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The director of Silver Linings Playbook returns with a simmering and intriguingly confected black comedy
• Oscar predictions 2014: American Hustle
• News: American Hustle wins over NY critics
David O Russell's brazen, nerve-jangling, irresistibly watchable black comedy American Hustle is loosely based on a true story from the 1970s of how the FBI forced a notorious New Jersey conman to help entrap corrupt politicians with the offer of bribes from a "fake sheikh", a scam later beloved in British tabloid circles.
It blends the wiseguy voiceover nostalgia of Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas with the cheeky imposture of George Roy Hill's The Sting, and the headbutting and faintly surreal non-sequiturs in the dialogue have a little of David Mamet. But there is also something unmistakably Russell-esque in the neurotic, shrill and often very funny drama: a kind of neo-noir farce. Russell distils his own toxic kind of nitrous oxide and pipes it into the cinema. »
- Peter Bradshaw
Hot Jennifer Lawrence, Wet Robert Redford: New York Film Critics Awards 2013 winners (photo: Jennifer Lawrence in ‘American Hustle’) A crime drama featuring con men, mafiosi, and FBI agents, the David O. Russell-directed, real-life inspired American Hustle won three New York Film Critics Circle Awards earlier today, December 3, 2013: Best Picture; Best Screenplay for Russell and Eric Singer; and Best Supporting Actress for Jennifer Lawrence for her performance as con man and FBI mole Christian Bale’s steamy, big-mouthed wife. (Full list of Nyfcc 2013 award winners.) Last year, Jennifer Lawrence was the New York Film Critics’ runner-up in the Best Actress category for both The Hunger Games and Silver Linings Playbook. The latter film, also directed by David O. Russell, earned her the Best Actress Academy Award earlier this year. Besides Jennifer Lawrence, whose The Hunger Games: Catching Fire may turn out to be the biggest 2013 blockbuster in North America, »
- Andre Soares
All This and World War II! kicks off at Trailers from Hell this week, with editor Marshall Harvey introducing George Roy Hill's 1972 adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five."Long considered to be unfilmable, Vonnegut’s time-tripping 1969 novel was tamed for the screen by writer Stephen Geller and director Hill, who captured the essence of the book without being entirely faithful to it. Vonnegut said he would “drool and cackle” each time he watched the film, which he was very pleased with. War weary Pow Billy Pilgrim is buffeted through time, including the bombing of Dresden, as he randomly relives his life as a zoo exhibit on the planet Trafalmador. Is that enough genre switching for you? »
- Trailers From Hell
Get out your lawn chairs! Returning for a second year, Santa Monica Pier's Front Porch Cinema will offer free films for the community every Friday for four weeks beginning September 27. This year marks the event's first collaboration with nonprofit arts organization Film Independent.Kicking off the series is the La premiere of SXSW hit and festival favorite rockabilly doc "Los Wild Ones." Filled with great music and large personalities from Rob Kennedy's La-based indie label Wild Records, the film follows Kennedy and the young Latino musicians he's signed as they face an uncertain future for the label. The Rhythm Shakers will perform live. Trailer below.On October 4, the Pier will screen George Roy Hill's Oscar-winning comedy caper "The Sting" (1973), starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman, for the film's 40th anniversary. The evening features a live ragtime pianist and card tables.October 11's film will be a family-friendly screening »
- Ryan Lattanzio
After one glimpse, the title to Daniel Radcliffe’s newest movie requires no further explanation. But there’s so much more to unwrap in Horns, Alexandre Aja’s subversely funny adaptation of Joe Hill’s macabre mystery novel. Yes, Harry Potter grows horns after his angelic girlfriend (Juno Temple) is brutally murdered and he’s the only suspect. In defense of the town’s quick rush to judgment, there are also scenes where a singed Radcliffe wields a pitchfork and communes with menacing snakes. (Once a parseltongue, always a parseltongue.) Also, he drives a flaming-orange Gremlin, so can you really »
- Jeff Labrecque
Veteran actress Eileen Brennan, best known for her roles in Private Benjamin, The Sting and The Last Picture Show, has died. Brennan passed away Sunday of bladder cancer according to reports. She was 80. Brennan received a best supporting actress Oscar nomination for her role as tough Captain Doreen Lewis in Private Benjamin opposite Goldie Hawn. She also reprised the role for the CBS TV adaptation, winning an Emmy and Golden Globe for her performance. Brennan made her feature film debut in 1967′s Divorce American Style. Her most memorable film roles include brothel madam Billie in George Roy Hill’s Oscar-winning 1973 film The Sting and Mrs. Peacock in 1985′s Clue. She also appeared in Peter Bogdanovich’s classic 1971 film The Last Picture Show for which she received a best supporting actress BAFTA nomination, and his 1974 adaptation of the Henry James novella Daisy Miller. Brennan’s other TV credits include Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, »
- THE DEADLINE TEAM
Television is a gold goose that lays scrambled eggs;
and it is futile and probably fatal to beat it for not laying caviar.
When people argue over the quality of television programming, both sides — it’s addictive crap v. underappreciated populist art — seem to forget one of the essentials about commercial TV. By definition, it is not a public service. It is not commercial TV’s job to enlighten, inform, educate, elevate, inspire, or offer insight. Frankly, it’s not even commercial TV’s job to entertain. Bottom line: its purpose is simply to deliver as many sets of eyes to advertisers as possible. As it happens, it tends to do this by offering various forms of entertainment, and occasionally by offering content that does enlighten, inform, etc., but a cynic would make the point that if TV could do the same job televising fish aimlessly swimming around an aquarium, »
Following are some supplemental sections featuring notable director & actor teams that did not meet the criteria for the main body of the article. Some will argue that a number of these should have been included in the primary section but keep in mind that film writing on any level, from the casual to the academic, is a game of knowledge and perception filtered through personal taste.
Other Notable Director & Actor Teams
This section is devoted to pairings where the duo worked together at least 3 times with the actor in a major role in each feature film, resulting in 1 must-see film.
Must-See Collaboration: From Russia with Love (1962).
- Terek Puckett
It's a rollicking caper, but Butch and Sundance's lives were cartoonish at times – spiked with undramatic boring bits
Reading on mobile? Click to view.
Director: George Roy Hill
Entertainment grade: A–
History grade: B
Robert Leroy Parker and Harry Alonzo Longabaugh – better known as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – were robbers in the American old west around the turn of the 20th century.
The film opens with the admission "Most of what follows is true". Butch (Paul Newman) and Sundance (Robert Redford) ride to Hole-in-the-Wall, Wyoming, a pass where outlaws hang out. Their gang is keen to move on to robbing trains, specifically the Union Pacific Flyer. Butch, Sundance and their henchmen stop the train, but meet resistance from a clerk, Woodcock. "I work for Mr Eh Harriman of the Union Pacific Railroad, and he entrusted me …" Butch interrupts: "Will you shut »
- Alex von Tunzelmann
Guillermo del Toro needs to stop toying with my emotions. Every five seconds I hear about a new, awesome film he wants to make and I have this terrifying feeling that he’ll never get around to it. I still hold out hope for someday seeing At The Mountains Of Madness, but that’s been receding. Now we learn that del Toro plans at some point to film an adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Slaughterhouse-Five. Oh, and he has Charlie Kaufman writing it.
Wait. Beg pardon? Charlie Kaufman, the guy behind Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, is writing a script based on a Kurt Vonnegut novel? Apparently so. Del Toro recently mentioned the project to The Daily Telegraph, saying that he’d like to get the movie made:
The studio will make it when it”s my next movie, but how can I »
- Lauren Humphries-Brooks
Charlie Kaufman is set to write a big-screen adaptation of Slaughterhouse-Five, to be directed by Guillermo del Toro. The screenwriter behind Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Being John Malkovich is Del Toro's preferred writer to work on his film of the 1969 Kurt Vonnegut novel.
Del Toro told the Daily Telegraph: "Charlie [Kaufman] and I talked for about an hour and a half and came up with a perfect way of doing the book." But he pointed out a potential drawback for Universal Studios, which is producing the film: "Charlie Kaufman is a very expensive writer!"
The book was previously filmed in 1972, directed by George Roy Hill, best known for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It is set during the bombing of Dresden in the second world war and follows an American »
As all timelines exist simultaneously, Guillermo del Toro is currently caught between a dimension in which he’s creating a new adaptation of Slaughterhouse-Five with Charlie Kaufman, and one in which he definitely isn’t. Del Toro explained the paradox to the Daily Telegraph (via The Playlist), saying he’s attached to make a new version of Vonnegut’s novel that George Roy Hill last adapted in 1972, and that he wants to explore its story of a fatalistic WWII soldier’s time travels with Kaufman, who spends most of his days brooding in the fourth dimension anyway. “Charlie and »
It's tough to work Kurt Vonnegut out for the screen. It rarely comes together well. But I'll be damned if I'm not excited to see Guillermo del Toro try with Charlie Kaufman writing. You kidding me?? According to a story that originated at The Daily Telegraph, an adaptation of Vonnegut's novel, "Slaughterhouse-Five" -- which was originally filmed by George Roy Hill in 1972 -- is part of the "Pacific Rim" director's current deal with Universal. Not only that, but he has a writer in mind, frankly the perfect conduit for Vonnegut if there ever was one: Oscar-winning "Eternal Sunshine of the »
- Kristopher Tapley
Recent hot cinema topics such as the portrayal of the Mandarin character in Shane Black’s Iron Man 3 and speculations about what classic Star Trek villain Benedict Cumberbatch’s character in J.J Abrams’ Star Trek: Into Darkness was modeled after leading up to the film’s release, among others, underline the importance of great villains in genre cinema.
Creating a great cinematic villain is a difficult goal that makes for an incredibly rewarding and memorable viewer experience when it is achieved.
We’ll now take a look at the greatest film villains. Other writing on this subject tends to be a bit unfocused, as “greatest villain” articles tend to mix live-action human villains with animated characters and even animals. Many of these articles also lack a cohesive quality as they attempt to cover too much ground at once by spanning all of film history.
This article focuses on the 1970’s, »
- Terek Puckett
We carry on apace with this epic undertaking - finally each tackling a classic from our individual Lists of Shame, and sharing our thoughts with you the readers. This month sees the work of such cinematic luminaries as Ozu, Bergman and Cimino go under the spotlight, scrutinised by our writers for the very first time. So without further ado, let's go:Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (dir. George Roy Hill, 1969 USA)Winner of 4 Academy Awards, including Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Original Score and Best Original Song, winner of 8 BAFTA Awards, including Best FilmTodd Brown, Founder & Editor:Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is, to put it mildly, a very odd movie. A very odd movie with a litany of elements that...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
Watergate Remembered in Discovery Channel Documentary 'Celebrating' the 40th Anniversary of the Watergate Scandal The Washington Post and American journalistic ethics in general may be only a shadow of what they once were -- and most of the U.S. press was never really all that great or even borderline trustworthy to begin with -- but Robert Redford remains the same, glimpsed here with Watergate investigators Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, and former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, shot (not literally) by Annie Leibovitz. Pictured above: Redford with Bernstein, Bradlee, and Woodward in the iconic Washington Post newsroom. The four veterans got together to promote the Discovery Channel doc All the President’s Men Revisited, about the 40th anniversary of the Watergate scandal that destroyed the Nixon presidency. With Redford as one of its executive producers, the documentary airs this month. Redford played Woodward opposite Dustin Hoffman's Bernstein in »
- Andre Soares
Jaroslav “Jerry” Gebr, longtime head of the Scenic Arts Department at Universal Studios and perhaps best known as the artist who created the paintings featured in the pilot episode of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery, has died. Gebr passed away last month in Tarzana, CA after a long illness, according to his family. He was 86. Gebr worked for some of the biggest names in directing including Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Alfred Hitchcock and George Roy Hill during his career, and also sidelined in painting portraits and copies of artworks for stars’ collections. “They’d put the originals in safe storage and hang Jerry’s versions on the wall. Nobody could ever tell the difference”, his son-in-law Kevin McMahon said. The bulk of his work was original paintings and fine art copies for movies and TV, typically large assignments such as a full-scale reproduction of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes for »
- THE DEADLINE TEAM
It's been a rough few years for "Die Hard" director John McTiernan. Once considered one of the hottest directors in Hollywood (he also directed "The Hunt for Red October," "Predator," and "The Thomas Crown Affair"), since 2006 he has been embroiled in a scandal involving the shady private detective Anthony Pellicano and the illegal wiretapping of McTiernan's "Rollerball" producer Charles Roven. The story is positively labyrinthine and involves a number of high profile Hollywood players, but so far McTiernan is the only one who has received jail time (a year-long sentence is scheduled to begin soon). Still, you can't keep a good -- or in the case of McTiernan, a great -- director down, as the filmmaker is quietly working on a new project while awaiting his fate. According to a post on the Free John McTiernan Facebook page (which has already garnered the support of everyone from "The Incredibles" director »
- Drew Taylor
Ever since I became a full-fledged movie geek (which happened sometime between Kevin Smith filming a bunch of unknowns playing hockey on the roof of a convenience store and Doug Liman filming Vince Vaughn making Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed), it’s seemed to me that there’s been some strange connection between being a film buff and being a hockey fan. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that hockey is always our least popular major sport and most people only pay attention to it when their home team is doing well in the playoffs, much in the same way that they only pay attention to art films when it’s Oscar time. There’s something scruffy and outside the norm about movie geeks, and there’s something scruffy and outside the norm about hockey, so the two see a lot of overlap. That general scruffiness explains why the go-to hockey movie for people »
- Nathan Adams
Mumbai, Feb 16: Saif Ali Khan is getting to do a variation on one of his favourite films, the George Roy Hill classic Western "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid". In "Bullet Raja", director Tigmanshu Dhulia has relocated the original buddy film's concept from the Wild West to Lucknow.
While Saif plays one of the trigger-happy protagonists, the talented Jimmy Sheirgill plays the other lead in "Bullet Raja", so named because of Saif's character's penchant for firing bullets and riding the Bullet brand of motorcycle.
- Lohit Reddy
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