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Tonight's FNatM is by chingchongchinaman.

Yes, 'tis the Friday night before the Oscars, but 3CM the loser (hence his regular DK series - but he digresses) hasn't seen all the major nominees (not even close), so he doesn't have the knowledge to discuss them in detail.  I'll leave that for you guys in the comments below, as basically an Oscars open forum.

Instead, the focus of this FNatM is a special event tonight in Chicago, at Orchestra Hall, which is running just as this diary posts (thanks to the wonders of DK 4.0).  It's part of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's series called (what else?) Friday Night at the Movies, and is A Tribute to Roger Ebert.  Yes, the Great Thumb himself gets his own night at the symphony, with....

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Dear Kossacks,
Kansas is 150 tomorrow.  Yeah, well, the Civil War is 150 years old this year, too, but let's get straight what is important.  150 years ago, on January 29th, Kansas came into the United States as a Free State, after seven years of instability and attacks from across the border in Missouri, a slave state.  

Kansas gets hit with snide remarks on this blog regularly, some of them deserved (some not, of course -- not all Kansans are named Phelps, or even Vern Miller, who raided an Amtrak train as it went through Kansas in the 1970s because it was selling alcohol).  But Kansas has a long history of a presence in the movies, and that is the subject of our excursion this evening.

Friday Night at the Movies is a group diary, posted on Friday nights for your entertainment.  Tonight's diary is by annetteboardman.

Poll

Kansas?

10%4 votes
10%4 votes
21%8 votes
39%15 votes
7%3 votes
10%4 votes

| 38 votes | Vote | Results

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Tonight's FNatM is by chingchongchinaman.

This past Saturday, Susannah Yolande Fletcher died at age 72, 6 days after her birthday.  If her name doesn't immediately ring a bell, that's because she's better known as Susannah York, the British actress who got her start during the swinging 1960's, went through her share of ups and downs, and pretty much finished her career focused on theatre work in the UK.  Her work outside of acting involved campaigning for various liberal causes, including nuclear disarmament.  In fact, in one particular instance noted in all the tributes, her acting and her activism dovetailed.  More below the flip....

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Tonight's FNatM is by chingchongchinaman.

As sort of a sequel to this FNatM last year, I looked recently at the 2010 New Year's Honours list from the UK (where else?).  One name, less famous than Sir Patrick Stewart's, that caught attention was this one:

"Herbert (Bert) [sic] Kwouk, actor, for serv drama."

You may not recognize his name, but if you've seen any of the Inspector Clouseau movies after The Pink Panther, from A Shot in the Dark onwards, you've seen him on film.  This is because Burt Kwouk (which is the short first name he actually goes by, hence the [sic]) played Clouseau's servant, Cato (or Kato), who continually attacks Clouseau unexpectedly, whereupon the two wreak havoc on each other, with ancillary damage, such as shown in......

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Tonight's FNatM is by chingchongchinaman.

Just barely in time for the end of 2010 is this FNatM devoted to the 50th anniversary of one of the most notorious and celebrated British horror/thriller films, Peeping Tom, directed by Michael Powell to a screenplay by Leo Marks.  This was in the same year as Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (FNatM'ed here.  Both films received criticism for their apparently sleazy and tawdry subject matter.  But while Hitchcock had the last laugh, as Psycho made a mint at the box office, Powell wasn't so fortunate.  The notoriety of the reaction to Peeping Tom was such that Powell's career as a film director in the UK was effectively destroyed.  If you've seen Peeping Tom, even without knowing the critical reaction, you can understand why this happened.  If you haven't, more below the flip (warning: major spoiler alerts).....

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Tonight's FNatM is by chingchongchinaman.

Last Sunday, the Saint Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF) closed out, with over 300 films screened, according to several announcers at various screenings.  The total count, at least IMHO, sounds to me as each short film was counted individually, since I counted full-length features as more like 138.  But the point is that SLIFF offers a pretty hefty selection of movies that one would otherwise never get a chance to see in general release.  A few mainstream selections were featured in advance of their release here (e.g. 127 Hours, Made in Dagenham), but overall, the selections are pretty offbeat.  Some reflections on the festival overall, as well as two of the more "political"-themed films (this is DK, after all), follow below.....

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Tonight's FNatM is by chingchongchinaman.

Last night at the St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF), the opening night film was Casino Jack, the new film about Jack Abramoff (and all that).  Its director was George Hickenlooper, whose last name might ring a bell with some as DK, as his cousin is John Hickenlooper, the new Governor-elect of Colorado and current mayor of Denver.  BTW, John H. has a cameo in the film as a Senator.  George H. was in Denver just before the midterm election, to spend time with his relatives and also to introduce a screening at the Starz Denver Film Festival of Casino Jack last Thursday.  Sadly, he never got to host the screening or to see his cousin's election triumph, because he died on October 30.  More below the flip.....

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Tonight's FNatM is by chingchongchinaman.

Cinemaphiles and Alfred Hitchcock fans have been commemorating the 50th anniversary this year of the release of the 1960 horror and suspense classic Psycho.  At least one book was published to coincide with this anniversary, David Thomson's The Moment of Psycho (Chapter 1 excerpt here).  An NPR interview with Thomson is here.

This anniversary hasn't been lost on other arts organizations besides film societies.  Earlier this year, several symphony orchestras have shown Psycho with live orchestra (strings alone), playing the Bernard Herrmann score in time with the movie.  Several orchestras are doing the same presentation this weekend, in time for Halloween.  So why do this?  Well....  

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It is the topic of the day (well, that or Rand Paul).  So I thought I (tonight the "I" is would annetteboardman) take a brief moment to look at movies about oil.  Some of them glorify the wildcatters who looked for it, some emphasize the cynical manipulators who destroy worlds as they grasp the oil in their greedy hands, and others (very few) deal with environmental and social circumstances the oil industry impacts.

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In the Middle Ages, theatre was largely conducted in the context of religious festivals.  The most popular of these plays were the emotionally engaging ones, and the scenes of Hell played well. You would have stunning "Hell Mouths" with demons dragging the wicked down into hell, while brimstone and smoke and the longest cycle, known now as the York cycle included 50 plays.

Our modern equivalent of these plays is the movie.  Tonight I wanted to talk about Passion Plays on film.  These are the story of the last part of Jesus' life.

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This is written by annetteboardman, who just showed her parents the new Wallace and Gromit.  

My Dad, in his mid 80s, thinks that the finest animation is Miyazaki's "Spirited Away" and "Ponyo" which I have not seen.  He likes anime, and he did like "Up" which he thinks was the best of the Pixar ones.  Of course he is fond of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" -- he went with his friend Mel, and they went to movies almost every weekend.  Double features.  

In those years, he says, half the American population went to a movie house once a week.  Take it with a gain of salt, of course, as he makes up statistics left and right (he also thinks that 10-15 percent of Americans go weekly these days).

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Tonight's FNatM is by chingchongchinaman.

With the Oscars coming up Sunday night, 'tis time for an Oscar-themed FNatM.  However, since 3CM has actually not seen all of the Best Picture nominees, the only categories where he's actually semi-qualified to discourse on all the nominees are actually the two short films categories, live action and animation.  The nominees are:

Live action:
(1) Kavi
(2) The New Tenants
(3) Miracle Fish
(4) The Door
(5) Instead of Abracadabra

Animated:
(1) French Roast
(2) The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)
(3) A Matter of Loaf and Death
(4) Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty
(5) Logorama

The local indie chain recently had a limited run of both sets.  Having seen both, random comments below the flip....

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