Cinemadope: Drawing it out, cartoons from other shores
Aug25

Cinemadope: Drawing it out, cartoons from other shores

When we talk about animated films here in the States, the conversation often gets stuck in the worlds of Disney and Pixar. Those powerhouse studios and their imitators have largely defined the big-screen cartoon for American crowds, and while their successes have brought more and more attention to the genre, their particular styles are hardly the last word on the matter. For most animation buffs, the first name that comes to mind when...

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Cinemadope: Reel Change, film with a political background
Aug19

Cinemadope: Reel Change, film with a political background

Valley residents have never shied away from political activism. Issues of equality, discrimination, and civil liberty — and the many protests, marches, and rallies that often come with those issues — have always found a wealth of open hearts and open ears here. But the Valley is also a place filled with art lovers. Turn the pages of this paper and you’ll find world-class offerings in music, museum exhibitions, and more. This week, a...

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Cinemadope: Classic Fords
Aug12

Cinemadope: Classic Fords

In a few short months — smack in the middle of the holiday season, as it happens — we’ll get the gift of a new Star Wars movie. The hope is that director J.J. Abrams can give the franchise the kick in the pants that it so desperately needs after the disaster of the last three films (the “prequels” to the original trilogy that fans waited for so longingly, and then longed to forget as soon as they left the theater). To date, that hope...

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Cinemadope: Fantastic Journey, a franchise rebooted, and a local film
Aug04

Cinemadope: Fantastic Journey, a franchise rebooted, and a local film

It was just a few weeks ago that this column looked at the resurrection of the superhero movie, something I largely attributed to the success of the Iron Man franchise — its billions in box office provided a sort of force field that allowed other, lesser-known, projects (Ant-Man, anyone?) to get off the ground. But as anyone who has ever picked up a comic knows, even the strongest force field has to give way at some point. We might be...

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Cinemadope: Summer Camp, the power of blockbusters
Jul28

Cinemadope: Summer Camp, the power of blockbusters

As the summer swelters on — as I write this, it is a muggy 78 degrees long after sundown — my thoughts turn to blockbusters. It’s surely no coincidence that the biggest and loudest of our high-gloss spectacles are pushed out during the height of summer. Their promise has always been one of relief from sunshine and heat, of course — a dark theater, a gallon of iced sugar water — but also from the mental sluggishness that seems to come...

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Cinemadope: Foreign Affair, films from abroad that feel familiar
Jul22

Cinemadope: Foreign Affair, films from abroad that feel familiar

It’s long been a cliché that film buffs love foreign film. As a stereotype, it’s up there with the Frenchman’s baguette or a private detective’s desk-drawer bottle of scotch. (I defy anyone to show me a scene where a hard-boiled P.I. pulls anything else out of that bottom drawer, which on every desk I’ve seen appears to have been built specifically to accommodate a fifth of the good stuff.) And like a lot of clichés, this one has a...

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