17 items from 2014
All the Warwick Davis Leprechaun movies are coming out in a new Blu Ray combo pack. The commentary tracks offer some memories of my two contributions to the guilty pleasure franchise. Here are a few more.
I grew up enjoying the absurdist humor of the Monty Python’s Flying Circus TV series. So why not Absurdist Cinema? I loved the 1941 Hellzapoppin’, an early iconic example. The concept of the mid ’90’s Leprechaun franchise was proudly ludicrous – pint sized Jason/Freddy/Chucky amalgam with an Irish twist terrorizes and kills most of the supporting cast. But he was never really scary. I decided to embrace the absurd and make it as much fun as the formula allowed.
- Brian Trenchard-Smith
A batch of new posters for possible Oscar contenders have arrived over the last 24 hours including posters for Tommy Lee Jones' The Homesman starring Jones and Hilary Swank, St. Vincent starring Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy and The Imitation Game (read my review) starring Benedict Cumberbatch, but it's the Brazilian poster for Whiplash that really catches my eye. Arriving via Cinemarcado, the orange and white poster harkens back to the '70s with a tagline that translates to "The road to the top can take you to the limit". Simply fantastic and a film I truly hope finds its way into Oscar voters' hearts. I can't wait for you to see it. Here's a snippet from my review: Whiplash is one of those rare films where you need to understand the intention or you'll find yourself rolling your eyes more than once as writer/director Damien Chazelle turns the volume not up to ten, »
- Brad Brevet
Written and directed by Damien Chazelle
What began as a short film seeking funding at last year’s Sundance has come to fruition as one of 2014’s best films. A must-see at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, Damien Chazelle’s magnificent Whiplash offers stellar performances and a powerful, morally ambiguous plot. It concerns young Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller) is in his first year at the top music institution in the country. Picked for one of the school’s most competitive bands by its relentless conductor, Terence Fletcher (J. K. Simmons), Andrew finds himself desperately fighting to prove his worth.
Whiplash is a game-changer for all involved. Teller reaffirms himself as one of the most talented actors of his generation. Meanwhile, Simmons gives a career-defining turn as a sadistic conductor who makes R. Lee Ermey look like Winnie the Pooh. We’re not meant to like either »
- Ariel Fisher
Whiplash is one of those rare films where you need to understand the intention or you'll find yourself rolling your eyes more than once as writer/director Damien Chazelle turns the volume not up to ten, not up to eleven, but he breaks the damned thing off. The sheer electricity of this movie had me so utterly amped up I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. This is the kind of movie that makes your heart beat faster. This is the kind of movie I would have wanted my high school or college coach showing me. It's an exhibit as to how hard someone must push for greatness while testing the limits of how far that someone should be pushed. This isn't a movie for softies. This isn't a movie for people that think things in life should come easy or those that think second, third and fourth place finishers deserve trophies. »
- Brad Brevet
Todd McCarthy, THR: “Anyone who’s ever had a high school or college teacher make it a point to manipulate or mess with students’ lives will no doubt have relatable, »
- Ryan Adams
We’re firm believers that a little Batman makes pretty much everything in life better – and now there’s a hilarious Tumblr blog reaffirming that belief on a regular basis. It’s Better with Batman takes famous images from TV and film and places the Dark Knight himself into them, showing how much more awesome everything would be with Bruce Wayne’s involvement. Don’t believe us? Check out some of these examples… In this first image, we see how Stanley Kubrick’s classic Vietnam film Full Metal Jacket would have looked if R. Lee Ermey spent the Paris Island segment screaming at Ben Affleck’s Batman instead of Private Pyle. Look how sad Batman is. With all the catching criminals and handing out beatdowns, it’s...
- Mike Bracken
Top twenty. Now we start to see the more widely recognizable films that people have some emotional attachment to. World War II gets a few mentions in this portion of the list, but this is one of the more diverse sections, overall. We get a mention of the Boer War, the Algerian War, and the Korean War, as well as the only movie about the American Civil War on this list.
20. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
Conflict: Boer War, World War I, World War II
The only film on the list that spans multiple wars is also probably the least battle-focused film on the list. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp is told through an extended flashback, following Major-General Clive Wynne-Candy (Roger Livesey) as he rises through the ranks of the British military from war to war. The flashback is »
- Joshua Gaul
The man best known for putting a hole in the chest of the most iconic drill sergeant in the history of American cinema is about to step into the shoes of one of Marvel’s iconic villains.
Actor Vincent D’onofrio, currently known for his role as Detective Robert Goren on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, has been officially cast to portray the role of Wilson Fisk aka “The Kingpin” in the upcoming Daredevil reboot series for Netflix.
While the character actor’s name is not as well-known in the who’s who of Hollywood elite, some of the characters he portrays do become very well-known. His most iconic was his breakout role as the mentally disturbed Private Leonard “Gomer Pyle” Lawrence who was the thorn in the side of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (played by R. Lee Ermey in his breakout role) in the 1987 film Full Metal Jacket.
Representatives from Marvel »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Jonathan M Cook)
In the middle of its biggest battle since Season Two's carnage at Blackwater, Game of Thrones takes us on a tour, via tonight's episode, of Castle Black. Our guides just happen to be busy killing people.
We start with Jon Snow. He's just brought reinforcements to the castle's courtyard from the top of the Wall, and after killing his way through half a dozen wildlings, he pauses to survey the carnage. As he runs down the stairs to resume the fight, »
Damien Chazelle’s coming-of-age – or perhaps, given the subject matter, it should be drumming-of-age – music film Whiplash already has plenty of positive buzz about it thanks to a multiple award-winning appearance at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Now, to help spread the word further, Sony has put a clip online. Whiplash features Miles Teller as Andrew Neyman, an ambitious 19-year-old jazz drummer who attends a high-profile music conservatory, where legendary teacher Terence Fletcher (Jk Simmons) rules the roost. But Andrew discovers that reaching for perfection comes with a price, as Fletcher is a hot-tempered, oft-maniacal bully. In this clip, Fletcher demonstrates the difference between rushing your tempo and dragging, a point he gets across by throwing a chair at the young man and slapping him. It’s the sort of teaching method R. Lee Ermey’s Sergeant Hartman would probably appreciate.Simmons, while he’s played softer characters in »
Stanley Kubrick's unflinching Vietnam War drama starts as it means to go on with raw recruits Matthew Modine and Vincent D'Onofrio being put through boot camp hell by merciless drill sergeant R Lee Ermey. Then it's out of the mental frying pan and into the fire as the platoon is sent straight to the frontline for the battle for Hué in 1968. Prepare for cinematic shellshock. »
Darren Aronofsky's Noah may take a few liberties with the Bible, but it's still not as big a cinematic sin as. Megiddo: The Omega Code 2 (2001) Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith Stars: Michael York, Michael Biehn, R. Lee Ermey Only one man can stop the Antichrist and save the world from Armageddon. No, not Jesus.Michael Biehn. How come God keeps letting people make terrible movies in his name? You'd think an omnipotent being would smite anyone adapting his works in to »
- Jason Adams
It.s nothing new or strange for actors to get stuck with a character.s schtick over the course of their career, as everyone from Jaleel White to R. Lee Ermey can attest. Parks and Recreation star Aubrey Plaza hasn.t quite yet figured out how to shed the angst-ridden deadpan gloom persona that has made her such a popular actress, but at least the roles she.s choosing are breaking away from that mold a little more. She has signed on to play the female lead in Hal Hartley.s Ned Rifle, the third film in his years-spanning "Henry Fool trilogy." Seeing Plaza and Parker Posey on the big screen together is a treat I.m looking forward to. Though Harley didn.t plan on making a trilogy when he created 1997.s comedic drama Henry Fool, he created a rich world full of characters whose lives were worth revisiting »
The Overlooked Hotel is a new column in which we throw the spotlight behind the front line, champion those unfairly lost in the shallow focus of fame and feed the hungry underdogs.
Our maiden guest in the Hotel is character actor and master storyteller Stephen Tobolowsky.
There are plenty of superstars out there. The Tom Cruises and Brad Pitts and George Clooneys of this world who, with a sprinkle of their magic pixie dust, can get a film made, with their name above the title on the poster and a big cut of the profits to boot. Likewise, hundreds of films (deservedly or otherwise) have their moment in the sun, awards and box office success lavished upon them as they are admitted to the ranks of “The Acclaimed”.
Then there are the other guys. The other films. Actors who always add something great to the films they appear in, but »
- Dave Roper
Some people are content simply doing things. Work, art, music. The act alone justifies the time spent before the next thing comes along that captures their interest and affection. But for others, the idea of contentment is a foreign concept left behind in the urgent march forward to be the absolute best. These are the greats, the ones the rest of us know by name or by the images/sounds they create. Andrew (Miles Teller) wants to be one of those greats. His focus is drumming, jazz drumming in particular, and his immediate goal is to catch the ear of the Schaffer Music Academy’s legendary professor, Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons). The man makes and breaks musicians, but his method of channeling R. Lee Ermey’s meaner cousin threatens to destroy Andrew’s dream before it even begins. Whiplash is a percussive thriller that drops viewers into the middle of an obsession, one »
- Rob Hunter
It’s going to be a memorable Sundance Film Festival if the rest of the movies can keep up with the beat that Whiplash laid down last night. The opening-night premiere from 28-year-old director Damien Chazelle tells the story of an ambitious jazz-drummer prodigy (Miles Teller) who bumps up against an intimidating tyrant of a music teacher played by J.K. Simmons. Bad-ass bald, with bulging biceps that fill his fashionable black t-shirts, Simmons’ Terrence Fletcher is a cruel taskmaster who bludgeons his students with torrents of mocking, often homophobic, invective in his mission to create true genius. Fletcher toys with »
- Jeff Labrecque
Miles Teller drums his heart out — and then some — in writer-director Damien Chazelle’s stellar career-starter, “Whiplash,” which demolishes the cliches of the musical-prodigy genre, investing the traditionally polite stages and rehearsal studios of a topnotch conservatory with all the psychological intensity of a battlefield or sports arena. Chazelle proves an exceptional builder of scenes, crafting loaded, need-to-succeed moments that grab our attention and hold it tight, thanks largely to co-star J.K. Simmons as the school’s most intimidating instructor — a talent evidenced a year earlier by the three-scene teaser that took Sundance’s top shorts prize.
The short was partly the brainchild of producers Jason Reitman and Jason Blum, whose hopes that “Whiplash” might break out beyond the niche confines of staid young-musician movies were boosted significantly by its high-energy opening-night berth at Sundance. Substitute its jazz-band specialty for hip-hop, and the commercial prospects would skyrocket — though it’s »
- Peter Debruge
17 items from 2014
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