In the early days of cinema, the standard was the silent film. Early technology allowed for video to be captured easily in black and white, but sound was a whole other matter. In the great age of the silent films, the importance of the actor’s physical performance was paramount, as a lack of real dialogue was a constant. Often, the theater would play the film with music provided by in-house musicians, who would either improvise in the early days, or, as was more commonplace after the groundbreaking racist piece, The Birth of a Nation, would play from written scores. Their music provided the only sound to either add or detract from the actor’s expressions, and in a way, since each town had its own musician, and they played each time the movie was shown, audiences essentially never experienced exactly the same film twice. Due to this, silent film is a kind of go-between from stage productions to flat out cinema, and manages to have many of the advantages and disadvantages of both.
Most of the films of the silent era are sadly lost forever, including the nigh-on legendary nine hour original cut of Greed, but interestingly enough, though the in-house musician may be gone, a surprising film has resurrected the silent film methods to tell perhaps one of the greatest horror stories of all time… Continue reading
So, on the second review, and due to my desire to stick with Direct to Video/Direct to Television releases, I finally have an excuse to watch something I’ve been curious about for a while. Back in 2001, a movie by the name of Donnie Darko premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and was well received enough to be moved from its planned Direct to Video release to a theatrical release. The movie, though not technically successful in the box office, has garnered a significant cult following, and has become something of a modern classic (yes, I know that phrase doesn’t really make sense). Apparently hoping that lightening could strike twice, the producer of the movie and one actress from it made a sequel, seven years later. Oh, and they were the only two people from the first movie that had any involvement whatsoever in the production of the sequel. Well, I’m sure that worked out well, right? Continue reading
The original Pocahontas was an interesting attempt at creating a Disney cartoon using a story from Colonial America. Interesting, of course, because they used the inconsistent tale of an explorer to create a story that didn’t even match up with the story he told. John Smith was an adventurer, and purportedly a rather good one, but the most anyone usually knows of his story is that he was saved by a girl who may have just intended to mess with her dad because she was a brat. Really, we don’t know much about the truth of this story, but hey, its a nice dramatic ending. So, essentially they took about fifteen seconds of story and made an 80 minute movie out of it. However, this being Disney, that tactic actually kind of worked, though more recently people have been coming down on the movie rather hard, perhaps deservedly so.
However, there is a much more interesting story of Pocahontas that Disney actually did tell, in a round about way.