12 items from 2015
You wouldn't know it from the film's lack of marketing, but a new movie called Black or White debuted in theaters today. Despite the presence of stars Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer, I've never seen a trailer or TV spot for the movie, which BoxOfficeMojo says is in over 1,000 theaters right now. (Apparently the film played at last year's Toronto International Film Festival and didn't receive very favorable reviews.) I don't ever plan on watching this film, but that doesn't mean that I can't come up with a tangentially-related article about it. Black or White got me thinking: what other movies share a title with a Michael Jackson song?
As far as ground rules go, there's really only one major one: the title of the movie and the song have to match exactly - if a word is possessive, I'm not making an exception. Exact matches or Gtfo. I'll embed »
- Ben Pearson
Remember when Adam Sandler was funny? Think hard; I know it was a long time ago. Ok, so he was never a comedic genius at the level of the Marx Brothers or George Burns, but at least you could get a chuckle or two out of his films. Now he’s just become the Razzies’ favorite actor, and it appears that that trend is not going to shift any time soon. After inking a four-picture deal with Netflix last fall, Sandler has finally announced what his first Netflix film will be: a western spoof called Ridiculous 6.
Ridiculous 6 will tell the story of an orphaned boy (Sandler) raised by an Indian tribe, along with four half-brothers played by Taylor Lautner, Rob Schneider, Luke Wilson, and Terry Crews. Nick Nolte is on hand as Sandler’s long-lost father, with Jon Lovitz as a wealthy industrialist and Whitney Cummings as his wife. Steve Buscemi, »
- Lauren Humphries-Brooks
Everyone knows Woody Allen. At least, everyone thinks they know Woody Allen. His plumage is easily identifiable: horn-rimmed glasses, baggy suit, wispy hair, kvetching demeanor, ironic sense of humor, acute fear of death. As is his habitat: New York City, though recently he has flown as far afield as London, Barcelona, and Paris. His likes are well known: Bergman, Dostoevsky, New Orleans jazz. So too his dislikes: spiders, cars, nature, Wagner records, the entire city of Los Angeles. Whether or not these traits represent the true Allen, who’s to say? It is impossible to tell, with Allen, where cinema ends and life begins, an obfuscation he readily encourages. In the late nineteen-seventies, disillusioned with the comedic success he’d found making such films as Sleeper (1973), Love and Death (1975), and Annie Hall (1977), he turned for darker territory with Stardust Memories (1980), a film in which, none too surprisingly, he plays a »
- Graham Daseler
★★★★★ Within its opening premise, the concept of a utopian Freedonia, the Marx Brothers' glorious Duck Soup (1933) is already flinging mud in the eye of Western democracy. Bankrupt, the aforementioned country's lofty name is skewered when it is hauled back into the black by its richest citizen, Mrs. Teasdale. She insists on replacing the ousted premiere with a bold new leader of her choosing. The power of money may be absolute, but it's the enduring power of absurdist humour that is evident in her selection - Groucho Marx' wise-cracking Rufus T. Firefly. Leo McCarey's film throws meaningful narrative out of the window, presenting a masterclass in political satire and gut-busting slapstick.
- CineVue UK
It was curious yesterday when The Lego Movie,” one of the best reviewed animated movies of 2014, couldn’t make the final cut in the Best Animated Film category at the Oscars. Just as curious yesterday, the film’s co-director Phil Lord called his own film “a classic.” To be fair to Lord, he’s not the first director to laud his own film. Case in point? Federico Fellini. The folks over at Open Culture have shared Fellini’s top 10 list from Sight And Sound and as expected, it’s very idiosyncratic. First of all, the list isn’t confined to only 10 selections —Fellini left the list open for as few as 12 movies to as many as 131. How? He had three Charlie Chaplin films tied for the top spot (“The Circus,” “City Lights” and “Monsieur Verdoux”) and declined to list a title for the next spot, opting instead to write “Any »
- Cain Rodriguez
Duck Soup, 1933.
Directed by Leo McCarey.
Freedonia and Sylvania are forced into war due to the insults of Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx) and the spies of Sylvania (Chico and Harpo Marx).
When told about the Marx brothers, I often think of Groucho. Until I watched Duck Soup, I didn’t know what his shtick even was. Were they silent comics, akin to Chaplin and Keaton? Did they transcend the talkie-divide like Laurel and Hardy? Were they lightning-fast talkers, in the same vein as Woody Allen or Henry Youngman? It turns out that the family of the Marx Brothers – Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo – are a bit of everything. Each sibling either prefiguring or directly influenced-by a specific comic of the past. Chico, the smart-talking but not-so-clever one. Harpo, the physical silent one. »
- Simon Columb
The Marx brothers' 1933 satire returns to the big screen this week as part of a season at the BFI in London. In the imaginary country of Freedonia, Rufus T Firefly (Groucho) is appointed the new leader in hopes he will help save it from bankruptcy. Political high office never looked so absurd, says Peter Bradshaw. Duck Soup is on limited release from Friday Continue reading »
- Peter Bradshaw and Paul Frankl
Introducing The Best of the Marx Brothers, a season opening today at BFI Southbank in London and running through the end of the month, Nick Bradshaw notes that "they were the ideal jesters for an era when the wheels had come off the economy, the world was in uproar and politics was turning weird. Sound familiar? Their power has never really ebbed—the Situationists tipped their hat in ‘68 Paris (‘Je suis Marxiste – tendence Groucho’), Duck Soup saved Woody Allen from suicide in Hannah and Her Sisters, and Jean-Luc Godard seems to have modeled his elder-statesman screen persona on Groucho." We're collecting more appreciations. » - David Hudson »
Chicago – One of the specialities of HollywoodChicago.com is the film and personality interview. The majority of these chats came through me, Patrick McDonald, and I couldn’t narrow it down to a top 10 or even a top 20. For 2014, there were 25 top interviews, and it is a diverse range of voices.
It is a privilege to get the opportunity to participate in the promotional tours, awards ceremonies, film festivals, book appearances, phoners and other lucky happenstances that feature the notable among us. To whittle down the list, I mostly thought about what was said in these interviews, whether inspirational or provocative – plus the status of the participants, whether they are up-and-coming or established.
The interview highlights are broken down by “Background and Behind-the-Scenes” and the “Memorable Quote” associated with each subject, and are often accompanied with exclusive photography by Joe Arce of HollywoodChicago.com. Four notables who just missed the »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
A pun is a word that doesn’t mean what it says, or rather, means what it says but also means something else. It is a signpost bearing the same destination, but pointing in two directions.
The longest pun-free period in Duck Soup is at the beginning, after the unsettling opening shot of ducks paddling in a cauldron over a hot fire. We are in the majestic council chamber of the government of Freedonia. A meeting is in session. Zander, the president, is asking the wealthy Mrs Gloria Teasdale, widow of the late Chester V Teasdale, for a further $20m, so that he can announce an immediate reduction in taxes. Mrs Teasdale, played by the redoubtable Margaret Dumont, complains »
- Craig Brown
When Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski came across the bizarre story of Walter and Margaret Keane, they thought they’d found a seamless vehicle on which to make their directorial debut. It was cheap, and had all the requisite characteristics of their best known scripts, Ed Wood, Man On The Moon and People Vs. Larry Flynt; charming oddball characters that never rose above the zeitgeist B-list. Tim Burton, who directed Ed Wood and Big Eyes, puts it best: “It’s what they excel at, their strongest work is finding weird real stories, torn from headlines you never read.” So why should their 11-year struggle to get Big Eyes made be anything but quirky and colorful?
Deadline: Where did you find this delightfully nutty tale of a man who stole credit for massively popular paintings art critics loved to slam, with his wife allowing herself to be shuttered in a studio, »
- Mike Fleming Jr
Written by Doran William Cannon
Directed by Otto Preminger
Of the nearly 70 films I’ve written about in this column, I would whole-heartedly recommend each without reservation, to not only watch, but to spend good money on. With 1968′s Skidoo, out now on a new Olive Films Blu-ray, I’m breaking that tradition. I wouldn’t suggest anyone purchase this film, though everyone should see it. This is a most unusual, absolutely indefinable, wholly unique motion picture.
I initially viewed Skidoo on the sole basis of its starring Alexandra Hay, who I’ve been smitten with since first seeing her in Jacques Demy’s Model Shop, released the following year. On this point, Skidoo succeeds. Hay is a delightful beauty, charming in a way that is very much of the era. Admittedly unfamiliar with her biography, I can’t imagine why she didn’t have more of a career. »
- Jeremy Carr
12 items from 2015
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