Author: Manish Mathur

September 3, 2014 / / Main Slate Archive

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Somehow Woody Allen got the reputation of constantly populating his films with characters that are intelligent, elitist and wealthy. He has been criticized for not seeing how his characters are annoyingly pretentious and self-absorbed. They speak of their romantic melodramas and artistic failings as if they are the first to experience them. Allen’s characters experienced the malaise of the wealthy, tone-deaf to the “real problems” of the world.

July 23, 2014 / / Main Slate Archive

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If you were to ask me to name my favorite actor, I’d say Scarlett Johansson. I’ve seen almost every movie she’s been in, cringing at the lows (IRON MAN 2, THE BLACK DAHLIA) and relishing the highs (MATCH POINT, LOST IN TRANSLATION). She’s been in a number of great films in her career like VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA, THE PRESTIGE, THE HORSE WHISPERER, GHOST WORLD and GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING.

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During his decades-long reign as Hollywood’s Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock had made a number of classic films. If you were to point to any film within Hitch’s career, I’m sure you would find at least a small pocket of the film community declaring it his best (save for perhaps THE PARADINE CASE). But if any film deserves to sit on the Iron Throne of the Hitchcock oeuvre, it is the magnetic and mystifying VERTIGO.

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GOLDFINGER is probably one of the most famous James Bond movies. From the instantly recognizable theme song by Shirley Bassey to the laser that makes every guy cringe in horror to the iconic image of the girl painted gold, when people think of 007, they think of GOLDFINGER. This 1964 film set the template that would come to define the film series.

January 31, 2014 / / Main Slate Archive

BLUE-JASMINE

Auteur of neurosis Woody Allen’s latest film, BLUE JASMINE, is ostensibly an updated take on Tennessee Williams’ classic play A Streetcar Named Desire. The similarities are hard to miss: there’s the former society gal staying with her sister in a tiny apartment and dealing with her sister’s boorish lover. This posthumous collaboration between Williams and Allen struck me as rather odd at first. Williams’ plays are Southern gothic tragedies, full of unrequited longing and dark secrets. And Woody Allen is MANHATTAN, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS and HANNAH AND HER SISTERS. Williams is hot, sticky Louisiana and Allen is New York, London and Rome.

January 30, 2014 / / Main Slate Archive

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The line between television and film is almost non-existent these days. Movie stars can find homes on the small screen and so it only makes sense that TV stars can find success on the silver screen. And when it comes to TV stars, it doesn’t get any better than Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the late James Gandolfini, who have a total of 7 Primetime Emmy Awards between them. These two actors are certified legends; they created iconic roles in the classic series Seinfeld and The Sopranos and became household names.

December 18, 2013 / / Main Slate Archive

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Joel and Ethan Coen are perhaps one of American cinema’s most versatile and surprising writing/directing duos. They’ve made a Western (TRUE GRIT), a screwball comedy (INTOLERABLE CRUELTY), a fable (A SERIOUS MAN), a Hollywood satire (BARTON FINK), two noirs (MILLER’S CROSSING, THE MAN WHO WASN’T THERE) and a mystery (FARGO) among others. Going through so many of Hollywood’s mainstay genres, the Coen Brothers have become symbols of cinema Americana.

September 27, 2013 / / Main Slate Archive

humphrey bogart, claude rains, paul henried & ingrid bergman - casablanca 1943

My first experience with CASABLANCA was The Great Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (though back then it was called MGM Studios). It’s a boat ride inside the Chinese Theatre that takes you through animatronic recreations of famous movie scenes. The ride honored the famous “Here’s looking at you, kid” scene with Rick (Humphrey Bogart) sending Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) onto the plane with Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid).

September 9, 2013 / / Main Slate Archive

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Set during the Clinton Administration, THE TO-DO LIST stars Aubrey Plaza as Brandy Klark, a high school graduate who discovers she knows nothing about sex and boys, despite her numerous academic achievements (or perhaps because of them). She decides to do some research, make a list of sex acts and then, you know, do them with the various guys around town. Her ultimate goal is to lose her V-card to local hunk Rusty Waters (Scott Porter).