Thursday, June 2, 2016

Psycho Beach Party



2000 American/Australian Feature

Cast: Lauren Ambrose, Thomas Gibson, Nicholas Brendon, Kimberley Davies, Matt Keeslar, Charles Busch, Beth Broderick, Danni Wheeler, Nick Cornish, Andrew Levitas, Amy Adams and Kathleen Robertson
Director: Robert Lee King
Writer: Charles Busch, based on his play

Synopsis:
Chicklet, a schizophrenic surfer girl, is the main suspect when a rash of teen murders strikes her local beach hangout.

Links:

Ratings:
  • Internet Movie Database: 6.3/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes - Critics: 53% / Audience: 66%
  • Metacritic - Critics: 42% / Audience: 8.7%
  • OMG rating: 7/10
  • Movie Dearest rating: B

Buy/Rent:
  • DVD/Blu-ray: Available
  • Soundtrack: Available
  • Book: Available



Trailer:


Awards:
  • L.A. Outfest Grand Jury Award for Outstanding Actress in a Feature Film (Ambrose) and Special Programming Committee Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement (Production Design).

Notes/Trivia:
  • Set in 1962 Malibu Beach, Psycho Beach Party is a parody of 1950s psychodramas, 1960s beach movies and 1980s slasher films.
  • The play was originally entitled Gidget Goes Psychotic, but the title was changed due to concerns about copyright. In the original 1987 Off-Broadway production, Charles Busch played the role of Chicklet. Deciding that he might not be believable in the role of a sixteen-year-old girl ("while I can still manage, with the aid of a sympathetic cameraman, to play a sophisticated 25, 16 would be a stretch"), Busch added the Susan Hayward-inspired character of hard-boiled police captain Monica Stark to the movie.
  • For foreign distribution the flashback sex scene with Kanaka and Monica Stark (featuring a female body double for Charles Busch) was cut.

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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Morocco



1930 American Feature

Cast: Gary Cooper, Marlene Dietrich, Adolphe Menjou, Ullrich Haupt, Eve Southern, Francis McDonald and Paul Porcasi
Director: Josef von Sternberg
Writer: Jules Furthman, based on the novel Amy Jolly, die Frau aus Marrakesch by Benno Vigny

Synopsis:
A cabaret singer and a Legionnaire fall in love, but their relationship is complicated by his womanizing and the appearance of a rich man who wants her for himself.

Links:

Ratings:
  • Internet Movie Database: 7.3/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes - Critics: 100% / Audience: 72%
  • OMG rating: 6/10

Buy/Rent:
  • DVD: Available



Trailer:


Awards:
  • Academy Award nominations for Best Actress (Dietrich), Director, Cinematography and Art Direction.

Notes/Trivia:
  • Amy Jolly, die Frau aus Marrakesch (Amy Jolly, the Woman from Marrakesh) by Benno Vigny was first published in 1927.
  • Famous for two story elements which were controversial at the time of release: Marlene Dietrich is seen kissing a woman on screen as well as for wearing a tuxedo suit designed for a man.
  • The scene where Marlene Dietrich kisses another woman (added to the script at her suggestion) was saved from being cut by the censors by Dietrich herself: she came up with the idea of taking a flower from the woman before kissing her and then giving the flower to Gary Cooper, explaining that if the censors cut the kiss the appearance of the flower would make no sense.
  • In 1992, Morocco was inducted into the National Film Registry.
  • In 2002, Morocco was ranked #83 on the American Film Institute's "100 Years, 100 Passions" list.

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Saturday, May 14, 2016

Calamity Jane



1953 American Feature

Cast: Doris Day, Howard Keel, Allyn McLerie, Philip Carey, Dick Wesson, Paul Harvey, Chubby Johnson and Gale Robbins
Director: David Butler
Writer: James O'Hanlon
Songs: Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster

Synopsis:
Indian scout Calamity Jane is as hard-riding and handy with a gun as any man in Deadwood, South Dakota. When best buddy Wild Bill Hickock bestows his affections on a more feminine member of their show troupe, the friends begin to feud... and then fall in love.

Links:

Ratings:
  • Internet Movie Database: 7.3/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes - Critics: 71% / Audience: 88%
  • OMG rating: 7/10

Buy/Rent:
  • DVD/Blu-ray: Available
  • Soundtrack: Available



Trailer:


Awards:
  • Academy Award for Best Original Song ("Secret Love"); also nominated for Best Music: Scoring of a Musical Picture and Sound Recording.

Notes/Trivia:
  • Warner Bros. studio head Jack Warner decided to make Calamity Jane after he tried - and failed - to buy the movie rights to the Broadway hit Annie Get Your Gun as a vehicle for Doris Day. He not only drew (very loosely) on the life of another legendary "wild woman" of the Old West for his heroine, he hired the same male star, Howard Keel, who'd appeared in the 1950 film version of Annie Get Your Gun.
  • Doris Day recorded the song "Secret Love" in only one take. It hit number one on the Billboard charts, and has been recorded many times over the years by such singers as Bing Crosby, Freddy Fender, Connie Francis, Engelbert Humperdinck, Loretta Lynn, George Michael, Anne Murray, Sinéad O'Connor, Cybill Shepherd, Andy Williams and Slim Whitman. k.d. lang's cover of the song was played during the closing credits of the 1995 documentary The Celluloid Closet.
  • A stage musical adaptation, with several songs written for but not used in the film added back in, had its world premiere in 1961 in Fort Worth, Texas. Actresses who have played Jane throughout the years include Edie Adams, Carol Burnett, Louise Mandrell, Martha Raye and Ginger Rogers.
  • Remade for television in 1963 with Carol Burnett in the title role.

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Freebie and the Bean



1974 American Feature

Cast: Alan Arkin, James Caan, Loretta Swit, Jack Kruschen, Mike Kellin, Linda Marsh, Alex Rocco, Valerie Harper and Christopher Morley
Director: Richard Rush
Writers: Robert Kaufman and Floyd Mutrux

Synopsis:
San Francisco police detectives Freebie and Bean are determined to bust local crime boss Red Meyers at any cost, even if this means destroying the whole city in the process.

Links:

Ratings:
  • Internet Movie Database: 6.5/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes - Critics: 30% / Audience: 69%

Buy/Rent:
  • DVD: Available



Trailer:


Awards:
  • Golden Globe nomination for Most Promising Newcomer - Female (Harper).
  • Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Award for Best Sound Editing - Sound Effects.

Notes/Trivia:
  • A short-lived television series based on the film, starring Tom Mason and Héctor Elizondo in the title roles, premiered on CBS in 1980.
  • As seen in the documentary The Celluloid Closet, the gratuitous shooting of the hit man in drag (billed in the credits as "Transvestite") is one of the most over-the-top depictions of homophobic violence in film.


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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Andy Warhol: A Documentary Film



2006 American Feature

Cast: Laurie Anderson, Donna De Salvo, Bob Dylan, Dave Hickey, Dennis Hopper, Jeff Koons, Paul Morrissey, John Richardson and Holly Woodlawn
Director: Ric Burns
Writers: Ric Burns and James Sanders

Synopsis:
The life and artistic influence of iconic pop artist Andy Warhol.

Links:

Ratings:

Buy/Rent:
  • DVD: Available



Video clip:


Awards:
  • Peabody Award.

Notes/Trivia:
  • In addition to Andy Warhol himself, notable people appearing in archival footage include: Salvador Dalí, Candy Darling, George Plimpton and Edie Sedgwick.
  • Debuted in September 2006 with a two-week theatrical run in New York City, then televised in the United States over two nights later that month on PBS as part of its American Masters series.

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