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For The Postseason: Joe E. Brown As Alibi Ike

If you’re a baseball fan, particularly if you’re a Dodgers, Astros, Cubs or Yankees fan, the real baseball season started this past Friday with the inauguration of the American and National League Championship Series. I’m a Dodgers fan, which means I’m among that group who, arguably, have gone the longest without the satisfaction/excitement/nail-biting terror of seeing their team in the World Series, the next step for whoever wins in the Nlcs. The Dodgers last appeared in the World Series in 1988, capping a memorable run with a championship by beating the Oakland A’s. That was 29 years ago. The Cubs are the reigning Mlb champions, having won last year’s World Series after a 107-year drought. And the Yankees, a mainstay of the World Series around the turn of this century, last appeared in an October championship series in 2009.

The only team to come close
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Opening Wednesday At A Theater Or Drive-in Near You: The Shadow Cinema Of The American ‘70S

“All the films in this book share an air of disreputability… I have tried to avoid using the word art about the movies in this book, not just because I didn’t want to inflate my claims for them, but because the word is used far too often to shut down discussion rather than open it up. If something has been acclaimed as art, it’s not just beyond criticism but often seen as above the mere mortals for whom its presumably been made. It’s a sealed artifact that offers no way in. It is as much a lie to claim we can be moved only by what has been given the imprimatur of art as it would be to deny that there are, in these scruffy movies, the very things we expect from art: avenues into human emotion and psychology, or into the character and texture of the time the films were made,
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Recommended New Books on Filmmaking: ‘Wonder Woman,’ 1970s Cinema, ‘Alien: Covenant,’ and More

We are knee-deep into a summer of dreary sequels, kids’ fare, and a few whip-smart outliers. If you’ve already seen the likes of The Beguiled and Baby Driver, perhaps staying home with a book is a better idea than trekking to the cinema. Let’s dive into some worthy film-centric reads.

Wonder Woman: The Art and Making of the Film by Sharon Gosling (Titan Books)

Patty JenkinsWonder Woman is one of the biggest superhero success stories, and it deserves that designation. The classification makes reading a book like Wonder Woman: The Art and Making of the Film feel like a celebratory affair. After a brief account of the character’s comics history, we delve into designs for Themyscira, concept art of Dr. Maru’s laboratory, and somber depictions of battle. What stands out, however, are drawings and photographs showing the film’s winning costume designs. It is illuminating,
See full article at The Film Stage »

Playback: David Lowery on ‘A Ghost Story’ and Breathing New Life Into ‘Peter Pan’

Playback: David Lowery on ‘A Ghost Story’ and Breathing New Life Into ‘Peter Pan’
Welcome to “Playback,” a Variety podcast bringing you exclusive conversations with the talents behind many of today’s hottest films.

The Sundance Film Festival wrapped up six months ago, but many of the films from this year’s lineup are finally making it into theaters this summer. “The Hero” and “Beatriz at Dinner” have arrived, while others like “Landline” and “To the Bone” are on the horizon. This week, David Lowery’s “A Ghost Story” lands, and it may be the best film of the year so far.

It’s a tough one to talk about, though, because it starts to unravel as you explain it, inevitably failing to do it justice. Lowery describes it simply as the story of “a ghost haunting one space for a long, long time.” But it deals with big metaphysical ideas, all the while drilling them down to an intimate space.

Listen to this week’s episode of “Playback” below. New
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Wild, Dangerous, Imperfect, Wounded Grandeur: 18 Double Features About America

The United States is “my country, right or wrong,” of course, and I consider myself a patriotic person, but I’ve never felt that patriotism meant blind fealty to the idea of America’s rightful dominance over global politics or culture, and certainly not to its alleged preferred status on God’s short list of favored nations, or that allegiance to said country was a license to justify or rationalize every instance of misguided, foolish, narrow-minded domestic or foreign policy.

In 2012, when this piece was first posted, it seemed like a good moment to throw the country’s history and contradictions into some sort of quick relief, and the most expedient way of doing that for me was to look at the way the United States (and the philosophies at its core) were reflected in the movies, and not just the ones which approached the country head-on as a subject.
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Breakout / Der Mann Ohne Nerven

Charlie Bronson cashed in big with this lightweight action thriller co-starring Jill Ireland and Robert Duvall. Did Duvall get involved because the original concept was a serious look at political scandals between big business, the CIA and Chile? The clues from the real source story are still there.

Breakout

Region B + A Blu-ray

Koch Media / Explosive Media (De)

1975 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 96 min. / Street Date January 17, 2017 / Der Mann ohne Nerven / Available from Amazon.de Eur 15,99

Starring: Charles Bronson, Jill Ireland, Robert Duvall, Randy Quaid, Sheree North, John Huston, Jorge Moreno, Paul Mantee, Emilio Fernandez, Alan Vint, Roy Jenson, John Huston.

Cinematography: Lucien Ballard

Editor: Bud Isaacs

Original Music: Jerry Goldsmith

Written by: Howard B. Kreitsek, Marc Norman, Elliott Baker suggested by the book Ten Second Jailbreak by Warren Hinckle, William Turner, Eliot Asinof.

Produced by: Robert Chartoff, Irwin Winkler

Directed by: Tom Gries

Charles Bronson seems to have been an unhappy
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Richard Portman, ‘Star Wars’ Sound Engineer and 11-Time Oscar Nominee, Dies at 82

Richard Portman, ‘Star Wars’ Sound Engineer and 11-Time Oscar Nominee, Dies at 82
Sound engineer Richard Portman, who received 11 Academy Award nominations and won for his work on Michael Cimino’s “The Deer Hunter,” died on Saturday at his home in Tallahassee, Fla. He was 82.

“He was an icon of his craft of motion picture sound re-recording, recognized with the highest honors of his field,” his daughter Jennifer Portman wrote on her Facebook page. “He was eccentric, irreverent, and real.”

Portman worked on nearly 200 movies and mixed the sound for George Lucas’ “Star Wars.”

Portman received two Oscar sound nominations in 1973 for Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather” and Michael Ritchie’s “The Candidate.” He was also double-nominated in 1974 for Peter Bogdanovich’s “Paper Moon” and Mike Nichols’ “The Day of the Dolphin.”

Portman received his first nom in 1971 for “Kotch,” directed by Jack Lemmon. He was also up for Oscars for Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein,” Herbert Ross’ “Funny Lady,” Michael Apted’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Drive-In Dust Offs: The Island (1980)

Michael Caine had an interesting run of genre flicks starting in the late ‘70s. The Swarm (1978) was laughed off the screen, Dressed to Kill (1980) was enjoyed by audiences and critics alike, and The Hand (1981) dropped his batting average once again. Nestled in between all those was The Island (1980), a killer pirate movie from the author of Jaws and directed by the man behind The Bad News Bears. What could go wrong? Well, everything, according to most folk. It’s an odd one to be sure, but the wild tonal shifts that prevent the ship from staying on a clear course make it a fascinating treasure that gets better with each viewing.

Released in June by Universal, The Island had a surefire pedigree for success; the Jaws juggernaut of producers Zanuck and Brown and author Peter Benchley (here, adapting his own novel) promised a good time to be had by all.
See full article at DailyDead »

The Best of Movie Poster of the Day: Part 16

  • MUBI
Above: Mondo poster for The Graduate (Mike Nichols, USA, 1967); artist: Rory Kurtz; lettering: Jay Shaw.On my daily movie poster Tumblr I don’t make a habit of posting fan art or art prints—call them what you will—because I’m most interested in the intersection of commerce and art that is the theatrical movie poster. But I make an exception when something stands out, and nothing stood out last year quite like Rory Kurtz’s beautiful, elegant and unexpected Mondo illustration for The Graduate, which quite rightly racked up over 200 more likes than even its nearest competitor. But its nearest competitor was fan art too: a brilliant poster for Badlands by the insanely talented Adam Juresko, whose art poster for In the Mood for Love (featured in my Maggie Cheung article) was also in the top four. What makes art posters easy to like—beyond their extraordinary artistry
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The Candidate

Michael Ritchie’s acerbic satire on the backroom maneuvers of political campaigning seems like a soothing bedtime story compared to the surreal finale of the 2016 campaign. Robert Redford found his perfect casting as the pretty boy candidate who gains in the polls as he allows his true convictions to fall by the wayside. Peter Boyle and Melvyn Douglas also shine as, respectively, the seasoned political operative and a sagacious old pol. Vet supporting actor Don Porter makes the most of the role of a lifetime as silver-haired Crocker Jarman, Redford’s canny opponent. Screenwriter Jeremy Larner won the Oscar for Best Screenplay.
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Little Fauss and Big Halsy

Redford's back and Pollard's got him! Or is it Lauren Hutton? Sidney J. Furie fully earns his shaky reputation with this motorcycle buddy picture. Most of the energy seems to have gone into the deal, not the movie. Great cinematography, but it's for fans that want to look at a shirtless Sundance Kid. I know you're out there. Little Fauss and Big Halsy Blu-ray Olive Films 1970 / Color / 2:35 widescreen / 99 min. / Street Date October 18, 2016 / available through the Olive Films website / 29.98 Starring Robert Redford, Michael J. Pollard, Lauren Hutton, Noah Beery Jr., Lucille Benson, Ray Ballard, Linda Gaye Scott, Erin O'Reilly. Cinematography Ralph Woolsey Film Editor Argyle Nelson Jr. Art Direction Lawrence G. Paull Songs Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Carl Perkins Written by Charles Eastman Produced by Albert S. Ruddy Directed by Sidney J. Furie

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

I purposely didn't look up reviews for Little Fauss and Big Halsy before writing my own,
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Denise Nickerson is the latest 'Willy Wonka' child star to mourn Gene Wilder

  • Hitfix
Denise Nickerson is the latest 'Willy Wonka' child star to mourn Gene Wilder
Yesterday I posted a tweet from Julie Dawn Cole (a.k.a. Veruca Salt) in which the Willy Wonka star expressed her sadness at the passing of former co-star Gene Wilder, who died yesterday at the age of 83 (read Drew's remembrance here). Now, Denise Nickerson, whose gum-snapping character Violet Beauregarde famously transformed into a human blueberry in the 1971 classic, has posted her own tribute, which she signed "Love, Violet": Rip Gene. You were so talented and kindhearted. You will be sorely missed by so many. All of us have lost Our Willy Wonka. Love, Violet — Denise Nickerson (@deniseviolet71) August 30, 2016 Nickerson, who was just 14 when Willy Wonka debuted, racked up a number of roles in the wake of the film's release, including a regular stint on the '70s variety series The Electric Company and as a beauty pageant contestant in Michael Ritchie's 1975 film Smile. She retired from acting
See full article at Hitfix »

Lee Marvin Died 29 Years Ago Today – Here Are His Ten Best Films

Article by Jim Batts, Dana Jung, and Tom Stockman

Lee Marvin rose through the ranks of movie stardom as a character actor, delivering mostly villainous supporting turns in many films before finally graduating to leading roles. Regardless of which side of the law he was on however, he projected a tough-as-nails intensity and a two-fisted integrity which elevated even the slightest material. Born February 19, 1924, in New York City, Marvin quit high school to enter the Marine Corps and while serving in the South Pacific was badly wounded in battle when a machine gun nest shot off part of his buttocks and severed his sciatic nerve. He spent a year in recovery before returning to the U.S. where he began working as a plumber. The acting bug bit after filling in for an ailing summer-stock actor and he studied the art at the New York-based American Theater Wing. Upon making his debut in summer stock,
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Criterion Close-Up – Episode 47 – Downhill Racer & the Olympics

Mark and Aaron celebrate the Summer Olympics by exploring Downhill Racer, an independent film about the Winter Olympics. We draw parallels to what is portrayed in the Michael Ritchie with the actual sporting events that take place today, including the thrills of victory and the agony of defeat. We discuss the groundbreaking cinematography, the nature of winning in an individual sport and the the enduring legacy of Sundance that began with this film.

About the film:

Astonishing Alpine location photography and a young Robert Redford in one of his earliest starring roles are just two of the visual splendors of Downhill Racer, the visceral debut feature of Michael Ritchie. In a beautifully understated performance, Redford is David Chappellet, a ruthlessly ambitious skier competing for Olympic gold with an underdog American team in Europe, and Gene Hackman provides tough support as the coach who tries to temper the upstart’s narcissistic drive for glory.
See full article at CriterionCast »

The Bad News Bears

Michael Ritchie’s 1976 comedy about a squad of underachieving Little Leaguers and their boozing coach (played by a rumpled Walter Matthau) is a bracing antidote to most of today’s carefully vetted family-friendly feel good films. Ritchie’s uniquely warmhearted but unsentimental take on his crew of misfits allows even the most peripheral of characters their own memorable moments. Rowdy, profane and, happily, avoiding the cheap theatrics of the triumphant finale usually found in sports films, The Bad News Bears is yet another wonderfully unruly example of the lost, lamented 70s cinema. Forty years later, The Daily News chats with cast and crew on the anniversary of Ritchie’s film.
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Wamg Interview: Charles Bronson Scholar Paul Talbot – Author of Bronson’S Loose Again!

Bronson’s Loose Again!: On the Set with Charles Bronson is author Paul Talbot’s all-new companion volume to his acclaimed Bronson’s Loose!: The Making of the ‘Death Wish’ Films. His new book reveals more information on the Death Wish series and also details the complex histories behind eighteen other Charles Bronson movies. Documented herein are fascinating tales behind some of the finest Bronson films of the mid-1970s (including Hard Times and From Noon Till Three); his big-budget independent epics Love And Bullets and Cabo Blanco; his lesser-known, underrated dramas Borderline and Act Of Vengeance; his notorious sleaze/action Cannon Films classics of the 80s (including 10 To Midnight, Murphy’S Law and Kinjite: Forbidden Sunjects); the numerous unmade projects he was attached to; and his TV movies of the 90s (including The Sea Wolf). Exhaustively researched, the book features over three dozen exclusive, candid interviews including
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Review: "Diggstown" Starring James Woods, Louis Gossett Jr. And Bruce Dern; Kino Lorber Blu-ray Edition

  • CinemaRetro
By Doug Oswald

James Woods plays a down on his luck con artist who teams up with retired fighter Louis Gossett, Jr. to score a huge win against a local mob boss in a high stakes boxing match in “Diggstown,” now available on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber. Michael Ritchie directs an impressive cast in this entertaining 1992 comedy. However, the MGM release never found its audience and underperformed at the box office upon its release.

The movie opens in Winfield Prison, Olivair County Georgia, where a fight is taking place in the common area with the full knowledge of the prison guards and Warden Bates (Marshall Bell). Wolf Forrester (Randall “Tex” Cobb) is fighting Minoso Torres (Alex Garcia) as Gabriel Caine (Woods) helps an inmate escape. Wolf ends up in the prison hospital after losing the fight and he and Gabe discuss their plans as fighter and promoter after they’re released.
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Why 'Bad News Bears' Is the Greatest Baseball Movie Ever Made

Why 'Bad News Bears' Is the Greatest Baseball Movie Ever Made
For folks who loves both baseball and movies, it's incredibly sad that Hollywood's takes on our national pastime continually whiff with a frequency that makes Adam Dunn look like Joe Dimaggio. But 40 years ago today, a film was released that got everything beautifully, hilariously and even painfully right: The Bad News Bears. A tartly-scripted comic saga about a no-hope Little League team from L.A.'s San Fernando Valley, the film — directed by Michael Ritchie from an original screenplay written by Bill Lancaster — shocked and amused audiences with its unbridled
See full article at Rolling Stone »

Best Baseball Movies

In the midst of March Madness and with the Kentucky Derby around the corner, the first pitch of baseball season is almost here.

A quote from Field Of Dreams best describes America’s national pastime, “The one constant throughout the years has been baseball.”

To mark the start of the 2016 season, here’s our list of the Best Baseball movies.

The Bad News Bears

Considered by some to be the best baseball movie ever, the film celebrates its 40th anniversary this month (April 7, 1976). In an article from the NY Daily News, one line reads, “It is a movie that someone like the late Philip Seymour Hoffman called his favorite, and one which resonates on many levels today, with all different generations.”

Who are we to argue with greatness?

After skewering all-American subjects such as politics (The Candidate) and beauty pageants (Smile), director Michael Ritchie naturally set his sights on the
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Awards Campaigns Harken Back to Oscar’s Earliest Days

Awards Campaigns Harken Back to Oscar’s Earliest Days
Some people seem to think Oscar campaigns are a recent phenomenon. In truth, they are as old as the awards themselves: In Hollywood, creativity and marketing have always gone hand in hand.

While many contenders get the heebie-jeebies at the word “campaign,” it’s all part of a long tradition that includes screenings, handshaking — and ads.

On March 18, 1931, Variety ran a full-page ad headlined “Take it again, Norma!” MGM congratulated Norma Shearer on her win for “The Divorcee” and predicted she would be nominated again for “Strangers May Kiss.” The ad showed an Oscar statuette, though that image has long been banned from subsequent ads.

Among the earliest uses of the word “consideration” was in 1948, when Rko touted several films, including “Mourning Becomes Electra” and “The Farmer’s Daughter.”

Over the years, the campaigning has sometimes been subtle, sometimes blatant. In the late-1950s and early ’60s, Lustre-Creme shampoo ran
See full article at Variety - Film News »
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