5 items from 2017
“No one seems to love or understand me. Oh what hard luck stories they all hand me”
Paul Le Mat is an average Joe named Melvin E. Dummar in Melvin And Howard (1980) an effective combination of drama and comedy from director Jonathan Demme. Melvin often finds it difficult to make ends meet, no matter what line of work he’s in. Then, one day, it seems as if his luck might change. A stranger leaves on his desk a will proclaiming Melvin to be one of 16 heirs to the fortune of reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes. Once upon a time, Melvin had given a lift to an aged, decrepit looking individual (Jason Robards) who claimed to be Hughes. The »
- Tom Stockman
The great filmmakers who came to prominence in the 1970s — and Jonathan Demme, who died Wednesday, was one of them — had stylistic traits that made them iconically identifiable. Robert Altman had his multi-character hubbub, Martin Scorsese had his volcanic rock ‘n’ roll virtuosity, and Francis Ford Coppola had his lavishly scaled operatic grandeur. But Demme, vivid and stirring as his filmmaking voice was, had no such obvious signature. You could almost say that he was defined by his lack of signature.
What defined a Demme film was the open-eyed flow of its humanity, the way his camera drank in everyone on screen — it didn’t matter whether the character was a goofy truck driver, a derelict billionaire, the troubled wife of a mobster, a new wave rock ‘n’ roller, or a serial killer — and took the full measure of their life and spirit. For Demme, the magic of movies resided »
- Owen Gleiberman
Jonathan Demme's death at the age of 73 prompted an outpouring of online memorials from film lovers who remembered the Oscar-winning director for his varied career: everything from the chilling, intelligent thriller The Silence of the Lambs to the brittle 2008 indie drama Rachel Getting Married. But for music fans, those highlights don't even scratch the surface of what cemented his legacy.
It's not hyperbole to say that Demme was arguably the greatest concert filmmaker ever – look at the number of them that he made, the range of artists he chronicled »
The Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme died at age 73. “Melvin and Howard” (1980) Demme made his directorial debut on the 1974 Roger Corman flick “Caged Heat” but he really emerged with this road trip drama about a man claiming to be Howard Hughes’ heir. The film won two Oscars, for Bo Goldman’s script and Mary Steenburgen’s supporting performance. “Stop Making Sense” (1984) Demme made some of the finest music concert films in the modern era, including this gem of the ’80s legends the Talking Heads. “Something Wild” (1986) Melanie Griffith charms as a free spirit who “kidnaps” Jeff Daniels’ uptight yuppie. “Swimming to Cambodia” (1987) Demme continued. »
- Thom Geier
Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme died Wednesday in New York of cancer complications, his publicist told Variety. He was 73 years old.
Demme is best known for directing “The Silence of the Lambs,” the 1991 horror-thriller that was a box office smash, a critical triumph, and introduced moviegoers to Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter, a charismatic serial with a yen for Chianti, fava beans, and cannibalism. The story of a novice FBI analyst (Jodie Foster) on the trail of a murderer became only the third film in history to win Academy Awards in all the top five categories ( picture, actor, actress, director, and adapted screenplay), joining the ranks of “It Happened One Night” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
Though he had his greatest success terrifying audiences, most of Demme’s work was looser and quirkier. In particular, he showed a great humanism and an empathy for outsiders in the likes of “Melvin and Howard, »
- Brent Lang and Carmel Dagan
5 items from 2017
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