Small Films Worth Seeing
Golden Globe Winner Best Motion Picture Nomadland
Director: Chloe Zhao
Frances McDormand, David Strathairn, Linda May
Based on the popular non-fiction book by Jessica Bruder, Nomadland takes you on an adventure connecting with nature through van living. Fern, played by Frances McDormand, is grieving a life that’s been ripped away from her. It seems like she was relatively happy in Empire, Nevada, one of those many American small towns built around industry. When the gypsum plant there closed, the town of Empire literally closed with it. In six months the entire zip code was eliminated. During this nightmare state, Fern’s husband died, leaving her alone and “houseless”. (She uses this term over homeless)
Celebrating Gullah History
If you missed the month-long Gullah Celebration, hosted by Native Island Business and Community Affairs Association, the celebration showcased the rich cultural heritage of the Gullah people and their history in the Lowcountry. It included an art exhibition, “Taste of Gullah” and Gullah gospel music.
Following My Heart to Stowe, Vermont!
If you recall movies like Funny Farm with Chevy Chase, Baby Boom with Diane Keaton, The Cider House Rules, Beetlejuice, The Trouble with Harry (filmed entirely in Stowe), or Four Seasons... they were all filmed in Vermont.
Since new film releases have been few and far between during the pandemic, I thought I’d share what it’s like in the ski village of Stowe, Vermont, where these films were made.
Major Films Are Starting to Be Released!
Top 20-20 of 200 Memorable Films
Hallmark Channel is well-known for its “Countdown to Christmas” and original family-friendly movies, and this year is no exception. Hallmark has announced 40 brand new Christmas movies for its 2020 holiday schedule! The movies will air on Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries.
Though Hallmark movies can be formulaic and simple, they are also free of profanity, sexual situations and heavy drama. They are movies you can watch with anyone from age 2 to 92.
There's a reason why the channel refers to itself as the Heart of TV; there is little ugliness to be found in these shows and movies. You can always find a smile on the faces of the characters, even though there may be some tears, as well. But there's not a lot of arguing or disagreements. What disappointment you find is often fleeting, as is the sadness, because Hallmark knows we watch to be uplifted. Hallmark Channel is, indeed, a happy place. And that's why it had a 9 percent growth last year alone.
Top 20-20 of 200 Memorable Films
200 issues is quite an achievement,
and The Reel Corner has been honored to a part of all 200 issues.
There are some interesting facts about the number 200:
> A quarter of the world’s wealth is controlled by just 200 companies.
> 200 miles a day was the average daily distance covered by the Pony Express, the United States first east to west mail service
> There are only 200 white tigers in the world
> The Great Wall of China was built in 200 B.C.
Tired of Netflix? Here are Some Alternatives to Try
Netflix may be one of the biggest and most well-known video streaming services in the world, but it sure isn’t the only one. There are a lot of Netflix alternatives out there that will keep you entertained every night, some of which are even free.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video is one of the best, if not the best, alternatives to Netflix. Prime offers plenty of popular movies and television shows, as well as quality original programming. The shows that stand out are: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”; “The Man In The High Castle”; “The Boys” and Tom Clancy’s “Jack Ryan,” to name a few.
The Future of Movie Theaters
The movie business is always changing, but these days it can be difficult to tell the difference between struggle and outright decline.
It is tempting during these dreary times to pin our hopes on a single solution to an intractable problem: One leader who might save us; one vaccine that might inoculate us; one day when suddenly everything will be back to normal. In reality, the return to normalcy will be slow and halting. Even once a vaccine becomes available, not everyone will receive it at once. We will return to our offices, our friends’ homes and, yes, movie theaters in small groups, then larger ones. Appealing as it was to cling to a symbol of resilience and the shared, communal experiences we yearn for, it was never that simple.
Celebrating the 19th Amendment in Film
Can you imagine living in a time when your voice, your opinion,
your ability to vote your choice was not recognized? Was not allowed.
Well ladies, that’s the way it was until August 26, 1920, just 100 years ago.
After seven decades of a civil rights movement to allow women to vote,
the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified.
In honor of the fearless, brave, courageous and patient women who helped make it happen, I dedicate the Reel Corner column this month with the following films. These are films of resistance, empowerment and justice.
Resurgence of the Drive-In & Highway 21 Drive In
With much of the U.S. economy shuttered and people still being slow to emerge, families are finding that the drive-in movie theater presents the perfect escape.
The coronavirus has forced traditional movie theaters
to close their doors. That seems to be the recipe for a resurgence of drive-ins—
a slice of Americana that had its heyday in the 1950s and ‘60s.
If you drive on Route 21 from Beaufort toward Charleston,
you will pass the cool retro sign of Highway 21 Drive In reminiscent of days gone by.
Low and behold, this drive-in is alive and well and is an oasis for movie goers!
Locally, Highway 21 Drive In has always had a healthy clientele, states owner Joe Barth, but when the virus hit he was ready to close, even though drive-ins are perfect for social distancing. But the clientele outcry was so strong to stay open, he petitioned the governor, and Highway 21 Drive In was given permission, with certain precautions, to stay open. Highway 21 Drive In was built in 1978, Joe and Bonnie Barth bought it in 2004. They added a second screen in 2007 and went digital in 2014.
With movie theaters closed and blockbusters-in-waiting being postponed all the way to next year, it's a lot for a film fan to take in. Thankfully, there are many, many films, ranging from the fantastic to the fantastically bad, that offer some escape and comfort in a storm of distressing news.
In other words, the Reel Corner’s got you.
Here are a few movies to watch (or perhaps, revisit) that you may have overlooked while we have been sheltering in place. They are perfect for every mood you might be feeling.
Be Strong…Stay well …and wear your mask!
And, what if…
If we subscribe to the philosophy that life is always working out for us, and that there is an intelligence far greater than humans at work…
That all is interconnected.
the virus is here to help us?
What is truly important.
Reconnecting with community.
Reconnecting with family, as there is more time at home.
March Madness at the Movies
You’re thinking of basketball, right? Think again. In the film industry this term refers to a month where films of lesser known actors and directors are introduced in between the award-winning films of 2019 and 2020 summer blockbusters. As in Basketball March Madness a little known team (in this case film or actor) can become a winner and stir up some critical buzz. It’s also a month where actors we haven’t seen for a while are trying to get back into the game.
With the South Korean film, “Parasite,” winning both Best Foreign Language film and Best Film awards, it has given Asian filmmakers confidence and funding for their projects. You can guarantee you will see more films from Asia.
The Reel Corner Highlight: And The Winner Is...
It’s the award season once more.
The Golden Globes are already behind us, and the coveted Oscars are this month on February 9.
If you are a movie-goer like The Reel Corner, you might agree there really weren’t many films to get excited about in 2019. Never fear, The Reel Corner has highlighted a few worth seeing.
The Reel Corner Highlight: Edward Norton
Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler are one of the most enduring couples in American cinema, and December marked the 80th anniversary of their film debut in Gone with the Wind, a tale of war, love gone wrong and tragic endings. The film’s anniversary on December 15, was met with surprisingly little fuss—positive or negative.
Gone With the Wind can be credited for the existence of the television network Turner Classic Movies. Owner Ted Turner's obsession with the movie led him to buy the film library that became the basis of the network. GWTW is the most famous, most widely loved, and—adjusted for inflation—most successful film in Hollywood history ($3.4 billion in current money).
The Reel Corner Highlight: Edward Norton
Edward Harrison Norton is an American actor known for his intense performances and uncompromising approach to his work. He has received multiple awards and nominations. Raised in Columbia, Maryland, Norton was drawn to theatrical productions at local venues as a child. After graduating from Yale College in 1991, he worked for a few months in Japan as a consultant for his grandfather’s company before moving to New York City to pursue an acting career. He gained immediate recognition for his debut in Primal Fear (1996), which earned him the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor and an Academy Award nomination. His role as a reformed neo-Nazi in 1998’s American History X earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.
What’s Hot in Films? Asian American Stories
I have the honor of knowing these talented young men involved in filmmaking each representing a different decade. Let’s hear what they have to say about the future of films and those interested in filmmaking.
Jim Picariello (40-Something)
If you listen to conversations from those on the creative side of the filmmaking industry, the future of quality film production is heading in one direction: Television. Or at least what we call TV—Netflix, Amazon, Hulu. We all have the same conversation about films today: It’s all Disney or super heroes, or horror or cars making things blow up. Where are all the romantic comedies or mysteries or feel-good dramas? They’re turning into 10-episode series on cable or online subscription services. The definition of what’s a movie and what’s a longer movie that is just split into episodes, is blurring.
What’s Hot in Films? Asian American Stories
It took the successful release of the 2018 film Crazy Rich Asians, a global phenomenon that raked in $238 million at the box office, to reinforce the idea that diversity could also mean good business. Now the door is opening a little wider for Asian Americans and their stories. Prior, most Asian American actor roles were delegated to parts that required accents and rarely reflected their actual experiences.
Awkwafina, (born Nora Lum) one of the actresses in Crazy Rich Asians, has joined several movie franchises (Angry Birds and Jumanji) and earned rave reviews for Lulu Wang’s The Farewell since her role in the film.
Tribute to the Beatles
The recent film YESTERDAY reminds us, just in case we forgot, how very talented The Beatles were.
The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. The line-up of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr led them to be regarded as the most influential band of all time. The group was integral to the evolution of pop music into an art form, and development of the counter culture of the 1960s. They often incorporated elements of classical music, older pop and unconventional recording techniques in innovative ways and experimented with numerous musical styles. As they continued to draw influences from a variety of cultural sources, their musical and lyrical sophistication grew. They came to be embodying the era's socio-cultural movements.
Remembering Woodstock 50 Years Later
Woodstock was a music festival held August 15-18, 1969, which attracted an audience of more than 400,000. Billed as “An American Exposition: 3 days of Peace and Music,” it was a held at Max Yasgur’s 600-acre dairy farm near White Lake in Bethel, New York—43 miles southwest of Woodstock.
Over the sometimes rainy weekend, 32 acts performed outdoors. It is widely regarded as a pivotal moment in popular music history, as well as the definitive nexus for the larger counterculture generation. Rolling Stone Magazine listed it as No. 19 of the “50 Moments that Changed the History of Rock and Roll.”
2019 Summer Preview
The Reel Corner pored over the 2019 film release calendar and scoured the planet for news and details to bring you this list of the most anticipated summer movies, and there are plenty! Long-anticipated sequels, prequels, and reboots abound—Zombieland 2, Toy Story 4, and John Wick: Chapter 3—and there’s lots of hotly anticipated remakes, too: The Lion King and Dumbo among them. Be sure to keep an eye out for some stellar originals including the adaptation of The Goldfinch and the Elton John biopic, Rocketman.
Support your local film festivals!
Kudos to Ron and Rebecca Tucker, co-founders of the Beaufort Film Festival. This amazing team and their organization presented a heck of a festival in February.
The Beaufort Film Society and its film festival recognizes aspiring filmmakers of almost every genre, including independent film features, animation, short films, student films, documentaries, and screenwriting.
The Lowcountry is a film-friendly region. For nearly half a century Beaufort has served as the backdrop for more than 20 major motion pictures, including Forrest Gump, The Big Chill, The Prince of Tides, and many more. With our sweeping marsh vistas, antebellum homes, and quiet charm of the Old South, it’s no wonder it has drawn filmmakers.
Bromance: It’s Good for You!
Bromance: It’s Good for You!
Films depicting female friendship—think Thelma and Louise and Fried Green Tomatoes—are familiar to us. Movies that focus on male relationships…not so much. Today, however, platonic male friendship films have their very own category.
I’m speaking, of course, about the bromance and all its permutations, including stories that take place not only in this decade, but decades past. Green Book, Stan and Ollie, and The Upside are the newest features in this category, and they are all good films.
“No More Funny Business”
Though Steve Carell is best known for his hilariously clueless characters in The Office, The 40 year old Virgin, Anchorman, and Little Miss Sunshine, he is now making an about-face. While he may seem like your average Hollywood funnyman, he’s recently achieved new depths in his films Beautiful Boy, Welcome to Marwen, and Vice. The actor has moved on to more serious subjects in these three hefty films.
This isn’t entirely unexpected. In 2015, Carell earned an Academy Award nomination for his dramatic role as convicted murderer John Dupont in Foxcatcher. In Beautiful Boy, he plays the beleaguered father of a young crystal meth addict – a heartbreaking portrayal that debuted at the Toronto Film Festival in 2018 – and, once again, folks are whispering Oscar. In Welcome to Marwen—a tearjerker based on real events—Carell stars as the victim of a brutal attack who finds solace enacting miniature World War II scenes in his yard. And the actor is barely recognizable behind his still hair, and even stiffer smile, as U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in Vice, a Dick Cheney biopic.
When Captain Marvel hits theaters in March it will be the 21st entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and the first to star a female superhero. Over the past decade, MCU has assembled a diverse lineup of female heroes, from witches and warriors to widows and wasps. But never before has a woman headlined her own story until Captain Marvel (a part Kree, part-human pilot) made her comic’s debut in 1968.
Film fans know her only as the mysterious person in the last Avengers: Infinity War, and she’ll appear in the still untitled Avengers 4, presumably to help beat Thanos.
Set in Whoville, The Grinch is based on a 32-line poem by Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, which appeared in Redbook Magazine in 1955 entitled “The Hoobub and the Grinch.”
In 1957, Dr. Seuss wrote and illustrated How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
The rhymed verse story gained instant critical praise, and 60 years later it has become a staple for children and adults alike at Christmastime, earning three film adaptations: The 1966 animated Christmas special, 2000’s live action film, starring Jim Carrey as the notorious Grinch, and this year’s new animated version, which featurs Pharrell Williams as the story’s narrator and Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of the Grinch.
This season is full of cinematic delights for every kind of film fan; stunning biopics, superhero showdowns, gritty westerns, and cities under siege.Here’s a highlight:
A STAR IS BORN
Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Dave Chappelle, Sam Elliott;
Director: Bradley Cooper
• Cooper’s bold remake of A Star is Born pays homage to and reinvents this classic tale, as it hits the big screen for the fourth time.
• 1937 Janet Gaynor and Fredrick March laid the blueprint for this ageless story of a fading star and the young talent he discovers.
Tom Cruise: Actor of the Month
Tom Cruise: Actor of the Month
How well have you followed Tom Cruise and his career?
Take the Cruise Quiz
1. Cruise has been married three times. Can you name the three lucky ladies?
a) Nicole Kidman, Angelina Jolie, Katie Holmes
b) Rebecca De Mornay, Nicole Kidman, Katie Holmes
c) Mimi Rogers, Nicole Kidman, Katie Holmes
2. Cruise’s real last name is:
a) Mapother b) Maypuss c) Martines