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The holiday season is upon us, which in recent years has meant the inevitable meme within conservative media circles about the “War on Christmas” — intended to denote hostility toward those in the Christian faith who distinguish the Christ part of the holiday from the retail.
Yet this evergreen story runs on a parallel track with another — that Jews, mostly liberal, “run Hollywood,” wielding outsized influence over popular entertainment. And while the two conversations seldom directly intersect, it’s not hard for one thesis to bleed into the other, since movie studios, TV networks and news divisions are controlled by the same massive corporate entities.
What’s generally missing is any sober-minded acknowledgement regarding the perceived cultural divide between Christians and the so-called mainstream media. Instead, the debate is frequently conducted via flare-ups — some tinged with anti-Semitism — notably emanating from ideologically opposed political quadrants.
Rapper Kanye West, for example, recently said »
- Brian Lowry
On Wednesday night, he rocked the stage with his band Thirty Seconds to Mars. By Thursday morning, Jared Leto was now a Golden Globe nominee as well as a rock star. "I'm so happy!" Leto, 41, told People of being honored for his portrayal of an HIV-positive, transgender drug addict in Dallas Buyers Club. "I haven't made a film in almost six years and to return to this kind of enthusiastic support is absolutely insane." Leto, who spoke from his tour bus as it made its way to St. Louis for another concert, was also nominated for a SAG Award Wednesday. »
- Paul Chi
Marlon Brando in ‘A Dry White Season,’ James Earl Jones in ‘Cry the Beloved Country’: Apartheid movies (photo: Marlon Brando in ‘A Dry White Season’) (See previous post: “Nelson Mandela: Sidney Poitier and ‘Malcolm X’ Cameo Apperance.”) Besides the Nelson Mandela movies discussed in the previous two posts, South Africa’s apartheid has been portrayed in a number of films in the last few decades. Among the most notable ones are the following: Zoltan Korda’s Cry the Beloved Country (1951). Based on Alan Paton’s novel, this British-made film features Canada Lee and Charles Carson as two men struggling to deal with the disastrous consequences of apartheid. Ralph Nelson’s The Wilby Conspiracy (1975). Sidney Poitier and Michael Caine star as, respectively, an anti-apartheid South African activist and a British engineer on the run from South Africa’s secret police, headed by racist Nicol Williamson. Chris Menges’ A World Apart »
- Andre Soares
What’s new, what’s hot, and what you may have missed, now available to stream on Netflix, Lovefilm, blinkbox, BBC iPlayer, Curzon on Demand.
cool moustaches to wrap up Movember
The Godfather: epic saga about Marlon Brando and his moustache ruling the criminal underworld [my review] [at Netflix] O Brother, Where Art Thou?: George Clooney and his moustache on a bona fide quest for Dapper Dan hair pomade [my review] [at Netflix] Nacho Libre: Jack Black and his moustache do Mexican wrestling and save an orphanage [my review] [at Netflix] Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl: Johnny Depp and his moustache sail the high seas in search of adventure [my review] [at Netflix] There Will Be Blood: Daniel Day-Lewis and his moustache corner the early oil markets [my review] [at Netflix]
new to stream
- MaryAnn Johanson
Speaking to several hundred DreamWorks employees on Tuesday, President Obama touted the entertainment industry as a “bright spot” in the American economy, but also said showbiz had a responsibility on such issues as gun violence.
“We have got to make sure we are not glorifying it,” he said in his remarks. He cited Vice President Joseph Biden’s meeting in January with representatives from the industry in the wake of the Newtown gun massacre.
“Those conversations need to continue,” he said from the courtyard of the DreamWorks campus in Glendale. “The stories we tell matter. And you tell stories more powerfully than anybody else on the Earth.”
In the crowd listening to the speech, in perfect Southern California weather, were a handful of studio chiefs, including Warner Bros. Kevin Tsujihara and Universal’s Ron Meyer. Each attended a closed-door meeting with the president beforehand. Mellody Hobson, chairwoman of DreamWorks Animation »
- Ted Johnson
Fighting, dying, hoping, hating … great sports films are about far more than sport itself. Here Guardian and Observer critics pick their 10 best
• Top 10 superhero movies
• Top 10 westerns
• Top 10 documentaries
• Top 10 movie adaptations
• Top 10 animated movies
• Top 10 silent movies
• More Guardian and Observer critics' top 10s
Lindsay Anderson brought to bear on his adaptation of David Storey's first novel, all the poetic-realist instincts he had been honing for the previous decade as a documentarian in the Humphrey Jennings mould. (Anderson had won the 1953 best doc Oscar for Thursday's Children.) Filmed partly in Halifax and Leeds, but mainly in and around Wakefield Trinity Rugby League Club, one of its incidental attractions is its record of a northern, working-class sports culture that would change out of all recognition over the next couple of decades.
The story of Frank Machin, a miner who becomes a star on the rugby field, »
She won Oscars for her Scarlett O'Hara and Blanche DuBois, yet Vivien Leigh – born 100 years ago this month – was always subject to Hollywood's impossible demands on its female stars
Every great Hollywood star is both an actor and the embodiment of a myth. Film transforms them, turning their selves, their presence, their talents, into an individual archetypal narrative, one seen both in their movies but also in the public knowledge of their private lives: wounded Monroe; malleable Audrey Hepburn; James Stewart, the irascible, increasingly neurotic all-American guy. Vivien Leigh is one of Britain's few genuine women "movie stars"; her myth is memorable and dark, her life a rise and fall story, centred on the consequences of what was then called her "manic depression" – around her vulnerability, her promiscuity, her ageing. Her films themselves similarly want to tell us stories about suffering and resilience, about surviving and about being punished for doing so. »
- Michael Newton
The John Landis-directed mini-movie – first shown publicly 30 years ago this week – influenced a generation of directors including Spike Jonze, turned music promos into an industry, and established MTV as a cultural force
John Landis was in London in 1983 when Michael Jackson called to ask if he was interested in making a video for Thriller, the title track of the album he'd released a little under a year before. Seemingly unaware of the time difference, Jackson had called at 2am UK time and the sleepy director had to feign knowledge of the song, which he hadn't heard. Jackson, for his part, hadn't seen Landis's films Animal House, The Blues Brothers or Trading Places; he wanted Landis because of An American Werewolf in London. Landis said he would do the video if it could be a short film, and Jackson embraced the idea. The 13-minute film that resulted changed the music video for ever, »
• John F Kennedy assassination: 50 years of conspiracy in film and fiction
Just about the only interesting things about the new Hollywood movie Parkland is its demonstration of how far Hollywood has shifted to the right over the last couple of decades.
John F Kennedy was quite a conservative president. He opposed the March on Washington and did little to promote the cause of civil rights, whereas Hollywood celebrities as diverse as Marlon Brando, Charlton Heston, and Steve McQueen joined the march and heard Martin Luther King discuss his dream. Nevertheless Kennedy's murder sent shockwaves through the liberal Los Angeles community. The humourist Mort Sahl remarked that »
- Alex Cox
If you were to go back to the early 1980s, and describe to somebody exactly the sort of role you’d like to see Robert De Niro playing 30 years down the line and later on in life, you’d probably opt for a graceful, retired mob boss of the Marlon Brando ilk. Though on paper that’s exactly the role we’re seeing him undertake in Luc Besson’s The Family, sadly it’s not quite the calibre of movie we may have envisaged, in what is a distinctly underwhelming comedy thriller, particularly when considering the talent involved.
De Niro plays Giovanni Manzoni – the head of a notorious mafia clan, but more importantly, the head of a exacting household consisting of his wife Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer) and kids Belle (Dianna Agron) and Warren (John D’Leo), who have had to move home once again as part of a witness protection programme, »
- Stefan Pape
Curated by Tiff Cinematheque Senior Programmer James Quandt and running from November 15 - December 8, this delectable tribute features 15 films that trace Davis' four-decade evolution from glamour girl to grande dame to Gothic gargoyle.
Featuring a new digital restoration of the cult classic "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" (1962), as well as a host of other Davis favourites including the film that shot her to stardom, "Of Human Bondage" (1934), "Dangerous" (1935), which garnered Davis her first Best Actress Oscar win for her turn as a self-destructive, tempestuous Broadway actress, and the endlessly quotable "All About Eve" (1950), an Academy darling, that received a total of six Oscars that year.
Also included in the retrospective are Davis' trilogy of films from her frequent collaborator and favourite director, »
- Chris Jancelewicz
This story first appeared in the Nov. 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. When entertainment lawyer Allen Grubman and wife Deborah purchased the late Sue Mengers' Beverly Hills pad in 2011, little did they know that the Hollywood Regency-style house would be portrayed on Broadway. Photos: Exclusive Portraits of Leslie Moonves' Lavish Home Theater Then the couple discovered that Bette Midler, already a Grubman client, would be headlining as the uber-agent in Broadway's I'll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers, set in the living room where its caftan-wearing hostess entertained actors from Marlon Brando
- Merle Ginsberg & Gary Baum
On Sunday evening, the most happening event in the film industry was at Anupam Kher’s acting school in Juhu, Actor Prepares. Esteemed Hindi film actor Kher hosted a memorable evening with the screen legend, Robert De Niro, one which we hear the guests will never recover from! De Niro and his daughter Drena had flown in from Goa in a chartered aircraft to specially meet Kher, before flying off for New York. Kher, who had befriended the Hollywood star during the shooting of their Silver Linings Playbook in 2011, had offered to be their host, an offer which De Niro accepted.
The classy wine and cheese soiree was attended by Anil Kapoor, Ranbir Kapoor, Rakeysh Mehra, Satish Kaushik, Ayan Mukherjee, Rohit Dhawan, Varun Dhawan, Ali Zafar, Aditya Roy Kapur, Raju Kher, Dia Mirza, Sikandar, among others. The highpoint of the evening was the interaction between the guests and De Niro »
- Stacey Yount
Written by Paul Attanasio
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
During the mid-2000s, between his exercise in low-budget filmmaking and new modes of exhibition with Bubble, and his big-budget ensemble Ocean’s Thirteen, Steven Soderbergh made a mid-budget return to 1940s style with The Good German.
Announcing the unambiguous Casablanca reference with a mimicking poster, Soderbergh’s black-and-white film is full of classic Hollywood soft-lighting and sinister wartime figures.
The Good German fits squarely alongside two previous Soderbergh efforts in its near-revisionist status: Underneath and Solaris, which are both bold takes on classic source material. Underneath reworks Robert Siodmak’s Criss Cross into a color-gelled suburban world. Solaris is a re-adaptation of Stanislaw Lem’s 1961 novel, moving the film closer to a relationship drama than Andrei Tarkovsky’s famous 1972 adaptation was.
These two films point toward Soderbergh’s willingness to take on and reimagine classic tropes. Though »
- Neal Dhand
William Devane Respects The Text
Few actors ruled the big and small screen with such vigor during the 1970s as William Devane. Using his classically handsome Irish features to embody parts best described as “Ivy League menace,” Devane hasn’t stopped working since making his film debut in 1967. McCabe & Mrs. Miller, The Missiles of October, Marathon Man, Family Plot, Rolling Thunder, Yanks and Testament are just a few of the classic titles to which Devane brought his unique brand of charisma. The ‘80s saw him dominating the airwaves on the primetime soap Knots Landing as the nefarious Gregory Sumner, with dozens more memorable turns to follow.
Devane lends his gravitas to the new indie thriller We Gotta Get Out of This Place, a nifty neo-noir about a group of Texas teens (Mackenzie Davis, Logan Huffman, Jeremy Allen White) from a dead-end town who find themselves over their »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
Katerina Stojanovska, who was interviewed for Kanal 5 TV, said that the late actor saw her photo and thought she would be perfect for the role, Metro.co.uk reported.
When asked if she had ever met the actors, she said that she hasn't met any of them but she regularly speaks to Monroe on Facebook everyday and they have been discussing the details about the film. (Ani) »
- Rahul Kapoor
The act of casting high profile stars in comic book roles is not a new practice. Going as far back as casting Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor, Marlon Brando as Jor-el, Michael Keaton as Batman, and Jack Nicholson as The Joker, filmmakers have always looked to the big talents to make a maximum impact in superhero movies.
Given its success, then, in recent times it’s become commonplace for actors to attach themselves to projects within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Directors have augmented the validity of their films with actors and actresses who are not only movie stars, but those who can seriously act. It creates a buzz for the movie, of course, getting fans and critic wondering how a certain actor will take on an established character.
So take a look at the following list of huge stars who have yet to be cast in any McU roles, all of which – I believe, »
- Shau Booker
According to Alec Baldwin, the movie business is like "the worst girlfriend in the world, you keep going back only to get seduced and abandoned over and over again". It may be tough to imagine a Hollywood sex symbol being treated that way, but this documentary on the business of bankrolling movies is full of self-effacing humour and stark observations, including the notion that Baldwin is considered a mere television actor - not quite big enough to put bums on theatre seats.
His job on this film is as producer, teaming with writer/director James Toback (The Pick-Up Artist) on a cap-in-hand mission to the Cannes Film Festival, schmoozing at premieres and dining on yachts, garrulously pitching an updated version of Last Tango in Paris - set in Iraq. »
If you’ve ever seen a videotaped interview with Tennessee Williams, you have heard him snicker. Like a gay bayou warlord. It’s a menacing, gothic chuckle. You remember it.
You can hear that chuckle resonating throughout A Streetcar Named Desire. In his most famous work, Williams seems to be reveling in the movie’s tense shifts between mannered melodrama and hormonal anarchy. The movie adaptation is half-drenched in shadows, half-drenched in sweat, and as we celebrate Vivien Leigh‘s 100th birthday this week, we should remember Streetcar for the assets that remain dewy and ripe today: two gigantic performances thrusting together from two opposing, but similarly cruel worlds.
Here are five reasons A Streetcar Named Desire may be the Best. Movie. Ever.
1. Marlon Brando is Unnnfffff.
In case you need a refresher on the movie’s plot, here’s as quick a synopsis at it gets: Mississippian Blanche DuBois »
- Louis Virtel
Vivien Leigh: Legendary ‘Gone with the Wind’ and ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ star would have turned 100 today Vivien Leigh was perhaps the greatest film star that hardly ever was. What I mean is that following her starring role in the 1939 Civil War blockbuster Gone with the Wind, Leigh was featured in a mere eight* movies over the course of the next 25 years. The theater world’s gain — she was kept busy on the London stage — was the film world’s loss. But even if Leigh had starred in only two movies — Gone with the Wind and A Streetcar Named Desire — that would have been enough to make her a screen legend; one who would have turned 100 years old today, November 5, 2013. (Photo: Vivien Leigh ca. 1940.) Vivien Leigh (born Vivian Mary Hartley to British parents in Darjeeling, India) began her film career in the mid-’30s, playing bit roles in British »
- Andre Soares
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