8 items from 2015
Director Tom McCarthy’s true story drama about Boston Globe reporters investigating the local Catholic archdiocese and the surrounding child molestation scandal, Spotlight, is a serious Oscar contender, particularly for its star-studded cast.
The film, which won the best ensemble performance award at this month’s Gotham Awards and the Robert Altman award at the Independent Spirit Awards, boasts serious contenders in the best supporting actor category led by performances from last year’s best actor nominee Michael Keaton and former Oscar-nom Mark Ruffalo.
It seems likely that both Keaton and Ruffalo will receive nominations this year, which would be quite a feat in itself as no film has had two of its actors nominated in the best supporting actor category since Harvey Keitel and Ben Kingsley both earned noms for 1991’s Bugsy (though the supporting actress category has had a number of films with »
- Patrick Shanley
Cannonball Run II, 1984.
Directed by Hal Needham.
Starring Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Jamie Farr, Telly Savalas, Ricardo Montalban, Shirley MacLaine, Richard Kiel, Sid Caesar, Jackie Chan, Tony Danza, Henry Silva, Alex Rocco, Abe Vigoda, Michael V. Gazzo.
The majority of the drivers from the first film return for a second crack at the top prize in an illegal cross-country car race.
Having had a hit with The Cannonball Run in 1981, it took three years for the inevitable to happen and a sequel to appear and, much like that first film, Cannonball Run II also became a staple of bank holiday television entertainment in the UK. However, in keeping with the tradition of inferior major studio sequels this second outing basically redoes the original but without the charm that carried that film.
Much of that missing charm comes down to the fact that »
- Amie Cranswick
Before he received acclaim as a writer/director of such films as Brother from Another Planet (’84), Matewan (’87), and The Secret of Roan Inish (’94), John Sayles made a splash on the horror scene as the writer of fun, clever satires such as Piranha (’78) and The Howling (’81). However, he did another that doesn’t get nearly as much love, and that’s his ode to an overgrown reptile, Lewis Teague’s Alligator (’80). Which is a shame, as it is just as much of a blast as the other two.
Alligator was released in July to solid reviews, and tripled its budget in returns, bringing in $6.5 million U.S. Not too bad for an independent (Group 1 International Distribution Organisation Ltd., the fine folks behind Ufo’s Are Real), and a good indicator that horror fans are always up for a smart romp. Alligator glides through that sweet swamp filled with fear and good humor. »
- Scott Drebit
By Lee Pfeiffer
The good news is that Timeless Video is releasing multiple films in one DVD package. The bad news is that one of these releases, although featuring two highly-watchable leading men, presents two stinkers. Love and Bullets is a 1979 Charles Bronson starrer that Roger Ebert appropriately described at the time as "an assemblyline potboiler". The film initially showed promise. Originally titled Love and Bullets, Charlie, the movie had John Huston as its director. However, Huston left after "creative differences" about the concept of the story and its execution on screen. The absurdity of losing a director as esteemed as Huston might have been understandable if the resulting flick wasn't such a mess. However, one suspects that, whatever the conceptual vision Huston had for the movie may have been, it must have been superior to what ultimately emerged. Stuart Rosenberg, the competent director of Cool Hand Luke took over »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
Clint Eastwood revisited Harry Callahan three more times, usually whenever his career was in the dumps. If Dirty Harry was a cultural phenomenon and Magnum Force a respectable follow-up, the rest are uninspired cash-ins. The main law Harry enforces in these sequels is the Law of Diminishing Returns.
Given Dirty Harry‘s San Francisco setting, something like The Enforcer (1976) was inevitable. After all, San Fran hosted Haight-Ashbury, hippie capital of the world; was a favored site for Black Panther and Sds protests; headquarters of the nascent gay rights movement; victim of Weathermen bombings and the racially-charged Zebra murders. Writers Gail Morgan Hickman and S.W. Schurr based their script, originally titled “Moving Target,” on the Symbionese Liberation Army which kidnapped Patty Hearst. Dean Riesner (who cowrote the original Harry) and Stirling Silliphant (In the Heat of the Night) polished the film.
Harry battles the People’s Revolutionary Strike Froce, led by »
- Christopher Saunders
'A Hatful of Rain' with Lloyd Nolan, Anthony Franciosa and Don Murray 'A Hatful of Rain' script fails to find cinematic voice as most of the cast hams it up Based on a play by Michael V. Gazzo, A Hatful of Rain is an interesting attempt at injecting "adult" subject matters – in this case, the evils of drug addiction – into Hollywood movies. "Interesting," however, does not mean either successful or compelling. Despite real, unromantic New York City locations and Joseph MacDonald's beautifully realistic black-and-white camera work (and the pointless use of CinemaScope), this Fred Zinnemann-directed melodrama feels anachronistically stagy as a result of its artificial dialogue and the hammy theatricality of its performers – with Eva Marie Saint as the sole naturalistic exception. 'A Hatful of Rain' synopsis Somewhat revolutionary in its day (Otto Preminger's The Man with a Golden Arm,* also about drug addiction, »
- Andre Soares
Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson on the Oscars' Red Carpet Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson at the Academy Awards Eli Wallach and wife Anne Jackson are seen above arriving at the 2011 Academy Awards ceremony, held on Sunday, Feb. 27, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. The 95-year-old Wallach had received an Honorary Oscar at the Governors Awards in November 2010. See also: "Doris Day Inexplicably Snubbed by Academy," "Maureen O'Hara Honorary Oscar," "Honorary Oscars: Mary Pickford, Greta Garbo Among Rare Women Recipients," and "Hayao Miyazaki Getting Honorary Oscar." Delayed film debut The Actors Studio-trained Eli Wallach was to have made his film debut in Fred Zinnemann's Academy Award-winning 1953 blockbuster From Here to Eternity. Ultimately, however, Frank Sinatra – then a has-been following a string of box office duds – was cast for a pittance, getting beaten to a pulp by a pre-stardom Ernest Borgnine. For his bloodied efforts, Sinatra went on »
- D. Zhea
By Alex Simon
For the one person on the planet who's never see the Godfather films--spoilers Ahead.
Few characters in film history have displayed the cunning, charm and utter moral ambiguity as that of Tom Hagen, the Corleone family lawyer in Francis Coppola’s first two Godfather films. In Mario Puzo’s novel, as well as the film adaptation, it’s revealed that Hagen (played by Robert Duvall) was found living on the street as an 11 year-old by pre-teen Sonny Corleone (played in the film as an adult by James Caan) and unofficially adopted by Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) as one of their own. Puzo’s novel reveals that Don Vito never formally adopted Tom, as he felt it would have been disrespectful to the boy’s real family, who were torn apart by their father’s alcoholism.
Throughout both films, Hagen remains the voice of reason and rational thinking, »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
8 items from 2015
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