12 items from 2014
From 1937 to 1946, Mickey Rooney played clean-cut, wide-eyed Midwestern teenager Andy Hardy 15 times in a series of films that proved instrumental (along with his Judy Garland musicals) in making him one of the most popular movie stars of his era. They also surely came to feel like a gilded prison around the actor. By the time the series ended, the Hardy character had been to WWII and back (as had Rooney), yet still seemed incapable of getting past first base with a girl (whereas Rooney was already on the second of his eight marriages).
The Mickster’s thirst for more adult roles was palpable, and Hollywood took a few different stabs at figuring out what to do with him. There was a series of sports films designed to show off the five-foot-two actor’s virile, athletic side: the boxing drama “Killer McCoy” (1947), in which he is a highly improbable light heavyweight »
- Scott Foundas
Memo: To George Clooney
Your Clooney movie machine is purring along smoothly, George, with “Gravity,” which you co-produced, poised to reap further largesse from the Oscars. You will shortly start “Tomorrowland,” a sci-fi megapic from director Brad Bird. And “Monuments Men” has opened to respectable numbers in the U.S., and aspires to stronger ones overseas.
But before we gloss over that last movie. … As a filmmaker who has feasted off worshipful reviews for most of your career, George, the critical whiplash that greeted “Monuments Men” surely took you by surprise. I hope so anyway, because this might be a good moment for you to reassess a key aspect of your filmmaking strategy.
The WWII-set film, which you wrote, directed and starred in, offers a compelling story, a noble message and an inspired cast. Trouble is, it’s a dark war movie haphazardly married to an unwieldy comedy caper. It »
- Peter Bart
Way back at the start of the millennium, luxury carmaker BMW launched the film series "The Hire" with Clive Owen starring in eight short films from top shelf directors—John Frankenheimer, Ang Lee, Wong Kar-wai, Guy Ritchie, Alejandro González Iñárritu, John Woo, Joe Carnahan, Tony Scott—to highlight the high priced autos in slick big screen worthy productions. It worked. The film are still referenced today, managed some intriguing guest stars (Madonna, Gary Oldman, Mickey Rourke, Don Cheadle) and found that sweet spot between commerce and creativity. And more than a decade later, BMW is going to do it again. Showbiz411 reports that Gus Van Sant is the first director on board for the relaunched series, which currently has no title, and even a cast. But we do know the there will be a shakeup to the formula, with the new films following a couple, instead of single person, with »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Even international spies have trouble balancing work and family life, according to “3 Days to Kill,” the latest lightweight action pic from writer-producer Luc Besson, here forming an unlikely (or perhaps unholy) trinity with director McG and star Kevin Costner. Surely the goal of the resulting tonal mishmash was to reignite Costner’s career a la what happened for Liam Neeson after Besson’s “Taken,” but any possibility of sleeper-hit status has been fatally compromised by watered-down fight scenes and misguided family man dramatics. Three days of decent box office appears the best hope for this Relativity release, likely to continue EuropaCorp’s recent run of non-”Taken” commercial disappointments in the U.S. International prospects look only moderately livelier.
- Geoff Berkshire
George Clooney's second world war art-recovery thriller falls well short of the required levels of action or excitement
• George Clooney's Nazi art theft film attacked for ignoring real-life British war hero
George Clooney's latest directorial endeavour â€" a putative second world war thriller about a special Us army unit dedicated to rescuing art works looted by the Nazis â€" has landed with a thud and a splutter at the Berlin film festival. You might expect audiences here to be a tad sensitive about films portraying their compatriots as irredeemable civilisation-destroyers, but that's actually the least of The Monuments Men's problems. Filled with unearned patriotic sentiment, sketchy to the point of inanity, and interrupted every few minutes with neurotic self-justification, this displays none of the nimble-witted sleight of hand, nor indeed old-fashioned suspense, of Argo, the last historical caper movie with which Clooney was involved.
Part of »
- Andrew Pulver
This weekend, as you search for a movie to watch, you can either check out The Monuments Men or pick one of approximately 14 billion options available on streaming over a variety of services, be it Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, On Demand, or rental sites and services. Every Friday, Vulture tries to make life easier by narrowing it down to a handful of heartily recommended options. This week, we're salvaging the best of men-on-a-mission WWII movies, including a documentary on the story that inspired George Clooney's latest.The TrainDays into shooting The Train, star Burt Lancaster ousted director Arthur Penn (of Bonnie and Clyde fame) and recruited his Seven Days in May collaborator John Frankenheimer. Penn's take on the material — the true-ish World War II story of a railman's efforts to foil a Nazi plot to ship stolen art out of France — was a bit too stuffy for Lancaster, ruminating »
- Matt Patches
As the trailers and post-holiday pushback release suggested, George Clooney's "The Monuments Men" is dead on arrival. What went wrong? As a writer-director, Clooney is hit-or-miss. He's in love with old-fashioned Hollywood genres like the Cold War spy thriller comedy ("Confessions of a Dangerous Mind") or period sports romance ("Leatherheads") that would be a challenge for any director to pull off. They were both duds. On the other hand, black-and-white newsroom drama "Good Night, and Good Luck" earned six Academy Award nominations, and "Ides of March" scored another for scribe Beau Willamon, who went on to write "House of Cards." Unfortunately, "Monuments Men," adapted from Robert M. Edsel and Bret Witter's book by Clooney and his co-producer Grant Heslov, is one of Clooney's more flat-footed efforts. It means to be a John Frankenheimer wartime thriller with soldiers in danger trying to rescue the world's great works of art from the Nazis--art-lover Hitler has. »
- Anne Thompson
It’s not only the great works of European art that have gone missing in “The Monuments Men”; the spark of writer-director-star George Clooney’s filmmaking is absent, too. In adapting writer Robert M. Edsel’s account of the men charged with protecting the Western world’s aesthetic treasures from wartime destruction, Clooney has transformed a fascinating true-life tale into an exceedingly dull and dreary caper pic cum art-appreciation seminar — a museum-piece movie about museum people. Fronting an all-star cast and top-drawer craft contributions in every department, this expensive-looking Sony/Fox co-production should outpace the $75 million worldwide gross of Clooney’s previous turn in the director’s chair (2011’s “The Ides of March”), but doesn’t amount to more than a footnote in his remarkable filmography.
When Clooney started out as a director, it was clear he’d learned a great deal about technique from his many collaborations with Steven Soderbergh, »
- Scott Foundas
Michel Landi (born 1932) is an incredibly prolific French poster artist with more than 1,500 posters to his name, many of which, like his Bullitt, are very well known. Having worked from the late 50s—when he began by painting the billboards outside Paris movie theaters—through to the 00s, he has worked in many different mediums (he had a notable airbrush period in the 80s) and isn’t really known for one distinctive style. But I recently discovered a number of painted posters by Landi from the late 60s and early 70s that are all very much the work of one artist: all distinguished by wildly expressive brush strokes and a generous, almost fauvist, use of color. The first one I noticed was this exuberant re-release poster for Jacques Tati’s Jour de Fête which renders a carousel as a whirlwind of paint. »
- Adrian Curry
With its blissfully crude setup and ferociously inventive fight sequences, Gareth Evans’ “The Raid: Redemption” (2011) was an exhilarating, exhausting treat for those who like to take their genre poison straight. If “The Raid 2: Berandal” disappoints somewhat by comparison, it’s not for lack of ambition: At nearly two-and-a-half hours, this sensationally violent and strikingly well-made sequel has been conceived as a slow-burn gangster epic, stranding the viewer in a maze-like underworld that doesn’t really get the adrenaline pumping until the film’s second half. Once the carnage kicks in, Evans’ action chops prove as robust and hyperkinetic as ever, delivering deep, bone-crunching pleasure for hardcore action buffs. Still, given its diminished novelty and hefty running time, the Sony Classics item (set for U.S. release in March) may have trouble wooing as many viewers theatrically as it will in homevid play.
To the likely chagrin of some viewers, »
- Justin Chang
Chicago – Every year, the movie stars, actor/actresses and filmmakers come knocking, and HollywoodChicago.com is there to answer. Film Critics Brian Tallerico and Patrick McDonald have combined their best-of interviews for 2013, and it’s an intriguing and eclectic mix.
With so many promotional tours, conventions and shows coming through Chicago, the opportunity to get a wide range of celebrities, filmmakers and up-and-comers is one of the privileges of covering TV and film here. The following interviews – enhanced (except for two interviews) by the photography of Joe Arce – were significant for their background stories, promotional circumstance and memorable quotes.
Sheryl Lee at Wizard World Chicago Comic Con
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com
Interviewer: Patrick McDonald
Opening Note: Before getting started, there are so many arresting interviews I participated in during 2013, and if you plug these names in the search engine, »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
‘Montezuma’: Steven Spielberg next movie (or at least a Spielberg movie some time in the future)? Will Steven Spielberg next tackle the life and times of Aztec king Montezuma, from a screenplay by none other than former Hollywood Ten member Dalton Trumbo? If so, that won’t be the first time that Spielberg has adapted a Trumbo screenplay (more on that below). Anyhow, following Lincoln, which earned Spielberg his seventh Best Director Academy Award nomination, the Jaws, E.T., Schindler’s List, and Saving Private Ryan filmmaker has had his name attached to — and then detached from — a couple of projects. First, there was Drew Goddard’s adaptation of Daniel H. Wilson’s novel Robopocalypse, which isn’t a RoboCop spin-off but a sci-fier about a smart robot who reaches the (perfectly logical) conclusion that the only way to save the planet is to get rid of human beings. Robopocalypse, »
- Zac Gille
12 items from 2014
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