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Ahead of American Ultra's arrival in UK cinemas, here's our pick of the 25 finest, sneakiest secret agents in film...
Operatives. Spies. Moles. Infiltrators. Secret agents go by many names. In fact, Britain's national security agency doesn't even call them agents - they're covert human intelligence sources, or simply “officers".
Whatever we choose to call them, secret agents lead necessarily furtive and obscure lives - so obscure that most of what we know about them is defined by what we've seen and read in books and movies.
During the Cold War, the image of the secret agent as a well-groomed sophisticate in a suit proliferated all over the world, and even in the high-tech landscape of the 21st century, that image still stands - just look at such movies as Kingsman: The Secret Service, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and, of course, the Bond franchise. But secret agents can come in many other guises, »
'Affliction' movie: Nick Nolte as the troubled police officer Wade Whitehouse. 'Affliction' movie: Great-looking psychological drama fails to coalesce Set in a snowy New Hampshire town, Affliction could have been an excellent depiction of a dysfunctional family's cycle of violence and how that is accentuated by rapid, destabilizing socioeconomic changes. Unfortunately, writer-director Paul Schrader's 1998 film doesn't quite reach such heights.* Based on a novel by Russell Banks (who also penned the equally snowy The Sweet Hereafter), Schrader's Affliction relies on a realistic wintry atmosphere (courtesy of cinematographer Paul Sarossy) to convey the deadness inside the story's protagonist, the middle-aged small-town sheriff Wade Whitehouse (Nick Nolte). The angst-ridden Wade is intent on not ending up like his abusive, alcoholic father, Glen (James Coburn), while inexorably sliding down that very path. Making matters more complicated, Wade must come to terms with the fact that his ex-wife, Lillian (Mary Beth Hurt), will never return to him, »
- Andre Soares
Sad news for comic book and vintage TV fans today. Yvonne Craig, who played Barbara Gordon (aka Batgirl) on the original 1966 Batman TV series, passed away on Monday night at the age of 78. Her family confirmed the actress' death on her official website, YvonneCraig.com. Fans were so stricken with grief, that they actually caused the website to crash shortly after news began to spread. Hopefully it will be back up and running later in the day.
Yvonne Craig passed away at her home in Pacific Palisades, surrounded by her immediate family and comforted by Hospice yesterday night. She died from complications brought about from breast cancer that had metastasized to her liver. She is survived by her husband, Kenneth Aldrich, her sister Meridel Carson and nephews Christopher and Todd Carson. A private service is being planned with no date set at the present time. In lieu of flowers, fans »
By Lee Pfeiffer
Actress Yvonne Craig, who specialized in playing perky and sexy characters in TV shows and feature films, has died after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 78 years old. Craig broke into the film and TV industry in the late 1950s, making her big screen debut in the exploitation film "Eighteen and Anxious". Before long, she was not only co-starring with Elvis Presley in "It Happened at the World's Fair" and "Kissin' Cousins", but also dating him as well. There was no shortage of work for the attractive Craig during the 1960s and she appeared on numerous TV series including "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." In fact, Craig filmed extra sequences for extended two-part episodes of the show that were released theatrically under the titles "One Spy Too Many" and "One of Our Spies is Missing". However, it was when producer William Dozier cast Craig as Batgirl »
- email@example.com (Cinema Retro)
Batgirl Yvonne Craig. Batgirl Yvonne Craig dead at 78: Also featured in 'Star Trek' episode, Elvis Presley movies Yvonne Craig, best known as Batgirl in the 1960s television series Batman, died of complications from breast cancer on Monday, Aug. 17, '15, at her home in Pacific Palisades, in the Los Angeles Westside. Craig (born May 16, 1937, in Taylorville, Illinois), who had been undergoing chemotherapy for two years, was 78. Beginning (and ending) in the final season of Batman (1967-1968), Yvonne Craig played both Commissioner Gordon's librarian daughter Barbara Gordon and her alter ego, the spunky Batgirl – armed with a laser-beaming electric make-up kit “which will destroy anything.” Unlike semi-villainess Catwoman (Julie Newmar), Batgirl was wholly on the side of Righteousness, infusing new blood into the series' increasingly anemic Dynamic Duo: Batman aka Bruce Wayne (Adam West) and Boy Wonder Robin aka Bruce Wayne's beloved pal Dick Grayson (Burt Ward). “They chose »
- Andre Soares
Rip our beloved Bat Beauty! A punch in the gut to Batfans. A first crush for men of a certain age, the beautiful Yvonne Craig has died at the age of 78.
Yvonne was born on the 16th of May 1937. In her early life before her television career she trained to be a ballet teacher. She gradually moved into acting during the 1950s. Before appearing on television she starred in a few films including; The Young Land, The Gene Krupa Story, Ski Party, and High Time. She even played alongside Elvis Presley in Kissin’ Cousins and briefly dated the King. During the mid-1960s Yvonne moved from film into television, where she appeared in many shows including Man With a Camera, Wagon Train, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. More famously she played “Marta” (a green skinned Orion) in the third series Star Trek episode entitled “Whom Gods Destroy” in 1968.
1967 she was »
- Tom Stockman
By Lee Pfeiffer
There's a tasteless old joke that defines "mixed emotions" as the reaction you would have upon hearing that your mother-in-law just drove off a cliff in your new Jaguar. As a die-hard fan of "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." TV series, I admit to having expectations of experiencing mixed emotions at last Monday's world premiere of Guy Ritchie's feature film version of the show at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York. For those of us who grew up during the spy craze of the mid-1960s, espionage movies are always close to our hearts. With Bond, Bourne and Mission: Impossible still big box-office, it's clear that the younger generation is in synch with our passion for this genre. The Bond films have earned respect for enduring for more than 50 years with six different actors giving vastly different interpretations of Agent 007, each successful in his own way. However, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
Post-production tampering mitigates against this Western by Sam Peckinpah finding its deserved reception from better-class audiences. Shortened release version is vague, confusing, and is being sold as routine action entry in saturation breaks where it should perform routinely, no more. Kris Kristofferson and acting debut of Bob Dylan provide youth lures. Rating: R.
“It feels like times have changed,” says Pat Garrett. “Times, maybe—not me," says Billy the Kid. A classical Sam Peckinpah exchange, reflecting one of the numerous obsessive themes that run through his latest Western. But times certainly haven’t changed for Peckinpah—for, despite the overdue success of his last venture, The Getaway, the embattled and iconoclastic director who revolutionized the Western with The Wild Bunch »
- Joe Dante
This article by Fernando Ganzo is an excerpt from Capricci's monograph Sam Peckinpah, edited by Ganzo, which accompanies this year's retrospective at the Locarno Film Festival.Warren Oates in Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. © Park Circus / MGM“Don’t ever ruin your career as a loser with a shitty success.”—Jorge OteizaThere is only one thing that can be said about a person as erratic, contradictory, mythomaniac, complex and profound as Sam Peckinpah: here is a director who was made in the image of his characters, those men who belong to a different era, born too late, in a world that opposed all freedom and eccentricity. We like to describe Peckinpah as one of the fathers of New Hollywood, of the baroque aesthetic of the 1970s, as someone who had a primordial and often regrettable influence on that particular style. This is not completely false. However, this »
I interviewed James Coburn in late 1998 for the cover story of the February 1999 issue of Venice Magazine. I had grown up watching Coburn on the late show, but also seeing him on the big screen, first-run. Meeting him was a thrill as he entered the living room of his manager, the late Hilly Elkins', home in Beverly Hills. Coburn was elegant, charming and had the grace of a cat. The only thing that revealed the health problems that had nearly done him in were his gnarled hands, the result of severe arthritis. We spoke about his role in Paul Schrader's newest film, "Affliction," which would earn him a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award. Later, as I walked Coburn to his Acura Nsx sport coupe, he bid me a warm farewell.
Several months later, I encountered him again at The Independent Spirit Awards, in Santa Monica. I went up »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
It's fitting that Clint Eastwood and John Wayne both have the same birthday week. (Wayne, who died in 1979, was born May 26, 1907, while Eastwood turns 85 on May 31). After all, these two all-American actors' careers span the history of that most American of movie genres, the western.
Both iconic actors were top box office draws for decades, both seldom stretched from their familiar personas, and both played macho, conservative cowboy heroes who let their firearms do most of the talking. Each represented one of two very different strains of western, the traditional and the revisionist.
As a birthday present to Hollywood's biggest heroes of the Wild West, here are the top 57 westerns you need to see.
57. 'Meek's Cutoff' (2010)
Indie filmmaker Kelly Reichardt and her frequent leading lady, Michelle Williams, are the talents behind this sparse, docudrama about an 1845 wagon train whose Oregon Trail journey goes horribly awry. It's an intense »
- Gary Susman
The cast of MGM's Western remake The Magnificent Seven continues to grow, with actor Matthew Bomer signing on. The actor will play the husband of Haley Bennett's character, the woman who hires seven mysterious gunmen to protect her town from a gang of bandits, lead by a nefarious robber baron. The cast also includes Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio, Luke Grimes, Jason Momoa, Wagner Moura and Byung-hun Lee, although no specific details were given regarding their characters.
The original Western The Magnificent Seven was released in 1960, starring Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter, James Coburn and Horst Buchholz as the seven gunmen, with Eli Wallach playing the villainous Calvera. The movie itself was a remake of Akira Kurosawa's 1954 classic Seven Samurai. The Western spawned a number of sequels such as Return of the Magnificent Seven, The Magnificent Seven Ride!, Guns of the Magnificent Seven »
“She batted them pretty little eyes at you, and you fell for it like an egg from a tall chicken!”
Charade plays at The Hi-Pointe Theater ( 1005 McCausland Ave., St. Louis, Mo 63117) Saturday, May 9th at 10:30am as part of their Classic Film Series
It’s been said that Charade (1963) is the best Alfred Hitchcock movie not directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Despite a notable body count and a few suspenseful moments, Charade is really a romantic comedy. Despite its intricate plot of double crosses, fake identities and a mad search for some missing loot in a picture-postcard Paris, it is designed to amuse. It is Hitchcock-lite; as directed by Stanley Donen, a man best known for directing films like Singin’ In The Rain, the film also is constructed like a musical, stringing together a few remarkable set pieces with a silly plot and clever banter. But most of all, Charade »
- Tom Stockman
Aquaman star Jason Momoa is in talks to join the star-studded cast of MGM's The Magnificent Seven. If a deal is finalized, the actor will play one of "the main heavies." He will not be playing the primary villain, described as a "robber baron, who has yet to be cast. Byung-hun Lee has also signed on to star as a character named Billy Rocks, but no further details were given. The project is a remake of the 1960 Western of the same name, which itself was a loose remake of Akira Kurosawa's 1954 classic Seven Samurai.
Jason Momoa and Byung-hun Lee join a cast that already includes Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Haley Bennett, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio, Luke Grimes and Wagner Moura. No details have been given for any of the other cast members' characters at this time. The story centers on a young woman (Haley Bennett), who hires seven gunslingers »
Since 1962, the James Bond franchise has come to define the spy genre, for good or ill. More broadly, every thriller and action film that comes out now either uses them as inspiration, or attempts to ignore or re-work the tropes that have come to be associated with the series.
Coming off the release of Kingsman: The Secret Service, and with the release of a new Bond film this year, now seems like the perfect time to take a look at a sample of the films which have been inspired by James Bond — either as homages, parodies or reactions.
The Ipcress File (1965)
Produced by James Bond producer Harry Saltzman as a more grounded alternative to the largesse of Bond, The Ipcress File is more concerned with the intricacies of real spy-work — the endless paperwork, »
Brad Pitt 'Glory Days' costar Nicholas Kallsen Brad Pitt 'Glory Days' costar Nicholas Kallsen dead at 48 Nicholas Kallsen, who was featured opposite Brad Pitt in the short-lived television series Glory Days, has died at age 48 in Thailand according to online reports. Their source is one of Rupert Murdoch's rags, citing a Facebook posting by one of the actor's friends. The cause of death was purportedly – no specific source was provided – a drug overdose.* Aired on Fox in July 1990, Glory Days told the story of four high-school friends whose paths take different directions after graduation. Besides Nicholas Kallsen and Brad Pitt, the show also featured Spike Alexander and Evan Mirand. Glory Days lasted a mere six episodes – two of which directed by former Happy Days actor Anson Williams – before its cancellation. Roommates Nicholas Kallsen and Brad Pitt vying for same 'Thelma & Louise' role? The Murdoch tabloid also »
- Andre Soares
All week long our writers will debate: Which was the greatest film year of the past half century. Check here for a complete list of our essays. Just one glance at the Oscar nominees for 1998 might make it seem less a questionable choice for “best year in film” — and more an insane one. Instead of a 1974 – The Godfather II, The Conversation, Chinatown, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, etc – or even a 1994, where Shawshank, Quiz Show, and Pulp Fiction lost to Gump – you choose a year where the Oscars would allow Roberto Benigni to climb atop both the figurative and literal chairs of the Shrine? Fine, step away from the Oscars. Would you still celebrate a year that saw not one, but two movies about asteroids threatening the Earth? A year that saw such scars carved across cinematic history as Patch Adams, My Giant, Stepmom, and Krippendorf’s Tribe? It bears repeating: Krippendorf’S Tribe? »
- Michael Oates Palmer
Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson on the Oscars' Red Carpet Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson at the Academy Awards Eli Wallach and wife Anne Jackson are seen above arriving at the 2011 Academy Awards ceremony, held on Sunday, Feb. 27, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. The 95-year-old Wallach had received an Honorary Oscar at the Governors Awards in November 2010. See also: "Doris Day Inexplicably Snubbed by Academy," "Maureen O'Hara Honorary Oscar," "Honorary Oscars: Mary Pickford, Greta Garbo Among Rare Women Recipients," and "Hayao Miyazaki Getting Honorary Oscar." Delayed film debut The Actors Studio-trained Eli Wallach was to have made his film debut in Fred Zinnemann's Academy Award-winning 1953 blockbuster From Here to Eternity. Ultimately, however, Frank Sinatra – then a has-been following a string of box office duds – was cast for a pittance, getting beaten to a pulp by a pre-stardom Ernest Borgnine. For his bloodied efforts, Sinatra went on »
- D. Zhea
The cast of MGM's The Magnificent Seven remake continues to grow, with Luke Grimes in talks to sign on. If deal is finalized, he will join Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Haley Bennett, Ethan Hawke and Vincent D'Onofrio. No details were given for his character at this time.
The original Western classic The Magnificent Seven starred Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter, James Coburn and Horst Buchholz who were hired to protect a small Mexican village from a ruthless villain named Calvera (Eli Wallach). The movie, which was a loose remake of Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, spawned a number of sequels and a TV series. No plot details were given for this new version.
Antoine Fuqua (The Equalizer) is directing from a script originally written by Nic Pizzolatto (True Detective) and revised by John Lee Hancock (Saving Mr. Banks). Production is expected to start within the next month, »
Although production hasn't gotten under way quite yet, Sony Pictures has handed out a January 13, 2017 release date for their Western remake The Magnificent Seven. The movie will go up against 20th Century Fox's Boss Baby on that same date. Those two movies are currently the only projects slated for release in the entire month of January 2017.
Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Haley Bennett, Ethan Hawke and Vincent D'Onofrio have signed on to star. No details were given for Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt and Ethan Hawke's characters, but Vincent D'Onofrio is playing the villain and Haley Bennett is playing a character who hires these seven gunmen to protect their village. The original Western starred Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter, James Coburn and Horst Buchholz starred as the seven, with Eli Wallach playing the villainous Calvera.
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