16 items from 2015
Since that Oscar win for The Artist, Jean Dujardin hasn't become as ubiquitous in Hollywood movies as we might have expected. Maybe Funny Or Die's sketch played out for real and he found himself pigeoned-holed and offered unappetising roles; maybe he was happy to stay local and moonlight in the likes of The Wolf Of Wall Street and The Monuments Men. Either way, he'll be back on our screens soon in The Connection, a taut Gallic policier that has a new trailer below. brightcove.createExperiences();There's a hint of Mesrine's stylised moodiness in there, underlined by the presence of Gilles Lellouche as the Fernando Rey to Dujardin's Gene Hackman. Lellouche is Neapolitan heroin trafficker Tony Zampa; Dujardin is Pierre Michel, the Marseilles magistrate trying to bring him down.It's the same tense terrain - and the same real-life case - that was tapped by John Frankenheimer's The French Connection »
Over the course of 30 years, Ethan Hawke's appeared in a remarkable array of films, from his early breakthrough roles in Joe Dante's Explorers and Peter Weir's Dead Poets Society, to last year's spectacular Boyhood.
Hawke's latest film, Good Kill, reunites him with director Andrew Niccol - back in 1997, they worked together on the superbly moving sci-fi, Gattaca. Set in 2010, Good Kill's a military drama about a former Us pilot-turned drone operative, who carries out strikes in the Middle East from an office chair in Las Vegas.
Niccol shoots the film with the imagination of his sci-fi films, which makes Good Kill's true-life subject matter all the more disturbing. And once again, Hawke turns in a spectacular performance - one that, »
David Hasselhoff and Bo Derek are braving the storm with Ian Ziering and Tara Reid in The Asylum and Syfy's Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! Featured in our latest round-up, the third installment in the tongue-in-cheek franchise has received a summer release date. We also have a casting update for the second season of Robert Rodriguez's From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, as well as a Friday the 13th 35th Anniversary T-shirt from Fright Rags.
Press Release (via TV by the Numbers) - New York – March 18, 2015 – Syfy and The Asylum today announced that the official title of the latest installment in the global pop culture sensation is Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! The two-hour original movie will devour the planet on Wednesday, »
- Derek Anderson
Directed by Peter Godfrey
*It should be noted that the following review contains spoilers pertaining to the film’s plot, including an important revelation on which most of the drama hinges. Readers have been forewarned.
Defence Attorney Craig Carlson (Raymond Burr) sits alone in his office late one night. Having turned on a recording machine he begins to narrate to a fellow lawyer that he is surely to be killed within the hour. At that moment the film flashbacks to some months ago when Craig approaches a dear old friend, Joe Leeds (Dick Foran) with terrible news: Joe’s wife and him have fallen in deeply in love. Joe appears visibly disappointed, but, curiously, less angry than one might expect. He implores Craig to give him time to mull over the situation. Shortly thereafter Joe returns home to see his wife, »
- Edgar Chaput
Teresa Wright and Matt Damon in 'The Rainmaker' Teresa Wright: From Marlon Brando to Matt Damon (See preceding post: "Teresa Wright vs. Samuel Goldwyn: Nasty Falling Out.") "I'd rather have luck than brains!" Teresa Wright was quoted as saying in the early 1950s. That's understandable, considering her post-Samuel Goldwyn choice of movie roles, some of which may have seemed promising on paper. Wright was Marlon Brando's first Hollywood leading lady, but that didn't help her to bounce back following the very public spat with her former boss. After all, The Men was released before Elia Kazan's film version of A Streetcar Named Desire turned Brando into a major international star. Chances are that good film offers were scarce. After Wright's brief 1950 comeback, for the third time in less than a decade she would be gone from the big screen for more than a year. »
- Andre Soares
Le Chapitre Français: Jimenez’s Satisfactory Take on Famed Drug Smuggling Operation
Within the glut of cinematic dramas and thrillers contending with drug smuggling operations and underworld criminal organizations, epically administered and otherwise, Cedric Jimenez’s sophomore feature, The Connection (aka La French) may not appear to be anything special. And the truth of the matter is, it really isn’t, except for the fact that it’s loosely related to the long spanning series of drug related operations referred to as ‘the French Connection,’ which, of course, inspired William Friedkin’s iconic 1971 film The French Connection (which won Best Picture and spawned a John Frankenheimer directed sequel). Sporting an impressive production value and a handsome cast, Jimenez definitely gets the look and feel right, as far as our expectations are calibrated for how these things go. And yet, there’s something innately underwhelming about all this, and though Jimenez is, »
- Nicholas Bell
Smack dab in the middle of his fourth decade as a filmmaker, auteur John Frankenheimer would release what would stand as one of his last notable titles with 52 Pick-Up in 1986. The 80s were not really kind to the veteran director, having knocked out one of his silliest titles in 1979 with the environmental horror film Prophecy prior to helming some other oddities, like the Scott Glenn/Toshiro Mifune film The Challenge (1982), the Michael Caine thriller The Holcraft Experiment (1985) and then Dead Bang (1989) with Don Johnson. But it would be his adaptation of this Elmore Leonard novel, a black mail neo noir that really stands out amongst his later works.
Harry Mitchell (Roy Scheider) is a Los Angeles entrepreneur. He’s got a great life, lots of money, a beautiful wife (Ann-Margret) about to enter into the political arena, and a sprawling home. But when three criminals led by pornographer Alan Raimy »
- Nicholas Bell
To Go On Two Legs: Gregory’s Fascinating Recapitulation of a Cinematic Train Wreck
Documentarian David Gregory graduates from an extensive history of shorts with his first feature length achievement, the verbosely titled Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s The Island of Dr. Moreau. However, the title is something of a misnomer, much like another recent examination of a project that never came to fruition with its originating director, Jodorowsky’s Dune. Stanley, who had gained a successful cult following in the early 90s for Hardware (1990) and the Miramax distributed Dust Devil (1992), would engage in the sort of uphill production battle that rivalled historical studio horror stories. Weather, nervous producers, pampered diva personalities, and ultimately, Stanley’s own limitations in reigning in such aggressive setbacks would result in his being fired from the set. However, the strangeness doesn’t stop there. Gregory manages to convey the extremity of a much maligned production, »
- Nicholas Bell
Richard Stanley’s ill-fated remake of The Island of Dr. Moreau has become the thing of legend, as he was fired from the 1996 film after only three days and replaced by John Frankenheimer. The disastrous tale is told in documentary… Continue Reading →
- John Squires
One of the all-time greatest cinematic train wrecks is given blow-by-blow chronicling in “Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau.” The creation of the H.G. Wells’ story’s third official screen incarnation was beset by disasters even more bizarre than the delirious mess of a feature finally released in 1996, with stars Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer reportedly rivaling even Mother Nature as destructive on-set forces. Though not so imaginatively packaged as another recent unmaking-of docu, “Jodorowsky’s Dune,” David Gregory’s pic can hardly help but fascinate with its mix of archival materials and surviving-collaborator testimonies. A hit at genre fests, the pic should do well in specialized cable sales and home formats.
Writer-helmer Stanley was an Aussie horror/sci-fi prodigy who’d attracted favorable fan notice with modestly budgeted thrillers “Hardware” (1990) and “Dust Devil” (1992). A fan of Wells’ tale since childhood, he was »
- Dennis Harvey
The Manchurian Candidate, 1962.
Directed by John Frankenheimer.
A former Korean War Pow is brainwashed by Communists into becoming a political assassin. But another former prisoner may know how to save him.
Exploring the extremes of cold war paranoia in a stylish cloak and dagger format that must have raised more than a few eyebrows on its release in 1962, The Manchurian Candidate is a film that takes a look beyond the usual political invective.
Following the terrifying experiences of Korean War veterans as they attempt to settle back into ‘normal’ American life, the film is a supremely dark portrayal of influence and control. Laurence Harvey (Room at the Top, Darling) as Raymond Shaw creates a terrifyingly understated performance as the pawn in the games of the political elite. Specifically, his character is controlled through the use »
- Robert W Monk
Oscar 2015 winners (photo: Chris Pratt during Oscar 2015 rehearsals) The complete list of Oscar 2015 winners and nominees can be found below. See also: Oscar 2015 presenters and performers. Now, a little Oscar 2015 trivia. If you know a bit about the history of the Academy Awards, you'll have noticed several little curiosities about this year's nominations. For instance, there are quite a few first-time nominees in the acting and directing categories. In fact, nine of the nominated actors and three of the nominated directors are Oscar newcomers. Here's the list in the acting categories: Eddie Redmayne. Michael Keaton. Steve Carell. Benedict Cumberbatch. Felicity Jones. Rosamund Pike. J.K. Simmons. Emma Stone. Patricia Arquette. The three directors are: Morten Tyldum. Richard Linklater. Wes Anderson. Oscar 2015 comebacks Oscar 2015 also marks the Academy Awards' "comeback" of several performers and directors last nominated years ago. Marion Cotillard and Reese Witherspoon won Best Actress Oscars for, respectively, Olivier Dahan »
- Steve Montgomery
Editor's Note: RogerEbert.com is proud to reprint Roger Ebert's 1978 entry from the Encyclopedia Britannica publication "The Great Ideas Today," part of "The Great Books of the Western World." Reprinted with permission from The Great Ideas Today ©1978 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
It's a measure of how completely the Internet has transformed communication that I need to explain, for the benefit of some younger readers, what encyclopedias were: bound editions summing up all available knowledge, delivered to one's home in handsome bound editions. The "Great Books" series zeroed in on books about history, poetry, natural science, math and other fields of study; the "Great Ideas" series was meant to tie all the ideas together, and that was the mission given to Roger when he undertook this piece about film.
Given the venue he was writing for, it's probably wisest to look at Roger's long, wide-ranging piece as a snapshot of the »
- Roger Ebert
David Gregory's hugely entertaining doc, Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau, will be playing a limited Us theatrical run this month and next, with more dates on the way. Anyone who has seen The Island of Dr. Moreau knows what a screaming Wtf-fest that movie is. Started by director Richard Stanley and ended by John Frankenheimer, Moreau features Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer playing God onscreen. What most didn't know at the time of this 1996 release is that they essentially played God off-screen, too, and had a hand in getting Stanley fired from the film; particularly Kilmer. Nearly 20 years have passed since that film's release, and now we're getting the lurid and downright bizarre tales of behind-the-scenes shenanigans from those who worked...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
“Sunshine Superman” exhilaratingly retraces the steps — well, lunges — of the late Carl Boenish, an aerial cinematographer and the father of extreme sport Base jumping. His is a very colorful life story (albeit one that leaves some questions unanswered), vividly told here by first-time director Marah Strauch through a mix of plentiful archival materials, re-enactments and interviews with surviving colleagues. Likely to be compared to 2008’s “Man on Wire” in its larger-than-life theme and nostalgic tilt, it stands a good chance of repeating that documentary’s sleeper success when Magnolia launches its U.S. theatrical release on May 22.
A figure of somewhat fanatical enthusiasms, energy and enterprise, Boenish overcame partially paralyzing childhood polio to life a life of outlandish physicality. Already an experienced parachutist, he entered professional cinematography by getting hired to oversee the extensive wingsuit-flying sequences in John Frankenheimer’s 1969 skydiving drama “The Gypsy Moths.” Soon he was making his »
- Dennis Harvey
How would you program this year's newest, most interesting films into double features with movies of the past you saw in 2014?
Looking back over the year at what films moved and impressed us, it is clear that watching old films is a crucial part of making new films meaningful. Thus, the annual tradition of our end of year poll, which calls upon our writers to pick both a new and an old film: they were challenged to choose a new film they saw in 2014—in theatres or at a festival—and creatively pair it with an old film they also saw in 2014 to create a unique double feature.
All the contributors were given the option to write some text explaining their 2014 fantasy double feature. What's more, each writer was given the option to list more pairings, with or without explanation, as further imaginative film programming we'd be lucky to catch »
16 items from 2015
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