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At a loss for what to watch this week? From new DVDs and Blu-rays, to what's streaming on Netflix, we've got you covered.
New on DVD and Blu-ray
Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig are fantastic as estranged twins with a family history of depression. After a failed suicide attempt, Milo (Hader) goes to live with Maggie (Wiig) and her Golden Retriever-like husband, Lance (Luke Wilson). Although Maggie's life looks perfect from the outside, she's got just as many self-destructive secrets at Milo. Sweet and sad, this is definitely Wiig's best dramatic role to date.
Tina Fey and Jason Bateman lead an impressive ensemble cast in this dramedy about a family forced together for their father's funeral, and the seven days of mourning customary known as sitting shiva in the Jewish tradition. Jane Fonda, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Kathryn Hahn, Ben Schwartz, »
- Jenni Miller
By Anjelica Oswald
Bradley Cooper’s portrayal of Navy Seal Chris Kyle in Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper has been garnering Oscar buzz since the film premiered at AFI Fest. With The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy saying, “nothing the actor has done before suggests the dramatic assuredness he brings to his way of detailing Kyle’s self-control, confidence, coolness, genuine concern for his comrades-in-arms, compulsion to serve his country and ultimate realization that enough is enough, even of the thing he loves most, which is war,” Cooper may earn his third consecutive Oscar nomination this year. This would follow behind his best actor nomination last year for Silver Linings Playbook (2012) and this year’s nomination for his supporting role in American Hustle (2013).
- Anjelica Oswald
“I Think I Banged Lucille Ball” is the title of a recent “Two and a Half Men” episode featuring comedy legend Carl Reiner, so it seems entirely appropriate to stroll down the Memory Lane of “My First Time” with a guy who broke through on stage at the Biltmore in downtown L.A. 67 years ago and hasn’t slowed down since. Who knows what else he might remember?
V: You were in the touring company of “Call Me Mister,” which had been a big hit on Broadway. Did the Variety review help your career?
Cr: The review that really changed things was Claudia Cassidy at the Chicago Tribune. If she liked you, you were in like Flynn. She had seen the show on Broadway and hated it. She ripped the sh*t out of it. She said, “Don’t bother stopping in Chicago.” Then she saw the production I was in and she said, »
- Steven Gaydos
Less than four months after Lifetime issued a series order for The Omen TV series entitled Damien, Merlin star Bradley James has signed on to play the title character. Filmmaker Shekhar Kapur (Elizabeth) will make his TV directing debut by taking the helm for the pilot episode and serving as an executive producer. The show is slated to premiere sometime in 2015 on Lifetime.
We first reported on the project back in May, when former The Walking Dead showrunner Glen Mazzara signed on to write the pilot script and executive produce through his 44 Strong Productions company. The six-episode series will follow the adult life of Damien Thorn (Bradley James), the devilish child from the original 1976 film who has grown into an adult, seemingly unaware of the evil forces around him. Damien is forced to confront his past and come to terms with the fact that he is, in fact, the Antichrist, »
By Anjelica Oswald
Originally planned to screen as a 30-minute preview at AFI Fest, Ava DuVernay’s Selma, centered on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, premiered in its entirety and stirred up more Oscar buzz ahead of its Christmas Day release.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Stephen Farber says the film is “intelligently written, vividly shot, tightly edited and sharply acted,” and that it “represents a rare example of craftsmanship working to produce a deeply moving piece of history.” Meanwhile, Paul Webb’s screenplay and David Oyelowo’s portrayal of Dr. King have been praised. The Wrap’s James Rocchi says, “Oyelowo’s performance would be impressive enough if it merely recreated the icon we now revere as perfectly as he does through a variety of methods… But Oyelowo, and Webb’s screenplay, also give us a rich, rewarding portrait of King as a man, »
- Anjelica Oswald
When Sophia Loren is thrown a tribute like Nov. 12’s scheduled gala at AFI Fest, attendees can get an intoxicating glimpse of classic-era Euro cinema glamour, of which Loren remains one of the last living representatives. (At this year’s Cannes fest, the octogenarian knocked ’em dead in timeless style.)
Film fans recall a half-century’s worth of skillful performances in every genre. Looking both forward and back, AFI will screen a restored print of Oscar-nominated “Marriage Italian Style,” as well as a new version of Jean Cocteau’s “Human Voice,” helmed by son Edoardo Ponti.
As for the lady herself, after competitive and honorary Oscars, a record 10 David Di Donatello awards, five Golden Globes and threescore trophies and tributes, you’d think it would all be old hat by now. “Never enough. Never enough,” she burbles. “I feel very important when they give me an award. I like it, »
- Bob Verini
The King Baggot Tribute will take place Friday, November 14th at Webster University’s Moore Auditorium beginning at 7pm as part of this year’s St. Louis Intenational FIlm Festival. The program will consist a rare 35mm screening of the 1913 epic Ivanhoe starring King Baggot with live music accompaniment by the Rats and People Motion Picture Orchestra. Ivanhoe will be followed by an illustrated lecture on the life and films of King Baggot presented by Tom Stockman, editor here at We Are Movie Geeks. After that will screen the influential silent western Tumbleweeds (1925), considered to be one of King Baggot’s finest achievements as a director. Tumbleweeds will feature live piano accompaniment by Matt Pace.
Here’s a look at the final phase of King Baggot’s career.
King Baggot, the first ‘King of the Movies’ died July 11th, 1948 penniless and mostly forgotten at age 68. A St. Louis native, Baggot »
- Tom Stockman
Aussie horror The Babadook, which is currently in UK cinemas and reaches the Us next week, is one of the scariest films of the year. Like a lot of the best fear-flicks, much of its ability to terrify comes down to one truly creepy kid.
In director Jennifer Kent's harrowing debut, six-year-old Samuel (Noah Wiseman) discovers a book called Mister Babadook, which just so happens to coincide with creepy occurrences at home that his mother (Essie Davis) blames on Samuel's overactive imagination. If we reveal any more, we'll ruin the film's surprises, but suffice to say that Samuel's behaviour is every bit as unnerving as the monster that could be lurking in his house.
He's not the only movie kid putting us off parenthood for life. Also responsible for giving Digital Spy a severe case of paedophobia (or fear of children) are these terrifying tots...
1. Gage Creed (Pet Sematary, »
Ahead of Interstellar's launch, here's a selection of 10 underappreciated sci-fi films about space travel...
Christopher Nolan's Interstellar wears many of its influences proudly. The director has openly said that his film is inspired by such acclaimed pieces of cinema as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Philip Kaufman's The Right Stuff, as well as the human warmth of Steven Spielberg's 80s output. Interstellar depicts a near future where life on Earth teeters on the brink of extinction. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a former test pilot turned farmer, joins a last-ditch mission to enter a wormhole in space and find a new home for humanity; he realises that the only way to save his family is to leave it behind.
It's the latest film to tap into our fascination with the depths of space - a topic that has been explored many times since the earliest days of cinema. »
Top 100 horror movies of all time: Chicago Film Critics' choices (photo: Sigourney Weaver and Alien creature show us that life is less horrific if you don't hold grudges) See previous post: A look at the Chicago Film Critics Association's Scariest Movies Ever Made. Below is the list of the Chicago Film Critics's Top 100 Horror Movies of All Time, including their directors and key cast members. Note: this list was first published in October 2006. (See also: Fay Wray, Lee Patrick, and Mary Philbin among the "Top Ten Scream Queens.") 1. Psycho (1960) Alfred Hitchcock; with Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam. 2. The Exorcist (1973) William Friedkin; with Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Jason Miller, Max von Sydow (and the voice of Mercedes McCambridge). 3. Halloween (1978) John Carpenter; with Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, Tony Moran. 4. Alien (1979) Ridley Scott; with Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt. 5. Night of the Living Dead (1968) George A. Romero; with Marilyn Eastman, »
- Andre Soares
Since the development of the moving picture camera in the late 19th century, the world, especially Americans, has been fascinated by the silver screen. For a time, people shut out the cold reality of the Great Depression with Shirley Temple's iconic curls, and legends such as Errol Flynn, Gregory Peck, and Katherine Hepburn roamed Hollywood lots and ordered Cobb salads at the Brown Derby. For awhile it seemed that our infatuation with Hollywood would never end, but the most recent decade has seen both its revenue and cultural significance decline, and many industry experts are scrambling to understand how movies have slipped from the spotlight. Internal changes show that studios have reinvested quite a bit of their resources into television production, and although Hollywood has been a television oriented town since the late -1950s, it had never stepped on film profits until fairly recently.
Since the true golden »
- Brandon Engel
Fleming: Birdman director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu told me he sees superhero movies as right-wing poison and cultural genocide for their simplistic values that stamp out human truths. Warner Bros’ Kevin Tsujihara told Wall Street his slumping film studio will turn around via a full program of 10 DC Comics tent poles to be released 2016-2020.
Will Smith and Tom Hardy are in talks to star in Fury director David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, and 2016 also brings Batman V Superman; 2017 brings Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and Justice League; 2018 brings Ezra Miller as The Flash and Jason Momoa as Aquaman; 2019 brings Shazam and Justice League 2; Ray Fisher stars in Cyborg and a Green Lantern reboot arrives for 2020.
Besides the »
- Mike Fleming Jr
30. No Country for Old Men (2007)
Scene: Coin Flip
There was a brief period of time from 2006-2009 when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences made some more daring, but wholly deserved choices for Best Picture. It began in 2006, when Martin Scorsese finally won for The Departed which, while not his best and not nearly as dark as, say, Taxi Driver or Raging Bull, still leaned that direction. Three years later, they handed the Oscar to The Hurt Locker over the blockbuster Avatar, rewarding quality over audience love. But in between the two it was given to No Country for Old Men, an incredibly dark neo-Western based on the Cormac McCarthy novel of the same name. It’s still one of the Coen Brothers’ best films, an incredible cat-and-mouse journey through West Texas in the 1980′s. The film stars Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones, »
- Joshua Gaul
Before he was the one-line-loving, crassly, campy class clown known as Freddy, Fred Krueger was the stuff of genuine nightmares. Scarred and grinning in his striped wool sweater, Fred prowls the dreamscape realm of the local high schoolers, the children upon whom he once preyed before their parents got smart and burned him alive. Years ago, Fred was a janitor at the elementary school; he lured children into the boiler room, where, it’s insinuated, he molested and maimed the kids. Now, years later, he returns to haunt the dreams of the children of Suburbia, America. Craven conjures the most surreal imagery of his wildly uneven career here, and Robert Englund instills Craven’s iconic creation with sharp, wry kind of terror, his playful delivery still ironic before the sequels declawed him. He wears his ratty old fedora like »
- Greg Cwik
Why bother going out to the multiplex when the movies you want to see are on Netflix? Whether it's a classic weepie like "An Affair to Remember," an Audrey Hepburn movie, a Jane Austen favorite or "Clueless" (again), here are some of the best chick flicks streaming on Netflix right now. (Availability subject to change.)
1. "13 Going on 30" (2004)
Who doesn't love a good time-traveling romantic comedy, especially one with a big "Thriller" dance showstopper?
2. "An Affair to Remember" (1957)
3. "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1961)
4. "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason" (2004)
The sequel finds Bridget (Renee Zellweger) in Thailand, where she's tempted to stray with ex »
- Sharon Knolle
Sir Howard Stringer, Chair of the American Film Institute’s Board of Trustees, announced today the Board’s decision to honor Steve Martin with the 43rd AFI Life Achievement Award, the highest honor for a career in film. The award will be presented to Martin at a gala tribute in Los Angeles, CA on June 4, 2015.
The 43rd AFI Life Achievement Award tribute special will return for its third year on TNT when it airs in June 2015, followed by encore presentations on sister network Turner Classic Movies (TCM).
“Steve Martin is an American original,” said Stringer. “From a wild and crazy stand-up comic to one who stands tall among the great figures in this American art form, he is a multi-layered creative force bound by neither convention nor caution. His work is defined by him alone, for he is the author – and a national treasure whose work has stuck with us »
- Melissa Thompson
Steve Martin has been named recipient of the highly prestigious AFI Life Achievement Award to be presented June 4th and aired on TNT and later on sister network TCM. After generally reserving this coveted prize to actors and directors who made their mark in dramatic films this is second time in the past three years that the American Film Institute has decided to lighten things up by giving their award to a person who made their mark in comedy. And it has paid off. Mel Brooks got the honor in 2013 and it resulted not only in a hilarious and memorable evening, it got higher ratings and brought the AFI special its first Emmy for Outstanding Variety Special in August. But Martin is the first recipient who actually started and made their reputation as a stand up comic. And his films beginning with The Jerk and continuing with such modern comedy »
- Pete Hammond
Gritty Western starring Gregory Peck as a rancher on the hunt for the four vicious outlaws he believes raped and murdered his wife. Henry King was one of Hollywood's top Western directors, and his actors and scriptwriters remain true to his high standards throughout. Stephen Boyd and Lee Van Cleef are on villain duty while Joan Collins is surprisingly convincing as Peck's Latina ex-flame. »
Audrey Long, actress in B film noirs and Westerns, and widow of author Leslie Charteris, dead at 92 (photo: Audrey Long publicity shot ca. late '40s) Actress Audrey Long, a leading lady in mostly B crime dramas and Westerns of the '40s and early '50s, and the widow of The Saint creator Leslie Charteris, died "after a long illness" on September 19, 2014, in Virginia Water, Surrey, England. Long was 92. Her death was first reported by Ian Dickerson on the website LeslieCharteris.com. Born on April 14 (some sources claim April 12), 1922, in Orlando, Florida, Audrey Long was the daughter of an English-born Episcopal minister, who later became a U.S. Navy Chaplain. Her early years were spent moving about North America, in addition to some time in Honolulu. According to Dickerson's Audrey Long tribute on the Leslie Charteris site, following acting lessons with coach Dorothea Johnson, whose pupils had also included »
- Andre Soares
Sdff is bookended by two high-profile films.
In between, Sdff will feature gala presentation screenings, which include Lynn Shelton’s “Laggies,” starring Chloe Grace Moretz as a teen who befriends an older woman (Keira Knightley) fleeing her responsibilities, with Sam Rockwell playing Moretz’s single dad.
Moretz also pops up, as a sex-trafficking victim, in Antoine Fuqua’s “The Equalizer,” starring Denzel Washington and Marton Csokas, while Knightley does double duty starring opposite Benedict Cumberbatch in Morten Tyldum’s “The Imitation Game,” a biopic about Brit computer pioneer Alan Turing. And Witherspoon stars in Philippe Falardeau’s drama “The Good Lie.”
Film critic »
- Variety Staff
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