|DVD review: Clone Hunter
Often, sci-fi and low budget indie productions go together about as well as chocolate and onions. The high budget demands on special effects eventually hamper the entire story. Clone Hunter is indeed [ ... ]
|What to make of the ending to Inception?
So far, my favorite film this year is Christopher Nolanís Inception. Not only does it deliver all the action and thrills expected of a big budget summer blockbuster, but it has inspired endl [ ... ]
|DVD Review: The White Ribbon
The White Ribbon is a drama starring Christian Freidl, Ulrich Turkl and Burghart Klaussner. Directed by Michael Haneke.
|DVD Review: Shutter Island|
The film begins on an ominous note. Eerie strings play as the film fades to white. Soon, a ship appears out of the fog. Cut to a gumshoe, looking and speaking as if he has stepped straight out of a [ ... ]
|Top 10 Closing Shots|
|Written by Trent Daniel|
|Monday, 27 July 2009 11:33|
Though not a requirement, many of the great films end with an arresting closing shot, a final, often haunting image that can either tells us everything we need to know about the story, or in some cases, opens up further questions. Furthermore, a brilliant closing shot can cement the stature of a classic, or move a very good film to greatness.
To follow are the Top 10 greatest closing shots in movie history, IMHO. As always, feel free to offer me feedback.
Warning: This list obviously includes spoilers.
The Searchers (John Ford, 1956)
In Fordís haunting, hugely influential masterpiece, John Wayne plays Ethan Edwards, a former Confederate soldier obsessed with saving Debbie, his young niece who was abducted as a child by Comanche. In the final shot, Ethan returns Debbie to her family-yet he finds himself unable to enter their home, instead choosing to walk away.
The image of Wayne in the doorway, his giant frame racked with emotion, is perhaps the single greatest shot in film history. The shot itself is as emotionally powerful as a great painting, telling us everything we need to know: Ethan, a man obsessed with moral codes, the sexual ìdefilementî of his niece and racial hatred of the Comanche, know that the home inside is not his world. He is no longer needed.
2001 (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)
One of the greatest films of all time ends, appropriately, with one of the most unforgettable yet enigmatic final shots in film history. After Dave Bowmanís terrifying yet magnificent journey through the star chamber and subsequent captivity in the hotel suite, he transforms into the Star Child, an infant with ageless, haunting eyes. The Star Child hovers above Earth, then faces us. What does he represent? The greatness of the ending is that is it open to interpretation for every viewer. My personal theory: Bowman has become the first to take the next step in humanityís evolution. He has evolved into a being whose intelligence and soul are no longer bound to flesh and bone.
Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
Though the ending is, perhaps deservedly, criticized (as a psychiatrist gives a long winded ìok kids, now hereís what happenedî speech that is mostly unnecessary), the final, horrifying image still makes me want to cover my eyes.
Norman, alone in his cell, sits wrapped in a blanket while his mother speaks (ìItís sad when a mother has to speak the words that condemn her own son.î). As the camera slowly moves in, Norman glances down at a fly on his hand (ìWhy she wouldnít even hurt a fly . . .î). Then it happens. Norman slowly looks up, his face twisted into a horrifying leer of psychotic madness. His motherís gruesome corpse then is superimposed under that hideous grin, showing she has completely taken over his soul. Finally, a rope, pulling the final resting place of poor Marion Crane from the swamp, is superimposed over Norman, the rope seemingly pulling straight from his heart.
The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)
In this emotionally shattering thriller, master surveillance man Harry Caul (Gene Hackman), is hired to eavesdrop on the conversations of a young man and woman (one who happens to be married to a millionaire). While listening to snippets of their conversation, he believes he hears a statement that might suggest murder (it does-but not in the way he suspects).
Hackman is brilliant in portraying a man racked with guilt who thinks he can insulate himself from the world through his skills and electronic devices. Checkmated by the true villains, he is informed that ìWe will be watching you.î He tries to find their bug, but to no avail. The closing shot finds Harry alone, his apartment torn to shreds in search of the bug, sitting alone and playing his saxophone. All his protections have been rendered meaningless and his world, like his apartment, has been stripped bare.
Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977)
Sometimes the simplest shot can also be the most profound, moving and heartbreaking. A long shot through a store widow shows Woody talking to Annie for the final time. She ends the conversation, which we donít hear, and walks always to the left (ìshe was gone . . .î), leaving Woody standing alone to the right, facing the spot where she once stood. He eventually turns and walks away to the right. What this simple shot tells us is so sad, yet truthful: people need relationships, yet few last. We have our moment where we need each other, but then it ends and we go our separate ways.
The Blair Witch Project (Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez, 1999)
The cult hit from 1999 ranks alongside Psycho for the single scariest closing shot ever. For those who forgot: the premise of the film was that three young filmmakers in search of the Blair Witch (a specter who seemingly haunts the Maryland woods) disappeared without a trace. A year later, their footage was found. The film itself is a supposed compilation of what they filmed.
In the final terrifying minutes, Heather and Mike, searching for the lost Josh, stumble upon an empty house in the middle of the woods. Legend had it that a serial killer sacrificed children to the witch. He would make one stand facing the corner while he killed another. In the house, Heather gets separated from Mike, only to find him (in the final shot of the film) down in the basement . . . . facing a corner.
The Graduate (Mike Nichols 1967)
A brilliant ending that has often been misinterpreted over the years. Elaine and Benjamin rush onto the bus, him in filthy clothes, her in her wedding gown. They head to the back and collapse, exhausted and elated, with the remaining passengers gawking at them. A perfect happing ending, right? Watch closely. As they sit there, their smiles gradually drop and a slight look of concern crosses their faces. Was this really the right decision? Now that we have each other, what now? They still have to deal with their families. It was somewhat daring yet truthful of The Graduate to inject this dose of reality into what would have been an acceptable fairy tale ending.
The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola 1972)
The Coppola masterpiece is admittedly a male-dominated movie, but there is a slight undercurrent of feminism in it, or a least sympathy for the female characters who find themselves trapped in a chauvinistic world. The brilliant final shot, which completes Michaelís transformation into the head of his family at the expense of his soul, is also a harsh reminder to Kay of her place in this world. After Michael lies to her face about his involvement in Carloís murder, she leaves his office and heads to the hallway. A door separates them. She sees other members of the Family enter, with one kissing Michaelís hand and addressing him as Don Corleone. Another Family member walks over a closes the office door. The final shot shows the door closing on Kayís face. She is shut out literally from this part of her husbandís world.
The 400 Blows (Francois Truffaut, 1959)
The French classic, long considered one of the best films ever made about childhood, concerns a boy named Antoine. Alone and neglected, he skips school, sneaks into movies, steals and basically lives on the streets of Paris. He longs to escape the city and finally does, heading for the beach.
The film's famous final shot, a zoom in to a freeze frame, shows Antoine looking directly into the camera and at us. He has reached the goal of finding the ocean and has most of his life ahead of him. But what now? What next?
Dazed and Confused (Richard Linklater, 1993)
In Linklaterís cult hit, which seemingly grows in stature every day, asks a similar question as The 400 Blows, yet in a much more positive light. After an all night party in the woods to celebrate the arrival of Summer, Randall still doesnít know what the future holds for him, yet heís sure of what he doesnít want to do (namely be at the beck and call of the head football coach). As he and Wooderson (Matthew McConaughey, in his star making performance) head toward Houston in the early morning light in search of Aerosmith tickets, the film closes on the open road: the future is bright and open ahead of him.
|Last Updated on Monday, 27 July 2009 11:57|
Rank Title Studio Share* 1 Star Trek Paramount 56.68% 2 The Avengers Disney/Marvel 47.01% 3 Superman Unbound Warner 44.89% 4 Cloud Atlas Warner 44.19% 5 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Warner 43.88% 6 Fast Five Universal 42.25% 7 Django Unchained[…]Read more...
Rank Title Studio Index* 1 Cloud Atlas Warner 100.00 2 Safe Haven Fox 49.23 3 Jack Reacher Paramount 47.83 4 Texas Chainsaw Lionsgate 39.59 5 Django Unchained Anchor Bay 26.55 6 Silver Linings Playbook Anchor Bay 26.03 7 Dexter: The[…]Read more...
This Week's Rank Last Week's Rank Title Street Date Studio Genre Days Since Release Box Office (Millions) 1 1 Jack Reacher 5/7/13 Paramount Action 12 $80.07 2 2 Silver Linings Playbook 4/30/13 Anchor Bay Comedy 19 $132.04 3 New Texas[…]Read more...
This Week's Rank Last Week's Rank Title Street Date Studio Genre Weeks on Chart Box Office (millions) Blu-ray Share for Title Index* 3D%† 1 New Cloud Atlas 5/14/13 Warner Sci-Fi 1 $27.11 44% 100.00 - 2 1 Safe Haven 5/7/13[…]Read more...
Warner Home Video topped the national home video sales charts the week ended May 19 with Cloud Atlas, a sci-fi drama with an ensemble cast that includes Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent and Hugh Grant. The film was a[…]Read more...
Four of India's top directors celebrate the 100th anniversary of their film industry in specially made short films.read moreRead more...
Box Office Comparison UP 19.16% From the Previous Year Street Title Box Office | Street Title Box Office | 5/7/13 Jack Reacher $80.07 | 5/8/12 The Vow $125.01 5/7/13 Safe Haven*[…]Read more...
Ryan Gosling reunites with his "Drive" director Nicolas Winding Refn in this bloodbath set in the Bangkok underworld, which premieres in the Cannes competition and also showcases an icy Kristin Scott Thomas.read moreRead more...
Like many documentary filmmakers, Israeli director Dror Moreh seems less concerned about awards, and more concerned that his story is heard. “I’m overwhelmed by the reaction to my work,” Moreh said about his Oscar-nominated documentary The Gatekeepers. “These topics are[…]Read more...
Microsoft unveiled its next-generation gaming console May 21, the Xbox One, an “all-in-one home entertainment system” that includes a Blu-ray Disc drive, live TV capability, built-in motion and voice controls, and HDMI input and output. The inclusion of a Blu-ray[…]Read more...
Inception Media Group May 21 will release a music DVD from the animated 2012 film Twinkle Toes: The Movie, which was distributed by Universal Studios Home Entertainment and based on a line of popular girls’ footwear from Skechers. Twinkle Toes[…]Read more...
An elite police unit has 48 hours to transport a psychopath across Japan, dodging bounty hunters along the way, in Takashi Miike's latest, premiering in the Cannes Competition.read moreRead more...
Carina Lau and Chen Kun star in Flora Lau's melancholy drama about a Real Housewife of Hong Kong and her personal driver, both facing crises.read moreRead more...
Veteran Hong Kong director Peter Chan returns with a familiar rags to riches story spanning 30 years and beginning in 1980s China.read moreRead more...
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will release 23 movies on DVD for the first time at major retailers from its Fox Cinema Archives collection over the course of the next five weeks. Launched in 2012, Fox Cinema Archives includes more[…]Read more...