Blog Directory CineVerse: November 2009

Meet Marty

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Long before "McHale's Navy" set sail on TV, there was "Marty," featuring a young, cherub-faced Ernest Borgnine in a role that would earn him Oscar gold for best actor.

Make a date to meet "Marty," due up next in our CineVerse calendar, set for Dec. 2.


Loved "Lebowski"? Read on, achievers...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

If you found "The Big Lebowski" just a bit intriguing and want to learn more about the themes and psychological layers buried underneath the surface, I recommend you read our "Reflections" handout on the movie by clicking here

If you missed our CineVerse discussion of the film and want to hear what all the fuss was about, you can listen live to our recorded podcast or download it here.


No, it's not a dream, it's Disney's "Sleeping Beauty"

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pinch yourself--it's not a dream. The Oak Lawn Library will be hosting a free public screening of Disney's animated masterpiece "Sleeping Beauty" (1959) on Friday, November 27 at 2 p.m.

Parents and grown-up animation lovers, you have no excuse not to attend this event, as Friday is the day after Thanksgiving and most likely you're off work anyway. 

So grab the young'ns or the young at heart and check out this classic cartoon fare, which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary, in which a snubbed malevolent fairy casts a curse on a princess that only a prince can break, with the help of three good fairies. The color, craftsmanship and level of detail imbued in this feature is absolutely amazing. Rated: G. 75 min.


The Dude abides

Friday, November 20, 2009

If you've never had the discreet pleasure of meeting The Dude, Walter, Donnie, or any of the other ragtag band of misfits on parade in The Coen Brothers' exquisitely oddball "The Big Lebowski"--or if it's been awhile since you had--you are cordially invited to join us on November 25 for the aforementioned feature. 

Make it a point to join us on Thanksgiving Eve (remember, you don't have to work the next day!); be aware, however, that we will start the flick promptly at 7 p.m., as we have to vacate the building by 9:45 p.m. 

Also, as is our Thanksgiving Eve tradition, CineVerse members are welcome to join us for an after-discussion excursion at 10 p.m. at Huck Finn Donuts at 10501 S. Cicero (just down the street), where we can wax poetically about our favorite movies, sip on hot java and prepare our waistlines for turkey day.


Back to Bombay

Thursday, November 19, 2009

If you enjoyed our discussion on "Salaam Bombay," you can read more about this powerful picture by clicking here to download a Reflections handout.

If you missed our gabfest go-round, click here to listen to the podcast.


Podcast blast from the past

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Two years ago this week, CineVerse was immersed in the world of filmmaker genius Buster Keaton, having dissected his comic masterpiece of the silent screen "The General." 

Our group conversation was quite lively and enlightening. If you'd like to hear a recorded podcast of that discussion, click here.


My Life as a Dog coming to St. Xavier

Saturday, November 14, 2009

On Thurs. Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. "My Life as a Dog" (directed by Lasse Hallstrom, 1985) will be screened as part of the St. Xavier University Film Series.

"My Life as a Dog" tells the story of Ingemar, a working-class twelve-year old who is sent to live with his uncle in a country village when his mother falls ill. Ingemar finds refuge from his misfortunes and unexpected adventure with the help of the town's eccentrics. This beautiful film about a young boy trying to cope with loss and life won awards at film festivals around the world.

The screening takes place in McGuire Hall, and admission and parking are free.


Learn more about Scarlett and Rhett

Friday, November 13, 2009

If you enjoyed our discussion of "Gone With the Wind" this past Wednesday, I encourage you to read more on the film by downloading our Reflections handout, which includes articles, essays and critiques. Click here for the handout.

Additionally, if you weren't able to join us and would like to hear the discussion, click here to give an ear to the podcast. Enjoy!


Before there was Slumdog Millionaire...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Twenty years before "Slumdog Millionaire," audiences worldwide were awed by the stark depiction of children living on the streets of Mumbai, India in Mira Nair's unforgettable "Salaam Bombay!"

CineVerse invites you to join us on November 18 for this World Cinema Wednesday special.


Under the radar flick pick: "Still Crazy"

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

by Erik J. Martin

What do you get when you cross the moxie of “The Full Monty” with the charisma of “The Commitments”? Meet Strange Fruit, a 1970s British pop band that has reunited with the hopes of making a comeback.

Not quite a “This is Spinal Tap” for the ’90s, “Still Crazy” peels back the glossy layers of stardom to reveal the true natures of a ragtag group of aging rockers. It’s played by a stellar English cast that includes “The Crying Game’s” Stephen Rea, Billy Connolly, Jimmy Nail and Juliet Aubrey.

Though it’s not a documentary, “Still Crazy,” guided capably by director Brian Gibson (“What’s Love Got to Do With It”) and written by Dick Clement and Ian La Franias (the team that wrote “The Commitments”), plays well as an entertaining mock rock-bio, much like “Velvet Goldmine” headed by Ewan McGregor.

If faux rock documentaries like the aforementioned are your cup of tea, consider also renting “The Rutles” (a ka “All You Need is Cash”), the irreverently hilarious Beatles spoof created by the Monty Python troupe.


Oak Lawn Library hits a bullseye with "Robin Hood"

Monday, November 9, 2009

Errol Flynn fans rejoice: The Oak Lawn Library will be hosting a free public screening of "The Adventures of Robin Hood on Wednesday, November 11 at 2 p.m.

No, this isn't the lame Kevin Kostner outing from the 1990s, or the weak Disney adaptation from the seventies. It's the timeless Technicolor wonder from 1938.

When Prince John and the Norman Lords begin oppressing the Saxon masses in King Richard's absence, a Saxon lord fights back as the outlaw leader of a rebel guerrilla army. This classic film starring Errol Flynn won three Academy Awards. Rated: PG for adventure violence. 102 min.


The Wind is at your back...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Frankly my dear, we DO give a damn...about watching part 2 of "Gone With the Wind," scheduled for November 11. 

Following the movie, we'll have an in-depth discussion about the picture. Make plans to join us if you can!


Suggested remake: The Incredible Shrinking Man 2010

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

by Erik J. Martin

CineVerse dares to ask the question, “what if…”

What if they attempted a modern-day remake of “The Incredible Shrinking Man,” the fondly remembered 1957 science-fiction classic based on Richard Matheson's novel? Here are my recommendations (with tongue planted firmly in cheek):

Dream Director: Joe Dante (Gremlins, Innerspace, Small Soldiers)

Dream cast: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (as Scott Carey), Rachel McAdams (as Melinda Carey), Danny DeVito (as Dr. Arthur Bramson)

The Pitch: What happens when you throw “Twins” and “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” in a blender on reverse? You get the irony of manly man Dwayne Johnson as a personal fitness trainer who is exposed to gamma rays and suddenly finds himself small enough to fit in wee wife Rachel McAdams’ hand. (Arnold Schwarzenegger would be an ideal first choice for the title role, but he’s a little busy bailing out the world’s sixth largest economy in California in his role as “The Governator” right now.)

Though the original film took itself pretty seriously, the now-comy concept would have to be played largely for yuks in a 2010 remake. (Although the filmmakers would have to be careful not to repeat the mistakes ofJoel Schumacher's directorial debut, 1981's “The Incredible Shrinking Woman,” a "comedy" remake with only a few very small laughs.) Audiences would bust a gut seeing the man-who-would-be-the-Scorpion King sleeping in his daughter's doll house and playing straight-man to DeVito's "Now you know how I feel" one-liners. Plus, the Rock’s close encounters with giant spiders, blenders, lawn mowers and other household dangers would be a great excuse for some cutting-edge FX.

Director Dante knows how to mix shrinking FX and comedy: His 1987 “Fantastic Voyage” sendup “Innerspace” was one of his better films, as was “Small Soldiers.” If Dante's not available, the studio could always turn to Joe Johnston (“Jumanji,” “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”). Johnston also brings a light touch to FX-heavy fare and has the kind of box-office track record (as long as you overlook “The Rocketeer”) that could help convince Johnson and DeVito to sign on, and he’s about to earn a lot more box office cache with the 2010 release of “The Wolfman” remake he’s directing.

Deal closer: Thanks to Eddie Murphy, Hollywood has a new E-Z bake remake recipe: Take one property with name recognition and family appeal (such as “The Nutty Professor” or “Doctor Dolittle”), add tons of special effects and humor, mix liberally with fart jokes and a somewhat past-his­prime star and voila, you've got a hit. The kiddie appeal gives the film even stronger legs on video as well as added merchandising momentum. In fact, the product placements and tie-ins could make or break the deal. A realistic “Incredible Shrinking Man” would require a truly bloated budget, but if the studio could convince The Rock to sign on for points in box-office, video and merchandising, the final pricetag could be held to a doable $100 million.

Bottom line: Admit it: You’d pay $10 at your local cardboard-thin-walled multiplex to watch this with a bunch of hooting kids. Sure you would.


More about the monsters

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

If you enjoyed last week's discussion of "Dracula" and "The Mummy," feel free to take a bite out of the Reflections document I created for both movies. You can download this document, which contains critiques, essays and analysis on both films, by clicking here.


War is hell--but the movies are pretty good

Sunday, November 1, 2009

With a new month comes a new CineVerse poll, this time asking the question, "what is the greatest war movie?" Cast your vote in the left hand sidebar on our home page anytime in November.

As for the winner of the CineVerse "scariest film of all time" poll, it was no contest; Linda Blair continues to make people's heads spin in fear, as evidenced by "The Exorcist" winning in a landslide and capturing 50% of the vote. The runner up was "Night of the Living Dead" (16%); "Psycho," "Silence of the Lambs," "Jaws" and "The Shining" each garnered one vote apiece.


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