Michael Haneke’s “Funny Games” has tested even the most devoted cineaste, and split audiences down in two thanks to its polarizing premise and concept. Going in to Haneke’s “Funny Games,” I frankly didn’t know what to expect, but what I did know was that it’d test every fiber of patience I had in me as a horror fanatic. Lo and behold, it did. Admittedly, I was shocked to see that I admired every single aspect of what it attempted to pull off as a narrative that acknowledges the audience and asks us if we want to turn away… or see what hideous violence unfolds.
Throughout his career, Alfred Hitchcock engaged in a battle of wits with film censors in Britain, Hollywood and World War II-era Washington. On this episode, we learn about Hitchcock’s ability to evade censorship controls. Our guest on this episode of “The Online Movie Show” is John Billheimer, author of the new book “Hitchcock and the Censors.”
After FOX Studios revived comic book property the X-Men and paved the comic book movie as bonafide moneymaker, the canvas of pop culture was carved from the gateway “Blade” forged. After the 2000 cinematic adaptation “X-Men” and its sequel “X2,” both films and the franchised built shocking influence, not just on other genre properties, but comics in general. With X-Men once again being celebrated, the iconic series and comic book team was primed for an animated reboot, after the end of “X-Men: The Animated Series.” Marvel and Film Roman approached the series from a different angle by establishing a new continuity of the “merry mutants” in contemporary times. They changed the focus of the series, as well as the ages of the entire group to appeal to a wider young audience.
And it worked.
“Previously on, X-Men…” was one of the trademark openings kids in the nineties heard every Saturday morning while watching the FOX Kids line up. It was during this time, in the midst of the networks third year (which also included “Batman: The Animated Series”), that FOX and Saban Entertainment teamed up to take on on yet another very popular and ambitious comic book property: Marvel Comics’ “X-Men.” The series came to be widely known by FOX and hardcore fans as “X-Men: The Animated Series.”
“Pryde of the X-Men” (also known as “X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men”) is an animated pilot I mostly remember thanks to its VHS release in 1989 that my brother and I must have borrowed from my cousin a thousand times over. Despite its obscurity, however, this relic of the early Marvel Entertainment days is one of the many abandoned projects from Marvel that’d inadvertently become a classic. Before 1992’s “X-Men: The Animated Series,” there was 1989’s “X-Men,” a series that begun development after constant guest spots from the team during “Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.” Watching it years later, it’s surprising just how much of the early episodes of the 1992 series were based on the “Pryde of the X-Men” pilot.
BOOTLEG FILES 684: “Patriotism” (1972 educational film starring Bob Crane).
LAST SEEN: One YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: As part of a grey market DVD anthology of educational films.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A fuzzy question of who owns the rights to the film.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not as a standalone film.
In 1972, the United States was not in a good place. The Vietnam War was still dragging on, despite endless attempts by anti-war forces to hold multiple rallies demanding the end of the military conflict, and the push for socioeconomic racial and gender equality created significant social upheavals in the nation that delighted many and upset others. The presidential campaign magnified the political divisions that ruptured in the mid-1960s and had yet to fully heal.
Satoshi Kon is an artist that left behind a lasting influence, not only on the animation world, but the filmmaking world in general. Kon’s own beats and shades of surrealism can be seen in a lot of genre pictures to this day. Directors like Darren Aronofsky and Christopher Nolan have admitted that much by paying homage with their own films. “Perfect Blue” is that groundbreaking animated masterpiece that you probably didn’t know inspired a lot of modern and contemporary filmmakers if you’ve never seen it or heard about it. Now with the new anniversary release available, there’s no time like the present to visit what is one of the most unnerving thrillers ever made.
Twenty years ago, Studio Ghibli and the master Hayao Miyazaki opened my mind up to a new dimension of animation and storytelling that pretty much changed my life. It also inspired me to look toward telling bigger tales with richer characters, because Miyazaki is very much about rich characterization and brilliant metaphor. Much of his films revolve around the love of nature, the vastness of the open sky, and the effect humans can have on the environment and the world around us.