I forgot how good this movie is. I was working as an usher at Arclight when they were trying to get distribution for it, and Ray Liotta came to a few of the screenings. He was a really nice guy, and it was clear he was as passionate about the film as Joe was.
3) The Shining (1980) – dir. Stanley Kubrick, DOP. John Alcott
It’s a bold move to disorient your audience in the opening seconds of your film, but Kubrick is nothing if not a bold filmmaker. As the film begins to unspool, a small, lonely island moves towards the camera on a pristine mountain lake. Immediately (and I mean immediately) after the viewer takes in the setting, the camera tilts sickeningly which - somehow – allows every aspect of the scenery to move in a different direction. Is the lake rising upwards? Is the island sinking? Are the mountains rushing towards you unnaturally quickly? Yes. All three. The camera – mounted on a helicopter – moving along the surface of the lake coupled with the very specific rotation exemplifies the elegant, psychologically subversive modus operandi of this most famous of horror films. What is right in front of your eyes will turn on you, much sooner than you are comfortable with.
Look, I love The Shining as much as the next guy, but you’re telling me this 15 second helicopter shot is one of the most perfectly executed shots of all time? Get the fuck outta here.
To be fair, the actual criteria the author used is “instances in which the camera itself reveals the emotional subtext of a scene without help from the actor, director, or soundtrack” but one, the soundtrack CLEARLY does the heavy lifting here and two, this is yet another example of someone putting way too much subtext into one shot. Sometimes a pretty shot is just a pretty shot.
*I’m being really understated here because in reality this is one of the best scenes I’ve watched in a very long time and I don’t want my heart to get broken if this film turns out to be bad. But my god, what a scene.
Goodfellas and My Blue Heaven: Both movies are based upon the life of Henry Hill, but while Goodfellas was based upon the book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi, the screenplay for My Blue Heaven was written by Pileggi’s wife, Nora Ephron, and much of the research for both works was done in the same sessions with Hill. (wiki) [via goldenfiddle]
I’ve been waiting for this to find its way to youtube ever since I saw Hot Tub Time Machine earlier this year since it was my favorite part of the movie, a pitch-perfect homage to the video for my favorite Mötley Crüe song, “Home Sweet Home.”
It would be next to impossible for me to choose a favorite filmmaker based on quality or consistency of work. However, ask me to choose a favorite filmmaker based on flamboyancy of character, and how content I would be to simply listen to other people tell stories about them for hours on end, and it has to be John Milius. Milius is a rare breed in Hollywood. A gun-toting conservative, he’s known as much for his fits of rage as his classic action movies. He’s one of those artists who isn’t afraid of pissing people off, and machismo drips off him like water, saturating everything he touches.
Here, he smokes cigars and discusses his 1975 film The Wind & The Lion, a sweeping epic in the tradition of David Lean, starring Sean Connery and Candice Bergen, and a favorite film of mine. True to the form of most John Milius movies, everything about it is completely unapologetic. If you have the time and you’d like some more John Milius entertainment, I insist you watch the DVD commentary for Conan the Barbarian. The banter between Milius and Schwarzenegger is one of the most hilarious things I’ve ever heard.