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Nick's Pics
Nick Nicholson
Film & Home Entertainment Critic
 

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.


 

Movie Reviews

THE TWILIGHT SAGA: NEW MOON

In the second installment of Stephenie Meyer’s phenomenally successful Twilight series, the romance between mortal and vampire soars to a new level as Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) delves deeper into the mysteries of the supernatural world she yearns to become part of only to find herself in greater peril than ever before.

Following Bella’s ill-fated 18th birthday party, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and his family abandon the town of Forks, Washington, in an effort to protect her from the dangers inherent in their world. As the heartbroken Bella sleepwalks through her senior year of high school, numb and alone, she discovers Edward’s image comes to her whenever she puts herself in jeopardy. Her desire to be with him at any cost leads her to take greater and greater risks.

With the help of her childhood friend Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), Bella refurbishes an old motorbike to carry her on her adventures. Bella’s frozen heart is gradually thawed by her budding relationship with Jacob, a member of the mysterious Quileute tribe, who has a supernatural secret of his own.

When a chance encounter brings Bella face to face with a former nemesis, only the intervention of a pack of supernaturally large wolves saves her from a grisly fate, and the encounter makes it frighteningly clear that Bella is still in grave danger. In a race against the clock, Bella learns the secret of the Quileutes and Edward’s true motivation for leaving her. She also faces the prospect of a potentially deadly reunion with her beloved that is a far cry from the one she’d hoped for. With more of the passion, action and suspense that made Twilight a worldwide phenomenon, “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” is a spellbinding follow-up to the original box office hit.

All the folks that clamored to see the original film will surely come back for more with this latest installment. The story is more concise and the acting from all participants is much less stiff than the first film. The relationship development between Edward and Bella seems much more realistic this go around as well. The biggest complaint I have of New Moon is characterized through the special effects. They seem a bit elementary at times and it makes one wonder if they rushed to get this film out to the theaters. Regardless, the tweeners and fans of the Meyer series will love the film.

Starring: Kristen Stewart &
Robert Pattinson
Director: Chris Weitz
Company: Summit
Entertainment
Now Showing: In area
Theatres
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Grade: B

Movie Interview

Twilight: New Moon Interview

Interview opportunities exist around every corner, but not like this one! This week I had the opportunity to interview two of the young up and coming stars of the soon to be blockbuster hit, New Moon. Two of the wolfpack members, Alex Meraz and Kiowa Gordon, were in town at the Four Seasons Hotel to promote the second film of the four book series, which opens in local theaters on November 20th.

The buzz leading up this film has attracted the most interest in the high school and college aged demographics, but according to the stars this film is for everyone who enjoys suspense in movies. “This film has the tenacity to keep the interest of viewers of all ages,” stated Meraz. “Not only that, but the film isn’t rated R so it isn’t just for adults.”

Because of the huge following of the book series by Stephenie Meyer, the cast felt it necessary to truly ingratiate themselves in order to fully absorb their characters. The stars felt it crucial because of the fan following of the series. Any changes to the story or the characters would be easily identified by the fans of the books. The actors took their roles so seriously, they actually took the description of their characters to heart. When Stephenie Meyer described the wolfpack members that these actors portray, she simply stated that “they are catlike in their movements and hunting skills.” So what did the cast do? “We watched You Tube videos of Lions walking, hunting and eating,” remarked Meraz. “It was important to mimic the big cats in every way possible.”

I inquired amongst the two as to what drew them to this project, as it was so off the beaten path from their other work. Kiowa Gordon commented that, “this isn’t your normal vampire fare.” He went on to comment that he was very interested in the project, but not just for an opportunity. He simply believes in the film. Meraz went on to comment about how this series breaks the stereotypes that seem to plague all other vampire films stating that, “there are elements to these vampires that the audience won’t expect. For instance, imagine a vampire film without crosses, silver bullets, coffins and no fangs.” This movie series will continue to open new doors into the vampire dimension and I believe it to be a very interesting one at that!

DVD Reviews

Four souls bound by fate, romance and tragedy collide in the parallel worlds of London and the futuristic Meanwhile City, where a single bullet will alter the course of their lives forever. A masked detective, a self-destructive art student, a desperate father, and a lovelorn romantic are just a few of the unforgettable characters in this visually stunning fantasy thriller starring Eva Green, Sam Riley, Ryan Phillippe, Richard Coyle, Bernard Hill, Art Malik, and Susannah York.

Arlen Faber (Jeff Daniels) is the reclusive author of Me and God, a book that has redefined spirituality for an entire generation and has been translated into over 100 languages. On the eve of the 20th anniversary of his still wildly popular book, Arlen is still sought after as the man who has all the answers. Arlen’s life collides with Elizabeth (Lauren Graham), a single mom raising her seven-year-old son, and Kris (Lou Taylor Pucci), a young man fresh out of rehab who is searching for meaning. Both Elizabeth and Kris are hopeful that Arlen has the answers, but the truth is, he hasn’t got a clue.

For most Americans, the ideal meal is fast, cheap, and tasty. Food, Inc. examines the costs of putting value and convenience over nutrition and environmental impact. Director Robert Kenner explores the subject from all angles, talking to authors, advocates, farmers, and CEOs, like co-producer Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma), Gary Hirschberg (Stonyfield Farms), and Barbara Kowalcyk, who’s been lobbying for more rigorous standards since E. coli claimed the life of her two-year-old son. The filmmaker takes his camera into slaughterhouses and factory farms where chickens grow too fast to walk properly, cows eat feed pumped with toxic chemicals, and illegal immigrants risk life and limb to bring these products to market at an affordable cost. If eco-docs tends to preach to the converted, Kenner presents his findings in such an engaging fashion that Food, Inc. may well reach the very viewers who could benefit from it the most: harried workers who don’t have the time or income to read every book and eat non-genetically modified produce every day.

Learning to love her luscious self over the past forty years, comedian Margaret Cho realized that the eye of the beholder doesn’t hold all the power when it comes to beauty. Our tastes may be groomed by the media, but how we feel about how we look brings our self-image into focus. Armed with something more potent than lip gloss -- a mouth so shocking and raunchy it should be stamped with a warning. Cho toured America with her manifesto: “This show is really about how we should feel beautiful,”” says Cho. When you feel beautiful, you’re going to have more of a willingness to use your voice to speak.

Firefighter Patrick Sullivan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) finds his life turned upside-down when his fiancée suddenly calls off their pending nuptials per the recommendation of radio love guru Dr. Emma Lloyd (Uma Thurman). Determined to get back at this “love doctor,” Sullivan forges a fake marriage license, “accidentally” marrying him to Emma,who’s already engaged to Richard (Colin Firth). But as Patrick’s charms begin to wear Emma down, she must decide which of these bachelors is her “Mr. Right.” Also starring Sam Shepard, Justina Machado and Isabella Rossellini in this romantic comedy that proves even the experts need to learn a few love lessons now and then.

What needs to be said about Barney? The perfect learning program for the kids of today. All we need is love from our family and friends – and, of course, Barney! Discover the joys and laughter that moms, grandparents and cousins can bring in this collection full of unforgettable moments of warmth and togetherness the whole family will cherish!

In Skills Like this, Max Solomon has faced the awful truth that he will never be a writer. But that doesn’t mean all his creative energy has to go to waste. In this inventive comedy, three friends have their lives turned upside down when one of them realizes that larceny might be his best skill.

Four armed men seize a New York City subway train, isolate one car, and threaten to start killing passengers if a ransom isn’t paid within the hour. The ransom was a million dollars in the book and also in Joseph Sargent’s solid 1974 movie, in which Robert Shaw played the mercenary leading the hostage takers and Walter Matthau was the growling transit cop trying to outsmart him. In 2009, the title has gone digital--The Taking of Pelham 123--and inflation has jumped the asking price to $10 million. Where Shaw’s menace was steely, John Travolta opts for manic, and shamelessly has a blast in the master villain role. His adversary, cagily underplayed by Denzel Washington, has been upgraded in civil-service rank but also demoted on suspicion of taking a bribe. This colors the dynamics of the dialogue between Washington at his control-center console and Travolta on the motorman’s microphone aboard the stalled train.

When Swiper tries to swipe the Christmas Star from Dora’s Nochebuena Party, he lands on Santa’s naughty list. To get back on the nice list, Dora must help Swiper travel to the past, the present, and the future to discover the true spirit of Christmas. Will you help too? Filled with original songs and exclusive extra scenes, this all-new Christmas special, exclusive to DVD, will become a holiday favorite for the whole family!
MONSTER’S, INC:

The folks at Pixar can do no wrong with Monsters, Inc., the studio’s fourth feature film, which stretches the computer animation format in terms of both technical complexity and emotional impact. The giant, blue-furred James P. “Sulley” Sullivan (wonderfully voiced by John Goodman) is a scare-monster extraordinaire in the hidden world of Monstropolis, where the scaring of kids is an imperative in order to keep the entire city running. Beyond the competition to be the best at the business, Sullivan and his assistant, the one-eyed Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal), discover what happens when the real world interacts with theirs in the form of a 2-year-old baby girl dubbed “Boo,” who accidentally sneaks into the monster world with Sulley one night. Director Pete Doctor and codirectors David Silverman and Lee Unkrich follow the Pixar (Toy Story) blueprint with an imaginative scenario, fun characters, and ace comic timing. By the last heart-tugging shot, kids may never look at monsters the same, nor artists at what computer animation can do in the hands of magicians.

At a time when too many animated films consist of anthropomorphized animals cracking sitcom one-liners and flatulence jokes, the warmth, originality, humor, and unflagging imagination of Up feel as welcome as rain in a desert. Carl Fredericksen (voice by Ed Asner) ranks among the most unlikely heroes in recent animation history. A 78- year-old curmudgeon, he enjoyed his modest life as a balloon seller because he shared it with his adventurous wife Ellie (Ellie Docter). But she died, leaving him with memories and the awareness that they never made their dream journey to Paradise Falls in South America. When well-meaning officials consign Carl to Shady Oaks Retirement Home, he rigs thousands of helium balloons to his house and floats to South America. The journey’s scarcely begun when he discovers a stowaway: Russell (Jordan Nagai), a chubby, maladroit Wilderness Explorer Scout who’s out to earn his Elderly Assistance Badge. In the tropical jungle, Carl and Russell find more than they bargained for: Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer), a crazed explorer whose newsreels once inspired Carl and Ellie; Kevin, an exotic bird with a weakness for chocolate; and Dug (Bob Peterson), an endearingly dim golden retriever fitted with a voice box. More importantly, the travelers discover they need each other: Russell needs a (grand)father figure; Carl needs someone to enliven his life without Ellie. Together, they learn that sharing ice-cream cones and counting the passing cars can be more meaningful than feats of daring-do and distant horizons.

The first episode of Scrubs’ final season ends with a sly kicker in which Zach Braff’s J.D. rallies his colleagues as they enter their eighth year at Sacred Heart. Indeed, Scrubs goes out at the top of its game. “People don’t change, relationships don’t change,” the super-friendly but soulless new Chief of Medicine Taylor Maddox (a game Courteney Cox) proclaims at the end of her all-too-brief three-episode arc. How wrong she is. J.D. and Elliott (Sarah Chalke) become a couple again without too much drama. Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley) and his dread ex-wife (Christa Miller) likewise declare their love for each other. Cox even forms a grudging friendship with his former nemesis Dr Kelso (Ken Jenkins), who in retirement has become a fixture in the hospital cafeteria where he takes full advantage of free muffins for life. Sad sack lawyer Ted (Sam Lloyd) and J.D.’s enigmatic tormentor Janitor (Neil Flynn) find someone to love, and Turk (Donald Faison) and Carla (Judy Reyes) prepare for their second child.

Relive the breathtaking story of Apollo 11 and the first manned landing on the Moon as history takes viewers aboard the rocket and on its eight-day round trip to outer space for a close-up look at one of the most stunning and courageous personal and technological achievements of man. Interlaced with original NASA footage transferred to high definition, Moonshot covers the crew s earliest days at NASA to the moment when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin step on the Moon. From home life and families, to the argument over who would be the first to walk on the lunar surface, this is the remarkable story of one of the most chronicled events in history. Using a script based on transcripts from the mission, contemporary documents, books and interviews, Moonshot incorporates news footage from around the world, including that of the iconic CBS anchor Walter Cronkite. Together, the drama and original material present a vivid yet intimate glimpse at one of the defining moments of modern history.

Meet the outlaws who defined this golden age of crime, from John Dillinger and Machine Gun Kelly to Ma Barker, Bonnie and Clyde, and Pretty Boy Floyd, as History details the crime wave of 1933-34. At the height of the Great Depression, police jurisdictions ended at state lines, the FBI barely existed, and many of the thirteen million Americans out of work blamed their troubles on the banks, setting up an opportune time for criminals to rob, steal, and kill. And with technological advances like the Tommy Gun, electric-start V-8 engines, and bulletproof vests, the robbers often had the advantage over the cops.As some of the country s most notorious criminals, they were responsible for an historic crime spree that included hundreds of bank robberies, kidnappings, and murders. Though the havoc they wreaked across America lasted just 18 months, it resulted in the rise of the FBI and the nation s first war on crime.

The ensemble drama about young adults growing up in Beverly Hills is a blend of romantic drama and subject matter that crosses all cultural boundaries. The storyline has followed the Walsh family as they moved from a middle-class Midwestern neighborhood to wealthy and glamorous Beverly Hills, maturing from high school to college students, facing new challenges as they continue to grow and discover more about themselves and their personal ambitions. As their worlds evolve, old friendships will be tested as new relationships develop, but no matter how complicated their worlds become, they will always share in their strengths and experiences.

Relive the fun and celebration with the sparkling Mamma Mia! The Movie Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! More Gift Set, complete with music CD soundtrack and 32-page collectible book! Academy Award winner Meryl Streep leads an all-star cast, including Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth, in this musical celebration of mothers, daughters and fathers, and true loves lost and new ones found. Based on the Broadway smash-hit and filled with the ABBA songs you know and love, it’s the feel-good experience that will have you singing and dancing over and over again.

Twilight star Robert Pattinson takes on a new kind of role as Arthur, a twenty-something supermarket clerk and depressed musician who s just been dumped by his girlfriend and has to move back home to his emotionally distant parents. But when Arthur discovers the best-selling self-help book It s Not Your Fault, he spends his inheritance on hiring the oddball author to be his live-in life-coach. Can a dreamy poet suffering from a quarter life crisis now find a way to become more normal , or is Arthur just a romantic misfit who could change his world just by being himself? Rebecca Pidgeon co-stars in this painfully funny and surprising comedy about getting by, growing up and letting go, featuring original songs performed by Robert Pattinson.

When your significant other tells you you both need an exit “safe word” before you enter his dad’s Christmas gathering, you know you’re not in Bedford Falls. But while Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon may not be It’s a Wonderful Life’s George and Mary Bailey, Four Christmases is a modern holiday classic in its own right. For one thing, every family neurosis and dysfunction have taken root in the four families of Vaughn and Witherspoon’s characters, Brad and Kate--and the sleek yuppie façade each has built with the other is about to come tumbling down. There are real belly laughs as the couple unexpectedly has to spend holidays with their four extended family groups.

A fantastical story, relayed in the form of short vignettes by director Robert Rodriguez, Shorts is the story of a magic wishing rock and kids’ imaginations gone wild. The film plays a lot like the The Little Rascals films from the 1920’s-1940’s: it’s made up of short, comical episodes that focus on kids adventures and how imagination drives their play. When a magical rainbow rock falls from the sky and lands in the middle of tech-town Black Falls, a young boy Toe (Jimmy Bennett) discovers that the rock has the power to grant his every wish. The victim of constant bullying, Toe wishes for friends as unusual as himself and ends up with a posse of aliens who protect him while seriously complicating his life. As narrator, Toby quickly stops the film, explaining that his experience is really the middle of the story, and then rewinds repeatedly to relate various encounters between neighborhood kids and the magic rock. Each short is its own journey into a kid’s imagination where wishes for everything from a treasure hunt, to a fortress guarded by crocodiles, a super smart baby with telepathic powers, and a booger monster grown from one boy’s booger are immediately granted.

Grab a box of tissues and settle in for a heart-wrenching exploration of illness, morality, and familial bonds in this excellent screen adaptation of bestselling author Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper. When parents Sara (Cameron Diaz) and Brian Fitzgerald (Jason Patric) find out that their daughter Kate (Sofia Vassilieva) has leukemia, they make the difficult choice to utilize the advancements of modern medicine and impregnate Sara with a child genetically ensured to be a donor match for Kate. Throughout the many years of dealing with Kate’s illness, the needs of individual family members--including Kate’s parents, her brother Jesse (Evan Ellingson), and her sister Anna (Abigail Breslin)--are largely ignored in light of Kate’s more serious needs. Still, Kate’s sister Anna rarely complains about helping Kate, even when it involves undergoing painful bone marrow aspirations. Recently, however, Anna has had a change of heart and has decided to stand up for her right to have a say in medical procedures involving herself: she’s enlisted a lawyer, Campbell Alexander (Alec Baldwin), to help her sue her parents for medical emancipation. The issue is highly emotional and the familial strife is further compounded by the fact that Kate is quickly failing and needs an immediate kidney transplant for even a chance of continued survival.

From the acclaimed director of the global hit Old Boy comes a shockingly original vampire story with a chilling, erotic style. A blood transfusion saves the life of a priest, but also transforms him into a vampire. He struggles to control his insatiable thirst for blood until a love affair unleashes his darkest desires in deadly new ways. Hailed as Daring, operatic, and bloody funny!, Thirst is a truly wicked love story that takes classic vampire lore to twisted new heights. Thirst is definitely worth checking out and is a very well done film.

How did ordinary Egyptians live in the time of the pharaohs? Renowned British Egyptologist John Romer explores the ruins of an ancient village just outside Thebes, where generations of craftsmen and artists built and decorated royal tombs. There, relics reveal the most intimate details of the people’s daily lives: their meals, their loves, their quarrels, and even their dreams. Go inside the pharaohs’ most magnificent tombs and see astonishing art and priceless treasures. Meet the scribes, stonemasons, and high priests who presided over this city of the dead. Learn the secrets of the tomb raiders and the tricks devised to thwart them. This four-part series provides fascinating insights into a civilization now lost to the ages.

Published 150 years ago, Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species changed everything--science, religion, and even humanity’s image of itself. Join Professor Richard Dawkins as he explains exactly how Darwin developed his revolutionary theory of evolution and why it’s still relevant today. How do species evolve? What does “natural selection” mean in biology, politics, sociology, and philosophy? With passionate certainty, Dawkins provides answers, positing evolution as a matter of fact, not faith. In addition to interviewing scientific experts such as geneticist Craig Venter and paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey, Dawkins speaks with Dr. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, and other religious leaders about the existence of a Creator. Provocative, informative, and irresistibly watchable, this award-winning documentary offers lively new insights on an idea that still meets stubborn resistance.

Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler star in this wildly funny battle of the sexes. Abby (Heigl), a successful morning show producer, is looking for a lot in a man. Mike (Butler), her obnoxious TV star, knows men only want one thing. Determined to prove that she’s not romantically challenged, Abby takes Mike’s advice during a promising new romance, but the unexpected results will stun everyone. One of the most adorable films of the year, The Ugly Truth is a feel good pic that should be in everyone’s collection.

A strong candidate for the most sheerly entertaining and enjoyable movie ever made by a Hollywood studio. Positioned between the much heavier and more profoundly disturbing Vertigo (1958) and the stark horror of Psycho (1960), North by Northwest (1959) is Alfred Hitchcock at his most effervescent in a romantic comedy-thriller that also features one of the definitive Cary Grant performances. Which is not to say that this is just “Hitchcock Lite”; seminal Hitchcock critic Robin Wood (in his book Hitchcock’s Films Revisited) makes an airtight case for this glossy MGM production as one of The Master’s “unbroken series of masterpieces from Vertigo to Marnie.” It’s a classic Hitchcock Wrong Man scenario: Grant is Roger O. Thornhill (initials ROT), an advertising executive who is mistaken by enemy spies for a U.S. undercover agent named George Kaplan. Convinced these sinister fellows (James Mason as the boss, and Martin Landau as his henchman) are trying to kill him, Roger flees and meets a sexy Stranger on a Train (Eva Marie Saint), with whom he engages in one of the longest, most convolutedly choreographed kisses in screen history. And, of course, there are the famous set pieces: the stabbing at the United Nations, the crop-duster plane attack in the cornfield (where a pedestrian has no place to hide), and the cliffhanger finale atop the stone faces of Mount Rushmore.

Billy Zane stars as ‘80s one-hit-wonder and out-of-control rocker Mikey Taylor, now sober, married and trying to score a new music publishing deal. But when he hires a sexy and talented young demo singer (Estella Warren), she soon begins to seduce him with all the addictions – sex, drugs, booze and beyond – that nearly killed him at the height of his fame. Her hunger is unstoppable. Her desires are insatiable. And in a dangerous affair of lust and obsession, is the most shocking temptation of all yet to come? Jane Wheeler co-stars in this erotic thriller with a wicked twist, featuring songs performed by Estella Warren.

A surprising number of sources, both ancient and modern, agree when the world will end. On-site investigations and revealing dramatizations flesh out the sobering prophecy. Respected scholars offer balanced analysis of doomsday predictions. Common wisdom has it we prepare for our future by understanding our past. But did the ancient prophets already know the future? Are we living now in the world they predicted? In this enlightening and often unsettling series, THE HISTORY CHANNEL® revisits the prophecies and divinations of the Ancients and traces them to the modern events they may have been predicting. But what if we have no future? What if life on Earth is destined to end in five years? A surprising number of prophets - from ancient oracles to contemporary internet-crawling software “bots” - point to December 21, 2012 as the End of Days.

You’re likely to hear a lot of criticism for this show, and with good reason: People often become frustrated when faced with things they don’t understand -- and it certainly doesn’t help that the show is purposely abrasive, with unlikeable characters, a million sight gags/puns/lines hitting you a second, and the worst “art style” imaginable. However, the abrasiveness is part of the humor, and that’s the whole thing: Alienate people as quickly as possible so you can leave the people truly for looking beyond the surface to find brilliant, unique art. And with Xavier, what you have is a show not for the masses at all -- and certainly not for the typical Adult Swim set. This is a total work of genius and a must own for any comic fan.

The Academy Award winner for Best Picture, Best Director Robert Zemeckis, and Best Actor Tom Hanks, this unlikely story of a slow-witted but good-hearted man somehow at the center of the pivotal events of the 20th century is a funny and heartwarming epic. Hanks plays the title character, a shy Southern boy in love with his childhood best friend (Robin Wright) who finds that his ability to run fast takes him places. As an All-Star football player he meets John F. Kennedy; as a soldier in Vietnam he’s a war hero; and as a world champion Ping-Pong player he’s hailed by Richard Nixon. Becoming a successful shrimp-boat captain, he still yearns for the love of his life, who takes a quite different and much sadder path in life. The visual effects incorporating Hanks into existing newsreel footage is both funny and impressive, but the heart of the film lies in its sweet love story and in the triumphant performance of Hanks as an unassuming soul who savors the most from his life and times.

The holidays are coming, and everyone in Wuzzleburg is getting ready for Winter Wonder Wubb Club fun! In this all-new Wubbzy collection, everyone’s favorite bendy-tailed buddy pitches in to decorate The Figgity-Fig Tree, fix Walden’s snow sculpture and even solve the mystery of the Snow Shoo-Shoo! There s plenty of singing, dancing, hoopty-horns and slippery-sledding too, all in the DVD that celebrates the ultimate Wow! Wow! season of caring, sharing and friendship! Wow Wow Wubbzy rocks the house for kids of all ages!

Until I watched this DVD, I have had no interest in that God-forsaken country called Afghanistan. History has shown that no mighty empire has conquered that barren and arid land, so how is America going to be any different? We’ve been so brainwashed by the mainstream media that often, people can’t distinguish what is going on in there except some hazy mass media soundbite of “fighting terrorists.” This DVD is definitely worth checking out if for no other reason than to really think about the situation.

David O. Selznick wanted Gone with the Wind to be somehow more than a movie, a film that would broaden the very idea of what a film could be and do and look like. In many respects he got what he worked so hard to achieve in this 1939 epic (and all-time box-office champ in terms of tickets sold), and in some respects he fell far short of the goal. While the first half of this Civil War drama is taut and suspenseful and nostalgic, the second is ramshackle and arbitrary. But there’s no question that the film is an enormous achievement in terms of its every resource--art direction, color, sound, cinematography--being pushed to new limits for the greater glory of telling an American story as fully as possible. Vivien Leigh is still magnificently narcissistic, Olivia de Havilland angelic and lovely, Leslie Howard reckless and aristocratic. As for Clark Gable: we’re talking one of the most vital, masculine performances ever committed to film.




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   Last Update:
November 18 , 2009