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Elusive, loose-limbed, as messy and sun-touched as the American '70s, Jerry Schatzberg's 1973 Scarecrow is a road picture, a buddy comedy, a woe-is-man tragedy, a lopsided competition in Method externalization pitting young Gene Hackman against an even younger Al Pacino. Neither a complete failure (it won the Palme d'Or but was stiffed stateside) nor a lost masterpiece, the film today stands as a flawed, fascinating testament to a time of discovery in Hollywood: of how stories could be told onscreen, of what great actors might find within themselves, of just what in the hell this country had become in the late-'60s crackup.
Playing train-hopping vagabonds in a U.S. of diners and hippies, lumbering Hackman and teensy Pacino are as physically mismatched as some pie-toss »
For proof of how much the film industry has changed over the past four decades, one need look no further than Jerry Schatzberg’s “Scarecrow,” which won the Palme d’Or in Cannes 40 years ago this month. The enigmatically open-ended road movie returns to New York screens May 17, digitally restored, for a one-week run at the Film Forum.
Greenlighted by Warner Bros. as an alternative to faltering big-budget fare, the pic featured Gene Hackman (then hot off “The Poseidon Adventure”) and Al Pacino (in between “The Godfather” and “Serpico”) as drifters who dream big, hatching a plan to open a car wash together once they reach Pittsburgh.
At last month’s TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood, Schatzberg announced that he and a young scribe named Seth Cohen have written a follow-up to “Scarecrow.” Assuming they can get Warners’ permission to use the characters, the film would have to be produced independently, »
- Peter Debruge
The Great Gatsby didn’t take down Iron Man 3 at the box office, but its $51.1 opening weekend was significantly higher than analysts predicted. Audiences — heavily adult and female — were likely drawn to Baz Luhrmann’s surrealistic re-imagination of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel and the film’s hip anachronistic soundtrack, but it’s no secret what really sold this movie: “Three little letters,” said Dan Fellman, Warner Bros. head of domestic distribution. “L-e-o.”
Gatsby’s strong debut was a reminder that Leonardo DiCaprio is a Hollywood superhero — even if he’s never played one on the silver screen. »
- Jeff Labrecque
If Iron Man 3 had been made by a young director who very few people had heard of, his name would now be on everyone’s lips in Hollywood, and not just because he delivered a big hit movie. They’d be talking about his eagerness and speed and raw talent, the dark flash of his visual style, the zigzag precision of his flair of violence, his way of making every performance count. They’d be talking about how this young director had infused a franchise blockbuster — a Part 3, no less, which usually means that a series, no matter how popular it is, »
- Owen Gleiberman
This past Saturday, two beloved film directors -- Clint Eastwood and Darren Aronofsky -- sat down for an extended Tribeca Talks: Directors Series discussion after the world premiere of director Richard Schickel's Eastwood Directs: The Untold Story. The hour-long film pieces together behind-the-scenes footage from Eastwood's acting and directing projects with interesting interview anecdotes from the likes of Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman and many others -- weaving together an illuminating portrait of the iconic actor turned director. Eastwood and Aronofsky thoroughly entertained the packed Tribeca Film Festival audience by discussing everything from dealing with difficult studios and actors to Eastwood's work with Sergio Leone to why he...
- Katie Calautti
An entertaining Hollywood novel by the son of a movie agent is packed with brilliant and wacky details
Beau Rosenwald does not immediately leap out as the kind of guy a reader would want to spend 400-odd pages with. We meet him in 1962, when he is in his mid-20s, in the Los Angeles offices of a talent agency. He is short, heavy, and sweat stains are forming crescents around his armpits as he waits for a meeting. "He had a tuberous face," the narrator of American Dream Machine, Beau's bastard son Nate, tells us, "lips damp and pursed like a trumpeter's, one eye slightly lower than the other like a disappointed hound's."
New in town from the east coast, Beau's one concession to quality is his brogues, made by Church's. The words of his mentor back in New York have clearly made an impact: "A man is judged by his persistence, »
- Tim Lewis
The 1973 Palme d'Or at Cannes was shared by two disparate, odd-couple road movies: Alan Bridges's The Hireling, in which chauffeur Robert Shaw drives rich widow Sarah Miles on visits to English cathedrals, and Jerry Schatzberg's Scarecrow, starring Gene Hackman (recently released violent convict) and Al Pacino (recently signed-off gentle merchant seaman) who meet in California and set out to hitchhike to Pittsburgh where they intend to open a car wash. Both films are largely forgotten now, but neither is without merit.
Scarecrow, an elliptical mixture of the tough (Pacino is raped on a prison farm) and the whimsical (the title tells us that scarecrows are successful because crows find them funny), is the best film in Schatzberg's small but interesting oeuvre. The magnificent cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond has dusty images of »
- Philip French
Iron Man 3 (12A)
Fears of post-Avengers superhero blowout fatigue are briskly swept away by Marvel's latest epic, whose snappy, poppy script packs in twists and quips between the bludgeoning (but technically seamless) action. It's Kingsley's Bin Laden-esque Mandarin and Pearce's creepy scientist who are out to de-swagger Tony Stark this time round, but there are surprises in store for everyone.
The Look Of Love (18)
Despite the Soho excess, the retro kitsch, the racy subject matter and the great cast, this biopic of Britain's pornographer-in-chief Paul Raymond somehow never feels like it's telling the full story. »
- Steve Rose
Contrary to rumours that this is second-string American new wave, this Pacino-Hackman double-hander is a freewheeling masterpiece
If Vladimir and Estragon decided they'd got bored waiting, and just took off down the road for some adventures, the result might look like this. Jerry Shatzberg's Scarecrow, from 1973, is a stunningly made movie, now restored and re-released, with Gene Hackman and Al Pacino giving the performances of their lives as two drifters who team up in the hope of setting up a carwash business in Pittsburgh. In his Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, Peter Biskind said Scarecrow was part of a body of 1970s work which was of "secondary" significance. That judgment looks way off. Scarecrow is simply a masterpiece of the American new wave, a rangy, freewheeling tragicomedyin which Hackman and Pacino give effortlessly charismatic performances. Max (Hackman) has just been released from prison; he's itching to start the business he's been »
- Peter Bradshaw
★★★★☆ Winner of the Palme d'Or prize at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival, American photographer and filmmaker Jerry Schatzberg's seldom-seen odd couple dramedy Scarecrow receives a welcome publicity boost this week thanks to a limited Park Circus theatrical rerelease. Starring Hollywood heavyweights Gene Hackman and Al Pacino - around the time both men first worked with Francis Ford Coppola, the former in The Conversation, the latter in The Godfather - Schatzberg's bromance is a bittersweet ode to life on the open road, bringing together two troubled souls who manage to find solace in each other's passing company.
Read more » »
- CineVue UK
Throughout April, we're counting down to the release of Marvel's Iron Man 3 with our picks for the Greatest Comic Book Movies of All Time; here's #5...
Superman: The Movie, 1978.
Directed by Richard Donner.
And so, as we reach the top five of our countdown of the Greatest Comic Book Movies, we come to the granddaddy of the superhero movie, Richard Donner's 1978 classic Superman, which saw a then-unknown Christopher Reeve making his first appearance in what would become his signature role as the Man of Steel. Scripted by The Godfather author Mario Puzo, Superman details the origins of the Last Son of Krypton, from a strange young Kansas farmboy through to mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent, culminating of course with his emergence as the World's Greatest Superhero, »
- Flickering Myth
There’s something inherently lonely and tortured about being a director. Yes, you’re the tyrant of the set and dictator of the vision, but you’re also the man (or woman) behind the curtain, the puppet master who never appears on stage….unless you’re Clint Eastwood or Quentin Tarantino. Or Alfred Hitchcock….or Roman Polanski…Anyway, the point is that you may be the genius behind a film, and celebrated as such, but you’re no superstar. There’s a reason why they are often referred to as voyeurs.
But the upside is that, once you’re an established money-maker, you can afford to be creative in your guises. That is, to put your dream on screen. Most directors have at some stage championed their baby, a cherished passion project which is their love letter to their craft. However, it’s quite galling how this endeavor often falls on deaf ears. »
- Scott Patterson
Working with a real-life 1980s incident in New Caledonia (not dissimilar to a French Falklands), Kassovitz crafts a thoughtful thriller with no heroes, only good intentions compromised by colonialist mistrust and distant politics. His negotiator is set between a hair-triggered French military and separatist rebels, but with an election back home, not everyone wants a peaceful outcome.
Promised Land (15)
With fracking as the central concern, this finds it hard to avoid being an "issue movie", but there's some human drama to it. Damon's gas agent comes to an archetypal small town with a buyout in mind, but the locals and their country ways get to him. »
- Steve Rose
(From the pages of the April 16 issue of Variety.)
Why this random information? Because the superstars of the 65-and-over set are wandering down unexpected paths these days in a determination to keep their creative lives (and income streams) aloft.
I’ve always been empathetic to the plight of the “senior stars” as they figure out their third acts. In searching for roles, must they still get the girl? Or should they simply go to Lakers games, like Jack Nicholson, or write thrillers, like Gene Hackman, or pose for ads, like Sean Connery? Or, like Warren Beatty, should they keep trying to revive weary projects from the past? (Yes, Beatty still wants to explore the Howard Hughes mythology.)
The past has been haunting Redford (age 76) lately. »
- Peter Bart
We first heard about the remake last summer, when it was announced that Ken Watanabe, Japan’s internationally best-known actor, would be taking the lead role played by Eastwood just over two decades ago.
With the film’s September release date on the horizon, the studio have debuted a new poster, following on from the promising first teaser trailer which surfaced late last year.
Like the original, the remake is set in 1880, relocating the setting to Hokkaido, Japan, at time when Japanese settlers were displacing the local Ainu people.
Watanabe stars a samurai with a fearsome reputation living in retirement with his Ainu wife, brought out of retirement for one last job.
Watanabe stars alongside Kōichi Satō (When the Last Sword is Drawn) and »
- Kenji Lloyd
[Click image above to view in high-resolution]
Luthor has been Superman's primary antagonist since he first appeared in a 1940 issue of Action Comics. The character has previously been portrayed as a scientist, white-collar criminal, corporate CEO and - in one guise - the Us President.
It is unclear if the appearance of LexCorp in the trailer is an Easter Egg for fans or a hint suggesting Superman's arch-nemesis will appear in person in the movie.
> 'Man of Steel' trailer: 10 best bits
> Ten Things About. »
Actors' memoirs come and go, but when a filmmaker tries his hand at writing a book, the results can be enlightening indeed. William Friedkin, the director best known for "The French Connection" and "The Exorcist," didn't even bother hiring a ghostwriter. Instead, he filled one Moleskine notebook after another with long-hand recollections, then sent off the pages to his publisher. "The Friedkin Connection," out April 16 from HarperCollins, is jam-packed with colorful anecdotes (who knew Gene Hackman was such a pain in the ass?), but the real joy is sharing brain space with this ballsy, unconventional force of nature as he plays career Chutes and Ladders in the company of Hollywood's A-list.
Last month, Friedkin, who is married to former Paramount Pictures chief Sherry Lansing, visited HuffPost Live and talked about the complicated legacies of his gay-themed films "The Boys in the Band" and "Cruisin'." Last week, I had the chance »
- Michael Hogan
Ever since The Avengers absolutely killed at the box office, Warner Brothers has been watching Marvel Studios with green eyes of jealousy. And it’s hard to blame them. After all, if not for Warner Brothers and their subsidiary, DC Comics, the superhero movie revolution may have never happened in the first place. Richard Donner’s Superman: The Movie was groundbreaking for many reasons—not only was it the first real live-action superhero movie, but it also took a serious approach to the material and cast some of the top talent at the time, like Marlon Brando and Gene Hackman. It’s an approach that the most successful comic book movies have adopted. Of course, twenty years later, Warner Brothers almost killed the superhero movie with Batman & Robin, so it’s hard to feel too sorry for them.
Nonetheless, Warner Brothers and Batman are no longer top dog. They’ve »
- Percival Constantine
"The Friedkin Connection: A Memoir" (Harper), by William Friedkin
A self-made, scrappy professional reaches the top only to be brought down by conflicting desires and his own hubris. Amid the wreckage, he reconsiders what's important to him and begins anew, success attainable once again but not at all certain.
That sounds like the outline of a movie directed by William Friedkin, the Oscar winner behind "The French Connection" (1971), "The Exorcist" (1973) and more than a dozen other films plus plays and even operas. It's also the theme of a page-turning memoir in which Friedkin revisits his victories and defeats while taking the blame for dropping the brass ring.
If measured by ticket sales alone, Friedkin's filmmaking career peaked in the early 1970s. His first nondocumentary, the Sonny and Cher oddity "Good Times," was released in 1967. His most recent movie was 2011's love-it-or-hate-it shocker "Killer Joe." That's four years to reach the »
Mississippi Burning (1988)
Director: Alan Parker
Entertainment grade: B
History grade: D–
On 21 June 1964, one black and two white civil rights activists disappeared near Philadelphia, Mississippi. The FBI codenamed the case Miburn – short for Mississippi Burning.
The three activists – in real life, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, though they are not named in the film – are driving, tailed by several cars. When they stop, they are murdered and their bodies hidden by a mob of white men connected to the Ku Klux Klan. Later, the FBI turn up, in the fictionalised forms of spiky white liberal intellectual Agent Ward (Willem Dafoe) and rough-around-the-edges white liberal anti-intellectual Agent Anderson (Gene Hackman). Viewers may erroneously conclude that the FBI »
- Alex von Tunzelmann
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