of chapters 2-12. Cutting through the stasis straight into the thick of things makes identification and investment in these characters, and joining this world a chore.

This is a film, and its serial predecessor, was produced by Burroughs-Tarzan Enterprises. This was a Poverty Row outfit that was created to create a truer film version of Burroughs’ character.

There are some decisions to me that seem odd based on other versions, but it’s hard to tell how effective this would be in its serial form, which is an entirely different beast. This film with Herman Brix does feature a more literate and eloquent Tarzan than most, though perhaps not the most ever; it also features a far more in shape Tarzan than many of these films have at times. I could continue nitpicking things like the call, which is unmusical and amelodic here. What’s most curious is that the setting is cited as Guatemala and filmed near Tikal but the ecosystem, in zoological terms, is still quite African.

One of the more interesting techniques this film presents is that it employs sped-up film cleverly in a naturalistic fashion to aid the fight choreography. This and other composites lack the cliffhanger aspect that are the trademark of serials. This makes for fairly abominable pacing.

Ultimately, it’s hard to grade. The original serial exists and it may be interesting to visit.

3/10

Short Film Saturday: Helium

Far too often the Best Short Film nominees at the Oscars are all-too-quickly forgotten. Even here, when I see the films I write of them but rarely bring them back up on Saturdays. Here I wanted to rectify that. I loved Helium best in the Live Action block and it ended up winning. Here were my initial thoughts as posted on Oscar night:

So, so, so, so happy that Helium won. What a gorgeous film that made me cry in its 20 minute run time.

Here’s the film:

By Any Means Necessary: 3-D At Home

This is a follow-up to a recent post where I revived this idea and made it a theme.

I am not about to insist that this post is revolutionary. For the most part I have not been an early adopter of new technologies. As you may have seen from some recent posts I have recently revamped my home viewing set-up. It hasn’t been without hiccups, but it has been overall, an exciting embarkation on new avenues of film viewing. Or rather, new-to-me avenues of film viewing.

I am not one who is in adamantly anti-3-D nor am I mindlessly in favor of it. I hate when its lazily and thoughtlessly applied as a cashgrab. However, when its thoughtfully used and planned for it can prove to be a great enhancement.

In this most recent wave of 3-D popularity and the new technologies that have brought it to the fore anew, the best 3-D treatment a film has gotten in my estimation is that in Hugo. This is a film I have written about ad nauseum here on this site both about the content and the 3-D as well.

What was refreshing about the experience at home is that much of the effect I recall from theatrical viewings were still there. In most cases the experience was somewhat enhanced because at home seat positioning and distance from the screen didn’t seem to impact the effect as much as it does in a large auditorium with a much larger screen.

Sure, there will be the differences aside from the obvious like the message on the TV telling you a 3-D signal has been detected, and the glasses are yours and substantial and need to be turned on such that they are detected by your home system. However, it wall worked rather seamlessly and in my estimation breathed a little life into an aspect of the film world I had waning interest in.

2014 BAM Award Considerations – May

I decided that with the plethora of BAM Awards-related post towards the end of 2013 and the start of this year it was best to wait to the end of this month before officially recommencing the process.

I will post these lists towards the end of the month to allow for minimal updates. By creating a new post monthly, and creating massive combo files offline, it should make the process easier for me and more user-friendly for you, the esteemed reader. Enjoy.

Eligible Titles

The Jewish Cardinal
App
Moms’ Night Out
Barbosa: The Man Who Made Brasil Cry*
The Mysteries of the Rimet Trophy*
Fun in Boys Shorts
Maleficent
A Million Ways to Die in the West
Hide and Seek
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Chef
Neighbors
Ilo Ilo

*Only eligible for special and/certain awards

Best Picture

The Jewish Cardinal
Chef
Ilo Ilo

Best Foreign Film

App
The Jewish Cardinal
Hide and Seek
Ilo Ilo

Best Documentary

Barbosa: The Man Who Made Brazil Cry

Most Overlooked Film

As intimated in my Most Underrated announcement this year, I’ve decided to make a change here. Rather than get caught up in me vs. the world nonsense and what a film’s rating is on an aggregate site, the IMDb or anywhere else, I want to champion smaller, lesser-known films. In 2011 with the selection of Toast this move was really in the offing. The nominees from this past year echo that fact. So here, regardless of how well-received something is by those who’ve seen it, I’ll be championing indies and foreign films, and the occasional financial flop from a bigger entity.

The Jewish Cardinal
Hide and Seek
Chef

Best Director

The Jewish Cardinal
Chef
Ilo Ilo

Best Actress

Hannah Hoekstra App
Angelina Jolie Maleficent
Rose Byrne Neighbors
Angeli Bayani Ilo Ilo

Best Actor

Laurent Lucas The Jewish Cardinal
Heon-ju Son Hide and Seek
Jon Favreau Chef
Seth Rogen Neighbors

Best Supporting Actress

Audrey Dana The Jewish Cardinal
Elle Fanning Maleficent
Jung-Hee Moon Hide and Seek
Jennifer Lawrence X-Men: Days of Future Past
Sofia Vergara Chef
Yann Yann Yeo Ilo Ilo

Best Supporting Actor

Aurélien Recoing The Jewish Cardinal
James McAvoy X-Men: Days of Future Past
John Leguizamo Chef
Zac Efron Neighbors

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Leading Role

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Leading Role

Tainwen Chen Ilo Ilo

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Supporting Role

Elle Fanning Maleficent
Isabelle Molloy Maleficent
Kim Soo-Ahn Hide and Seek
Kim Ji-Young Hide and Seek

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Supporting Role

Michael Leone Moms’ Night Out
Michael Higgins Maleficent
Emjay Anthony Chef
Jung Joon-Won Hide and Seek

Best Cast

Hide and Seek
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Chef
Neighbors
Ilo Ilo

Best Youth Ensemble

Maleficent
Hide and Seek

Best Original Screenplay

The Jewish Cardinal
Maleficent
Hide and Seek
Chef
Neighbors

Best Adapted Screenplay

Maleficent
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Best Score

App
Maleficent
Hide and Seek
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Best Editing

App
Hide and Seek
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Chef

Best Sound Editing/Mixing

Maleficent
Hide and Seek
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Chef

Best Cinematography

The Jewish Cardinal
App
Hide and Seek

Best Art Direction

Maleficent
Hide and Seek
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Chef

Best Costume Design

Maleficent
A Million Ways to Die in the West
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Chef

Best Makeup

Maleficent
Hide and Seek
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Best Visual Effects

App
Maleficent
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Best (Original) Song

Fun in Boys Shorts
Maleficent
A Million Ways to Die in the West