CINELATION | Movie Reviews by Christopher Beaubien
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Cinelation is on the LAMB

by Christopher Beaubien • May 13, 2011 • Start the Discussion!

This is my best impression of a lamb.

 

Last Saturday, Cinelation was submitted as the #922 website in the Large Association of Movie Blogs (LAMB). Special thanks to Rachel, one of the site’s leading authors, who took my website into consideration and posted it.

The next day I was encouraged by Max Covill of Impassioned Cinema who found Cinelation through the LAMB. Judging from his output, the name for his website is very appropriate.

Of the livestock available, thank goodness the LAMB’s mascot is an adorable, fluffy one instead of grotesquely characterized variant.

Like this one:

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My Own Movie Poster Design of Werner Herzog’s BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL
NEW ORLEANS (2009)

by Christopher Beaubien • November 07, 2009 • Start the Discussion!

Two weeks ago, Chicago-based film reviewer codenamed Quint (real name: Jim Fyfe) from Ain’t It Cool News challenged graphic designers and film fanatics alike to participate in a contest: Make An Insane Movie Poster of Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. Quint being a great admirer of the new Werner Herzog film from this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) – not to mention Jaws (1975)! – has had mixed feelings toward what its distributors First Look Studios and Polsky Films have done in the way of movie posters. First, they made an edgy poster that the MPAA threw its gavel down hard on for showing its title character pointing a gun at someone. Harvey Keitel, the original 1992 Bad Lieutenant from the 1992 Abel Ferrara film, amongst thousands of other trigger-itchy characters can point their gun at us gazers, but according to the MPAA we can’t handle anyone inside the poster being promised some bullets. Finally, First Look settled on a poster that looks like your generic rogue cop-seeks-killer thriller complete with two famous giant heads suspended over a landscape of dread and action.

Just like these ones!

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The 28th Annual Vancouver International Film Festival 2009 Opens

by Christopher Beaubien • October 01, 2009 • Start the Discussion!

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One of the many upsides to living in a beautiful city like Vancouver (besides the freshest tap water this side of the Pacific Ocean) is that it holds one of the five biggest film festivals in North America. The Vancouver International Film Festival opens today. About 640 screenings of the 360 films to come from eighty countries will be shown over the next sixteen days (October 1 – October 16). That means we Vancouverites and visiting film buffs can see movies as far as award-winners at Cannes, Telluride (TIFF), et al. to those that will never get distribution here. Without the interference of a ratings board, anything goes. Along Granville Street, and from Seymore to Howe, the cinemas are our roller coasters, our bumper cars, our Tilt-A-Whirls. It’s a good comparison seeing as how the line-ups won’t be any different.

I am still disheartened that Todd Solondz’s Life During Wartime (2009), a semi-sequel to his wonderful Happiness (1998), is not playing in the festival. After it played last month at Telluride to a very warm reception, Life During Wartime didn’t get distribution like so many others. Unless Solondz distributes it himself or keeps selling to those willing to take a risk (Hello Lions Gate Films!), it might be a long while to view. On the bright side, the Coen Brothers’ new film A Serious Man will have a Sunday morning sneak preview at the Park Theatre on October 11 before opening nationwide on October 16. The Coen film, unlike Telluride, will not be part of the VIFF. I am catching the Sunday screening so for me, it is part of the festival.

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Shirley Walker’s Contribution to “Apolcalypse Now” (1979)

by Christopher Beaubien • February 09, 2009 • 1 Comment

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Before becoming the next best thing to the likes of film composer Danny Elfman, Shirley Walker made her mark as a conductor for a few renowned films such as Randa Haine’s Children of a Lesser God (1986) and Jonathan Kaplan’s The Accused (1988). Her greatness was matched by the production of Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979) as her first gig in Hollywood. On the Internet Movie Database, Walker is listed as a synthesizer musician in the film’s music department. The original music credit goes to its director (listed as Francis Coppola) and his father Carmine Coppola. Coppola’s wife, Eleanor, was too busy documenting its production with stunning material that would later become Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse (1991), written and directed by Fax Bahr and George Hickenlooper who also made the wonderful film, The Man From Elysian Fields (2001). Like Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo (1982) and its accompanying documentary Burden of Dreams (1982), Hearts of Darkness presents the production as harrowing an experience as Apocalypse Now.

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Random Thoughts on the 81st Oscar Nominations

by Christopher Beaubien • January 26, 2009 • Start the Discussion!

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We were spoiled by last year’s Oscar telecast. It didn’t feel that way at the time, but after going through the slough of nominations deemed safe by the Academy of Motion Pictures, a year where No Country For Old Men (2007) took home the big kahuna is looking more lustrous. Amidst the categories is a rigid formula of regularity that just strengthens my conspiracy that the Oscar voters are in cahoots with The Sandman. Some of nominees are deserving, but many of them have been preordained by the death of a thousand cuts that film pundits call Oscar Buzz.

Mind you, I’m writing this with a little tongue in cheek. If the few deserving nominees were absent from the categories, it would be disappointing despite how much news preordained the suspense out like a strangled balloon. Looking at the Best Actor nominees alone, four out of five great choices is not bad. Other categories are not as kind. This is the first out of two think-pieces about the 81st Annual Academy Award Nominations.

Best Picture

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Ceán Chaffin, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall
Frost|Nixon (2008): Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Eric Fellner
Milk (2008): Bruce Cohen, Dan Jinks (they won for American Beauty in 1999)
The Reader (2008): Anthony Minghella, Sydney Pollack, Donna Gigliotti, Redmond Morris
Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Christian Colson

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