TCM Fest 2014: Ginger Rogers, Warren William, and Pre-Code Pleasures

23 Apr

I (hope I) am far from alone in considering Ginger Rogers one of the greatest screen actors of all time. There’s her range of talent, certainly. She could be funny or touching (or both). She could dance, and she could sing. She avoided playing the same character over and over, yet retained something of a consistent star persona. One could guess a bit at one gets from a Ginger Rogers picture, but even that seemed to change year to year, a diverse range of expression quite well represented by three films that played at this year’s Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival – 5th Avenue Girl, Bachelor Mother, and Hat Check Girl.

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The prospect of starting off the festival with two Ginger Rogers films was too good to pass up, and both 5th Avenue Girl and Bachelor Mother proved well worth their while. For those of us who came to love her through her Pre-Code musicals, these later films are often a real revelation. In both films, she plays the absolute moral center, at once intensely put-upon yet able to bear it all. Gregory La Cava’s 5th Avenue Girl (1939) sees her play a near-penniless working girl who happens to meet a wealthy industrialist (played by Walter Connolly), who himself happens to be a bit lonely on his birthday. Fortunately for Rogers, he’s not after the kind of company she initially suspects, and soon enough, they’re off to dine and dance. The evening goes so well, he hires her to make his uncaring family jealous by just merely spending time with him.

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Unstoppable, by David Bax

23 Apr

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The opening titles of Omid Nooshin’s Last Passenger - which depict a train’s point of view as it zooms through an unpeopled nightscape of steel tracks and the occasional bright warning light – have a grainy, murky, low-tech throwback feel. Even the titles themselves seem to be from a different era, reminiscent as they are of Alien, another film about a group of people trapped on a large vehicle.

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WTF Are You Watching? The Hard Way

22 Apr

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In this episode, Kyle is joined by Joey Thomas and Kurt Quinn to discuss the buddy cop film The Hard Way.

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Hey, Watch This! Game of Thrones/Fargo

21 Apr

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In this episode, Paul discusses Game of Thrones and the series premiere of Fargo.

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EPISODE 370: artist profile of SEAN CONNERY

21 Apr

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In this episode, Tyler and David discuss the career of actor Sean Connery.

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To The Wonder(con), by Tyler Smith

21 Apr

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There was a moment at this year’s Wondercon in which I was walking the exhibit floor, looking for Riddler action figures, when I realized that a panel I was interested in attending was going to start in the next few minutes.  I quickly made my way to the exit of the exhibit floor.  Before I left, though, I gave a quick look back, for no particular reason.  And, in the moment, I wish I had taken a photo.

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The Auteurcast: Dick Tracy

20 Apr

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In this episode, Rudie and West are joined by Tyler Smith to discuss Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy.

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Wondercon 2014

20 Apr

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In this bonus episode, Tyler and David discuss their adventures at Wondercon!

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Footloose and Logic Free, by David Bax

18 Apr

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In the opening scene of Duane Adler’s Make Your Move, a young man plants himself on a corner in New Orleans’ French Quarter, lays down a piece of wood, places his hat out hopefully and begins to tap dance. So, you’re thinking, this is the story of a down-on-his-luck striver with a soaring heart. Except, almost immediately, a tour bus pulls up and a group of happy tourists surrounds our protagonist, Donny (Derek Hough), cheering him on. Wait a second, you might now be thinking. Where was this bus going? Did the driver intentionally take them here just to see someone dance for spare change? Where the hell is the tour guide? And, that quickly, Adler has lost his grip on logic. The entire rest of the film takes place in a world so incomprehensible that it’s impossible for an audience to even get its footing and figure out what is going on.

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Sequelcast: Rocky Balboa

17 Apr

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In this episode, Mat and Thrasher are joined by West Anthony to discuss Rocky Balboa.

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