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It's fitting that Clint Eastwood and John Wayne both have the same birthday week. (Wayne, who died in 1979, was born May 26, 1907, while Eastwood turns 85 on May 31). After all, these two all-American actors' careers span the history of that most American of movie genres, the western.
Both iconic actors were top box office draws for decades, both seldom stretched from their familiar personas, and both played macho, conservative cowboy heroes who let their firearms do most of the talking. Each represented one of two very different strains of western, the traditional and the revisionist.
As a birthday present to Hollywood's biggest heroes of the Wild West, here are the top 57 westerns you need to see.
57. 'Meek's Cutoff' (2010)
Indie filmmaker Kelly Reichardt and her frequent leading lady, Michelle Williams, are the talents behind this sparse, docudrama about an 1845 wagon train whose Oregon Trail journey goes horribly awry. It's an intense »
- Gary Susman
By Alex Simon
There are few rituals in life more chaotic, confounding and magical than the wedding. Appropriately, marriages have provided the backdrop for many a story spun through the ages. Whether it’s sending out multitudes of wedding invitations, choosing the right dress, or whether to seat Aunt Mabel next to her second or fifth ex-husband at the reception, weddings both in life and on film are almost always guaranteed to bring forth a surge of emotions. Below are a few of our favorite cinematic nuptials:
1. The Searchers (1956)
John Ford’s western masterpiece is full of many iconic moments, not the least of which is one of the screen’s greatest knock-down, drag-out fights between Jeffrey Hunter and Ken Curtis for the hand of comely Vera Miles. Martin Scorsese loved this scene so much, he paid homage by having his characters watch it in Mean Streets (1973).
- The Hollywood Interview.com
Constance Cummings: Actress in minor Hollywood movies became major British stage star Constance Cummings: Actress went from Harold Lloyd and Frank Capra to Noël Coward and Eugene O'Neill Born on May 15, 1910, actress Constance Cummings, whose career spanned about six decades on stage, in films, and on television in both the U.S. and the U.K., would have turned 105 this year. Unlike other Broadway imports such as Ann Harding, Katharine Hepburn, and Claudette Colbert, the pretty, elegant Cummings – who could have been turned into a less edgy Constance Bennett had she landed at Rko or Paramount instead of Columbia – never became a Hollywood star. In fact, her most acclaimed work, whether in films or – more frequently – on stage, was almost invariably found in British productions. That's most likely why the name Constance Cummings – despite the DVD availability of several of her best-received stage performances – is all but forgotten. »
- Andre Soares
'JFK' movie with Kevin Costner as Jim Garrison 'JFK' assassination movie: Gripping political drama gives added meaning to 'Rewriting History' If it's an Oliver Stone film, it must be bombastic, sentimental, clunky, and controversial. With the exception of "clunky," JFK is all of the above. It is also riveting, earnest, dishonest, moving, irritating, paranoid, and, more frequently than one might expect, outright brilliant. In sum, Oliver Stone's 1991 political thriller about a determined district attorney's investigation of the assassination of U.S. president John F. Kennedy is a slick piece of propaganda that mostly works both dramatically and cinematically. If only some of the facts hadn't gotten trampled on the way to film illustriousness. With the exception of John Williams' overemphatic score – Oliver Stone films need anything but overemphasis – JFK's technical and artistic details are put in place to extraordinary effect. Joe Hutshing and Pietro Scalia's editing »
- Andre Soares
'Sideways' movie, with Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church 'Sideways' movie review: California winery tour follows conventional road to male maturity With the 1999 Matthew Broderick-Reese Witherspoon vehicle Election, Alexander Payne displayed a flair for satirical comedy the likes of which would have turned Billy Wilder greener (with envy) than the Sideways poster found further below in this commentary. With the 2002 Jack Nicholson star vehicle About Schmidt, Payne demonstrated that his comedic flair could go the way of Wilder's in fluff like Sabrina and Love in the Afternoon: artificial, cutesy, bland.* In Sideways, Payne opted for the safer About Schmidt route – which may explain the film's enormous popularity with critics and audiences alike. For my part, I found his adaptation (with Jim Taylor) of Rex Pickett's novel to be an overlong, moralistic, and thoroughly unconvincing effort. (Warning: This Sideways movie review contains spoilers. »
- Andre Soares
Justin Timberlake on the Oscars' Red Carpet Justin Timberlake at the Academy Awards The Social Network actor Justin Timberlake arrives at the 83rd Academy Awards, which took place on Sunday, Feb. 27, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. At the ceremony, Timberlake and Black Swan actress Mila Kunis introduced the nominees – and eventual winners – in the animation categories. Throughout the proceedings, he pretended to be the elusive Banksy, whose Exit Through the Gift Shop was a Best Documentary Feature contender. The joke fell mostly flat, but Timberlake actually elicited some laughs when he imitated three-time Oscar-nominated veteran Kirk Douglas*, who mercilessly stretched the Best Supporting Actress announcement into what seemed like hours. Admittedly, Douglas was funny. (The winner in that particular category turned out to be Melissa Leo for David O. Russell's The Fighter.) As announced by the Justin Timberlake-Mila Kunis duo, the Best Animated Short Film was Shaun Tan »
- D. Zhea
Is this heaven? Nope, it’s Opening Week.
It all started Sunday night with the Cardinals at the Cubs with St. Louis winning 3 to 0.
To celebrate the first pitch of Opening Week, here’s our list of the best Baseball movies.
One of the best baseball biopics to come along over the years, The Rookie, starring Dennis Quaid, tells the true story of Jim Morris, a man who finally gets a shot at his lifelong dream-pitching in the big leagues. A high school science teacher/baseball coach, Morris’ players make a bet with him:if they win district, »
- Movie Geeks
Kristen Stewart, 'Camp X-Ray' star, to join cast of 'Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk' Kristen Stewart to join 'Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk' movie After putting away her Bella Swan wig and red (formerly brown) contact lenses, Kristen Stewart has been making a number of interesting career choices. Here are three examples: Stewart was a U.S. soldier who befriends an inmate (Peyman Moaadi) at the American Gulag, Guantanamo, in Peter Sattler's little-seen (at least in theaters) Camp X-Ray. She was one of Best Actress Oscar winner Julianne Moore's daughters in Wash Westmoreland and the recently deceased Richard Glatzer's Alzheimer's drama Still Alice. She was the personal assistant to troubled, aging actress Juliette Binoche in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of Sils Maria, which earned her a history-making Best Supporting Actress César. (Stewart became the first American actress to take home the French Academy Award. »
- Andre Soares
Teresa Wright: Later years (See preceding post: "Teresa Wright: From Marlon Brando to Matt Damon.") Teresa Wright and Robert Anderson were divorced in 1978. They would remain friends in the ensuing years. Wright spent most of the last decade of her life in Connecticut, making only sporadic public appearances. In 1998, she could be seen with her grandson, film producer Jonah Smith, at New York's Yankee Stadium, where she threw the ceremonial first pitch. Wright also became involved in the Greater New York chapter of the Als Association. (The Pride of the Yankees subject, Lou Gehrig, died of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in 1941.) The week she turned 82 in October 2000, Wright attended the 20th anniversary celebration of Somewhere in Time, where she posed for pictures with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. In March 2003, she was a guest at the 75th Academy Awards, in the segment showcasing Oscar-winning actors of the past. Two years later, »
- Andre Soares
Teresa Wright-Samuel Goldwyn association comes to a nasty end (See preceding post: "Teresa Wright in 'Shadow of a Doubt': Alfred Hitchcock Heroine in His Favorite Film.") Whether or not because she was aware that Enchantment wasn't going to be the hit she needed – or perhaps some other disagreement with Samuel Goldwyn or personal issue with husband Niven Busch – Teresa Wright, claiming illness, refused to go to New York City to promote the film. (Top image: Teresa Wright in a publicity shot for The Men.) Goldwyn had previously announced that Wright, whose contract still had another four and half years to run, was to star in a film version of J.D. Salinger's 1948 short story "Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut." Instead, he unceremoniously – and quite publicly – fired her. The Goldwyn organization issued a statement, explaining that besides refusing the assignment to travel to New York to help generate pre-opening publicity for Enchantment, »
- Andre Soares
Anyone hoping that Gotham showrunner Bruno Heller would introduce several potential Lucius Fox actors over a period of several years and never reveal who the true Lucius was, your absurd hopes have sadly been tarnished – Chris Chalk will definitely portray the iconic Batman character.
It’s the first Gotham casting nugget we’ve reported in quite a while, seeing as the debut season is nearly complete in the States. With only four episodes left to go, we’ve been told to expect Lucius to appear in episode 21 (the penultimate instalment). Presumably, he will show up when Bruce gets even further involved with investigating Wayne Enterprises.
Indeed, this is where Lucius will be based, as the character description we’ve seen (“Wayne Enterprises resident tech genius [who] emerges as a moral beacon for young Bruce”) veers very »
Teresa Wright in 'Shadow of a Doubt': Alfred Hitchcock heroine (image: Joseph Cotten about to strangle Teresa Wright in 'Shadow of a Doubt') (See preceding article: "Teresa Wright Movies: Actress Made Oscar History.") After scoring with The Little Foxes, Mrs. Miniver, and The Pride of the Yankees, Teresa Wright was loaned to Universal – once initial choices Joan Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland became unavailable – to play the small-town heroine in Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt. (Check out video below: Teresa Wright reminiscing about the making of Shadow of a Doubt.) Co-written by Thornton Wilder, whose Our Town had provided Wright with her first chance on Broadway and who had suggested her to Hitchcock; Meet Me in St. Louis and Junior Miss author Sally Benson; and Hitchcock's wife, Alma Reville, Shadow of a Doubt was based on "Uncle Charlie," a story outline by Gordon McDonell – itself based on actual events. »
- Andre Soares
Fox's Gotham is bringing in yet another DC Comics character towards the end of Season 1, with actor Chris Chalk signing on to play Wayne Enterprises tech genius Lucius Fox. The character will debut in the second-to-last episode this season, Episode 21, who "becomes a moral beacon" for Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz). Like Bruce, Lucius wants to uphold Thomas Wayne's legacy, and in the comic books, Lucius eventually becomes the Wayne Enterpries CEO, after Bruce becomes Batman.
Morgan Freeman played Lucius Fox in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy. Throughout the first season of Gotham, it's been made quite clear that the Wayne Enterprises board members don't quite see eye-to-eye with young Bruce's philosophies. In last month's episode "Red Hood", Bruce and Alfred (Sean Pertwee) were paid a surprise visit by Alfred's old military buddy Reggie (David O'Hara), who we learned was actually acting as a spy for the Wayne Enterprises board members, »
Teresa Wright movies: Actress made Oscar history Teresa Wright, best remembered for her Oscar-winning performance in the World War II melodrama Mrs. Miniver and for her deceptively fragile, small-town heroine in Alfred Hitchcock's mystery-drama Shadow of a Doubt, died at age 86 ten years ago – on March 6, 2005. Throughout her nearly six-decade show business career, Wright was featured in nearly 30 films, dozens of television series and made-for-tv movies, and a whole array of stage productions. On the big screen, she played opposite some of the most important stars of the '40s and '50s. It's a long list, including Bette Davis, Greer Garson, Gary Cooper, Myrna Loy, Ray Milland, Fredric March, Jean Simmons, Marlon Brando, Dana Andrews, Lew Ayres, Cornel Wilde, Robert Mitchum, Spencer Tracy, Joseph Cotten, and David Niven. Also of note, Teresa Wright made Oscar history in the early '40s, when she was nominated for each of her first three movie roles. »
- Andre Soares
Pleasure as it’s been to watch Justified embrace the fact that the end airtime is nigh, there’s a certain comfort in seeing the show slip back into habits that defined its spring and fall seasons. There’s also a fair bit of discomfort that comes too, when the habit in question is Justified’s patented Mid-Season Rut™, which is known for flaring up annually around this time. “The Hunt,” while by no means a bad episode, is a reminder that Justified’s great when it comes to stockpiling explosives and watching the fireworks, but has always had some difficulty when it comes to lighting the fuse.
“The Collection,” “Foot Chase,” “Whistle Past the Graveyard”: all episodes of Justified that lay in the seasonal minefield that hours six through eight have come to represent. What do they all have in common?Well, none are particularly good episodes of the show. »
- Sam Woolf
“Hello Yank, welcome to a very merry little war. And now how about a wee drop for the King and Uncle Sam?”
The 1927 silent classic Wings will screen at 2pm on Sunday March 8th at the St. Louis Scottish Rite Cathedral Auditorium (3633 Lindell Blvd, St. Louis, Mo 63108) with live organ music by Dr. Marvin Faulwell.
In 1927, the first Best Picture Oscar went to Wings, a thrilling silent WW1 drama from director William S. Wellman. Wings told the story of poor boy Jack (Charles Rogers) and rich boy David (Richard Arlen) who are in love with the same woman, which causes the two to become bitter enemies. When WW1 breaks out the two are thrown together and quickly become friends, although David is too nice to let Jack know that the girl back home doesn’t love him. Clara Bow plays the girl who is madly in love with Jack but »
- Tom Stockman
Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett movies (See previous post: "The Charles Brackett Diaries: Billy Wilder and Hollywood in the '30s and '40s.") Below is a list of movies on which Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder worked together as screenwriters, including efforts for which they did not receive screen credit. The Wilder-Brackett screenwriting partnership lasted from 1938 to 1949. During that time, they shared two Academy Awards for their work on The Lost Weekend (1945) and, with D.M. Marshman Jr., Sunset Blvd. (1950). Billy Wilder would later join forces with screenwriter I.A.L. Diamond in movies such as Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, and One, Two, Three. However well-received, Wilder's later films generally lacked the sophistication and subtlety found in his earlier work with Brackett. Charles Brackett, for his part, became associated with 20th Century-Fox, working as a producer-screenwriter. His Fox films, though frequently popular and at times applauded by critics, were decidedly made-to-order, »
- Andre Soares
What could brighten a bleak winter day? Vintage seasonal pin-ups from Hollywood’s heyday, of course. Most publicity shots of this kind were tied to national holidays, but hard-working studio publicists knew that winter sports and activities offered plenty of opportunity for ballyhoo. Here are some choice examples spanning several decades. Esther Ralston was on location in Lake Tahoe for the Emil Jannings film Betrayal in 1929 when this pose was taken by a Paramount photographer. The film, which costarred Gary Cooper, was apparently a serious drama. That didn’t stop an enterprising publicist from taking advantage of the snowy locale to send out this shot ostensibly promoting the...
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- Leonard Maltin
Luis Buñuel movies on TCM tonight (photo: Catherine Deneuve in 'Belle de Jour') The city of Paris and iconoclastic writer-director Luis Buñuel are Turner Classic Movies' themes today and later this evening. TCM's focus on Luis Buñuel is particularly welcome, as he remains one of the most daring and most challenging filmmakers since the invention of film. Luis Buñuel is so remarkable, in fact, that you won't find any Hollywood hipster paying homage to him in his/her movies. Nor will you hear his name mentioned at the Academy Awards – no matter the Academy in question. And rest assured that most film critics working today have never even heard of him, let alone seen any of his movies. So, nowadays Luis Buñuel is un-hip, un-cool, and unfashionable. He's also unquestionably brilliant. These days everyone is worried about freedom of expression. The clash of civilizations. The West vs. The Other. »
- Andre Soares
Old-fashioned cowboys and lawmen still ride the range along the banks of the Rio Grande in “Western,” the third feature-length documentary by the brothers Turner and Bill Ross. Specialists at a kind of intimate, incisive community portraiture, the Rosses here fashion an elegiac tale of two cities — small cattle towns on opposite sides of the Texas-Mexico border — whose neighborly tranquility is threatened by the encroaching shadow of the Mexican drug cartels. (Were the title not already in use, the movie might have been named “A Most Violent Year.”) Like the brothers’ earlier work, the result is a low-key but sharply observed work that benefits from real local flavor and a gift for lyric image making. Commercial prospects are modest at best, but Sundance will hardly be the film’s last festival rodeo.
With a gentle hand, “Western” deposits us in the community of Eagle Pass, Texas, where gruff, mustachioed men »
- Scott Foundas
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