Sheila O'Malley on the art of Joan Crawford, as displayed in a new restoration of 1952's "Sudden Fear."
Sheila writes: Some long takes in cinema are gratuitous and flashy, some connect themselves to the theme of the movie, but all of them are fun to pick apart and deconstruct. The technological challenges are daunting and it's fun to see film-makers rise to those challenges. I came across a video analyzing 12 long takes in cinema, and it should be a fun jumping-off point for discussion. What are your favorite long takes?
Superman always seems to need to be revamped, revived, and recycled. He is, to use comics critic Tom Crippen's keen phrase, the mainstream comics' industry's "hood ornament." In this extensively annotated list, Simon Abrams picks the 10 most influential and astonishing visions of the Man of Steel.
Marie writes: At first you think you're looking at a photograph. Then the penny drops, along with your jaw..."Alan Wolfson creates handmade miniature sculptures of urban environments. Complete with complex interior views and lighting effects, a major work can take several months to complete. The pieces are usually not exact representations of existing locations, but rather a combination of details from many different locations along with much of the detail from the artist's imagination. There is a narrative element to the work. Scenarios are played out through the use of inanimate objects in the scene. There are never people present, only things they have left behind; garbage, graffiti, or a tip on a diner table, all give the work a sense of motion and a storyline. Alan's miniature environments are included in art collections throughout the US and Europe." - Alan Wolfson - Miniature Urban Sculptures
"FOLLIES BURLESK" (1987)14 1/4 x 19 1/4 x 21 1/2 inches(click images to enlarge)
Marie writes: They call it "The Shard" and it's currently rising over London akin to Superman's Fortress of Solitude and dwarfing everything around it, especially St. Paul's in front. I assume those are pigeons flying over-head and not buzzards. Ie: not impressed, but that's me and why I'm glad I saw London before they started to totally ruin it.Known as the "London Bridge Tower" before they changed the name, when completed in 2012, it will be the tallest building in Europe and 45th highest in the world. It's already the second highest free-standing structure in the UK after the Emley Moor transmitting station. The Shard will stand 1,017 ft high and have 72 floors, plus another 15 radiator floors in the roof. It's been designed with an irregular triangular shape from base to top and will be covered entirely in glass. The tower was designed by Renzo Piano, the Italian architect best know for creating Paris's Pompidou Centre of modern art with Richard Rogers, and more recently the New York Times Tower. You can read an article about it at the Guardian. Here's the official website for The Shard. Photograph: Dan Kitwood.
Q. It recently came to my attention that there is a ghost in "Three Men and a Baby." If you start the tape at 1:01:13, the camera pans across a window behind Ted Danson and Celeste Holm, who are walking into a room, and at a spot by the window curtains, the rifle that was presumably used in the killing of a young boy may be clearly seen, with the barrel pointing down.
Oscar turns 75 this year, old enough to write a second volume of its memoirs. The Academy Awards are always called Hollywood's Prom Night, and like all prom nights they inspires a lot of memories and photographs and scrapbooks, and sometimes you go rummaging through them.
Q. In your review of "The Cell" you described the outfits worn by Jennifer Lopez and others while voyaging into the minds of patients as "virtual reality gear." I think the opposite was the case. The outfits were probably worn by the characters to completely desensitize them from the external world so that the therapy could not be interrupted. That's probably also why they were suspended in mid-air. During the therapy sessions the characters did not move their bodies at all. If they were wearing virtual reality gear their bodies, conceivably, would have been mimicking their movements. (Jordan Potasky, Toronto)
Q. I stood for a long time in front of the poster for "Inventing the Abbots," which shows five or six of the major characters piled into the front seat of a car. Something was wrong. Suddenly I realized: There isn't room in the front of that car for all the bodies connected to the heads! The heads are so close together that they apparently do not possess shoulders, arms, chests, torsos, etc. What's up? (Emerson Thorne, Chicago)
Hollywood has been waiting a long time to give Clint Eastwood an Oscar, and my hunch is, the wait is over. Eastwood's "Unforgiven," an elegiac Western about a retired gunfighter who pulls himself together for one final campaign, will win the best picture award when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gathers on the night of Monday, March 29.
Conventional wisdom has it that the Motion Picture Academy likes to honor Feel Good films with its Oscars. Gritty and violent movies may be nominated for the best picture award, but the winner will be a movie that embraces traditional values and leaves us with a warm glow. That theory has certainly held true over the past 10 years, during which the only really Feel Bad movie that won as best picture was "Platoon." I do not count such Feel Good About Feeling Bad movies as "Terms of Endearment."