I have been seriously following film since when I was a teenager and I like looking back at what was on offer. They call it nostalgia, but I tend to think of it as joy. I have two reasons for reading old film books. One, is to be informed of past films I have missed, or films I would like to more about, or just find new titles to explore. Two, is to choose which films to see. They might be in the past, but I enjoy recovering the old and watching some of them. In terms of the present, I am an avid follower of what is released. At the present time, this is restricted to what is released on the internet. I must admit I prefer following what comes to theatres so haven’t been that diligent in swatting up on what films are on Netflix and Amazon. Some call this Old School–but I don’t have much interest in films that haven’t had a big screen release. As well, I am uncomfortable with the thought that movies that can be played on computer screens can be nominated for Oscars. I guess I am Old School.
Uncomfortably, I found 59 essays of the best films from the 1980’s a little daunting to digest right to the end, so I found a way of making sure I read the entire book to the last review. Glad I did.Continue reading “Taschen’s Best Movies of the 1980’s”
I like a straight-forward tale of good versus evil and I am trying to rack my brains when I last saw one. There are many tales out there–in books, at the cinema, on the web–of the one’s I get to see and hear, I can’t think of too many good and evil tales recently. When that happens I go back in time and think of Star Wars and Krull. I think Krull is more straightforward and obvious in its portrayal of good versus evil than the original Star Wars film. But where are the good old fashioned good takes on evil tales, today? Alas life goes on for better or worse, but I do remember that there have been a couple or a few films of good and evil recently, just don’t recall the titles at the moment.
I’ve written a number of articles about film, Christians and film, and spirituality and film, but none of them come within a shot’s eye of writing film reviews, which, by far, outstrips anything else I’ve done on the subject of film. There came a time when I realized that I preferred reviewing films over writing articles about film. In fact, I don’t look too fondly at my articles about film, these days. I don’t feel much of an affinity for them. There were articles giving a variety of Christian perspectives, from the take caution type, to an egalitarian view, to seeking the spiritual common ground, but none come as close as enjoying writing a film review. Yet a writer must go through it. I mean, some writers may go through this kind of thing. Sometimes, one writes, and once all the work is done, one realizes what’s more enjoyable, as in one kind of writing or another, or one kind of writing sounds truer to the writer.
A respected film reviewer might have got a figure wrong, which was quite disappointing. This back in 1980, when there wasn’t all the possibilities that the internet has given to research and updating things. In his book, the reviewer said that there were four feature film versions of The Prisoner of Zenda as at 1979. The Oxford introduction to the Zenda novel tells us there are five film versions. But with the advent of the internet, IMDB has six listings of The Prisoner of Zenda. The reliable figure is probably IMDB’s. Does it matter? Yes, to film historians and film aficionados. Will there be another version? Probably not, unless it’s another parody, although even then I doubt it. Anyone who knows the content and material of the story–as described in the introduction of the Oxford World Classic–will know that it is widely outdated by now that would make film producers think twice before remaking it. Therefore, the figure of six film versions remains firmly of interest to specialists and buffs and may prove that the internet is a real source of digging up more information than what was previously made possible. But is there another Prisoner of Zenda hanging around somewhere? Maybe. Which speculates that the internet hasn’t yet found the seventh version, if there is one. Research can go on and on with new finds occurring when one least expected it. What does this say for research? Well, it may be never ending, which stretches the imagination into infinity. But will the earth survive the never ending story of research? Perhaps not. But the information that we’ve got that is true is of benefit and interest, somehow.