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Review: “White Christmas”

December 4, 2012 2 comments
White ChristmasDirected by: Michael Curtiz
Produced by: Robert Emmett Dolan
Written by: Norman Krasna, Norman Panama, Melvin Frank
Cinematography by: Loyal Griggs
Editing by: Frank Bracht
Music by: Irving Berlin
Starring: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera-Ellen, Dean Jagger, Mary Wickes, John Brascia, Anne Whitfield
Year: 1954

 

You would think that a film called White Christmas would have Christmas as a more prominent subject. Though I’d recognized several sequences, having likely seen the film with my mom when I was much younger, it had been so long since the last time I really sat down to watch it, this time was like my first all over again. Needless to say, the lack of prominence of Christmas as the primary subject in the film was surprising. (It may also surprise some to know that White Christmas wasn’t the first appearance of the titular Irving Berlin song, either — the song was originally released as a single before appearing in another Bing Crosby Christmas film, Holiday Inn.) But that’s not to say that the old proverbial Christmas spirit isn’t present in the film — by the film’s big final musical number, the meaning behind the film’s title becomes immediately clear. Read more…

The 84th Annual Academy Awards Ceremony: My Rough Summation

February 28, 2012 1 comment

I always call the Oscars “My Super Bowl,” if only because it often comes around the same time every year and roughly has the same amount of buzz surrounding it, though I’m not so sure it has the same number of viewers. (That’s a lie. I know it doesn’t. Didn’t stop me from pigging out on a nice enchilada-style chimichanga like it was the Super Bowl!)

This year saw a decidedly milder ceremony, which some see as a nice turn after the somewhat disastrous choice to have Anne Hathaway and a mannequin host last year. They also brought back Billy Crystal for the hosting gig after Brett Ratner and Eddie Murphy left the production thanks to a disagreement about whether it was okay to call gay names. (It’s not.)

Gone were the musical performances of the nominated songs probably because there were only two, and they were silly songs that would have likely taken away from the retrospective feel of this year’s ceremonies. With 2011 being a relative disappointment for movie fans, there was much uncertainty as to who would be nominated and who would win for many of the categories, though there were a few more obvious than others. (Again with the songs.)

There were some major snubs (all things Drive and Shame) and some very unexpected choices (Extremely Loud & Very Close for Best Picture and Jonah Hill vs. Christopher Plummer). Overall, though, this was a relatively tame and bland ceremony that had me wishing they had at least tried something experimental again. I rather liked Hugh Jackman’s turn at the helm and its “creating a film” theme. This year’s “film nostalgia” experience felt like it was just Hollywood patting itself on the back while foreshadowing of the eventual winners.

Still, it was the Academy Awards, and I watched it all with relative interest. Below, for you, I have given my rough summation of each winner in my own eyes, whether I was familiar with the work (or even the category) or not. Why? Because I can. And frankly, this blog is as much about my growing film knowledge as it is yours, whoever you may be! Read more…

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