Movie Beat – 06.20.14

Code Black – If the outside of LA County Hospital looks familiar, it’s because the exterior was used for the popular daytime soap, General Hospital. Inside, it’s far more dramatic than your average soap opera as LA ER is one of the most intense and chaotic ones in the nation. Follow the doctors and surgeons who joined this cause in pursuit of helping people and saving lives and have now found their lives complicated by bureaucracy and paperwork. Documentary scripted by Joshua Altman and Ryan McGarry with McGarry directing as well. Out in limited release from Long Shot Factory. Coherence … Continue reading Movie Beat – 06.20.14

Movie Beat – 05.23.14

The Angriest Man in Brooklyn – Henry Altmann (Robin Williams) is the angriest man in all of Brooklyn, which is saying something. He better make a change, or all that anger is going to be the death of him. Eventually at least, not today, which is actually what he thinks because a doctor (Mila Kunis) was pissed at him and told him he only has 90 minutes to live. Now he is running around town trying to patch everything up, and no one really cares. That just makes him angrier. Things don’t look good for Henry. Melissa Leo, Peter Dinklage, … Continue reading Movie Beat – 05.23.14


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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