15 items from 2014
Murder mysteries are so commonplace on TV that each week offers seemingly dozens of them on police procedural series and detective shows. But in the movies, whodunits are surprisingly rare, and really good ones rarer still. There's really only a handful of movies that excel in offering the viewer the pleasure of solving the crime along with a charismatic sleuth, often with an all-star cast of suspects hamming it up as they try not to appear guilty.
One of the best was "Murder on the Orient Express," released 40 years ago this week, on November 24, 1974. Like many films adapted from Agatha Christie novels, this one featured an eccentric but meticulous investigator (in this case, Albert Finney as Belgian epicure Hercule Poirot), a glamorous and claustrophobic setting (here, the famous luxury train from Istanbul to Paris), and a tricky murder plot with an outrageous solution. The film won an Oscar for passenger »
- Gary Susman
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
"22 Jump Street"
Can Chris Miller and Phil Lord make anything entertaining? When "21 Jump Street" the movie was announced, it seemed utterly ludicrous, if not downright insulting. Yet here we are enjoying the sequel, digging on the continued doofy adventures of Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum). What's next, a dazzling movie about Legos?!
"20,000 Days on Earth"
This documentary about writer and musician Nick Cave is just as weird and wonderful as its subject. It's a must-see for fans of Cave's oeuvre, but even if you don't know a Boy Next Door from a Bad Seed, you'll get a kick out of this strange film. Featuring appearances by Kylie Minogue, Ray Winstone, Warren Ellis, and Blixa Bargeld.
"The Wind Rises"
Master animator »
- Jenni Miller
Hedy Lamarr: 'Invention' and inventor on Turner Classic Movies (photo: Hedy Lamarr publicity shot ca. early '40s) Two Hedy Lamarr movies released during her heyday in the early '40s — Victor Fleming's Tortilla Flat (1942), co-starring Spencer Tracy and John Garfield, and King Vidor's H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941), co-starring Robert Young and Ruth Hussey — will be broadcast on Turner Classic Movies on Wednesday, November 12, 2014, at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Pt, respectively. Best known as a glamorous Hollywood star (Ziegfeld Girl, White Cargo, Samson and Delilah), the Viennese-born Lamarr (née Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler), who would have turned 100 on November 9, was also an inventor: she co-developed and patented with composer George Antheil the concept of frequency hopping, currently known as spread-spectrum communications (or "spread-spectrum broadcasting"), which ultimately led to the evolution of wireless technology. (More on the George Antheil and Hedy Lamarr invention further below.) Somewhat ironically, »
- Andre Soares
In the spirit of October, this list will look at scary scenes, but not from the horror classics directed by Craven or Carpenter or even Hitchcock (I’m excluding him, though I argue most of his work isn’t exactly horror). These are from the films that aren’t really meant to scare you. At least, not at the visceral level that horror films do. These are the fifty definitive moments from non-horror films that still made an impact on the “frightening front.” From shocking to creepy to unsettlingly hair raising, these are moments that will stick in your mind long after watching the films, even if they are part of a very different narrative.
50. Toy Story 3 (2010)
Scene: Monkey Security
The third installment of the one of the greatest movie trilogies of all time is also one of the darkest children’s films ever made. »
- Joshua Gaul
We’ll be celebrating the 5th year anniversary of Super-8 Movie Madness at The Way Out Club in St. Louis on Tuesday October 7th with an encore performance of our most popular show. It’s Super-8 Vincent Price Movie Madness in 3D, the show that we took on the road to promote Vincentennial back in 2011. We’ll be honoring the hometown horror hero by showing condensed (average length: 15 minutes) versions of several of Price’s greatest films on Super-8 sound film projected on a big screen. They are: Master Of The World, War-gods Of The Deep, Pit And The Pendulum, The Raven, Witchfinder General, Tim Burton’s Vincent, Two Vincent Price Trailer Reels, Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein and The Mad Magician in 3D (We’ll have plenty of 3D Glasses for everyone)
- Tom Stockman
Honorary Award: Gloria Swanson, Rita Hayworth among dozens of women bypassed by the Academy (photo: Honorary Award non-winner Gloria Swanson in 'Sunset Blvd.') (See previous post: "Honorary Oscars: Doris Day, Danielle Darrieux Snubbed.") Part three of this four-part article about the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Honorary Award bypassing women basically consists of a long, long — and for the most part quite prestigious — list of deceased women who, some way or other, left their mark on the film world. Some of the names found below are still well known; others were huge in their day, but are now all but forgotten. Yet, just because most people (and the media) suffer from long-term — and even medium-term — memory loss, that doesn't mean these women were any less deserving of an Honorary Oscar. So, among the distinguished female film professionals in Hollywood and elsewhere who have passed away without »
- Andre Soares
Honorary Oscars 2014: Hayao Miyazaki, Jean-Claude Carrière, and Maureen O’Hara; Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award goes to Harry Belafonte One good thing about the creation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Governors Awards — an expedient way to remove the time-consuming presentation of the (nearly) annual Honorary Oscar from the TV ratings-obsessed, increasingly youth-oriented Oscar show — is that each year up to four individuals can be named Honorary Oscar recipients, thus giving a better chance for the Academy to honor film industry veterans while they’re still on Planet Earth. (See at the bottom of this post a partial list of those who have gone to the Great Beyond, without having ever received a single Oscar statuette.) In 2014, the Academy’s Board of Governors has selected a formidable trio of honorees: Japanese artist and filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, 73; French screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière, 82; and Irish-born Hollywood actress Maureen O’Hara, »
- Andre Soares
It was only a matter of time before the Hollywood remake factory got their grubby little paws on a bonafide classic. It’s one thing to run films like Robocop and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles through the remake/reboot/sequel mill, but quite another to pounce on an unsuspecting film noir from the 1940s. That’s right: there’s a Laura remake in the works, and someone has got James Ellroy to write the script.
What is Laura, you ask? Sit down, children, and listen. Laura is film noir directed by Otto Preminger and stars Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb and Vincent Price. It centers around the investigation of the death of Laura (Gene Tierney) by a tough-guy detective who begins to fall in love with her – posthumously, of course. Tales are told of Laura, who she was, and why she died, and a picture slowly begins to build »
- Lauren Humphries-Brooks
Here’s a remake idea that won’t have you doing a spit-take and attempting to burn Hollywood down to its sinful ashes: Otto Preminger‘s Laura. Yes, the film is an unabashed classic, one of those films noir that’s been vaulted up to mythical, God-like status amongst those who still watch movies from before 1970. The 1944 film follows a detective, Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews), investigating the murder of the rich, gorgeous and all-around enchanting Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney), who was blown away by an unfortunate shotgun blast to the face. Our dashing detective sinks himself into the case, but as he does he starts to fall madly in love with the deceased dame. Which would be fine (who among us hasn’t developed a little crush on a murder victim now and then?), except the case starts to turn in a seriously weird direction, leaving McPherson the only one to sort out its loop-de-looping plot twists »
- Adam Bellotto
Celebrated crime author James Ellroy, whose books have been adapted into films such as L.A. Confidential and The Black Dahlia, has signed on to write the screenplay for a remake of the 1944 film noir thriller Laura.
Otto Preminger directed Laura, which centered on a detective who falls for the woman whose murder he is investigating. Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb and Vincent Price starred in the thriller, which was nominated for five Oscars, including Clifton Webb for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and Otto Preminger for best director, with Joseph Lashelle winning the Oscar for Best Cinematography.
Stuart Till is serving as executive producer for Fox 2000, but the project doesn't have a director attached at this time.
It's beyond dispute — Otto Preminger's 1944 film noir "Laura" is a stone cold classic, so of course it's going to be remade. The original starred Gene Tierney, Dana Andwers, Clifton Webb and Vincent Price, and concerned a murder investigation that turns obsessive. So if there must be a new version, we're glad it's in good hands. THR reports that legendary writer James Ellroy will craft a screenplay for the redo for Fox 2000. The author has dipped his toes into screenwriting before ("Street Kings," "Rampart"), and likely knows first hand how adaptations can both be regrettable ("Black Dahlia") and great ("L.A. Confidential"). We presume Ellroy will examine Vera Caspary's novel, from which Preminger's film was derived, and we're interested to see what his way into the story will be. If you haven't yet seen "Laura" (or want to again), you can watch the whole below with an easy click of the mouse. »
- Kevin Jagernauth
There are at least 26 good reasons to straighten your stocking seams, touch up your lip rouge, and queue up for Film Forum's Femmes Noir series, running from July 18 through August 7. Here are just three: Joan Crawford's long-suffering, pie-making matriarch in Mildred Pierce (July 18, 19 and 31); Gene Tierney's ravishing, murderous schemer — one possessed of the most stunning overbite known to man — in Leave Her to Heaven (July 20 and 21); and Jane Greer's predatory faux angel, who comes shimmering along in a saucer-shaped halo of a hat, in one of the most unsparing and bleakly beautiful of all films noir, Out of the Past (also July 20 and 21).
But of all the femmes vying for our attention here, perhaps the most willful and terrifying is p »
Written by Joe Eisinger
Directed by Jules Dassin
United Kingdom, 1950
In the heart of the London night Harry Fabian (Richard Widmark) runs wild in the streets and alleyways of this most famous of English cities. Harry, a con artist, owes someone a hefty sum and his only recourse is to plead his lover Mary Bristol (Gene Tierney) to lend him some pounds to call off the hounds. Such is the life the protagonist has led for some years now, much to Mary’s consternation and chagrin. What once was a happy companionship has turned more more strenuous. A get rich scheme here, another there but always the same result: Harry gets nowhere fast. His latest attempt to make it big arrives in form of an aging wrestler, Gregorius the Great (Stanislaus Zbyszko) whom he encounters by happenstance at a wrestling event a few nights later. The »
- Edgar Chaput
Happy President’s Day! Now, we could celebrate the boring way, by like, singing The National Anthem or something. But instead we decided to list off our favorite sexy Heads of State. Enjoy!
The great presidents like John F. Kennedy, Theodore Roosevelt, and even current head of state Barack Obama, have all made their marks with incredible leadership and strong decisions under pressure. But look, they also became immensely adored because they were super hot too. So on President’s Day, let’s take a look back at the Oval Office’s sexiest inhabitants.
The 10 Sexiest Presidents
The top of the top. Widely known as the best looking guy to ever get elected, JFK was married to the gorgeous Jacqueline Onassis, and also linked to girls like Marilyn Monroe and Gene Tierney. That’s saying a lot.
Ron Ron was movie star hot. »
- HL Intern
"Pretty Little Liars" film noir episode airs Tuesday (Feb. 11), which will transport viewers back in time to the gritty mystery movies of the 1940s. Executive producer Joseph Dougherty, who wrote and directed the episode, tells Zap2it that he never intended this to be a send-up of those films. This is the real deal.
"It was never meant to be a parody, we always wanted it to look and feel as if it was real -- and for the most part, it's very scrupulously what it would have looked like [back then]," says Dougherty. "I actually wrote that in the script, 'This is not a parody, this is the genuine article.' I wanted to make it real ... [and I said] for this to work, it's going to have to be as beautiful as possible."
That doesn't mean, however, that there aren't references to classic film noir movies, which sometimes even surprised the writer. "I'm »
15 items from 2014
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