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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.
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

The Ten Coolest Cars in Movie History

By Alex Simon

Cars have been a staple of motion pictures since the earliest Keystone Kops two-reel comedies a century ago, usually providing fodder for chase scenes and general mayhem. Whether they’re breaking land-speed records, flying through the air defying laws of aerodynamics, or driven by intrepid heroes pursuing bad guys, cars and movies go together like…well, like movies and popcorn.Like movies and tickets. Like cars and tickets. Wait…let’s just get on with the list, shall we?

Here are the ten coolest cars in movie history, in no particular order:

1. Rendezvous: 1976 Mercedes-Benz 450Sel 6.9

Director Claude Lelouch mounted a camera on his 1976 Mercedes and tore through the early morning streets of Paris at breakneck speeds, cheating only slightly in post-production by overdubbing the sound of a Ferrari 275 Gtb engine with that of his Benz’s. Three people were in the car, with Lelouch at the wheel,
See full article at The Hollywood Interview »

‘Two-Lane Blacktop’ is the best of the ‘existential road-trip’ movies

Two-Lane Blacktop

Directed by Monte Hellman

Written by Rudy Wurlitzer and Will Cory

1971, USA

Two-Lane Blacktop just might be the greatest car movie ever made. This quiet, anti-narrative, masterpiece, and bonafide cult classic is the best of the ‘existential road-trip’ movies, and one of the greatest American films made in the early 70′s. As the pinnacle of director Monte Hellman’s career, it ages better with time. As much as Monte Hellman’s 1971 road movie will forever be associated with Easy Rider, it also springs to mind Dirty Mary Crazy Larry and Vanishing Point. But unlike those two films, Hellman is less interested in allegory nor in the race itself. For a movie about a race, it moves incredibly slow. Two-Lane Blacktop instead explores how three men head out to nowhere in particular. Hellman is interested in the process whereby a passion is subtly transformed into an obsession – and as
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Digital Fury: DVD Essentials for January

A Planet Fury-approved selection of notable genre DVD releases for the month of January.

Lightning Bug (2004) Image Entertainment Blu-ray and DVD Available Now

Effects guru Robert Hall’s semi-autobiographical film about a small town teen (Reaper's Bret Harrison) who has aspirations to become a special effects artist. An opportunity to manage the town’s local haunted house is thwarted by his alcoholic stepfather and the staunchly religious views of the surrounding population. The solid supporting cast includes That 70’s Show’s Laura Prepon, Hellraiser’s Ashely Lawrence and Kevin Gage. Written and directed by Hall, it’s an affectionate coming-of-age drama that works in spite of an uneven narrative that falls apart in the final half hour. Hopefully this new extended cut will remedy the scripting problems of the original release.

Special Features include:

* Never-before-released extended cut of the film.

* Making-of Featurette

* Audio commentaries with the writer/director and cast.
See full article at Planet Fury »

DVD Playhouse--Dec. 2012/Jan. 2013

By Allen Gardner

Killer Joe (Lionsgate) William Friedkin’s film of Tracy Letts’ off-Broadway hit about a family of Texas trailer park cretins (Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Thomas Haden Church, Gina Gershon) who hire a cop-cum-hitman (Matthew McConaughey) to take out their troublesome mother, then foolishly cross him, is a stinging satire, given double-barreled audacity by Friedkin’s sure, and fearless, directorial hand. Earning its Nc-17 rating in spades, “Killer Joe” reminds us that daring, frank material like this is why movies exist in the first place. McConaughey gives the performance of his career, hopefully redefined after this. Also available on Blu-ray disc. Bonuses: Featurettes; Commentary by Friendkin; Trailer. Widescreen. Dolby and DTS-hd 5.1 surround.

The Dark Knight Rises (Warner Bros.) Christopher Nolan’s coda to his “Batman” trilogy finds Christian Bale returning as a brooding Bruce Wayne/Caped Crusader, this time faced with a hulking villain (Tom Hardy) with respiratory
See full article at The Hollywood Interview »

Two-Lane Blacktop Blu Ray Review

It's strange seeing the Universal Studios logo pop up at the head of Two-Lane Blacktop. The idea of a studio backing a movie like this is certainly a thing of the past. It was a time when "New Hollywood" films like Easy Rider and Vanishing Point piqued the interest of both audiences and studio execs, paving the way for an existential, countercultural brand of independent cinema that provided opportunities for filmmakers like Monte Hellman to make great films like Two-Lane Blacktop. Folk singer James Taylor and Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson play 'The Driver' and 'The Mechanic'; two friends whose relationship is built around their obsession with cars and a passion for racing. They frequent underground street racing circuits, regularly blowing opponents off the asphalt with their matte grey, supped up '55 Chevy. Along the way, they cross paths with 'The Girl' (Laurie Bird), a young and attractive nomadic hippie
See full article at FilmJunk »

The National Film Registry Adds The Matrix, A Christmas Story, Dirty Harry and More

The National Film Registry has added 25 more films that will be preserved in the Library of Congress. To be included in the registry the film needs to be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” They have to be at least ten years old and are chosen from a list of films nominated by the public.

There's some great films that have been added this year. We've got the original 3:10 to Yuma, The Matrix, A Christmas Story, A League of Their Own, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Dirty Harry, Uncle Tom's Cabin, and several more.

Check out the full list of films that were added this year below, and you can head over to the Registry website to nominate films that you think should be added in 2013!

3:10 to Yuma (1957)

Considered to be one of the best westerns of the 1950s, “3:10 to Yuma” has gained in stature since its original release as
See full article at GeekTyrant »

The Essentials: 6 Great Warren Oates Films On The 30th Anniversary Of His Death

Tuesday marked thirty years since the untimely passing of Warren Oates. The great, grizzled actor's work has fallen somewhat out of fashion these days -- few, bar perhaps Quentin Tarantino, name Sam Peckinpah or Monte Hellman, Oates' closest and most frequent collaborators, as influences. If you're familiar with him at all, it's likely from his parts as outlaw Lyle Gorch in "The Wild Bunch" or as Sgt. Hulka in Bill Murray comedy "Stripes." But for a time in the 1970s, Oates was Hollywood's go-to badass character actor, a man who everyone from Norman Jewison and William Friedkin to Steven Spielberg and Terrence Malick wanted to work with.

Born in Depoy, Kentucky in 1928, Oates discovered acting at the University of Louisville, and soon headed west to L.A. where he swiftly became a regular face in the golden era of TV westerns, including parts on "Rawhide," "Wanted: Dead or Alive," "Have Gun - Will Travel
See full article at The Playlist »

Blu-Ray Review: Two Lane Blacktop – 70s America On The Road To Nowhere

It’s likely you’ve heard-of but never seen this early seventies road movie, which features nameless wanderers in a nominal cross-country race. It follows closely the tracks laid down a couple of years earlier by Easy Rider. But this is a more cerebral film than Hopper’s ramshackle classic, and less dated. The years when we couldn’t see Two-Lane Blacktop have been kind to it and now we can, we really should! Two-Lane Blacktop is available on Blu-Ray from January 23rd.

So, why was it unavailable for so long? Blame the lawyers! When films are made, pieces of music used on the soundtrack are licensed for that use but, back in the days before home video, these rights did not include ‘any other medium not invented yet’. So, if a film is to be released on DVD or Blu-Ray, the music has to be licensed all over again.
See full article at Obsessed with Film »

Win: Two Lane Blacktop On Blu-ray, We Have 3 Copies To Give Away

Two-lane Blacktop (Masters of Cinema) is to be released in the UK on Blu-ray & Ltd Edition Blu-ray Steelbook on 23 January 2012. We have 3 copies of the Blu-ray to give away to our readers.

With the melancholy open-road epic Two-Lane Blacktop, American auteur Monte Hellman (The Shooting, Cockfighter, and the recent Road to Nowhere) poeticised the beautiful, terrible rootlessness of his nation in the era of Vietnam. Funded by Universal in a bid to recreate the success of Easy Rider – by giving a number of filmmakers $1m and final cut – Hellman’s effort is now regarded as one of the key films of the New Hollywood renaissance of the early 1970s.

While driving eastward on Route 66, two rival car owners – The Driver (singer-songwriter James Taylor) and The Mechanic (Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys) in a souped-up, drag-racing ’55 Chevy, and a middle-aged braggart (Warren Oates) in a gleaming Gto – begin to
See full article at Obsessed with Film »

Collaborators, War Stories and Roads Not Taken: An Interview with Monte Hellman

For a self-described "reactionary" filmmaker, Monte Hellman is remarkably forward-thinking. Road to Nowhere (reviewed here), his first feature since 1989, is a film shot digitally that's partly about cinema in the digital age; from its very first shot—where a character pops a DVD-r with the film's title on it into a laptop—on, Road to Nowhere is a film about the slipperiness of digitally created, manipulated and viewed images. Written by longtime Hellman collaborator Steve Gaydos, it stars Shannyn Sossammon as Laurel, an inexperienced actress who is cast in a true crime drama also called Road to Nowhere (directed by one “Mitchell Haven” and written by one “Stephen Gates”); in this film-within-a-film, Laurel plays femme-fatale-ish Velma Duran, though the whole thing is ambiguous enough (in terms of structure, characterization, aesthetics, etc.) that at least one character begins to suspect that Laurel and Duran are in fact the same person.

Hellman is erudite and easygoing.
See full article at MUBI »

Cinema Retro Presents Monte Hellman: The Lost Interview

  • CinemaRetro
As Cinema Retro 'regulars' know, we have occasionally been able to find unpublished or rarely-seen interviews with legendary film personalities and provide them for our readers. In issue #1 of the magazine, Steve Mori provided an unseen interview Steve McQueen from 1968 and in issue #15, Steve did the same with a fascinating 1974 discussion with Lee Marvin. Now contributing writer Kris Gilpin has been kind enough to share with us with a 1988 interview with director Monte Hellman, whose work is revered by some of the great directors of our time. Please keep in mind that the text and events that are discussed in this interview took place in 1988 and have not been amended. (This is part one of a two-part interview.)

Interview With Monte Hellman

By Kris Gilpin

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Born July 12th, 1932 in New York City, writer-director Monte Hellman’s work is miles above typical American
See full article at CinemaRetro »

In honor of Monte Hellman and Two Lane Blacktop, an appreciation by Richard Linklater.

To celebrate master filmmaker Monte Hellman's upcoming July 23 appearance at the Ritz we present an appreciation by one of Austin's leading lights.

Richard Linklater's Things I Love About Two-Lane Blacktop

Because it's the purest American road movie ever.

Because it's like a drive-in movie directed by a French New Wave director.

Because the only thing that can get between a boy and his car obsession is a girl, and Laurie Bird perfectly messes up the oneness between the Driver, the Mechanic, and their car.

Because Dennis Wilson gives the greatest performance ever by a driver.

Because James Taylor seems like a refugee from a Robert Bresson movie.

Because there was once a god who walked the Earth named Warren Oates.

Because there's a continuing controversy over who is the actual lead in this movie. There are different camps. Some say it's the '55 Chevy, some say it's the Gto.
See full article at AlamoDrafthouseCinema »

See also

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