19 items from 2014
With the passing of Robin Williams (see what we chose as his 10 Best Performances here), perhaps this is a good moment to reflect on actors who died unexpectedly. A documentary on the brief, tragic life of Montgomery Clift has surfaced, and today happens to the birthday of the great John Cazale, an immense talent who died too young, laid low by lung cancer at the age of 42. In 2009, HBO released "I Knew It Was You: Remembering John Cazale," a terrific 40-minute look at his life, career and legacy. Featuring Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert De Niro, Gene Hackman and many more, produced by Brett Ratner (yup), and directed by Richard Shepherd ("The Matador," "Dom Hemingway") the doc takes a look at the man whose brief film career included the first two "The Godfather" films, "Dog Day Afternoon" and "The Deer Hunter." And he was fantastic in all of them. »
- Kevin Jagernauth
The Deer Hunter, 1978.
Directed by Michael Cimino.
A group of men celebrate their last night of freedom before they are drafted to fight in Vietnam. In Vietnam, they experience and witness horrors that will haunt them and change them for the rest of their lives.
Cinema often depicts characters that we compare ourselves to. Social groups will turn to The Hangover and Stand by Me and discuss which character they, and their friends, are similar to. The six friends in The Deer Hunter, as they gleefully run down the street naked, create this same thought-process. Michael Cimino’s second film sets up a close-knit community we recognise, but it is broken down and irreversibly changed following the Vietnam War. We don’t see Michael (Robert De Niro), Nicky (Christopher Walken) or Stevie »
- Simon Columb
On August 22, 1972, a man named John Wojtowicz attempted to rob a bank in Brooklyn to pay for his lover’s sex-change operation—at least, that is what has been long believed. The bungled heist would later inspire Sidney Lumet’s classic 1975 film Dog Day Afternoon, which starred Al Pacino as “Sonny Wortzik” and John Cazale as his fellow robber, Sal. Now, four decades on, Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren have made The Dog, a documentary which relates the real, incredible true story of that August day, and what happened to Wojtowicz afterwards.
The Dog premieres in theaters on Aug. 8 and »
- Clark Collis
Before he sunk a studio with Heaven’s Gate, Michael Cimino made The Deer Hunter. Released just three years after the horrific reality of the Vietnam War came to an end, and one year before Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now quickly took it into the realm of metaphors and nightmares, Cimino’s sweeping character study occupied the uneasy segue between war and ‘post’-war. In fact, the aching beauty of The Deer Hunter in every frame evokes a sense of post-everything; it’s very much concerned with pitting its central characters against a howling void of purposelessness, contrasted to their time spent in war-torn Vietnam where, between the chance of a bullet being in the chamber or not being in the chamber in the film’s famous Russian Roulette scene, there existed only clear, pure purpose.
- Gary Green
Here we are, at the top of the mountain. We’ve had plenty from every war imaginable, some supportive of war efforts, some not. But the more interesting war films really focus on the people; the internal struggles those men and women have about what they are doing. Whether made in America, Germany, the United Kingdom, or anywhere else, war is not just a battle between good and evil. It’s a life and death struggle between opposing sides that may not be that different. The movies at the top of this list may be subtle or straightforward, but each of them is a clear snapshot that lets audiences see what it means to fight, so they don’t have to.
10. Paths of Glory (1957)
Directed by: Stanley Kurbick
Conflict: World War I
- Joshua Gaul
98 years old. Remarkable. I can't imagine making it to 98. I can't imagine the breadth of life experience you could have in that amount of time. Eli Wallach leaves behind a truly great filmography and a family life that is enviable, having been married to the same woman, Anne Jackson, since 1948. She had a hell of a filmography herself, and they had three children together. I am in awe of anyone who can build a life that solid for that long, never mind someone who works in the film industry, where relationships are, at best, impermanent, and at worst, inconsequential. Wallach will leave an amazing legacy onscreen, but he was part of something larger, a total shift in the way acting was approached, and telling his story is telling the story of that paradigm change. He was part of that first wave of Method actors who made the jump from their »
- Drew McWeeny
It is not really difficult in coming up with cinema siblings and assessing their impact on the films they graced with humor, horror or hedonism. Whatever the combination–brother and sister, brother and brother, sister and sister–the big screen has always produced some of the most compelling siblings to entertain or shock us as the lights go dim at the local cinemaplex.
So who do you favor as your all-time favorite movie siblings? Perhaps you wouldn’t mind brothers Michael and Sam from 1987′s The Lost Boys? Or how about sisters Drizella and Anastasia from the 1950 animated film Cinderella? Maybe you could go for the transformation of television’s Brady kids into the film version of 1995′s The Brady Bunch Movie?
- Frank Ochieng
Many moviegoers consider the world of film as a reprieve from their current existing realities. This is rather interesting because in looking to escape the everyday realities for a fantasized slice of reality in cinema might seem quite redundant for some folks. However, the realities that are portrayed on the big screen are varied so whatever life experiences are depicted we may not have quite lived that particular episode therefore making it intriguing and fresh for our entertaining curiosities.
Films, when capturing a fragrance of reality through triumph and tragedy, are usually armed with a special messaging about the human condition through sacrifice, self-discovery, suffering and of course social awareness. In It’s About the Message: The Top 10 Oscar-winning Socially Aware Films we will take a look at Academy Award-winning movies that dared to examine the spirit about being socially aware–through inspiration and insidiousness (or both simultaneously)–and put »
- Frank Ochieng
As good as some directors are, it’s really difficult to maintain a level of quality over the course of several films. Even the best directors seem to have one or two stinkers in between their classics. For example, during the six year span from 1993 to 1998, Steven Spielberg made Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, Amistad, Saving Private Ryan… and then The Lost World: Jurassic Park is right there in the middle, to muck it all up. Yes, the culprit often involves a director making a sequel to one of their previous films, which inevitably brings down their entire filmography.
But sometimes the stars align and directors get on a really good streak, churning out masterpiece upon masterpiece. It’s impressive enough for filmmakers to have five amazing movies to their name over the span of a twenty year career, but it’s another thing entirely when you come across one »
- Audrey Fox
Screwball comedy movies, rare screenings of epic box office disaster: Library of Congress’ Packard Theater in April 2014 (photo: Cary Grant and Irene Dunne in ‘The Awful Truth’) In April 2014, the Library of Congress’ Packard Campus Theater in Culpeper, Virginia, will celebrate Hollywood screwball comedy movies, from the Marx Brothers’ antics to Peter Bogdanovich’s early ’70s homage What’s Up, Doc?, a box office blockbuster starring Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal. Additionally, the Packard Theater will present a couple of rarities, including an epoch-making box office disaster that led to the demise of a major studio. Among Packard’s April 2014 screwball comedies are the following: Leo McCarey’s Duck Soup (Saturday, April 5) — actually more zany, wacky, and totally insane than merely "screwball" — in which Groucho Marx stars as the recently (un)elected dictator of Freedonia, abetted by siblings Harpo Marx and Chico Marx, in addition to Groucho’s perennial foil, »
- Andre Soares
The top 20. The scripts by which all others are defined and to which all others are compared. Brilliant scripts can be wordy. Brilliant scripts can be confusing. Brilliant scripts can be sweeping or intimate. This section runs the gamut, ranging from first time writers to established writing vets. It only gets better from here.
courtesy of wikipedia.org
20. Easy Rider (1969)
They’ll talk to ya and talk to ya and talk to ya about individual freedom. But they see a free individual, it’s gonna scare ‘em.
This portion’s “anybody can write a film” segment comes from 1969, with a landmark film that truly doesn’t have much weight. A road movie if there ever was one, Easy Rider follows Wyatt (Peter Fonda) and Billy (Dennis Hopper) as they ride their motorcycles across the country to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. »
- Joshua Gaul
We’ve been big fans of the Royal Albert Hall’s tremendous film events for quite a few years now and they continue their incredible and unique run with the announcement that they’re giving you an offer you can’t refuse as we’re set to see Francis Ford Coppola’s timeless The Godfather alongside a live orchestra, who will bring Nino Rota’s immortal orchestral score live and to life on Monday, 8 December 2014.
The world premiere of The Godfather Live will be a celebration of a crime classic regularly cited as one of the greatest films ever made. Justin Freer, conductor of The Godfather Live, had this to say:
“It is with great excitement that we are able to bring this masterful score and film to the Royal Albert Hall. That we are able to preserve and present some of the most cherished music in the history of »
- Dan Bullock
London's Royal Albert Hall has announced details of The Godfather Live.
Nino Rota's iconic score for the classic 1972 movie will be performed live alongside a screening of the film on Monday, December 8, 2014.
Jasper Hope, Chief Operating Officer at the Royal Albert Hall, said of the project: "We are making movie fans an offer they can't refuse - The Godfather as it has never been seen, or heard, before.
"The Royal Albert Hall has become the place to see great films with great scores played live, and the chance to watch The Godfather with Nino Rota's legendary music performed on stage and in full will be a unique experience for fans.
"We are delighted to welcome the Corleone family to this iconic venue. »
Meryl Streep knows a thing or two about long-term success, and her marriage is no exception. She and sculptor Don Gummer have been married since 1978, and he'll likely be her red carpet date to this Sunday's Academy Awards. Meryl may have been mentioned more than God in Oscars acceptance speeches over the last decade, but at the 2012 Academy Awards, it was her husband who received a sweet shoutout. When Meryl won best actress for The Iron Lady, she said, "First I'm going to thank Don because when you thank your husband at the end of the speech they play him out with the music, and I want him to know that everything I value most in our lives you've given me." The pair first met after her partner, John Cazale - of The Godfather and Deer Hunter - died of bone cancer. She was invited to move into the vacant apartment of her brother's friend, »
- Laura Marie Meyers
Simon Columb continues our Al Pacino Retrospective with The Godfather Part II....
Is The Godfather Part II superior to The Godfather? In a lively discussion on sequels, film fanatic Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy) in Scream 2, argues how “sequels suck”. But, unlike Terminator 2: Judgement Day and Aliens, The Godfather Part II stumps him. It covers a greater space of time, tells a grander story and turns what was a family-centred, but nevertheless New York “Gangshter” story, into a personal drama set on an epic, ambitious scale.
Though the dialogue in The Godfather holds iconic and memorable lines, definitive scenes in The Godfather Part II show Michael Corleone’s true menace revealing itself. The Godfather portrays his sinister and deeply-calculated methods of management, but they are subtle and carefully-constructed. He recommends the hit on Solozzo and MacCluskey; he marries Kay (Diane Keaton) to maintain a strong family unit; he settles »
- Gary Collinson
Coppola's classic belongs to an age when the best picture Oscar went to a deserving winner, or in this case, one of the finest Us movies of the late 20th century
Remember the good old days when the best picture Oscar went to the best picture of the year? Me neither, but 40 years ago it went not only to the best film of the year, but to one the finest American movies of the decade, indeed of the entire second half of the 20th century: The Godfather Part II.
Like many people, I've had a longer relationship with this movie than I've had with anyone not actually related to me. It has enlivened me, astounded me, alienated me, and finally it seemed to be swamped by the great comet trail of works – Scorsese, The Sopranos above all – that imitated it, argued with it, and seemed to render it obsolete.
- John Patterson
The untimely death of the wonderfully gifted actor Philip Seymour Hoffman led to an outpouring of warmth for the man and affection for his work all day yesterday and today. You can find the man's "best" moments from Boogie Nights, Capote, Almost Famous, Moneyball, Twister, The Master or (insert your choice here) in numerous articles (and in the actual films, of course), but I had a quick, short memory of Philip Seymour Hoffman in the excellent HBO documentary I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale. The late John Cazale is noteworthy not only for his acting skill, but also for one truly excellent piece of Oscar trivia: all five of the films that John Cazale appeared in (The Godfather, The Conversation, The Godfather Part 2, Dog Day Afternoon and The Deer...
- Scott Weinberg
Meryl Streep breaks Oscar record: Oscar 2014 nominations (photo: Meryl Streep in ‘August: Osage County’) The 2014 Oscar nominations were announced earlier today at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Thor: The Dark World and Snow White and the Huntsman actor Chris Hemsworth — whose Rush was completely shut out — made the announcements, including that of Best Actress contender Meryl Streep, in the running for her performance in John Wells’ August: Osage County. Streep’s competitors are her Doubt and Julie & Julia co-star Amy Adams for David O. Russell’s American Hustle, Sandra Bullock for Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, Judi Dench for Stephen Frears’ Philomena, and likely winner Cate Blanchett for Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. (Emma Thompson’s absence from the Best Actress roster — for her performance in John Lee Hancock’s Saving Mr. Banks — was quite a surprise. »
- Steve Montgomery
In which a new Film Experience tradition begins. A pre-nomination mini-symposium about fifth spot battles...
Nathaniel R: Things that are awesome that come in sets of five: fingers, boy bands, the filmography of John Cazale, golden rings to be used for Olympics or in song, toes, Oscar nominees... It always comes back to the Oscars here at The Film Experience, don't you know?
I never thought of myself as any more averse to change than the average person but when the Academy changed the Best Picture system in 2009 and 2010 to a top ten and then to anything between 5 and 10, the magic number suddenly becoming 9 in both 2011 and 2012, it felt like a direct attack on my sanity. But Oscar categories come in fives!!! I've never stopped internally protesting and whenever anyone suggests that the acting categories should widen as well, a little part of me dies inside or reaches for smelling salts. »
- NATHANIEL R
19 items from 2014
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