Posts Tagged ‘Charlie Chaplin’

As the Crank Turns

March 8, 2012

If I haven’t done so, I will do it now. Let me state for the record that I do not like horror films, in particular I don’t like horror films made from 1970 to the present day. I find them to be heavy on gore and chase scenes and light on plot and characterization. Don’t worry, there’s a reason for this disclosure and it has to do with this week’s blog entry.

Exhibit A
There will be a remake of the campy horror film Evil Dead.  Reports state that the remake will be more dark and more gory than the original. Also, the role of Ash, which was played by Bruce Campbell in the original film, will be recast as a female. Well, it worked with Battlestar Galactica, so I guess the director decided to try it in Evil Dead.

Exhibit B
Radius,
a game and crowd-sourced film, most likely the first of its kind in the world, had its premiere in Cincinnati recently. The film was made via a smartphone scavenger hunt. People were invited to upload images of people, places and things in the Cincinnati area. Three hundred people participated and 2000 images were uploaded. The company that made this film, Ripple FX Films, is an independent production company that wants to “…put the audience at the center of the art.”

The Point of Exhibits A & B
Exhibit A shows how, once again, the powers that be in Hollywood have decided to greenlight a remake. Exhibit B shows how, once again, the independent filmmakers are striving to creative imaginative and original films. Really, it is necessary to redo Evil Dead? For fans of the film, part of its charm was its low budget campiness. Now there will be a version with lots of CGI effects. Like that will make the film better? As for independent filmmakers, they regularly show their dedication to storytelling and they do it with less resources and more imagination then the studios. Go independents!

“You’ve written about this before,” you must be saying now. “So, what else is new? Hollywood is a business, you know.”

Yes, I’ve written about this before, of course if the powers that be would stop with the redos, I would stop writing about this. Yet, the fact remains, Hollywood is a business and the tension between art and commerce has been going on since the days of Charlie Chaplin. Still, it is possible for the studios to create an original film and make money, as well. Burlesque, The Help, Shrek, Twilight are all recent original films that did well at the box office. So, the powers that be can’t blame it on the recession or throw up their hands and say it is just a trend. In fact, Ripple FX Films was brave enough to solicit images from everyday folks and the people at that company created a film out of those images. So, suits how about taking a line from the independents, putting the lid on all the remakes and making something original?  Don’t worry, you’ll make money. After all, Burlesque, The Help, Shrek, Twilight made money, lots of it and they were all original.

Tune it next time to As the Crank Turns, when our resident blogger will rail against a remake of Planet 9 from Outer Space. (That is if the suits actually decide to greenlight Planet 9 from Outer Space.)

Sources:
http://www.movieweb.com/news/the-evil-dead-remake-to-be-dark-and-very-gory-says-jane-levy

http://www.local12.com/news/local/story/First-of-Its-Kind-Movie-To-Premiere-In-Cincinnati/D2zXlk1aKUaa6T4i5gmDGQ.cspx

http://www.whatisradius.com/about

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What Lurks In Your Walls Or Some People Have All The Luck

October 20, 2010

As I have stated many times before, I love the Antiques Roadshow[1].  I especially love hearing the stories of how people happened to find their treasures. Usually people find things at yard sales, estate sales, tucked away in an attic, a basement, a closet or even curbside. Well, not too long ago there were two people who found treasures in their home that would astound the appraisers at the Antiques Roadshow.

First there’s Blair Pitre of Lacombe, Alberta, Canada. He bought a turn of the century bungalow and started work on renovating it.  As he was tearing down the walls, he found movie posters from the late 1920’s/early 1930’s featuring actors such as Greta Garbo, Charlie Chaplin and Joan Crawford. This is an important period in the history of motion pictures because the industry was transitioning from silent to talkies. The previous owner, an 80-year-old woman who died in 2009, was the granddaughter of an early twentieth century movie theater owner in Pitre’s town. As to why the posters were in the wall, most likely she used them as insulation and never thought that they would be worth anything. Pitre had the posters auctioned off to help pay for renovation of his house. One poster, Bulldog Drummond, a drama from 1929 sold for $9,000. Pitre hopes to find more posters in his home. In particular, he is hoping to find Metropolis, since that poster is worth a million dollars.

Next there’s retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Martin Kober. For as long as he could remember, a painting of the Virgin Mary crying over the crucified Jesus has been in his family.  Family lore said that the painting was a Michelangelo. The item hung over the sofa of his parents home, until the day when the younger Kober threw a tennis ball and knocked it off the wall. His parents then wrapped it up and kept it behind the sofa. When Kober retired in 2003, he decided to research the history of this painting. One expert, Antonio Forcellino says that the painting is a actual Michelangelo painting, another expert, William Wallace says that it isn’t. Forcellino bases his claims on his expertise as a restorer, as well as the painting’s similarity to a drawing Michelangelo did that is now at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Wallace states that while the piece is impressive, it was not done by Michelangelo. So, who’s right? Time and more examination by experts will tell.

Still, what I want to know is why are Pitre and Kober so lucky? How come their treasures were right under their noses and all that’s in my walls is insulation and all that is behind my sofa are dust bunnies? This inquiring mind wants to know.

Sources:

http://www.montrealgazette.com/entertainment/movie-guide/Lost+found+Vintage+movie+posters+fetch/3300921/story.html

http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/10/12/new.york.painting


[1] Antiques Roadshow is the American version of the BBC television show of the same name that airs on PBS. This show has people bringing their antique and collectible items to appraisers and the appraisers tell them if their items are worth anything. Sometimes the items are worth something and sometimes they aren’t.