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Cinema Retro's DVD Round-up

31 December 2013 8:50 AM, PST | Cinemaretro.com | See recent CinemaRetro news »

By Lee Pfeiffer 

As Cinema Retro gets inundated with DVDs to review during the course of any given year, it's virtually impossible to keep up with all of them in a timely manner. Here are some notable titles you should be aware of:

Cabaret Blu-ray (Warner Home Video): Warner Home Video has inherited the rights to Bob Fosse's classic 1972 film adaptation of the stage production that, in turn, was based on Christopher Isherwood's Berlin Stories. The Blu-ray comes packaged in one of those irresistible hardback book formats that is loaded with wonderful photos from the movie. The movie itself holds up superbly even after 40 years. The decline of Germany's Weimar Republic amidst the rise of National Socialism in the 1930s is seen through the eyes of nightclub singer Sally Bowles (Liza Minnelli) and her constant companions (Michael York, Helmut Griem) . Fosse's decision to emphasize the sleaze elements »

- nospam@example.com (Cinema Retro)

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Enjoying the latest in film and music? Spare a thought for those who created it | Miriam Margolyes

26 December 2013 7:00 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

If we do not protect our creative industry from theft, the films and music that give us pleasure may soon belong to Christmases past

It's a scene we're all familiar with: the family gathered for Christmas, eating a delicious meal, swapping jokes pulled from crackers, children enthusiastically unwrapping presents, singing carols or listening to the Queen's speech. And perhaps later, relaxing on the sofa as James Stewart discovers the true meaning of family in It's a Wonderful Life.

Maybe your loved ones prefer The Wizard of Oz, Home Alone or another festive favourite. But whatever your choice, there's no denying that entertainment – the films we can quote the lines from, the Christmas specials we cringe at and the seasonal CDs we have on in the background – has been a part of many Christmases past.

Nowadays, families may be laughing at Christmas videos on YouTube, tweeting, watching specials on a tablet »

- Miriam Margolyes

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The Story Continues: Sequels Spun from Your Favorite Holiday Classics

24 December 2013 7:44 AM, PST | Fandango | See recent Fandango news »

  Details were recently released about tentative plans for a sequel to the holiday classic It's a Wonderful Life, with a release date slated for November or December 2015. I think we can all agree that some movies just don't need sequels (including a certain movie starring James Stewart).   What would happen, though, if other holiday classics got the sequel treatment?    Spoiler (not really) warning: Sequels are never as good as the originals.   A Christmas Carol     The Original: Miserly Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future to show him the error of his ways, leading him to embrace the holiday and realize there is more to life than making money.  ...

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- affiliates@fandango.com

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Christmas TV Movie Guide: Tuesday, December 24 - Gremlins, Raiders

24 December 2013 1:30 AM, PST | Digital Spy | See recent Digital Spy - Movie News news »

It's a Wonderful Life - 1.10pm, Channel 4

One of the all-time festive classics, it's wouldn't feel quite like Christmas without an airing for Frank Capra and James Stewart's drama. Overlooked at the time of its initial release in the '40s, this story of an angel who rescues depressed businessman George Bailey effortlessly tugs at the heartstrings.

Toy Story 2 - 3.40pm, BBC One

Arguably one of the few sequels that is better than the first, Pixar's Toy Story follow-up sees Buzz and his pals set out to rescue Woody after the cowboy is swiped by a toy collector.

Fantasia - 4.15pm, BBC Two

Disney collides with classical music in this beautifully-executed feature cartoon. The 'Sorcerer's Apprentice' sequence - which sees Mickey bring to life broomsticks - is reason enough to sit down with Fantasia all over again.

Raiders of the Lost Ark - 8pm, BBC Three

The »

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Christmas TV Movie Guide: Tuesday, December 24 - Gremlins, Raiders

24 December 2013 1:30 AM, PST | Digital Spy | See recent Digital Spy - TV news news »

It's a Wonderful Life - 1.10pm, Channel 4

One of the all-time festive classics, it's wouldn't feel quite like Christmas without an airing for Frank Capra and James Stewart's drama. Overlooked at the time of its initial release in the '40s, this story of an angel who rescues depressed businessman George Bailey effortlessly tugs at the heartstrings.

Toy Story 2 - 3.40pm, BBC One

Arguably one of the few sequels that is better than the first, Pixar's Toy Story follow-up sees Buzz and his pals set out to rescue Woody after the cowboy is swiped by a toy collector.

Fantasia - 4.15pm, BBC Two

Disney collides with classical music in this beautifully-executed feature cartoon. The 'Sorcerer's Apprentice' sequence - which sees Mickey bring to life broomsticks - is reason enough to sit down with Fantasia all over again.

Raiders of the Lost Ark - 8pm, BBC Three

The »

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Frank Capra's 'It's a Wonderful Life' voted favourite X-Mas film of all time

23 December 2013 10:34 PM, PST | RealBollywood.com | See recent RealBollywood news »

London, Dec. 24: Frank Capra-helmed 1946 movie 'It's a Wonderful Life' has been dubbed Britain's top Christmas film of all time in a new survey.

The James Stewart starrer was followed by romcom 'Love Actually' and 'Elf' on the list, the Guardian reported.

1992's 'The Muppet Christmas Carol' and 'Home Alone' concluded the top five on the Radio Times poll.

The top Christmas films are:

1. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

2. Love Actually (2003)

3. Elf (2003)

4. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

5. Home Alone (1990)

6. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)

7. Santa Claus: The Movie (1985)

8. Miracle On 34th Street (1994)

9. The Snowman (1982)

10. Scrooge. »

- Arun Pandit

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The 10 Best Christmas Movies For Nice (& Naughty) Boys & Girls

23 December 2013 8:52 AM, PST | HollywoodLife | See recent HollywoodLife news »

‘Tis the season to spend all of your time lounging in your Pj’s at your parents’ house watching ‘Elf.’ Since you’re probably already in a coma from all of those holiday cookies, HollywoodLife.com has listed the top 10 Christmas movies for naughty and nice folks — and where and when you can watch them — below!

Elf. A Christmas Story. Home Alone. No matter which is your favorite, we all have that one special holiday tale that gets us in the holiday spirit for those “down years” when we don’t get that Red Ryder Bb Gun we oh-so-desperately deserve. Check out our top picks below the jump!

If You Made The Nice List This Year…

1. Love, Actually offers up some bizarre ideas about romance — like, is it really sweet to hit on your best friend’s wife, Andrew Lincoln? — but we singletons should watch it to feel better about our current condition, »

- Shaunna Murphy

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It's a Wonderful Life top Christmas film of all time, says Radio Times survey

23 December 2013 6:09 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Frank Capra's 1946 black-and-white film starring James Stewart as a suicidal bank manager beats modern fare to first place

The Frank Capra festive favourite It's a Wonderful Life has been named Britain's favourite Christmas film in a poll for the Radio Times.

The 1946 film beat the Richard Curtis romantic comedy Love Actually and Will Ferrell festive caper Elf to the top spot in the survey of just over 2,000 people. The Muppet Christmas Carol, from 1992, and 1990's Home Alone rounded out the top five.

It's a Wonderful Life is the story of downcast bank manager George Bailey, played memorably by the late, great James Stewart, who sets out to kill himself on Christmas Eve but changes his mind when a guardian angel helps him realise he has made a difference in the world. The film was recently in the news after a pair of Hollywood producers who were not involved in »

- Ben Child

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Mindy Newell: Every Time A Bell Rings

23 December 2013 5:00 AM, PST | Comicmix.com | See recent Comicmix news »

As promised last week, here’s the list of my favorite Christmas movies, starting with all my very favorite-est…

It’s A Wonderful Life (1946). Directed by Frank Capra, who declared it his favorite of all his films and showed it every Christmas at his home, it stars James Stewart as “everyman” George Bailey, Donna Reed as his wife Mary Hatch Bailey, Lionel Barrymore as the banker Mr. Potter, and a veritable Who’s Who of notable character actors, including Beulah Bondi as Ma Bailey, Thomas Mitchell as Uncle Billy, Ward Bond as Bert the cop, Frank Faylen as Ernie the cab driver, Gloria Grahame as Violet the “bad” girl, Sheldon Leonard as Nick the bartender, and Harry Travers in the pivotal role of the angel Clarence Odbody. The story of an ordinary man who lives an ordinary life, driven to despair of having his dreams crushed once and for all »

- Mindy Newell

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6 Scenes We Love From ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

22 December 2013 11:00 AM, PST | FilmSchoolRejects.com | See recent FilmSchoolRejects news »

It’s a Wonderful Life is a far bleaker entry than many of the other beloved films in the Christmas cinema canon. A Christmas Story is all about familial quirks, painted in Norman Rockwell hues. Even Die Hard never sees its everyman hero losing hope that he’ll save the day. But Frank Capra’s inspiring masterpiece puts us — and its protagonist George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) — through an emotional wringer and to the very brink of death before delivering a happy ending. Before we are shown the reason we must hang on to hope, even when life seems far from wonderful, we follow George through a fierce storm of emotional upswings and free falls. Through melodrama, Capra’s film communicates the intensity of our inner passions in a way that always rings true. Being something of a softie, it’s no surprise most of my favorite scenes in It’s a Wonderful Life are the ones that »

- J.L. Sosa

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'Home Alone,' 'A Christmas Story,' 'Wizard of Oz': Favorite Christmas movies to enjoy this holiday

22 December 2013 10:00 AM, PST | Zap2It - From Inside the Box | See recent Zap2It - From Inside the Box news »

Maybe you've already had your fill of holiday programming, but this is when it gets serious.

With Christmas coming at midweek this year, that still leaves several days for networks to offer signs of the season ... some of which have been shown already this year but still are hugely appropriate for viewing. And maybe even more so, the closer to the actual holiday it gets.

Zap2it has selected a sampling of some of the home-screen gifts being presented in the coming days.

"The Wizard of Oz" (Sunday, Dec. 22, TNT): It had a 3-D and IMAX retrofitting recently, but there's something comforting about going "Over the Rainbow" with the Judy Garland-starring 1939 classic at home.

"Home Alone" (Sunday, AMC): Young Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) makes things tough for thieves (Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern) who invade his house in this 1990 family favorite.

"The Santa Clause" (Sunday, ABC Family): Tim Allen »

- editorial@zap2it.com

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Thn Advent Calendar Day 20: It’s A Wonderful Life

20 December 2013 1:00 AM, PST | The Hollywood News | See recent The Hollywood News news »

Christmas is a time for tradition – presents, decorations, carols, and mince pies. But what better tradition to celebrate than the Christmas movie? Join The Hollywood News for the Movie Advent Calendar – a film each day ’til Christmas. For the full Advent Calendar so far, click here.

In the 65 years since it’s original release, It’S A Wonderful Life has lost none of it’s charm, and for some remains the ultimate Christmas film. Indeed, it is made in that timeless mould of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the story that has influenced dozens of yuletide yarns over the years.

By now we all know the story: George Bailey is the small-town man with a big heart, and he’s the only thing stopping the villainous Mr Potter (Barrymore) from getting his hands on every cent in Bedford Falls.

Following the death of his father, Bailey reluctantly takes the reigns of »

- Tom Fordy

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Laughlin's Capra Reboot Bombs (U.S. Government Members to Blame?); Failed Presidential Runs

18 December 2013 7:20 PM, PST | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Tom Laughlin: ‘Billy Jack’ movie franchise comes to an end; U.S. government, Hollywood studios blamed (See previous post: “‘Billy Jack’: Tom Laughlin Revolutionized Film Distribution Sytem.”) In 1975, Tom Laughlin’s self-produced Western The Master Gunfighter — a remake of Hideo Gosha’s samurai actioner Goyokin, co-starring Ron O’Neal and Barbara Carrera — bombed at the box office after opening at more than 1,000 locations. Laughlin reportedly had spent $3.5 million to market the $3.5 million production, having hired John Rubel, assistant secretary of defense under Robert McNamara, to plan the film’s distribution tactics. Financially depleted and embroiled in more lawsuits against Warner Bros., Laughlin embarked on the Billy Jack series’ fourth — and, as it turned out — final film, Billy Jack Goes to Washington. A 1977 Frank Capra Jr.-produced reboot of Frank Capra’s 1939 classic Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Laughlin’s final directing effort was barely seen even in its drastically edited form. »

- Andre Soares

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'You've Got Mail': 25 Things You Didn't Know About the Nora Ephron Comedy

18 December 2013 2:00 AM, PST | Moviefone | See recent Moviefone news »

Kids, you may not believe this, but some of us are old enough to remember when you used to have to connect to the Internet via 56k dial-up modems. Or that AOL was once the most popular Internet service provider, so popular that everyone recognized the cheerful "You've Got Mail" alert that sounded when you signed on. Or that the "You've Got Mail" greeting was a promise that there was something exciting waiting for you in your e-mail inbox, not just spam ads for Canadian Viagra. Don't believe us? There's a historical document you should check out, aptly titled, "You've Got Mail."

It's been just 15 years since Nora Ephron's romantic comedy opened (December 18, 1998), but it seems like eons ago, not just because the Internet has evolved so much since then, but because we've all watched the unwitting romance between Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) and Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) -- business rivals by day, »

- Gary Susman

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Joan Fontaine, Oscar-Winning Star of Hitchcock Classics, Dies at 96

15 December 2013 4:50 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Cool beauty Joan Fontaine, who gave strong performances in a number of classic films including Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rebecca” and Max Ophuls’ “Letter From an Unknown Woman,” died Sunday at her home in Carmel, Calif. She was 96.

Though acclaimed for her talent and elegance, the actress was equally well known for her decades-long feud with sister Olivia de Havilland.

Her porcelain beauty sometimes underlined an icy hauteur (which became more pronounced in later years), but she is best remembered for performances of vulnerability, such as in “The Constant Nymph” (her personal favorite) and Hitchcock’s “Suspicion,” which brought her an Oscar.

The daughter of Lillian Ruse and Walter de Havilland, Fontaine was born in Tokyo (she was 18 months younger than Olivia). Her parents divorced soon after, and her mother brought the two young girls to live in Saratoga, in Northern California, where she taught diction and voice control.

Her mother »

- Richard Natale

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Christmas film events special

13 December 2013 10:00 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

The Bishops Wife | Mary Poppins | Sleeping Beauty | The Nightmare Before Christmas | The Other Side Of Yuletide | Dead Of Night | The Queen Of Spades

Christmas cinema programming tends to involve the doling out of well-worn classics, most of which are on the telly anyway – and nobody seems to mind. So for those after something – or at least somewhere – a bit special, you'll have to look a bit harder… at the rest this page.

If it's an alternative to It's A Wonderful Life you're after, a good bet could be The Bishop's Wife, made a year later and covering similar themes – angels, the true spirit of Christmas, etc – with Cary Grant and David Niven filling that James Stewart-shaped gap. It plays at Picturehouses and other venues, as do Mary Poppins and the Bolshoi Ballet's Sleeping Beauty. (various venues).

It's a good year for festive counter-programming in general, actually, partly thanks to »

- Steve Rose

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Charade: The last sparkle of Hollywood

13 December 2013 4:06 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

In the wake of the Kennedy assassination Hollywood suffered a crisis of identity. But, as the stars retired and television boomed, Stanley Donen's Charade provided one last gleam of a golden age

In early December 1963, only a couple of weeks after the Kennedy assassination, Stanley Donen's Charade opened at Radio City, Manhattan. According to Tom Wolfe, at 6am on a freezing December morning the crowds were already lining up down 50th Street and 6th Avenue to make sure they secured a seat. During "the dark days" after JFK's death, Charade offered Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn (the two most attractive people ever to appear on screen?) a Henry Mancini score, Givenchy dresses, suspense, glamour and Paris. In the midst of the dislocation and strangeness produced by JFK's assassination, it must have seemed one of the few signs that life was proceeding as normal; the world may have become strange, »

- Michael Newton

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What's your favourite Christmas movie? Digital Spy's festive classics

13 December 2013 5:00 AM, PST | Digital Spy | See recent Digital Spy - Movie News news »

It doesn't quite feel like Christmas until the TV schedules throw up some of our festive favourite movies. Whether it's the beloved Muppets Christmas Carol, or a high-octane offering like Die Hard, these movies are a brilliant way to get you in the mood for December 25.

We here at Digital Spy like nothing better than settling down in front of a good festive film, so with that in mind the site's staff members have rifled through their DVD collections to reminisce about the ones that mean the most to them...

Morgan Jeffery, TV Editor - Die Hard

John McTiernan's 1988 classic Die Hard - which introduced the world to Bruce Willis's wry yet passionate hero John McClane - is widely regarded as one of the very best examples of its type. That's action movies, not Christmas movies.

Yet Die Hard has all the hallmarks of a classic Christmas film »

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Holiday Favorites 2013: Heather Kafka Thinks 'It's a Wonderful Life'

12 December 2013 8:00 AM, PST | Slackerwood | See recent Slackerwood news »

Welcome to Holiday Favorites, a series in which Slackerwood contributors and our friends talk about the movies we watch during the holiday season, holiday-related or otherwise.

It's a Wonderful Life is a popular pick this year! Austin actress Heather Kafka (Kid-Thing, Loves Her Gun) writes about what the 1946 film means to her.

"Is he sick?"

"No, worse, he's discouraged."

I remember walking into my parents' living room one day and an old movie was on. I don't remember how old I was but I do remember feeling like the TV was talking to me. I've tuned in every year since that day. It's a Wonderful Life never ever Never gets old. I feel and see something new in it every single time.

Sure, I could mention all the obvious things like the acting, the story, the comedy ... the swimming pool in the floor, the missing $8,000, ZuZu's petals ... Jimmy Stewart running »

- Elizabeth Stoddard

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Greg Kinnear Brings Much-Needed Charm to Fox’s ‘Rake,’ Says Producer

10 December 2013 11:48 AM, PST | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

The idea of a scheming, lying lawyer whose personal life is in shambles doesn’t sound like a very likeable one, but according to producers of Fox’s upcoming show “Rake,” star Greg Kinnear brings the necessary charisma to a role that could go wrong.

Cast and producers got together at West Hollywood’s ultra-chic Soho House Dec. 9 to discuss the new lawyer show, based on a successful Australian series of the same name. The show focuses on Kinnear’s character Keegan Deane, whose personal life includes massive gambling, an angry ex-wife and battles with the IRS, but who is a master in the courtroom.

It’s already being compared to “House,” in that it stars a sometimes unlikeable character whose saving grace is his aptitude at his job. Producer Michael Wimer acknowledged the connection, and said the challenge they faced was that, unlike Dr. House, Deane isn’t going »

- Alex Stedman

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