The average viewer may not know who J. Paul Getty was. If they do recognize the name, it’s most likely from his extensive collection of art, housed in Santa Monica’s Getty Center or the Getty Villa, located just up the coast in the Pacific Palisade. They might even recognize him as the answer to a trivia question: Who was the world’s first billionaire? But in a world of thousands of billionaires, first no longer holds currency. Yes, according to the 1966 Guinness Book of Records, J.P. Getty was the world’s richest private citizen, worth approximately $1.2 billion. Getty made his … Continue reading ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD


Oz the Great and Powerful - Poster

Oz the Great and Powerful, like The Wizard of Oz, begins in Kansas at the turn of the century. Oscar (James Franco) is a stage magician in a traveling circus act. Using the stage name, Oz, he puts on basic circus tent tricks with his assistant Frank (Zach Braff). The brief glimpse we get of Oscar actually putting on a show is fun, but the prologue contains a long scene where we get a hint of Oscar’s true ambition: charming and conning women into sleeping with him. Not a bad trick, and a little surprising for a family fun Disney flick. It adds to the character of Oscar, but seems incongruous to Oscar’s true ambition to be a great man, which he states a number of times, and will come back into play later on in the movie. It is noteworthy to mention that the Kansas scenes are shot in Academy 4:3 ratio and monochrome to connect this movie to the classic from 1939. There are a few other connections to The Wizard of Oz, the twister being one of them, which comes and rips Oscar and his hot air balloon off into the Magical World of Oz.

One of the most striking moments in the history of cinema is when Dorothy walks from her monochrome house into the wonderful Technicolor world of Oz. Raimi and his team try to recapture that moment when Oscar looks out over Oz, and the screen widens to a typical 2:35 wide-screen format and color floods the palate. If you choose to see the movie in 3D (and it is quite good) then this is when the 3D really takes over. It is present in the Kansas scenes, but once in Oz, things will come at the screen and create depth in the way that really exploits the possibilities of 3D.

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2012: A Year At The Movies

2012 was a magnificent year for the movies. They are more diverse, more personal, and more magical than ever. Yes, there was the onslaught of the usual blockbuster fare, sequels left and right, and the mighty flops that were John Carter and Battleship, but there was so much more to discover in theaters this year. It is quite possible that 2012 was one of the best years for the cinema, maybe not on par with 1939 or 1960, but time will tell which of these stories permeate the collective consciousness and hang around and continue to inform our experiences. 2012 also saw a great amount of cinema history as … Continue reading 2012: A Year At The Movies