20 items from 2015
“Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck” and “Listen to Me Marlon” are intimate and revealing, and one of them is also loud
Kurt Cobain and Marlon Brando, two cultural icons from vastly different eras and arenas, took center stage at the Sundance Film Festival on Saturday, with the back-to-back world premiere of documentaries that drew heavily on words and footage from the rock and acting legends.
“Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck” and “Listen to Me Marlon” could scarcely be more different. The former is a blistering, raucous and unwieldy look at the Nirvana frontman, the latter an elegant meditation on the »
- Steve Pond
In one of the more iconic moments in cinema history, Colonel Kurtz, played by Marlon Brando, is conversing with his would be assassin, played by Martin Sheen. They speak of life and betrayal, of duty and ideology. We see Brando half bathed in shadow, his heart of darkness contrasted by a shimmering light that reflects off his bald pate. We also hear that Brando drawl, speaking of horror and vengeance. We find Kurtz recording into a tape machine, collecting thoughts for posterity, knowing full well the ramifications of his behaviour and the remarkable events that have led to that particular moment. It's not hard to find echoes of this performance moment in the remarkable and affecting documentary Listen To Me Marlon. In the first moments...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
There.s an art to interviewing celebrities. When to push harder. When to let them retreat. When to let them ramble. When to interrupt. No one knows that better than Larry Grobel. Over the course of his career, he.s written for Playboy, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times and dozens of other publications, coaxing secrets out of some of the more famous men and women in the world. He.s written bestselling books on Truman Capote, Marlon Brando and many others. He.s also sat down with damn near every single celebrity you could think of. From former First Lady Nancy Reagan to ex-Indiana University coach Bob Knight to Jesse Ventura, he.s poked and prodded the most fascinating people in the world for decades. Recently, he was kind enough to talk with Cinemablend ahead of his upcoming Book Soup appearance and share some of the crazier »
Marlon Brando was a philosophical soul who wrestled with the trappings of celebrity that came with a profession he never put on a pedestal. When he died in 2004, after a career that reshaped cinema, he left behind more than 200 hours of personal audio tape that contained his musings about life. Filmmaker Stevan Riley and Showtime built a documentary around them, Listen to Me Marlon, which premieres Jan. 24 at the Sundance Film Festival. Brando's voice is the only one featured in the entire two-hour film. Deadline posted a clip, and there's something soothing about it, even without the lush setting of Tetiaroa, »
- Jeff Labrecque
Festival resurges as launch pad for awards contenders while sales agents are prepared for healthy market
Those up in arms over Hollywood’s limited roles for women and minorities should be excited for the diversity of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, which kicks off Thursday with no shortage of films that address the broad range of human experience, while renewing the festival as a key launch platform for awards season hopefuls.
- Jeff Sneider
Barkers rev up your engines. The Freak Show is over, and the incessant quote canonizing can begin. As another season of American Horror Story closed on Wednesday, the freak fetishist became the freak. (If that meant we got to see Finn Wittrock in his skivvies, then so be it.) But Dandy Mott's downfall was just the beginning of the curiosities delivered by Elsa Mars and her band of outsiders. Picking up short after Dandy (Wittrock) began his tyrannical rule of the side show, the anthology show's season finale was a veritable a parade of zingers and bon mots worthy of creator Ryan Murphy, »
- Lanford Beard, @lanfordbeard
Exclusive: Documentary filmmaker Stevan Riley (Blue Blood, Fire In Babylon) got the chance of a lifetime when he was granted access to more than 200 hours of audio tapes Marlon Brando made during the course of his life, a personal archive of never-before-heard musings, acting studies, self-hypnosis and insights the enigmatic Oscar winner had hoped to turn into an autobiographical film before his death in 2004.
With the blessing of Brando’s estate and help from Searching For Sugar Man’s John Battsek (who produced alongside George Chignell and R.J. Cutler), Riley put Brando’s own intimate thoughts on Brando to film in Listen To Me Marlon, which premieres Saturday in competition at Sundance in the World Cinema Documentary program.
- Jen Yamato
While political and eco-themed documentaries are once again prevalent at Sundance, portrait docus dominate this year’s nonfiction lineup.
Kurt Cobain, Barry Crimmins, Marlon Brando, Tig Notaro, Robert “Evel” Knievel, Warren Jeffs and Nina Simone are among the many famous and infamous figures being explored by Sundance veteran directors including Bobcat Goldthwait, Amy Berg, Liz Garbus and Brett Morgen.
Like last year’s Sundance hit “Life Itself” (one of 15 docs on the Oscar shortlist) this year’s crop of profile-driven pics veer away from the standard chronological bio
doc and delve into lives using impressionistic techniques.
In assembling HBO’s “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck,” director Morgen used new and previously unseen archival footage — including Cobain’s Super-8 movies, his spoken word poetry and autobiography, his sculptures, his photography and his sound design pieces — to reveal a more “humanistic portrait” of Cobain.
The overarching goal of the doc, Morgen told Variety in November, »
- Addie Morfoot
Gold hardware on the cover means only one thing: It’s that time of year again. In our annual Oscar double issue, Entertainment Weekly plunges into all the prize-fighting and politics with 40 pages of coverage on one of the richest races in years. Inside you’ll find profiles on all the competitors in the major categories—from 19-time nominee Meryl Streep for Into the Woods to the nine first-time entrants, including Birdman’s Michael Keaton. His movie tied The Grand Budapest Hotel with a pack-leading nine nominations, but in our snapshot of how the Best Picture race looks—right now—we see them both, »
- EW staff
The Best Actor chart is revised for your perusal with our usual game of 'how'd they get nominated' -- especially relevant in this stacked category (sniffle goodbye Timothy Jake Fiennes-Oyelowo) -- and the readers poll of who you think is actually best.
So check that out and vote, would you?
Though I've already expressed my disappointment in the Acdemy's shortlist given the wide variety of strong performances they didn't love enough, one thing that is satisfying about it is how many first timers we have. Indeed, had they not nominated Bradley Cooper and chosen, say, Oyelowo or Spall we could have had an all virgin Best Actor lineup.
Trivia Break: there's been a lot of talk about Cooper's 3 consecutive nominations (2012-2014 for Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle and American Sniper). If you're curious, no, it's not an acting record. The all time consecutive record holders for men are Marlon Brando »
- NATHANIEL R
Arthur Penn’s notorious, arguably ‘revisionist’ Western The Missouri Breaks makes it to Blu-ray courtesy of Kino Lorber, with packaging that keeps the film’s initial infamous discrepancies alive and well with star Marlon Brando’s name retaining top billing. Though it would be Brando’s last sizeable role, the film’s main protagonist is really Jack Nicholson as a matter-of-fact horse thief who runs up against a prosperous man who holds himself above the law by failing to recognize that the rest of the country’s outlying frontiers have them.
The term revisionist is problematic in reference to Penn’s film, though it attempts to make us sympathize with a villain positioned against a civilized businessman who’s nearly as irredeemable. Two wrongs don’t make a right, so if anything, Penn’s adaptation of Thomas McGuane’s script is anarchist at best. Plagued with a troubled production thanks »
- Nicholas Bell
Showtime is heading to Park City, Utah armed with two hot-button documentaries about very different iconoclasts — Marlon Brando and Warren Jeffs.
The two films, “Listen to Me Marlon” and “Prophet’s Prey,” will debut in the World Cinema Documentary Competition at this year’s Sundance Film Festival before airing on the premium cable channel and, possibly, in theaters.
“Sundance is a great launching pad and it’s particularly good for documentaries,” said David Nevins, president of entertainment at Showtime Networks. “I want these documentaries to get seeded out in the world and for journalists and tastemakers to see them and build buzz before they go on the air.”
The premium cable channel has big ambitions for the films and believes that the Brando film, in particular, could attract Oscars and awards attention.
“Documentaries do incredibly well with our audience and they get real ratings and have cultural currency more than »
- Brent Lang
Will “American Sniper’s” gargantuan box office make it a surprise favorite at the Oscars? The Clint Eastwood drama about Navy Seal Chris Kyle is peaking just days before voters are about to receive their ballots on Feb. 6. Over the long weekend, the Warner Bros. release made an estimated $105.3 million — already more than any of the other best picture nominees.
The Academy is often stubbornly immune to popular sentiment; “Avatar,” after all, lost to “The Hurt Locker” in 2010. And for that reason, I still think “Boyhood” is going to win best picture. It’s the frontrunner that’s picked up nearly every precursor award, and “Sniper” missed out on a crucial directing nomination for Eastwood. Only four films in Academy history (including 2012’s “Argo”) won picture without a director nomination.
- Ramin Setoodeh
Did you know that Meryl Streep landed her record 19th Academy Award nomination for Into the Woods when the contenders were announced? That’s just one of the many facts and pieces of trivia you need to know about this year’s pool of nominees vying for Oscar gold.
Oscars: The Complete List of 2015 Nominees
Let's break it all down:
2. Bradley Cooper earned his third consecutive nomination for American Sniper. He was previously nominated for Best Supporting Actor for American Hustle (2014) and Best Actor for Silver Linings Playbook (2013). He’s now one nomination away from tying Marlon Brando for the most consecutive acting noms.
3. Speaking of Cooper, he’s actually nominated twice. He’s one of the producers of American Sniper, which was nominated »
Nine actors. Eighteen Best Actor Oscars. Let's rank these legendarily thespians much in the way we took a hard look yesterday at the 13 women who scooped up two Best Actress wins. The contenders: Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, Gary Cooper, Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman, Tom Hanks, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Sean Penn. Damn. Put on your spurs, Will Kane, because this is a battle of men's men. »
- Louis Virtel
Angelina Jolie added a dose of star power to the 40th annual Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. awards, which honored achievements in independent and world cinema.
Jolie, whose appearance had been whispered about but not announced in advance, was on hand Saturday night at the InterContinental Hotel in Century City to present career achievement honors to acting legend Gena Rowlands. The pair co-starred in 1998’s “Playing by Heart” and 2004’s “Taking Lives.”
Jolie followed an effusive and heartfelt speech from Lafca member Chuck Wilson, who proclaimed Rowlands the equivalent of Marlon Brando for her impact onscreen acting. Wilson then called on Jolie to introduce Rowlands, and the actress and “Unbroken” director delivered some very personal remarks, noting that she had studied Rowlands’ work when she was starting out in the biz.
She also nodded to Rowlands’ famed collaborations with her late husband, filmmaker and actor John Cassavetes, observing, “Every artist »
- Geoff Berkshire
Guardians of the Galaxy was a success thanks to the inventive vision of director James Gunn, as well as the vocal performance of Vin Diesel, who managed to bring his character of Groot to life despite having only one line to repeat. With the film now out on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD, both Gunn and Diesel participated in a Q&A to discuss the movie.
Q: How was it working with a script where your only line is “I am Groot”?
Diesel: I was lucky that I had a director [James Gunn] who was willing to indulge me. I told him: ‘We know that Groot is really saying any number of things when he says that line and most people are oblivious to the nuances of his speech because of his »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Victor Medina)
It’s fair to say acting is a profession that can see a huge contrast in personalities. Some actors are genuinely nice people who realise they are in a privileged position, while others like to keep a low-profile and just get on with their job. On the flip side, however, there are those who are incredibly hard work, using their power and reputation to belittle others and make everyone else on set uneasy. There are a fair few of these egotistical multi-millionaires to choose from.
This list looks at the 10 most difficult actors who are working today – Marlon Brando would walk into the top three were he still alive – and the various examples of their unpredictable behaviour. Some have taken method acting to a new level, some are perfectionists who don’t suffer fools gladly, while others are just downright nasty pieces of work. The likes of Jennifer Lopez, »
- Henry Jackson
#20. The Exorcist (1973)
Lost to: The Sting
Crammed in between two Best Picture wins for Francis Ford Coppola’s “Godfather” films was an interesting little year that rewarded another pairing of Robert Redford and Paul Newman (trivia: “The Sting’s” Julia Phillips is the first time female producer to ever win Best Picture). The other big landmark – the first time a purely horror film was nominated for Best Picture. “The Exorcist” was nominated for ten Oscars, winning for Sound and Adapted Screenplay. The horrifying story of a young girl possessed was, rumor has it, cursed as they tried to complete the film. This film about the struggle between faith and sin is possibly the most important horror film of all time.
#19. Avatar (2009)
Lost to: The Hurt Locker
The year after “The Dark Knight” and “Wall-e” missed out on Best Picture nominations, the Academy decided to change the rules and allow ten nominees. »
- Joshua Gaul
30. Apollo 13 (1995)
Lost to: Braveheart
In 1995, director Ron Howard brought a true life story of hope in the face of peril and started sweeping up awards. He won the Directors Guild Award. He won the Producers Guild Award. He won the Screen Actors Guild Ensemble Award. He lost the Golden Globe Drama to “Sense and Sensibility,” though he was nominated. Nothing could beat “Apollo 13.” Oscar night came and the Academy decided to hand the award to Mel Gibson’s historical epic about William Wallace, whose only precursor award was a surprise directing win at the Golden Globes. I’m not saying “Apollo 13″ is a greater film than “Braveheart.” It’s just proof that even the mighty may fall if a charismatic actor/director is at the helm.
29. L.A. Confidential (1997)
Lost to: Titanic
- Joshua Gaul
20 items from 2015
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