Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Take 34: 12 Angry Men

Tuesday: My "take" on a film.

12 Angry Men (1957)

"Life is in their hands--death is on their minds!"

An 18-year old boy is accused of murdering his father. The trial is over, the jury sent to deliberate. A "guilty" verdict would sentence him to death.

The initial vote: 11 (guilty) to 1 (not guilty). That one vote weighs heavily since the verdict must be unanimous. Thus proceeds arguments and re-hashed evidence as the jurors uncover (sometimes unwittingly) flaws in the prosecution's supposed open-shut case. 

Almost the entire film takes place in the juror's room, but you put 12 men in a hot stuffy room and add personality clashes, prejudices, differing backgrounds, and you get plenty of conflict. 

Juror #8 (Henry Fonda) does not claim the defendant is innocent, but insists there is reasonable doubt to his guilt. One person giving someone the benefit of the doubt can go a long way. I want him in my corner!

Notes on content:
  • Infrequent mild swearing
  • No nudity or sexual situations
  • Heated debate, arguments, contention

(Roger Ebert listed this film in 33 Movies To Restore Your Faith in Humanity. I posted about the book here.)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Goodness of characters and people.

Disappointment and frustration with the film industry made it difficult to post anything on this blog for the past several months, but I recently purchased Ebert's Essentials: 33 Movies to Restore Your Faith in Humanity, and feel hope again.

In the introduction to his book, Roger Ebert states that he rarely cries at the movies, but when he does, "it's almost always because of the goodness of a character."

All of the films listed in the book "have one thing in common--the goodness of people."
"They are very different people and good in many different ways, but all of them, whatever the place in life that fate has led them to, try to do the best they can with their opportunities. Yes, that can restore your faith in humanity. We need more of these films and fewer weekend blockbusters entertaining young people with the slaughter and suffering of anonymous victims in action pictures."
More goodness of people and less slaughter... I wholeheartedly agree!

Of the 33 movies listed in the book, I've seen eight:
Apollo 13
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
The King's Speech
Lawrence of Arabia
October Sky
12 Angry Men

The remaining 25 have been added to my list of films I want to see.

He writes about movies that can restore faith in humanity, but his book also restored my faith in filmmakers. Thank you Roger Ebert.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Comic Relief: Home Alone Parody

Friday: Comic Relief

I love this Studio C sketch. Never leave Kevin home alone this time of year!

Kevin Defends the Apartment

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Take 33: Silent Night

My "take" on a film.

Silent Night (2012)

"The powerful true story behind the most
popular Christmas carol of all time."

As a new assistant priest, Joseph Mohr (Carsten Clemens) wants the church to connect with the common people of Austria with sermon and song in German (instead of Latin). He wants people to understand the services, but his methods, which include allowing a female in the church choir, lead him to the verge of disciplinary action. 

Early in his ministry, a religious leader counseled, "If you want to keep hope alive, you must never lose hope yourself." Yet, the night before Christmas, Mohr struggles with possible defeat, and as he walks through the snow, wondering about his future, he feels inspired to put one of his poems to music. 

Enlisting the help of musician and church organist, Franz Gruber (Markus von Lingen), they combine talents to create--in one night--a lullaby to perform for the upcoming Midnight Mass. Mohr hopes the people "will remember this Christmas for years to come."

Thank you, Joseph and Franz, for my favorite Christmas hymn, Silent Night.

And thank you, Christian Vuissa for the beautiful film. 

I met Christian, an Austrian filmmaker, several years ago. He was passionate about the history behind the beloved hymn and it shows in the film. The stunning Austrian location, beautifully composed shots, and the editing pace--never lingering too long on one scene--move the fascinating story.

This film will air on BYU-TV (Mountain Standard Time)
December 11, 7:00 p.m.
December 12, 12:00 a.m.
December 12, 12:00 p.m.

Or watch it now on (link): Silent Night (2012).

Monday, November 14, 2016

Monday: Dialogue, Lines, or Quotes

"A slow movie that closely observes human beings and their relationships can be endlessly fascinating, while a thriller with nonstop wall-to-wall action can be boring, because it is all relentlessly pitched at the same tone." (Roger Ebert)

I've seen action packed films that I count as gaggers, yet I get so used to fast paced movies and television, that when I watch a slower paced flick, I feel impatient. But, if I relax and let the story unfold at its leisure, I usually find, like Ebert said, the movie to be endlessly fascinating.

And memorable.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Dialogue from not-so-scary movies.

Monday: Dialogue, Lines, or Quotes

Today is Halloween, so I selected some fun dialogue:

ERNEST (Jim Varney)
(sees Trantor the Troll)
Oh, I sure hope you're from Keebler!

Hocus Pocus (1993):

WINIFRED (Bette Midler)
Oh look, another glorious morning.
Makes me sick!


FRAU BL√úCHER (Cloris Leachman)
It's not rotten! It's a good brain!


THE MONSTER (Peter Boyle)
(lunging at the doctor)

IGOR (Marty Feldman)
Ixnay on the ottenray.

Casper (1995):
KAT (Christina Ricci)
I can see right through you.

CASPER (Malachi Pearson)
Yeah, kind of happens when
you haven't got any skin.

Beetlejuice (1988):
ADAM (Alec Baldwin)
"Handbook of the Recently Diseased".

BARBARA (Geena Davis)
... Deceased.


I don't know where it came from.
Look at the publisher.

"Handbook for the Recently
Deceased Press".

You know what? I don't think
we survived the crash!

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Costumes for the Coneheads.

Writing Prompt: A memorable Halloween costume.

In keeping with the focus of this blog, I considered costumes in film, and Coneheads (1993) rose to the top. Although donning a fake dome makes for a fun Halloween costume, I refer to the costumes the characters wear within the movie.

Aliens from the planet Remulak crash-land on Earth. Stranded, and awaiting rescue, they blend among the "blood skulls" (humans) by using the name DeCicco and claiming they are from France. Like that explains their cone-shaped heads.

An immigration official and his assistant suspect the DeCicco family are aliens--illegal aliens. They hope to catch the family off guard by entering their home under the pretense of being Jehovah's Witnesses.

The Coneheads don't typically disguise their odd head shape, but on this night they are dressed for a costume party, inadvertently hiding their cones:

Beldar, dressed as Abraham Lincoln, wears a tall top hat. Prymatt's painted-red cone poses as lipstick in a tube. And their daughter, Connie, appears dressed as a medieval princess wearing a hennin (cone shaped hat). Perfect--and memorable--costumes for the Coneheads.

What movie comes to mind when you think of characters wearing costumes?

Writing prompt from: