16 items from 2015
This month's classic film book is William Goldman's entertaining screenwriting memoir, offering untold insight into the movie business...
You get the feeling, when you read Adventures In The Screen Trade, that the author (and the incredibly successful screenwriter) William Goldman is all about structure.
He has brought clarity and meaning to films such as All The President's Men, A Bridge Too Far, Marathon Man, and Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid. In life, he has approached these projects with a well-planned method, and the determination to see them through to completion. And in writing this book about those screenplays he has given us one of the most ordered and understandable books ever written about how screenplays work. He claims structure is everything; well, he proves it here.
It's a beautifully laid out book that is arranged into three equally enjoyable sections. Section One gives you an »
I have the full rundown on the notorious spacey alternate ending to this sci-fi winner by design specialist Saul Bass. The ants are taking over, and they mean business. World conquest begins at a research lab in Arizona, where Nigel Davenport, Michael Murphy and Lynne Frederick try to hold out against super-intelligent hormigas that cut them off, build sophisticated weapons and instantly adapt to any chemical attempt to stop them. Phase IV Blu-ray Olive Films 1974 / Color / 1:78 widescreen / 84 min. / Street Date October 27, 2015 / available through the Olive Films website / 29.98 Starring Michael Murphy, Nigel Davenport, Lynne Frederick, Alan Gifford Cinematography Dick Bush Insect sequences Ken Middleham Art Direction John Barry Film Editor Willy Kemplen Original Music Brian Gascoigne Written by Mayo Simon Produced by Paul B. Radin Directed by Saul Bass
Reviewed by Glenn Erickson
- Glenn Erickson
When you think of Rob Reiner.s 1990 adaptation of Stephen King.s horror novel Misery, what.s the first thing that comes to mind? It.s that brutal "hobbling" scene, right? A moment so vicious it.s become synonymous with the film. In the book, however, it plays out very differently, but the producers had to make a change because no one wanted to work on their movie. In the novel, Annie (Kathy Bates in the movie), doesn.t bash Paul (James Caan) with a sledgehammer, she straight up cuts off his foot with an axe and cauterizes the wound with a propane torch. However, according to Yahoo, who recently dug into what has become an iconic moment in movie history, actors and directors who were interested in working on Misery kept bailing because of the brutality of this particular moment. George Roy Hill (The Sting was attached to direct, »
Machiavelli is supposed to have said that gambling is something to encourage in your enemy’s country but suppress in your own. It’s hard to know how or if to apply that pessimistic maxim to Mississippi Grind, a melancholy, earnest road movie about a couple of poker players played by Ben Mendelsohn and Ryan Reynolds; the writer-directors are Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, best known for Half Nelson in 2006, their co-written debut (directed by Fleck solo) starring Ryan Gosling as a troubled schoolteacher.
It is a watchable if faintly baffling movie, never anything other than well acted, conspicuously without allegiance to any conventional three-act screenplay structure. Like the river in the title, it just keeps rolling along, long after you have given up waiting for the big »
- Peter Bradshaw
Based on a novel published in 1978, "The World According To Garp" was released in 1982, and yet watching the film on the recently-released Blu-ray from Warner Archive, I was struck by how timely and even urgent the material felt, and how much more adult and daring it is than most of the movies released by studios today. Not only do they not make them like this anymore, but I'd offer the opinion that they never really did. How can a film from 1978 have a better handle on the times we're living in right now than most of the films coming out this year? After all, much of John Irving's novel is a direct reaction to the late '70s and what Irving thought of the social landscape at that particular moment. How relevant could it be today, since we've obviously progressed so much since then? You'd be surprised. For those »
- Drew McWeeny
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences celebrated the winners of the 42nd Student Academy Awards on Sept. 17 at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. After a week full of industry activities, Variety caught up with each of the winners to discuss the inspiration behind their films, the directors they look up to and the lessons they’ve learned from their time in Hollywood.
Alternative winners ChiHyun Lee and Daniel Drummond, second and fourth from left, with “Big Hero 6’s” Chris Williams, Don Hall and Roy Conli. Daniel Drummond, “Chiaroscuro,” Chapman Univ. (Gold, Alternative)
How did you develop the concept for “Chiaroscuro”? I was watching a robotics competition…and I was amazed at how people could get emotionally involved in something completely inanimate. So I took upon myself the challenge of making a visually abstract film where characters were shape shifting clouds or flames, but didn’t »
- Andrea Seikaly
Welcome to today's edition of Nerd Alert, where we have all the quirky, nerdy news that you crave in one convenient spot. What do we have in store for you on this manic Monday? We have a letter written by a young Tom Hanks that proved he would be a star, a guide to the most incredible movie and TV weapons and Kyle Chandler returns as Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights for a new PSA. But first, Simon Pegg ranks all of the Star Wars movies. So, sit back, relax and check out all that today's Nerd Alert has to offer.
Simon Pegg Ranks Every Star Wars Movie In One Minute
During LucasFilm's Hall H panel at Comic-Con last month, a behind-the-scenes video from Star Wars: The Force Awakens confirmed that Simon Pegg has some sort of role in the film. While promoting Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation, the »
A 1974 letter from a pre-fame, teenage Tom Hanks asking the Oscar-winning director of The Sting, George Roy Hill, to “discover” him has been unveiled by Hollywood archivists. In it, the high school student describes a number of scenarios via which he can achieve stardom, despite admitting that his “looks are not stunning” and he “cannot even grow a mustache”.
Two-time Oscar-winner Hanks wrote the letter as an 18-year-old at Skyline high school in Oakland, California. Hill, whose 1973 con artist caper starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman won seven Oscars, kept the letter and it was recently unveiled by the Margaret Herrick Library of the Motion Picture Academy in Beverly Hills.
Continue reading »
- Ben Child
Some of us dream of fame, some of us go after fame, and then there are those of us, like Tom Hanks, who know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they will become famous. From the age of 18, Hanks knew he was going to make it Big, and we have physical evidence to prove it. Before he became an A-lister, Hanks wrote a letter to George Roy Hill, director of such classics as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting, and in this letter he predicted his worldwide success. As noted in a report by NPR, the Library of the Motion Picture Academy in Beverly Hills, California, features a letter Hanks wrote to the illustrious filmmaker in response to watching The Sting. While he praises Hills.s work, the purpose of this letter is to give him a heads up that he.s going to be a »
Director John Frankenheimer.
I'm often asked which, out of the over 600 interviews I've logged with Hollywood's finest, is my favorite. It's not a tough answer: John Frankenheimer.
We instantly clicked the day we met at his home in Benedict Canyon, and spent most of the afternoon talking in his den. A friendship of sorts developed over the years, with visits to his office for screenings of the old Kinescopes he directed for shows like "Playhouse 90" during his salad days in live television during the 1950s.
We hadn't spoken for nearly a year in mid-2002 when the phone rang. It was John, who spoke in what can only be described as a "stentorian bark," like a general. "Alex!" he exclaimed. "John Frankenheimer." He could sense something was amiss with me. It was. My screenwriting career had stalled. My marriage was progressing to divorce. I had hit bottom. John knew that »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
Songs On Screen: All week Hitfix will be featuring tributes by writers to their favorite musical moments from TV and film. Check out the full series here. Last month when we did our Best Year in Film History series, I picked second and, as a result, I was able to select the correct answer: The best year in American cinematic history, at least over the last 50 years, is 1974 and any disagreements sadden and bore me. With that undeclared, but indisputable, victory in my back pocket, I was able to happily let colleagues choose many of my personal favorites for our Songs on Screen battle. You won't hear me say anything negative about "Fight the Power" and its centrality to "Do the Right Thing" or the evocative pull of "Nobody Does It Better" (or a slew of other James Bond themes) or the timelessness of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." Nor will »
- Daniel Fienberg
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
Young Robert Redford and politics: 'The Candidate' and 'All the President's Men' (photo: Robert Redford as Bob Woodward in 'All the President's Men') A young Robert Redford can be seen The Candidate, All the President's Men, Three Days of the Condor, and Downhill Racer as Turner Classic Movies' Redford series comes to a close this evening. The world of politics is the focus of the first three films, each one of them well-regarded box-office hits. The last title, which shows that politics is part of life no matter what, is set in the world of competitive sports. 'The Candidate' In the Michael Ritichie-directed The Candidate (1972), Robert Redford plays idealistic liberal Democrat Bob McKay, who, with no chance of winning, is convinced to run against the Republican incumbent in a fight for a California seat in Congress. See, McKay is too handsome. Too young. Too liberal. »
- Andre Soares
Robert Redford: 'The Great Gatsby' and 'The Way We Were' tonight on Turner Classic Movies Turner Classic Movies' Star of the Month Robert Redford returns this evening with three more films: two Sydney Pollack-directed efforts, Out of Africa and The Way We Were, and Jack Clayton's film version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel The Great Gatsby. (See TCM's Robert Redford film schedule below. See also: "On TCM: Robert Redford Movies.") 'The Great Gatsby': Robert Redford as Jay Gatsby Released by Paramount Pictures, the 1974 film version of The Great Gatsby had prestige oozing from just about every cinematic pore. The film was based on what some consider the greatest American novel ever written. Francis Ford Coppola, whose directing credits included the blockbuster The Godfather, and who, that same year, was responsible for both The Godfather Part II and The Conversation, penned the adaptation. Multiple Tony winner David Merrick (Becket, »
- Andre Soares
Robert Redford: 'The Great Gatsby' and 'The Way We Were' tonight on Turner Classic Movies Turner Classic Movies' Star of the Month Robert Redford returns this evening with three more films: two Sydney Pollack-directed efforts, Out of Africa and The Way We Were, and Jack Clayton's film version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel The Great Gatsby. (See TCM's Robert Redford film schedule below. See also: "On TCM: Robert Redford Movies.") 'Out of Africa' Out of Africa (1985) is an unusual Robert Redford star vehicle in that the film's actual lead isn't Redford, but Meryl Streep -- at the time seen as sort of a Bette Davis-Alec Guinness mix: like Davis, Streep received a whole bunch of Academy Award nominations within the span of a few years: from 1978-1985, she was shortlisted for no less than six movies.* Like Guinness, Streep could transform »
- Andre Soares
Robert Redford movies: TCM shows 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,' 'The Sting' They don't make movie stars like they used to, back in the days of Louis B. Mayer, Jack Warner, and Harry Cohn. That's what nostalgists have been bitching about for the last four or five decades; never mind the fact that movie stars have remained as big as ever despite the demise of the old studio system and the spectacular rise of television more than sixty years ago. This month of January 2015, Turner Classic Movies will be honoring one such post-studio era superstar: Robert Redford. Beginning this Monday evening, January 6, TCM will be presenting 15 Robert Redford movies. Tonight's entries include Redford's two biggest blockbusters, both directed by George Roy Hill and co-starring Paul Newman: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, which turned Redford, already in his early 30s, into a major film star to rival Rudolph Valentino, »
- Andre Soares
16 items from 2015
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