Film & TV

Golden Globes 2013: Snubs, Surprises, and Spoilers

Loren DiBlasi

Some deserving films were left out of the drama category, but thankfully, many deserving actors were awarded their due. The few exceptions most definitely include Best Actress contender Quvenzhane` Wallis, the pint-sized wonder who enchanted in the emotional and profound Beasts of the Southern Wild, as well as Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master for Best Picture. Perhaps the film was a bit beyond its time, or perhaps star Joaquin Phoenix’s flippant comments hurt The Master’s chances. Let’s hope it wasn’t the latter, because Phoenix gives a gut-wrenching, career-best performance in the film (and thankfully he was nominated for Best Actor.) Let’s also hope that the Oscars wise up and learn from the Globes’ mistake.

From Alfred Hitchcock to ‘The Dark Knight’: The Best DVD Collections of 2012

Forrest Hartman

By most accounts, 2012 was a good year for movies. Not only were there more quality theatrical releases than normal, the home video offerings were very impressive. The past year was particularly strong when it came to DVD and Blu-ray boxed sets. That’s important because it’s these collections that stand apart and have the potential to convince consumers that DVDs and Blu-rays still have advantages over the increasingly popular digital download. Following are five 2012 boxed sets that rank among the best of the best.  

Tim Burton’s ‘Frankenweenie,’ ‘Game Change’ Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

Most of Burton’s movies are instantly recognizable thanks to the filmmakers’ unique artistic vision and his ability to blend dark, film noir elements into genres known for sunnier treatments.  His touch is particularly welcome here because “Frankenweenie” – presented in black and white – is visually similar to director James Whale’s 1931 version of “Frankenstein.”  The likeness adds to the idea that Burton is not only re-imagining Shelley’s story but paying tribute to its previous film incarnations. 

Hollywood Cinematographer Barry Markowitz Discusses Capturing the Soul of the South on Film

Charlene Oldham

It’s a lesson Markowitz now knows well after years of working with directors including Thornton, Robert Duvall and Nicholas Cage on Southern films such as Sling Blade, The Apostle and Sonny. He also served as director of photography for Thornton’s latest, Jayne Mansfield’s Car. So how did this New Yorker who earned a degree in Jewish history from Israel’s Hebrew University become the go-to cinematographer for Southern films for these Oscar-winning directors and actors? Markowitz is a self-professed stranger in a strange land populated – at least in films – by pickup trucks, hunting dogs and humidity levels higher than hell's. 

‘Looper,’ ‘Cosmopolis’ Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

Time-travel films are fraught with complexities that leave thoughtful moviegoers debating merits and flaws long after the credits roll; and “Looper,” written and directed by Rian Johnson, is one of the strongest entries we’ve seen in years. The movie is set in the United States in the year 2044. Time travel has not yet been invented, but a select group of criminals know the technology will arrive in just three decades. 

‘Arbitrage,’ ‘The Words’ Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

Perhaps the greatest compliment one can bestow on a thriller is to call it Hitchcockian, and “Arbitrage” – written and directed by Nicholas Jarecki – would fit nicely in the Alfred Hitchcock catalogue. The movie’s power comes not only from the fact that it keeps viewers in suspense but from its carefully drawn lead character, Robert Miller (Richard Gere). Robert is a powerful hedge fund manager with an aura of complete confidence, yet viewers sense his vulnerability when he’s alone. 

Film & Special Effects: Blurring the Lines Between Reality and Imagery

Maggie Hennefeld

Special effect (SFX) techniques have undergone momentous transformations throughout the past century of the medium’s history. Even SFX’ anatomical obsessions have developed (as it were): from early cinema’s in-camera techniques that never tired of limb dismemberment tricks to the 21st Century race to shatter “the uncanny valley” and use computer imagery to simulate human likeness. Film producers like Méliès and Edison ejaculated limbs from all sides of the frame using stop-start substitution tricks (the trick splice). 

‘Total Recall,’ 'Trouble With the Curve’ Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

Director Len Wiseman adds nice touches to this new version of “Recall,” including a darker tone, improved special effects and a superior cast. Whether you like Arnold Schwarzenegger or not, Colin Farrell is a better actor, and he is joined by Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel and Bill Nighy, all of whom are terrific. Wiseman and his team of screenwriters allow their movie to stray from the original “Recall,” particularly in terms of setting. 

10 Indie Actors on the Verge of Mainstream

Loren DiBlasi

Below are ten actors and actresses -- some more recognizable than others -- who represent the best and brightest currently working in film. Their differences are vast: they are men and women of various ages, representing many different backgrounds. So what do they all have in common? For starters, none of them have ever won an Academy Award, though several have been nominated at least once. Further, when it comes to the mainstream Hollywood career path, each one has diverged in slightly left-of-center directions.

‘The Bourne Legacy,’ ‘Ted’ Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray

Forrest Hartman

The three Jason Bourne films starring Matt Damon are exciting espionage efforts that have a near-ideal balance of plot and action. “The Bourne Legacy” is a sequel to those movies and, although it does a fine job with the stunts, the plotting isn’t nearly as inspiring, in large part because it’s redundant. This time, the focus shifts from Jason Bourne to a U.S. intelligence operative named Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner). 

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