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1-20 of 732 items from 2011   « Prev | Next »


Scientists Solve The Mystery Of The Birds

29 December 2011 5:31 PM, PST | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Scientists are confident they've solved a 50-year-old mystery that inspired director Alfred Hitchcock's movie The Birds.

Following years of research into birds attacking humans and losing their bearings mid-flight, the boffins have ruled the creatures ate a form of toxin-making algae that causes amnesia and disorientation.

The 1963 film about the now-explained phenomenon was based on a 1961 event in the Monterey Bay area of northern California, where a flock of disoriented seabirds crashed into homes.

The scientists' findings also help to explain the mysterious deaths of four people on Canada's Prince Edward Island in the late 1980s and countless examples of stranded sea creatures over the years.

Oceanographic researcher Sibel Bargu of Louisiana State University insists she was the perfect person to get involved with the study.

She tells ABC News, "I have a special connection to this movie (The Birds). When I was a kid, they showed it on TV and my parents didn't let me watch it. While they were watching in the family room, I was outside, trying to see the movie from the keyhole. What I saw was so scary.

"When I started work on harmful algae blooms and their toxins and then learned of this superexciting connection, I felt I had to work on this." »

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'The Birds' Mystery Solved: Was Poison to Blame?

28 December 2011 2:50 AM, PST | Moviefone | See recent Moviefone news »

Filed under: Movie News

Back in January -- when it seemed like you couldn't get through one day without reading about a rash of bizarre bird deaths -- you would have been forgiven for adding 'The Birds' to your Netflix queue in the hopes of finding out ways to survive the coming birdpocalypse. The 1963 Alfred Hitchcock film remains one of the scariest cautionary tales of all time, if only because of its mystery: Hitch based the film, in part, on a 1961 incident in Monterey Bay, California, where seabirds rammed themselves into houses. Fifty years later, it seems that the impetus behind the bizarre occurrence has been discovered.

Continue Reading »

- Christopher Rosen

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Leo McCarey on TCM: Going My Way, Duck Soup, Love Affair

25 December 2011 6:33 PM, PST | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Bing Crosby, Gene Lockhart, Barry Fitzgerald, Going My Way Leo McCarey is Turner Classic Movies' Director of the Evening this Christmas. Considering that McCarey was an ardent Catholic, TCM has made a quite appropriate choice. Unfortunately, McCarey's anti-Red My Son John — despite the fact that the Bible plays a prominent role in that film — hasn't been included on the TCM film roster. Instead, TCM watchers will have the chance to check out Going My Way, Make Way for Tomorrow, Duck Soup, The Milky Way, Love Affair, and Once Upon a Honeymoon. The year Billy Wilder's film noir classic Double Indemnity was nominated for Best Picture — and Alfred Hitchcock's Lifeboat, Vincente Minnelli's Meet Me in St. Louis, and Otto Preminger's Laura weren't — McCarey's sappy, feel-good Going My Way was chosen as the Best Picture of 1944 by enough members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. »

- Andre Soares

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Bored Over Christmas? Here's Every Feature The Playlist Ran In 2011

24 December 2011 7:00 AM, PST | The Playlist | See recent The Playlist news »

The bulk of our time might be spent dealing with news on what's coming up, or reviews on what's just about to arrive, but we're not all about the future here at The Playlist. Once a week or so, we try to take an in-depth look at films gone by. Sometimes it's the work of an actor or a director, living or dead, retired or in the peak of their powers. Sometimes it's a particular genre. Sometimes it's whatever takes our fancy. Barring Alfred Hitchcock rising from his grave and announcing he'll direct "Green Lantern 2," things are going to be fairly quiet round here for the next few days, it being Christmas and all. But while you're off celebrating the crucifixion of Santa, or whatever this whole holiday is about, we're not abandoning you; as our gift to you, you'll find below a collection of every feature we ran in 2011 (excepting preview pieces, »

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Blu-ray Release: To Catch a Thief

23 December 2011 8:58 AM, PST | Disc Dish | See recent Disc Dish news »

Blu-ray Release Date: March 6, 2012

Price: Blu-ray $15.00

Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment

The Blu-ray debut of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1955 Oscar-winning film To Catch a Thief, starring Cary Grant (An Affair To Remember) and Grace Kelly (Rear Window), boasts 90 minutes of bonus materials, but none of it is new.

But who needs new special features, when we can have this classic in high-definition?

In the romance movie, Grant plays John Robie, a retired cat burglar living the high-life on the Riviera. When a series of copy cat crimes are committed and fingers start pointing his way, he must uncover the real thief to prove his own innocence. Things get complicated when Robie falls for Frances Stevens (Kelly), an heiress whose mother (Jessie Royce Landis, North By Northwest) was a victim of the copy cat thief.

To Catch a Thief won its Academy Award for Robert Burks’ cinematography, but the mystery film also was »

- Sam

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Daily Briefing. Cinema Scope 49

23 December 2011 5:46 AM, PST | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

The "Hammer Horror" on the cover of the new 49th issue of Cinema Scope refers to Kill List, "which strikes me as the key horror movie of the new century so far," writes Adam Nayman, introducing his interview with director Ben Wheatley. Before moving on to the rest of the issue, let me note that Marcus Hearn has a relatively new book out about the original Hammer, The Hammer Vault: Treasures From the Archive of Hammer Films and Kimberly Lindbergs talks with him about it for Movie Morlocks. It's one of her favorite film-related books of the year and, at the Playlist, Drew Taylor gives it an "A."

But back to Cinema Scope. Olivier Père talks with William Friedkin about Killer Joe and, in something of a coup, Jp Sniadecki scores an interview with Ai Weiwei: "He is not officially allowed to give interviews, nor to produce any films, »

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Film News: ‘Hitchcock For the Holidays’ to Screen Double Features at Music Box

22 December 2011 5:20 AM, PST | HollywoodChicago.com | See recent HollywoodChicago.com news »

Chicago – The unmistakable silhouette of the Master of Suspense will be cast over the Music Box Theatre during the final days of the holiday season. Ten of Alfred Hitchcock’s most beloved masterworks will be presented on the big screen in inspired double bills that illustrate the startling range and enduring brilliance of the legendary filmmaker.

Even if moviegoers have seen these titles eight dozen times on DVD, they will be amazed at how fresh the films play when screened in a packed theater. No filmmaker knew how to delight and frighten an audience better than Hitchcock. When Robert Osborne held a free screening of “North by Northwest” at the Music Box last year, it felt as if the picture had been made yesterday.

Every punchline scored a belly laugh, every moment of delicious tension caused viewers to lean forward in anticipation, and when the film ended, the packed house broke out into extended, »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Don Sharp obituary

22 December 2011 2:31 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Director of eerily atmospheric Hammer horror films including The Kiss of the Vampire

In 1962, Don Sharp was a minor ex-actor, hack writer and jobbing director of British B-films, when he was offered the chance to make a gothic horror movie for Hammer, "the studio that dripped blood". In the event, The Kiss of the Vampire (1963) rescued both Sharp, who has died aged 90, and Hammer from the doldrums.

The studio, which had suffered several expensive flops, turned to Sharp due to his experience in low-budget film-making. Sharp, who claimed to have never watched a horror movie, let alone directed one, quickly steeped himself in the Hammer style by spending a week or so watching past successes, principally those directed by Terence Fisher and Freddie Francis. The Kiss of the Vampire, made with a smaller budget and an unstarry cast, recruited mostly from television, scored at the box office, and Sharp became associated with horror movies thereafter. »

- Ronald Bergan

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Top 7 Films in Real Time

21 December 2011 2:32 PM, PST | The Scorecard Review | See recent Scorecard Review news »

We start the Top 7. You finish the Top 10.

Real time – in which the plot of the film covers the same amount of time as it takes to watch – can be a blessing or a curse. When a film calls attention to it, real time can become a gimmicky distraction. On the other hand, it can add a real sense of urgency if the film just allows the events to unfold before us. There are a number of different ways filmmakers use it. For example, the action may be primarily set in one location. Other ways it is used involve hostage situations, characters waiting for something, or simply following characters around from place to place. It can be a tricky thing to pull off perfectly. So I’m deciding that as long as the film makes a real attempt, and the majority of the action takes place in real time, it is fair game. »

- Shane T. Nier

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Orson Welles' 'Citizen Kane' Oscar Auctioned Off; Rosebud Remains Elusive

21 December 2011 10:30 AM, PST | NextMovie | See recent NextMovie news »

If you can believe it, possibly the most praised-to-the-rafters movie in all of history, "Citizen Kane," did not win Best Picture at the 1942 Academy Awards. Nor did it win Best Actor or Best Director for 25-year-old wunderkind Orson Welles.

"What a Crime," you shout, but there was some heavy competish that night, including Alfred Hitchcock's "Suspicion," John Huston's "The Maltese Falcon," and big winner "How Green Was My Valley," John Ford's Welsh family saga par excellence. The only trophy "Kane" took home that night was for Best Original Screenplay, which Welles shared with Herman J. Mankiewicz (nicknamed Mank), and neither of them were there to accept it.

Nearly 70-years later, Welles could have grabbed Rosebud and sledded down the hill with a sack full of cash because according to Entertainment Weekly his Oscar statuette just sold at auction for a staggering $861,000 dollars yesterday. How green was my valley indeed. »

- Max Evry

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Hitchcock's thriller To Catch a Thief comes to Blu-ray in March

21 December 2011 9:02 AM, PST | Monsters and Critics | See recent Monsters and Critics news »

Film icon Alfred Hitchcock.s thriller To Catch a Thief arrives on Blu-ray on March 6th and it is coming loaded with more than 90 minutes of bonus material - including a discussion with Hitchcock.s descendants, a look at how censorship shaped the film, expert commentary and more. A delightful classic filled with star power, witty dialogue, breathtaking scenery and plenty of plot twists, To Catch a Thief received three Academy Award nominations and won the Oscar for Best Cinematography, Color. Starring Cary Grant as John Robie, a reformed cat burglar, and Grace Kelly as an heiress with whom he becomes romantically entangled, the film takes place on the opulent French Riviera as Robie tries to uncover the identity »

- Patrick Luce

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Virgin Media says sorry for 'over-zealous' TV guide swearing filter

20 December 2011 8:23 PM, PST | Digital Spy | See recent Digital Spy - Movie News news »

Virgin Media has apologised after a swearing filter on its electronic programme guide (Epg) censored a number of innocuous words and phrases. Users noticed over the weekend that words such as 'Arsenal' and 'canal' had fallen foul of new software designed to censor profanities. Programmes affected by the glitch included panel show Never Mind the Buzzcocks, BBC Four documentary The Golden Age of Canals and Will Smith's superhero movie Hancock, which was shown on Channel 5 on Sunday (December 18). The names of film director Alfred Hitchcock, Pulp (more) »

- By Kate Goodacre

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Howard McGillin Joins Rebecca

20 December 2011 7:04 PM, PST | Scott Feinberg | See recent Scott Feinberg news »

By Samuel Negin

Broadway.com has reported that two-time Tony-nominee Howard McGillin will be joining the cast of the upcoming musical Rebecca taking over the role of Frank Crawley from John Dossett. He will be joining previously announced cast members Sierra Boggess and James Barbour. The musical is based on the Daphne DuMaurier novel and the 1940 Alfred Hitchcock film of the same name, and tells “the story of Maxim de Winter, his new wife (“I”) and Mrs. Danvers, the controlling and manipulative housekeeper of Maxim’s West Country estate of Manderley, where the memory of his first wife, the glamorous and mysterious Rebecca, still casts a shadow.”

Click to read more…

»

- Scott Feinberg

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Don Sharp, 1922 - 2011

20 December 2011 8:23 AM, PST | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

"In 1962," begins Ronald Bergan in the Guardian, "Don Sharp was a minor ex-actor, hack writer and jobbing director of British B-films, when he was offered the chance to make a gothic horror movie for Hammer, 'the studio that dripped blood.' In the event, The Kiss of the Vampire (1963) rescued both Sharp, who has died aged 89, and Hammer from the doldrums. The studio, which had suffered several expensive flops, turned to Sharp due to his experience in low-budget filmmaking. Sharp, who claimed to have never watched a horror movie, let alone directed one, quickly steeped himself in the Hammer style by spending a week or so watching past successes, principally those directed by Terence Fisher and Freddie Francis. The Kiss of the Vampire, made with a smaller budget and an unstarry cast, recruited mostly from television, scored at the box office, and Sharp became associated with horror movies thereafter."

The Kiss of the Vampire »

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Don Sharp obituary

20 December 2011 7:13 AM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Director of eerily atmospheric Hammer horror films including The Kiss of the Vampire

In 1962, Don Sharp was a minor ex-actor, hack writer and jobbing director of British B-films, when he was offered the chance to make a gothic horror movie for Hammer, "the studio that dripped blood". In the event, The Kiss of the Vampire (1963) rescued both Sharp, who has died aged 89, and Hammer from the doldrums.

The studio, which had suffered several expensive flops, turned to Sharp due to his experience in low-budget film-making. Sharp, who claimed to have never watched a horror movie, let alone directed one, quickly steeped himself in the Hammer style by spending a week or so watching past successes, principally those directed by Terence Fisher and Freddie Francis. The Kiss of the Vampire, made with a smaller budget and an unstarry cast, recruited mostly from television, scored at the box office, and Sharp became associated with horror movies thereafter. »

- Ronald Bergan

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Movie Review - Rage (2010)

19 December 2011 4:22 PM, PST | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

Rage, 2010.

Directed by Christopher R. Witherspoon.

Starring Rick Crawford, Audrey Walker and Christopher R. Witherspoon.

Synopsis:

A college professor provokes the wrath of a mysterious biker, leading to a day-long battle of cat-and-mouse which escalates into a violent rampage.

It’s rare that a low-budget independent feature grips you from start to finish, but American filmmaker Christopher R. Witherspoon has managed to pull it off with Rage – a fantastic little thriller that mixes good old fashioned suspense with some brutal, graphic action. Heavily inspired by Steven Spielberg’s 1971 feature debut, the classic TV movie Duel – with some John Carpenter and Alfred Hitchcock thrown in for good measure – Rage grabs your attention from its opening credits to deliver a tense, unnerving ride that rarely lets go.

After kissing goodbye to his wife Crystal (Audrey Walker), college professor and failed novelist Dennis Twist (Rick Crawford) heads into the city to clean up some personal business, »

- flickeringmyth

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Blu-ray Review: Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Lady Vanishes’ Gets Criterion Upgrade

19 December 2011 9:27 AM, PST | HollywoodChicago.com | See recent HollywoodChicago.com news »

Chicago – Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Lady Vanishes” isn’t one of his most heralded films. You don’t hear it mentioned on most lists of the best works of arguably the most influential director who ever lived. And yet it was the third film chosen for The Criterion Collection and has now been given the upgrade and joined the esteemed Blu-ray ranks of the most important collection in the history of home entertainment. If you’re unfamiliar with this witty, delightful gem of a thriller, there’s no other way to experience it for the first time. And if you’re a fan of Hitchcock’s more famous films, do yourself a favor by checking out one of his earliest.

Blu-Ray Rating: 5.0/5.0

The Lady Vanishes” had actually been in production with a different director when Alfred Hitchcock came on board mostly to satisfy his British contract before heading to the States. »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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The importance of title sequences in the movies

19 December 2011 7:51 AM, PST | Den of Geek | See recent Den of Geek news »

As The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo reminds us, a powerful title sequence can have a huge impact. Here’s Ryan’s celebration of a resurgent art form…

David Fincher’s version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo opens with a booming, teacup-rattling title sequence, in which hideous forms – some technological, others biological – ooze in and out of black oil and fire. Cut to the howls and thunderous riff of Trent Reznor and Karen O’s cover of The Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin, it’s an aggressive statement of intent, as though Fincher’s violently stamping his authority on a property that was only adapted for the screen two years ago.

Fincher’s no stranger to opening his films with a dazzling display of sound and imagery. Images of pain and suffering are compiled by nimble, evil fingers to the music of Nine Inch Nails at the beginning of Seven. »

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Director Don Sharp Dies: Worked with Deborah Kerr, Christopher Lee, Lee Remick, Vanessa Redgrave

18 December 2011 10:38 PM, PST | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

According to various online sources, Tasmanian-born director Don Sharp has died. He was 89.

A former small-time actor (The Planter's Wife, The Cruel Sea), Sharp (born April 19, 1922, in Hobart) is best remembered for several low-budget thrillers he directed in the 1960s, such as Hammer's The Kiss of the Vampire (1963), the sci-fier Curse of the Fly (1965), and the The Brides of Fu Manchu (1966), starring Christopher Lee as the East Asian fiend.

Sharp's other notable efforts include The Death Wheelers / Psychomania (1973), about a youth gang terrorizing a small town; the Ira drama Hennessy (1975), with A-listers Rod Steiger and Lee Remick; The Thirty Nine Steps, an underrated remake of Alfred Hitchcock's 1935 classic starring Robert Powell in Robert Donat's old man-on-the-run role; and the slow-moving adventure drama Bear Island, featuring Vanessa Redgrave and Donald Sutherland.

Sharp also worked on British television, directing several episodes from The Avengers. Other notable television efforts were a »

- Andre Soares

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From the archive, 18 December 1938: Please bring vitamins for Shirley Temple

18 December 2011 6:04 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Originally published in the Observer on 18 December 1938

I am writing this letter now, so that the readers of the Observer can light their fires with it on Monday morning, and you will have six days after it has gone up the chimney to study my wants and decide what you are going to do about them. I know you will be very busy this Christmas, but in case you have time to think about the cinema, here are one or two suggestions for useful gifts.

Give back a film industry to England, just a little one. We have been very stupid, shortsighted and wasteful here, but most of us are sorry now. There are thousands of people out of work in the studios this Christmas, many of them with little prospect of getting back again. Be kind to them, please.

Whisper in the ear of politicians and City men, and »

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