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Classic Films

Pushing the Envelope

February 21st, 2016  |  by  |  published in Classic Films | Leave A Comment »

Pushing the Envelope

Some films are beautiful, and some films are strangely exotic. However, there are only a few films that are both beautiful and strangely exotic. Black Narcissus (1947) is one of those few. Quite simply, it’s one of the most beautiful films every made. It was once cited by the Technicolor company as the best example […]

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Same Only Different

February 2nd, 2016  |  by  |  published in Classic Films | Leave A Comment »

Same Only Different

The Awful Truth (1937) is one of the least appreciated of the top screwball comedies, in part because director Leo McCarey isn’t as well known as directors Frank Capra, George Cukor, Ernst Lubitsch, Preston Sturges, or even Howard Hawks. His best comedies include Let’s Go Native (1930), Duck Soup (1933), Six of a Kind (1934), […]

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A Most Unusual Day

January 16th, 2016  |  by  |  published in Classic Films | Leave A Comment »

A Most Unusual Day

Roger Thornhill should have known he was in trouble when he walked through the lobby, and the hotel’s music system played “It’s a Most Unusual Day.” Of rather, we should have known. He may not know it, but we do — he lives inside a Hitchcock film, so we can expect a healthy dose of […]

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Archetypal Western

January 2nd, 2016  |  by  |  published in Classic Films | Leave A Comment »

Archetypal Western

Greatest Western of all time? Most influential Western? Archetypal Western? Stagecoach (1939) may be all three, depending on your point of view. John Ford hadn’t made a Western since 3 Bad Men (1926) and was eager to make another. Stagecoach was originally slated to be shot in Technicolor with David O. Selznick as the producer. […]

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Double Trouble

December 20th, 2015  |  by  |  published in Classic Films | Leave A Comment »

Double Trouble

The best film noir centers on fate. Characters are destined to commit a crime because they can’t escape their past. Or a fatal flaw keeps them from seeing the obvious truth, so the tension builds as we’re unable to warn the characters, as we might be able to do in real life. Double Indemnity (1944) […]

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A Leap of Faith

December 4th, 2015  |  by  |  published in Classic Films | Leave A Comment »

A Leap of Faith

If the measure of a classic film is its ability to withstand the erosions of time, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) would have to be regarded as the best science fiction film of all time. Though we have moved beyond it chronologically, its predictive value still seems valid. The decades-old special effects also hold up […]

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One of Us

October 15th, 2015  |  by  |  published in Classic Films | Leave A Comment »

One of Us

One of the more unusual Hollywood studio films from the 1930s is Tod Browning’s Freaks (1932). It’s often dismissed as an exploitation film or a cheap attempt at sensationalism. In fact, it’s neither. Browning, best known for having directed Dracula the year before, had run away to join the circus when he was 16 years […]

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Whatever It Takes

September 21st, 2015  |  by  |  published in Classic Films | Leave A Comment »

Whatever It Takes

You could go around in circles trying to decide who is better: Chaplin or Keaton? Setting aside personal preferences, they’re close enough to call it a tie. Chaplin taps directly into your emotions, while Keaton’s work is more cerebral. Two of Chaplin’s feature-length films tug at the heart strings more than the others. They are […]

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Light and Shadow

May 29th, 2015  |  by  |  published in Classic Films | Leave A Comment »

Light and Shadow

Rashomon (1950) might have been just a concept film — a fascinating idea trapped inside a mediocre movie. Instead, director Akira Kurosawa gave us a film that’s equally rich in character and imagery. It was so successful, the title became synonymous with its plot device, that four witnesses could recount radically different versions of the […]

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A Tangible Presence

May 14th, 2015  |  by  |  published in Classic Films | Leave A Comment »

A Tangible Presence

The Wind (1928) is a high watermark (if you’ll excuse the pun) for both its star and director. Lillian Gish had played mostly innocent waifs in D. W. Griffith’s films. Those performances are among her best, but she hadn’t been given a chance to take on a wide range of roles. When she signed with […]

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Better Than Kane?

April 22nd, 2015  |  by  |  published in Classic Films | Leave A Comment »

Better Than Kane?

Is Ambersons better than Kane? If you’re talking about the first part of the film, then the answer is yes. The problem with The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), which Orson Welles directed just a year after Citizen Kane, is it was re-edited and given a happier ending. In his book Orson Welles, Joseph McBride quotes Welles […]

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Best Movie Musical

March 29th, 2015  |  by  |  published in Classic Films | Leave A Comment »

Best Movie Musical

Is there anyone into classic films who doesn’t like Singin’ in the Rain (1952)? Given that 19-year-old Debbie Reynolds had never danced before, and the script had to be written around a group of songs with little in common, it’s a wonder (and a tribute to those involved) that this would turn out to be […]

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A Rousing Good Time

February 3rd, 2015  |  by  |  published in Classic Films | Leave A Comment »

A Rousing Good Time

Captain Blood (1935) is the first of three exceptional swashbuckling films from an unlikely trio: director Michael Curtiz, composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold, and actor Errol Flynn. While the other two films — The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) and The Sea Hawk (1940) — are better known, Captain Blood is in many ways the superior […]

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A Question of Balance

January 16th, 2015  |  by  |  published in Classic Films | Leave A Comment »

A Question of Balance

What can I say to convince you to see Jean Renoir’s Grand Illusion (1937), if you haven’t already seen it? (If you have already seen it, you won’t need convincing). This quote from Orson Welles should do it, “If I had to save only one film in the world it would be Grand Illusion.” On […]

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Best Film Ever Made?

October 22nd, 2014  |  by  |  published in Classic Films | Leave A Comment »

Best Film Ever Made?

If you’re going to write about classic films, you have to stick your neck out — and take the chance others will stick their tongues out in response. OK, here goes. As much as I love Citizen Kane (1941), I think Sunrise (1927) is the better film. In fact, it may be the best film […]

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Pocket Cinema

Wow, it’s a pocket-sized pro-quality HD camcorder. Read my review of the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera in StudioDaily

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Vibrant Colors

This dye-based wide-carriage photo printer produces vibrant colors. Check out my review of the Canon Pixma Pro-100 in Computer Shopper.

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Keeping it RAW

Can this inexpensive photo-editing program compete with Lightroom? Check out my review of Corel AfterShot Pro at Digital Camera Review.

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Forge Ahead

Do you need to do some serious production-quality sound editing? You may want to read my review of Sony’s Sound Forge Pro 11 in StudioDaily