The Classic Myth of Disney’s Hercules
Sep28

The Classic Myth of Disney’s Hercules

Let’s talk about Disney’s “Hercules.”  The first time I saw it I laughed and thought, “Oh man, so inaccurate!”  But… which tradition am I holding it accountable to?  Anachronous elements have crept in, such as the gospel-singing Muses and references to modern merchandise like tennis shoes and action figures.  But this isn’t new to myth!  Iliad was full of anachronous detail—descriptions of battle techniques, temples to the gods, and...

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Importance of Being a Soundtrack
Sep21

Importance of Being a Soundtrack

There are a lot of elements that can ruin a movie (a cliché plot twist, painful CGI, Hayden Christensen), but the one that strikes me as the most tragic is the crummy soundtrack. The soundtrack infiltrates a film so thoroughly that remarkable scores become iconic in their own right, and inextricably associated with the film.  “Indiana Jones,” “Jurassic Park,” “Star Wars.”  We make ringtones and Guitar Hero tracks and let loose great...

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Fabio: A Time for Romance
Sep10

Fabio: A Time for Romance

By Sam Wood This week I am very proud to begin my series of thrilling VHS Screeners. These are not-so-sneak peeks at fine cinematic masterpieces you will not see re-released on mass-market DVD (bootlegs maybe). As a lover of knowledge, I think it is a crime that these works will be lost to the shifting technologies of progress. Therefore, I strive to document them. Without further ado, I present the timeless masterpiece “Fabio: A Time...

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History of Film: Magic Lanterns
Sep02

History of Film: Magic Lanterns

The history of film tends to be dominated by the 1920s, 30s, and 40s.  We talk about the transition to talkies, the Hays code, the introduction of color, and of course the birth of future movie supergod Arnold Schwarzenegger in July of 1947 (there was thunder and lightning and candy bullets rained from the sky). If we want to go further back we discuss Edison and the Kinetograph, Lumiere and the Cinematographe, and the many...

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Book versus Film
Aug27

Book versus Film

Let’s talk about books.  (“Oh noooo!” the voices of thousands cry in unison, “Not booooks, on my mooooovie site!”). SIT DOWN! That’s better.  Now, I’m a major nerd, and most of the time when I know that a movie is based on a book I’m pretty stringent about reading that book.  Other times, I have no idea until much later that a book ever existed.  At that point, I try to track it down. I was all set to make a fanatical case for the...

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Starcrash
Aug20

Starcrash

Tonight I sat down with a couple of good friends, a big goblet of Olallieberry wine, and a DVD called “Starcrash.” I saw the film once, years ago, and at the time I sorely wished I had purchased some alcohol first. A goblet of dessert wine seemed just the thing to add a touch of class to my evening. “Starcrash,” is a mind-blowing Italian space opera from the 1970s. According to IMDB, its official title is “The Adventures of Stella...

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Sam’s Phenomenal Cosmic Movie Column

Hello and welcome to Sam’s Phenomenal Cosmic Movie Column!  On the following pages you will find wonders and horrors, exalting philosophical diatribes and a sublime butchery of the critic’s art.  You may laugh, or cry, or pass out from the oxygen deprivation (don’t forget to breathe while reading; see disclaimer below). The Phenomenal Cosmic Movie Column (now available in supercolor!) is a cinematic cabinet of curiosities.  Tug open...

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