11 items from 2016
Is this Brian De Palma’s only dull film? Very possibly yes. Released in 1986, this post-SNL Joe Piscopo vehicle (you read that correctly) feels incredibly standard. The plot concerns two low-level gangsters, Moe and Harry (Piscopo and Danny DeVito, respectively), who lose their mob boss’ money at the race track. Said mob boss (Dan Hedaya) orders the two schlubs to kill each other. Hijinks ensue.
In spats, it plays like De Palma trying out slapstick. Select moments — a close-up shot that pulls out to reveal Harry being drowned inside of a fish tank or Moe testing out a bulletproof suit jacket for his boss — highlight the fascinating hybrid of De Palma’s visual style with broad, studio comedy. If only it worked a bit more frequently throughout the film’s bloated 100-minute runtime. One can only ponder what additional mileage the director may have achieved from DeVito’s deliciously terrible hairpiece, »
- The Film Stage
"Something can always go wrong..." Janus Films has unveiled a trailer for the upcoming restored re-release of the Coen Brothers' first film, Blood Simple, which first hit theaters in 1985 - 31 years ago. The film is still regarded as one of the Coens' best and is a crime thriller about a bar owner who figures out his wife is having an affair and tries to hire a private investigator to kill her and her new lover, a bartender at his bar. The film stars Dan Hedaya, Frances McDormand, John Getz, M. Emmet Walsh and Samm-Art Williams. Along with the trailer, there's a flashy poster (seen below) to compliment the re-release. Those who haven't seen this classic crime film yet, this is a perfect opportunity to catch it on the big screen. Enjoy. Here's the new re-release trailer for the Coen Brothers' film Blood Simple, in high def from Apple: Deep in the heart of Texas, »
- Alex Billington
Soldiers of cinema that they are, the fine folks at Janus Films are releasing a 4K restoration of the Coen Brothers’ “Blood Simple” this week. As an added bonus, the art-house stalwarts have also unveiled the two-minute trailer a certain Joel and Ethan put together as a means of securing financing for their debut feature. They got the idea from their friend Sam Raimi, whom they knew from “The Evil Dead” — which is also why the trailer features Bruce Campbell in the role that eventually went to Dan Hedaya.
Read More: We Combined All the Coen Brothers Rankings
“Sam taught us that if you call on the phone and ask people to invest in a movie they’ll tell you to go hell,“ Joel explains in an interview from this fall’s Criterion Collection release of the noir thriller. (Janus and Criterion are longtime partners.) “But if you tell them »
- Michael Nordine
Here are a bunch of little bites to satisfy your hunger for movie culture: Proof of Concept Trailer of the Day: This never before seen online trailer for Blood Simple was made before the Coen Brothers even did the film and stars Bruce Campbell in the part that would be played by Dan Hedaya (via Vanity Fair): Music Video of the Day: We've got another new music video for a song off the Suicide Squad soundtrack featuring footage from the movie. This one is for "Sucker for Pain" by Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa & Imagine Dragons (via Screen Rant): Fan Art of the Day: What if other iconic movie vehicles wound up in the world of Mad Max: Fury Road? Below are the Delorean from Back to the Future and the...
- Christopher Campbell
We all have to start somewhere. Before Joel and Ethan Coen got their directorial feature Blood Simple off the ground, they needed something to show to investors. In order to pique the interests of Hollywood producers so they’d greenlight the work of two Minnesota no-name brothers, they created a pitch trailer. We can now see this proof-of-concept video from the Coens, with a hat tip to Vanity Fair.
The duo were good friends with Evil Dead creator Sam Raimi (and went on to write his 1985 film Crimewave), who convinced the pair to make the video pitch. Raimi also got them in touch with Bruce Campbell, who plays Julian Marty in the clip — a role that would go to Dan Hedaya in the feature version. The scene itself features some very Raimi-esque camera swoops, namely overtop a car, along with gorgeous imagery of a bullet-ridden wall that would make its »
- Mike Mazzanti
Elvis & Nixon review: Not a sequel to Frost/Nixon, but the bizarre ‘true’ tale of when two icons met. Elvis & Nixon review
Richard Nixon and Elvis Presley were quite the characters. Both over-the-top but highly respected in their own way they have become quite the staple of mockery and imitation over the years. It wouldn’t be too far out there to suggest that most people these days are exposed to a recreation of the individual before they learn about the historical figure. Whether it be Nixon’s floating severed head in Futurama or Jack White’s bizarrely hilarious turn in Walk Hard: A Dewey Cox Story. They’ve been conscripted into bizarre timelines where Elvis has fought an evil Egyptian mummy, and where Nixon has overseen a country filled with people with mutant powers, and masked vigilantes being outlawed. So the fact these two figures actually met behind »
- Luke Ryan Baldock
September tends to be the time of year that movie studios start busting out the big guns, and 2016 finds the Criterion Collection following suit, as the boutique home video label will be releasing one of the most significant cinematic landmarks on which they’ve yet to put their stamp.
Krzysztof Kieślowski’s mammoth “Dekalog” makes the company’s September lineup something of a bumper crop in and of itself, but — lucky for us — it’ll be accompanied by an essential Kenji Mizoguchi classic, two ample doses of Jacqueline Susann-inspired campiness, some old school Coen brothers and much more. Check out the full release slate below, listed in rough order of our excitement for each title.
1.) “Dekalog” (dir. Krzysztof Kieślowski, 1988), Spine #837
This would be at the very top of the list regardless of what else Criterion is releasing in September. One of the greatest achievements in all of film (though »
- David Ehrlich
Team Experience is at the Tribeca Film Festival. Here's Jason on 'Elvis & Nixon.'
We get a "Thank you, thank you very much" fairly early into Elvis & Nixon, the new comic bio-pic detailing that legendarily bizarre photograph of the musician and the politician shaking hands in 1970, and that tips the movie's hat toward its will to please - this is a genial little thing, a bejeweled trifle, that leaves these two men's storm-clouds mostly off-screen at the horizon, opting instead for a light-hearted clash of Fame and Power and the Great Men who wield either/or. At times the Jack Benny score wouldn't feel out of place.
Not that not taking itself overly serious is a demerit by any means - Michael Shannon is The King of taking himself awfully seriously, so it's a relief to see him relax here under a different crown. He never really looks the part, »
Is satire obsolete? Our appalling present political reality has surpassed some of the wildest jokes in director Joe Dante's 'exaggerated, outrageous' 1997 cable movie. An immigration squabble snowballs until a renegade state governor closes his border and threatens to secede from the Union. It's a 'political idiocy' version of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World ... and nineteen years later, we're stuck living it. The Second Civil War DVD (2005) HBO Video 1997 / Color / 1:78 widescreen / 96 min. / Street Date August 30, 2005 / 14.98 Starring Beau Bridges, Joanna Cassidy, Phil Hartman, James Earl Jones, James Coburn, Dan Hedaya, Elizabeth Peña, Denis Leary, Ron Perlman, Kevin Dunn, Brian Keith, Kevin McCarthy, Dick Miller, William Schallert, Catherine Lloyd Burns, Jerry Hardin, Roger Corman, Rance Howard, Robert Picardo, Alexandra Wilson, Belinda Belaski, Jennifer Carlson, Sean Lawlor. Cinematography Mac Ahlberg Film Editor Marshall Harvey Original Music Hummie Mann Written by Martyn Burke Produced by Guy Riedel Directed by Joe Dante »
- Glenn Erickson
In the beginning, it was supposed to be Dan Hedaya who got sucked out into space. His character, General Martin Perez, was originally set to exit Alien: Resurrection in spectacularly bloody fashion - his entire body ejected, limb by limb, through a whole in a tennis ball-sized hole in the space ship, Auriga.
Effects company Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc, spent several weeks in 1996 solving the problem of having a body pulled apart realistically by the vacuum of space. Test footage released by Adi shows the painstaking process of researching and testing practical means of creating Hedaya's death scene, which would have concluded with his character's screaming head stripped of its skin until only a gaping skull remained.
The results were almost comically grotesque and almost mesmerising to watch - so mesmerising, »
That’s right. Hulu. I’m here to tell you that there’s a cinematic streaming goldmine available on Hulu that includes recent hits, older classics, domestic releases, and foreign imports. It’s even home to hundreds of Criterion titles. Sure there’s plenty of filler and seemingly thousands of titles I’ve never heard of before, but I’m not here to talk about possible gems like The Ouija Resurrection: Ouija Experiment 2… I’m here to recommend some good movies to watch this month on Hulu. Pick of the Month: Blood Simple (1984) Not that you need an excuse, but since Joel and Ethan Coen’s 17th feature film, Hail, Caesar!, opens this Friday it’s as good a time as any to revisit the brothers’ feature debut. It’s a terrific Texas noir featuring a quartet of characters whose motivations and allegiances aren’t always crystal clear. They’re brought to life through strong performances too »
- Rob Hunter
11 items from 2016
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