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Joe’s Random Movie Review: “Emma.” (2020)

Emma (2020) - Movie Posters (2 of 2)

When it comes to the characters of any other Jane Austen story, there are a few things that come to mind about the characters that she creates in her world. The first and most obvious is a strong female protagonist.

And second, she rather intimately shows the awkwardness of growing up in the 1800s. Both the pressures of a period drama society mixed with an old, more traditional stance on the burden of growing up. This classic tale is no different.

Habitually Chic® » Emma 2020 Film Locations: Part Deux

One thing that is rather charming about the story of Emma, is it multiple love triangles. Which are portrayed almost like a for lack of a better word “whimsical” version of musical chairs. When one person is seemingly in love with another person, that person is actually in love with another person, and frequently changing different opinions and different tastes in significant others as the film progresses. But this is not done in a dark or overly dramatic way. But rather in a loving and almost fun kind of way. Which is a tough thing to do when you have a group of main characters who are relatively young.

Emma star Johnny Flynn on bringing Jane Austen's wit to film ...

This kind of lightheartedness found in this particular version of the story, also presents us with a period film that is a little bit more lighthearted in nature than say what one might be accustomed to seeing. Which is practically almost unheard of since stories with similar plots and similar characters such as “Pride and Prejudice”, or “Weathering Heights” which usually give us a darker and more cynical idea of how love is handled regardless if there’s a happy ending attached to the final scene or not. Which is another reason why Emma is actually a little bit above the caliber of a story like Pride and Prejudice. It’s much more lighthearted and there are also much more likable characters in it.

Emma. (2020) - Plugged In

The film is well casted with star Anya Taylor-Joy who practically steals the screen in every shot that she’s in. What films like “The Witch” and “Split” have undoubtedly shown that she is a good actress in her own right, “Emma” really shows how far she has come in her career, as well showing us a much greater range of the actress she will become in the near future.

Jane Austen's EMMA movie 2020 release date, cast, trailer, plot ...

Emma is delightful tale of love, friendship, and whimsical comedy. And like any classic tale, it never ceases to please.

Final Score: 7/10

Joe’s Random Movie Trivia: “Horror Express” (1972)

HORROR EXPRESS (1972) • Frame Rated

This film breaks a pattern in the careers of stars Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. Although friends in real life, they usually played opposing characters (for example, Dracula and Van Helsing). However, in this film they play rivals who team up to take down an alien creature onboard a train.

This is because Cushing was grieving over the loss of his wife earlier that year. Lee tried to help his friend by inviting Cushing to join him in this movie. But when Cushing arrived in Spain for the shoot, he has a sudden panic attack and said he couldn’t do it. Lee took him aside to talk to him. When they came back Cushing was ready to film the movie. Lee and his family even invited Cushing to celebrate Christmas with them that year.

Fans of Peter Cushing have noted that many of his roles afterward echoed the sadness he felt after losing his wife, Helen.

Blue plaque honour for Star Wars actor Peter Cushing - Independent.ie

Joe’s Random Movie Trivia: “Tombstone” (1993)

Doc Holliday vs Johnny Ringo - YouTube

One of the film’s most famous scenes is the first confrontation between Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer) and Johnny Ringo (Michael Biehn). The two engage in a sort-of battle of wits. Speaking to each other in latin.

The conversation goes:

Doc Holliday: In vino veritas.

Johnny Ringo: Age quod agis.

Doc Holliday: Credat Judaeus apella, non ego.

Johnny Ringo: Eventus stultorum magister.

Doc Holliday:  In pace requiescat.

But what these two just had wasn’t an actual conversation. It was actually the two of them saying famous quotes from ancient writings at one another. Using the meanings of each phrase to be interpreted by their meaning. Pliny The Elder wrote “In vino veritas”, which means “In wine is truth”. “Age quod agis” means “Do what you do” and is actually a Catholic motto. “Credat Judaeus apella, non ego” is a quote from the poet Horace. An antisemitic line that means “The Jew Apella may believe it, not I”. “Eventus stultorum magister” means “Events are the teachers of fools”. “In pace requiescat” translates as “Rest in peace”. So in full, their conversation should read like this:

Doc Holliday: When I’m drinking, I speak my mind

Johnny Ringo: Do what you do best

Doc Holliday: I don’t believe drinking is what I do best.

Johnny Ringo: Fools have to learn by experience.

Doc Holliday: It’s your funeral!

 

Joe’s Random Movie Trivia: “Galaxy Quest” (1999)

If you look carefully at the hull of the Protector spaceship, you’ll see NTE-3120. The filmmakers have confirmed that “NTE” stands for “Not the Enterprise”.

 

Scar: Reexamining a classic Disney villain

I make the argument that Scar was a better king than Mufasa or Simba. He’s not a hero, but was a better king.
He named himself Scar after getting his scar. His real name was Taka, which literally translates as “Trash” in Swahili. Of the two brothers, he was older, therefore had a more traditional right to the throne. But was overlooked because Mufasa was the favorite. Just to clarify, this was before Scar was evil.
And of the two other lions in question, rules with intellect above all else. The state of the Pride Lands once he becomes king aren’t necessarily his fault. It just means he was ruling over crappy subjects.
Mufasa ruled with a “Might makes Right” policy. His circle of life speech to his son sounds a little too much like a fascist doctrine. The “I can eat anything that isn’t a lion” speech. Remember, Mufasa did segregate an entire race outside his kingdom to starve to death.
And then there’s Simba, besides “Hakuna Matata” which by the way is a terrible life philosophy, his first song in the film, “I just can’t wait to be king” is LITERALLY about how he’s going to corrupt the throne once he’s got the power.
So, a fascist king, a lazy king, and a manipulative king. At least the manipulative one uses his brain.
While there have been many parallels with “The Lion King” and William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, Scar as a character fits the profile of a tragic villain like Macbeth. Destined to be king, but is terrible at being king. As deemed by his enemies.

Rear Window (1958): Sympathy for a devil

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Lars Thorwald, as played by Raymond Burr is undoubtedly one of the most iconic film villains of all time. Besides the great acting on the part of Burr, the direction of the great Alfred Hitchcock definitely marks his performance in the film “Rear Window” as one of the greats. But when one carefully analyzes what the film presents us as an audience, a truth becomes clear: This is a villain that we virtually know NOTHING about.

We know he’s a salesman, and that he killed his wife. And that based on the witnesses Lt. Doyle mentions to Jefferies, that Thorwald possibly did it because he was seeing another woman behind his wife’s back. But there are other things the viewer should consider.

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Remember, that Jefferies may be the film’s hero, played by the beloved James Stewart. But he is far from an honest character. He alienates himself from his girlfriend constantly, and tries to distance himself from her by keeping her “outside his world” which has shrunken to his apartment. He is a photographer, he traveled the world a lot. He views each neighbor as an extention of himself. The piano player is Jefferies enveloped in his work. Miss Lonely Hearts is Jefferies if he ends up alone. Thorwald and his wife are mirror images of Jefferies and Lisa. He sees that Thorwald is frustrated with taking care of his wife and projected their situation onto him and Lisa. This sympathy for Mrs. Thorwald stems from the seeing her like himself, sick and immobile. Jefferies is a hero who projects the restrictions of his situation on everyone around him.

Essentially, Hitchcock has tricked us into rooting for a peeping tom who got lucky and caught a bad guy. If more of Thorwald’s background were presented, it’s quite possible that Thorwald might appear more morally inclined than Jefferies.

 

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We’re given no background to the state of Thorwald’s marriage. Aside from the fact that his wife is an ill woman who needs care, and he obviously does. One factor of their relationship that is shown once, but not again. Is a shot of Mrs. Thorwald laughing hysterically at her husband.  He doesn’t appear to be amused at all. While this is never addressed again, either by the story or the observations of Jefferies it does hint at a possible clue of Thorwald’s motives. Perhaps he was being emotionally abused by the woman he tried to care for.

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If Lars Thorwald really was an abuse victim who sought comfort from another woman, it might show a small bit of sympathy in his actions. Thorwald wouldn’t be the devil, he would be a desperate man who killed his wife (maybe accidentally for all we know). And tried to get rid of all the evidence he could. Besides the implied gruesome method of disposing of the body, and the killing of the neighbor’s dog, these seem more like the actions of someone who’s terrible at discretion.

In his final confrontation with Jefferies in Jefferies’ apartment, the only scene where Thorwald actually speaks, it should be noted that he doesn’t threaten Jefferies first. He assumes Jefferies is trying to blackmail him, inquiring that he has no money. He only attacks Jefferies when Jefferies makes it clear that the final piece of evidence, his wife’s ring, is bringing Doyle and the police after him.

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That fact the no further details of Thorwald’s past are ever explored is the only real reason that he is classified as a villain, and Jefferies it could be argued, is only a hero because his habit of invading the privacy of his neighbors was just the lesser of two evils.

Joe’s Random Movie Trivia: “The Fly” (1958)

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After the accidental transformation of Andre and the fly’s atoms getting mixed in the teleporter, rather than being played by a stunt man (which is logical since the role becomes nonverbal) the actor David Hedison was fitted by a specially designed mask fitted for his head. That actually is Hedison playing the transformed scientist. It was designed by makeup artist Ben Nye, who also designed the Ape makeup in the Planet of the Apes screen test with Edward G. Robinson.

 

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“Bedknobs and Broomsticks” (1971): The possible motivation of Miss Price.

Throughout the film, even in the very beginning of her character’s introduction, Eglantine Price. Like many other British at that time during the Blitz, she is very passionate about the war effort and about defeating Germany. As well as defending her home country of Great Britain. The only difference between her, and your “normal civilian” is that our character Miss Price chooses to use …..witchcraft.

Image result for bedknobs and broomsticks miss price

Because could there have been something deeper, more personal, hidden in the motivations of Miss Price? Why was she so eager to help in a way that obviously nobody else could? The answer can actually be given with a few very subtle clues in a few scenes.

Firstly, in the scene when Miss Price is first introduced to us, General Teagler, of the old home guard mentions to the captain from HQ that he once served with Miss Price’s late father. Telling us that Price’s father was in the military.

Image result for bedknobs and broomsticks old home guard

Secondly, in the scene where Miss Price shows the children the room in which they can sleep in at her house (her father’s old room). You can clearly see a portrait of her father on the wall in military uniform. Also if you look more carefully in the room you will see her fathers officer’s saber, as well as a World War I era style British helmet.

Miss Price later dons these in the final battle against the Germans while flying her broomstick.

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The theory is this;

That her father was an officer during World War I. You have to be a little bit more familiar with British history in that particular era. As a result of World War I, the British lost what many were considered to be an entire generation of people. Leaving many victims, family members, even survivors with extreme emotional as well as some physical trauma.

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So if Miss Price’s father was a survivor during World War I, he may have been suffering from some form of survivor’s guilt. Many mental issues and even going into dangerous habits such as drug addiction were unfortunately very common for survivors of the battlefront. It’s possible that Miss Price, in the last years of her father’s life, slowly saw the man that she loved and respected turn into somebody that she didn’t even know.

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This may also explain her attitude as the film begins in learning her witchcraft, about how reluctant she is to kind of open up to other people in this case the children that have been sent to stay with her.

Joe’s Random Movie Trivia: “Superman 2” (1980)

Image result for superman 2 marlon brando

For the second film, Christopher Reeve and Marlon Brando shot one scene together in person. The scene was later cut, but restored on the 2006 DVD release of “Superman 2: The Richard Donner Cut”.

Everybody going into the project knew Marlon Brando would get top billing, as he was well known, and Reeve was basically an unknown at the time.

According to an interview with Christopher Reeve, Brando took him aside one day on set and said, “Kid, I may get top billing on this, but this is YOUR movie. Take it!”