Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Third Man, Inside Out (and a brief mention of Dope)

                                  Good Morning, Glorious Starshiners
                                                   Reviews by Ken Burke
 While there is a conceptual connection in this posting between the 2 main choices under review, that linkage is based on the facts that the first one is an acknowledged classic (the very esteemed British Film Institute named The Third Man as Best British Film of the 20th century; it also won the 1949 British Academy [BAFTA] Award for Best British Film, the 1949 Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival, as well as the Oscar for Best Black-and-White Cinematography for 1950 releases among its many other honors) even as the second one, Inside Out, may well be seen that way someday, with it’s “joy”ous story and digestible-semi-science-lesson on how the many emotions in our brains manipulate what we perceive along with our responses to such stimuli.  However, this doesn’t mean that there are common thematic elements in operation here; thus, I’m just going to approach each of these experiences as the fascinating separate entities that they are.
Take care, curious readers, for plot spoilers gallop rampantly throughout the Two Guys’ insightful reviews.  Therefore, be warned, beware, and read on when you’re ready to be transported to … wherever we end up.  Please protect your eyes from the dazzling brilliance.
                           The Third Man (Carol Reed, 1949)

In post-WW II Vienna a pulp-fiction-author arrives to meet with an old friend, only to find that he’s died very recently.  However, futile attempts to get the local police to investigate more thoroughly only add to his fear that it was murder, not a random auto accident; excellent writing, acting, cinematography, and soundtrack combine for a fabulous film.

What Happens: It’s a tossup as to whether my boilerplate Spoiler Warning above means much concerning The Third Man given that it’s been in release for well over half a century; however, that very longevity may leave it as a bit of a mystery for non-obsessive-cinephiles who have no idea what it’s about.  So, if this 4K-super-high-definition-video-restoration (playing only in specific U.S. cities around the country over these ongoing-summer-months, including my own San Francisco area this coming week—sorry to my regular readers Roger Smitter and Richard Parker but you’d have to make your respective journeys to Chicago and Austin if you want to see it in this format), with its famous scenes of post-WW II-Vienna, a decrepit amusement park with its iconic Ferris wheel, and a fabulous chase scene through the city’s sewers aren’t yet familiar to you even as you’re intrigued to seek out this legitimate 5-star-classic (now giving me 3 of these precious ratings since beginning this blog in December 2011; who knows, maybe someday future generations will see Inside Out at that level as well) even if you have to travel a bit to find it, then maybe you’ll want to steer clear of my plot details for now.  Conversely, if you’d like to know more about this engaging masterpiece but won’t be able to see the current re-issue nor feel like buying a copy of it, I’ll be glad to pass on some opening info about its plot, which can be greatly enhanced if you like by visiting this site, with its lengthy string of details which make my usual ramblings seem svelte by comparison.  (“Do these paragraphs make me look fat?”)  So, my summary is simply that somewhat-successful-but-broke-at-the-
moment-Westerns-pulp-fiction-author Holly Martins (Joseph Cotton) comes to Vienna shortly after WW II (when this Austrian city was occupied by American, British, French, and Russian forces—as was Berlin—something I’d forgotten) to reconnect with his old friend, Harry Lime (Orson Welles).  Upon arrival, though, Holly learns that Harry’s recently been killed in a public street by a speeding car; Holly wants to know more about this situation but is rebuffed by British Army Police Major Calloway (Trevor Howard)—not Callahan, as he reminds Holly, snobbishly noting the difference between English and Irish names—who considers Lime a criminal, with a near-command for Martins to leave town.  However, Holly’s given a chance to give a lecture to a Brits-culture-club (under the mistaken assumption that he’s a respected writer) so he stays around, soon meeting Harry’s friends, “Baron” Kurtz (Ernst Deutsch) and the Romanian, Popescu (Siegfried Breuer), who note they were with Harry on the night of the accident and also inform him of Harry’s actress-girlfriend, Anna Schmidt (Alida Valli, although here she went just by her surname).  Anna and Holly set out to learn more from the porter, Karl (Paul Hörbiger), at Harry’s apartment building (who tells them there was also a 3rd man carrying the body away from the street—who we must ultimately understand to have been Harry, as the dubious circumstances of his “death” are finally revealed), but Anna—who’s actually Czechoslovakian using a phony passport made by Harry—is arrested, threatened with relocation under Soviet supervision.

 Holly then meets Harry’s “medical advisor,” Dr. Winkel (Erich Ponto), who says only 2 men were at the scene of Lime’s death, although the secretive porter wants to say more in quieter circumstances but he’s killed before the arranged meeting with Holly which leads many in the neighborhood to suspect Martins of his death.  Holly escapes the angry crowd, only to be taken to his lecture where his slim answers to intellectually-grounded-questions proves to be a disappointment for the attendees.  Major Calloway’s not thrilled either that Holly’s still in town but does explain to him that Lime was stealing penicillin from military hospitals, then selling greatly-diluted-doses of it on the black market, leading to further sickness and death among his desperate customers.  As dejected Holly’s about to leave Vienna, though, he catches a glimpse of Harry, who escapes into the sewers.  Lime’s coffin is dug up, revealing the body to be one of Harry’s accomplices in stealing the vital medicine (set up to be killed by Harry and his friends); soon Harry’s contacted Holly who meets him for a ride on that Ferris wheel where Lime startles Martins with his disregard for his victims, capping it off with his famous “cuckoo clock” speech* after which Holly agrees to serve as bait so that Calloway can capture Lime, but Anna (freed through the intervention of Martins and the Major) warns Harry away from the meeting (negating whatever implication, previously-constructed, that she’s become attracted and grateful to Holly), whereupon he escapes to the sewers again, manages to kill pursuing Police Sergeant Paine (Bernard Lee)—an actual fan of Holly’s books—but then is killed himself with Paine’s gun, fired by Martins.  After Harry’s actual funeral it’s clear that Holly wants to reconnect with Anna but she just walks silently past him, showing at best no interest, at worst (for him) utter contempt.

* “You know what the fellow said: In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. So long, Holly.”  Welles' short speech was added by him to the script during production of the film, although he didn’t claim to have actually written these lines, merely to have properly used them (at least where this story’s concerned; little about the Swiss is accurate).

So What? Famed English novelist Graham Greene wrote The Third Man’s screenplay from a novella that he composed simply to serve as source material for the film script (but published in book form anyway, 1950), while director Reed played off both the current-for-the-time-international-interest in what’s come to be known as film noir (“black film” in French, both for the blacks and greys of the cinematic palette and the dark mood of the subject matter where lesser aspects of the characters’ character are on full, grim display) as well as the German Expressionist style of the 1920s-early ‘30s with its equally strong lighting contrasts, strange—even diagonal—frame-compositions (appropriate to the mood of the stories being told but unsettling to the eye), and frequent forays into the murkier aspects of human nature, all of which had been blended on screen prior to 1949 with the stunning cinema of Orson Welles, especially his 1941 meta-classic, Citizen Kane, but also the more-typically-noirish-situations presented in The Stranger (1946) and The Lady from Shanghai (1948)—with his Touch of Evil (1958) coming considerably later but heralded by many cinema analysts as being the last of the true noirs (although the attitude lives on today within an ongoing neo-noir-tradition from The Manchurian Candidate [John Frankenheimer, 1962] to Chinatown [Roman Polanski, 1974], Body Heat [Lawrence Kasdan, 1981], Basic Instinct [Paul Verhoeven, 1992], Memento [Christopher Nolan, 2000], and Brick [Rian Johnson, 2005] among many others).  With such inspirational pedigrees (including renowned producers Alexander Korda and David O. Selznick) involved in this film’s creation (although I should note that Reed was merely influenced by his sources, not a puppet for behind-the-scenes-direction from Welles, as some have speculated; clearly he was aware of the Expressionistic heritage of many aspects of cinema—including the already-notable-films by his actor—but it’s also well-established that Reed, a solid artist in his own right, was the chief architect of The Third Man, even if he evoked the look of Welles’ work well enough that Orson is often given more credit than he ever sought for the look and feel of this masterful opus), it’s no wonder that not only does it still resonate so well in all of its elements but also that it’s been universally-well-received-and-remembered over the ensuing decades.

Bottom Line Final Comments: When a film as significant as this one, functioning through the finesse of its straightforward conceptual and production elements rather than the approach of brooding mysteries taken by other masterpieces of the pre-Hollywood-blockbuster-era—L’Avventura (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960), Persona (Ingmar Bergman, 1966), Solaris (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1972), etc.—is given the chance to be restored to the best audiovisual presence available so as to be re-appreciated by its existing fans, discovered by those not yet familiar with it, and re-explored by cinema scholars who now have a much-longer-filmic-heritage-context to place it within, it’s a marvelous pleasure for those of us lucky to live near enough to the scheduled screenings to be able to indulge in such a unique event (as I’ve also been fortunate to do with the recent re-release of another restored classic, The Apu Trilogy [Satyajit Ray; 1955, 1956, 1959—review in our June 10, 2015 posting] but even more so with the other of my preciously-few-5-starred-triumphs, the one-of-a-kind reconstruction of Napoleon [Abel Gance, 1927; review in our March 30, 2012 posting], presented for a unique run at Oakland’s Paramount Theater, complete in its fabulous-multi-hour-extravaganza-format with the concluding-triptych-imagery and full-orchestra-accompaniment).  I actively encourage you to make the effort to find a screening of this 4K-version of The Third Man somewhere close enough for your travels or at least keep an eye out for it when it becomes available in enhanced-DVD as more content gets provided to further stimulate the sales-potential of these superior-display-screens.  Now, as for a Musical Metaphor to accompany Sir Carol Reed’s masterpiece, what else could I offer but original-composer Anton Karas playing the film’s eternally-famous-theme on his multi-stringed-zither, at

 However, in the realm of other YouTube options I’ll also offer you a couple more, with the first being a full-length-audio-commentary (1:44:10) by writer-directors Steven Soderberg and Tony Gilroy from the 2007 Criterion Collection DVD version of Reed’s film, which will give you great insights into it but, sadly, without the images running behind their remarks (just a title logo) so this site might be especially useful if you have access to a video copy of The Third Man and want to add to your viewing enjoyment while listening to their insights—or you could even go here to rent a download of it ($2.99, of which I get nothing in kickback) if you have a second computer-device so that you could watch the film on one cyberspace-screen while listening to the Soderberg-Gilroy comments on another in a true multimedia experience that French-visionary-Gance would have been proud of were he still alive today.  For a final note on The Third Man, it was also “honored” in the marvelous new merge of laughter and tears that constitute Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Alfonso Gomez-Rejon; review in our June 24, 2015 posting) as one of the classics that Greg and Earl chose to parody with—what else?—The Turd Man.  Maybe someday Criterion will work out a deal with those guys to release their whole package (42 and counting, depending on whether they ever agree to work together again), but, until then, see what you can find of Reed’s fabulous original; it’s well worth your time (and time again upon re-viewings).
     Inside Out (Pete Doctor and Renaldo Del Carmen)
Disney’s Pixar Animation takes us into the mind of Riley, a young girl whose parents have just moved her from Minnesota to San Francisco as she experiences a range of emotions—joy, fear, anger, disgust, and sadness—as she tries to adjust to her new home; the multi-personalities active in her brain frequently clash in this funny, charming, not-just-for-kids-story.
What Happens: 11-year-old Riley Anderson (voiced by Kaitlyn Dias) has recently moved with her parents from her native Minnesota to the completely-new-environment of San Francisco as her Dad changed jobs.  Most of what we see of her new life, though, is within the “control room” of her brain where her actions are determined by whichever of her emotions—the normally-dominant Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Bill Hader), or Disgust (Mindy Kaling)—is taking the controls at the moment as she goes to a new school, shows unexpected responses to her parents, tries to reconnect with her past by joining an ice-hockey-team (indoor of course), etc.  What goes on in Riley’s brain among her 5 controllers determines how her immediate actions are perceived by the outside world, with each event becoming a small-globe-memory in her mind, the color of the dominant emotion of the time of the action (Joy=yellow, Sadness=blue, Anger=red, Disgust=green, Fear=fuchsia/magenta/light purple, whichever of these hue-choices rings most true for your visual perception) as her vital core memories occupy a special storage area in the mind’s Headquarters, where they collectively power islands of critically-important-aspects of Riley’s personality such as Family (the only one that stuck in my long-term-memory, as the battery of my little flashlight burned out, leaving me with only some vague notes scrawled in the dark).  However, the event that starts to change Riley’s life completely occurs when Sadness touches one of the previous happy-core-memories, turning it blue with the result of Riley bursting into tears in her classroom, as her pleasant connection to an earlier time is negated, leading to homesickness for her lost wintery surroundings, dissatisfaction with the more-meager-aspects of her new dwelling, etc.  As Joy tries to set things right, chaos takes over (just a circumstance, not another unique emotion), leading to Sadness and Joy (the latter protectively holding on to armloads of Riley’s core memories) getting sucked up into the labyrinth of long-term-storage, leaving the other 3 emotions in charge of now-confused/unpredictable Riley's actions.

 With her core memories out of place and the more unstable emotions now running her life, Riley’s “islands” begin to collapse (I’ve finally been able to better translate some of my notes, so I see that Honesty, Friendship, and Hockey are also among those key components of her existence but they’ve now fallen into disarray so Riley’s becoming hardly recognizable to anyone who ever knew her; in the process we see that her parents have the same cluster of emotions running their brains, although as adult versions of these inherent reactions they’re a bit-less-knee-jerk in their responses but when they do make a collective decision they can be overly-reactive as well) so Joy and Sadness are desperately trying to get back to Headquarters before everything falls into the Memory Dump (although the maintenance crew who go around discarding things that haven’t been used in a long time have their own perverse humor, sticking old TV jingles into current-consciousness to the maddening-awareness of the involved human), encountering along the way Riley’s imaginary friend, Bing Bong (Richard Kind)—a combination of elephant, cat, cotton candy, and I’m not sure what else—who tries to help them navigate the corridors of Long-Term-Memory, the crazy happenings of Imagination Land, the difficult-to-decipher-area of Abstract Thought, the scary realm of the Subconscious, all in an attempt to board the fast-moving Train of Thought back to HQ, in order to stabilize Riley and reconstruct the fast-disappearing-aspects of her mind (Riley’s now so lost that she steals her Mom’s credit card, then heads for the bus station in an attempt to return to snowy Minnesota).  Along the way, Joy falls into the Memory Dump, learns through the ghost of a lost experience how Sadness can merge with Joy to rectify a bad result (as something’s learned from the encounter rather than it just being a wasted act), escapes the void to reunite with Sadness so they can finally return to HQ (although Bing Bong has to sacrificially-disappear in the process), then through their joint command of Riley’s controls they bring her back into stability with a new willingness to adapt to her transplanted West Coast home—although these emotions haven’t quite learned yet what's in store for them as she enters her full-tween/teen-hood in coming years.

So What? Inside Out is one of those great experiences that you have to see and hear for yourself to get the proper impact of what it presents you with because trying to fully translate its simple-yet-powerful-emotional-resonance into words just doesn’t work very well (at least for me; maybe a more eloquent writer could accomplish a better cross-media-translation, so if any of you find such a transplendent review please steer me to it so that I can better learn how to capture the core of a human response—not just an event, as with Riley’s stored globes—then reproduce it in another fashion).  Let’s just say that what's on the surface could be viewed as just another story with a looming crisis that requires lots of last-second-rescue-actions on the part of a couple of endearing protagonists (once we begin to appreciate Sadness, who’s on the verge of drowning in her own self-depreciating-tears rather than intentionally wanting to bring gloom to Riley or anyone else) is actually just the surface-franticness needed to amuse the younger members of the target audience, with a much more subtle undercurrent of how complex all of our personalities are, how difficult it is for any of us to properly integrate our conflicting emotions (even as adults, as we see in Inside Out where the older-controlling-5 may act more in harmony but can still be too quickly swayed as to what that act should be), and how difficult it is to keep our memories accurate when they’re recalled to us through the filters of either imposed-agitated-emotions or foggy-reconstruction (not in Riley’s case, but certainly in mine).  Upon reflection, I’m not sure why it took 11 years for Sadness to finally touch one of Riley’s memories, thereby altering its essence, as this flaw in our mind’s design (which seemed to be a problem only for Sadness, or maybe it’s just that Fear, Anger, and Disgust never had any interest in revisiting the memories that they didn’t initially dominate—of course, that would also serve as an indication about how they function as subordinate emotions to Joy and Sadness, another interesting point to ponder) would likely have manifested itself much earlier, but, hey, we’re in the realm of fantasy-entertainment here (with an awareness of how much of what we see in this movie is symbolic of the actual workings of our brains) so I shouldn’t be protesting too much.  

 Actually, If you want a more sublime approach to how the inner workings of the mind occur—especially the deep-seated-realms of the mysterious subconscious—then you should view and actively contemplate the fabulous conceptualization of Inception (Christopher Nolan, 2010), an exploration of meta-narrative-structure that I feel has already earned 5-star-status despite its short time in existence.  Upon further reflection in a few years, I may feel the same level of praise for the more direct, more illuminating aspects of Inside Out, but for now I’ll just be pleasantly content to know that it’s one of the best cinematic examples of 2015 no matter what else comes along later.

Bottom Line Final Comments: Inside Out has already proven to be a big-box-office-hit, even after only 2 weeks in release with about 200.8 million in domestic-dollars-revenue, making it #4 for 2015 already.  (Although it’s far behind the box-office-behemoth—an apt description, given the dinosaurs dominating its plot—Jurassic World [Colin Trevorrow; review in our June 17, 2015 posting], taking in about $514.4 million domestically, $1.260 billion worldwide [#8 on the All-Time list], although Inside Out’s $90.4 million opening domestic weekend is being touted as the best one of those ever for a original-title-movie, not a sequel/ prequel as part of a franchise, which I guess would account for such fare as the first installments of The Hunger Games [Gary Ross, 2012; review in our April 6, 2012 posting], Spider-Man [Sam Raimi, 2002], and Iron Man [Jon Favreau, 2008], maybe even Man of Steel [Zack Snyder, 2013; review in our June 19, 2013 posting] as a reboot of earlier Superman stories, but how it also includes Disney’s Alice in Wonderland [Tim Burton, 2010] I haven’t figured out yet unless this “original” concept means no prior connections to narratives from another medium nor prior filmic versions as well.)  This positive audience response is a good sign, in terms of keeping Pixar secure as a lively source of animated creativity with many stories that touch the heart as well as the more-easily-entertained-aspects of the mind (especially Up [Doctor, 2009] and Toy Story 3 [Lee Unkrich, 2010], both with the rare status of an animated feature nominated for the Best Picture Oscar) and in showing us as a culture that we can respond to stories that encourage the best aspects of human nature in addition as those that simply set out to destroy everything we see upon the screen.

 As for picking Musical Metaphors for Inside Out I’ll offer 2 from the off-and-on-collaborations of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, beginning with “A Hazy Shade of Winter” (from the 1968 Bookends album) at https://www. (a performance video of unknown origin to me) because it deals with the more dismal aspects of Riley’s life as she becomes “so hard to please” as her lost upbeat “memory skips,” no longer giving her reason to pursue “the springtime of [her] life,” which could happen to any of us “if [our] hopes should pass away.” To balance that more somber set of thoughts, though, let me also offer you “Flowers Never Bend with the Rainfall” at https://www. (from the 1966 Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme album), illustrated with a lot of still photos of the 2 musicians from days when they got along better than now; there’s a lot of negativity in this song as well, reflecting Riley’s darkest moments—“My mind dances and leaps in confusion.  I don’t know what is real, I can’t touch what I feel”—as well as the deeper fears she may encounter as she grows older when she may “continue to continue to pretend” that “flowers never bend with the rainfall,” but ultimately she’ll know, like all of us if we’re lucky enough to get the insights, that even if you’re “blinded by the light Of God and truth and might” that each of us “must be what I must be and face tomorrow.”  To me, these tunes speak to the deeper truths lurking within the mind of a child in Inside Out, reminding us that “life is for learning,” as Joni Mitchell wrote but Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young more famously sang in “Woodstock” (on her 1970 Ladies of the Canyon album, their 1970 Déjà vu) so in keeping with the more contemplative aspects of Inside Out here’s Joni at (hauntingly performed live in a studio setting, 1970), but if you prefer the more active aspects of Inside Out as Joy and Sadness race to repair Riley's inner-being then maybe you’ll want the harder-driving-CSN&Y-version at RWhyH30, as it was incorporated into the Woodstock (Michael Wadleigh, 1970) documentary.  

 Finally, If you just want some peace and harmony along with all of this cosmic contemplation (and the “billion-year-old carbon” that takes us way back to the title of this posting, no matter how many light-years that feels like from now—as Carol King might sing, "[It's] so far away"; of course, she might also say that this review doesn't "say much of anything that's new," but if you feel like singing along with "So Far Away" anyway [from her 1971 milestone album Tapestry] here you go ahttps://, with accompaniment from James Taylor who played the guitar part on her original recording) and haven’t seen Inside Out yet but intend to, I encourage  you to be on time because it’s preceded by a lovely Pixar short, Lava (James Ford Murphy), about 2 Pacific Ocean volcanoes that snuggle up to merge with each other; this could easily be a nominee for Oscar’s Animated Short Film when awards season rolls around in a few more months.
Short Takes
 While it won’t be months away from you, I won’t be blogging again for the next few weeks (details in the 2nd  paragraph below), thereby missing the opportunity to comment soon-after-release on such now-opening-fare as Terminator: Genisys (Alan Taylor) or Magic Mike XXL (Gregory Jacobs)—damn, what a loss for us all!—therefore, I wanted to get in a response to at least 1 more current, worthwhile movie but given how much I’ve already blabbed in this posting I’ll just keep my remarks short on Dope (Rick Famuylwa), which is funny, poignant, disturbingly-current, and well worth seeing if you don’t mind a lot of profanity, along with constant-within-Black-culture-use of the n_____ word (with appropriate usage of such as one of the conceptual-highlight-scenes).  As a sort of updated, intentionally-more-comic-version of Boyz N the Hood (John Singleton, 1991)—with the further connection to that earlier work being how our 3 principal-self-described-geeky-protagonists are immersed in throwback-1990’s-hip-hop-culture—we follow the travails of Malcolm (Shameik Moore), who’s desperate to get out of his Inglewood, CA thug-and-drug-neighborhood, Jib (Tony Revolori), a wannabe-Black-kid (although he is 17%, better than my 9% Native American), and Diggy (Kiersey Clemons), clearly Black but also often mistaken for a boy given her lesbian-chosen-appearance (a plot inclusion that allows all of them to lust after the same females, most especially Nakia [Zoë Kravitz], occasional girlfriend of local dealer Dom [A$AP Rocky] but sharing an attraction with Malcolm).  The main plot crisis is that Malcolm accidently finds $100,000 worth of drugs in his backpack but is expected to sell it by the secret boss, Austin Jacoby (Roger Guenveur Smith), who’s—horribly—also the guy Malcolm needs to impress for a recommendation to Harvard.  Needless to say, further complications arise as Malcolm and his friends are constantly in danger from the toughs both in school and on the streets, although you know that (despite the harsh reality of random killings, crime around every corner, and everyone afraid of running afoul of trigger-happy-locals) there are too many upbeat, romantic aspects to this movie for it go too far into the dark side.

 If this were an actual review I’d say 3 ½ stars of 5 (some elements are really stretched just for extreme, immediate impact, which becomes a bit distracting), but if you want to know more here’s an extensive summary (too long by Wikipedia’s standards but just right for me), the official site, a trailer (although this is a Red Band so the R-rated-language is intact; if you’d prefer something a bit more sanitized go here), along with ratings details from Rotten Tomatoes (89%) and Metacritic (72%).  For me, the most telling detail about the whole movie—more so than its entertaining use of freeze frames, flashbacks, blatant-commentary-economic-disparities among many of the characters, and frequently-misinterpreted-intentions is simply Malcolm’s question to his evaluators in his application essay: “So, why do I want to go to Harvard?  If I were White you wouldn’t even have to ask.”  I’ll ask you to check out Dope if you can because it’s quite “dope” (cool or excellent, not dumb or druggy, as the opening graphics explain) of a statement as well as a well-written, well-acted, well-edited use of activities up on the screen.  I’ll even give you a Musical Metaphor for it, “Can’t Bring Me Down,” at, as performed by Malcolm, Jib, and Diggy in the movie as a trio called Awreeoh (track produced by Pharrell Williams, one of the film’s 4 executive producers [another is Sean Combs; Forest Whitaker is also a major name among the several with various other producer-ish titles), available as well on the soundtrack if you want even more of the extensive, energetic music that underscores Dope.

 As was the case a few weeks ago, Two Guys are going completely into the dark for a short while (this time, though, it’s not out of frustration with my at-times-unsupportive-technology but for me and my marvelous wife of 25 years—as of June 30, 2015—to take a short vacation) as Nina and I go to visit (ironically, I suppose you could say) my silent partner (for this blog only, not in person, believe me), Pat Craig, and his wife, Kelly Gust, at their new home on Whidbey Island, WA (here's a reminder of their departure from Northern CA almost a year ago), then head further north for a cruise into Alaska’s gorgeous Inner Passage.  Speaking of Pat, though, reminds me of our mutual friend, Barry Caine (in the photo just above with his wife, Carol Christopher), who inspired us to start this blog a few years ago.  A further connection in this chain of thought is a marvelous documentary which I rented from Netflix very recently, For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism (Gerald Perry, 2009), that traces the explorations of those who choose to thoughtfully examine cinema, from the earliest days of Vachel Lindsay and Robert Sherwood to our time of Harry Knowles and other Internet analysts.  A final point made is how many traditional print critics are being laid off in lieu of the explosion of Web-based-reviewers (check the External Reviews on any popular movie’s IMDb site for verification); with this in mind, I guess Pat (peripherally at least) and I owe Barry an apology because the omnipotent-free-from-linear-time-Universe must have known that he’d be passing on that advice to us in December 2011 which surely was the cause of him getting laid off from his regular role as film critic for the Bay Area [San Francisco] Newspaper Group (in a very stupid allocation-of-resources-decision, in my opinion) just a couple of months before.  
÷ ÷  Clearly, our huge (?) impact on the discipline (about 5,000 unique hits per month worldwide for awhile now, according to Google) made it necessary (?) for him to be constricted out of a situation where he was being read by an enormously-bigger-audience, an unfair-but-reality-based-example of how film criticism is changing drastically from its 20th-century-model.  So, while I do encourage a rental of For the Love of Movies … I hope you keep Barry and now-unemployed-others like him in mind while you watch it (I guess Pat and I should share our profits from this blog with Barry, but can any of you solve the equation 0 ÷ 3 = ?).  As for me, I’ll be back sometime soon after marveling at the glaciers, thankful that I don’t have to depend on this Web whimsy of mine for a regular income.
NEWS FLASH! JULY 6, 2015—For any of you who might happen to see this in time, while I'm visiting Pat Craig this week he's invited me to join him on his weekly radio program, "The Green Room," to discuss movie musicals in between him playing some show tunes.  If you like to check out WhidbeyAIR radio at on Thursday, July 9, 2015 6-7pm PDT please do.  Otherwise, you can hear just Pat at that time and place most every Thursday.
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Here’s some more information about The Third Man: ( 4:37 intro to the film by director-film scholar Peter Bogdanovich; unfortunately, the audio’s quite low)

Nothing available on Metacriitc for this film.

Here’s some more information about Inside Out: (18:20 summary of 107 facts about the movie)
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By the way, if you’re ever at The Hotel California knock on my door—but you know what the check out policy is so be prepared to stay for awhile.    Ken

P.S.  Just to show that I haven’t fully flushed Texas out of my system here’s an alternative destination for you, Home in a Texas Bar, with Gary P. Nunn and Jerry Jeff Walker.


  1. Ken,
    Looking forward to seeing the cleaned up version of third man. Also looking for "Widowmaker" I heard about on XM's Dr. Radio.

  2. Hi rj, Thanks as always for the feedback. Ken

  3. Hi Professor Burke,
    I'm so glad to have rediscovered your blog! I just enjoyed watching these two films this weekend. Did you catch the "Chinatown" reference in Inside Out? In Imagination Land, a cloud woman seems to be reporting her husband's disappearance to two policemen, when one of our main characters runs through her, thus making the woman disappear as well. One cop turns to the other and tells him to forget about it, "it's cloudtown." I had a nice chuckle all by myself on that one. Thanks so much for continuing to write these reviews!

  4. Hi MsMonty1, Thanks for your marvelously complimentary comments. Yes, I did catch the Chinatown reference in Inside Out, another great aspect of a truly delightful movie. Ken

  5. Your composing is purely awe-inspiring that I desired to read such high quality material...MovieBox Download

  6. Hi Jeorge, Thanks for your feedback. In that MovieBox Download is a free app I didn't delete this comment, but I don't want this blog to be used to promote any illegal connections to copyrighted films. Ken

  7. Caught Inside Out this week after hearing Dr. Paul Ekman (UC San Francisco) describe his involvement as a consultant to Pixar and Disney. Apparently Disney took less of his advise than they should of particularly in the number of emotions portrayed and specifically in their portrayal of "sadness". However the film works even though they missed some opportunities. I believe the next one on puberty is likely to be one of those rare improved sequels. An article by the consultant to the movie here.

    Also he is doing online training for parents and kids referencing the film here

  8. Hi rj, Thanks for these informative comments and links. I wasn't aware of the planned puberty sequel (not that cluelessness on my part is any big surprise) but look forward to such a story as well (given the topic, I hope they can find a way to keep it in the PG-13 realm as it seems that a new emotion named Horny might need to enter the picture and I'd hate to see the target audience have to see it with their parents in tow). Ken