1-20 of 39 items from 2015 « Prev | Next »
All week our writers will debate: Which was the greatest film year of the past half century. Click here for a complete list of our essays. It’s perhaps a little quaint to choose a year that I wasn’t even alive during to represent the best year of cinema. I was not there to observe how any of these films conversed with the culture around them when they were first screened. So, although I am choosing the glorious year of 1973, I am choosing not just due to a perusal of top ten lists that year—but because the films that were released that year greatly influenced how I engage with movies now, in 2015. Films speak to more than just the audiences that watch them—they speak to each other. Filmmakers inspire each other. Allusions are made. A patchwork begins. These are the movies of our lives. Having grown up with cinema in the 90s, »
- Brian Formo
With less than two weeks before the UK General Election, Neil Calloway looks at the connections between politicians and the film industry…
They say politics is show business for ugly people, but some people have crossed the line between the two, with varying degrees of success over the years.
Whoever wins the UK General Election, there will no longer be a double Oscar winner in the House of Commons; Glenda Jackson, the Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn (and Hampstead and Highgate before that), will be standing down. Jackson is probably the most successful example of the actor/politician in Britain, but there have been others. If you’re worried that without an Oscar winner then Parliament will suffer, then Julian Fellowes, who won for his screenplay for Gosford Park – which now looks like a trial run for Downton Abbey – still sits on the Conservative benches in the House of Lords. »
- Neil Calloway
Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter at the Academy Awards Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter on the Oscars' Red Carpet Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter sported matching hairdos upon their arrival at the 2011 Academy Awards ceremony held on Feb. 27 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. Tim Burton's global blockbuster Alice in Wonderland, in which Helena Bonham Carter is one of the featured players (as the Red Queen), won Oscars for Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction. Bonham Carter was a Best Supporting Actress nominee for Tom Hooper's The King's Speech (as another queen, Elizabeth). Helena Bonham Carter: Career boosted by Oscar nomination Helena Bonham Carter's film career began in earnest in James Ivory's 1986 Best Picture Oscar nominee A Room with a View, in which she romanced Julian Sands. She kept on working without creating too much of a stir – e.g., Lady Jane, »
- D. Zhea
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
There's a good case to be made for this being the silliest Bond of them all, but Moonraker's still a lot of fun...
Well, we’ve come a long, long way since From Russia With Love. Moonraker: a film that redefined the possibilities of the Bond franchise if only by sheer scale of stupidity. The space bits are relatively by-the-numbers (other than being in space). However, the script was probably written in crayon. Chases happen without explanation, people randomly bump into each other, the utterly implausible is presented as mundane. Purists think of Istanbul and weep. But treat the whole thing as a comedy – perhaps a gentle spoof – and you’ll actually enjoy yourself. A plot-hole drinking game will get everyone plastered.
The Villain: Weirdly good. The master of the dry putdown – “James Bond. You defy my attempts to devise an amusing death for you” – Hugo Drax almost steals the film. »
Director: Peter Jackson
Running Time: 144 Minutes
Extras: Recruiting the Five Armies, Completing Middle Earth, ‘The Last Goodbye’ Music Video, New Zealand: Home of Middle Earth Part 3.
When it was originally announced The Hobbit would be divided into three films, I wasn’t sure why it was necessary and after a long year wait for the finale since the vivacious Smaug outing, we head into The Battle Of The Five Armies and on reflection… I feel despondently justified.
The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies is not a bad movie but after the epic build-up in The Desolation Of Smaug, we’re thrown bang in the middle of the action and, for me, it doesn’t work very well. It’s not that the spectacle isn’t glorious but »
- Dan Bullock
With fantasy franchises having been so popular in recent years, why did Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series stop before it got going?
A much beloved trilogy of fantasy novels, Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials was much praised for its rich, imaginative fantasy world, nuanced and ambiguous characters and powerful anti-religious themes. Critically acclaimed, award-laden bestsellers with a young heroine in the form of Lyra Bellacqua, the trilogy seemed an obvious choice to follow Harry Potter and Lord Of The Rings and become a blockbuster movie series.
New Line bought the rights after bringing Lord Of The Rings to the screen, hoping for a similar success. The two stories are very different High Fantasies though, and The Golden Compass contains concepts less familiar to audiences than wizards, monsters and swordplay. His Dark Materials was also occasionally categorised in shops as a children’s book, unlike Lord Of The Rings. »
Stars: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Dean O’Gorman, Aidan Turner, John Callen, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sylvester McCoy, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, Manu Bennett | Written by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro | Directed by Peter Jackson
When The Hobbit was announced I’m sure nobody would have thought it would be three movies long, J. R. R.Tolkien fit the whole story into one book, and even that wasn’t very long. Here we are though with the release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies which in theory should be the last Lord of the Rings movie Peter Jackson makes. Unless he can pull more tales of Middle-earth out of the appendices of course (and I’m sure some of us hope he could).
With Smaug »
- Paul Metcalf
Kino Lorber looks to provide plenty of onscreen summer scares this year via a diverse high-definition horror movie slate, with The Crimson Cult, Madhouse, Deranged, and Black Sabbath all scheduled for Blu-ray releases in July. Respectively starring genre legends Boris Karloff, Barbara Steele, Vincent Price, Peter Cushing and more, these home media releases come complete with bonus features and vintage cover art, and we have details on the former and a look at the latter.
Via their Facebook page, Kino Lorber revealed the final bonus features and cover art for the following:
The Crimson Cult (hitting shelves July 7th):
• In Conversation: 47 minute interview with Christopher Lee
• Music Macabre: An Interview with Composer Kendall Schmidt - Produced by Code Red
• Original UK and Us Trailers
Synopsis: "In this spooky thriller, an evil sorcerer invites an innocent young man »
- Derek Anderson
The Shout! Factory video company has launched an excellent new streaming site, www.shoutfactorytv.com that features dozens of classic TV episodes and cult movies every month. Best of all, you can view them for free! This month we recommend the 1970 Amicus horror flick "The House That Dripped Blood", a 1970 anthology of terror tales by Robert Bloch, author of "Psycho" and starring Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Ingrid Pitt and John Pertwee. Click here to view. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
Celebrate the April 10th digital release of the Star Wars saga with this collection of fun facts and interstellar statistics. For the first time ever, all six epic films in the Saga, from The Phantom Menace to Return of the Jedi, will be available on Digital HD.
Want more behind-the-scenes revelations? Then check out the extras on Star Wars: The Digital Collection.
Jedi Knights Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn rescue Queen Amidala, ruler of a peaceful planet invaded by dark forces. On their escape, they discover nine-year-old Anakin Skywalker, a child prodigy who is unusually strong in the Force.
Anakin Skywalker’s Podracer in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace was created from an interesting collection of vehicles and props. The front of the shuttle, in which Anakin sits, was made from the shell of a 1960’s racing car called a Maserati Birdcage. »
- Michelle McCue
Laura Bispuri’s Sworn Virgin won the Firebird Award in the Young Cinema Competition at this year’s Hong Kong International Film Festival (Hkiff), which wrapped on Monday night.
The Italian-Albanian co-production is a socio-political and magical tale about a girl from the Albanian mountains who escapes a life of servitude by pledging her eternal virginity in return for a male body. Bispuri collected the award at the Hkiff awards gala on April 3, which included a screening of Tsui Hark’s The Taking Of Tiger Mountain.
In the same competition, Chinese director Xin Yukun’s The Coffin In The Mountain received a Special Mention, while Kafka-esque fable K, directed by D.E. Bulag and Emyr ap Richard, picked up the Jury Prize as well as the Fipresci award. The Mongolian production was produced by Jia Zhangke.
- email@example.com (Liz Shackleton)
The Film: Lousy, quite frankly. Throws away a brilliant premise and the best villain of the series. A decent if uninspiring first act slides into an utterly shambolic second. Clarity is left by the wayside, dignity jettisoned swiftly after. The Solex Agitator must be the dullest MacGuffin in cinema, the villain’s lair is a solar power plant operated by a single henchman (who looks highly unqualified in thermal energy). Potentially strong scenes are sabotaged by nonsensical additions: Goodnight in the wardrobe, the ‘whoop’ noise as the car corkscrews over the river.
The Villain: Destroys the received wisdom that a Bond film is measured by its antagonist. Were that the case, Golden Gun would be a stone cold classic. Francisco Scaramanga is the baddie benchmark. He is far more compelling »
50 Shades of Erotica, 2015.
A collection of trailers featuring some of the best in erotic cinema from the golden age of erotica.
You’ve got to hand it to those wonderful people at Nucleus Films, for not only do they want to entertain you they wish to educate you as well. Inspired by the popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey and adopting the format of their Grindhouse Trailer Classics DVD’s, Nucleus have sought high and low to bring together fifty trailers of popular classics and forgotten gems from the 1960s through to the early 1990s that, quite frankly, puts the much hyped and inevitably disappointing Fifty Shades of Grey in the shade when it comes to titillation.
Watching a collection of trailers is a bit like watching an anthology film, as if there is something you don’t particularly care for then something else will be along shortly, and »
- Gary Collinson
Animated adventures, heirloom histories, detective drama and the latest chapter in the Batman origin story. Plus young British entrepreneurs try their luck in Silicon Valley
A voice cast featuring Elijah Wood, Melanie Lynskey and Christopher Lee heads up this Cartoon Network miniseries created by Adventure Time alumnus Patrick McHale. It follows two half-brothers, Wirt and Greg, as they try to find their way out of a creepy forest called the Unknown, meeting a host of bizarre creatures en route. There’s a lovely autumnal hue to the animation and enough sly humour to keep the adults entertained, although it can’t quite match the anarchic brilliance of McHale’s former show. Continues all week. Gwilym Mumford
Continue reading »
- Gwilym Mumford, Mark Jones, John Robinson, Hannah J Davies, Ben Arnold, Rachel Aroesti and Ali Catterall
Boasting a legendary cast comprising Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, John Carradine and more, Pete Walker's House of the Long Shadows will be released on Blu-ray by Kino Lorber in time for Halloween. Our latest round-up also includes the trailer and release details for Russell Friedenberg's Everglades-set horror film, Wind Walkers, and news on who will score the sophomore season of Syfy's Dominion.
Synopsis: "An American writer goes to a remote Welsh manor on a $20,000 bet: can he write a classic novel like "Wuthering Heights" in twenty-four hours? Upon his arrival, however, the writer discovers that the manor, thought empty, actually has several, rather odd, inhabitants."
- Derek Anderson
Christopher Lee. Vincent Price. Peter Cushing.These were the titans of horror films for a good thirty year stretch beginning in the late '50s with Hammer Horror's rise following the release of The Curse of Frankenstein. Price focused more on the campy stuff once he realized he was good at it following his long standing collaboration with Roger Corman and American International Pictures, but Lee and Cushing have a much less fanciful CV behind them. Hammer Films was retelling the classic horror tales introduced to audiences by Universal's gothic romances with the romance largely replaced by vicious violence and unrelenting unpleasantness.It was this early willingness to go the extra mile to repulse audiences that made Cushing and Lee into icons of the new generation of horror...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
Our resident VOD expert tells you what's new to rent and own this week on the various streaming services such as cable Movies On Demand, Amazon, iTunes, Vudu and, of course, Netflix. Cable Movies On Demand: Same-day-as-disc releases, older titles and pretheatrical exclusives for rent, priced from $3-$10, in 24- or 48-hour periods The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (fantasy-adventure; Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Evangeline Lilly, Richard Armitage, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee; also available in 3D; rated PG-13) Into the Woods (musical; Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick; rated PG) Unbroken – (Angelina Jolie-directed historical drama; Jack O'Connell, Domhnall Gleeson; rated PG-13) The Riot Club (thriller; Sam...
- Robert B. DeSalvo
Our resident VOD expert tells you what's new to rent and own this week on the various streaming services such as cable Movies On Demand, Amazon, iTunes, Vudu and, of course, Netflix. Cable Movies On Demand: Same-day-as-disc releases, older titles and pretheatrical exclusives for rent, priced from $3-$10, in 24- or 48-hour periods The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (fantasy-adventure; Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Evangeline Lilly, Richard Armitage, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee; also available in 3D; rated PG-13) Into the Woods (musical; Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick; rated PG) Unbroken – (Angelina Jolie-directed historical drama; Jack O'Connell, Domhnall Gleeson; rated PG-13) It Follows (must-see horror...
- Robert B. DeSalvo
Hovering just under one billion dollars in worldwide gross, the final installment of Peter Jackson’s prequel trilogy, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies actually has the distinction of being the lowest grossing of the three films, though it’s quite close to 2013’s second installment, The Desolation of Smaug. Though each film has a distinctive leaning, beginning with the first installment’s predilection for overabundant exposition, followed by a mid-segment of breathless promises, and finally, a CGI explosion of endless battle sequences, its apparent that Jackson’s product was stretched beyond its narrative breaking point. To compare this to the wealth of material that supported the epic scope of his earlier Lord of the Rings trilogy simply points to the ways profit based zealotry has warped the sensibilities of mainstream film production.
Those familiar with J.R.R Tolkien’s novel that preceded the opus of the Fellowship »
- Nicholas Bell
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