In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb large 7tdpkbfqnayks7ohe9vnflwmz6b

Human Flow

The most monumental cinematic middle finger aimed at the Trump administration to date.

Thumb tbrzhlne8dnplllwee9bwdgnzle

Professor Marston & the Wonder Women

A timely affirmation of feminine power—of the ways in which female wisdom and strength can charge hearts and minds, influence culture and inspire others to…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Chaz's Journal Archives
Other Articles
Blog Archives

Opening Shots: The 'Burbs

tb1.jpg

From Dennis Cozzalio, Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule, Glendale, CA:

tb2.jpg

The opening of Joe Dante’s cruelly misjudged and overlooked comedy "The ‘Burbs" begins with a vertiginous and hilarious parody of the God’s-eye view shot. Fade in on the familiar Universal logo—the planet Earth spinning, surrounded by incongruously Saturn-like circles of galaxy dust, particle and stars. But the world looks a little off, a bit more animated, more cartoony than usual.

tb3.jpg

tb4.jpg

The camera begins to move in on the planet as the words “A Universal Picture" dissolve away. The camera moves down closer and closer and closer onto the planet’s surface, onto the recognizable shape of the United States. Even closer now, dropping down into the Midwest somewhere, perhaps Illinois-ish. Closer. Closer. Now a city is recognizable. A neighborhood. A street. The camera continues craning down from above the rooftops (obviously a miniature set), swooping left and down across the front of a row of houses.

Advertisement

tb5.jpg

tb6.jpg

Suddenly, Jerry Goldsmith’s score, which has had up to now a liltingly comic grace, turns mock haunted-house creepy with a thunderous, sinister organ chord as the camera glides over to a dwelling that looks a scosh more gothic than its surrounding neighbors. Just as suddenly, flickering flashes of light are visible through the windows into lining the goth house’s basement foundation, and crackling electrical sounds are heard accompanying the flashes. Something mysterious, and very un-suburban, is happening down there…

JE: Thanks again, Dennis! You submitted this along with several others back in July -- and I had frame grabs for it and "Used Cars" ready to go before my "hard drive fatality." Gotta go back and order "Used Cars" from Netflix again. Meanwhile, a happy belated birthday to Joe Dante ! Check out Dennis's Dantean appreciation -- as part of Tim Lucas's recent Joe Dante Blog-a-Thon.

Also don't let 2006 expire before you take Professor Dave Jennings' Milton-Free, Universe-Expanding Holiday Midterm. It counts for 25 percent of your final grade this quarter.

(And, Dennis: Thanks so much for the Christmas gift!)

Popular Blog Posts

The Fall of Toxic Masculinity and the Rise of Feminine Consciousness

A special edition of Thumbnails detailing the recent sexual harassment cases in the entertainment and tech industries...

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Man on the Outside: The Films of Willem Dafoe

A look at the career of Willem Dafoe.

“Vampyr” and Other Horror Classics From Criterion For Halloween

On the newest horror film to enter the Criterion Collection and others you should pick up.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus