Here is what I saw in theaters in the month of July.
Here is what I saw in theaters in the month of July.
Reposting my #30DaysofFavorites project here on my blog. Sharing my 30 Favorite Fictional Characters.
Reposting my #30DaysofFavorites project here on my blog. Sharing my 30 Favorite Movies.
I saw Mission: Impossible Fallout. Here’s what I thought of it.
In case anyone reading these posts couldn’t tell, Robert Shaw is my favorite actor. I first remember seeing him in Jaws and I was captivated. Since then I have made it one of my missions in life to view his complete works and this marathon is a way for me to get a good chunk of them in. From Russia With Love definitely makes my top ten film list because it not only has the world’s coolest secret agent, it also has the world’s coolest secret agent’s best opponent. I could give a debrief of why Sean Connery is the best James Bond but I won’t because this isn’t a Sean Connery marathon (although that might be a good follow up blog), it’s a Robert Shaw marathon. In this film he plays Donald Grant, SPECTRE’s hired hitman that ensures that Bond’s part in the scheme is played out, and then that he is eliminated. What makes Shaw’s performance so memorable is that he doesn’t have any lines for the first hour and a half of the movie so he relies on body language and facial expressions to communicate his thoughts and emotions. I really do think Shaw’s best talent was in his facial expressions. He doesn’t need to exaggerate anything because he can communicate anger with a narrowing of his eyes and tightening of his lips. He can show that he’s serious with a low, menacing tone of voice. He gets to do all that in this film and he does it well, and for most of the movie he isn’t really interacting with the other characters directly, so he does a good job without having to respond to someone else’s act.
Today’s film is The Sting. I’m a fan of Paul Newman and I think he and Robert Redford are wonderful together, and they play well off each other in this film. Shaw is also wonderful playing yet another villain. He seemed to have more roles as the bad guy than the hero but it was probably because he was so good at playing them. The big difference I see in this role is that the villain isn’t cool and collected all the time. His character Doyle Lonnegan is prideful and when he’s cheated he shows his anger. When he’s angry he acts almost childlike, complaining that he’s been tricked by a better cheat or that he’s lost his money in an almost whiney tone of voice. The only distinction between him and a child throwing a tantrum is that his resolution is to kill those that have tricked him. Shaw pulls off this performance flawlessly and even though the film won best picture, Robert Shaw was looked over yet again. That didn’t seem to discourage him from putting his best work forward in all of his roles
The first installment of our Robert Shaw marathon. After my last post my dad suggested we have one and since we watch Jaws on the 4th of July every year, I thought a marathon would be a nice lead in. I will be giving a brief review of each in the upcoming days.
This is a great concept film. A gang of men take a train car hostage and demand one million dollars from the city of New York. It’s simple but well executed and wonderfully cast. Walter Matthau is perfect as the cynical and biting Lt. Garber and Hector Elizondo does a great job playing the hotheaded and leering Mr. Grey. Even the supporting cast was given careful consideration, with Jerry Stiller as the smart-mouthed Rico Patrone and Lee Wallace as the sniveling, political driven Mayor of New York. However, it is Robert Shaw who yet again steals the film in his role as Mr. Blue (side note: I believe this may have been where Quentin Tarantino got the idea to name his characters after numbers in Reservoir Dogs). His character is cunning and ruthless and he plays it brilliantly. I think this is one of his less well-known roles but he does it justice.
In June I signed up for an online course offered by TCM and Ball State University that focused on Movie Musicals. It ran for a month and TCM had special Musicals programming twice a week all during the month of June. Thought I’d share a bit about my experience.
I really overbooked myself in June. I had my #30DaysofFavorites project I was working on, I was employed full-time, and then I went ahead and signed up for this course. Naturally I decided to wait until the very last week of the month to even look at the class workload. I tried recording some of the musicals being shown on TCM but didn’t end up watching any of them. Thankfully this turned out not to be a problem as they were not required viewing to complete the course.
There were daily lecture notes, video commentaries, and a weekly half hour podcast going over all the material covered. I crammed three weeks worth of these into about two days, then followed through with the last week as it went along. I ended up completing all of the assignments, acing all of the quizzes, which you could take more than once, though I only had to do that on one, and finished the course right on time. It might have helped that one of my favorite classes I took for my Cinema minor was a course dedicated to Movie Musicals, and much of the material covered in that class was mirrored in the TCM one. I think that’s why I was originally so excited about the course. It reminded me of my college days, and I got to soak up a ton of movie history. You also got a “badge” to share on social each week you completed all the work. As I hadn’t kept up with the class in real time, I got all of the badges at the end of the month and didn’t share them on social, so I’m sharing them here now.
I do wish I had planned it out better, and had taken the time to complete each assignment the week it was actually assigned. That might have saved me some stress that last week of June. Still, I thought it was a great experience, and I hope TCM offers similar opportunities in the future.
At the end of the course, if you took it for a grade, you got this cool certificate that means nothing except that you’re an expert movie geek: