Tag Archives: Christopher Reeve

George Miller’s The Aviator

George Miller’s The Aviator (not the Mad Max George Miller, before you ask) is a fantastic piece of melancholic escapism, a simple and resonant story set during the formative decades of human flight, when planes were a lot more picturesque, and ironically far more flimsily built. This one is very special because it showcases Christopher Reeve cast way against type; he’s the guy I remember as Superman from my childhood, a sterling beacon of heroism, but here he plays a moody, haunted Air Mail pilot who is damaged both physically and emotionally from a tragedy years before. This is the only time I’ve seen him take on a role like this and let me tell you he rocks it uncannily well, from the anguished blue eyes glowering out past that crop of windswept hair to the introverted stasis he grounds his mood in. He’s tasked by his US air mail boss (Jack Warden, a pillar of well spoken gravity) to transport a wayward teenage girl (Roseanna Arquette) across the mountains to live with her aunt. When the aircraft develops mechanical failure, they make a forced crash landing in a vast, remote mountain canyon and must rely on each other for survival. I don’t mean that lightly either, he later on tells her that if it wouldn’t have been for her with him, he probably would have gave up and surrendered to the elements the first night. This is fascinating because at first they can’t really stand each other, he has shut himself off from human connection and she is young, still learning how to properly engage, and the arc they embark on together is really affecting. Arquette plays the role like a lost puppy with a fragility under all that snappy talk. There is of course a gradual romance between the two, but it’s treated with far more restraint, subtlety and realism than Hollywood can usually muster up. Their only hope for rescue lies with Reeve’s fellow pilot (Scott Wilson), who flies high above them on Warden’s orders, trying to spot the wreck. I really like how de-glamorized this is as far as survival stories go, the whimsy and adrenaline you’d often find here is replaced by a straightforward, almost downbeat mood. The script is character based, thoughtful and full of well written human interaction instead of an action sequence every few minutes. Set in the American Northwest but filmed in lush, rugged Yugoslavia to give the landscape a beautiful look that’s speckled with golden deciduous trees and craggy, snow dusted mountain walls. A fitting combination of elements that make for a wonderful film.

-Nate Hill

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The Return of The Return of Swamp Thing: An Interview with Jim Wynorski by Kent Hill

 

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Jim Wynorski is the man I want to be when I grow up. He is a sharp, prolific, terrific guy that doesn’t suffer fools and makes movies ’cause that’s what he loves – and that’s what he does best.

He has made over one hundred films, directed my beloved Deathstalker 2, and even written a foreword for my tribute/homage DS2 book Sword Dude 2 . He is a top bloke, as we say Down Under, and it had been a while since we last spoke ( for our chat on Deathstalker 2 click here: https://podcastingthemsoftly.com/2016/11/15/is-that-your-first-name-or-your-last-name-remembering-deathstalker-2-with-jim-wynorski-by-kent-hill/ ), so when I heard about the glorious reissue of Jim’s The Return of Swamp Thing I took a chance and phoned up this perpetually active filmmaker to see if he could spare the time to talk about the release.

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Thanks to my much improved recording setup, this time there is no transcription. This time you get to hear the man himself, and listen in as I touch base and hopefully convince a couple of you to check out the fantastic re-release of the awesomeness that is Wynorski’s  take on the comic that he loves.

The ever candid Jim always has surprises for me when we talk. Sadly some of the cool news he tells me I can’t share – it’s a for-my-ears-only kinda deal – but fear not, he does deliver many a splendid anecdote.

(GET THE DVD https://www.amazon.com/Return-Swamp-2-Disc-Special-Blu-ray/dp/B0791TR1S5 AND THE SOUNDTRACK https://www.amazon.com/Return-Original-Motion-Picture-Soundtrack/dp/B07FHLZZFQ/ref=sr_1_2?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1533815456&sr=8-2&keywords=RETURN+OF+SWAMP+THING+SOUNDTRACK&dpID=61ZcXsCkJ1L&preST=_SX342_QL70_&dpSrc=srch)

Long before Marvel and DC dominated the popular consciousness, Jim Wynorski was directing a DC movie. Before we see the proposed, rehashed series spearheaded by Aquaman’s Jamie Wan, take a trip back to the sweaty swamp and see Dick Durockthe original and still the best – rise from the murky depths and fight evil mutants, seduce Heather Locklear and give the thumbs up. The return of The Return of Swamp Thing

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https://www.amazon.com/Sword-Dude-2/dp/B07G4L9J3P

A Nice Day for Superman’s Return by Kent Hill (PART 2)

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In the early days of writing for PTS, I did a little piece on Superman Returns (which you’ll find here:https://podcastingthemsoftly.com/2016/08/31/a-nice-day-for-supermans-return-by-kent-hill/). It was, if you like, a hymn of praise to a glorious afternoon, when the exaltation of the moment, combined with the wave of nostalgia – and the fact it was my birthday – all blended together on the day of the premiere of the first Superman movie in a really long time.

Of course, as is the case with a lot of films, a second viewing broke the spell. What I was left with was something of a mixed bag of emotions that I still ponder to this day. How did it all go wrong? What happened to the Bryan Singer who had recently made X2 (which was great)? Were there too many cooks in the kitchen? Was the whole thing a multi-million dollar rush job? Should they have rolled the dice and made Superman Lives? (Hell, YES!!!)

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Since writing that initial piece I have had the good fortune to have a chat with a couple of the people who were there during filming. Composer/Editor John Ottman (our chat here:https://podcastingthemsoftly.com/2016/10/28/chopped-and-scored-an-interview-with-john-ottman-by-kent-hill/), produced a beautiful score (one of the last I remember directly leaving the theatre and purchasing), as well as doing a fine job in the cutting room. And Robert Meyer Burnett assembled an excellent and comprehensive set of behind the scenes features, successfully documenting the making of the movie here in Sydney, Tamworth and also early stages of pre-production in the US (our chat here:https://podcastingthemsoftly.com/2017/08/17/the-making-of-a-conversation-with-robert-meyer-burnett-by-kent-hill/).

Today I was sent another great behind the scenes glimpse from my friend, filmmaker and co-screenwriter Sean Ellis, who edited the footage (see here:https://vimeo.com/262035539/ea3164da85). There is even a moment when you can see Robert going about his stock-in-trade in documenting the making of the picture.

There has been more of Superman on the big screen since then. Admirable attempts, but, far from that iconic and wondrous unification of elements which saw the 1978 film explode onto screens, and into our hearts and minds for evermore. Now, I like Cavill in the role, and with the climax of Justice League there appeared a glimmer of hope. That maybe they buried the moody/brooding Superman, and with his resurrection would also be born a welcome return to form?

Only time will tell whether DC cinematic universe can recapture, in part, its days of honor. Lighting, as I once said, has already struck (circa 1978 with Donner’s film), now all we are left with is the thunder and its echoes. Do I hate Superman Returns? No. It was, in this man’s opinion, a valiant attempt to resurrect the Man of Steel after a long slumber – yet for all its magic, it didn’t cast a spell of significant longevity – though it wasn’t as silly as Superman’s CG shave in his most recent big screen outing.

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I have a dream, as it was once uttered, that one day the grey clouds will part, the blue yonder shall emerge in all its heavenly brilliance and, there in the stillness, a figure traveling faster than a speeding bullet will rip across the vast firmament and we’ll look up in the sky – and maybe, just maybe, another magical retelling of the adventures of the most romantic of the superhero cast will descend –  there we’ll find another great Superman movie?

 

PTS Presents Producer’s Notes with EVZEN KOLAR

KOLAR POWERCAST

KOLARPodcasting Them Softly is incredibly proud to be joined with veteran producer Evzen Kolar whose credits include STREET SMART, the epic Cannon Film’s MASTERS OF THE UNIVRSE, DOUBLE IMPACT, SURF NINJAS, and a film that was made to be a featured film on Pocasting Them Softly, the 1997 hardnosed neo noir CITY OF INDUSTRY.  Evzen also produced the soundtrack that is a must own for any cinephile soundtrack junkie!  Before becoming a producer, Evzen worked as an assistant director, a unit manager on NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN, and he has also done some stunt work.  Unknown to us prior, Evzen is married to Robert Shaw’s daughter, and we spend a fair amount of time talking about Robert Shaw!