Friday, November 07, 2008

Camera Obscura; Morristown's Ballet Movie Premieres; Ultra-Groovy 60s Movies; New Futurama on DVD

On Saturday at Rose Center's Perk Prater Hall, a movie premiere will be held for "Morristown - A Ballerina Love Story". It was all shot in town, especially amidst the old Downtown area and on the overhead sidewalks, and at Ashley Cunningham's Dance Studio. The movie is already available on DVD, which you can order here at the film's web site.

The story follows several dancers and their passions on and off the dance floor and it looks like a fine bit of work. WBIR reported on the story and offered this behind the scenes look at the film. The showing in Morristown Saturday is at 1:30 pm, no admission charge. Here's a trailer:

Best of luck to these very talented performers.


The first theatrical film version of the James Bond novel "Casino Royale" from 1967 boast a 1960s cast of huge stars (Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress, Orson Welles, David Niven, Woody Allen), has 6 James Bonds, was written and directed by half a dozen pros, and gets a new special DVD release this week.

The eye-popping visuals are matched with an excellent score by Burt Bacharach and some truly wild story twists and turns as it spoofs the Bond genre. I've always liked the movie -- not because it is great, but simply because it is so ambitious and (at times) a spectacular failure. This new disc captures the movie and the experience of making it quite well:

Was it censored, assembled from bits by Frankenstein, or did everyone quit halfway through? The answer, courtesy of an exhaustive disc docu and commentary is, "All of the Above."

It includes the ultra-weird performance of Deborah Kerr as M's wife, a Scottish matriarch whose madness is so hammy it could fill an entire deli. Take a peek if you've never seen this Technicolor trip of a lifetime:


Speaking of ultra-trippy 60s movies, you can catch the amazing version of Marlowe's classic play Doctor Faustus from 1967 on Turner Classic Movies at 6:15 pm. The movie was made after Burton had a highly successful run of the stage play and was made at the height of the frenzied tabloid reporting on his marriage to Elizabeth Taylor, who plays Helen of Troy in the movie.

Cinebeats has a great write-up on the movie and it's history here. As she writes:

Together with the skilled international crew that included cinematographer Gábor Pogány, this group of creative people helped give Doctor Faustus an impressive look and stunning visual style even though most of the film was seemingly shot on rather small sets. Horror fans who enjoy Roger Corman’s Poe films, Hammer studio productions and Mario Bava’s Italian thrillers might be surprised by how much Burton’s Doctor Faustus seems to resemble horror films from the same period."


The third of four Futurama movies has arrived on DVD, titled "Bender's Game".

I love this series so much, and I've liked all the movies, despite some shortcomings. This time, the wise-cracking Bender leaps into the world of Dungeons & Dragons as he tries to create a sense of imagination within his circuits, and yes, hilarious and crazed results follow.

The makers of the show continue to excel at sci-fi comedy, and there just ain't much of that around ... well, comedy sci-fi on purpose.

Also worth noting on DVD is the result of the very obscure TV show "Quark", starring Richard Benjamin, from 1977, created by Buck Henry. The show is almost indescribable, but I have friends who just loved it and quote it to this day.

This review of the DVD set tries to capture the plot-line:

Set in the year 2222, Adam Quark (Richard Benjamin), captain of the interstellar garbage scow, the United Galaxies Sanitation Patrol Cruiser, scours the Milky Way, seeking baggies full of trash. Relegated to the most prosaic of United Galaxy duties, Quark longs for adventure and excitement as the captain of his own star cruiser, but for now, cleaning up other people's mess is his main assignment - that is, until "The Head" starts giving him more dangerous assignments (often by default, since no one else is out in the middle of nowhere more often than Quark), missions that Quark often lucks his way into completing.

Aiding Quark in his unconventional missions are his, to say the least, unconventional crew members. Ficus Pandorata (Richard Kelton) is the ship's science officer, an emotionless Vegeton (plant humanoid) who engages in endlessly convoluted philosophical discussions with Adam. Betty One and Betty Two (Cyb and Patricia Barnstable) are the gorgeous navigators and pilots of the ship. One of the Bettys is a clone (both of them deny it), and both are in love with Adam - only Adam can't determine who the "real" Betty is, and thus, keeps his distance. The ship's engineer is Gene/Jean (Tim Thomerson), a "transmute" with a complete set of both male and female chromosomes."

I say give it a look - it's an amazing bit of TV which TV was never ready for.


  1. Woah man, excellent post, Joe!! The news of this Morristown movie has made my head completely explode.

    I was born in Morristown, and this has got to be one of the most interesting things that's happened to my place of birth since they recently passed the liquor-by-the-drink amendment.

    To see my commentary about being born in Morristown and also this new film, check my blog at:

    What a time to be livin!


    (The guy who recently co-directed "THE RISE OF TOMMY DON" starring Tommy Forrester and Logan Propst)

  2. seems like you can't walk two feet w/o stepping on a giant pile of genius these days.