The Genius of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

by Susanna Clarke “Two magicians shall appear in England…” I tend to catch the tail-end of trends, like an enthusiastic gate-crasher at a party long since broken-up. When friends and family suggest—nay, insist—that I must, I absolutely must watch such-and-such a movie, listen to such-and-such a CD, or read such-and-such a book … well, I generally accept the generously proffered item with a nod of thanks, only to let the DVD, CD, or book gather dust on my desk or else serve as an improvised coaster. Passionate readers are a persistent bunch, however, so eventually I was browbeaten into picking
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FACE/OFF (1997)

One of the Clan’s great little Guilty Pleasures by Debra Murphy Okay, it’s not Shakespeare. In fact, the “high concept” premise—an FBI agent (John Travolta) changes faces with a comatose terrorist-for-hire (Nicholas Cage) in order to find the location of a dirty bomb that will destroy “Hell-A”—is, on the, er, face of it, ridiculous. But hell. FACE/OFF, the gun ballet actioner that made John Woo a household word among the American movie-going public, is just way too much fun not to watch every couple of years or so. And we in Clan Murphy do. And do again. And yet again.
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Are you ready for the Big Ride, baby…?

What do you think of when you think of a “Big Ride“? Many would probably think of a rollercoaster, or one of those monster rides that make you puke your guts out at county fairs. In the movie FACE/OFF, one of the Clan’s great little Guilty Pleasures, the “Big Ride” is a metaphor for Death, the Big Ride to the Next World. Here’s one of several scenes using a song-ish snippet, probably composed by the movie’s soundtrack composer, John Powell” Clan Murphy, of course, not quite so cognizant on a daily basis of Huge Cosmic Realities, turned that snippet of
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The Greatest Cinematography of All Time

I make no apology for it: I love breathtakingly gorgeous movies. I love swooning, rapturous, intoxicatingly beautiful films. While that usually means a concert of photogenic actors, lush music, and exotic locations, the key soloist is often the guy behind the camera, the “I” with the “eye.” An early ambition of mine was to be a cinematographer, and I can still remember poring over the boxes of yellowed vintage copies of American Cinematographer gifted to me by a retired film crew member. (The wonderful, irrepressible Johnny Monroe — who went on to own the now-sadly closed Footlights theater poster gallery
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Concerning Hobbits

by John Murphy The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is self-indulgent in the best and worst sense. Peter Jackson, the hobbity Kiwi who transformed J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, into an Oscar-winning box-office behemoth, has earned his right to luxuriate in the cinematic world he began building over a decade ago. And Jackson apparently knows it, since luxuriate he does—like a cat grown fat and sassy stretching itself in sunshine and delightedly licking itself. The Hobbit, a modest classic of children’s fantasy literature, is now a three-part epic in the same mold as The Lord of the
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Best of Battlestar Galactica – Bill Adama Boozing

For fans of the cult sci-fi series, Battlestar Galactica, Liam and I have put together a little compilation of the “best of” Admiral William Adama (played by the wonderful, craggy-faced Edward James Olmos — his face is a timeworn monument). We noticed a recurring motif in the show — that hard-drinking man’s man Bill Adama had a propensity for saying profound things followed by a swig of whiskey. Often accompanied by his gimlet-eyed XO, the salty Saul Tigh (an equally wonderful Michael Hogan). We couldn’t resist the impulse to put those memorable (though maybe not remembered the next day) moments
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Pinscape – Letropa (2012)

Here’s a music video I directed for Portland-based electronic shoegaze outfit, Pinscape. Inspired by Clan Murphy fave, Picnic at Hanging Rock, the video emulates the atmospheric ambience and cavernous reverb of the single, Letropa. Check out Pinscape’s 7-track EP, Transitory Timing, for some moody electronic dreampop. Here’s the Letropa vid, shot in the Rogue Valley, featuring Andi Linden. Enjoy!
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Tombstone (1993)—Half a Great Movie, But Oh What a Half

My middle child is “high-functioning” autistic. One of the (many) interesting things about him is that he gets little “obsessions”—fierce interests in certain, often obscure, subjects that can last for months, even years. Around the time of his eighteenth birthday, my son’s obsession-du-jour was 1990s Westerns, a subgenre of a classic genre (Westerns) which has never held much attraction for me, to be truthful. At least not until the last decade or so, when I fell in love with two of them: Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West, a masterpiece of the Revenge genre, and the 2007 remake of
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Directed by Andrew Adamson Starring Ben Barnes, William Moseley, and Georgie Henley The first two installments of C.S. Lewis’ beloved Chronicles of Narnia have gotten the big-screen treatment, and my fingers are crossed that the producers will take the Harry Potter route for future adaptations and start parceling out directing duties piecemeal. Andrew Adamson, the director of the first film and now Prince Caspian, has a plodding competence that can’t hold a candle to Peter Jackson’s visionary talent. Narnia is a different world than Middle Earth. Piggy-backing on the massive success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy makes economic
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