Archive for February, 2015

Best Picture 2014 Added

Posted in Uncategorized on February 24, 2015 by cdascher

The 87th Academy Awards were held last night. So first off, congratulations to Birdman for taking the big prize.

The sign above said NO PHOTOGRAPHS

It’s been quite a year for your bloggers here at Red Carpet Roulette. A few months back we took a fact-finding trip to the West Coast. First stop: Hollywood, of course. We spent the day conducting research and walking in the footsteps of the legends of American film.

Not in frame: a Storm impersonator

We would loved to have stayed longer, but we were also scheduled to visit the filming locations for Play Misty For Me, Vertigo, Dr. Giggles and Singles before we went home.

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And since another Oscar night has passed, we’ll be adding another Best Picture to our list. That makes this the ideal time to switch over to our newly acquired, state of the art Randomizer. Made of space-age polymers and a metal alloy frame, the Randomizer is the ideal tool for determining our films to watch.

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Thanks for reading. Be on the lookout for our entry on Rebecca, coming soon.

CHICAGO (2002)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2015 by cdascher

chicagoI was in for an awesome surprise with this film! One of the actors featured in a fabulous musical scene was Mya Harrison – who I went to high school with. I didn’t realize Chicago was a musical when we first chose it as our next film to watch – but I was definitely pleased. The songs were numbers I had heard before, and the choreography and showmanship was fantastic. Having a familiar face pop up on the screen was just the icing on the cake!

 But I am getting a little ahead of myself. Chicago is the story of Roxie Hart, a young woman bored in her marriage who wants more than anything to be a performer on the stage. She gets wrapped up in a torrid love affair, thinking that the man she is involved with might be able to get her an in in show business. When he announces he is leaving her and that he never had any real connections to help her with her career, she loses it. They have a confrontation and he tosses her against the wall. She gets a gun from the drawer and shoots him, killing him. It is against this backdrop that our story begins.

Let’s see if I remember this right: this film is adapted from the Broadway musical that was in turn based on the play, itself inspired by real events and the basis for a contemporary silent film. Taking place in a stylized version of Jazz Age Chicago, it aspires to historical accuracy about as much as a typical Halloween costume. Thematically, though, the film nails a few things perfectly. The decade of the 1920s saw the birth of modern mass media and popular culture as we know them. It is the perfect setting to explore themes like trial by news media and the pursuit of fame as its own end, by whatever dubious means. Bear in mind that in the real Chicago of this time, crime boss Al Capone was actively courting media attention, contriving a public image. It was also a time of tremendous change for women in society, coming right after the first generation of the Women’s Movement.

It’s been pointed out that Chicago is the first musical to win Best Picture in 34 years. But I think it’s really more of a danceacal. The elements of the film are, in descending importance: dance, music, character, plot. In fact, the music I found a Continue reading

THE DEER HUNTER (1978)

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 1, 2015 by cdascher

The_Deer_Hunter_posterThe vagaries of our lotto system have given us an interesting juxtaposition these past few goes-around. Notably all three have been about war in one way or another. Our last entry’s movie, Braveheart, was a thrilling epic that pulls you into the cause of undeniably heroic protagonist. This rousing medieval battle epic is sandwiched between the previous Best Years of Our Lives, which takes a much more sober view of the effects of war on the people fighting, and our similarly themed current film.

The Deer Hunter concerns a close knit group of friends in a blue collar steel mill town during the Vietnam War. Three of them enlist together, one immediately after his wedding. They celebrate the wedding and enjoy the serenity of one last hunting trip in the mountains before departing. The war proves to be horrific, especially when the men are held as POWs by sadistic guerrilla captors. Later, they adjust to the physical and psychological traumas they received while serving.

This film really comes in three parts – the life of the trio in their hometown before deployment, their time in Vietnam, and the situations they face following the war and being sent home. Cutting between these very different eras was a bit jarring as a viewer, but upon further reflection I think the decision in editing places the viewer in such an emotional state on purpose – to help us empathize with the men themselves. Transitioning from military life and war to civilian life (and vice versa) IS jarring and destabilizing. The juxtaposition of the different experiences of our protagonists helps those of us watching relate to what they are going through.

This film features stellar performances by Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken and Meryl Streep. Walken, in the role of Nick, won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. He plays a quiet, introspective person who is never far away from De Niro’s character Mike. They take trips to the woods often to hunt deer, exist in nature, and enjoy the quiet, with Nick especially enjoying being in the presence of the trees. When they face the hell of war later in Saigon and other parts of Vietnam, especially as POWs, Mike reminds Nick of this. The memory of that peace is not easily held onto, though, in the midst of brutal torture and violence. The men can barely hold on to the memory of their former lives. Continue reading