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Review: "The Hired Hand" (1971) Starring Peter Fonda And Warren Oates; UK Dual Format Release From Arrow Films

  • CinemaRetro
By Tim Greaves

The first of only three films for which Peter Fonda took up residence in the director's chair – the others being Idaho Transfer (1973) and Wanda Nevada (1979) – unconventional western The Hired Hand (1971)is the jewel of the triad. A couple of fleeting outbursts of violence aside, it's heavy on gentle drama and light on shoot-'em-up action, as such more a thinking man’s western than one whose white hats and blackguards are clearly defined from the outset and proceed to serve up a profusion of rapid-fire gunfights with bounteous squirts of ketchup.

Following an upsetting incident which prompts him to reflect on his life choices, drifter Harry Collings (Peter Fonda) informs his travelling companions Arch Harris (Warren Oates) and Dan Griffen (Robert Pratt) that he's decided to return home to the wife and daughter he deserted six years earlier. Before they can part ways Dan is shot by a
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Happy 86th Birthday Clint Eastwood! Here Are His Ten Best Films

Article by Jim Batts, Dana Jung, and Tom Stockman

Happy Birthday to one of We Are Movie Geeks favorite stars. Clint Eastwood was born on this day in 1930, making him 86 years old. The actor and two-time Oscar winning director hasn’t let his age slow him down a bit. Sully, his new movie as a director, opens in September.

We posted a list in 2011 of his ten best directorial efforts Here

Clint Eastwood has appeared in 68 films in his six (!) decades as an actor, and here, according to We Are Movie Geeks, are his ten best:

Honorable Mention: Honkytonk Man

By the 1980s, Clint Eastwood was one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars. With his own production company, directorial skills, and economic clout, Eastwood was able to make smaller, more personal films. A perfect example is the underrated Honkytonk Man, which also happens to be one of Eastwood’s finest performances.
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Live From Delta House – Belushi and Me

One of our favorite writers, Dennis Cozzalio, is with us again for today's Saturday Matinee. Dennis, not coincidentally, presides over one of our favorite film blogs, Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule. The occasion is the premiere of Allan Arkush's commentary for John Landis' Animal House which will run this coming Monday. Dennis happened to be an extra on the film so we asked him to share his experiences. We're also pleased to present some rare production stills courtesy of Katherine Wilson, the movie's local casting director in Oregon. Enjoy! Eugene, Oregon, Fall 1977. I was a first-term freshman trying to squeak out at least a 3.0 Gpa my first time at bat at the University of Oregon. I had enrolled in the film studies department, officially proclaiming it my major, fully expecting to broaden my horizons by seeing a lot of films to which I had never had the opportunity to be exposed.
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Edgar Wright Announces 12-Film Festival Lineup for to Prepare for The World’S End

Director Edgar Wright has curated three seasons of his mini-film festival "The Wright Stuff" at the New Beverly since 2007. He just announced the lineup for a fourth round---this one under the heading "The World's End Is Nigh"---with a specific goal in mind: "Now, to get you in the mood for the North American release of The World’s End on Aug 23rd, I have put together 12 stepping stones to our new movie. The films are all great and all wildly diverse, but you will see some of the seeds of their influence in our new movie." "Wildly diverse" may be an understatement, given the range from American Graffiti to The Terminator. See the full list of double features after the jump. Check out Edgar Wright's blog for information on how to buy tickets. “One Crazy Night” Fri-Sat, Aug 9-10 After Hours 1985, USA, 97 min. Directed by Martin Scorsese Written
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Blu-ray, DVD Release: Medium Cool

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: May 21, 2013

Price: DVD $29.95, Blu-ray $39.95

Studio: Criterion

Verna Bloom and Robert Forster tries to figure things out in Medium Cool.

The 1969 film drama Medium Cool is the first narrative film directed by the famed documentarian/cinematographer Haskell Wexler, who shot One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Days of Heaven, among other greats.

In, with the U.S. in social upheaval, Wexler decided to make a film about what the hell was going on and plunge audiences straight into the moment. With its mix of scripted fiction and seat-of-the-pants documentary technique, the film’s story looks at the working world and romantic life of television cameraman John Cassellis (Robert Forster, Jackie Brown). Set in Chicago, Cassellis finds himself becoming personally involved in the violence that erupts around the 1968 Democratic National Convention, just as he’s forced to deal with a whole lot of romantic and lifestyle issues.
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Daring Ideas: Haskell Wexler talks about In the Heat of the Night & Medium Cool

Trevor Hogg chats with Academy Award-winner Haskell Wexler about two cinematic classics...

“I shot In the Heat of the Night [1967] based on my views of black and white,” states Chicago-born cinematographer Haskell Wexler. “A lot of things I did were considered to be daring, like I put airplane landing lights into cars so that the intensity of lights were adequate to deal with colour.” The other innovative lighting techniques were used such as bouncing light off the ceiling and down onto a set like a still photographer. “I had an umbrella light which sent rays in a rounded way.” Much has been made of the way Wexler was able to light Sydney Poitier who plays a Philadelphia police detective recruited to assist a bigoted Southern sheriff (Rod Steiger) in a murder investigation while waiting for a train back home. “Rod was getting make-up and joked to Sydney, ‘All you have
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The Last Temptation Of Christ and Vanya Of 42Nd Street Criterion Blu-ray Reviews

The Martin Scorsese who put out The Last Temptation of Christ is not the Martin Scorsese we know today. He had yet to make Goodfellas, and though Raging Bull netted Robert De Niro an Oscar, Scorsese spent much of the 1980’s in the wilderness, making niche films which were considered disappointments, only to secure financing through directing a for-hire hit movie (The Color of Money). Christ was most notable for the controversy it engendered, as it was protested by a number of religious groups, which kept it out of most big chain theaters. Vanya of 42nd Street is a project that transcends its set-up, and acts as a follow-up to Louis Malle’s My Dinner with Andre. It reunited Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn with a cast (that includes Julianne Moore) that performed Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya on the fly for years. Both have come out from Criterion on Blu-ray,
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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
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Blu-ray, DVD Release: Badge 373

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: April 24, 2012

Price: DVD $24.95, Blu-ray $25.95

Studio: Olive Films

The 1973 crime thriller movie Badge 373 carries the credit that it was “Inspired by the Exploits of Eddie Egan,” the New York City police detective whose work was also the subject of the award-winning 1971 movie The French Connection.

In Badge 373, Robert Duvall (Get Low) portrays Eddie Ryan, a tough and abrasive Irish cop who is forced to turn in his badge after scuffling with a suspect who then falls to his death from a rooftop. But that doesn’t stop Ryan from heading out on a one-man vigilante crusade to avenge his partner’s murder, all the while neglecting his new live-in girlfriend, Maureen (Verna Bloom, National Lampoon’s Animal House). Ryan’s investigation leads him to Puerto Rican drug kingpin Sweet Willie (Henry Darrow, A Life of Sin) and a shipment of guns for the Puerto Rican underworld.
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Top Ten Tuesday: The Best Of Clint Eastwood (The Actor)

When J. Edgar was released last Fall, We Are Movie Geeks published our Top Ten Tuesday article on Clint Eastwood’s best films as director. With word that Eastwood has come out of acting retirement, it’s time for another Top Ten list, this time of movies that Clint has starred in. Trouble With The Curve is currently filming and stars Clint as an ailing baseball scout in his twilight years who takes his daughter (played by Amy Adams) on the road for one last recruiting trip. This will be Clint’s first acting role since Gran Torino in 2008.

Super-8 Clint Eastwood Movie Madness will be a great way to celebrate the life and films of this legendary American actor. It takes place February 7th at the Way Out Club in St. Louis (2525 Jefferson in South City). Condensed versions of these memorable Clint Eastwood films will be shown on a
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Quick Shooter: A Clint Eastwood Profile (Part 3)

Trevor Hogg profiles the career of Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood in the third of a five-part feature (read parts one and two)...

“You’ve got to keep stretching out and trying other stuff,” observed actor and director Clint Eastwood. “I could have chosen a lot of scripts that were different than Bronco Billy [1980], that were less of a challenge but it was worth trying.” The native of San Francisco, California explains, “It’s about the American Dream, and Billy’s dream that he fought so hard for. It’s all the context of this outdated Wild West show that has absolutely no chance of being a hit. But it’s sweet. It’s pure.” The subject matter resembles the work of two legendary Hollywood filmmakers. “My first thought was that Frank Capra [It’s a Wonderful Life] or Preston Sturges [Sullivan’s Travels] might have done it in their heyday. It has some values that were interesting to
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Quick Shooter: A Clint Eastwood Profile (Part 2)

Trevor Hogg profiles the career of Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood in the second of a five-part feature (read part one here)...

“After Hang ’em High [1968], I acted in several pictures without being actively involved in their production,” recalled California filmmaker Clint Eastwood. “Then I found myself making my directorial debut directing second unit on a picture of Don Siegel’s.” The action crime thriller introduced audience members to the actor’s signature role of no nonsense Police Inspector Harry Callahan. “Don had the flu and I replaced him for the sequence where Harry tries to convince the would-be-suicide not to jump into the void. That turned out Ok, because, for lack of space on the window ledge, the only place to perch me was on the crane. I shot this scene, then another one, and I began to think more seriously about directing.” The helmer of Dirty Harry (1971) had a
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Understanding Scorsese: A Martin Scorsese Profile (Part 3)

Trevor Hogg profiles the career of legendary American filmmaker Martin Scorsese in the third of a five part feature... read parts one and two.

When he was approached by Paul Newman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), who wanted to revise his signature role of Fast Eddie Felson from The Hustler (1961), Martin Scorsese was skeptical about the project. “I had a lot of reservations about it,” admitted the filmmaker of the planned cinematic adaptation of The Color of Money (1986) by novelist Walter Tevis. “I felt it was a literal sequel. There were even a few minutes of film inserted in it from the first picture. It had its own merits, but it certainly wasn’t the kind of thing I wanted to do.” A meeting was held in New York between the acting legend and the director where the decision was made to keep the name of the book but
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Understanding Scorsese: A Martin Scorsese Profile (Part 2)

Trevor Hogg profiles the career of legendary American filmmaker Martin Scorsese in the second of a five-part feature... read part one here.

“It’s true that some films will involve me more than others,” admitted American filmmaker Martin Scorsese. “It’s also true that I might have never made Taxi Driver [1976] were it not for the success of Alice [Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, 1974]. The question of commercialism is a source of worry. Must one make a choice, must it be a matter of either setting your sights on winning an Academy Award and becoming a millionaire, or making only the movies you want to make and starving to death?” The $1.3 million production about a lonely New York City taxi driver (Robert De Niro), who has an unrequited romantic attachment with political campaign volunteer (Cybill Shepherd) and becomes a vengeful angel for a child prostitute (Jodie Foster), potently harnessed the sense of public disillusionment fueled
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Haskell Wexler: The Hollywood Interview

Filmmaker and cinematographer Haskell Wexler.

Haskell Wexler Shoots From The Hip


Alex Simon

Two-time Academy Award-winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler was adjudged one of the ten most influential cinematographers in movie history, according to an International Cinematographers Guild survey of its membership. He won his Oscars in both black & white and color, for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) and Bound for Glory (1976). He also shot much of Days of Heaven (1978), for which credited director of photography Nestor Almendros -- who was losing his eye-sight, won a Best Cinematography Oscar. In 1993, Wexler was awarded a Lifetime Achievement award by the cinematographer's guild, the American Society of Cinematographers. He has received five Oscar nominations for his cinematography, in total, plus one Emmy Award in a career that has spanned six decades.

Born in Chicago to a wealthy family on February 6, 1922, Wexler cut his teeth shooting industrial films, TV commercials and documentaries. He
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Robert Forster: The Hollywood Interview

Actor Robert Forster at West Hollywood eatery The Silver Spoon.

The Whole World Is Watching: Robert Forster Remembers Chicago ‘68

by Jon Zelazny

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on August 21st, 2008

When the Democratic National Convention begins next week, a deeply divided party will strive to reunify, and attempt to forge a nationally acceptable policy to extricate the nation from a failed war.

Forty years ago this week, the Democratic Party was in similar straits. But the political wrangling at the 1968 convention in Chicago’s International Auditorium was wholly eclipsed by the events happening directly outside: the heavily-televised spectacle of brutal, ongoing street battles betweens thousands of Vietnam war protesters, the Chicago police, and the Illinois National Guard.

Robert Forster was there. Best known for his 1997 Oscar-nominated role as bail bondsman Max Cherry in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown, the veteran actor covered the tumultuous ‘68 convention as a local TV news cameraman.
See full article at The Hollywood Interview »

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