Michael Cavna on the Visual Beauty of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!”
Posted on October 18, 2018 at 1:31 pm
Michael Cavna, who covers comics and animation for the Washington Post, has a lovely essay about a television classic, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” He writes about “Linus’s bewitchingly liquid-violet skies and Snoopy’s clouds of fantastical peril, as autumnal tints pop from the trees and leaves” and the use of camera movement to give an intimate, dynamic, cinematic feel to the show. And he reminds us that one Snoopy scene was so iconic it even became an official US postage stamp. The man behind the show agrees.
“Of the 50 prime-time specials we created with Charles Schulz,” Mendelson says, “I believe ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown’ is Bill Melendez’s animation masterpiece.”
MVP of the Month: What Do These Four Movies Have in Common?
Posted on October 15, 2018 at 8:00 am
Common is a successful musician and won an Oscar for the song he co-wrote with John Legend for “Selma.” But we are seeing him more often on screen as an actor, most recently in four movies out this fall that could not be more different.
In The Hate U Give Common plays the uncle of Starr, the teenage girl who is the movie’s main character. In a key scene, he speaks to her honestly about the way even he sees black and white suspects differently.
Smallfoot is an animated story about a community of Yeti who believe, because their leader has told them, that humans are only a legend. Common plays that leader, known as the Stonekeeper. He is not exactly a traditional movie bad guy because he just wants what is best for his community. But in trying to keep them safe, he has kept them from the truth.
In “All About Nina,” Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays a talented but dysfunctional stand-up comic who wants to be on a “Saturday Night Live”-style sketch comedy television show. Common is the love interest who will challenge her to be more honest with him and with herself.
Common is a two-star admiral in “Hunter Killer,” a Gerard Butler action movie about an American submarine and Seal team rescue the Russian president from a coup attempt. The admiral is the voice of reason from US military headquarters.
He has more movies coming soon including the fact-based “St. Judy,” about an immigration lawyer, “The Kitchen,” a crime story with Tiffany Haddish, Melissa McCarthy, and Domhnall Gleeson, and “Eve,” from director Tate Taylor (“The Help,” “The Girl on the Train”). Whether it’s a comedy, drama, romance, or thriller, whether he’s a good guy or a bad guy, he brings a natural presence and humanity to all of his roles, and I look forward to whatever he does next.
Illustrator/graphic designer Peter Stults reimagines not just movie posters but the movies themselves, recasting them and creating new posters with meticulous attention to every detail of style and design. “The Shape of Water” is imagined with Donna Reed, Ray Milland, and Ethel Waters. Mmm, three of my favorites. I’d love to see that. His posters are so real I can almost imagine I have. The more you know about movies, the more you will appreciate his brilliant casting choices. But everyone can appreciate his beautiful images.
Director Damien Chazelle cares deeply about music. His film “Whiplash” is about a drummer and “La La Land” is a musical. He worked with composer Justin Hurwitz, who won two Oscars for “La La Land” on all three. In this video, Hurwitz talks about working with Chazelle again on “First Man,” which involved a lot of firsts for him, including learning how to play the theremin.
Many thanks to William Topaz and inmyarea.com for inviting me to create a list of killer robots in the movies. Of course it has classics like “Terminator” and “Metropolis,” and some off-beat choices like the Fembots in “Austin Powers,” but I’m pretty sure I’m the only one to include “What a Way to Go!” with Paul Newman and Shirley MacLaine.