Saturday Morning Cartoon 7.19.14

Disney’s The Prince and the Pauper:

Saturday Morning Cartoon is where we present pieces of animation that we find interesting or noteworthy.

It used to be pretty common place that you’d go to the movies and be treated to a newsreel, a short film, and a cartoon all before the main feature, not thirty minutes of previews and pre-previews. While those days are long gone, the tradition of the animated short continues to live on thanks to studios like Disney and Pixar.

Because of that, there are tens, if not hundreds, of pieces of animation that I could’ve chosen for this week’s segment, but I decided to go with one close to my heart, as well as one that doesn’t fit the mold of a traditional animated short. Disney’s The Prince and the Pauper stars Mickey Mouse, pulling double duty as the two title characters and leading a cast that includes the likes of Goofy, Pluto, and Donald Duck. What makes this short stand out from others is that it’s not really a short, more like a thirty minute featurette. Continue reading

The Spike Lee Double Dolly Shot

If you’re familiar with Spike Lee’s films, then you already know what this video is about just off the title. But for those unaware, it’s important to know that almost every film makes use of a dolly at some point during its production. Usually, a dolly shot is executed by mounting a camera on a tripod, and mounting that tripod to a track. The camera glides in, away, back or forth. For Lee’s double dolly shot, he set up a dolly per usual, then puts the actor on another dolly, and moves the camera and the actor at the same time. So, essentially, the actor is standing on a small board that is mounted to a track, and the board is then pushed forward, as the camera is pushed away. Continue reading

Garage Sale Classics: Wedlock (1991)


Garage Sale Classics is a celebration of B-movies, cult classics, and low budget schlock in general.  These are the VHS’s you saw in your neighbor’s garage sale as a child but never bothered to actually watch at any point in your life.  Let this be a reminder that the world of cinema is a landscape meant to expand the limits of our creativity and imagination…for better or worse.

Truly, the early 90′s was the golden age of science fiction.  The landscape of cinema was graced with films centered on scientific advancement with clunky, plastic devices and a mix of technology that is widely available today and sci-fi magic that will never exist.  These were the days of Timecop and Universal Soldier.  These were the films that weren’t quite bottom-of-the-barrel enough to be forgotten and they are considered now to be cult classics for generations to enjoy.  But perhaps you’ve heard of or even seen Timecop or Universal Soldier.  What about some of the movies that didn’t quite make it to theaters, such as Wedlock? Continue reading

Indie Spotlight: Wuthering Heights (2011, dir. Andrea Arnold)


The novel Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë is a classic gothic love story of pain and tragedy. It’s characters and setting are sad and miserable, but its somehow a hopeful tale that believes in beauty and goodness being birthed from tragedy. The 2011 adaptation by the same name is an interpretation of the text unlike any brought to screen to date. Andrea Arnold’s bare bones and naturalistic take on the tragic love story is an intriguing, if ultimately boring, take on the drama of the younger Brontë’s novel.

The story of Wuthering Heights is that of a young boy of somewhat different color and unknown birth, Heathcliffe, who falls in love with a young girl, Cathy, who is above his class and chooses a different suitor despite her mutual affection for Heathcliffe. The story goes beyond these two, and in the second half of the novel includes Cathy’s child and the child of Heathcliffe’s former master, eventually falling in love, marrying, and overcoming the tragic and sinister events spawned of the scorned love between Cathy and Heathcliffe. I’d venture so far as to say that the second half of Brontë’s novel is more interesting than its first half. As the reader sees Heathcliffe being driven towards insanity and revenge, his deeds become more and more baneful, and as a result the story becomes more compelling. Andrea Arnold’s adaptation is concerned with none of this. Continue reading

Bad Movies, Great Songs

This summer marks the 15th anniversary of Barry Sonnenfeld’s Wild Wild West. I’ve only seen the film once, but it was just as terrible as you’ve probably heard (or remember if you had the unfortunate luck of experiencing it yourself). It wasn’t well received when it first came out in 1999 and time certainly hasn’t done it any favors. It’s a bombastic, stupefying film that is neither exciting nor funny, which might be a problem considering it’s supposed to be an action-comedy. But one thing that has stood the test of time is that song. Continue reading

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? The Reality of the American Dream

3509055160_73a4e441bf_o-1024x575The American dream is something everyone strives to achieve. What that means today is another discussion entirely, especially in this day and age. However, in the 1960s it might have been a little simpler to define. A family, a house with a yard, a car, and a job with a steady income. The movie (and play) Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966) questions the American dream as it was in the 1960s, and so questions societal standards in any day and age.

Reading the stage play can be somewhat daunting. The fast exchanges and somewhat vague descriptions of motivations and emotions leaves maybe a little too much up to the imagination, allowing for varied misunderstandings. However, the film doesn’t leave quite so much up to the audience.  Continue reading

Saturday Morning Cartoon 7.12.14

Johnny Express: 

Saturday Morning Cartoon is where we present pieces of animation that we find interesting or noteworthy.

After last week’s classical piece of 2D animation, I thought we’d switch things up and go for a more modern, 3D style short. You may have seen this one floating around online when it was released a few months back. But if you didn’t, now is just as good a time as any to catch up. It’s hilarious and well worth five minutes of your time. Continue reading

The Letterbox’s Favorite and Least Favorite Films of 2014… So Far


It’s hard to believe we’re already a little more than halfway through 2014. It seems like just a few weeks ago we were already talking about our favorite and least favorite films of 2013. But here we are: six months down, six to go. If the second half of this year is as good as the first, then 2014 will probably go down as a pretty strong year. Sure, the past few years have given us some great films, even a few modern classics, but it seems like there’s been a little something for everyone at the cinema this year. From action to kids films, independent dramas to comedies, there’s been plenty of films worth checking out. Here are a few of our favorite and least favorite films of 2014… so far. Continue reading

Remembering the Planet of the Apes: Part 7 of 7

Ape out

This Article contains spoilers for the 2011 film ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’.

And so our journey through the world of the Apes comes to a close.  After 5 films and a remake, we come to the iteration the franchise has currently rested on and will continue on as Dawn of the Planet of the Apes hits theaters today.  But before the Dawn, let’s take one last look back as Andy Serkis brought new life to a character we thought we already knew, as we witness the final…

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

Up until this point, the apes have always been portrayed through the magic of makeup.  Even Burton’s 2001 take on the story featured some of the most impressive makeup effects ever seen on camera.  But now, well into the 2000′s, makeup has given way to more sophisticated technologies, and the apes are now brought to us through motion-capture and CGI effects.  Andy Serkis, who made a name for himself with his performance of Gollum in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and King Kong films, now targets his acting expertise on portraying Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Continue reading