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John Boorman's career is littered with misfires, maybe the price we pay for the huge artistic risks he takes. In between the early triumphs of Point Blank (1967) and Hell in the Pacific (1968) and his masterwork Deliverance (1972) lies Leo the Last, which gets very little love and not even the kind of scornful attention accorded to catastrophes like Zardoz (1974) and Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977).
Maybe this is because bad drama has kitsch value, whereas bad comedy nobody can stand, and Leo the Last appears, at times, to be attempting humor, a surprising choice for Boorman whose very humorlessness can seem a strength in his successful films and a weakness in his failures. There's something heroic about the fact that it apparently never occurred to Boorman that a man having sex wearing full plate armor (Excalibur), Sean Connery in thigh boots, bandoliers and nappy (Zardoz) and Linda Blair doing a musical »
- David Cairns
Warner Bros. dropped a number of news bombs last week when it unveiled its slate of DC Comics movies through the year 2020, announcing casting and director news in the process. One of the more curious revelations was the fact that a Suicide Squad movie would be the first DC adaptation to hit theaters after the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in March 2016. Instead of following the sure-to-be-massive superhero pic up with something more recognizable like Wonder Woman or even Aquaman, Warner Bros. is going with a more obscure title that will certainly be an outlier in the superhero genre. Fury and End of Watch director David Ayer was confirmed as the director of Suicide Squad—the story of a group of supervillains on missions—during the news dump, and now Ayer has spoken a bit about his plans for the comic book adaptation. Ayer likened the film »
- Adam Chitwood
Like a shot of adrenaline to the heart, “Pulp Fiction” changed the movie landscape when it opened on Oct. 14, 1994. Quentin Tarantino’s ode to crime and pop-culture was a bold new cinematic vision in a decade that badly needed one. Before “Pulp Fiction,” prestige films like “Dances with Wolves” and “A Few Good Men” seemed content to play it safe, while blockbusters like “Jurassic Park” and “The Fugitive” focused squarely on the mainstream. Overnight, the term ‘Tarantinoesque’ became shorthand for audaciously stylized ultra-violence and genre-bending thrills. On its 20th anniversary, here’s why “Pulp Fiction” remains the coolest movie of the ’90s.
The Soundtrack: From the rumbling reverb of Dick Dale’s surf-rock rendition of “Misirlou” to the soulful crooning of Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man” and the strip club sexiness of Kool & the Gang’s “Jungle Boogie,” the “Pulp Fiction” soundtrack effortlessly mixes musical styles the way the film blends genres. »
- Matthew Chernov
A Walk Among the Tombstones is a tidy, character-forward procedural offering up Liam Neeson in this year’s second “Liam Neeson movie” working in a more somber, less super-heroic mode than in Non-Stop or the Taken bonanza. A Walk Among the Tombstones finds haunted P.I. Matthew Scudder hunting a couple of sick slashers targeting 1990s New York women in a grim but engrossing dot-connector the likes of which you have certainly seen before, yet is still worth a run due to a well-casted ensemble and the elegant filmmaking of writer/director Scott Frank (he also scripted Get Shorty, Out of Sight, and Minority Report) and cinematographer Mihai Malamaire (D.P. on The Master, so that’s enough of a draw for me).
- Gregory Fichter
As many successful American filmmakers who get their start in independent filmmaking quickly find themselves comfortable in Hollywood studios, Jim Jarmusch feels like the anachronism that the economics of filmmaking rarely find room for but the culture of cinema certainly needs. After making the No Wave-era Permanent Vacation on the seemingly post-apocalyptic landscape of a crumbling late-70s New York, Jarmusch made waves at the then-young Sundance film festival with Stranger Than Paradise, a bare bones indie that exhibited the director’s penchant for deliberate pacing, wry humor, an insistent soundtrack and a canted examination of Americana. Jarmusch’s productions are few and far between, partly due to the fact that he is ever in want of funding and seeks final cut on all his films. The process may be difficult, but it’s worth it: thirty years after Paradise, Jarmusch crafted Only Lovers Left Alive (recently released on disc and digital), a film that surprised me »
- Landon Palmer
Starred Up director David Mackenzie on working with Jack O'Connell, Ben Mendelsohn and Rupert Friend: "All the actors were allowed to explore. They weren't being funneled. There was a creative heart." Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze
David Mackenzie's humane look at the tortured prison system in Tribeca Film's Starred Up stars Jack O'Connell, Ben Mendelsohn and Rupert Friend with a screenplay by prison system therapist Jonathan Asser. In New York, the morning before the opening of his film, the director and I discussed the spell of John Boorman's Point Blank, which stars Lee Marvin, making Perfect Sense, Patrick McGrath's Asylum, and Charles Laughton's The Night Of The Hunter with Robert Mitchum's knuckles exploring the meaning of love and hate.
Even before we see, we hear the prison. Sounds foreboding and leaden, metal gates slamming shut, steps with the weight of heavy hearts. The spirit of place is one of terror. »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
The release of Sin City: A Dame To Kill For inspires James to look back at its film noir roots, and some classic examples of the genre...
We're at the shadowy back-end of the summer blockbuster season and darkness is entering the frame. Here comes ultraviolence, sleaze, crime and death, all beautifully shot in macabre high-contrast monochrome. Just when you thought you'd got yourself clean and were all peppy after some upbeat family-friendly popcorn thrills, here's Sin City: A Dame To Kill For to darken up the doorways. (And it will light up a cigarette in those doorways and spit out some tough dialogue from between its bloodstained teeth while it's lingering there.)
We're back in the Basin City of Frank Miller's graphic novels again, once more brought to vivid screen life by the comics creator »
By Lee Pfeiffer
Now this is what you call a bargain: three terrific WWII flicks for only $10 on Amazon, courtesy of Shout! Factory's Timeless Media label, which continues to distribute first rate editions of films that were often considered to be second-rate at the time of their initial release. This "War Film Triple Feature" package includes three gems that were not particularly notable at the time of their release. Two have grown in stature, while the third has benefited only from Cinema Retro writer Howard Hughes' enthusiastic coverage in issue #25. The films included in the set are:
"Attack" (1955)- During the period of WWII, both the Allied and Axis film industries concentrated on feature films that were pure propaganda designed to motivate their fighting men and the public at large. By the early-to-mid-1950s, however, more introspective viewpoints emerged among Hollywood directors and writers. With the conflict now over, »
- email@example.com (Cinema Retro)
The Expendables 3 is the latest installment of the cheese-tastic, 1980s style, throwback action franchise. You may not think of this series of films as anything more than an exercise in geriatric yoga for the addled action stars of yore. But, the fact is The Expendables (2010) made $275M on an $80M budget and The Expendables 2 (2012) made $305M on a $100M budget. And that is serious worldwide box-office business.
The Expendables 3 involves some unfinished business. As it turns out, Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), had a partner who co-founded the group with him (a new background detail sheds some light on the team’s bloody history), Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), who is out to wipe out the entire team – especially Barney. The film is directed by Patrick Hughes, a young filmmaker with only two prior films to his credit. (No you never heard of either of them.) The writing team is led by Sylvester Stallone, »
- Steven Gahm
The filmmaker behind the Death Wish sequels and such 1970s and ’80s Cannon Group actioners as The Delta Force the Lou Ferrigno-led Hercules died today in Jaffa, Israel, Haaretz reports. Menahem Golan was 85. The big-personality Israeli producer, writer and director was behind dozens of films during a nearly half-century career, featuring stars including Charles Bronson, Sylvester Stallone, Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme. He also directed many of the films, including 1986’s Delta Force with Lee Marvin and Norris, and Stallone’s Over The Top the following year. Those and many others were produced by Cannon Entertainment, which Golan started with his cousin Yoram Globus. Cannon’s output also included such decidedly non-action fare as Bolero (1984), starring Bo Derek and George Kennedy; the Mario Van Peebles starrer Rappin’ (1985); A Cry In The Dark (1988), starring Meryl Streep and Sam O’Neill; and Jean-Luc Godard’s King Lear (1987). But the action »
- The Deadline Team
The filmmaker behind the Death Wish sequels and such 1970s and ’80s Cannon Group actioners as The Delta Force the Lou Ferrigno-led Hercules died today in Jaffa, Israel, Haaretz reports. Menahem Golan was 85. The big-personality Israeli producer, writer and director was behind dozens of films during a nearly half-century career, featuring stars including Charles Bronson, Sylvester Stallone, Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme. He also directed many of the films, including 1986′s Delta Force with Lee Marvin and Norris, and Stallone’s Over The Top the following year. Those and many others were produced by Cannon Entertainment, which Golan started […] »
"In the end, they would hose out the blood, slap on some paint, and grab some cooks and clerks to crew up the vehicle again," David Ayer tells Michael Cieply at the New York Times, referring to his new film Fury, which several Oscar pundits were much higher on than I was initially, but this new editorial has me singing a different tune. As much as I loved Ayer's End of Watch (it made my top ten in 2012), his films have never been Oscar fodder. Even Training Day, which AYer wrote and Antoine Fuqua directed, saw Denzel Washington win an Oscar and Ethan Hawke also nominated. It didn't, however, earn a Best Picture or screenplay nomination. Add to that the dismal reaction to Ayer's Sabotage earlier this year from critics and audiences alike (I've still yet to see it) and it just appears he's a filmmaker with a touch outside the Oscar realm. »
- Brad Brevet
Jane Fonda: From ‘Vietnam Traitor’ to AFI Award and Screen Legend status (photo: Jason Bateman and Jane Fonda in ‘This Is Where I Leave You’) (See previous post: “Jane Fonda Movies: Anti-Establishment Heroine.”) Turner Classic Movies will also be showing the 2014 AFI Life Achievement Award ceremony honoring Jane Fonda, the former “Vietnam Traitor” and Barbarella-style sex kitten who has become a living American screen legend (and healthy-living guru). Believe it or not, Fonda, who still looks disarmingly great, will be turning 77 years old next December 21; she’s actually older than her father Henry Fonda was while playing Katharine Hepburn’s ailing husband in Mark Rydell’s On Golden Pond. (Henry Fonda died at age 77 in August 1982.) Jane Fonda movies in 2014 and 2015 Following a 15-year absence (mostly during the time she was married to media mogul Ted Turner), Jane Fonda resumed her film acting career in 2005, playing Jennifer Lopez »
- Andre Soares
Jane Fonda movies on TCM: ‘The China Syndrome,’ ‘Klute,’ and Jean-Luc Godard drama ‘Tout Va Bien’ among highlights (photo: Jane Fonda in ‘Klute’) Turner Classic Movies’ 2014 "Summer Under the Stars" kicked off earlier today, August 1, with a day-long series of Jane Fonda movies. Still reviled by American right-wingers because of her 1972 trip to North Vietnam while the United States was at war with that country — she was photographed seated on an anti-aircraft battery — but admired by others for her liberal views, anti-war activism, and human rights advocacy, the two-time Best Actress Academy Award winner has enjoyed a highly eclectic film career, eventually becoming a rarity among rarities: Jane Fonda is the child of a film star (Henry Fonda) who not only became a film star in her own right, but who went on to become an even bigger screen legend than her famous parent. (See also: Jane Fonda “Summer Under »
- Andre Soares
War movies have been around as long as cinema has existed. There is something about the horror, bravery, tragedy, and excitement of combat that has inspired filmmakers and drawn audiences. We’ll be celebrating the Great War films On August 5th at The Way Out Club with Super-8 Movie Madness Goes To War!
We’ll be showing six films in the condensed (average length: 15 minutes) Super-8 sound film format projected on The Way Out’s big screen that tells heroic stories of World War Two. They are: William Holden and Alec Guinness in The Bridge On The River Kwai, Clint Eastwood and Richard Burton in Where Eagles Dare, Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson in The Dirty Dozen, Frank Sinatra in Von Ryan’S Express, Harrison Ford and Robert Shaw in Force Ten From Navarone, and John Wayne and an all-star cast in The Longest Day.
Movie that we’ll be »
- Tom Stockman
Thankfully, Hercules is not an origin film. Though it is about the titular hero from Greek myth, The Legend of Hercules (2014) from earlier this year already took that approach so it is just as well. Here, the fabled strong-man (Dwayne Johnson) has already performed all but one of his legendary labors when the story opens.
The newHercules was directed by Bret Ratner of Rush Hour (1998) fame and X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) infamy. The screenplay was written by Ryan Condal and Evan Spillotopoulus. This is the former’s first feature film. The latter has primarily worked on Disney animated films like Cinderella III: A Twist in Time (2007). The storyline the screenplay is based on is a comic by Steve Moore. You might be thinking that this combination of folks behind the camera is a bit like the “potpourri” category on Jeopardy, and you would not be wrong – sounds weird, could be awful. »
- Steven Gahm
Woody Allen's Take the Money and Run was pivotal in launching his career as a credible actor and leading man. Although considered a comedy classic today, the 1969 film actually lost money at the time of its release.
By Brian Hannan
All you need is top stars and top directors and making movies is easy. Surely you couldn’t miss with a line-up that included Sean Connery, Steve McQueen, Michael Caine, Dustin Hoffman, Lee Marvin, Omar Sharif, and directors of the calibre of Robert Aldrich (hot after The Dirty Dozen), John Boorman (Point Blank) and Woody Allen. Or so ABC must have thought when it set up a movie division in the late 1960s. Delving into the archives recently, I discovered that Sam Peckinpah’s rodeo picture Junior Bonner (1972) starring Steve McQueen was a box office stinkeroo. The picture lost $2.8m (about $15m in today’s money). Not just on domestic release, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
Alcoholism in the movies have been played for both dramatic and comical effect. In fact some of the binge drinking done on the big screen have garnered considerable praise and pathos resulting in many performers winning Oscars and Oscar nominations based on this very serious addiction.
The alcoholic in cinema is larger in life because it is a societal reflection of the demons and destruction that affect millions of people globally. Film allows for the liberty to use creative licenses to highlight the physical and psychological pain and false feelings of pleasure to convey the true face of alcoholism and its hold on fictional characterizations that are bound by the poisonous allure of the bottle. However heavy-handed or hearty it may seem in portraying the detached drinker or happy drunk one thing is for certain…the depth and dimensional range of the chronic cinema sipper has never disappointed in giving »
- Frank Ochieng
Moviefone's Top DVD of the Week
What's It About? Cult filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky's vision for a "Dune" movie was beyond remarkable; it was truly epic. Pink Floyd, H. R. Giger, and Mick Jagger were just a few of the names attached to the film - until it imploded. This is a documentary about a sci-fi film that was ahead of its time and the visionary behind it.
Why We're In: Tons of interviews, behind-the-scenes details, storyboards, and more make this a must-see for art house, midnight movie, and film history fiends.
Moviefone's Top Blu-ray of the Week
What's It About? Lee Marvin and Angie Dickinson star in this cool crime drama about a thief who's out for revenge on the dude who double-crossed him. Mel Gibson's "Payback" was based on the same novel, "The Hunter" by Donald E. Westlake, but that shouldn't deter you. »
- Jenni Miller
As we continue with the list, we still see a lot of World War II, but throw in some World War I and Persian Gulf War, too. While some of the films in this portion of the list spin the war film into something a little more ingenious, it doesn’t completely rule out the idea of a patriotic call to arms film. We also see a few more foreign language films on the list, as well as some Oscar winners for their work. Without further ado, let’s light this candle.
courtesy of toutlecine.com
30. Black Book (2006)
Directed by: Paul Verhoeven
Conflict: World War II
In 2008, the Dutch public named it the greatest Dutch film ever made. Who am I to argue? A surprisingly complete film from a director who has Showgirls and Hollow Man under his belt (and Starship Troopers and Robocop…I can’t be too hard »
- Joshua Gaul
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