1-20 of 82 items from 2011 « Prev | Next »
According to some recent news, the sun seems to be bouncing stuff off an invisible, planet-sized object near Mercury. Of course, the smarty-ass scientists have an explanation – don’t they always? – something about how the pictures are processed. Other, more sensible, people have speculated that the invisible thing is a spaceship hidden by a cloaking device, maybe spying on us from two planets away. (Really big binoculars?) I’m afraid that misses the mark, too. The obvious answer is…Santa’s sleigh! Think about it – a cloaking device. Of course. That explains why we’ve never seen it. And the size of a small planet (which is still pretty big)? Well, it can’t exactly be tiny, not when it carries all those toys for good girls and boys.
Now, it’s true that as I look about me I don’t see many good girls and boys. None, in fact. »
- Dennis O'Neil
Clip joint comes right back at you with a snappy selection of cinema's wittiest ripostes and most scathing putdowns
Like a slam dunk smash in tennis, or a sudden knockout in boxing, the ability to come up with a scathingly witty riposte to a rhetorical attack – to conjure a killer comeback – results in an instant win. The old saying about sticks and stones is all wrong: an acerbic remark can do more damage than a right hook, and the sting from an incisive jibe can last a lifetime.
The French use the term 'L'esprit de l'escalier' ('staircase wit') to describe the agony of coming up with a comeback when it's just too late. Of course, ever since the dawn of the 'talkies', movie stars have relied on screenwriters to supply them with urbane repartee, and a film without snappy dialogue would be about as much fun as an alcohol-free martini. »
We've been enjoying your responses to our My favourite film series, for which Guardian writers have selected the movies they hold closest to their hearts.
Commence to dancing! For in the sixth week of our My favourite film series you achieved something pretty much unheard of – a Guardian article that provoked absolutely no dissenting opinion whatsoever. Just 156 comments worth of awe and affection for Laurel and Hardy with the odd smattering of praise for Jonathan Glancey's take on their "happily inconsequential" classic Way Out West. Debate be damned! We could get used to this.
"Strung between songs and a creaking plot are gags aplenty and a gloriously wayward score," said Glancey of James W Horne's collaboration with the pair, which sees the boys pop »
HBO has taken over the world. I’m serious. For every self deprecating viewer of Hollyoaks (nobody claims it is of a higher plane), there is someone quoting Omar, Kenny Powers or Bret and Jermaine. The church of HBO is a pseudo-religion, one which I am completely devout to. One which continues to grow in belief, aided by the ever critically mauled powerhouse Bskyb’s purchase of all HBO programming, giving everyone in the UK a fair playing field to watch the best content the little box in our living rooms have to offer. Well, as long as you have Sky TV and are willing to wait anywhere from 24 hours to 3 months for the same episode the Us had prior.
Now shows such as Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones are strewn over every advertising board available, HBO with or without Sky’s help is now firmly in the mainstream. »
- Dan Lewis
So there I was, sitting at my desk, surrounded by the detritus of the editorial life, not being productive, listening to the voices coming from across the hall: a fellow editor and a freelance writer engaged in something about half way between discussion and argument.
Editor: It’s not the kind of thing we publish.
Writer: But it’s what I want to write!
But we don’t do stuff like that.
But it’s what I want to write!
Another volley of buts, both articulated and implicit, and the meeting ended with the writer still needing to find a way to pay his bills.
I was an editor for more than two decades; you know whom I sided with.
But…what was with the writer, anyhow? Was this an instance of an ego bloating up and strangling its host? Or – and here we enter The Region of Psychological Murk »
- Dennis O'Neil
In our writers' favourite film series, Paul Howlett is moved by the heartbreak in this classy film noir about an insurance salesman
Do you feel betrayed by this review? Then write your own here or brood in the shadows of the comments section below
Who would have thought a movie about an insurance guy could be so bitter, so suspenseful, so heartbreaking? I love Double Indemnity because it's about a couple who are cheap and greedy, but achieve a kind of tragic heroism; because it has one of the great father-son relationships (although they aren't actually father and son); because it's a thoroughly cynical thriller redeemed by just a fading touch of romance. And it also has a trio of superb performances: Fred MacMurray, who tended to play amiable chumps, was here recast as a devious murderer (though still a bit of a chump); Barbara Stanwyck, as the deadliest of »
- Paul Howlett
In her last video, she sexed up a trailer park and now Beyonce has wowed us again, noir-style.
Her latest video, "Dance for You," has just been released and it features a pre-baby-bump Beyonce walking into a 40s-style detective's office, where she removes her cropped trench and seductively dances all over his furniture.
Sounds like a Raymond Chandler novel, right?
Take a look and tell us what you think of the video and Beyonce's vamped-up noir look! »
- Jessie Heyman
It is one of the stranger TV fictions out there – the tale of Jonathan Ames, a struggling writer who moonlights as a bungling detective and stumbles through his caseload like a neurotic Clouseau. And the writer of HBO's hit Bored to Death? New York writer Jonathan Ames.
Autobiographical sitcoms used to be a novelty but have rapidly become the norm. Ever since Seinfeld became the syndicated colossus all other sitcoms aspire to others have followed suit with stars playing fictional versions of themselves (shows sometimes called simcoms). You've got 30 Rock, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Louie produced in the Us and Lead Balloon, Grandma's House and The Trip from the BBC. It certainly reduces the writing workload. Why go to the trouble of creating a new comic character when »
- James Donaghy
The novel writer Dashiell Hammett is involved in the investigation of the mysterious disappearance of a beautiful chinese cabaret actress in San Francisco.
Dashiell Hammett was the original hard-boiled noir crime writer, clearing the path for Raymond Chandler and, more recently, James Ellroy to follow with their depictions of the corrupt criminal underbelly of West Coast USA.
This film is born out of Joe Gore’s book, which fictionalised Hammett’s life, putting him front and centre in one of his own dime-store detective novels. Having left Pinkerton’s detective agency to »
- Robert Munro
In our writers' favourite films series, Rosie Swash explains why she is bowled over by the Coen brothers' surreal masterpiece
• Big-up your version of The Big Lebowski by posting your review – or go large in the comments
• Dudeism, the faith that abides in The Big Lebowski
Before we get into this, I should say that my other favourite film is Casablanca. Romance, sacrifice, heroism, war; Casablanca has it all. But does it have the Dude engaging in a plan to confront an adolescent car thief while watching his landlord perform an interpretative dance while dressed as a tree? No, it does not.
Like a teenager who discovers Che Guevara T-shirts, there is nothing original or particularly inspired about liking The Big Lebowski. So predictable, you'll say. Dear God, it's not even the best film by the Coen brothers, have you not seen Barton Fink? Year after year, I watch films that make me cry, »
- Rosie Swash
Fans of hard-boiled detective novels – and the movies they’re made into – worship at the altar of Raymond Chandler (The Long Goodbye, The Big Sleep) and Dashiell Hammett (The Maltese Falcon, The Thin Man), but unless you’re seriously into noir, the name Ross MacDonald is often skipped. MacDonald wrote a series of highly praised private eye yarns featuring a SoCal detective named Lew Archer.
Two of Archer’s eight adventures were filmed (with Archer’s name changed to Lew Harper, for whatever reason) as Harper in 1966 and The Drowning Pool in 1975, both starring Paul Newman as the gumshoe. Now, Deadline reports that The Matrix and Sherlock Holmes super-producer Joel Silver is reviving the series with Warner Bros., staring with the eighth novel of the series, The Galton Case.
- email@example.com (thefilmstage.com)
You gotta love a good detective story. Hollywood certainly does, and over the years some of the best fictional detectives have made their way onto TV and movie screens, played by actors ranging from Humphrey Bogart to James Garner. We've seen Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe, Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe, and the troubled, broken men of James Ellroy's worlds. One classic gumshoe of the printed page who hasn't gotten his due in a while is Ross Macdonald's Lew Archer, star of over a dozen novels, including The Drowning Pool and The Way Some People Die. Now Deadline reports that Archer will be returning to the big screen in The Galton Case, courtesy of Warner Bros. and producer Joel Silver. Lew Archer is an old-school Southern Californian private dick in the vein of Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade. The Galton Case is actually the eighth book in the Archer series, »
"Caves of Steel" is a murder mystery set a thousand years in the future on an overpopulated earth, where robots are regarded with fear and suspicion. Police detective Elijah Bailey is forced to work with the humaniform (he looks like a person) robot Daneel Olivaw to solve the murder of a rich "Spacer," a human who has migrated to another planet, where everything is beautiful and hundreds of robots provide humans with every need and do all the work while the people lay around in mansions and get massages and drink mimosas.
Asimov was a master of the detective story, and his "Caves of Steel" series lays out the possibility of two possible sequels to the film: "The Naked Sun," which is set on another robot-and-human planet and involves a gorgeous woman and a murdered, »
With the next Sherlock Holmes movie on the horizon, David looks at a few other literary heroes that deserve a fresh chance on the big screen…
Classic suspense heroes are getting a lot of Hollywood attention at the moment. Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows will be released in December, and Robert Downey Jr wants to similarly reinvent Perry Mason, while Miss Marple will apparently turn into Jennifer Garner.
Meanwhile, The Saint, as played by James Purefoy, will return to the small-screen in a TV movie called The Saint In New Orleans. With this in mind, here are a few other classic characters that could be similarly adapted.
Originally a Holmes pretender, this character evolved into a hybrid of Holmes, James Bond and Indiana Jones, going on to become the most documented fictional character in the history of the English language, with over two thousand stories and novels published. »
Best known for playing the handsome district attorney Harvey Dent who becomes the monstrously disfigured Two Face in The Dark Knight, actor Aaron Eckhart is set to make his face go all ugly again in another Hollywood blockbuster that begins filming in Australia in January.
Lionsgate have just sent out a press release informing us that Eckhart will lead I, Frankenstein – their adaptation of the Darkstorm Studios graphic novel that re-imagines the Gothic tale (as you can see on the front cover, he is carrying a gun) with the evolved creation (who can now control his emotions and works as a private investigator) encountering other famous movie monsters. This includes the Hunchback of Notre Dame, the Invisible Man, Dracula, Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde… though they will be contemporary Raymond Chandler-esque noir updates to them all. It’s a little like the comic series Fables which reimagined the Big Bad Wolf »
- Matt Holmes
This conspiracy thriller is murky, atmospheric and intriguing. Just don't ask me what's going on
The phone rings. Who's calling? It's Whiskey Bravo Zero Eight Two Zero One Nine, says the voice. A distinguished looking chap – not WB082019, I don't think – looks enigmatically out of the window at a lake. Cut, first to a brown Mercedes driving fast along a country lane. Then to a morgue where a sheet is pulled back from the face of a corpse: the chin of the man identifying the body wobbles; it's who he feared it would be, I think. And next to France, where a blonde woman we later learn is Dutch is leaving a shop; a man emerges from the shadows and follows her; he's got a knife, and from the look on his face I don't think he's planning on using it to spread camembert on the baguette she's carrying. Voulez vous pique-niquer avec moi? »
- Sam Wollaston
He's already flying through the skies on a regular basis as Iron Man, and is due to appear in a second Sherlock Holmes film for director Guy Ritchie next year. But Robert Downey Jr reportedly wants a third high-profile Hollywood franchise and is eyeing a starring turn as the detective Perry Mason in the first big-screen outing for the unflappable Los Angeles defence lawyer since 1937.
Variety reports that Downey Jr and his wife, producer Susan Downey, are putting the project together at their production company, Team Downey, as a potential starring vehicle for the actor. The film looks likely to be a period piece set in 1930s La, a fertile era and location for Hollywood over the years. Erle Stanley Gardner wrote more than 80 novels featuring Mason between 1933 and his »
- Ben Child
Oh Lord, just what Robert Downey Jr needs – another franchise to his name. But if we delve deeper, this one sounds like it could be heaps of fun…
Variety says the actor who is next on our screens as the world’s most famous literary detective in the sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, has now attached himself to another super sleuthing role, that of defense attorney Perry Mason in a motion picture at Warner Bros, likely the start of a new film series.
Robert Downey Jr seems to have been courted for the project and he loved the idea of starring in it so much that it will be based on an original story fleshed out by the actor and David Gambino, one of the producers who has Kate Beckinsale’s Whiteout and Jodie Foster’s The Brave One on his producing CV. He also worked as an assistant on Gothika, »
- Matt Holmes
Even in its opening moments, you knew Afternoon Play: Strangers on a Film (Radio 4) was going to be a treat. It began with grand, suspenseful music and then slipped straight into a monologue that instantly convinced.
Patrick Stewart, as Raymond Chandler, spoke in a gloomy, disappointed drawl. "By 1950," he began, "I had nearly pulled myself free of the primordial slime that is Hollywood." He bemoaned his ailments, "all of which were settling nicely into becoming chronic conditions", and poured himself the first of many drinks. The play's story, written by Stephen Wyatt, was about when Chandler worked with Alfred Hitchcock (Clive Swift) on the thriller Strangers on a Train.
It was beautifully poised writing and playing. At every level, the men clashed: artistically, temperamentally; even the way they spoke. Chandler »
- Elisabeth Mahoney
"David Zelag Goodman, a screenwriter best known for such 1970s films as the controversial psychological thriller Straw Dogs and Lovers and Other Strangers, a comedy that earned him an Oscar nomination, has died. He was 81." Dennis McLellan in the Los Angeles Times: "Goodman's other film credits as a co-writer include Monte Walsh, a 1970 western starring Lee Marvin and Eyes of Laura Mars, a 1978 thriller starring Faye Dunaway. He also wrote the screenplays for Farewell, My Lovely, a 1975 adaptation of Raymond Chandler's novel starring Robert Mitchum as Philip Marlowe; and Logan's Run, the 1976 science-fiction film starring Michael York."
"Goodman's work proved enduring," notes Carmel Dagan in Variety. Monte Walsh "was remade in 2003 as a TNT telepic starring Tom Selleck; Rod Lurie's remake of Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs was released two weeks ago; and a remake of Logan's Run, to star Ryan Gosling, is in the works at Warner Bros. »
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