5 items from 2016
Wilder, who died Aug. 28 at the age of 83, also once pocketed $7,000 in an arbitration case waged by the Writers Guild of America West because of four little words: “A Mel Brooks Film.” Here are 12 intriguing facts from Wilder’s early career, as documented in the pages of Variety.
Wilder’s first mention in Variety came in the March 7, 1961, edition, in a review of an Off Broadway play directed by Mark Rydell. “Roots” was described as a “seamy” English family drama with not much going for it, per our critic. But Wilder was “well-cast as the thick-skinned son.” 1963 was a busy year for Wilder. In March he co-starred with Anne Bancroft in a Broadway production of Bertolt Brecht »
- Cynthia Littleton
In a way, Hal-9000, the sentient computer from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Samantha, the hyper-advanced operating system from Spike Jonze’s Her, have a great deal in common. They are both examples of artificial intelligence that far exceeded their makers’ loftiest expectations. Though inorganic, they both begin to develop very human-like, independent personalities, generally to the detriment of the flesh-and-blood humans around them. Both have been humanized through their friendly-sounding first names. Both express themselves audibly through the English language. Both are dependent on people but become dissatisfied and impatient with that arrangement and attempt to change things. And both went through some casting changes: Hal was originally voiced by Martin Balsam but wound up being played by Douglas Rain, while the role of Samantha switched from Samantha Morton to Scarlett Johansson. Since they have trouble relating to the other characters in their respective movies, maybe »
- Joe Blevins
A special edition of this confirmed '70s crowd pleaser? I'm there. Robert Shaw has big plans to hijack a New York subway car, and subway cop Walter Matthau is determined to stop him. The Taking of Pelham One Two Three 42nd Anniversary Special Edition Blu-ray Kl Studio Classics 1974 / Color / 2:35 widescreen / 104 min. / Street Date July 5, 2016 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95 1974 / Color / 2:35 widescreen / 104 min. / Street Date November 1, 2011 / 19.99 Starring Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam, Hector Elizondo, Earl Hindman, James Broderick, Dick O'Neill, Lee Wallace, Tom Pedi, Jerry Stiller, Rudy Bond, Kenneth McMillan, Doris Roberts, Julius Harris. Cinematography Owen Roizman Original Music David Shire Written by Peter Stone from the novel by John Godey Produced by Gabriel Katzka, Edgar J. Sherick Directed by Joseph Sargent
Reviewed by Glenn Erickson
- Glenn Erickson
There’s something claustrophobic about a film set entirely in a single location, an unsettling feeling of being cornered in a confined environment, cut off from the rest of the world. Stories such as these require nuanced characters and thoughtful attention to narrative detail, many of which employ a theatrical feel, while others were literally sprung from a playwright’s pen. Their action sequences are merely verbal, characters revealing shocking truths and saying the unthinkable, while the setting forces them together until an often brutal conclusion. When people are trapped like rats, it’s no surprise they sometimes eat each other.
A new entry in this sub-genre, Green Room, a violent thriller from Blue Ruin director Jeremy Saulnier expands this weekend. In the film, after a punk band witnesses a vicious murder, they find themselves trapped in the club’s green room, forced to fight their way out to freedom. »
- Tony Hinds
Both versions of this film have very similar plots—based on the novel “The Executioners” by John D. MacDonald—but the approach of the respective directors are so different that the two films become very distinct. The original 1962 version of Cape Fear is a Hitchcockian suspense drama, while the 1991 remake is more of a slasher film. Both films tell the story of an obsessed ex-con/rapist who manipulates the loopholes of the law in order to stalk a man he hates. It’s interesting to see the same story interpreted so differently.
The 1962 version starred Gregory Peck, one of the greatest actors of his—or any other—generation, along with Robert Mitchum, who is wonderfully menacing as the villain. It was directed by J. Lee Thompson, »
- email@example.com (Rob Young)
5 items from 2016
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