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DVD Detective

DVD Detective

Source: Flickr

Next to family and clean water, movies are my focus and my passion. In my writing and speaking engagements, I serve as a sort of quality filter for movie lovers, sifting intelligent, rewarding titles from the enormous volume of DVD titles in the marketplace.
For our friends at Waterkeeper, I’m doing a series of articles highlighting films that celebrate the beauty of our natural world, and, directly or indirectly, illustrate the pressing need to protect it. I’ll close the series with a piece on movies which pay tribute to the spirit of social, economic and environmental activism.
This first installment identifies some landmark documentaries which any lover of the outdoors should own.
All recommendations are readily available on DVD.
We begin with the pioneering work of documentarian Robert Flaherty. In 1922, he released “Nanook Of The North”, chronicling how one Eskimo family cheerfully subsists in the most frozen, remote part of Alaska. Close to a century later, this remains an astonishing achievement, revealing man’s ingenious, unwavering capacity to adapt and survive, even under nature’s most inhospitable conditions.
Eight years later, Flaherty partnered with legendary silent director F.W. Murnau (Nosferatu) to make “Tabu”, a semi-documentary shot on location in Tahiti. The film features actual Tahitian natives in a simple tale about the tragic consequences of forbidden love. Even with no spoken dialogue, the gorgeous black and white photography captures the beauty of the players and the lush, exotic locale, imbuing the film with a magic aura that defies datedness.
Flaherty’s next film, “Man Of Aran” evokes the raw power and majesty of the sea. Set on the harsh, inclement Aran islands off the coast of Ireland, this film builds on the impact of the director’s “Nanook”, portraying the struggle of native people who subsist on the wild, unpredictable sea around them. In this struggle, the sea is not enemy but provider, yet temperamental and unpredictable enough to warrant skill, hardiness, and reverence in any approach. Both man and nature emerge triumphant.
In the talking picture realm, but with precious little talking needed, is Flaherty’s “Louisiana Story” (1948), perhaps the director’s crowning achievement. A boy living with his family in the Louisiana bayous communes with his wild and mysterious surroundings while looking on with fascination at the work of oil drillers nearby. Flaherty’s brilliant camera work lends a subtle artfulness to the theme of civilization encroaching on nature. (Ironically, this film was underwritten by Standard Oil! )
Honoring our natural world also involves paying tribute to the explorers who opened up new vistas for us. In 1925, Rear Admiral Richard Byrd made history by being first to fly a plane over the North Pole, then in 1929 trumped himself by performing the same feat over the South Pole. This latter event might have been the stuff of history books had Byrd not brought two Paramount newsreel photographers on this heroic journey. “With Byrd At The South Pole” records the expedition for posterity, and even 75 years later, it’s a fascinating visual testament to human persistence and the awesome variety of our world.
I close with two more recent films which profile how the more physically fit and agile among us commune with elemental forces. Bruce Brown’s “The Endless Summer” (1964) captures the sheer adrenalized joy of the surfing experience just as this pursuit was becoming a national craze. Surfing is depicted as a state of mind as much as a sport, and the footage of thrill-seeking athletes riding immense, aquamarine walls of salt water provides potent vicarious thrills.
Finally, there’s “The Man Who Skied Down Everest” (1975), a riveting movie that plays like a thriller. We join champion skier Yuichiro Miura and his team as they ascend the world’s highest peak (in itself an arduous, perilous undertaking), then attempt to descend on skis, a virtual suicide mission. It’s difficult to prevent your heart leaping into your throat as you watch some of this footage and realize it’s no film stunt, but the real thing.

Horror Film Making Schools

Horror Film Making Schools

Source: Flickr

You love horror movies. And you love making films. So it makes sense then that you want to get into a horror film making school and learn all there is to learn about making scary, gory flicks.

But wait, before you decide to scrape out all the money you have in your bank account and apply in a prestigious horror film making school, there are a few things to consider.

FIRST: Define Your Career Goals

Let’s face it. Horror film making schools, or just film schools in general, are expensive. To survive and bank on the things you learn from the curriculum, you need to have more than just a passing interest in movie making. That’s why as early as now, you want to have a clear idea on what you want to do with your degree in horror film making school.

Do you want to go into directing? Or would you rather learn the nuances of lighting and sound design? Digital special effects? Or plain set design? Or perhaps you want to act out in front of the camera? Or be a make-up artist, specializing in prosthetics and adding gory details to a person’s face?

Once you are in horror film making schools, you are faced with so many options. You’ll be in better shape by tackling this big decision now than later when the pressure is all out for you to come up with something original and doable.

SECOND: Short Course or Long-Term Program?

Horror film making schools offer either of two courses – a short-term course where training is intensive and absolutely hands-on or a long-term program that can last anywhere from one year to two years.

The long-term program works like any regular college course program. That means, you’ll be dealing with theory and history of the movie industry and filmmaking before heading on to workshops where you can learn all the technical aspects of making a movie, applying your knowledge and acquired skills at the same time.

Naturally, long-term programs are more expensive. But if you are fairly new to film making, then it is the most logical choice for you. It gives you a background on basic filmmaking and gradually introduces you to all the different techniques and methods employed by many a veteran in the movie making industry.

On the other hand, if you feel that you don’t need all that, then a short-term course is a good choice. What’s more, short-term courses in horror film making schools are less expensive and more hands-on. That means, more practical experience for you, allowing you to really apply your skills and learn new ones as well.

Of course, there are many more factors to consider when deciding to whether or not attend horror film making schools. Just make sure of one thing though: make sure that film making is really your passion.

Indonesia film school

Indonesia film school

Slide copies, April 1996, Llandudno
Source: Flickr

Indonesia may be on the other side of the world from Hollywood but Indonesian films are slowly carving a name of their own in the business. The movie industry in Indonesia under the 30-year iron-hand rule of former dictator Suharto almost reached the brink of collapse. The dictatorship of Suharto laid a firm hand on movie censorship and state control of the films. Because of that, Indonesian filmmakers had to grapple with the harsh atmosphere instigated by the government. The stringent regulations and pinning of the press made it harder to create Indonesian films, which impacted on the audience who lost their appetite in movies.

Since Suharto’s ouster in May 1998, the Indonesian Movie Industry went through its turning point. Most of the Indonesian’s felt like another history is coming to uphold and this time there would be less censorship and more room for creativity to flourish. However, the stepping down of a dictator did not immediately bear fruits. The young filmmakers and directors, faced a lack of financial resources, were not able to get full support from the government. Nevertheless, their collective efforts helped restore the vigor in the entertainment culture.

Indonesia film schools are among the sheer signs of growing entertainment industry. There are four established Indonesia film schools but due to the language barrier, only one Indonesia film school will be tackled in this article.

The Digital Studio College is an Indonesia film school that clearly benefited from the change of administration. DSC is an institution of higher learning and students who want to proceed with a career in entertainment can apply after finishing their secondary education or its equivalent. DSC’s faculty is made of professionals in the business. So far there are no foreign instructors at DSC.

As a digital Indonesia film school, students can choose between programs that emphasize on Digital Design (Graphic Design and Multimedia), Digital Animation (3D Animation and Visual Effects), Digital Filmmaking (Film and Video Production), Advertising Communication, Art and Design Foundation, and Executive Track. These programs have been designed within 16 months to answer to the demands of a growing advertising industry, while the media industry in Indonesia has been looking for new talents to fill in several vacant positions.

For school year 2007, orientation is scheduled on September 20 while classes follows immediately on the 24th. This Indonesia film school requires a registration fee of Rp200,000 (about $22). Students will also be paying Rp29,000,000 (about $3,200) for the tuition fee.

Sin City; Antagonist Fatalism or the Ultimate Good vs. Evil?

Sin City; Antagonist Fatalism or the Ultimate Good vs. Evil?

lc-a+ - lots of love
Source: Flickr

The Sin City DVD blew my mind, or maybe I should say,
warped my mind. I haven’t been a great fan of Graphic
Novels, but this movie encouraged me to purchase a few of
the Sin City books. Frank Miller’s now famous, series
creations have taken us into the world of a bizarre surreal
environment of death, destruction and gallows underbelly
Is the story telling and artistry supposed to show a world
we hope would never exist in our white bread world?
Or is
it an ultimate achievement of good (disguised as part of
the underbelly) trying to subdue evil? I prefer to think
the latter.
The film itself is a work of pure cinematography genius.
With the classic film noir overlay and the visual tricks
and special effects, it looks as if you would open the Sin
City graphic novel and have the pages come to life. This, I
do believe, is the closest I have seen a movie come to the
actual artwork and content of the original paper versions.
The very concept and style of Sin City, whether it be the
movie or the novels, is not for everyone. The plot and
violence are very graphic and definitely not for younger
audiences. But as graphic as the movie is, due to the
nature of the moving comic book background, it doesn’t
bring out the reality and gore that could have been
pictured. Personally, I enjoyed this toning down. I would
hate to think that I could actually condone this kind of
violent activity.
Robert Rodriguez in collaboration with series creator,
Frank Miller have ingeniously intertwined four of the
Graphic Novels into the making of Sin City. “The Customer
is Always Right”, opens the movie even before the credits
starts. Then “The Hard Goodbye”, “Big Fat Kill” and “That
Yellow Bastard” make up the rest of the movie.
I for one was impressed with the casting and how the actors
seemed to fit the characters to perfection. I am starting
to see a pattern though, in that certain actors are
starting to show up in various comic book related movies of
the new Hollywood features. The Kingpin (Michael Clarke
Duncan) from Daredevil, for example, is also a character in
Sin City. Do you think you can spot him? He is pretty hard
to miss.
It looks like by now, Jessica Alba may be vying for the
Title “Queen of the Comic Book Movies” (ha ha). She also
came out this year in The Fantastic Four and will be in the
sequel when it comes out.
With the new outcry for realistic comic book character
movies and the new Hollywood technologies that make them
possible, it looks like the original character creators
want to reap some of the exposure. Stan Lee, of Marvel
Comics fame, manages to get a cameo appearance every now
and again in his character creation movies. And now, in Sin
City, Frank Miller was justified in putting his mug on the
wide screen. He appears as the, shall we say, sinister
priest that Marv (Mickey Rourke) decides he is justified in
blowing away. How many more comic book character creators
do you think we will see in cameo rolls as more movies are
If you are an avid fan of Frank Miller and, in particular,
Sin City, then you will quite probably feel this one of the
best movies to come out of Hollywood in 2005. If you are
unfamiliar with the entire Sin City theme and series,
advance with caution and don’t watch it with the young or
the young at heart (ha). The movie, in my mind, is
definitely a visual sensation. And I hear that Sin City II
may be ready for us in the summer of 2006. Enjoy.

My Top Ten Favorite Baseball Movies

My Top Ten Favorite Baseball Movies

Kodak Vision 3 Chiswick Folkestone
Source: Flickr

My top ten baseball movies consist of five movies on the list. That sounds pretty weird. There have been many movies with a baseball theme that I have liked, but there are only five I have loved. I will get to them soon.

Some of the ones I have liked are “Bull Durham” with Kevin Costner, a light hearted tale about a minor league season in North Carolina and the characters on and around that team. “Bang The Drum Slowly” with Robert DeNiro, “Cobb” with Tommy Lee Jones, “Fear Strikes Out,” “Eight Men Out,” “A League of Their Own,” “Major League,”  and “Rookie of the Year.”  
One thing that my favorites have in common is that I have been moved to tears. For similar and different reasons, I have been inspired or moved by some of the following scenes. 

Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones.
When I think about this movie I always think how corny it was. Come on – Cut down a corn field to create a baseball field. I have seen this movie approximately 15 times. It is the only movie I have seen in my adult life twice in the theaters. The scene that is so moving for me is when Kevin Costner asks his father to play catch. He is so awkward in his asking. He is so delighted when his father says “sure.” I melt whenever I see this scene. 

The Rookie with Dennis Quaid
How does a man in his late 30’s leave his family and start playing baseball in the minor leagues. He is fulfilling a dream. There are a couple of scenes in the movie that lead to a most uplifting moment. While playing in the minor leagues in the Tampa Bay organization Dennis Quaid (Playing pitcher Jim Morris) thinks he may have made a mistake by leaving his family to pursue a dumb dream. He is in anguish. He is not making any money pitching in the minors while his family is suffering at home with very little money coming into the house. Finally, after vacillating between playing baseball and going back to his wife to make a constant living he sees one of his teammates and asks him. “Do you know what we are going to do today?” His teammate looks puzzled. Dennis responds to his own question. “We are going to play baseball today.” With a big grin on his face Dennis captures the joy of playing baseball. I loved it. 

The Natural with Robert Redford
The music in this flick was superb. Good versus evil. Robert Redford comes out of the hospital to play in the most important game of the year. As corny as this movie was I loved the scene at the end of the movie when he hits the ball into the lights and a shower of sparkling flashes illuminate the screen. I can still hear the music from that part of the movie, as he circles the bases. I get chills whenever I see this part of the film. This is also one of my wife’s favorites as well film.

Pride of The Yankees with Gary Cooper and Teresa Wright
One of my all time favorite players, Lou Gehrig, is played on the screen so superbly by Gary Cooper. The scene that gets to me every time is when Lou goes to see the doctor at the hospital because he feels a nagging injury not healing. As his wife nervously waits in the waiting room, Lou is examined and then given the fatal news of his illness. He is greeted by his wife as he leaves the examination room. She then asks him how it went. They embrace and he tells her its a little bump or bruise.
She seems to know without him telling her that this is serious. Oh my. I melt every time. 

This following epic motion picture reminds me of a baseball season. Long, lasting and lovable.

Baseball by Ken Burns
Can you believe 18 hours of baseball footage? Still pictures from the 19th century. Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Lou Gehrig, Buck O’Neil. Highlights on film. Dead ball era. Modern day. Pitchers, hitters. This movie had it all. The pictures were spectacular. There were so many stories that were told. I was amazed by Ken Burns’ commitment to get this movie done. That is what moved me the most.

So there you have it. I cannot thank the people ENOUGH that made these movies. I have been touched writing about their commitment, passion, and excellence.

Free to pass this article on to anyone you think would enjoy reading it.

Acting Film School (2)

Acting Film School

Kodak Film Portrait
Source: Flickr

You love to act and you love the idea of making movies where you play an interesting character. As soon as you graduated from high school, or perhaps even way before that, you decided that you want to get into an acting film school.

But, of course, it’s not that easy choosing an acting film school. There are lots of questions to consider, not least of them is money, because after all, going to an acting film school doesn’t come cheap.

So what are the essentials in choosing a good acting film school – one that will help you achieve your dream of acting in front of a camera? Here are some tips:

Long-Term Program vs. Short-Term Course

One of your first concerns when it comes to choosing an acting film school is whether you want to enroll in a long-term program that provides intensive training in both the theoretical and technical aspects of acting or a short-term course that is a lot less expensive and focuses more on hands-on learning.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both and it is important that you know what those are beforehand. It is much easier to have an idea of what path of learning you want to pursue than emerge out of acting film school, feeling baffled by the tons of opportunities that await you.

As a general rule of thumb, if you are fairly new to acting and do not know your own strengths and weaknesses, then the best choice for you are short-term courses that allow you to do a lot of groundwork at the same time allowing you to discover what works for you.

B.A. vs. B.F.A.

Another important consideration when choosing acting film schools is whether you want a B.A. or a B.F.A. in acting. If you have a B.A., it means you will be spending your time learning marketing and communications, two important skills that can help support your acting career. B.F.A. is much more focused on the technical aspects of acting and little else.

Now, many acting film schools offer both degrees in acting. On the other hand, there are a few out there that offer either one and never both. If you are not sure yet what degree you want to take, you would be better off enrolling in acting film school that offers both degrees as it will allow you to make your decision after you have already tested the waters, so to speak.

There are, of course, several more factors to consider. The ones above are only two of the most pressing issues to go over when deciding whether or not attending an acting film school is the right choice for you.

Feed your fantasies!

Bande originale du film 1917 – vinyle édition limitée jaune
Source: Flickr

There are different forms of entertainment people enjoy. Some gets satisfaction from reading books, some enjoy the boring world of cross-stitching, a lot would go for a shopping extravaganza and some just love to have movie marathons. One can choose from an action, drama, comedy, suspense and even titillating films; anything for a bored person. Have you ever wondered why a lot of people are into porn movies regardless of age and gender?

Every one of us has a different level of curiosity, and has different reactions to it as well. Some may be too much willing to feed that curiosity and some would just leave it unanswered. Of all the forms of entertainment, why porn movies? Human do have some urges and drives that need to be gratified; completely satisfied. Admit it or not watching a comedy film or cross stitching or reading a history or Math book can not in any way gratify one’s sexual urge or feed one’s curiosity.

One can rely on porn magazines for satisfaction but it would be more fun to see the deeds in action. You may get feverish with those seductive and sensual photos you see on magazines but you can feel the real excitement when you see those babes exposing their asses, pressing those bountiful boobs with that tempting look right in front of your screen. Stop imagining, fantasize with one of the sexiest temptress, avail one or more of the latest adult dvds. Worrying about the price? Expensive porn dvds need not a problem. Despair not because there are a lot of cheap porn dvds out in the market; price should not hinder you from achieving the satisfaction you long have been wanting. You can buy porn dvds or you too can have a porn dvd download if you wish.

In a modern society where morality is still a big issue, these kids of sex or porn materials is a BIG BIG NO-NO. But why should the society stop someone from pursuing his happiness? (Needless to say, it is against one’s right in pursuing what he wanted). No one will stop you from reading your favorite book. You would not be prohibited to finish your very complex-patterned cross stitch and you would not get reprimand or stop you from watching a film you are dying to see so why then would they stop you from watching porn films? Having xxx porn dvds at home would not really hurt the society, some would even say it is a way of helping the exciting world of porn movies become more exciting, chuckle! What are you waiting for, get entertained by sexy and irresistible sex goddesses you’ll ever meet on earth! Prepare yourself especially your hearts and eyes for the most wonderful and unforgettable scenes you’ll ever see in your entire life. So sit back, relax and enjoy your movies (Read this: Pop corns or chips are not needed anyway). Alone or with someone, you will definitely enjoy each scene. You’ve got to take my word for that.

Martial Arts Movies

Martial Arts Movies

Youth Community Stories - Kelowna Workshop
Source: Flickr

Almost everyone I know who has studied martial arts got a start watching kung fu films. The most obvious and most classic ones are the martial arts movies done by the late Bruce Lee. He really set a new standard in martial arts films. He made things faster, more dramatic, and more involved than ever before. His movies not only had excellent and unprecedented fight scenes, but they also had interesting plots and sinister villains as well.

When watching old martial arts movies, it is easy to forget how pioneering They were at the time. Many people get caught up in the bad translations and cheesy dialog, not noticing me incredible fight scenes. Of course, modern Chinese martial arts movies have taken things even further. The films of people like Chow Yun Fat, Jet Li, and Jackie Chan have set a whole news level of excellence for martial arts fight scenes. They seamlessly combined special effects, brilliant choreography, and humorous antics into one seamless whole.

Of course, There are plenty of other martial arts movies besides the kung fu films. America has been making fighting films for years. There were, of course, the Karate Kid movies. Anyone who grew up in the 80s remembers these films. They were interesting because they featured a style of fighting that wasn’t generally portrayed in movies at the time. Karate is pretty straightforward, and doesn’t necessarily make for great film. In the Karate Kid movies, however, they really made it work.

Some of the most interesting martial arts movies are actually not fictional films at all, but demonstrations. I first saw a kung fu demonstration video about a year ago, and since then I have been watching every single one I can get my hands on. Many of these demos are based around long, elaborate, intricate dance-like routines rather than simple fighting. All the moves have a combative purpose, but they also have a grace and beauty to them as well. The fighters shadowbox with imaginary enemies, leaping, vaulting, kicking, and punching all over the stage with grace and ease. They punctuate flashy aerobatics and martial arts weapons displays with grunts, shouts, and shoulder rolls. All in all, it is almost every bit as dramatic as watching Jackie Chan take on the bad guys in one of his martial arts movies. Best of all, it gives you a taste of the art that you don’t really get in the big kung fu movies, No matter how cool they are. Somehow, it feels more authentic and more immediate.

Al Pacino – One Of My Favorites

Red Joan
Source: Flickr

Born in the South Bronx, on April 25th, 1940, Al Pacino is widely considered to be one of the worlds greatest actors. Though he starred in many of the best films of the 70s, he is probably most remembered for his role in The Godfather.

Though Pacino starred in so many great movies over the years, it is his role in the Brian DePalma film Scarface that boosted Al into my greatest actors list. I don’t think anyone who has ever seen the film will ever forget the shower scene, but it’s Pacino’s stellar performance as the obsessive gangster Tony Montana. Pacino keeps the character very taught and never seems fake or stereotypical, which, let’s face it, is challenging at least, when playing a super violent, drug crazed, power obsessed, Cuban drug czar.

Seeing this movie for the first time as a kid, I was blown away. An actor like Al Pacino can make a character like Tony Montana seem so darn glamorous, while keeping it down to earth enough to make it clear that there is really no merit to the criminal lifestyle, a concept, might I add that many movies in the same genre have struggled with. It would be unfair of me to discuss Pacino without mentioning his breakthrough role in 1972s The Godfather. It is quite unusual that an actor as inexperienced as Pacino was at the time, would stand out in a cast as crowded with stars as The Godfather, however his performance outshone the likes of Marlin Brando, whose talent cant be questioned, and James Caan, who might make any best actor list.

For my money, you can’t go wrong with Al Pacino. Pick any movie, rent it, take it home and watch it, and I’m sure you will be pleased with the results, even if you’ve seen it before. Quite simply put, he always delivers.

What About Investing In Film Making?

What About Investing In Film Making?

East Midlands Branch Rally - 10/09/17
Source: Flickr

You need to practice caution when thinking of investing in film making. Many people who are quite financially successful, often loose their investment, when putting their money into film making. Investing in film making is exciting and glamourous, but not every film becomes a hit, and a flop can mean a huge loss for you. Never invest in anything, unless you can afford to lose the amount you have invested with minimal damage to your finances.

The winners in the film making business have proven that they are successful, and are already completely financed. These film makers have many years of experience in the film making field. While it is possible to invest in film making and make money, it isn’t very easy. There are several people out there who are waiting to give you poor advice and take your well earned cash.

A few quick tips to set you on the right track:

1. 30% to 40% in equity should be enough to make most films if others will agree with the idea.

2. Keep the budget low, foreign should cover at least 50%, 70% would be even better.

3. Search for a script carefully and take your time, don’t grab the first script that interests you. You need to make sure film makers will agree with the use of the script.

4. You will need to take care of distribution with your own money, distribution is where you can make a good deal of money from your investment.

5. If you invest more $5 million or more, you will be able to buy into more than one film.

6. Never put up more than 50% of the total amount it will take to make the film, the producer should be able to drum up the rest, if they can’t- withdraw now.

7. Do not look at hit movies made by major motion picture studios as a guide. You will be working with independent film makers, and there are big differences.

Do your homework and become knowledgeable about the workings of independent film making. Know the film trends that work and what is popular, and what trends will be expected to last for a year or more. Has the film maker worked in the industry at all, if so to what extent is his expertise?

While investing in film making can be quite lucrative, you should believe in the film project and the ability of the film makers before you invest a dime. Meet with them to see how professional they are and what their goal is when it comes to the film project at hand. How excited are they about the project? Do they seem like the go-getter type that will be able to see the film making project through to completion? Are they opposed to you visiting the set once in a while to quietly see how the film is progressing?

These are all things you should check out before you decide to invest in film making. There may be other issues you will be concerned with, make sure you write them down while they are fresh in your mind and bring them with you to the meeting. There is never a guarantee when it comes to investing in anything, but if you believe in the project and are satisfied with the film makers there is a good chance you will see a profit.

Moe, Larry And Curly

Moe, Larry And Curly

Source: Flickr

Moe, Larry and Curly, do the names ring a bell? If you ever watched Saturday morning television, you probably know who I am talking about. I owe these guys big time. If it wasn’t for them, I never would have had such a good time when I went to those cheap movies in Brooklyn as a kid. They always featured 3 movies and 21 cartoons, including the Three Stooges, every Saturday. You can imagine how long we spent in the theatre on that day. We would be there for about six hours. But the highlight of the day was always those three zany guys. The theatre would show old movies so the price of admission was cheap There was usually one cowboy movie, one mystery movie and then a random type movie. Somehow they always managed to show movies that kids would like.
They weren’t always The Three Stooges and there wasn’t always the same three people. When they first broke into vaudeville, their act was called Ted Healy and his Stooges. Moe was Harry Moses Howard but he had formerly been named Horwitz. He started out with his brother Shemp, I’m sure you all remember him, his name was Samuel Howard. As the act progressed another person joined. He was Larry Fine. Remember the guy with the bushy hair that Moe kept pulling out? Larry Fine was really Louis Feinberg. Shemp got his name because his mother had a thick accent and that was the best she could do while trying to pronounce Samuel.
The act didn’t stay together this way for too long because Shemp decided he wanted to leave and pursue a career in the movies. Shemp was replaced by his brother Curly Howard. Sometimes you will see it spelled Curley. Curly’s name was Jerome Howard. People called him Babe. The Stooges were not happy. They didn’t like the way Ted Healy treated them. They got lucky and signed with Colombia Pictures and were paid the salary of a few hundred dollars per week. Little did they know at the time that they would be starring in the incredible amount of over 190 movies. No wonder there are so many Three Stooges movies on tv.
Things were going pretty well for them until 1945 when Curly suffered a stroke. Because of his stroke, Curly appears in only 97 of the movies. Most of these movies were shorts, but we used to look forward to seeing them more than the features. When a Three Stooges movie would come on, everyone would clap, it was something to see. Shemp returned and he appeared in a total of 73 movies. But Shemp didn’t stay and in 1956 Joe Besser replaced him. I have nothing against Joe Besser, its just that I thought he wasn’t funny. I felt he sort of lowered the fun factor of the films. Joe had to leave when his wife became ill and he was replaced by another unfunny guy named Joe DeRita, who tried to imitate the original Curly, without success.
In 1970 Larry Fine suffered a stroke while filming Kook’s Tour which was never finished. He died in 1975. Emil Sitka was to replace Larry but then Moe died and that was the end of the Three Stooges as an act.
The Stooges were very popular and in 1959 the entire Stooge’s library of films were syndicated by Columbia for television. Now a new generation of people would get to enjoy the antics of those three crazy guys. Many people have criticized the violence in the Three Stooges Movies, but it is so bizarre that even little children know it isn’t real. It is sort of a form of cartoon violence but with real actors. Fifty nine percent of all Americans who are at least 30 years old can name the Three Stooges but hardly anyone can name all the Justices of the Supreme Court.
Interestingly, there are four of the Stooges’ movies in the public domain. They are:
Disorder in the Court (1936)
Malice in the Palace (1949)
Sing A Song of Six Pants (1947)
Brideless Groom (1947)
It is amazing how a professional film company can let some movies fall into this category. It is sad that The Three Stooges never made it in tv. They had made a pilot for a show called Jerks Of All Trades in 1949. You would have thought with all the Milton Berle type humor at the time that they would have been a shoo-in.
I don’t want to leave you with the impression that the Stooges made only film shorts, they also made 19 full length films, the first one was Soup To Nuts in 1930 and the last was The Outlaws Is Coming in 1965. The Three Stooges were loved by many people, including me. They are gone now, but the memory of them lives on in their films. Maybe some day, even a hundred years from now or longer, children will still be laughing as Moe keeps hitting his thumb with a hammer and turning and slapping Larry every time.

Charlie Chaplin: A Short Bio

Charlie Chaplin: A Short Bio

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What could be said about this great and prolific actor? An article isn’t sufficient to describe the life of this immortal legend. A library of books written on him may still fall short of portraying the life of this never to be forgotten hero of Hollywood who gave innumerable memorable movies to us. Though he rose to fame mostly due to his silent movies but he conveyed so many things that many actors couldn’t do through speech. Charles Spencer Chaplin popularly known as Charlie Chaplin was born in Walworth, London, U.K. on April 16, 1889. The people had given him nick names like Charlie, Charlot and The Little Tramp.

Charlie Chaplin was born in the family of entertainers. His parents Charles and Hannah Chaplin were musical entertainers. No wonder why he took to stage so early. He was only five years old when he had to sing a song on his mother’s behalf as she became ill. There was no stopping this boy who toured in a musical called “The Eight Lancaster Lads” at the age of eight. The wonder kid continued his marvelous work appearing in “Giddy Ostende” at London’s Hippodrome. After that he worked with Fred Karno who had an English Vaudeville Troupe until the age of twenty-four. The troupe also brought him to New York in 1921 at the age of twenty one. He got his first break in December 1913 with Mack Sennet of Keystone. He moved to Hollywood, California the every next month to begin his long carrier both as actor and director. Charlie Chaplin’s first movie was “Making a Living” which released in February 1914. He acted and directed about thirty-five films with Keytone before moving to Essanay in 1915 where he did another fourteen films. Then he signed up with Mutual in 1916 and did another 12 films. He worked with Mutual until 1917. Then again next year he joined First National, which was later, acquired by Warner Bros. After a year i.e. in the year 1919 Charlie Chaplin formed United Artists collaborating with Mary Pickford, D.W. Griffith and Douglas Fairbanks. Then he gave his first ever full-length movie “The Kid” in 1921 produced under the banner of United Artists which was directed by him.

Charles Chaplin won a special award in 1929 Oscar Awards for his excellence in Writing, Producing, Directing and Acting for the movie “The Circus” which was released in 1928. Charlie Chaplin has the premiere of his 1931 movie “City Lights” in London where he stayed until 1932 and then returned to U.S. Chaplin’s next movie was five years called “Modern Times which was released in 1936. The movie was one of the biggest all time hits. He made another movie after four years by name “The Great Dictator” in 1940 in which he portrayed as Hitler, which was criticized by many. But the film created a stir at the box office and also won many awards. He made Monsieur Verdouz in 1947 and released a talkie in 1952 called “Limelight” which is still remembered as his best talkie.

Chaplin had his share of controversies too. The U.S. Authorities accused him of spreading communism through his movies. After being devastated by these allegations he left for Switzerland. While being outside U.S. he produced two more films “A King in New York” in 1957 and his last film “A Countess from Hong Kong” in 1967. It saw a bad end to this wonderful artist’s works when it flopped on the box office, which was the only failure that the great actor had in his professional career. He tried his hands at new scores in 1969 including “The Kid” and “The Circus”. Academy Award honored him for his contribution to the film industry in 1972. Queen Elizabeth II knighted Charlie Chaplin in 1975. Charlie Chaplin ascended to peace on Christmas Day of 1977 while in his sleep leaving an era of artistic brilliance behind him and cherished memories to the avid viewers of his movies.

I Come From the Movie Planet, How About You?

I Come From the Movie Planet, How About You?

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When people ask me where I am from I often reply jokingly, “I’m from the Movie Planet.’ That’s what I reckon people from other planets would call us here on Earth. How many movies have I watched in my life? How many hours have I sat in front of a small or big screen watching a story unfold, acted out by my fellow species? The answer is almost inconceivable. We worship film as an arena to learn, dream, escape, and even vicariously live our lives from. We pay actors millions of dollars, more than doctors as well as nearly all the rest of us, and a lot of us see them as superhuman beings that are a step above the rest in our perceived realm of mundane normality that we have constructed our lives in. A lot of the time the result of this belief structure causes a lot of pain for these ‘famous’ souls who would rather just live a normal life outside their work. The hounding paparazzi definitely don’t make the actors feel superhuman!
Look, I like watching movies a lot, maybe even more than the ‘average person’, I just wonder about the relationship we have with this imagined reality we so often connect with. We choose to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on some movies like ‘Independence Day’ that end up being bombs in the box office, while there are billions of people in true reality on Earth who have nothing to eat. It seems like madness if you look at it from that angle. Do we watch these visions of ‘ourselves’ doing things so that we don’t have to think about what hard work we have to do in our real lives?
Even as I sit here on a Friday afternoon I am wondering if I should grab a DVD tonight to watch as an attempt to relax at home after a pretty hard working week. The funny thing is if I grab the ‘wrong’ type of movie, I may end up more stressed out than I am right now! So, am I addicted to these things? Are we all? I’ll let you think about it. To focus on the positive side of things, we must realize that we can learn so much from our experiences with the movies. We wouldn’t have become obsessed over nothing, now would we? I myself learn a lot and get to experience many emotions during the engrossing visual experience. I mean, I do have a big enough range of feelings in my real life, but it’s kind of cool being able to be in ‘The Matrix’ (maybe we already are? ), or to be ‘Spiderman’ for a day, or maybe live in a weird world like “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ for a few hours.
If you do love movies, these days there is one place to go that you can find out just about nearly anything and everything about a film, and even watch trailers of the shows.
It’s called the Internet Movie Database or IMDB. Google it, or look for it on your other search engine. I believe this website started up very small from someone who just wanted to talk about movies. Now, it receives over 25 million ‘visits’ a month. It literally has everything you ever need to know about films. It gives biographies on movies, the actors and directors involved, as well as comments and ratings from people who have wanted to express their feelings about the films in question. For some of the movies, especially new ones that haven’t opened in theatres yet, there are previews and trailers you can watch right at your computer to tell you if you really think you should go and see it or not.
There’s also cool lists made up by visitors to the site like ‘Top 250 films’, and ‘100 worst films of all time’. There are articles related to the movie industry as well as many other interesting categories to look at like ‘Independent films’ and ‘Award winners’. Really, you’ve got to check it out yourself to see what I mean.
Whether you think movies are a great achievement by humanity to learn and be entertained with, or an obsession that has gone way too far, it looks as though they are here to stay. The questions remain: Is your life as good as the movies you watch? If you spend as much time in virtual reality as reality itself, what planet do you really come from?

Hollywood Movies that Glorify Education

Hollywood Movies that Glorify Education

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On a typical rainy or winter day and you just want to stay at home, you might want to watch several movies. If you have a strong interest in education, there are several feel-good and inspiring Hollywood movies that you should be watching. Here are three of those great and excellent flicks of all times.

The movie ‘Teachers’ was released in 1984. It starred Nick Nolte, Morgan Freeman, Laura Derm, and Richard Mulligan. The film was about a high school graduate who ended up suing her public high school because she was able to graduate even without knowing how to actually read. This movie discusses and describes all the setbacks and disadvantageous condition of the US public education at the time. It obviously aims to address education problems in a satirical manner, through conflicts and over-the-top movie characters.

‘Teachers’ also exposes several public education problems that are still left hanging even up to this day. What is more interesting is that such problems are not unique to the US. Many other countries experience those educational problems today. The teacher in the movie treated the lawsuit not as a blow to the institution but as a timely opportunity to prompt lasting changes not just to the public school but to public education in general.

In 1989, the movie ‘Dead Poets Society’ made waves, not because it starred Robin Williams (who was a hot movie star those days) but because it tackled the importance of education amid rigid society norms and strict parental expectations. It showed that talented and committed educators could always get in the way to inspire and touch lives of even the most notorious students. The movie was also noted for its ability to take viewers into typical life in one of those prep schools circa 1950s. Williams’ performance was one of the most charismatic in this movie.

‘Dead Poets Society’ has always been one of those educational movies that are recommended for tackling issues about curriculums and the real value of education. No wonder, many schools and classes run and hold viewing of the movie at the start of every semester. The movie would surely be worth your time. It is entertaining, touching, and inspiring all at the same time.

On the other hand, in 2006 ‘Chalk’ was released. This movie presents takes on education through tracing of three unique teachers who are at various stages of their teaching careers. The focus was at a teacher who used to be businessman. The two were a teacher who has been teacher of the year for two straight years and another who has been promoted to become an assistant to the principal. Actual teachers could all relate to the three main characters in the movie.

‘Chalk’ is a ‘mockumentary’ film that was produced to show satiric perspectives in education through portrayal of different unlikely events, from pokers to dog shows. It was produced by the same documentary filmmaker who was popular for his ‘Supersize Me’ (Morgan Spurlock). It may not be a full movie, but the documentary proves to be really entertaining and enlightening at the same time.

Education is truly an important subject to discuss. All three films show how life and education are intertwined and are connected. You should try to view some, if not all. These movies would really be worth your precious time.

A Review Of Disney Channel’s High School Musical

A Review Of Disney Channel’s High School Musical

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Disney Channel’s High School Musical is one of the hottest movies ever offered up by Disney. Kids and teens love the singing and dancing of this fast paced movie and most watch it repeatedly. This movie can only be seen on the Disney Channel or on the DVD that has been released for home viewing. This must see film could easily become a family favorite in your home, from the very first time you watch it.

The plot of High School Musical is a traditional love story theme, as is popular in many teen movies. The popular school jock meets the new nerdy kid, while singing karaoke one night. They later star together in their high school’s musical and fall in love. The sports elements, dancing, singing, and love interests give the movie an appeal to kids and teens of all ages and sexes.

Disney Channel’s High School Musical is a film that parents can feel good about letting their children watch. Though there is a love story element, there is nothing that is obscene or age inappropriate in this movie. In a world where nearly every movie involves cursing, violence, and sex, High School Musical is a much needed breath of fresh air. Even the youngest members of the family can watch and enjoy the fun songs and talented dancers.

If you are looking for a great movie that your whole family can watch together, High School Musical is the perfect choice. Rent of buy this movie today, or catch it the next time it is shown on the Disney Channel. Everyone in your family will enjoy the story and singing and it will give your family a great chance to bond, as well. It is definitely time to plan a family movie night and get everyone together to enjoy a wholesome movie watching experience.

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