March 12, 2016 |
A TV show that rivals mega-budget big-screen blockbusters for thrills, FX's gritty spy drama The Americans returns Wednesday for its fourth season. Created by former CIA officer Joe Weisberg, it's set during the early 1980s, one of the hotter periods of the Cold War, and follows the daily lives of two Russian-born married KGB officers (Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys) posing as an all-American couple, Elizabeth and Philip Jennings. They sure live an apple-pie life: two kids, nice suburban house outside Washington, paneled station wagon - and a shiny Camaro Z-28.
November 28, 2015 |
Almost certainly, the brains behind Victor Frankenstein - set first in 1860s London, then in a jagged castle on the rocky Scottish coast - were out to mimic the steampunk vibe of Robert Downey Jr.'s hit Sherlock Holmes pics. The cogs and gears and smokestacks of the Industrial Revolution grind and clang and hiss, a Scotland Yard inspector furrows his brow in forensic disdain, and an eccentric genius dashes to and fro, occasionally resorting to gunplay and pyrotechnics to elude his pursuers.
July 4, 2015 |
Students of sound design and horror-movie scores should see - or hear - Closer to God , which elicits more creepy scares than its transparent plot warrants, thanks to an unsettling audio mix and pulsing, percolating music from Thomas Nöla. With shades of David Lynch's Eraserhead and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein , writer and director Billy Senese's midnight indie follows a clinically cool scientist (Jeremy Childs), who has cloned the first human. The opening-credits birth sequence, with the fresh pink baby popping out as normal as can be, takes a nightmarish turn when a small, shiny receptor is planted in her forehead.
July 3, 2015 |
STUDENTS OF sound design and horror-movie scores should see - or hear - "Closer to God," which elicits more creepy scares than its transparent plot warrants, thanks to an unsettling audio mix and pulsing, percolating music from Thomas Nola. With shades of David Lynch's "Eraserhead" and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein , writer and director Billy Senese's midnight indie follows a clinically cool scientist (Jeremy Childs) who has cloned the first human. The opening-credits birth sequence, with the fresh pink baby popping out as normal as can be, takes a nightmarish turn when a small, shiny receptor is planted in her forehead.
May 5, 2015 |
Paranormal Activity is far more than a low-budget, spine-tingling horror film to Dawn Keetley, associate professor of English at Lehigh University. For her, it's a window into "the problems of selfhood. " Why, for instance, does the 2007 flick feature a photograph of the protagonist, Katie, and her boyfriend when the person in the photo is not Katie, the professor asks on her blog. Keetley explains: "The fact that this photograph of Katie is not of Katie heightens the fact that the film in general erodes the very idea that we have a distinct, stable, persistent 'self.' " There's good reason Keetley has become known to some on campus in Bethlehem as the Professor of Horror.
March 4, 2015 |
A Philadelphia police officer described the controlled chaos in the crowded aisle of a Feltonville grocery as he and two other officers tried to subdue a struggling suspect. For him, Edward Davies told a Philadelphia jury Monday, the struggle ended in a gunshot. "I just heard a bang, and when I stood up, I felt up in my chest it was getting real hot, and my stomach got real hot, and when I looked down, I saw a hole in my shirt," Davies said. Davies, 42, took the witness stand as the prosecution began the fourth day in the trial of Eric Torres on charges of attempted murder and aggravated assault in the 2013 incident.
September 16, 2014 |
The great Gothic monsters of 19th-century literature elude convincing musical treatment, probably because these semi-folkloric creatures lose their bite and mystery when baring their souls in music. Wisely, the Philadelphia Opera Collective veered away from direct dramatization of the monster at hand in By You That Made Me, Frankenstein , characterizing the circumstances behind the famous Mary Shelley novel. Seen on Saturday in the thick of the current Fringe Festival, this 90-minute, two-act opera of sorts was presented in the second-floor parlor of the cozy 19th-century-ish Benjamin Franklin Club, in something close to a site-specific performance.
July 30, 2013 |
In the era when Frankenstein's monster got smaller, James Warren had a radical idea. Movie monsters, gigantic and terrifying on the big screen in the dark, were now a foot high on living room televisions in the light of day. "Kids were in the safety of their own home," said Warren, 82, of Wyncote, "They weren't scared, and they started taking the side of the monster. " So Warren, then an ad man out of money after an arrest on pornography charges, came up with a plan. He would turn the Draculas and Hunchbacks into celebrities with a fan magazine all their own. With Famous Monsters of Filmland, first published in 1958, Warren began a career that would mark the beginning - and apex - of horror film publications.
July 29, 2013 |
Iconic silent era photographs . . .. Directors' favorite forgotten films. . . . Essential science fiction . . .. A critic chimes in. We've got books, movie books. Herewith, a roundup of some recent cinema-centric tomes: Still: American Silent Motion Picture Photography (University of Chicago Press, $50). David S. Shields' appropriately photo-packed history of the nascent days of movie publicity - the first photographers to capture silent screen stars on set, on the backlot, in candid settings and staged studio portraits - offers far more than just an amazing collection of images.