13 items from 2016
Do not read on unless you’ve seen “The Bicameral Mind,” the 10th episode of the first season of HBO’s “Westworld.”
Some pieces of science-fiction filmmaking that accompanied the literary genre’s New Wave movement in the ’60s and ’70s have become timeless classics — works that transcended genre limitation to become parts of the broader cultural canon. Michael Crichton’s 1973 movie “Westworld” is not one of those films. It is creaky by contemporary standards. It was sloppily made. Thus it has provided little other than a title and the most basic elements of an idea in terms of inspiration for the big-budget HBO series that bears its name.
So it makes sense that the biggest surprise of the premiere season of that series was a a hat-tip to the Crichton movie. As Maeve, Felix, Hector and Armistice make their way through Basement City toward the end of the second act of “The Bicameral Mind” — the season »
- Daniel Holloway
Director Larry Peerce’s 1969 adaptation of Philip Roth’s 1959 debut novella stars Richard Benjamin as the librarian lucky/unlucky enough to fall into an affair with nouveau riche Ali McGraw (also her debut in a lead role). With the help of Arnold Schulman’s (Oscar-nominated) script and a solid supporting cast (including Jack Klugman) the film offers up a admirable approximation of Roth’s finely observed prose.
- TFH Team
Philip Roth (Courtesy: Eric Thayer/Reuters
By: Carson Blackwelder
When it comes to acclaimed American authors, Philip Roth is right up there with the best of them—so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that his work has been translated from page to screen numerous times and to varying degrees of success.
Over the years, seven of the novelist’s books have been adapted to the big screen—with two of them coming out in 2016 alone: Indignation and American Pastoral. Before that, though, there was Goodbye, Columbus, Portnoy’s Complaint, The Human Stain, Elegy (based on The Dying Animal), and The Humbling.
Goodbye, Columbus (1969)—which starred Ali MacGraw and Richard Benjamin—earned Arnold Schulman a nomination for best adapted screenplay and was generally well-received by critics and did quite well at the box office.
Portnoy’s Complaint (1972)—which was adapted by Ernest Lehman—didn’t fare that »
- Carson Blackwelder
A review of tonight's Westworld coming up just as soon as I have a little fear of clowns... "When you find yourself in a bad dream, close your eyes, count backwards from three, wake yourself right up." - Maeve The Westworld pilot threw its audience into the deep end of the pool, starting us inside the park, and from the perspective of Dolores and the other hosts. And even as the story pulled out to introduce us to the staffers running the place, there wasn't a lot of narrative hand-holding. We were going to simply watch how the park ordinarily functions, within and without, before we started to see what it looks like when things start to go awry. After that immersion experience, "Chestnut" pulls back slightly and gives us an audience point-of-entry character in William (Jimmi Simpson), a guest who's never been to the park before, and who needs »
- Alan Sepinwall
Say what you like about last week’s series premiere of HBO’s “Westworld,” but leave Michael Crichton out of it. Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s expansive, expensive reimagining had little to do, in its first chapter, with the compact 1973 film by the science fiction writer, which followed closely two touristing pals — one hesitant and sensitive, the other James Brolin — exploring a faux old-west town, and what happens to them (spoiler: bad things) when the human-like robots that populate it start misbehaving.
Episode one of the new “Westworld” was entirely about the puppetmasters pulling the strings and the puppets pulling back. (James Marsden did an admirable job selling the Teddy fake-out, but the jig was up as soon as Ed Harris’ Man in Black arrived at Chez Delores.) Episode two, “Chestnut,” is not quite an homage to Crichton, but at least a hat-tip — and a clear sign that a third faction, the »
- Daniel Holloway
David Crow Oct 10, 2016
The intrigue thickens in HBO's Westworld as the series develops contrasting views of what the park truly represents.
This review contains spoilers.
Like a bath of milk congealing around a mechanical exoskeleton, the Westworld plot thickened in all the right places in episode two, giving definition to what very well could be HBO’s best new show in years. For all the gunfire and other sensual distractions, two scenes in particular stood out as what makes Westwold as a TV series work so much better than, say, Westworld the movie.
The first occurs early during a conversation between two new major characters, William and Logan. Both are ‘newcomers’ this week, quite literally so in William’s case as this is his first time at Westworld. For Logan, it's all old hat to his returning eyes, which hunger for the many lurid spectacles of the park. As he more or less implies, »
Few ideas survive the times that spawned them, but Westworld, the 1973 Michael Crichton movie about an Old West amusement park populated by lifelike robots, is good enough that Hollywood's been coming back to it for more than 40 years. The original film, which was MGM's biggest box-office success of the year, spawned a sequel and a short-lived TV series; talk of a remake had been floated around for years, with everyone from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Quentin Tarantino being namedropped around the project at various points. (There was even a porn version, »
By Mark Cerulli
Cinema Retro readers no doubt remember Michael Crichton’s classic sci-fi thriller Westworld. Who can forget the chilling spectacle of Yul Brynner – sans face – stalking a hapless Richard Benjamin? When I heard HBO was “rebooting” Westworld, I was skeptical. The word “Why?” kept coming to mind. The original was so good, why go there?
I’m happy to say I was dead wrong. By expanding Michael Crichton’s original vision, the producers were able to open up new storylines and vastly enhance the earlier concept. While the 1973 film was epic, it was limited by the visual effects available at the time. Now every modern tool in the VFX toolbox can be used and the results are intoxicating, drawing the viewer into Westworld’s latex embrace.
The overall setup is still the same – a high-end resort modeled after the Old West where guests can indulge in every fantasy »
- email@example.com (Cinema Retro)
Keep up with the always-hopping film festival world with our weekly Film Festival Roundup column. Check out last week’s Roundup right here.
– The BFI London Film Festival has announced its full program, running October 5 – 16. The festival will screen a total of 193 fiction and 52 documentary features, including 18 World Premieres, 8 International Premieres, 39 European Premieres. There will also be screenings of 144 short films, including documentary, live action and animated works. A number of directors, cast and crew are expected to take part in career interviews, Screen Talks, Q&As and Industry Talks: Lff Connects during the fest.
The festival has previously announced both its opener — Amma Asante’s “A United Kingdom” — and its closer — Ben Wheatley’s “Free Fire” — and those titles are joined by a bevy of new additions. Highlights include “The Birth of a Nation,” “Nocturnal Animals,” “Manchester By the Sea,” “La La Land” and many more. You can check »
- Kate Erbland
Ordinarily, a channel announcing the rough time of year when a show will debut wouldn't be worthy of much note. In the case of HBO and Westworld — which will debut at some point in the fall, along with new Sarah Jessica Parker comedy Divorce (created by Catastrophe's Sharon Horgan), Issa Rae comedy Insecure, and a TV version of web comedy High Maintenance — it's a different story. HBO has been through a lot of turmoil the last few years, especially on the drama side of things where it's been so dominant for so long. Game of Thrones is a world-beater, but it likely only has a couple of more seasons to go. Meanwhile, The Leftovers never really caught on (despite being TV's best drama) and will end after its (still-unscheduled) third season, Vinyl was a disappointment in terms of ratings and reviews and fired its original showrunner, True Detective seems unlikely to ever return, »
- Alan Sepinwall
“Jason’s body has disappeared from the morgue!”
Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter screens Midnights this weekend (May 13th and 14th) at The Moolah Theater and Lounge (3821 Lindell Blvd, St. Louis, Mo 63108) as part of Destroy the Brain’s monthly Late Night Grindhousefilm series.
Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter (1984), the fourth film in the venerable franchise, is considered by hard-core fans of the series to be the best, although it was hardly the “final Chapter” (there were at least 10 more). Directed by Joseph Zito (The Prowler) directed, which is indeed far above average by slasher standards and features a good cast of recognizable 80’s brat pack wannabes, including Crispin Glover (Back To The Future), Corey Feldman (The Goonies), Lawrence Monoson (Last American Virgin) and Judie Aronson (Weird Science). It also ranks as one of the goriest in the series, thanks to the return of makeup effects legend Tom Savini, »
- Tom Stockman
Emmy and Tony winner Ken Howard, the tall, barrel-chested actor known for starring in CBS’ late ’70s sports drama “The White Shadow,” NBC drama “Crossing Jordan” and, more recently, for his appearances on “30 Rock” as well as for his presidency of SAG-aftra, died Wednesday. He was 71.
SAG-aftra announced that he died at his home near Los Angeles. A cause of death has not yet been revealed.
“Ken was a remarkable leader and his powerful vision for this union was a source of inspiration for all of us,” SAG-aftra acting president Gabrielle Carteris said in a statement. “Ken was an inspirational leader and it is an incredible loss for SAG-aftra, for his family and for everyone who knew him. He was a light that never dimmed and was completely devoted to the membership. He led us through tumultuous times and set our union on a steady course of excellence. We will be forever in his debt. »
- Carmel Dagan
Emmy and Tony winner Ken Howard, the tall, barrel-chested actor known for starring in CBS’ late ’70s sports drama “The White Shadow,” NBC drama “Crossing Jordan” and, more recently, for his appearances on “30 Rock” as well as for his presidency of SAG-AFTRA, died Wednesday. He was 71.
SAG-AFTRA announced that he died at his home near Los Angeles. A cause of death has not yet been revealed.
“Ken was a remarkable leader and his powerful vision for this union was a source of inspiration for all of us,” SAG-aftra acting president Gabrielle Carteris said in a statement “He was an exceptional person and we are deeply saddened by his passing. He had a remarkable career and he never forgot what it was like to be a working performer. The merger of SAG and AFTRA was something of a ‘North Star’ for him and, once he fixed upon it, he never wavered from that goal. »
- Carmel Dagan
13 items from 2016
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