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Archive for November 7th, 2012

by M. Roca

“This guy has no flying experience at all. He’s a menace to himself and everything else in the air… yes, birds, too.”

Released during the first year of the 1980s, Airplane couldn’t help but look back at all the disaster movies made in the previous decade for some madcap inspiration. Sending up films like The Poseidon Adventure, Airport, and The Towering Inferno was a stroke of brilliance because it catered to an audience finally ready to laugh at the overt melodrama those corny features provided. It also gave the comedic team of Jerry Zucker, David Zucker, and Jim Abrahams a huge hit at the box office (for a reported 80 million gross on a skimpy 4 million dollar budget). For many excited filmgoers, the witnessing of possible death at 30,000 feet never seemed so hilarious and worthwhile. Sure, the end result might be painful and horrifyingly tragic, but you may possibly die laughing before either the spoiled fish or impending impact actually gets to anyone on board.

Airplane took slapstick comedy to the farthest reaches of absurdity. The subtle (and not so subtle) verbal puns and sight gags are unleashed at such a rapid pace that getting them all the first time around is not always a given. Its nonsensical charm never wears off or feels strained, instead it increases with every ticking minute to reveal more and more hilarity. Every scene has an unhinged quality that walks a tightrope between achingly funny and total surreal anarchy. Leslie Nielsen’s career about-face into these spoof roles starts right here. His classic deadpan delivery and clueless facade was never bettered than this opening salvo. Along with the first Naked Gun: From The Files Of Police Squad, Airplane was his best work in this type of picture (something he would mine from here on out with frequent regularity). Yeah, one could argue that Airplane is not very deep and indulges in some lowbrow humor, but when it comes to generating real laughs (the true barometer of comedy), very few films can best it pound for pound. (more…)

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by Jaime Grijalba.

For today I have something special, two short films from the world of Asia and from two countries that are getting more and more recognition as time goes by and as we go through the recent cinematography and festivals/award winners from the international standpoint. Now, first let’s talk about short films and specially about these ones, because they are directed by two recogniced and acclaimed filmmakers that have won awards and have become juries in international festivals, choosing the new generations of filmmakers themselves, but now, what is inside the form of the short film that is so atractive to these established filmmakers? Well, in the case of Apichatpong Weeresethakul, making short films between features has been a stablishment in his career, he takes them as something to work on, experimentations that he will later use (or not) in his next feature film, and that is all fine and dandy to me, I specially like what he has done with ‘Ashes’, reviewed earlier in this same feature, and now he has gone beyond that, going full documentary style in this new short. In the case of Ming-liang Tsai, he has also managed to experiment with the short film, but not in such a publicized way as with the thai director mentioned before, but in the recent years he has made a name for himself in certain festival and art-related circuits for his shorts. Now, here’s the interesting part about this is that these short films are, most of the time, comissioned, and so is the case with these two, comissioned for different art or film related projects, they are interesting on their own and so they are given the treatment of capsule reviews, just clicking “Read More”. (more…)

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