The Dissolve

A playground for movie lovers

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“While the 3-D movie version of Finding Nemo is no significant upgrade on the original 2-D version, flat reproductions of the Finding NemoView-Master reels don’t do the stereoscopic images justice. Take Reel A, Slide 5, for example: “Bruce urges Marlin and Dory to attend his party.” The picture is from the scene in the film where a great white shark (voiced by Barry Humphries) swims behind Marlin and Dory, before revealing that he and his pals have sworn off eating fish. The slide captures the moment before Bruce says he’s come in peace, so it shows Marlin and Dory, tiny and bright in the lower left-hand corner of the frame, while Bruce lurks behind them, grinning menacingly. Similarly, Reel A, Slide 6—“The submarine wreck holds a special surprise”—is unusually murky, with the submarine in the back of the frame, and a path of ominous floating mines leading up to it. These are the kinds of slides that kept me looking at my Peanuts View-Master reels so intently. The contrasts, the situations, and the diorama-like compositions all suggest an actual physical space that only the brave may enter.”

In this month’s Adventures In Licensing, Noel Murray looks at how a decades-old toy technology—the View-Master—adds a new dimension to Pixar’s computer-generated animation. [Read more…]

Filed under film toys finding nemo Pixar view-master movie merchandise adventures in licensing 3-d animation 3-d

50 notes


“One of the most compelling elements of both of the first two Terminator movies is the way they balance the machine and human elements, while purposefully contrasting them. Both films take up the idea of how superior unyielding metal seems to soft, vulnerable flesh when the former comes after the latter with malicious intent. But both films also pause to emphasize the warmth of human relationships, and the human elements that give people enough strength to fight off their robot attackers: love, maternal ferocity (borrowed, somewhat, from Cameron’s Aliens), determination, creativity, flexibility, hope for the future. And both focus on human connection, and human moments, in a way that modern action movies often shorthand with a quick scene or two, to the point where the characters get shortchanged. The scenes where Terminators melt through bars or perform motorcycle jumps or just plain blow up everything in sight—those are the exciting moments. But Cameron perpetually keeps his eyes on that soft, vulnerable flesh, and makes sure it gets equal time onscreen, to remind audiences what all the explosions are for.”

Movie Of The Week’s Blockbuster month moves into the 1990s with a discussion of James Cameron’s $100 million Terminator sequel. Tasha Robinson kicks things off with her Keynote on how the film’s marketing spoiled Cameron’s carefully constructed fake-out, and why it ultimately didn’t matter. [Read more…]

“One of the most compelling elements of both of the first two Terminator movies is the way they balance the machine and human elements, while purposefully contrasting them. Both films take up the idea of how superior unyielding metal seems to soft, vulnerable flesh when the former comes after the latter with malicious intent. But both films also pause to emphasize the warmth of human relationships, and the human elements that give people enough strength to fight off their robot attackers: love, maternal ferocity (borrowed, somewhat, from Cameron’s Aliens), determination, creativity, flexibility, hope for the future. And both focus on human connection, and human moments, in a way that modern action movies often shorthand with a quick scene or two, to the point where the characters get shortchanged. The scenes where Terminators melt through bars or perform motorcycle jumps or just plain blow up everything in sight—those are the exciting moments. But Cameron perpetually keeps his eyes on that soft, vulnerable flesh, and makes sure it gets equal time onscreen, to remind audiences what all the explosions are for.”

Movie Of The Week’s Blockbuster month moves into the 1990s with a discussion of James Cameron’s $100 million Terminator sequel. Tasha Robinson kicks things off with her Keynote on how the film’s marketing spoiled Cameron’s carefully constructed fake-out, and why it ultimately didn’t matter. [Read more…]

Filed under film terminator terminator 2: judgment day terminator 2 james cameron sequels movie marketing spoilers motw gif

107 notes

“Like The Lego Movie and Edge Of TomorrowSnowpiercer is a “self-aware blockbuster,” in that it’s partly about the way legends are crafted and spread. Even in a futuristic hellscape, people need the distraction of spectacle; and Bong and Masterson are in no way unaware of the irony of making a movie that will inevitably serve for some as just a momentary respite from real-world wealth disparity. That commentary on Snowpiercer’s inadequacy is built right into the script. Just as Curtis eventually realizes that the train only extends so far, so Bong and Masterson seem to realize that there are limits to what a cleverly reflexive social commentary can do for a moviegoer.”

Snowpiercer and Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes are thelatest in a string of 2014 films that prove smart ideas need great filmmaking to carry them across. Noel Murray explains why 2014 is shaping up to be the year of big ideas with images to match. [Read more…]

Filed under film snowpiercer dawn of the planet of the apes blockbuster filmmaking bong joon-ho gif

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Our fundamental view of the world is measured by who we are today and who we’ve been, and that’s not going anywhere. It’s only expanding throughout our lives. It’s always profound and inescapable how we perceive the world through that viewpoint.
Richard Linklater talks about finding the emotion in the passage of time in his new film Boyhood, which was filmed over 12 years. Read our full, in-depth interview with the director here.

Filed under film directors richard linklater boyhood filmmaking interview

5 notes

New review roundup [7.18.14]
Scott Tobias on Sex Tape: “Sex Tape remains a deceptive title, because the film quickly loses interest in their marital bugaboos, and instead follows them on a frantic journey into the night.” [Read more…]
Andrew Lapin on The Purge: Anarchy: “With the closed-off moroseness from the first film cast aside, the broader canvas is all the better for appreciating the Purge’s perfect idiocy.” [Read more…]
David Ehrlich on Planes: Fire And Rescue: “Fire & Rescue is indeed a film that knows its audience, and plays to them at the expense of the people who paid for their tickets.” [Read more…]
Tasha Robinson on I Origins: “In a grimmer, harder-edged, more pointedly Important version of this story, this might all come across as self-important hoodoo. Seen through [Mike] Cahill’s lens of poetic idealism, it’s more a proof that people do strange, contradictory things for love.” [Read more…]
Sam Fragoso on Among Ravens: “Completed seemingly without an ounce of foresight, the film intersperses impromptu photo shoots, bird hunting, hallucinatory trips triggered by mushrooms, and public masturbation.” [Read more…]

New review roundup [7.18.14]

  • Scott Tobias on Sex TapeSex Tape remains a deceptive title, because the film quickly loses interest in their marital bugaboos, and instead follows them on a frantic journey into the night.” [Read more…]
  • Andrew Lapin on The Purge: AnarchyWith the closed-off moroseness from the first film cast aside, the broader canvas is all the better for appreciating the Purge’s perfect idiocy.” [Read more…]
  • David Ehrlich on Planes: Fire And Rescue: Fire & Rescue is indeed a film that knows its audience, and plays to them at the expense of the people who paid for their tickets.” [Read more…]
  • Tasha Robinson on I Origins: “In a grimmer, harder-edged, more pointedly Important version of this story, this might all come across as self-important hoodoo. Seen through [Mike] Cahill’s lens of poetic idealism, it’s more a proof that people do strange, contradictory things for love.” [Read more…]
  • Sam Fragoso on Among RavensCompleted seemingly without an ounce of foresight, the film intersperses impromptu photo shoots, bird hunting, hallucinatory trips triggered by mushrooms, and public masturbation.” [Read more…]

Filed under film film review sex tape the purge: anarchy planes: fire & rescue i origins among ravens

27 notes

“After Risky Business, Cruise had an unhappy experience making Legend with Ridley Scott, and responded by working closely with producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer on the script for 1986’s Top Gun, honing it until the ratio of cockiness to self-doubt in Cruise’s fighter-pilot character, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, was roughly inverted from who Joel is in Risky Business. Moviegoers ate it up, and Cruise had found his other recurring onscreen persona: the man of skill, who starts a story as one of the best in the world at what he does, and is only a few pat life-lessons away from becoming the best.”

Our Movie Of The Week look at Top Gun continues with Noel Murray’s essay on Tom Cruise’s post-Top Gun films, The Color Of Money and Cocktail, which found the actor repeating himself—and the film’s plot—as he came into his own. [Read more…]

Filed under film actors tom cruise top gun color of money cocktail smug gif

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New review roundup [7.16.14]
Keith Phipps on Wish I Was Here: “Ten years [after Garden State], Braff has changed the setting and rearranged the central relationships, but has otherwise decided to tell much the same story.” [Read more…] 
Jen Chaney on A Five Star Life: “A frequently sumptuous pleasure to watch, even when it doesn’t fully engage its audience.” [Read more…]
Mike D’Angelo on Persecuted: “If Persecuted wasn’t such a dire thriller, its sweaty fear of pluralism… might at least be amusing. Unfortunately, writer-director Daniel Lusko can’t even devise a simple innocent-man-gets-hunted scenario.” [Read more…]
Chris Klimek on A Brony Tale: “This is an accessible, briskly paced documentary about a phenomenon that warrants exactly the level of investigation Hodges has given it here.” [Read more…]
Nick Schager on Aftermath: “Like the cellar’s lights and short-wave radios, powered by car batteries, Peter Engert’s film is short on power. It’s sabotaged by a script (courtesy of Christian McDonald) that isn’t interested in using its trapped-like-rats scenario for anything more than standard-issue what-if spookiness.” [Read more…]

New review roundup [7.16.14]

  • Keith Phipps on Wish I Was Here: “Ten years [after Garden State], Braff has changed the setting and rearranged the central relationships, but has otherwise decided to tell much the same story.” [Read more…] 
  • Jen Chaney on A Five Star Life“A frequently sumptuous pleasure to watch, even when it doesn’t fully engage its audience.” [Read more…]
  • Mike D’Angelo on PersecutedIf Persecuted wasn’t such a dire thriller, its sweaty fear of pluralism… might at least be amusing. Unfortunately, writer-director Daniel Lusko can’t even devise a simple innocent-man-gets-hunted scenario.” [Read more…]
  • Chris Klimek on A Brony TaleThis is an accessible, briskly paced documentary about a phenomenon that warrants exactly the level of investigation Hodges has given it here.” [Read more…]
  • Nick Schager on AftermathLike the cellar’s lights and short-wave radios, powered by car batteries, Peter Engert’s film is short on power. It’s sabotaged by a script (courtesy of Christian McDonald) that isn’t interested in using its trapped-like-rats scenario for anything more than standard-issue what-if spookiness.” [Read more…]

Filed under film film review wish i was here zack braff a five star life persecuted a brony tale aftermath

185 notes

“I’m generally skeptical of macho enterprises being called out as homoerotic; this happens all the time in reference to sports like football, and it often seems like another volley in the great nerd/jock war. But [Quentin] Tarantino is dead on about one detail: After Maverick succeeds in scoring a dinner date with Charlie at her home, he then mysteriously throws on the brakes when she tries to seduce him. It’s only when she appears in the elevator, dressed like a man, that she finally gets romantic attention from him. Nevertheless, if you don’t buy Top Gun as a subversive gay narrative, surely we can agree that the heat in this movie is entirely of the guy-on-guy variety.”

Our Movie Of The Week discussion of Top Gun wouldn’t be complete without a discussion of the (in)famous volleyball scene, and the film’s reputation for homoeroticism, which was goosed considerably by Quentin Tarantino’s rant about the movie in Sleep With Me. Our Top Gun forum discussion dissects this and more. [Read more…]

Filed under film top gun tom cruise val kilmer anthony edwards bros machismo homoerotism Quentin Tarantino gif

33 notes


Whenever actors venture into politics, their performances become fodder for the dirt-digging that happens in any campaign, though the information it yields tends to range from irrelevant to unctuous. (On the latter front, Ashley Judd’s recent toe-dipping in Kentucky’s toxic political waters had Republican media hacks dashing to Mr. Skin for smearing purposes.) But the Gipper speech in Knute Rockne and the chimp comedy of Bedtime For Bonzo are nonetheless cultural touchstones for the 40th president, and consistent with the overall scope of Reagan’s career: He always played the good guy. For 25 years, as if his own Marty McFly travelled back in time to stage-manage his eventual political career, Reagan cultivated an image of bland, uncomplicated affability. 
And then he smacked Angie Dickinson in the chops on the way out the door.  

In this month’s Departures, Scott Tobias looks at the first—and last—time Ronald Reagan played a villain onscreen, in Don Siegel’s The Killers. [Read more…]

Whenever actors venture into politics, their performances become fodder for the dirt-digging that happens in any campaign, though the information it yields tends to range from irrelevant to unctuous. (On the latter front, Ashley Judd’s recent toe-dipping in Kentucky’s toxic political waters had Republican media hacks dashing to Mr. Skin for smearing purposes.) But the Gipper speech in Knute Rockne and the chimp comedy of Bedtime For Bonzo are nonetheless cultural touchstones for the 40th president, and consistent with the overall scope of Reagan’s career: He always played the good guy. For 25 years, as if his own Marty McFly travelled back in time to stage-manage his eventual political career, Reagan cultivated an image of bland, uncomplicated affability. 

And then he smacked Angie Dickinson in the chops on the way out the door.  

In this month’s Departures, Scott Tobias looks at the first—and last—time Ronald Reagan played a villain onscreen, in Don Siegel’s The Killers. [Read more…]

Filed under film departures ronald reagan reagan actors don siegel the killers gif angie dickinson