Scott Mendelson

6 Degrees: Fall Film News

Hello Film Fans! Welcome to the Fall film News from 6 Degrees of Film. This edition is chock full of news you can use. The fall films that are opening soon are featured, as well as some of the top issues we have discussed in past newsletters and throughout the pandemic. Sign up to receive 6 Degrees Round up in your box each month. Here’s what’s happening: About Hollywood & the Chinese Fandom Hollywood studios are hoping to be able to incorporate the growth of the burgeoning middle class of Chinese and Eastern countries with films such as the latest Marvel offering “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” Chloe Zhao, the first woman of color to win an Oscar for Best Director, will debut as the director of the new Marvel film, The Eternals, opening in November. ScreenRant offers their theory of why it took 20 years to make the latest Marvel comic film. The Great White Hope The Question is this. If there was a vote among top critics and fans, who might be the greatest American actor making films in the 21st Century? After passing the mantle of Nicholson and De Niro, there really is only one choice. Leonardo Di Caprio is the obvious pick.  Nicolas Cage is a contender for the title, as Tom Hanks is really the  everyman’s answer to the quintessential all-American film star. Hanks is a great actor, probably more in the mold of Jimmy Stewart. The Motion Picture Museum opens in L.A! Excitement for the Motion Picture Academy’s new Museum surrounds the iconic memorabilia on display such as Dorothy’s slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” and all the costumes from classics like “Gone with the Wind” or the original “Star Wars.”  Read more about the September 30th opening in the LA Times’  “The Ultimate Film Lovers’ guide to the Academy.” Some Random Film News Martin Scorsese talks about his favorite filmmaker (Spoiler: It’s Stanley Kubrick…Me Too, Martin!) AFI (American Film Institute) has honored the legendary film director Billy Wilder. Check out some of his films listed on TCM such as “The Apartment” and “Some Like it Hot.” Clint Eastwood is also being honored.  Some of his best roles are celebrated, including the iconic Spaghetti Westerns like ‘The Good, The Bad & the Ugly” as well as his Dirty Harry series. Films that fit well together: We can’t help noticing that the concept of the idea of double features of similar themes runs parallel in some ways to the concept of 6 Degrees Films. Films that go together are part of the 6 Degrees of Film book (Sign up to download “The List of 100 Films”) Books to read on Film Hayley Mills, a huge favorite child star of mine and countless other teenagers from the fifties and sixties, has written a memoir of her life as a Disney starlet entitled “Forever Young.” Other books of note include, “How 1940’s critics changed Film Culture,” which is reviewed on David Bordwell’s site.  Out of the Past website recommends “Cecil B DeMille’s Hollywood.”  Finally there is a book coming out about another huge favorite of mine entitled:  “Steve McQueen: In his own Words” The Multiverse within the Universe The Eternals debut will again set off debates within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For one thing, there are certain rules that apply within the Cinematic Universe. And they are rules that we apparently need to know!; The Multiverse rules include the recent fact that (Spoiler here!)…the Sacred Timeline was split into multiple directions, thus causing the creation of a multiverse. Apparently, there’s no one to stop it now! The Streaming Wars Streaming vs In-person premieres is an ongoing debate within Hollywood. We also have come to terms with how the movie industry has been changed forever…by the Pandemic and COVID. Forbes critic Scott Mendelson takes a look at “Tenet” and it’s disappointing box office returns.  Yet somehow “Tenet” has become a benchmark for new releases to aspire to! Finally in the streaming wars,  the gross for Black Widow further muddies the waters of the theater vs streaming debate. Here’s a quote on the Future of Film The following quote about the future of film-making comes from my 2013 book,  6 Degrees of Film:  “…The Industrial Light & Magic studios sprang from the creative genius of George Lucas. ILM was all about technology, and using it as a tool. Their future technology dream was “…of an interactive experience that would enable participants to explore virtual worlds or even inhabit the form of computer graphics characters. controlling the action with a joystick. “ ILM veterans also projected that in the future, theaters would “be able to use an electronic or laser-light projection system.” There was speculation that the many theaters would not be able to afford such an expensive process. However, the post-Covid world is not going to be one where there is a movie theater on every corner! Another article asks: Is Cinema Dead Again?…. and goes on to add, “…’no other art form has died as consistently as the cinema.’ Critics are always proclaiming it dead… Another post talks of  changes in how cinema works. For example, there are ways in the future of making the Marvel films more interactive. What does that mean? We could, in essence, ‘live’  inside the movies!  Virtual models and 3D Renderings are explored in another piece on the future of film-making, and it sounds very similar to the predictions that we saw from ILM over a decade ago! Pioneering women of #MeToo: The Strong women In my book, I write quite a bit about the many strong and pioneering women in Hollywood who stood up to the ‘man’ and were able to make their voices heard. This article from Entertainment Weekly  talks about Olivia de Havilland and her fight from the 1940’s where she took on the all-powerful studio system in Hollywood-and won. Here’s a quote from 6 Degrees of Film: “Olivia de Havilland also fought studio bosses, winning a landmark decision

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6 Degrees of Film: April Round-up with Oscar winners Past & Present!

Hello Film Fans! This weekend, 6 Degrees Round-Up looks at some of the past Oscar winners as well as the current Best Picture nominees list. And one of our favorite film writers from Forbes, Scott Mendelson, talks about the Cinematic power struggle that is taking place in our new world order of Cinema. The New Cinematic Order With Scott Mendelson’s first sentence, it’s a declaration of sorts about the way that it plays out for most Hollywood genres in the new Cinema Order of Dominance. Not only does China dominate in terms of market share and box office gross, but the old order of genres has been supplanted by the comic book movies from DC and Marvel. Any remaining categories are swallowed up by Disney, the elephant in the room in regard to the movies to keep on the radar. Cruella is the latest origin story from Disney, starring Emma Stone as the villainess with a love for Dalmation coats. Obscure Oscars: The Best Picture Nominees The new list for Best Picture nominees is comprised of some of the least well-known movies in the history of Oscar. Nomadland is one that has received a lot of critical praise. Other films in the group include Judas and the Black Messiah, Trial of the Chicago 7, Minari, Mank, The Father and Promising Young Woman. The final Best Picture nominee, Sound of Metal, made just $100,000 in ticket sales this past year.  The Academy will announce the winners on Sunday April 25th and again this year, there is no official guest host for the evening.   Top ten on Turner: Oscar worthy film list Turner Classic is trotting out their month-long Oscar worthy pictures with both nominees and some eventual winners included. A top ten list recommended for viewing from 6 Degrees includes; My Favorite Year: With Peter O’ Toole playing a self-parody of himself and other movie stars who may have swash-buckled their way to fame and fortune. To Be or Not to Be: This was comedienne and actress Carole Lombard’s last film and it’s a classic comedy directed by Ernst Lubitsch and co-stars Jack Benny. The Search is one of Montgomery Clift’s earlier films, and it’s worth seeing just to watch his acting style mature. And even with an albeit at times syrupy story, there are some moving moments in this tale of a young boy who has lost contact with his parents during World War II. Clift is the soldier who takes him in and helps him cope through the sadness of an apocalyptic landscape centered in post-war Europe. On the Waterfront features a young Marlon Brando acting without the added baggage of the Tennessee Williams’ play on his back. Brando is excellent in the part of a young man whose older brother, played by Rod Steiger, helps to run an operation of mob-connected, Union-busting thugs that dominate the docks and workers who try to buck the system. The Miracle Worker features an exceptional performance not only from a young Patty Duke, but the incomparable Anne Bancroft, who plays her teacher and savior, the unflappable woman named Anne Sullivan who is trying desperately to break through to a young child. That child is Helen Keller, who is faced with challenges of not only deafness but blindness as well. A Man for all Seasons is one of the rare films that swept the Academy Award field with nominations and winners. Best Actor for Paul Scofield, Best Picture of the Year and won Oscars for Best Director, screenplay and cinematography. The other film sweeps included One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, It Happened One Night, Ben-Hur and Titanic. Judgment at Nuremberg featured an all-star cast that included Judy Garland, Montgomery Clift and Spencer Tracy. The real-life story was so compelling, as with many of the stories on this list, because it combined fiction with elements of truth from the actual events of the Nuremberg trials. Inherit the Wind also stars Spencer Tracy in a fictionalized play that used the real-life elements of the Scopes Monkey Trial, the famous courtroom drama where Evolution was on trial. For something completely different: A Hard Days Night was so different at the time it was made, and it still stands out as one of the best rock musical films ever made. The documentary style elements of the black and white film worked so well because it was released in an era when New Wave Cinema gave us films like Breathless and 8 ½.  The Beatles were a new phenomenon and the hysteria surrounding their appearances were captured and still resonate a half-century later. 6 Degrees of Film Magazine Voyagers is a sci- fi thriller film that is reviewed on Ebert and in other online sites in 6 Degrees Magazine this week. The 25th Anniversary of the film for “Foodies”- The Big Night is marked with a review on And Lin-Manuel Miranda talks about his much-anticipated new film based on his Broadway hit, In the Heights. Check it out this week in 6 Degrees of Film! Till next time, see you at the movies!-ML   Attention Film Fans! Sign up for the weekly Round-ups from 6 Degrees as well as the monthly posts and you’ll be eligible for our weekly giveaway all through the month of Oscars! 6 Degrees of Film: The Future of Film in the Global Village is going to be given to a winner each week through the month of April. In addition, all who sign up will receive the free download: “The 100 List” from our 6 Degrees book. Stay tuned and you’ll receive much more in coming months as we celebrate films and the month of Oscars!

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