Tag: Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule

This one’s for you, Dennis Cozzalio

Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule celebrates it’s fifth birthday today in high style.

Like many in the film blogosphere, I owe a lot to the cite’s proprietor and sole contributor, Dennis Cozzalio, for his support and encouragement when pretty much no one was paying attention. And the weird part came when we both figured out that we’d actually probably met about ??? years back through some kind of bizarre web of L.A.-based film nerd synchronicity. But, who cares.

Really, this is a day to celebrate that great site where the seemingly inexhaustible Dennis, whose subject matter really does include baseball and the great director of Italian-made westerns but also genre films (with an emphasis on the grungier side of the street, particularly horror but also, because he’s a family man, the cleaner and brighter side of things as well) and thoughtful exploration on this thing we call cinema in pretty much every single one of its facets.If you’ve never been over to his place before, now’s as good a time as any to start. Much good film-geek reading awaits you there.

In the meantime, just a few movie moments with a twist of SLIFR. (Okay, this is mainly just because I’m in a Roger Corman mood at the moment.)

Two more after the flip.

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Neverending battles

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Some continuations of ongoing tales in the never ending movie wars…

* Naturally, Nikke Finke has more on the Disney-Marvel deal. Of course, there’s a discussion of Universal’s currently existing use of Marvel licensed characters at theme parks, which Finke points out is pretty much a job security plan for lawyers. Disney may spend decades slowly bringing the characters fully on board. Much more interesting to me is another post on the background of the deal. It’s been brewing for nearly a decade, but she reminds us of the genetic link Iger has to the history of comics.

His late great-uncle (his grandfather’s brother) was illustrator/cartoonist Jerry Iger, who partnered with illustrator/cartoonist Will Eisner back in the 1930s to create — you guessed it — the comic book packager Eisner & Iger Studios...And their first hire was Jack Kirby, who as you know later became the co-creator of many of Marvel’s best known characters with Stan Lee.

Kirby almost needs no introduction. Eisner, for those of you with less than obsessive old school comics knowledge,  is probably the comic book equivalent of John Ford with a dash of D.W. Griffith in terms of his influence on the medium as an artist/writer. He was also a very successful entrepreneur on various ends of the comic book industry for decades. (He’s best known as the creator of “The Spirit,” a great series which may take years to recover from the damage done to its memory by Frank Miller’s reprehensible film version.)

* I haven’t really had the chance to geek out with either friends or even online about how much I loved “Inglourious Basterds.”  If you were similarly entranced and want to read more, more, more about the movie, you need to check out last week’s ‘net colloquy between Dennis Cozzalio of Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule and Bill R. of The Kind of Face You Hate. It’s an involved discussion that went to some surprising places as it addressed some explosive comments by film historian/critic Jonathan Rosenbaum, who eventually was mensch enough to join the discussion.

It’s a lengthy three part discussion at two sites, but probably the easiest place to start is the final post, because it has links to the previous three. Got it? There are some fairly significant spoilers hidden here and there, for sure, but if those don’t bother you too much and you haven’t gotten around to seeing the movie, you still might want to check it out. I was already spoiled on the main ones before I saw the movie, and it didn’t harm my enjoyment of it.

* One of the main villains of “Inglourious Basterds,” who has recently been making a name for himself one of the more recognizable ‘net commentators on geek matters, weighs in on last weeks “Avatar Day.” (H/t Den of Geek.)

Your Weekend Movie Choice: “Up” in the Heavens, Or Dragged to “Hell”

Yes, we’ve got a weekend of strong contrasts and a real rarity, two critically lauded films that each have a chance of doing some seriously good business.

Of course, the big movie this week is Disney/Pixar’s “Up” which is already, predictably enough, a huge hit not only with our own David Medsker, but with critics across the board, rating a mondo-boffo-socko 98% “fresh” rating at Rotten Tomatoes. As I write this, only two critics have seen fit to turn thumbs down — and one of those two is the increasingly mindless contrarian, Armond White, who, I gather, loathes us all. (See David Hudson at IFC for more review excerpts and a concise reaction to the ever-more self-parodying White.)

It seems logical to expect something like the money that past smashes from the studio have made (Variety is saying about $60 million for the weekend), but there is always the possibility of audiences turning contrarian themselves, mindlessly or otherwise. If people were concerned that a gourmet rat or a wordless robot might turn off audiences, then a crochety and rather uncute 78-year-old lead could bring out latent movie ageism. Though, as others have pointed out, it doesn’t seemed to have harmed Clint Eastwood much. In any case, the experts seem convinced that the Pixar name, and the fact that this is the very first 3-D production from the amazingly reliable studio, will ensure that the Emeryville studio’s unprecedented track record of critical and commercial success should continue for one more film. (For more on “Up” you are commended, if not commanded, to read Medsker’s interview with director Pete Doctor — at least until the place where David suggests that maybe you should stop.)

As if that weren’t enough, this weekend brings that rarest of all cinematic creatures: A PG-13 horror film that not only is not drawn from an Asian hit, but was actually shown to critics in advance, and got a Pixaresque 96% positive RT rating. I speak, of course, of Sam Raimi’s return to his humor-spiked pulp horror roots with “Drag Me to Hell.” Now, this seems to be less of a sure thing in that the conventional wisdom has been that audiences don’t trust the cinematic chocolate of comedy — even in relatively small doses — combined with the peanut butter of actual scary horror, but Raimi’s name and some credible frights will perhaps cause filmgoers to decide these are two great tastes that go great together. All in all, this could be a canny bit of counterprogramming for teens looking to avoid the wholesomeness of “Up” and the still potent “Night at the Museum” sequel. Besides, Bloody Disgusting gave it 4 and a half skulls.

Also, cinema-chicken though I be, emboldened by that PG-13 rating, I personally, as well as world famous, horror-lovin’ cinephile blogger Dennis Cozzalio of Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule, and, I’m told, numerous friends and filmic potentates, will be pumping up the grosses of “Hell” in the place where, some say, pulpy horror movies may best be viewed. I speak of the Mission Tiki Drive-In in Montclair, California. If you’re in the area on Saturday, 5/30, there may be more hellish things to do, though if you stay for co-feature “Angels and Demons” all bets may be off.

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