A blog about movies and the Sturbridge area, including The Brookfields, Brimfield, Charlton, Holland, Wales, and Spencer as well as adjacent towns.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hog Heaven in Sturbridge

This afternoon a pig roast was held at the Pioneer Brewing Company's place on Arnold Road. Brian Treitman of BT's Smokehouse was the master of ceremonies as far as the preparation of the guest of honor was concerned. Himself was 91 Lbs. of pig and he (I think it was he)was stuffed with another 15 Lbs. of pulled pork. Can it get better?

Now, I do love the taste of pork in all its glorious greasiness, but just in case the experts have been wrong, I want to be sure that I've partaken of the minimum yearly requirement of cholesterol. That was no problem today. The Pioneer Brewing stout surely complimented the normal medicinal attributes of the meat. My wife, Robin, had the pale ale, but that's because she is not as attuned to the healing properties of smoked meats. Go ahead, call me a health nut.

Music was provided by Burn Pile. A pleasant enough bar band. Everybody seemed to be having a good time while the weather was bleak outside. My wife overheard someone saying this had been the first weekend in awhile they hadn't been ice fishing. Just shows ya. We New Englanders can have fun even in a winter as horrible as this one has been.

Le dénouement

Friday, February 20, 2009

EZTakes Movie Review-The Third Man

There is a movie site called EZTakes where you can download movies of different genres that you don't usually get to see. You can see the movie reviews I do for them here.

Below is my EZTakes review of one of my favorite films, The Third Man.

Vienna After Dark - “The Third Man” - (2 Comments)

By Richard Murphy ~ November 24th, 2008. Filed under: Blogger Reviews, Film Noir, Staff Favorites. Print Print Email This Post Email This Post

Growing up in the fifties, tv was black and white. Our family was probably the last to get color. I thought it would be nirvana when we got to see everything in different hues. As one gets older, it is hoped, tastes become more sophisticated. So it is that one realizes, monochromatic cinema oft has its own charm. After viewing The Third Man, you will realize it would have been poorer in color.

The story is set in post war Vienna. The imperial city of the Hapsburg emperors is a bombed out shell. Poverty is rife and a black market in many commodities is how business is done.

The plot is simple enough. American pulp western author, Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten), in a spot of poverty is invited to Vienna to do some writing for his friend, Harry Lyme (Orson Welles). Martins arrives just in time for his pal's funeral. Lyme has been run over. British military policeman, Major Calloway (Trevor Howard) tells Holly to go home as he is out of his league. Martins is out of his league and should have taken the advice. Had he done the smart thing, there would have been no movie.

Martins foolishly sticks around and if only due to the Woody Allen dictum, "Eighty Percent of success is showing up," learns everything.

One of the things he learns is that Harry had a love interest. Anna Schmidt (Alida Valli) is a refugee wanted by one of the international powers. Martins falls for her. It would have been difficult not to love the vulnerability of such a beautiful woman. Valli would later be linked, distantly, to the scandal that led to the movie, La Dolce Vita. She had an interesting life on and off camera.

Along the way are adventures of the type Holly might have wrote about in his books, albeit in a different setting. They are not the events a man who spent his life behind a typewriter might expect to experience. In the famous scene at the Riesenrad, Vienna's giant ferris wheel, our author gets to look evil in the eye. Like the devil in The Brothers Karamazov, or the snake in the garden of eden, he's a charming fellow. Still, he is evil and Martins knows it, though it will take him more to come to terms with it. The chase scene in subterranean Vienna brings out sympathy even for the beaten antagonist.

The Third Man was named the best British Film of the Twentieth Century. This could bring a chuckle. Unlike French film, Brit cinema has had to live in the shadow of the other English speaking film industry that always had the money to raid England of its stars. The Third Man had great actors but not superstars. The Brits turned table on the Americans by using a couple of solid Yank actors.

Orson Welles of Citizen Caine fame is well known. As good an actor as he was, he was not all that bankable which may be why the British cinema could employ him. Though Welles did steal some scenes, Joseph Cotten was your man. A solid professional and not unattractive, he was in the second, if not third tier of actors. His brooding personality was perfect as Holly Martins. No end of actors would have given much to be leading man in this film, after the fact.

Of the English actors, they are all good, but Trevor Howard is great. Of course this is the movie that solidified his reputation in film. He would forever play the dry, stiff upper lip functionary and no one would ever tire of him. As Major Calloway, he would play it to the hilt.

The music for the film was spare, but effective. No hefty John Williams score, it is simply the zither played in the background by Anton Karas. He was discovered in a Viennese wine bar by Trevor Howard and the director, Carol Reed, who fell in love with his music. It is the right haunting sound.

The age of great film noir may be over. There are not many actors now who can do it justice. The closest I've seen anyone come in recent years is Billy Bob Thornton in The Man Who Wasn't There. Even that was set several decades before it was made. Maybe our era can't handle it. No matter, if you want to see a blockbuster, hit the multiplex. If you want to see a movie, watch The Third Man.

Click here to download The Third

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Event of the Season-Actorapture

This is what I'd like my headshot to look like. If I weren't a guy, of course.

We’ve mentioned the folks at OurTvSpace.com before. They always have some new project on tap. An interesting aspect is that much of it involves the nurturing of local talent. Their Oldbury Hill webisodes utilized mostly young and much of it new actors and actresses.

The newest event will take place on March 8, 2009. A workshop, the first of many planned, called Actorapture will be held. Much will happen on that Sunday. Three different photographers will take headshots on site. There will be sessions on Monologues and Improvisation, also, casting agency audition tips. There will be lunch and refreshments and much more.

If your headshot could be better, this is the place to come. There are three great photographers. Lindsay Monroe took photos of the Oldbury Hill cast. Tony Colapietro worked on the feature film Cruelty and took photos on location. Joe Zuidema also took some great Cruelty pictures as well as some wonderful shots of the auditions at OurTVSpace.

So what is the concept behind Actorapture. The OurTvSpace team explains it in these terms,

In meeting and working with Actors over the years – it seems that the moment of wonder that Actors strive for in their craft is that moment when they can merge self with character into a perfect Union which dazzles on the screen – evoking emotion in the audience – and reflecting the essence of “story”. Come join us for the first workshop in The Whisper Series - Actorapture - the OurFilmSpace Actor Fest on Sunday March 8, 2009!

Here is the whole idea behind the “Actorapture” – a combination or merger of two different words which Webster defines as follows:

1. Actor - one that acts a: one who represents a character in a dramatic production b: a theatrical performer c: one who behaves as if acting a part 2: one that takes part in any affair

2. Rapture - an expression or manifestation of ecstasy or passion, a state or experience of being carried away by overwhelming emotion. Even better is: a mystical experience in which the spirit is exalted to a knowledge of divine things.

It is a lot to ask of a Sunday. No matter, I’ve never had a bad time at 559 Main Street (Route 20), First Floor, Sturbridge, MA where OurTvSpace.com is located. I’ve always learned a lot. Attendance will be limited to 60 people and admission will be $50 to defray costs

To sign up for this event go here.
For more information go here and here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Another Cruelty Update

Kristen Zaik, who is co-producing and acting in the movie, Cruelty has another update,

Cruelty is moving along nicely- the website is newly updated (not sure if you'd been checking it at all, for a long time it was sort of in flux), but now it's got some great production stills up, and more info. There's also a link to the blog you wrote about the brunch on there.

In about a week, the trailer will be up there also- and then, shortly after that, interviews will begin to appear. We did on-camera interviews with all our main cast and the crew, and they'll be appearing on the site also, one every couple of weeks.

The film is slated to be finished by mid-June, and there will be a Boston premier and an LA premier... which we'll start to plan once the date gets closer.

So we'll keep everyone posted.

All this blog's posts about Cruelty are here.