art direction

Airport ’77 (1977) Review | Jamie Daily

Airport ’77 (1977)
50th Academy Awards 1978
2/5 Stars
Nominated for 2 awards.
Nominated for Art Direction (George Webb, Mickey S. Michaels) and Costume Design (Edith Head, Buron Miller).
Watched November 1, 2012.

I have heard tales of these films, the popular series that began with a study of the chaos at airports and gradually made its way to basic blockbuster adventure stories involving airplanes.  If any of you have seen the popular comedy Airplane and did not know, it is a parody of the Airport movies of the seventies.  After watching Airport ’77, I want to watch the rest, not because it was a brilliant feat, but because of the hilarious parodies of Airplane that I noticed while watching the film.


Airport ’77 is about a group of privileged people who are taking the first flight ever on a new luxury 747.  The owner has invited them all to his place in Florida to view his art collection.  Among the passengers are his daughter and grandson, whom he has not seen in years.  The adventure and suspense in this film starts from almost the very beginning, when we are introduced to men wearing disguises and sneaking suspiciously through the airplane.  Really what they are doing is hijacking the plane.


The copilot and his fellow theifs are stealing the art pieces in the cargo.  They knock everyone out with gas and are intending on getting the pieces off the plane before anyone knows what has gone down, but inevitably, during the copilot’s maneuvers to stay below the radar in the Bermuda Triangle, they hit an oil rig and crash land in the ocean, sinking beneath the surface and settling on the edge of an underwater cliff.  There is plenty of panic, death, and cut away shots to the Navy’s control room where they orchestrate the search and rescue.  There is, of course, a doctor on board the plane (isn’t there always in the movies?), but they at least add a little twist in that he is a veterinarian.  The film even ends in an epic attempt to raise the plane in the same manner that the Navy would raise a distressed submarine.


Apparently they had a stacked cast for this film, among them Jack Lemmon, Lee GrantOlivia de Havilland, and Christopher Lee to name a few.  Despite their talent pool, the demand of the characters was limited and there was very little study of how individuals might react if they suddenly awoke to find their plane at the bottom of the ocean.  The storytelling was typical and predictable.  How many times can you show water leaking into the plane and expect the suspense to build?  There are a few sequences that are exciting and interesting, although it reminded me drastically of other unlikely stories such as Poseidon.


To be honest I am curious how the film earned itself its nominations.  Looking at the art direction and costume design by themselves I am thoroughly unimpressed by their mediocrity.  This may be a matter of societal distance, as the criteria of films in the 70s and films in the 21st century are quite different.


Airport ’77 has become one of those bad movies you might watch part of on TV, but beyond that it is nothing impressive.  If you like unrealistic disaster movies like Poseidon you might want to look up this film, but otherwise it is not something I would advise for your list.


Sources: iSKYxfinityIMDBRotten TomatoesSam Hawken

Midnight In Paris (2011) Review | Jamie Daily

Midnight in Paris (2011)
84th Academy Awards 2012
2/5 Stars
Nominated for 4 awards, of which it won 1.
Nominated for Best Picture (Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum), Art Direction (Anne Seibel, Héléne Dubreuil), and Directing (Woody Allen).
Won Writing–Original (Woody Allen).
Watched September 21, 2012.

I have heard many things about Midnight In Paris, the good and the bad, and after reading several reviews have come to the conclusion that you will either love this film (head over heals), or will be indifferent with a leaning toward dislike.  If you are a Woody Allen fan, it is likely you might class this film among his best.  The Academy is certainly a huge fan of his work.  In the past few weeks I have discovered that I differ from the Academy in this regard.  I find the cynicism of his characters dull and predictable and would rather be enlightened by refreshing characters.  Despite this, there were certainly aspects of the film that I enjoyed.


It is spring time in Paris, and the cinematography stresses the beauty of the city, particularly in the rain, which is when the main character Gil (Owen Wilson–the Allen replacement) is happiest.  He is a Hollywood screenwriter who is trying his hand at writing the next great American novel.  His deepest desire has become to move to Paris, but his fiancé Inez (Rachel McAdams), who spends all her time shopping, would much rather live in the States in the suburbs and grow up to be exactly like her parents, who ironically also happen to be in Paris.  From the start, it is clear that Gil does not fit in with her family, and their relationship seems more convenient to her than deeply passionate.


I won’t say much else about the plot, because if you haven’t seen it I would rather not be the one to give away the main plot twists.  There are two driving forces behind this film, the most transparent of which is the idea of nostalgia.  Many writers and lovers of culture fall victim to this tempting view of the past, and Gil is no different.  He is obsessed with Paris in the twenties.  He claims that everything moves too quickly now, and that it hurts the originality and creativity of the present.  So many greats were born in the 20s–Hemingway for example–that he idolizes the era as much as the artists.


The other subplot is, of course, about love, but is a little more deep than your average romantic comedy.  As was said in the Daily Mail, “Life and art are both worth the most meticulous re-examination and a life without art or romance is one that’s only half-lived.  Moreover, Allen argues — in an entrancing final scene — lasting relationships are built not on lust or love at first sight, but on understanding based on shared tastes.”


The cinematography is fairly good, as well as the scripting.  Allen’s witty diatribes have still not abandoned his films, which despite their generally negative view of life, still leave me a little breathless in their use of the English language.  The acting was average, and the final scene between Gil and Inez is a letdown.  I’m not quite sure that any aspect of the film truly resonated with me and I will be honest in saying that it is not something that I will likely seek out to watch again.


If you are a fan of Woody Allen, Paris, or Owen Wilson, then by all means this should be a film that you see!


Sources: We Eat FilmsThe Guardian IMDBRotten TomatoesRoger EbertDaily MailLA TimesThe GuardianFilms According to Chris WyattJohn Likes MoviesCinema Sights