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In what may be a startling revelation, Sylvester Stallone appears to be finally coming to terms with the fact that he is old. He has found surprising senior-citizen success with The Expendables franchise, and in the upcoming Grudge Match, he and Jake La Motta himself, Robert DeNiro, face off as a couple of over-the-hill boxers united in the ring one last time; trailers consist of Kevin Hart constantly reminding his two elders that they are, well, old. Stallone also realized that his most recent screenplay was better served not as a vehicle for him to trot out his tired Rambo character one last time (likely on a blood-spattered walker at this point), but as a showcase for a younger actor who could serve as heir apparent to his rough-and-tumble-and-grumble style of action hero. You know, someone who can kick ass without breaking a hip.
- Lee Jutton
The 40-50 pounds that Christian Bale packed on to play inveterate conman Irving Rosenfeld in David O. Russell’s upcoming “American Hustle” appears all the more shocking when juxtaposed with the actor’s reedthin crackhead Dicky Eklund in “The Fighter,” his previous collaboration with the director.
“I think he might win a prize,” Russell joked to Variety when reminded of Bale’s feat for “American Hustle,” which opens Dec. 13.
The Motion Picture Academy has certainly been impressed by this kind of complete physical immersion in the past, awarding Oscars to Robert De Niro, who gained 60 pounds to play Jake Lamotta in blustery decline in “Raging Bull,” and Charlize Theron, whose supermodel looks were concealed by makeup and abnormal girth as serial killer Aileen Wuornos in “Monster.” Renee Zellweger, too, earned the Academy’s respect after she plumped up considerably for “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” earning a nomination for her effort. »
- Steve Chagollan
Odd List Ryan Lambie 26 Nov 2013 - 06:44
From reissued, obscure first films to misleading marketing, here are 12 film covers that exaggerate the role their famous actors play...
Filmmaker William Castle was famous for his movie gimmicks, from vibrating chairs to plastic skeletons soaring over the heads of audiences in cinemas. The marketers of 1958's The Fly, meanwhile, promised to pay $100 to the first person who could prove that its matter-transportation plot "couldn't happen".
Selling movies to cynical punters is tough at the best of times, and using tricks and white lies to get people to part with their hard-earned cash is nothing new. And one of the simplest tricks in a film marketer's tool bag is to exaggerate an actor's role in whatever it is they're trying to sell. So if uncredited bit player number two suddenly becomes an A-list star three years after a movie's shot, you can be »
Fighting, dying, hoping, hating … great sports films are about far more than sport itself. Here Guardian and Observer critics pick their 10 best
• Top 10 superhero movies
• Top 10 westerns
• Top 10 documentaries
• Top 10 movie adaptations
• Top 10 animated movies
• Top 10 silent movies
• More Guardian and Observer critics' top 10s
Lindsay Anderson brought to bear on his adaptation of David Storey's first novel, all the poetic-realist instincts he had been honing for the previous decade as a documentarian in the Humphrey Jennings mould. (Anderson had won the 1953 best doc Oscar for Thursday's Children.) Filmed partly in Halifax and Leeds, but mainly in and around Wakefield Trinity Rugby League Club, one of its incidental attractions is its record of a northern, working-class sports culture that would change out of all recognition over the next couple of decades.
The story of Frank Machin, a miner who becomes a star on the rugby field, »
David O. Russell’s latest film, “American Hustle,” is very loosely based on the Abscam sting operation of the late ’70s/early ’80s that resulted in the conviction of several congressmen and a New Jersey state senator, among others, on bribery charges. But try drawing parallels to the actual events and the producers will hedge their bets every time.
In fact, the film begins with the qualifier “Some of this actually happened,” an indication that the filmmakers took the theme of hustling and ran with it as a metaphor for survival.
“All of these characters are hustling in their personal lives and in their professional lives,” says Charles Roven, a producer on the film along with his Atlas Entertainment partner Richard Suckle, and Annapurna Pictures chief Megan Ellison. “But they’re extremely relatable to a lot of people, because if we’re all truly being honest, we’ve definitely got »
- Steve Chagollan
3D space disaster movie relies on her personal qualities and acting chops that continue to produce hits from unlikely material
Sandra Bullock may not have been the obvious first choice to play a scientist stuck in high-earth orbit in a 3D space thriller – especially not for producing studio Warner Bros, who had originally intended Gravity to be a vehicle for Angelina Jolie.
But there's no question now that she made the role her own. After a string of perky, cornbread roles over the past two decades, Bullock can also claim to have substantially reinvented herself with this grim-faced, physically demanding performance. Gravity's success – it will almost certainly overtake The Blind Side as her highest-grossing film in the not too distant future – caps a spectacular second coming for the actor, whose »
- Andrew Pulver
To misquote Bananarama, Robert De Niro is waiting inside the hotel room, talking on his phone, though probably not in Italian. I'm outside with the PR, who keeps easing open the door to check if he's done. The publicist is starstruck; he doesn't want to intrude. He explains that he grew up watching De Niro movies and that Taxi Driver is basically the reason he got into this business to begin with. We agree that it's wise to make no mention of this. He might shut the door and lock us out altogether.
De Niro is in town to discuss his new role as an ageing bull in a witness protection programme, and this seems fitting. »
- Xan Brooks
During an appearance on "The Arsenio Hall Show" on Friday (Nov. 8) to promote "Last Vegas," which he co-starred in with De Niro, Ferrara talked what it was like to be on the receiving end of a stunt punch from the legend.
"It's a stunt punch, but it was really kinda crazy in rehearsal, like, he comes up to me, 'I'm gonna hit you like this,'" he said while gesturing. "'Be careful when you fall, your shoes are tied. Don't hit the camera, watch your head.' Like, basically, he's protecting me. And then he's like, 'And then I'm gonna knock you out.'"
While the stunt punch likely resulted in no harm, Ferrera wasn't as lucky while promoting the film. »
While we're still seven weeks away from Christmas, what's traditionally known as the "holiday" box office season officially kicked off on the first weekend of November. This also mean it's time for Box Office Mojo's annual holiday movie forecast, which predicts the domestic box office for some of the biggest titles of the season.Anticipated sequels Thor: The Dark World, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug should dominate the season*combined, these three will likely earn over $800 million. After that, Disney Animation's Frozen and long-awaited comedy sequel Anchorman: The Legend Continues should also do strong business. Other serious contenders include late year awards contenders American Hustle, Saving Mr. Banks and The Wolf of Wall Street, among others.Listed below are the movies we think will be the Top 12, with analysis and a specific domestic forecast. On the next page, the rest of the nationwide »
- Ray Subers <email@example.com>
When Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline, and Robert De Niro signed up for the geriatric Hangover caper Last Vegas, they firmly cemented themselves in a somewhat new genre: the coming of old-age story. These four men, all still in the primes of their lives and well-respected actors getting wonderful roles, felt the need to star in a film that constantly brought up two points: these guys are old guys, and these old guys still know how to roll with the youngins’. Why? These four could bust up Vegas any day, without having to get pushed in pools, or fistfighting bros, or seeing Freeman dance-shuffle to “September.” It’s a cry saying, “we’re still here, look how much fun we can have,” but nobody ever entertained the notion of them ever leaving. The wacky old men concept hasn’t just popped out of nowhere. In fact, some of the Last Vegas men are repeat offenders. The »
- Samantha Wilson
What makes a great performance? Acting is such a subtle and mysterious art form that sometimes it’s hard to put your finger on all of the minute nuances that elevate a good portrayal to a great one. Maybe that’s why so many of us get so worked up into a tizzy when we see a movie star drop a ton of weight for a role. It’s something we can see, something we can explain in raw numbers.
- Chris Nashawaty
In his half-century as a film actor, Robert De Niro has played some of Hollywood's most iconic characters: Travis Bickle, Jake Lamotta, Max Cady, Jack Byrnes. But he’s become much more prolific as he’s gotten older; Last Vegas, which opens today, is his fourth movie this year, and there are still two more to come. It's hard to keep track of all these roles, as for every Vito Corleone there are a dozen Evan Wrights. If you knew that Wright is his character from 1992’s Mistress, you're going to be great at this quiz, which tests your ability to match descriptions of De Niro's lesser-known roles with the movies that spawned them. »
- Adam K. Raymond
Last Vegas is a pleasant enough rattle of a movie, but the true pathos of the experience comes from our own history with its stars. Once upon a time, the idea of Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline joining forces in a movie would have meant something different -- something major. Now all it portends is a lot of mild-mannered old-age jokes. The trailers may promise us The Bucket List meets The Hangover, but Last Vegas isn’t even that. Times have, indeed, changed.The film opens 58 years ago, in Brooklyn, where our four heroes, calling themselves the Flatbush Four, take vengeance on a greaser bully whose father has stiffed one of them. It’s meant to give some context to the characters’ history together, but it rings hollow, because we already know these guys. One of them was Jake Lamotta. Another was Gordon Gekko. Otto »
- Bilge Ebiri
Unfortunately, despite that epic lead-in, Last Vegas isn’t The Hangover meets Grumpy Old Men, but it does assemble quite the iconic cast, as if seeing Rocky boxing Jake La Motta or witnessing Rambo and The Terminator break out of prison wasn’t enough this year. With this crazy (by senior standards) bachelor party, we see the likes of – ha, yeah, not listing the bevy of iconic roles these four legends have portrayed, but how does it get better than Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro, Kevin Kline, and Michael Douglas? Cue the Wayne’s World “We’re not worthy!” bowing.
- Matt Donato
Villordsutch chats with filmmaker Greg Olliver...
Greg Olliver is a producer and director as well as owner /operator of Secret Weapon Films. Greg is known for such films as Lemmy (winner of Best film In-Edit/Chile Film Film Festival), Turned Towards the Sun (Official Selection and BFI London Film Festival 2012) and Devoured (reviewed here at Flickering Myth). In the process of filming documentaries on both American Blues Star Johnny Winters and Boxing Legend Jake Lamotta, Greg takes a few moments out of his life to talk to Villordsutch for FlickeringMyth.com...
Villordsutch: Going straight for an easy one to perhaps allow you to delve into your stock answers for interviews I’m going to start with who, in the world of film, has perhaps had the greatest influence on you to date and why?
- Gary Collinson
At 68 years old, a survivor of throat cancer, and with only one produced screenplay to his name since 1997, Joe Eszterhas has done the unthinkable: he's become a scriptwriting teacher. Well, not exactly – he's on his way to London to deliver a headlining lecture at the London screenwriters' festival – but anyone who has even the smallest familiarity with his books will know the contempt in which he holds teach-yourself-screenplay-writing gurus such as Robert McKee.
"Wannabe screenwriters sorely lack getting the truth from these so-called scriptwriting teachers," says Eszterhas, his post-cancer voice gravellier than ever. "McKee is the perfect example: he's had one TV movie made, and yet he pontificates on how to write scripts." He also has beef (one that's been going for decades, it seems) with other big-name scriptwriters, accusing »
- Andrew Pulver
About a month ago, we were all treated to the first trailer for the new boxing comedy Grudge Match, headlined by Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone. Now that we’ve all had time to digest and build up anticipation for the upcoming middle-aged hijinks, three new retro-style posters have been released to further sweeten our palates. Two of them are character posters profiling the fighters, and one shows the two greats squaring up against each other in a mock-up promotional.
The last time we saw both De Niro and Sly together was in James Mangold’s powerful police drama Cop Land, and since then, fans have been waiting for the day where Rocky Balboa would do the shuffle with Jake Lamotta in the ring.
In the film, De Niro and Sly play Billy “Kid” McDonnen and Henry “Razor” Sharp, respectively, two retired boxers who have the opportunity to step »
- Matt Schembari
It's Jake La Motta vs. Rocky Balboa, or more specifically Robert De Niro vs. Sylvester Stallone, in grudge match, which sees the two actors step back in the ring as two aging fighters brought back 50 years after their last match for one final fight. Warner Brothers have shared with us the poster for the movie, a nice take on the classic big prize fight posters. Released: 25th December (U.S.)/ 24th January (Irl/U.K) »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Tom White)
It’s been billed as Rocky Balboa verses Jake Lamotta as the cinematic boxing icons played by Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro unite for 50 First Dates director Peter Segal’s sports comedy Grudge Match. The Oscar-winners are back on the big-screen together for the first time since James Mangold’s underrated 1997 mob thriller Cop Land, which I still say gave us Stallone’s finest ever performance. It’ll be interesting to see if this one pulls no punches in laughter department as well as the ring.
In “Grudge Match,” De Niro and Stallone play Billy “The Kid” McDonnen and Henry “Razor” Sharp, two local Pittsburgh fighters whose fierce rivalry put them in the national spotlight. Each had scored a victory against the other during their heyday, but in 1983, on the eve of their decisive third match, Razor suddenly announced his retirement, refusing to explain why but effectively delivering a »
- Craig Hunter
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider a copyright claim on Martin Scorsese’s “Raging Bull” by the original screenwriter’s daughter, the high court announced Tuesday — an action that could take away a legal advantage widely used by studios if it breaks her way. The challenge comes from Paula Petrella, whose father Frank Petrella wrote boxing champ Jake Lamotta’s autobiography and an early draft of the screenplay in 1963. She claims rights to “Raging Bull” reverted to heirs when the author died in 1981, before the 28-year copyright term expired. Paula Petrella’s lawsuit accuses MGM and 20th Century Fox of. »
- Josh Dickey
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