12 items from 2015
When Ed Burns was a kid, he remembers his relatives giving him pictures of his great grandfather, these grainy black-and-white shots that hinted at a wild, we-make-our-own-rules-here past. "He's standing on the roof of his place in Hell's Kitchen, with giant scissors in his hand," the writer-director says, sipping a Guinness in a Tribeca bar near his home. "And he's about to cut the ears of his champion fighting pitbull, this beast with a muzzle on. I asked my dad, what's the deal here exactly? Seems the old man was in the trucking business, »
Twenty years ago today, Bryan Singer, the director of the “good X-Men movies” (read: all of them except X3), and writer Christopher McQuarrie (Mission: Impossible – Rogue One) rounded up five thieves for the heist of the 90’s. It all starts out with a seemingly harmless lineup, but Keyser Söze – bogeyman of the criminal underworld – has very specific (and sinister) plans for The Usual Suspects’ Dean Keaton (Gabriel Byrne), McManus (Stephen Baldwin), Fenster (Benicio del Toro), Hockney (Kevin Pollak), and Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey). Bonus points to Singer for casting Giancarlo Esposito (“Breaking Bad”’s Gus Fring), who looks ridiculously young as one of the FBI agents after Keyser Söze.
From pool sharks and grifters to tricksters, card cheats and American hustlers, here’s our rundown of the most memorable con artists in movie history.
Warning: Spoilers ahead.
One of the finest fraudster films to ever »
- Daniel Bettridge
In the world of comedy certain talents stand out as heavyweights, both literally and figuratively. Large of both frame and talent very often these talented performers can seem more like a force of nature running amok in the mundane world, creating comedic chaos for our amusement.
The first that comes to my mind would have to be Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, his name forever tarnished with a scandalous incident that was proved in court never to have happened, Fatty Arbuckle deserves better. He was genuinely talented, a series of dvd releases proves it. He taught Buster Keaton everything he knew. He was also incredibly funny.
- Sam Moffitt
If it’s Summertime at the cinema, then it’s sequel time once again! Hey, it was just a couple of days ago when that foul-mouthed toy returned in Ted 2. A few weeks ago another entry in the scare series arrived with Insidious 3. And this all really began on the first of May when those mighty Marvel movie heroes reunited to take down Ultron, while another team, the singin’ Bellas, headed back to the multiplex a couple of weeks later in Pitch Perfect 2. And now movie fans are treated to another epic return gathering of several big screen icons. But this titanic team appeals to a slightly more mature demographic, hence the truly earned “R” rating. Unlike Tony Stark’s crew, these bigger-than-life beef cakes aren’t using their talents against lethal robots. The power of pleasure provides the energy, and propels the plot, in Magic Mike Xxl. »
- Jim Batts
Brad Pitt 'Glory Days' costar Nicholas Kallsen Brad Pitt 'Glory Days' costar Nicholas Kallsen dead at 48 Nicholas Kallsen, who was featured opposite Brad Pitt in the short-lived television series Glory Days, has died at age 48 in Thailand according to online reports. Their source is one of Rupert Murdoch's rags, citing a Facebook posting by one of the actor's friends. The cause of death was purportedly – no specific source was provided – a drug overdose.* Aired on Fox in July 1990, Glory Days told the story of four high-school friends whose paths take different directions after graduation. Besides Nicholas Kallsen and Brad Pitt, the show also featured Spike Alexander and Evan Mirand. Glory Days lasted a mere six episodes – two of which directed by former Happy Days actor Anson Williams – before its cancellation. Roommates Nicholas Kallsen and Brad Pitt vying for same 'Thelma & Louise' role? The Murdoch tabloid also »
- Andre Soares
Jayne Meadows, a longtime television actress who was the widow of TV legend Steve Allen and the elder sister of actress Audrey Meadows, died of natural causes at her home in Encino, Calif., on Sunday night. She was 95.
Meadows was thrice nominated for Emmys, the first time for a 1977 episode of the PBS show “Meeting of Minds,” the second time in 1987 for an episode of NBC’s “St. Elsewhere” on which she guested and the third time in 1996 for supporting actress in a comedy for CBS show “High Society.”
Over a showbiz career that spanned six-plus decades, Meadows took to the Broadway stage — in “The Gazebo” in 1958 — appeared in films including 1946’s “Undercurrent,” starring Katharine Hepburn; toured in her one-woman show “Powerful Women in History” for seven years; appeared with Allen onstage in A.R. Gurney’s “Love Letters” off and on for 11 years; and was a regular panelist on the »
- Carmel Dagan
These days, we're used to the marketing hype for a major film building up about two years ahead of release. Visitors to Comic-Con got a preview of Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, for example, more than two years ahead of its due date. Our collective hunger for a first look at major forthcoming films is such that, it seems, studios are keen to show off their work-in-progress earlier and earlier.
But there are ways of teasing a forthcoming movie without showing a frame of the finished product, which is where the following list comes in. They're all examples of promos that manage to get across the flavour of a future film without going into story details. Some of them were made before a foot of celluloid was exposed, »
When you see “Inside Out” in the theater this summer, the short film in front of it will be called “Lava,” and it is a labor of love for writer/director James Ford Murphy. If you want to know about the film itself, you should check out my reaction piece from the event, which I'll post on Wednesday, but before I left the Pixar campus, I sat down with Murphy to talk about his film, the inspiration behind it, and the odd effect it had on the animators who worked on it. When I walked into the room, he looked at my shirt, which read “Cassius Clay,” and immediately remarked on it. We talked about boxing and Ali specifically for a few before the publicist asked us to start. It put us in a great mood as the conversation opened. Drew McWeeny: I enjoyed the short last night, and »
- Drew McWeeny
“Monopoly Millionaires’ Club,” the extremely flashy Las Vegas-set continuation of the multistate lottery game that ran last year, premieres this weekend. And while there are some hurdles that might keep it from passing “go” right away — the show is syndicated instead of dedicated to one network because some states don’t have a lottery system, and the lottery ticket game that prospective contestants entered to earn a place on the show was deemed too complicated and was suspended at the end of last year and brought back as an instant-win scratcher ticket game this month — there is one person who is ready to bet big on the project: “Mike and Molly” star Billy Gardell, who serves as host of the show.
“I wanted the biggest game show on television, like Jackie Gleason big,” said Gardell, who said his agents had been on the hunt for an outlet like this for him and found this project, »
- Whitney Friedlander
Some of the greatest (or at least heavily favored) American television shows got the big screen treatment when they were selected to have their small screen following turn into a cinematic experience. Unfortunately, for every beloved nostalgic television show that translated successfully in movie theaters (The Brady Bunch Movie, Star Trek, Batman, etc.) there are boob tube stinkers that overtake the good crop. Sure, there are middle-of-the-road movie adaptations of television programs that have a mixed bag reception (1997’s Leave It To Beaver, 1987’s Dragnet, 2012’s Dark Shadows, etc.). Nevertheless, it is always the unflattering fare that receive the bulk of the attention (do you register, 1999’s The Wild, Wild West ?).
In Boob on the Tube: Top Ten Worst Movie Adaptations of TV Shows we will take a look at the top ten televised offenders that dared to venture into cinema’s stratosphere only to end up floating down shamefully »
- Frank Ochieng
Throughout the vast history of cinema the profession of law enforcement has been portrayed heavily and made its mark on the big screen in both dramatic and comical fodder. Whether it be straight up cops and robbers or crooked officers on the take in gangster flicks or ant-hero gun-slinging loners trying to buck the system the presence of crime-busting cads never fail to add compelling, if not at times over-exaggerated, insight into the world of law-enforcing personalities.
The one element of the law-enforcing community that seems somewhat limited but still registers mightily in some cinematic arenas is the concept of the sheriff. Sheriffs do cast a prominent shadow in all sorts of fields in the movies: westerns, medieval times, contemporary country car-chasing farces and even some urban melodramas.
In Arresting Developments: Top Ten Sheriffs in the Movies we will take a look at some of the notable on-screen sheriffs in »
- Frank Ochieng
Written by Doran William Cannon
Directed by Otto Preminger
Of the nearly 70 films I’ve written about in this column, I would whole-heartedly recommend each without reservation, to not only watch, but to spend good money on. With 1968′s Skidoo, out now on a new Olive Films Blu-ray, I’m breaking that tradition. I wouldn’t suggest anyone purchase this film, though everyone should see it. This is a most unusual, absolutely indefinable, wholly unique motion picture.
I initially viewed Skidoo on the sole basis of its starring Alexandra Hay, who I’ve been smitten with since first seeing her in Jacques Demy’s Model Shop, released the following year. On this point, Skidoo succeeds. Hay is a delightful beauty, charming in a way that is very much of the era. Admittedly unfamiliar with her biography, I can’t imagine why she didn’t have more of a career. »
- Jeremy Carr
12 items from 2015
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