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Roundly dismissed upon its release by critics in 1983, Tony Scott’s classy, stylish art-house vampire film The Hunger arrives on Blu-ray as a demure addition to the Warner Bros. Archive Collection. A notable cult item still lacking of a deserving reappraisal for its significant merits, the film has long languished in obscurity with the exception of its references to the explicit lesbian sex scene shared between Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon (featured in a first-wave resurgence of interest in Lgbt cinematic themes with the documentary version of Vito Russo’s The Celluloid Closet, 1991). It represents one of three cinematic adaptations from horror writer Whitley Streiber, following the also forgotten Wolfen (1981), starring Albert Finney.
Miriam Blaylock (Deneuve) is an ancient yet breathtakingly beautiful vampire. Her lover of the past three centuries, John (David Bowie) has suddenly begun to age and decay, apparently something that has eventually happened to all of her past lovers, »
- Nicholas Bell
August 25 will be a big night for Academy board members: That’s when they select 2015 recipients of the Governors Awards.
According to the website, AMPAS encourages members of the Academy to weigh in. They didn’t say anything about non-members, but why not? Movie fans have strong ideas too.
So here are some proposals: Michael Apted, whose range includes the “Seven Up!” docus to “Coal Miner’s Daughter”; Tsui Hark, a key figure in Asia’s action films; Richard Lester, the influential director; documaker extraordinaire Frederick Wiseman; and actress-director Jeanne Moreau. Incredibly, none has ever been nominated for an Oscar. And how about activist Rob Reiner for the Hersholt?
Variety exec editor Steven Gaydos also offers some stellar names for consideration: Gilles Jacob, who led the Cannes Fest for decades; producer-casting pro Fred Roos, whose groundbreaking credits include “The Godfather” and “American Graffiti”; Brit filmmaker Ken Loach; American actress Gena Rowlands »
- Tim Gray
It’s summer time so why not go on a road trip? Well unless of course you want to spend the whole time bickering and trying to work out why your relationship slowly unraveling; Stanley Donen’s Two for the Road is this week’s film as well as an in-depth look at how relationships fail.
From Masters of Cinema:
One of the great fims by Stanley Donen (Singin’ in the Rain, Charade) after the studio era had come to a close, Two for the Road was a break-off with the old system, one which allowed Donen to further stretch his art, aided by screenwriter Frederic Raphael (Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut), in this tale of a couple voluntarily stretching themselves through the long period of their relationship.
Portrayed in fragments that span the couple’s time together in marriage, Two for the Road runs the course of a »
- Tom Jennings
Tommy Lee Jones, over the course of his career, has played the stoic bureaucrat who has had to stop our hero (be it Will Smith, Harrison Ford or Chris Evans) from saving the day. Now, he.s putting Matt Damon in his eyesights as part of the still-unnamed Jason Bourne sequel, with Paul Greengrass at the helm. Variety reports that Tommy Lee Jones has joined the next Bourne adventure, co-starring alongside Matt Damon, who returns to the series after sitting out 2012.s The Bourne Legacy. The trade notes that Jones will play "a superior officer at the CIA," which puts him at the tail end of a long line of character actors playing stuffed shirts in the Bourne series, including the great Joan Allen, Brian Cox, David Strathairn, Scott Glenn, Albert Finney, Chris Cooper and Stacy Keach. Seriously, that.s an amazing repertory of angry, bitter old actors who hate »
Omar Sharif in 'Doctor Zhivago.' Egyptian star Omar Sharif, 'The Karate Kid' producer Jerry Weintraub: Brief career recaps A little late in the game – and following the longish Theodore Bikel article posted yesterday – below are brief career recaps of a couple of film veterans who died in July 2015: actor Omar Sharif and producer Jerry Weintraub. A follow-up post will offer an overview of the career of peplum (sword-and-sandal movie) actor Jacques Sernas, whose passing earlier this month has been all but ignored by the myopic English-language media. Omar Sharif: Film career beginnings in North Africa The death of Egyptian film actor Omar Sharif at age 83 following a heart attack on July 10 would have been ignored by the English-language media (especially in the U.S.) as well had Sharif remained a star within the Arabic-speaking world. After all, an "international" star is only worth remembering »
- Andre Soares
Long considered to be one of British auteur Tony Richardson’s greatest miscalculations is his 1970 film Ned Kelly, certainly the most notable but arguably the definitive version as concerns one of Australia’s most infamous outlaws. Arriving on Blu-ray for the first time, the title remains a curious novelty, one of a handful of on-screen appearances featuring The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger in a high-profile role. As many of these once-reviled titles go, the history behind the making of the film tends to overshadow the compromised product, and Richardson’s failed period piece is no exception.
In the late 1800s Outback, horse thief and aspiring bank robber Ned Kelly (Jagger) is released after serving a three year prison sentence. Harassed by the law and his angry neighbors, the ornery bushranger is forced into action when his mother (Clarissa Kaye) is unjustly accused of murder and sentenced to prison. His resulting »
- Nicholas Bell
As Showtime has gotten in the habit of doing, the first episodes of Ray Donovan and Masters of Sex’s Season 3 premieres are now available on YouTube (and Showtime’s website). The breasts may be blurred and the language cleaned up, but you can certainly get an idea of where the series find our favorite characters. In Ray Donovan’s great opener, Ray (Liev Schreiber) is adrift from his family and all those close to him, and suffers a big personal loss. And as he wrestles with his issues at home, he’s also introduced to a new and powerful client, Albert Finney (Ian McShane). You can check out the full premiere episode below: Masters of Sex has (yet another) time jump to launch its third season, one which finds Bill (Michael Sheen) and Virginia (Lizzy Caplan) at odds over the work and their future, and also engaging in a »
- Allison Keene
Ron Moody as Fagin in 'Oliver!' based on Charles Dickens' 'Oliver Twist.' Ron Moody as Fagin in Dickens musical 'Oliver!': Box office and critical hit (See previous post: "Ron Moody: 'Oliver!' Actor, Academy Award Nominee Dead at 91.") Although British made, Oliver! turned out to be an elephantine release along the lines of – exclamation point or no – Gypsy, Star!, Hello Dolly!, and other Hollywood mega-musicals from the mid'-50s to the early '70s. But however bloated and conventional the final result, and a cast whose best-known name was that of director Carol Reed's nephew, Oliver Reed, Oliver! found countless fans. The mostly British production became a huge financial and critical success in the U.S. at a time when star-studded mega-musicals had become perilous – at times downright disastrous – ventures. Upon the American release of Oliver! in Dec. 1968, frequently acerbic The »
- Andre Soares
After American Sniper was the biggest box office draw of 2014, it seems anyone will pay to see Bradley Cooper in uniform again. Deadline reports Cooper is set to produce Ghost Army, a World War II story about an agency tasked with feeding the Nazis fake intelligence about the actual number of American troops, with the hope that Cooper will star. Cooper, Todd Phillips, and Andrew Lazar are producing a script by Henry Gayden (Earth to Echo), working from a non-fiction book entitled The Ghost Army of World War II and a 2013 documentary also titled Ghost Army.
Not even a year after Tom Wilkinson portrayed Lyndon B. Johnson in Selma, Woody Harrelson will now portray our former president in Rob Reiner’s political drama simply titled Lbj. Via Variety, production will begin in the fall on a film about the life of Johnson up through his childhood and how he was »
- Brian Welk
The new movie adaptation of Agatha Christie's Murder On The Orient Express may have found its director.
Cinderella's Kenneth Branagh is the current frontrunner to take charge of the project, says The Wrap. Ridley Scott, Simon Kinberg and Mark Gordon are producing the detective film for 20th Century Fox.
There is no word yet on casting for the movie, which tells the story of famed detective Hercule Poirot investigating the murder of an American tycoon aboard the famous train.
Here's hoping for a similar calibre of actors for the reboot.
Ray Donovan‘s Season 3 trailer has officially arrived, and Katie Holmes’ Paige Finney makes quite the first impression, as it appears that she and Ray will be spending quite a bit of time together this year, with the infamous fixer being tasked with keeping an eye on Paige by her father, Albert Finney (Deadwood‘s Ian McShane). However, I’m not so sure that Albert will end up being happy with just how close Ray and Paige appear to be getting in this trailer, and you’ll see what I mean around the 1:40 mark. Elsewhere in the trailer, Ray attempts to come up with a plan to get his brother Terry out of prison before he’s killed while inside, and even though he may end up surviving, things don’t look so good for Terry from what we’re shown. Also, Ray’s daughter Bridget urges him to come back home, »
- Chris King
Kenneth Branagh has reached a fairly interesting period in his career, that’s for sure. After spending so many years primarily adapting Shakespeare onto the big screen, starting with “Thor,” Branagh has embarked on a flirtation with mainstream Hollywood fare that doesn’t appear to be letting up anytime soon. He’s currently in talks to helm an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express,” which from the outset, appears to be right up his alley. But with his last film “Cinderella” making some serious bank in the box office, you’d have to imagine Branagh can pretty much do what he wants. Of course, “Murder on the Orient Express” has been made into a feature film before. The incomparable Sidney Lumet directed the 1974 version, which was well-received at the time of its release and earned several Academy Award nominations. Considering Lumet’s film featured a knockout »
- Ken Guidry
British star set to direct new movie version of Agatha Christie’s locomotive homicide favourite
If the film proceeds, it will be the fourth screen transfer for the story, which concerns a mysterious death on a train departing from Istanbul and boasting a picturesque selection of passengers. The novel was most famously adapted in 1974 for a film starring Albert Finney as Belgium sleuth Hercule Poirot; subsequent TV versions in 2001 and 2010 starred Alfred Molina and David Suchet.
Continue reading »
- Catherine Shoard
It looks like Kenneth Branagh might have found his Cinderella follow-up. According to The Wrap, Branagh is currently in talks to direct a new adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. The novel was first published in 1934 and has been adapted four times since - there’s Sidney Lumet’s 1974 feature film starring Albert Finney, a five-part radio series for BBC Radio 4, a made-for-tv version starring Alfred Molina that aired on CBS, and then another rendition for the series Agatha Christie's Poirot. Michael Green (Green Lantern) is set to pen the new Murder on the Orient Express film for 20th Century Fox. The narrative features a private detective named Hercule Poirot. During a trip aboard the Orient Express, an American man is murdered and Poirot agrees to investigate and try to find out who did it. Ridley Scott and Simon Kinberg are on board to produce the film alongside Mark Gordon. »
- Perri Nemiroff
In the story, Belgian detective Hercule Poirot investigates the murder of an American tycoon aboard the titular train. A large ensemble of A-lst stars are expected to be a part of the cast.
The work was previous adapted onto a multiple Oscar-nominated film in 1974 with Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Jacqueline Bisset, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave and Michael York.
It was adapted again in 2004 as part of the long-running David Suchet-led TV series. That version included Jessica Chastain, Toby Jones, Barbara Hershey, David Morrissey, Hugh Bonneville, Brian J. Smith and Eileen Atkins. »
- Garth Franklin
While the name Gabriel Figueroa may not be a familiar one to many, even those with a stronger affinity for filmmaking and the art behind it, New York’s own Film Forum is hoping to change that.
On June 5, the theater began a career spanning retrospective surrounding the work of iconic cinematographer and Mexican film industry legend Gabriel Figueroa. Taking a look at 19 of the photographer’s films, the series is running in conjunction with the new exhibition at El Museo del Barrio, entitled Under The Mexican Sky: Gabriel Figueroa – Art And Film.
Best known as a pioneer of Mexican cinema, primarily with his work alongside director Emilio Fernandez, Figueroa’s work was as varied as they come. His work with Fernandez is without a doubt this retrospective’s highlight, particularly films like Wildflower. One of the many times Mexican cinema’s “Big Four” worked together, the film saw the »
- Joshua Brunsting
The first week of June is looking to be excellent for those horror and sci-fi fans looking to add some new titles to their home entertainment collections. Two great cult classics—Scarecrows and Wolfen—are coming to high-definition, and we have Monsters: Dark Continent to look forward to as well. Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead’s genre-bending Spring is coming to DVD and Blu-ray (the latter being a Best Buy exclusive) and, for those of you waiting for WolfCop on Blu-ray, you’ll finally be able to bring the furry fiend home in HD.
A bevy of indie horror movies are also making their way onto DVD this week and the Wachowski’s Jupiter Ascending is arriving on 3D Blu-ray and standard DVD for those of you who may have missed the sci-fi actioner in theaters. And for all you Pitchfork fans out there, Hayride 2 will also be available on Tuesday. »
- Heather Wixson
We're just 9 days away from the launch of another Smackdown Summer. Rather than announce piecemeal, we'll give you all five lineups in case you'd like more time to catch up with these films (some of them stone cold classics) over the hot months. Remember to cast your own ballots during each month for the reader-polling (your 1979 votes are due by June 4th). Your votes count toward the final Smackdown win so more of you should join in.
These Oscar years were chosen after comment reading, dvd searching, handwringing, and desire-to-watch moods. I wish we had time to squeeze in a dozen Smackdowns each summer! As it is there will be Two Smackdowns in June, a gift to you since this first episode was delayed.
Sunday June 7th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1979
- NATHANIEL R
This week marks the 10th anniversary of the release of "Crash" (on May 6, 2005), an all-star movie whose controversy came not from its provocative treatment of racial issues but from its Best Picture Oscar victory a few months later, against what many critics felt was a much more deserving movie, "Brokeback Mountain."
The "Crash" vs. "Brokeback" battle is one of those lingering disputes that makes the Academy Awards so fascinating, year after year. Moviegoers and critics who revisit older movies are constantly judging the Academy's judgment. Even decades of hindsight may not always be enough to tell whether the Oscar voters of a particular year got it right or wrong. Whether it's "Birdman" vs. "Boyhood," "The King's Speech" vs. "The Social Network," "Saving Private Ryan" vs. "Shakespeare in Love" or even "An American in Paris" vs. "A Streetcar Named Desire," we're still confirming the Academy's taste or dismissing it as hopelessly off-base years later. »
- Gary Susman
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
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