Monday, June 30, 2014

[FREE PDF] The Tortured Life of Scofield Thayer by James Dempsey [PDF]



I've had a copy on hold through CW/MARS for a few weeks now and their purchase has yet to be stocked. There are 3 other folks who've requested it through ILL.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fwd: "The 32 Greatest Unscripted Movie Scenes," and more recommendations just for you



 
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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Witchcraft through the ages

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "2,500 Movies Challenge" <noreply@blogger.com>
Date: Jun 22, 2014 4:17 PM
Subject: Dave's 2,500 Movies Challenge
To: <trrytrvrs@gmail.com>

Dave's 2,500 Movies Challenge


#1,406. Häxan : Witchcraft Through the Ages (1922)

Posted: 22 Jun 2014 09:00 AM PDT


Directed By: Benjamin Christensen

Starring: Benjamin Christensen, Elisabeth Christensen, Maren Pedersen





Trivia: At the time, this was the most expensive film produced in any Scandinavian country








Directed by Benjamin Christensen, 1922's Häxan : Witchcraft Through the Ages is a strange combination of documentary and horror, with plenty of dramatizations (both historical and fantasy) that chart the evolution of sorcery and witchcraft, while also exploring the superstition and religious indignation that condemned many so-called "witches", most of whom were tortured and killed.

Separated into seven chapters, Häxan begins with a look at ancient beliefs, from what the heavens were made of to how demons walked the earth. From there, the film moves into several dramatized segments, including a witch preparing a love potion for a woman who lusts after a monk (Oscar Stribolt) as well as an appearance by the devil himself (played by director Christensen, in some effectively creepy make-up). There are scenes of a witch trial, where an elderly seamstress (Emmy Schönfeld), who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, is dragged before a religious tribunal and accused of putting a hex on a wealthy man. After being tortured, she confesses to bewitching the man, and then proceeds to "name" other witches in her "coven". The film concludes with a look at torture devices, and an Exposé on mental illness, drawing the conclusion that what was once considered witchcraft (such as kleptomania) is now seen as a treatable disease.

Admittedly, I was a bit concerned when Häxan first began. The film's opening chapter consists of a series of prints, depicting ancient beliefs (like how the Egyptians were convinced stars were simply lights hanging from the heavens by a rope), spirits, and the occasional demon. This entire sequence is far too scholarly, reminding me of the slide shows I was occasionally subjected to in school (and which always put me to sleep). At times, a pointer even pops into view, drawing our attention to what director Christensen believed were "important" details. However, once the second chapter got underway, I was glued to the screen, due in part to the story being told (a witch at work making potions), but also by how extreme some of the imagery was (the witch, collecting ingredients for her latest concoction, pulls a finger off a decomposing corpse). Quite often, the dramatized sequences feel like a horror movie (one scene, in which the devil suddenly pops into view, is still an effective jump scare), and the film's various special effects, from stop-motion (coins moving on their own, as well as a moment when a small creature breaks through the door) to superimposed images of witches flying through the sky on their broom, are pretty damned good. But it's the movie's tendency to shock that will really stay with you (in one sequence, a pair of witches squat over pots, urinate into them, then throw their piss at the front door of a person they're putting a curse on!).

Despite its slow start, Häxan : Witchcraft through the Ages proved to be a singularly unique experience, a nightmarish journey into the world of magic and sorcery, as well as a diatribe on man's inhumanity to man. It's also one of the most unusual silent films you're likely to see… ever!







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Friday, June 20, 2014

Fwd: Prenumeration from sfi.se




Här är din prenumeration från sfi.se.


[2014-06-17]
Twins under pressure, urban African beats and a study of Katarina Taikon awarded production funding
Four feature films – Malin Andersson's Blood Sisters, Fonko by Daniel Jadama, Lars Lovén and Göran Hugo Olsson, Katarina Taikon by Gellert Tamas and Lawen Mohtadi and The Art of Choice by Kersti Grunditz, a film about the artist Carl Johan De Geer – have ..
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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Fwd: Dave's 2,500 Movies Challenge



---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: 2,500 Movies Challenge <noreply@blogger.com>
Date: Wed, Jun 18, 2014 at 7:18 PM
Subject: Dave's 2,500 Movies Challenge



Dave's 2,500 Movies Challenge


#1,401. 8 Mile (2002)

Posted: 17 Jun 2014 08:19 PM PDT


Directed By: Curtis Hanson

Starring: Eminem, Brittany Murphy, Mekhi Phifer





Tag line: "Find Your Voice"

Trivia: actor Gary Sinese was the original choice to play Greg, the boyfriend of Rabbit's mother







Loosely based on the life and experiences of its star, rapper Eminem, 2002's 8 Mile Is a tough, often unflinching look at life in the poorer sections of Detroit, where winning freestyle rap battles can mean the difference between fame and obscurity.

Jimmy Smith (Eminem), aka "B-Rabbit", has hit rock bottom. Forced to move back home with his mother (Kim Basinger), who's shacked up with her much-younger boyfriend, Greg (Michael Shannon), Rabbit dreams of a better life, and one way for him to get it is to win an underground rap battle, many of which are hosted by his good friend, Future (Mekhi Phifer) Yet, despite his talents as a rapper, Rabbit chokes whenever he takes the stage, a victim of his own insecurities. Not even Alex (Brittany Murphy), the new girl in his life, can give him the confidence he so desperately needs. Will Rabbit overcome his fears, or is he doomed to spend the rest of his days middling away in the section of Detroit the locals call "8 Mile"?

To be sure, 8 Mile closely adheres to a formula we've seen many times before: the underdog trying to conquer his doubts and fears to make his dreams come true. Yet in spite of the predictability of it all, 8 Mile works, due in part to the film's star, Eminem, who, by playing a character very much like himself, brings an authenticity that's usually lacking in movies of this ilk (whether or not the rapper would be as effective in any other role is a moot point because, in the 12 years since this film's release, he hasn't even tried to do so). Equally as impressive as its star's performance is the film's gritty, urban feel, with director Hanson taking us into the back alleys and abandoned buildings of Detroit, adding to the movie's overall realism (these scenes reminded me of the first half of 1976's Rocky, when Rocky Balboa spent a great deal of time walking the streets of Philadelphia). There are other things about 8 Mile that impressed me, such as the fine performances of Mekhi Phifer as Future, the one man who pushes Rabbit to succeed; Kim Basinger as Rabbit's somewhat self-absorbed mother, who isn't above discussing her sex life with her son; and Brittany Murphy as Rabbit's girlfriend, who's a little more ambitious than even he realized. On top of this, I also enjoyed the rap battles themselves (all of which had an incredible energy), as well as the film's soundtrack (Eminem won an Oscar that year for Best Song for his brilliant "Lose Yourself"). But in the end, it's Eminem's performance, coupled with the city of Detroit itself, that makes 8 Mile what it is.

So, for those who'll argue the movie is formulaic, I don't disagree with you. But it's what the cast and crew do with this formula that makes 8 Mile such an inspiring motion picture.







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