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By autumn 1977, author Clive Cussler was the toast of the publishing world. Following a decade of writing and two moderately successful novels, his third book, Raise The Titanic! was a runaway bestseller. Its popularity was a contrast to Cussler's earlier books, which had earned him a relatively meagre $5,000. But those earlier adventures - The Mediterranean Caper and Iceberg - helped establish the daring hero Dirk Pitt, a practical, earthy hero designed as a counterpoint to the suave, refined James Bond.
For Raise The Titanic!, Cussler dreamed up a scenario in which Pitt headed up a multi-billion-dollar operation to find and recover the doomed luxury liner, which sank in 1912. Their goal: to recover a mysterious, incredibly rare substance called byzantium from the ship's belly - a »
Based very loosely on an 1844 short story from Edgar Allan Poe, Gordon Hessler’s 1969 version of The Oblong Box isn’t a very unique endeavor other than its distinction as the first onscreen pairing of horror icons Vincent Price and Christopher Lee. Lost somewhere in the slew of Poe adaptations from Roger Corman and Jacques Tourneur, Hessler (who would reunite with Price several times, as well as direct more famed Poe property with 1971’s Murders in the Rue Morgue, starring Jason Robards) can’t quite maintain a semblance of tension, even with its customarily eerie co-stars. Less thrilling than it seems roundly determined to remain obsessively complicated since its narrative hobbles any chance of mystery in its first act, the film is about as unnecessary as Poe’s titular euphemism for a coffin.
After an African tribe ruthlessly deforms Sir Edward Markham (Alistair Williamson) for unknown reasons, his brother Julian »
- Nicholas Bell
Robert Redford is Dan Rather. Cate Blanchett is "60 Minutes II" producer Mary Mapes, who lost her job when the authenticity about a story concerning George W. Bush's alleged draft-dodging came into question. The movie is "Truth." It's got gritty "All the President's Men"-type journo intrigue all over it, so raise a glass of scotch to the ghost of Jason Robards and enjoy the new trailer. And hey, Elisabeth Moss and Topher Grace are here too! Rather, who lost the job he had with CBS News since 1962 thanks to the fallout, gave his full endorsement of "Truth" after seeing it premiere in Toronto. But here's today's essay question: Is this Cate Blanchett's best American accent? I was, frankly, awed by the voice coming out of her mouth. This seems like a pretty obvious Joan Allen role, no? It doesn't even sound like Cate to me. Then again most »
- Louis Virtel
For some, Labor Day signals a Monday off from school and work, the final hurrah of the summer and college football games galore.
But for Oscar watchers, the three day break heralds the beginning of the Awards Season with film festivals being held at Venice (Sept. 2 – 12) and Telluride (Sept. 4 – 7).
Getting a shot in the arm from the weekend festivals were Spotlight, Steve Jobs, Black Mass and The Danish Girl. Below is a sampling of the films in play this awards season that screened over the busy holiday weekend.
The Danish Girl (Nov. 27)
Based on the book by David Ebershoff, The Danish Girl is the remarkable love story inspired by the lives of Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener (portrayed by Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne [The Theory of Everything] and Alicia Vikander [Ex Machina]), and directed by Academy Award winner Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, Les Misérables). Lili and Gerda’s marriage and work evolve »
- Michelle McCue
Dean Jones: Actor in Disney movies. Dean Jones dead at 84: Actor in Disney movies 'The Love Bug,' 'That Darn Cat!' Dean Jones, best known for playing befuddled heroes in 1960s Walt Disney movies such as That Darn Cat! and The Love Bug, died of complications from Parkinson's disease on Tue., Sept. 1, '15, in Los Angeles. Jones (born on Jan. 25, 1931, in Decatur, Alabama) was 84. Dean Jones movies Dean Jones began his Hollywood career in the mid-'50s, when he was featured in bit parts – at times uncredited – in a handful of films at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer In 2009 interview for Christianity Today, Jones recalled playing his first scene (in These Wilder Years) with veteran James Cagney, who told him “Walk to your mark and remember your lines” – supposedly a lesson he would take to heart. At MGM, bit player Jones would also be featured in Robert Wise's »
- Andre Soares
With summer doldrums in the rearview, In Contention has found a new home just in time for the annual Oscar season…and not a moment too soon. A number of fall film releases sit primed for reveals at the Venice, Telluride and Toronto film festivals over the next several weeks, kicking off the race to the 88th Academy Awards.
As ever, a number of the season’s hopefuls will live and die by the narratives conjured in their wake. Because as we know — and I can’t imagine this notion is all that controversial — an Oscar race is as much about the stories told off-screen as it is about the stories told onscreen.
Here are a few such stories to keep an eye on as we wade into the deep end of the year. Don’t be surprised if a number of them are revisited at length in this space over the next six months. »
- Kristopher Tapley
Eddie Redmayne has the chance to make Oscar history with his role in "The Danish Girl." He could become the first actor in more than two decades to win back-to-back Oscars. The last to accomplish that feat was Tom Hanks in 1993 ("Philadelphia") and 1994 ("Forrest Gump"). And he's on a list with only four other actors in Oscar history who have ever pulled it off: Spencer Tracy, Luise Rainer, Katharine Hepburn and Jason Robards. Will Redmayne join that elite company? -Break- As of this writing, he ranks a close second in our Best Actor predictions with 4/1 odds, behind Leonardo DiCaprio ("The Revenant"). Do you think Redmayne will pull ahead? Our forum posters are discussing his chances in our forums. Read some of their comments below, and join them now to let us know what you think. Meryl Streep poll: What's the best decade of her career so far? KylieistBoi: [Redmayne] probably will deserve it, »
'Affliction' movie: Nick Nolte as the troubled police officer Wade Whitehouse. 'Affliction' movie: Great-looking psychological drama fails to coalesce Set in a snowy New Hampshire town, Affliction could have been an excellent depiction of a dysfunctional family's cycle of violence and how that is accentuated by rapid, destabilizing socioeconomic changes. Unfortunately, writer-director Paul Schrader's 1998 film doesn't quite reach such heights.* Based on a novel by Russell Banks (who also penned the equally snowy The Sweet Hereafter), Schrader's Affliction relies on a realistic wintry atmosphere (courtesy of cinematographer Paul Sarossy) to convey the deadness inside the story's protagonist, the middle-aged small-town sheriff Wade Whitehouse (Nick Nolte). The angst-ridden Wade is intent on not ending up like his abusive, alcoholic father, Glen (James Coburn), while inexorably sliding down that very path. Making matters more complicated, Wade must come to terms with the fact that his ex-wife, Lillian (Mary Beth Hurt), will never return to him, »
- Andre Soares
Forest Whitaker will make his Broadway debut next spring in a revival of “Hughie,” a play by Eugene O’Neill, set in a New York City hotel in 1928, and centers on a hustler named Erie Smith, who confides in a night clerk. O'Neil wrote the play in the 1940s, and it was first staged on Broadway in 1964, starring Jason Robards. This new revival will be directed by Michael Grandage, former artistic director of the Donmar Warehouse in London, who won a 2010 Tony Award for his direction of “Red.” There was a 1975 revival that starred Ben Gazzara, followed by another revival, in 1996, starring Al Pacino. The “Hughie” revival will be produced by Darren Bagert along with the Michael »
- Tambay A. Obenson
The Oscar winner will take on the lead role in a revival of the 1941 drama staged by British director Michael Grandage (Red, Frost/Nixon). Whitaker (Southpaw, The Last King Of Scotland, Bird, etc.) will play Erie Smith, the role created by Jason Robards Jr. in its 1964 Broadway premiere, over a decade after the Nobel Prize laureate’s death. Set during the pre-dawn hours in a grim hotel on Manhattan’s West Side, Hughie is a two-hander — essentially a monologue — about the… »
Debbie Reynolds ca. early 1950s. Debbie Reynolds movies: Oscar nominee for 'The Unsinkable Molly Brown,' sweetness and light in phony 'The Singing Nun' Debbie Reynolds is Turner Classic Movies' “Summer Under the Stars” star today, Aug. 23, '15. An MGM contract player from 1950 to 1959, Reynolds' movies can be seen just about every week on TCM. The only premiere on Debbie Reynolds Day is Jerry Paris' lively marital comedy How Sweet It Is (1968), costarring James Garner. This evening, TCM is showing Divorce American Style, The Catered Affair, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, and The Singing Nun. 'Divorce American Style,' 'The Catered Affair' Directed by the recently deceased Bud Yorkin, Divorce American Style (1967) is notable for its cast – Reynolds, Dick Van Dyke, Jean Simmons, Jason Robards, Van Johnson, Lee Grant – and for the fact that it earned Norman Lear (screenplay) and Robert Kaufman (story) a Best Original Screenplay Academy Award nomination. »
- Andre Soares
My second day in Locarno I've shamefacedly dedicated to what some of the critics here call "the old movies." To be honest, while I am very much thrilled to be one of the first people to see new films by my favorite filmmakers as well as be surprised ones by those I don't know, almost every one of these films, most shot digitally and certainly projected digitally here in Locarno, I will be able to catch again somehow, whether in the "digital library" at the festival itself, through a link from a filmmaker/producer/publicist/friend, or at the next festival stop they make. The 35mm films in Locarno are obviously therefore a much more rarified commodity and experience, something David Bordwell testified to in his report from the nearly all film (and certainly all "old movies") festival in Bologna in June: namely, the increasing popularity of festivals which cater to these now-unique celluloid experiences, »
- Daniel Kasman
Bobcat Goldthwait can recall the exact moment he knew he needed to make a film about his friend and mentor, Barry Crimmins. Crimmins had just learned that the man who raped him as a child died in prison. “I said, ‘How does that make you feel?'” Goldthwait recalled. “And he said, ‘I feel sad.’ I said, ‘Because you can’t confront him? There won’t be any closure?’ And he said, ‘No. Because he died alone.'”
Goldthwait was speaking to a packed crowd alongside Crimmins following a screening of their documentary “Call Me Lucky” this week in Hollywood. The film, which premiered to critical and audience raves at the Sundance Film Festival, opens this week in limited release. The film tracks Crimmins’ career as a standup comic beginning in the 1970s and his influence on a generation of comics (including Patton Oswalt and Marc Maron) whom he encouraged to find unique voices. »
- Jenelle Riley
Post-production tampering mitigates against this Western by Sam Peckinpah finding its deserved reception from better-class audiences. Shortened release version is vague, confusing, and is being sold as routine action entry in saturation breaks where it should perform routinely, no more. Kris Kristofferson and acting debut of Bob Dylan provide youth lures. Rating: R.
“It feels like times have changed,” says Pat Garrett. “Times, maybe—not me," says Billy the Kid. A classical Sam Peckinpah exchange, reflecting one of the numerous obsessive themes that run through his latest Western. But times certainly haven’t changed for Peckinpah—for, despite the overdue success of his last venture, The Getaway, the embattled and iconoclastic director who revolutionized the Western with The Wild Bunch »
- Joe Dante
This article by Fernando Ganzo is an excerpt from Capricci's monograph Sam Peckinpah, edited by Ganzo, which accompanies this year's retrospective at the Locarno Film Festival.Warren Oates in Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. © Park Circus / MGM“Don’t ever ruin your career as a loser with a shitty success.”—Jorge OteizaThere is only one thing that can be said about a person as erratic, contradictory, mythomaniac, complex and profound as Sam Peckinpah: here is a director who was made in the image of his characters, those men who belong to a different era, born too late, in a world that opposed all freedom and eccentricity. We like to describe Peckinpah as one of the fathers of New Hollywood, of the baroque aesthetic of the 1970s, as someone who had a primordial and often regrettable influence on that particular style. This is not completely false. However, this »
Each year, a lot of filmmakers make a lot of movies. Some of them are noteworthy, some become celebrated award-winners, while a rare one or two enter into the annals of history – taking place alongside great works by artists such as Alan J. Pakula. Part of the fun is predicting which film – if any – will fall into the latter category, and this year, all eyes are on Spotlight.
It’s not an outlandish idea to compare the upcoming drama to Pakula’s legendary All The President’s Men, since the subject matter shares the theme of presenting a fictionalized account of some of the most important and remarkable journalism of the 20th century. Where Pakula’s Oscar winner focused on The Washington Post’s work on the Watergate scandal, Spotlight depicts the work of The Boston Globe in uncovering the Massachusetts Catholic sex abuse scandal of 2001.
In a further connection, »
- Sarah Myles
Christopher Lee, the second most famous Dracula of the 20th century — an impressive feat — and a memorably irrepressible villain in James Bond film “The Man With the Golden Gun,” in the Star Wars films and in “The Lord of the Rings” pics, has died. He was 93.
His first role for famed British horror factory Hammer Films was not the Transylvanian vampire, however, but Frankenstein’s Monster in 1957’s “The Curse of Frankenstein.” His close friend Peter Cushing, with whom he would co-star in horror films frequently, starred as the Baron.
Lee made his first appearance as the sharp-toothed Count in 1958’s “Horror of Dracula.”
For reasons not quite certain, he skipped the 1960 sequel “Brides of Dracula,” but he returned to the role for 1965’s “Dracula: Prince of Darkness” — a movie »
- Carmel Dagan
'Yesterday' movie: Leleti Khumalo and Lihle Mvelase. 'Yesterday' movie review: Fantastic central performance in South African AIDS drama To date, nowhere has the AIDS pandemic been felt more strongly than in Sub-Saharan Africa, home to approximately 10 percent of the world's population and two-thirds of the planet's 30-35 million AIDS cases. In the past thirty years, it is estimated that more than 20 million Sub-Saharan Africans have died from complications of the disease.* Even today, drug cocktails that are relatively accessible in other parts of the globe are still beyond the means of the vast majority of Africans. Writer-director Darrell Roodt's South African drama Yesterday is set in this catastrophic scenario. The film depicts the effects of AIDS in the life of a young Zulu woman who contracts HIV from her husband. Although Roodt's narrative maintains its focus on the plight of one particular individual, the (for non-Zulus) quirkily named Yesterday represents millions of other women, »
- Andre Soares
'The Contender' movie hero: Joan Allen as the virtuous Sen. Laine Hanson. 'The Contender' movie: Exceptional Joan Allen in intriguing but ultimately wimpy political drama "Principles only mean anything when we stick by them when they're inconvenient," says Senator Laine Hanson, played by Joan Allen in Rod Lurie's The Contender. Senator Hanson should know. In Lurie's political drama, the poor Democratic senator is grilled by a Republican inquisitor with a bad hairdo (Gary Oldman) who wants to prevent at all costs her being confirmed as the next Vice President of the United States. Even if that means destroying Hanson's political career by making public the senator's alleged participation in an orgy during her college days.* Now, why such hatred? Well, the Republican watchdog is certain that the U.S. president (Jeff Bridges) has chosen Sen. Hanson because of her gender instead of her qualifications for the job. Adding insult to injury, »
- Andre Soares
“Now hold it, hold it. We’re about to accuse Haldeman, who only happens to be the second most important man in this country, of conducting a criminal conspiracy from inside the White House. It would be nice if we were right. ”
All The President’S Men will screen at Webster University’s Moore Auditorium Friday May 15th at 7:30pm.
Lengthy and full of details but nevertheless one of the most acclaimed films of the ‘70s, All The President’S Men (1976) still manages to work almost 40 years after its release.
As we all know, this film revolves around the efforts of Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) and Bob Woodward Robert (Redford) of the Washington Post to get at the truth behind that little “third-rate burglary” that happened at the Watergate building in the early morning hours of June 17, 1972. Bit by little bit, a disturbing puzzle forms. With some assistance from »
- Tom Stockman
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