Trailer for Guillermo Del Toro’s “The Shape of Water”

Director Guillermo del Toro’s amazing visual style is on display in the trailer for his upcoming film, The Shape of Water.  The film, set during the Cold War in 1963, tells the story of a woman working at a government facility.  She discovers an intelligent sea creature that is being held for experiments.  From the trailer, it looks like a magical and suspenseful story.

Sally Hawkins stars in the movie, which was written by del Toro and Vanessa Taylor.  Other actors in the film include Octavia Spencer, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Lauren Lee Smith, and Michael Stuhlbarg. Doug Jones, who played Abe Sapien in the Hellboy films, plays the creature in The Shape of Water.

If you have enjoyed del Toro’s work in films like Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) and Hellboy (2004), you will not want to miss The Shape of Water.  Check out the trailer.

The Shape of Water hits theaters on December 8, 2017.

Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    Death in Movies That Remind Us to Enjoy Life

    A past post discussed cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker and his Pulitzer-prize winning book, Denial of Death.  Here, we consider two movie scenes connected to themes from that book.

    As discussed previously, Becker’s book addresses how human beings are unique animals.  Our intelligence allows us to realize we are going to one day die.

    That knowledge of infinite death is overwhelming, so human beings adapt various ways of suppressing the knowledge.  We buy material things, we follow sports teams, and we join clubs.  Also, we attach ourselves to groups, cultural items, strong political leaders, and things that appear to give us a subconscious feeling of immortality.

    Becker argued that some of the ways we suppress our subconscious fears of death are unhealthy.  He reasoned that a better way to live is with conscious understanding of our situation.  In Denial of Death, he wrote that whatever humans do “has to be done in the lived truth of the terror of creation, of the grotesque, of the rumble of panic underneath everything.”

    Some songs illustrate an aspect of this point:  if you consciously realize your days are numbered, you may better evaluate and spend your time on what is important in your life.  Two movie scenes illustrate a similar point.

    In Dead Poets Society, Robin Williams plays a teacher at an all-boys school.  In this scene, he attempts to get the students to confront their own mortality, hoping that if they realize their time is precious, they will better use the time they have.

    Woody Allen has often discussed how Becker’s work has influenced his movies. In Annie Hall, there is a scene in a book store where Alvy (Woody Allen) gives Becker’s Denial of Death to Annie (Diane Keaton).

    But another Allen movie sums up an aspect of Becker’s book in song. In this scene from Woody Allen’s musical, Everyone Says I Love You, the guest of honor at a funeral reminds the attendees of the fleeting nature of life.

    So go enjoy yourself. Carpe diem. It’s later than you think.

    What is your favorite movie about death? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    David Lynch: Surrealist of Americana

    ScreenPrism has created a short video that explores the work of screenwriter and director David Lynch. The video discusses Lynch’s history and his films. And it considers what his movies reveal about his views on Americana.

    The narrator explains how Lynch uses surreal images and mixes them with a film noir tone in Americana settings. In less than ten minutes, the video zips through Lynch’s works such as Eraserhead (1977), The Elephant Man (1980), Blue Velvet (1986), Mulholland Drive (2001), Lost Highway (1997), and the TV series Twin Peaks. And the video explains its thesis about how Lynch’s unique cinematic approach explores the complexity of humanity.

    So, check out David Lynch: Surrealist of Americana.

    What is your favorite David Lynch film? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    Sgt Pepper Documentary

    A new documentary celebrates the classic 1967 Beatles album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The film, It Was 50 Years Ago Today! The Beatles: Sgt Pepper & Beyond, focuses on the 12 months around the recording of the album.

    The movie, directed by Alan G. Parker, features archival video and interviews with people like John Lennon’s sister Julia and former Beatles drummer Pete Best. Check out the trailer for the movie.

    It Was 50 Years Ago Today! The Beatles: Sgt Pepper & Beyond will be in U.K. theaters on May 26, 2017 followed by release on DVD later in the summer.

    Also, as part of the celebration of the anniversary of the album, a new box set special edition is being released of the album featuring 34 bonus tracks of outtakes.

    For more about Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, check out the video of “Things You Didn’t Know” about the album below.

    Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    Happy Birthday Butch Cassidy

    Butch Cassidy was born on April 13, 1866 in Beaver, Utah as Robert Leroy Parker. His nickname “Butch” may have later come from working in a butcher shop.

    Cassidy was first arrested at around the age of 14 when he left an IOU after taking a pair of jeans and a pie from a store for a pair of jeans. After a jury acquitted him, he pursued various jobs throughout his youth, including work on ranches.

    Cassidy’s first bank robbery occurred on June 24, 1889 in Colorado. While he continued to do some ranch work, his illegal activities increased.

    He formed his “Wild Bunch” gang of criminals after getting out of prison in 1896. After that, it was not long before he added Harry Alonzo Longabaugh — “The Sundance Kid” — into the gang.

    Of course, it would be the association between Butch and Sundance that would inspire the classic 1969 movie directed by George Roy Hill and starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

    The fate of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid remains somewhat of a mystery. Two bandits were killed in San Vicente, Bolivia as shown in the film. But many debate whether those two men were actually Butch and Sundance. Some speculate they returned to the U.S. where they lived out their days.

    Happy birthday Butch, wherever you are. And as a bonus, here are Six Things You May Not Know About Butch Cassidy.

    Photo via public domain. What is your favorite scene in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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