BEN-HUR Trailer: Judah’s Priest, Hold Your Horses!


It would seemeth as the “biblical” epic hath made a comeback over the last few years and while that’s a good thing for the true believers, the addition of modern CG effects actually take somethings away from those old familiar tales. Like realistic physics and properly working gravity for example. That and why the hell would Paramount remake Ben-Hur when both the silent 1925 version and 1959 remake (which some think is the “original” version!) are still holding up all these years since their initial releases? I just found out that there’s a 1907 film called Ben-Hur that’s only 15 minutes long and focuses on the chariot race, but I know some of you think I’m already nuts, so here’s proof that I am in fact, NOT.

Anyway, Take a gander at this scratchy old trailer for the 1925 version:

(Thanks, warnervod!)

And yes, take a look at the remake’s famous chariot race sequence (which was almost a shot for shot reworking of the second film’s):

(thanks Movieclips!)

Yeah, yeah, I know some of you out there LIKE the fancy and expensive CG effects in that new trailer above. But the distinct lack of realism in the action there as opposed to the older films where it’s all practical effects, daring stuntmen and PAINFUL looking wrecks is a great deal more impressive than this new hybrid of Gladiator, Troy, 300, and any other hysterical “historical” or mythological big-dollar flick this century that got many butts in the seats. Being a former church-goer of a few denominations, I can also see some folks who follow noting the bigger story of a certain carpenter wrapping around Judah Ben-Hur’s seems to be pushed aside a bit much in that loud trailer. On the other hand, this is ONLY the first trailer and Paramount wants to get the action fiends in first and foremost for this fast and furious new version of an old classic.

As for Morgan Freeman in a dreadlock wig? My head hurts thinking about it, but I did laugh when I first saw him and thought of two jokes: God has been demoted and where the heck is that Predator 2 remake just so Freeman could play that voodoo priest who gets his head lopped off when he encounters that alien hunter. Hey, better to redo a film like that than one revered by many who see no need for a modern update that costs more but may be the lesser of three non-evils. Eh, we shall see… but I’m not expecting this to be nominated for 11 Oscars like the 1959 film was. FYI, the Academy Awards didn’t official exist until 1929 or else that 1925 flick wold have taken home a few key trophies, I bet.

I’ll keep my fingers crossed that Paramount makes its profit back on this new version, but I guess that’s up to the mob in question buying the tickets and whether the story goes where it needs to outside the action scenes and usual suspect paint-by-numbers plot points. We shall see, ladies and gents… we shall seeeeeeee.

Random Film of the Week: The Big Parade

(thanks, SilentPianoNinja for making this spectacular modernized trailer!)

The Big Parade MPIf you know someone who’s straddling the silent movie fence or avoiding it entirely for some strange reason, The Big Parade is a great movie to get them into appreciating a great many important films they’re missing out on. Director King Vidor’s absolutely brilliant and hugely influential 1925 film benefits from stellar performances all around, and a half comedic/half dramatic structure that introduces its cast of characters with vigor and plenty of humor in that first half before pulling no punches in its latter half’s battle scenes.

The great and handsome as heck John Gilbert along with the beautiful Renée Adorée give what would have been Academy Award-winning performances had the Academy existed at that point in time and for me, this is one of the more stirring pre-sound epics worth rounding up friends and/or family to watch this classic with. You’ll need a kettle of popcorn, a barrel of root beer (that barrel will come in handy later) and perhaps a box of tissues to go ’round the room, as this is 141 minutes of fantastic film making that’s truly stood the test of time Continue reading

Turner Classic Movies Finally Gets With The Program on YouTube

Like many of you out there, I love Turner Classic Movies quite a lot, although the popular classic movie site isn’t without its issues. I’m still waiting to see more imports (where are Cul De Sac, {The Mad Adventures of} Rabbi Jacob, The Tall Blonde Man With One Black Shoe and other intriguing foreign films that deserve a wider American audience?) and a more stable Underground (I can be the host, as I have a LOAD of ideas to make it better and more accessible to new viewers to the weird and strange!), but overall I’m happy with most of what they do. That said, they’re finally using YouTube a lot more effectively, posting videos for current programming for the day during the week, which goes a long way towards making folks like me see what’s coming on during the day without having to check the cable guide or just turn the channel on when we crawl home and hope we’ll see something we haven’t yet. Yeah, the frequent rebroadcasts need to be worked on a bit, but for now, I have one LESS thing to gripe about…

Still Have That Monday Madness? Dinner and a Dance Is Recommended!

(thank you widjadidja!) 

Sooooo… you didn’t bite your boss like you wanted to earlier, right? So that means you’re still a bitter soul. Well, if this doesn’t cheer you up, go sleep in a coffin, Nosferatu! You still need to get out of that smelly dirt bed for Tuesday’s workload, remember? Mr. Chaplin will get you one of these days or nights with a better gag. Although this one’s hard to top for sheer amount of smiles per second.