The Wizard of Oz – Original Tornado Test Footage

If you’ve ever been confused as to why so many older people absolutely hate CGI and prefer old school special effects, look no further than this video below from The Wizard of Oz (1939), which shows test footage of the famous tornado scene.

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Why Total Recall Was All Just a Dream

Why Total Recall Was All Just a Dream

If there were ever a question to kick off a raging, exhaustive debate, it’s whether Douglas Quaid from Total Recall had really gone to Mars or whether the last two thirds of the movie never, ever happened and he wound up a vegetable as the result of an embolism.

For me personally, the matter became settled years ago. After I carefully weighed both sides of the debate and re-watched the movie multiple times, my conclusion was this–Total Recall was neither embolism or reality.  It was all a dream.

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The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) Might Have the Best Movie Ending of All Time

I have a soft spot for The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. It’s not just because of the kick ass soundtrack, the great performances or the fact that it takes place in my hometown, NYC. It’s because, in my opinion, it has the best movie ending of all time, even better than Soylent Green or Planet of the Apes.

Besides being hysterical as all get out, Walter Matthau’s face being a sight to behold and delivering a helluva twist, the ending’s use of the reaction shot couldn’t be more creative. Usually, this type of shot is used to convey a character’s immediate reaction to something that has just happened onscreen and not much else. In The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, it actually gives us vital story information. The movie doesn’t say explicitly what happens to Martin Balsam’s character in the end, but that five second reaction shot tells us all we need to know: he’s *bleeped.*

Below is the famous ending. Warning: do not watch this clip until you’ve seen the film. It’s that good.

In Defense of George Lucas [Warning: Rant]

In Defense of George Lucas [Warning: Rant]

I never thought in a million years I’d be writing this. The reason why is that even though I’m not a hardcore Star Wars fan and enjoyed the prequels for what they were (visual eye candy), I understand why there’s been so much animosity towards George Lucas by fanboys.

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This Subway Scene from the French Connection is Sheer Poetry

Every time people talk about The French Connection (1971), they talk about one scene–the car chase scene that takes place under an elevated subway line. But you know what? I couldn’t care less about that scene. Bullitt (1968) did it first–and better.

What I do care about is the delightful scene in which Doyle (Gene Hackman) tails and tries to catch the perp, Frog One, as he boards a NYC subway train. I don’t know why this part of the film never achieved the beloved status of the car chase scene, but it should. Not only is the timing impeccable, there’s a certain charm to it because it’s very reminiscent of something you’d see in a Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton movie.