12 items from 2014
“She can’t act, she can’t sing, she can’t dance. A triple threat!”
Singin’ In The Rain is part musical, part comedy, and part romance, but it is always all of these things at the same time. The story follows Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly), a famous silent movie star, and his friend Cosmo (Donald O’Connor) as they brace for Hollywood’s transition into the Age of Sound. This period in film history serves only as a backdrop for one of the most lavish films ever made. In addition to the comedy, what makes Singin’ In The Rain so memorable is the dance numbers. Watching O’Connor flail around during “Make ‘Em Laugh” is hilarious and nerve-wracking at the same time, and Gene Kelly’s famous “Singin’ in the Rain” epitomizes the film’s spirit.
Singin’ In The Rain is a perfect example of that kind of great »
- Tom Stockman
Over the past three months of Movie Poster of the Day, the two most popular posters by far were two beautiful (each in their own very distinct way) posters that I posted in memoriam of two dearly departed auteurs: Alan Resnais and Harold Ramis. And two other posters among the most popular (i.e. most liked or reblogged) were those posted in celebration of Philip Seymour Hoffman, including Chris Ware’s lovely 2007 design for The Savages, one of my favorite posters of last decade. So, if nothing else, Movie Poster of the Day has recorded the saddest losses of the year. (Not forgetting the adorable Swedish poster I posted for Shirley Temple which didn’t make the Top 20.)
I’m happy to see a number of new posters here: a very popular Dutch Wolf of Wall Street, »
- Adrian Curry
Marc Platt, who danced up a storm on stage and screen in Oklahoma! and played the fourth brother in the classic 1954 Stanley Donen musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, has died. He was 100. Platt, who danced in the 1930s with the famed Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, died Saturday in Marin, Calif., his daughter Donna told the San Francisco Chronicle. Platt also displayed some fancy footwork in the Rita Hayworth films Tonight and Every Night (1945) and Down to Earth (1947) and appeared with comic Sid Caesar in the musical Tars and Spars (1946). Platt created the role
- Mike Barnes
Screwball comedy movies, rare screenings of epic box office disaster: Library of Congress’ Packard Theater in April 2014 (photo: Cary Grant and Irene Dunne in ‘The Awful Truth’) In April 2014, the Library of Congress’ Packard Campus Theater in Culpeper, Virginia, will celebrate Hollywood screwball comedy movies, from the Marx Brothers’ antics to Peter Bogdanovich’s early ’70s homage What’s Up, Doc?, a box office blockbuster starring Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal. Additionally, the Packard Theater will present a couple of rarities, including an epoch-making box office disaster that led to the demise of a major studio. Among Packard’s April 2014 screwball comedies are the following: Leo McCarey’s Duck Soup (Saturday, April 5) — actually more zany, wacky, and totally insane than merely "screwball" — in which Groucho Marx stars as the recently (un)elected dictator of Freedonia, abetted by siblings Harpo Marx and Chico Marx, in addition to Groucho’s perennial foil, »
- Andre Soares
★★★★★ Stanley Donen's Funny Face (1957), like the industry it so wittily satirises, is beguiling, effortlessly stylish and always in vogue. This evergreen classic receives a timely rerelease from Park Circus this week, coinciding conveniently with the bi-annual fashion circus currently making its way around the clothing capitals of the world. Jo Stockton (Audrey Hepburn) is happy working as an assistant in an obscure New York bookshop. However, during a photo shoot at the shop by a top fashion glossy, Jo is discovered by the magazine's editor Maggie Prescott (Kay Thompson) and top photographer Dick Avery (musical royalty Fred Astaire).
- CineVue UK
We Are What We Are (18)
The story of an archaic backwoods family with very good reasons for their insularity, this spends such a long time laying out its twisted domestic set-up, it's almost as if it's in denial about being a horror movie (remade from a Mexican original). It's a wise decision. If you don't know the family's Big Secret already, it would be a shame to spoil it; let's just say it pulls the story into real shock and gore territory.
The Book Thief (12A)
- Steve Rose
This 1957 musical makes an unconvincing May-to-December pairing of Hepburn and Astaire, but the gorgeous confectionary has its moments
For me, the gorgeous confectionery of George and Ira Gershwin's songs can't entirely sweeten this 1957 musical directed by Stanley Donen, now on re-release. I confess to finding it, sometimes, a bit mannered and grating. Kay Thompson plays Maggie Prescott, a terrifying New York fashion mag editor gearing up for a Paris trip and looking for the next big thing. Super-famous photographer Dick Avery (Fred Astaire) commandeers a Greenwich Village bookstore for an elaborate shoot, and finds himself captivated by the shy, intellectual young woman in charge: this is Jo, played by Audrey Hepburn. On the spot, he realises that, in his hands, Jo could be the Eliza Doolittle of the fashion world. This brainy beauty will be a sensation. Of course they fall in love. Hepburn is in the boho-gamine mode, »
- Peter Bradshaw
Twenty-five years ago, When Harry Met Sally revolutionized the romantic comedy. Sure, this film genre had been around since the earliest days of cinema, and had once been the domain of giants like Billy Wilder and Ernst Lubitsch and Stanley Donen. But Rob Reiner and Nora Ephron’s 1989 hit, with its slick, highly quotable back-and-forth between Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan, as well as its oddly self-reflective quality, felt like something strange and new — the Star Wars of romantic comedies. It wasn’t just a romantic comedy, it was a rom-com. We’ve been living in its wake ever since, and Valentine's Day seemed like a good time to look at the 25 intervening years and pick our favorites.A couple of caveats: We focused only on American and British rom-coms. In part, this was because there was no way to do justice to all the great films coming out of other non-English-speaking countries. »
- Bilge Ebiri,David Edelstein
By Lee Pfeiffer
When I screened this DVD presentation of the much-hyped HBO movie Behind the Candelabra, about the love affair between Liberace and his young boy toy Scott Thorson, the three people I viewed the movie with unanimously voiced an almost vitriolic response to the film. It had nothing to do with the gay love affair content (they are all dyed-in-the-wool liberals who support gay rights.) Their complaints centered on the fact that the film was boring and pointless and a colossal waste of talent. I was taken aback by the degree of their hatred for this movie but I will concede it was distinctly disappointing. First the background. In 1977 Scott Thorson was a hunky young guy who was introduced to Liberace. They entered an intense relationship that Thorson, in his memoirs, maintained was a legitimate May/December love affair. Before long Thorson had displaced Liberace's previous live-in »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
(Jacques Demy, 1964, StudioCanal)
One of the enduring attractions of the French New Wave is what is now thought of as Jacques Demy's seaside trilogy – three bittersweet musical films on the themes of love, loss and life not turning out the way you expect it to, all with recurring characters and taking place in ports on the Atlantic coast. All three are designed by Demy's school friend Bernard Evein with music by Michel Legrand.
The first, Lola (1961), Demy's directorial debut, is a cleverly patterned fairytale set in his native Nantes and stars Anouk Aimée as a golden-hearted nightclub prostitute reunited with her former love and is stunningly shot in black and white by key nouvelle vague cameraman Raoul Coutard.
The other two, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (1967), are both in imaginatively used colour and pay homage to the Hollywood musical, most especially the films of Vincente Minnelli and Stanley Donen, »
- Philip French
Rita Moreno is one of the few people on earth to win an Egot: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. But she seems genuinely surprised at being honored with the SAG Life Achievement Award: “The joy is so profound. You can wish to have an Oscar someday or some other award, but Life Achievement? You don’t see yourself that way. It’s an astonishing and singular experience,” she says.
Despite her amazement, Moreno was an inspired choice. Her nearly 70-year acting career includes the ups and downs of every actor’s life, and reflects the changes in the entertainment industry, from the heydays of radio and the studio system, to theater, basic-cable and the shifts in the agencies’ roles. It also reflects the social fabric of the decades, as she fought for equality on a national level (the civil-rights march in D.C. in the 1960s) and personal level: “All »
- Tim Gray
Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Paul Greengrass has been selected by the Board of Directors of the American Cinema Editors (Ace) to be honored with the organization’s prestigious Ace Golden Eddie Filmmaker of the Year Award.
The award will be presented at the 64th Annual Ace Eddie Awards ceremony on Friday, February 7, 2014 in the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel, it was announced today by the Ace Board of Directors.
“Paul Greengrass is one of the most exciting filmmakers working in cinema today,” stated the Ace Board of Directors. “A Greengrass film simply has its own signature – from the magnificent hand-held camera work, to his ability to engage audiences with riveting storytelling, his canon of work is bold and iconic. His latest film, Captain Phillips, is a masterwork yielding some of the finest filmmaking of the year that has already been honored with four Golden Globe® nominations including Best Director, »
- Michelle McCue
12 items from 2014
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