Dementia 13 — Part Three

saturday_matinee

Once again, it’s time for the Saturday Matinee! This week we have Part Three of Dementia 13! Hang on to your hat, because things are getting weirder than ever in this film.

Also, here’s my entry into last weekend’s Vimeo Weekend Challenge! 🙂  The requirements were to swoosh between scenes and keep it under one minute.

My Awesome Weekend from Debbi Mack on Vimeo.

Voila! 🙂

PS: From March 5 to March 11, you can get a copy of any of my ebooks on Smashwords for free! Including this one. Just use the code SFREE at checkout! 🙂

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Posted in B-Movies, Horror, Parody, Public Domain Movies, Serial Shorts, Short Film | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Original vs. Remake: ‘The Thomas Crown Affair’

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I’d love to say that I absolutely adored Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway in the original version of this film. Except it would be a flat-out lie.

Maybe it was all the hype around this movie, but honestly … I was unimpressed.

First, you have the split-screen effects used at various points. Cute and clever at the time, I guess. Now, woefully outdated.

Second, those long, ever-so-meaningful scenes where McQueen (as Thomas Crown, rich big-shot and thief) stares silently into the eyes of Dunaway (as insurance company investigator Vicki Anderson, who’s pegged Crown as the one who ripped off her client), as the tune “Windmills of Your Mind” noodles in the background. Like that interminable incredibly long chess scene. One word: BORING!

I may have nodded off before they finally got around to kissing! 🙂

Then, there are those long (beautifully photographed) walks on the beach. They fly in Crown’s glider. They ride in his dune buggie. I guess there’s supposed to be a subtext of conflict. Well, if there is subtext, they buried it deep under so much nothingness, it numbs the mind.

Finally, the ending. It eventually and blessedly comes, and then it just lays there. And I was like, “That’s it? Well, that sucked.”

It sucked so bad, I thought my head would explode!

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I think the only reason the original ended as it did was that Steve McQueen was too cool to be bested in any manner by a woman, of all things. That’s how the 60s were. Frankly, I don’t miss that.

Now, the remake … so much better.

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First, the leads are played by Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo (the investigator whose character’s name was changed to Catherine Banning for some reason). And definite sparks fly between them in their scenes.

The story is much better crafted. Not only does Russo have to find a way to nail Brosnan, but given the romance that develops, she also finds herself at odds with the cops. Especially one cop in particular, played by Denis Leary.

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The remake ditches the slow, staring parts between Crown and the investigator, focusing instead on creating great plot, building suspense, and showing us fascinating characters with complex feelings.

Finally, the ending. This time I didn’t know what to expect of the end. But when it arrived, I breathed a sigh of relief and said, “That was awesome.”

So, in my opinion, the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair has it all over the original. Hands down, and thumbs up! 🙂

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Posted in Crime Movies, Movie Reviews, Remake Reviews | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Cinematic Life Lessons: Doctor Strange

Lessons learned from movies. 🙂

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If you’ve been following our blog, you know that we have started a semi-regular feature that examines classic films and the life lessons you can glean from them. Whether you’re a filmmaker, an entrepreneur or a film fan, we’re sure there’s something to inspire you.

We’ll say this in advance to save frustration: SPOILER ALERT! Yes, there will be spoilers. You have been warned. Today we’re looking at one of Marvel Studios most esoteric and mind-bending of offerings, Scott Derrickson’s Doctor Strange. And no, you won’t find the steps for unlocking the dark dimension, but there’s some lessons in here that might inspire you. Whether you’re a filmmaker, an entrepreneur, a creative whirlwind or a dreamer, there’s something uplifting for everyone…well, at least I hope so! Here’s a few lessons you can learn from Doctor Strange:

Good things fall apart so better things can come together: This phrase…

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‘Dementia 13’ — Part Two

saturday_matinee

Thanks for joining me on another beautiful Saturday for yet another weird and wacky delightfully eccentric part of my B-movie extravaganza! 🙂

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Today, for your viewing pleasure, here’s Part Two of Dementia 13!

Let me know what you think of the closed-captioning! 🙂 Hopefully, it’ll be a bit more legible than the text function in Final Cut Pro.

Also, stayed tuned to this blog for my entry in the Great Villain Blogathon 2017, being hosted by the awesome Ruth of Silver Screenings, Karen of Shadows & Satin and Kristina of Speakeasy! 🙂

Villains 2017

Posted in B-Movies, Horror, Parody, Public Domain Movies, Serial Shorts | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Announcing The Great Villain Blogathon 2017!

Join the fun! Who’s your favorite movie villian? 🙂

Speakeasy

Villains 2017Time once again to face the evil with the annual Big Bad Blogathon celebrating cinema’s worst villains.

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My Review of ‘Red River’ (1948)

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One of my favorite types of movies when I was growing up was the Western. At the time, there were quite a few TV series based on Westerns. In fact, the show Star Trek was pitched by its creator, Gene Roddenberry, as “Wagon Train to the stars”. A description that would no doubt earn me a blank look from most young people today.

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However, much as I loved the genre, I didn’t really dig into it until I reached college, where I took courses that gave me a great appreciation for classics like Stagecoach, Fort Apache, The Searchers, High Noon, and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. All great movies that I can talk about later.

After years of hearing about how great Red River is, I finally broke down and watched it. I’m happy to say it lived up to its hype.

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The story is about Thomas Dunson (played by John Wayne) who’s striking out West to start a cattle ranch with his trusty sidekick Nadine Groot (played in characteristic mumble-mouthed manner by Walter Brennan). Dunson decides to depart from the wagon train he’s been following, leaving behind the woman he loves, but taking Groot with him.

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Both of them wanted to go, but Dunson insisted the woman stay with the wagon train. A decision he comes to regret after the wagon train is attacked by Indians and everyone in it slaughtered.

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Everyone except for one boy—an orphaned child named Matthew Garth. Garth is played as a boy by Mickey Kuhn and as an adult by Montgomery Clift at his most handsome. The boy wanders into their camp, dazed and disoriented, but quickly comes around after being slapped in the face a bit. The best treatment for shock, as we all know from these movies.

The setup for future tension between Dunson and Garth is handled economically in the early scenes between Wayne and Kuhn, with Brennan serving as part comic relief, part Greek chorus. But most of the action takes place between the older versions of these two characters. This is after Dunson and Company have crossed the Red River into Texas and Dunson decides to essentially make a land grab.

So, years later, after Dunson, Groot, and Garth (Dunson’s “adopted son”) raise a bunch of cattle (along with catching and branding a few strays belonging to others, now and then), Dunson’s plans to make a fortune must be adjusted to account for the widespread poverty in the South after it’s loss in the Civil War. Dunson hires several men who, along with Groot and Garth, will drive his cattle to the railhead in Sedalia, Missouri.

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What the hired men don’t count on is that Dunson will run his crew like an army platoon. Those who screw up will be punished severely. Those who choose to drop out will be considered deserters, whose should be shot. After the introduction to Garth early in the movie, it isn’t hard to imagine how he responds to this—he resists Dunson’s tyrannical ways. In fact, Garth pulls off what would be in military terms a mutiny.

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What I loved about this movie was that it wasn’t just another cowboys and Indians flick. It’s a story of fathers and sons and the love-hate relationship that can exist between them. I was singularly impressed by the writing, and how the story maintained the requisite level of tension throughout the middle (the cattle drive). And if the ending is a bit … well … expected, it takes nothing away from the film as a whole, which resonated deeply with me on many levels.

This is an awesome Western/psychological drama that I’m awarding two thumbs up!

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Posted in Movie Reviews, Westerns | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Dementia 13 — Part One

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This week kicks off with an old Roger Corman goodie! Yes, if you click that link, you’ll see that Roger is still alive and kicking! The man survived the mass celebrity slaughter year 2016! 🙂 Now, that’s saying something.

In any case, and without further ado, here’s Part One of Dementia 13! Produced by Roger Corman, and directed by none other than Francis Ford Coppola! 🙂

And speaking of failed early efforts early attempts at short film, here’s a video I made for a Valentine’s Day challenge. It required capturing a story about love (happy or sad) in five seconds — tops! Not counting the intro or outro. It’s called Modern Love.

Modern Love from Debbi Mack on Vimeo.

Yep, I have no shame, at this point! 🙂

Posted in B-Movies, Horror, Parody, Public Domain Movies, Serial Shorts, Short Film, Video | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments