Why the Space in Outer-Space Movies Should Be Silent

In space, the tagline for Alien (1979) once noted, no one can hear you scream. Apparently, everybody can hear Death Stars and intergalactic starships explode, though, while laser beams pew-pew-pew through the ether. Someone, please, someone give the world a film where the no-atmosphere environment is nice and quiet. Hollywood offers a culture of standards.…

By Simon Hardy Butler
Fahrenheit 451 closing credits

The Problem with Closing Credits

Just once in my life, I’d like to see a movie where the closing credits appear in the middle of the picture. Not that such a move would make them more interesting. But at least the placement would be novelty enough. As you can see, I’m not a big fan of closing credits—at least, not…

By Simon Hardy Butler
Sanjuro

Message Movies: Liking Films Despite Their Perspectives

You’ve got to admit that CURNBLOG’s readers have a deep memory. Witness a comment posted by “Carlos” in response to my recent article on the movie The Promise (2016) and a statement I made in it that said this: I don’t usually urge cinephiles to run after movies with messages for altruistic purposes, as I,…

By Simon Hardy Butler
The Promise

Why the Armenian-Genocide Film ‘The Promise’ Is Crucial Cinema

It’s easy to be skeptical about preachy “man must” movies. You know: “Man must” not make war. “Man must” not ruin the Earth. “Man must” not be cruel to other people. The Promise (2016) is not a “man must” movie. Rather, it’s “must-see.” The film, which follows a love triangle as it progresses during the…

By Simon Hardy Butler
Goodfellas

The Color of Blood: Why Gore’s Hue Might Affect Cinematic Believability

Does the color of blood in a violent scene affect a movie’s credibility? I’ve been asking this question for a while after mulling a variety of great films that feature unrealistic-looking hemo-splatter yet remain some of the most believable pictures of all time. The Godfather (1972) has a scene in which the crime-family head Vito…

By Simon Hardy Butler
Wargames

Cinema Soupçons in ‘WarGames’ and ‘North by Northwest’

I can’t think of two movies that are more alike than WarGames (1983) and North by Northwest (1959). Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. All right: a vast exaggeration. But let’s look at the similarities between them. They’re both thrillers. They both deal tangentially with the Cold War. They both feature characters on…

By Simon Hardy Butler
The Book of Life

Decrying/Praising ‘The Book of Life’ and ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’

What do you get when you add unbridled creativity to a project with limited substance? Well, it’s possible something good may come out of it. In the case of The Book of Life (2014) and Kubo and the Two Strings (2016), however, you get cinematic dreck. I know—that’s rather harsh. But these two films may…

By Simon Hardy Butler