The Academy Awards are rapidly approaching. This is an event I’m always excited to watch, even if it’s controlled by so much politics and sometimes the ceremony is a genuine snooze fest. It’s still fun because it has the veneer of respectability. The Golden Globes are decided by a small amount of people who seem easily open to influence or bribes. The Grammys have so many oddly fractured categories it’s hard to keep track of them all. Not to mention you rarely walk away from them feeling that the right people won. The Tonys award some great talent, and that charming NPH has been doing a bang-up job hosting awards shows, but unless you live in New York it’s unlikely you’ve actually seen any of the shows being celebrated. It’s hard to root for a team you can never watch. So, sports fans have the Superbowl, I have the Oscars.
Another Top 5 segment from The MacGuffin. This time Allen and Ed share their top 5 acts of redemption.
Another Top 5 segment from The MacGuffin. This time Allen and Ed share their top 5 speeches.
In honor of Goon, Spencer and Greg look back on Seann William Scott’s career. Then they explore the phenomenon of “movie clusters” and give DVD picks.
Another Top 5 segment from The MacGuffin. This time Allen and Brandi share their top 5 sidekicks.
This segment is also available on Stitcher, iTunes and YouTube. The audio version can be downloaded directly from here. After you’ve watched the video please vote in our poll and share which one you think is the best.
The annual festival of Hollywood-types congratulating each other for their ability to play make-believe really well while flaunting a garish display of uniquely American excess is rapidly approaching. Of course I’m talking about the annual Academy Awards. As a concept, and looking at the amount of import it is often met with, the entire affair can be seen as somewhat ludicrous. Wealthy people handing out statues while displaying millions of dollars in gowns, tuxedos, and jewelry can be seen as paling in comparison to really important things. Teachers, firefighters, doctors, nurses, social workers, Peace Corps volunteers, parents, and thousands of others toil away in professions that, it can be argued, deserve much more praise. They do REALLY impactful work for far less/no money with often little thanks. So yes, the Oscars can be seen as yet another example of our out of whack priorities. Much like the carnival that surrounds sports figures or models or reality TV stars or musicians, the Oscars elevate a group that already gets plenty of rewards for their toils.
Despite all of that, I love them anyway.
Another Top 5 segment from The MacGuffin. This time Allen and Brandi share their top 5 doomed romances.
This segment is also available on Stitcher and iTunes. The audio version can be downloaded directly from here. After you’ve watched the video please vote in our poll and share which one you think is the best.
The beginning of Alfonso Cuaron’s great film, Children of Men (2006), is like a cinematic wake up call, slapping us right in the face to gain our attention. We see a man in a coffee shop ordering a drink. A group of people huddle together, tensely watching a televised news broadcast. This is a world that has fallen into chaos, but while everyone clamors to see what is happening to their society, this man simply shrugs it off, grabs his drink, and starts heading out of the shop. But what he doesn’t realize is that his world is quickly shrinking, and that very soon he’ll have to make a choice to do something about it or succumb to oblivion. In one unbroken shot, we see the man walk out into the busy street, and then, all of a sudden, a large explosion erupts from the very shop he was in just moments before. The problems of humanity have caught up to him, and now he must act.
Amongst cineastes, be they as famous as Roger Ebert, or we mere mortals on this website, it has become de rigueur to trash the new trend of 3D film. The industry is pushing everyone toward putting on sometimes unwieldy glasses while staring at a potentially headache-inducing flicker in the desperate hope of getting audiences back into the theaters. Meanwhile, the TV manufacturers are touting more and more 3D-enabled flat screens, trying to drive sales.
Production companies love this new model for a couple of reasons. They tack on exorbitant fees to tickets prices, making an evening at the movies cost a family of four up to $100. Blu-ray 3D DVDs with current technology are extremely difficult to copy, which cuts down on the rampant Internet piracy of video. Also, let’s face it, Hollywood will always be about business. Getting us to pay more money for anything is simply attractive to them.
Many vocal critics have pointed out the downsides of the medium itself. The 3D projection process produces a dimmer picture, making everything underlit and gloomy. Improper refresh rates on TVs create images that cause considerable eye strain. And multiple 3D standards (Digital 3D, IMAX 3D, Real 3D) cause consumer confusion.
No film is perfect, but there a few that come close. The Third Man (1949), written by Graham Greene and directed by Carol Reed, is one such film. It is one of those movies in which every single element works in perfect harmony with one another. The writing, the acting, the music, and the locations are so distinct and recognizable that they have become lodged in our consciousness almost effortlessly. It has been referenced countless times by countless filmmakers—people have been moved and affected by it perhaps without even knowing it. The story of a naïve American writer, traveling to Europe to meet his friend shortly after WWII and suddenly being thrown head first into a conspiracy of lies and deceit, has become synonymous with what it means to be a “great” movie. It is a film whose intrigue and captivation has not dissipated, even more than a half century later.