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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Cinemadope: Ant-Man joins the growing cast of super(human) stars
Jul14

Cinemadope: Ant-Man joins the growing cast of super(human) stars

Way, way back in 2008, a little film was making the rounds, sneaking into the global subconscious in a way no film of its kind had done to date. It went on to gross billions in box office over the course of a multi-film run, but its more lasting legacy is measured today not merely in dollars but in the undeniable influence it has had on what sort of films get greenlit, the star power those films attract, and the size and variety of...

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Cinemadope: English Channels, the life and death of Amy Winehouse
Jul08

Cinemadope: English Channels, the life and death of Amy Winehouse

Director Asif Kapadia’s 2010 documentary Senna managed to do what many might have considered impossible: it got the art-house crowd interested in the life of a race car driver. Ayrton Senna, the Brazilian driver at the heart of the story, lived to push the envelope — as a boy, he drove a homemade go-kart powered by a lawnmower engine — before a terrible accident took his life at the age of 34 on the course of the San Marino Grand...

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Cinemadope: Waste Not, Want Not, Hollywood’s recycling program
Jun30

Cinemadope: Waste Not, Want Not, Hollywood’s recycling program

Remakes, reboots, and reinventions have a long history in the world of Hollywood. It’s one of those things, like dubbed foreign films, that film lovers love to complain about. But the truth is probably a bit more complicated than we like to think. To be sure, there are no shortage of stinkers out there, movies that were a remake of a movie that didn’t need to be remade: Jonathan Demme’s 2002 film The Truth About Charlie tried to redo...

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Cinemadope: Then and now, a look at how we used to watch movies
Jun23

Cinemadope: Then and now, a look at how we used to watch movies

It can be hard to remember, in these days of shared links and 900-channel cable subscriptions, just how big a role the movie theater used to play in the American cultural landscape. It was especially so during Hollywood’s Golden Age, when television was still in its infancy; then, there was no chance of wasting a night wondering what you should watch on Netflix. Instead, you went out to the local movie house, and whatever they were...

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