18 items from 2015
The title invokes tragedies already over and done: "From Mayerling to Sarajevo," a range of time spanning from the suicide of Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria in Mayerling, a death that eventually made Archduke Franz Ferdinand the next heir to the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, to the assassination of the Archduke in the Bosnian capital, precipitating the First World War.The title invokes a range of cities spanning countries. The director of From Mayerling to Sarajevo, a 1940 picture revived in a new print by The Film Desk and opening at New York’s Film Forum on March 27, is Max Ophüls, himself a roving vagabond auteur, born in Germany and making films not only there but in the Netherlands, Italy, Hollywood, and France, where this film was made on the precipice of the Second World War and the beginning of a new kind of German-speaking empire.The films of Max Ophüls survive beautiful and aphoristic, »
- Daniel Kasman
In Focus, Will Smith's first film since 2013, the superstar plays Nicky, a long-time conman who is planning his last big score, but ends up reuniting with a con woman who he trained years before.
The film, which performed mildly at the box office in its debut this weekend, joins the ranks of Hollywood's long love affair with the art of the con.
In celebration of this newest entry in the grifter genre, here are nine of the best conman movies ever made.
(Note: This list doesn't include movies about heists that happen to involve conmen -- i.e. Ocean's Eleven or The Heist -- just films that celebrate the age of tradition of swindling.)
9. Matchstick Men (2003): Nicholas Cage and Sam Rockwell play con artists who are planning one of the biggest scams of their careers. Things get complicated when Cage's teenage daughter shows up and »
The Oscars sum up Hollywood quite tidily: The most popular people get together to find out who has been selected as being especially notable, and then everyone claps. If you're the type who likes attention - and let's face it, most who excel in Hollywood do - getting that moment onstage is a dream come true. Every now and then, however, an Oscar winner isn't present to receive his or her statuette. It's Hollywood heresy - the thought that someone would have somewhere more important to be than onstage, receiving applause. But it happens, and when it does, there's usually a good story behind it. »
- Drew Mackie, @drewgmackie
Eric Kohn and I did this week's pre-Oscar podcast in a Toyota Prius, as I was driving to the Indiewire dinner--while we're all in town for the awards weekend. (In the podcast we talk about 63-year-old Michael Keaton being older at age 63 than John Wayne when he won the Best Actor Oscar at age 62 for "True Grit." It turns out that Henry Fonda holds the record for oldest Best Actor Oscar winner; he was 76 when he won for "On Golden Pond," and died several months later.) Enjoy our debate of the last open Oscar categories. »
- Anne Thompson
The 87th Academy Awards are this Sunday evening, and we're counting down the minutes!
We've already given you our Oscar predictions, and now we're bringing you a few of the best (and craziest) Academy Awards facts. From the first Best Actor winner to the "one dollar" Oscar rule, here are 25 things you (probably) don't know about the Oscars.
1. The youngest Oscar winner was Tatum O'Neal, who won Best Supporting Actress for "Paper Moon" (1973) when she was only 10 years old. Shirley Temple won the short-lived Juvenile Award at 6 years old.
3. After winning Best Actress for "Cabaret" (1972), Liza Minnelli became (and still is) the only Oscar winner whose parents both earned Oscars. Her mother, Judy Garland, received an honorary award in 1939 and her father, Vincente Minnelli, »
- Jonny Black
By Anjelica Oswald
The stars may align in Hollywood this year in a way we’ve only seen once in the past 77 years.
Since the Oscars went to four acting categories in 1937, only once have all four of the acting winners been 46 or older.
The frontrunners — who now look locked in for Oscar wins — for three of the acting categories are supporting actress nominee Patricia Arquette, 46; supporting actor nominee J.K. Simmons, 60, and lead actress nominee Julianne Moore, 54. If all three of the aforementioned nominees win and if Birdman’s Michael Keaton, 63, beats Redmayne for lead actor, all four winners will be 46 or older.
The last time all four acting winners were older than 46 was 1982.
That year, Maureen Stapleton was the youngest acting winner »
- Anjelica Oswald
Pioneering woman director Lois Weber socially conscious drama 'Shoes' among Library of Congress' Packard Theater movies (photo: Mary MacLaren in 'Shoes') In February 2015, National Film Registry titles will be showcased at the Library of Congress' Packard Campus Theater – aka the Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation – in Culpeper, Virginia. These range from pioneering woman director Lois Weber's socially conscious 1916 drama Shoes to Robert Zemeckis' 1985 blockbuster Back to the Future. Another Packard Theater highlight next month is Sam Peckinpah's ultra-violent Western The Wild Bunch (1969), starring William Holden and Ernest Borgnine. Also, Howard Hawks' "anti-High Noon" Western Rio Bravo (1959), toplining John Wayne and Dean Martin. And George Cukor's costly remake of A Star Is Born (1954), featuring Academy Award nominees Judy Garland and James Mason in the old Janet Gaynor and Fredric March roles. There's more: Jeff Bridges delivers a colorful performance in »
- Andre Soares
In The Front Row, Richard Brody writes on Amos Vogel (pictured above), and the ever-influential (yet contrastive) strands of cinephilia born in Paris and New York:
"Vogel’s dream of American independent filmmaking offering a significant artistic counterweight to Hollywood films has been fulfilled: independent films are now better, more original, more forward-looking than ever. The French cinephile stream exemplified by the New Wave filmmakers has won the hearts and minds of these independent filmmakers, and inspires them to this day. But the American cinephilia launched by Vogel, with its emphasis on ideological scrutiny, holds sway over many critics and viewers, perhaps more firmly than ever. That’s why the gap that Vogel lamented—the one dividing the best of independent filmmaking from the critical community and the audience—is also larger than ever."
The Coen brothers will serve as the co-presidents of the jury for the 68th Cannes Film Festival this May. »
With Oscar movies still to catch up with, and a massive slate of Sundance titles that will set the tempo for the New Year, you might feel there's just too many movies on the horizon to keep track of. So how about a little visit to the past instead? "On Golden Pond" is headed to Blu-ray for the first time, and we've got copies to give away to some lucky readers. Starring Hollywood legends Katharine Hepburn, Henry Fonda, and Jane Fonda (this would be the only movie father and daughter would ever appear in together), the story follows Norman Thayer, a prickly retired professor who visits his summer home with his loving wife, Ethel. Soon after they are joined by their daughter, Chelsea, her fiancé Bill, and his son, Billy. The cantankerous Norman develops an unlikely bond with young Billy, providing the framework for an emotional summer in which the »
- Edward Davis
Anita Ekberg has died in Rome after a series of illnesses, aged 83. The Swedish actress, model and sex symbol is best known for bathing in the Trevi fountain - one of Rome's most popular landmarks - in 'La Dolce Vita', Federico Fellini's film about a restless reporter who drifts through life in the Italian capital city. Ekberg, who was born in Malmo, Sweden, in 1931, had been in a wheelchair for several years after she was knocked down by one of her pet Great Danes, which led to a broken hip. Ekberg was named Miss Sweden at the age of 20, after which she traveled to the Us to compete in the Miss Universe contest. Although she failed to win the high-profile event, Ekberg - who spoke very little English at the time - was signed to a contract by Universal Pictures. She was cast in the role of »
Update, Sunday 4:10 Pm: Adds anecdote about Back From Eternity, below: The blond beauty who added a smoldering Swedish sensuality to the pantheon of European 1950s and ’60s screen sirens that included Gina Lollobrigida and Brigitte Bardot, died Sunday in Rocca di Papa, near Rome, according to reports confirmed by Deadline. She was 83.
She had lived in Italy for decades since a starring role, opposite Marcello Mastroianni in Federico Fellini’s groundbreaking 1960 La Dolce Vita, made her an international sex symbol. In the film she she played Sylvia, a Swedish-American movie star who arrives in Rome and captures the attention of Mastroianni’s night-crawling paparazzo, who takes her on a moonlit tour of the city. In one of the episodic film’s most famous scenes, Sylvia — poured into a strapless, form-fitting black gown — wades into the Trevi Fountain, beckoning her suitor to follow.
Later she pointedly, and frequently, remarked that »
- Jeremy Gerard
With the Golden Globes set to get underway a little later tonight, the movie world has become a little less glamorous as iconic screen actress Anita Ekberg has passed away at the age of 83. There is no cinema lover who doesn't know Ekberg from her most famous role, playing "the most wonderful woman created since the beginning of time" in Frederico Fellini's "La Dolce Vita." She landed the role after capturing Hollywood's attention as the Swedish beauty who arrived in the United States to compete in the 1951 Miss Universe contest. She didn't win, but she was nonetheless signed to a contract with Universal Studios. She appeared in a string of films — including King Vidor's "War and Peace" with Henry Fonda and Audrey Hepburn, "Back from Eternity," "Interpol," and others. But it was "La Dolce Vita" that would be her defining role, and the one that launched her to international stardom. »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Anita Ekberg, a former Miss Sweden who will be forever linked to Rome for her iconic role in director Federico Fellini's 1960 cinematic landmark La Dolce Vita, died Sunday morning in Italy after a long illness, reports The New York Times. She was 83. Ekberg reportedly had been incapacitated for several years since she broke a hip after being knocked over by one of her pet Great Danes, reports the BBC. Her final film had been 1996's Bambola, which was described as a French-Spanish-Italian erotic melodrama. In the Fellini classic, which starred Marcello Mastroianni in what was essentially one long hedonistic romp through the Eternal City, »
- Stephen M. Silverman
Anita Ekberg, a former Miss Sweden who will be forever linked to Rome for her iconic role in director Federico Fellini's 1960 cinematic landmark La Dolce Vita, died Sunday morning in Italy after a long illness, reports The New York Times. She was 83. Ekberg reportedly had been incapacitated for several years since she broke a hip after being knocked over by one of her pet Great Danes, reports the BBC. Her final film had been 1996's Bambola, which was described as a French-Spanish-Italian erotic In the Fellini classic, which starred Marcello Mastroianni in what was essentially one long hedonistic romp through the Eternal City, »
- Stephen M. Silverman
The Writers Guild of America East has selected Norman Lear as the recipient of its Evelyn F. Burkey Award, which recognizes those who have brought “honor and dignity” to writers.
The trophy will be presented by Bill Moyers at the 67th annual Writers Guild Awards in New York City on Feb. 14 at the Edison Ballroom.
Lear has been a WGA member since 1951. He began his career writing sketches for Jack Haley, Martin and Lewis, and Martha Raye, and created his first television series, “The Deputy,” a Western starring Henry Fonda, in 1959.
Lear’s iconic “All in the Family” debuted in 1971 and won four Emmy Awards for best comedy series, received a Peabody Award and was nominated for 11 WGA awards. Lear followed “All in the Family” with “Maude,” “The Jeffersons,” “Sanford and Son,” “Good Times,” “One Day at a Time” and “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.”
He was nominated for an Oscar »
- Dave McNary
How would you program this year's newest, most interesting films into double features with movies of the past you saw in 2014?
Looking back over the year at what films moved and impressed us, it is clear that watching old films is a crucial part of making new films meaningful. Thus, the annual tradition of our end of year poll, which calls upon our writers to pick both a new and an old film: they were challenged to choose a new film they saw in 2014—in theatres or at a festival—and creatively pair it with an old film they also saw in 2014 to create a unique double feature.
All the contributors were given the option to write some text explaining their 2014 fantasy double feature. What's more, each writer was given the option to list more pairings, with or without explanation, as further imaginative film programming we'd be lucky to catch »
40. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Lost to: Silence of the Lambs 1991 was the first time an animated film ever grabbed a nomination for Best Picture with Disney’s version of “Beauty and the Beast.” The film also picked up nominations for sound, Original Score (for which it won) and three – count ‘em Three – for Best Original Song, the Oscar going to the title song. The film never really had a chance of winning (though this was one rare year where the Academy went exceedingly dark with their winner), but its inclusion was the first step toward a wider range of films getting a chance and the creation of the eventual Best Animated Film category.
39. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Lost to: How Green Was My Valley
1941 would one day become one of the most notorious Oscar upsets, but not because of this film, however brilliant it is (the other film is much higher »
- Joshua Gaul
It’s December. And you know what that means? It means for every popcorn blockbuster, we get about three Oscar bait movies that are made solely to appease that body of somewhat stodgy Academy voters. Don’t get me wrong – a good portion of the Best Picture winners in history are still some of the greatest films ever made – “The Godfather” (Parts I and II), “Schindler’s List,” etc. But what about those historically good movies that got the nomination, but didn’t take home the prize? What about those popular movies that carried fan support, but lost out to a smaller, most of the time better, film? Well, here they are. This list focuses on those films that may or may not have been produced as Oscar bait, but earned the recognition of “Best Picture nominee,” only to walk away without the big prize. As usual, not in order of worst to best. »
- Joshua Gaul
18 items from 2015
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