9 items from 2013
Written by Stephen Gaghan
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
In his review of King of the Hill, Zach Lewis skewers Steven Soderbergh’s fascination with political structures throughout the director’s filmography and reading the 1993 film’s Depression-era survivalism as a “residual effect of those outside any political sphere.” Seven years after King of the Hill, Soderbergh’s fixation on politics would reach its peak in Traffic, an endlessly complex examination of America’s War on Drugs.
Traffic‘s genesis is simple enough, beginning with a pair of cops. Having run down a Mexican drug courier mid-transport, officer Javier Rodriguez (Benicio Del Toro) and his partner find their score short-lived when high-ranking General Salazar (Tomas Milian) pulls rank and takes over the drug bust. Here, the simplicity of Traffic dissipates with the monochrome yellows of the Tijuana desert. Though Rodriguez’s would-be arrest implies it, smuggling cocaine from Mexico »
- David Klein
We previously reported that Sergio Sollima’s The Big Gundown would be released by the good folks at Grindhouse Releasing. Now, we have the fine details. DVDActive reports that Grindhouse Releasing (by the way, it’s great to have them back after a long hiatus) is releasing The Big Gundown starring Lee Van Cleef and Tomas Milian in a 4 disc Blu-Ray & DVD Combo. Read on for the official press release. Can’t wait to see this since it has been a hard film to find.
Sergio Sollima’s Run, Man, Run! has been available on remastered DVD for years, but its superior prequel, The Big Gundown has been missing from the digital home video landscape in the Us…until now. Grindhouse Releasing continues their comeback trail with the first even Us Blu-ray release of this classic film. Alongside Damiano Damiani’s A Bullet for the General, The Big Gundown »
- Andy Triefenbach
Following are some supplemental sections featuring notable director & actor teams that did not meet the criteria for the main body of the article. Some will argue that a number of these should have been included in the primary section but keep in mind that film writing on any level, from the casual to the academic, is a game of knowledge and perception filtered through personal taste.
Other Notable Director & Actor Teams
This section is devoted to pairings where the duo worked together at least 3 times with the actor in a major role in each feature film, resulting in 1 must-see film.
Must-See Collaboration: From Russia with Love (1962).
- Terek Puckett
Don’t Torture A Duckling is one of the most intricately woven, original giallo films ever made, and definitely one of my favorite Italian giallo films of all time. Numerous interviews credit Don’t Torture A Duckling (1972) as Lucio Fulci’s personal favorite, and it firmly established him as a major talent in the suspense genre in Italy. Don’t Torture A Duckling never saw a theatrical release in North America in the 1970s, and the film wasn’t released on VHS until 1999 when it was released in both VHS and DVD format by Anchor Bay Entertainment. Even though the time of VHS had come and gone by 1999, Anchor Bay released the film on VHS to appease horror video fans like myself. Blue Underground released the same version of the film again in 2007, but only on DVD and Blu-Ray. Currently, you can buy Don’t Torture A Duckling on VHS »
- Lianne Spiderbaby
108 Media has acquired U.S. theatrical rights to "Fugly!," an autobiographical comedy written by and starring John Leguizamo. The film is a fictional adaptation of his one-man Broadway show, "Ghetto Klown," which follows Leguizamo's journey to fame. The film stars Rosie Perez, Radha Mitchell, Griffin Dunne, Yul Vasquez, Tomas Milian and Ally Sheedy. "I'm very honored to be working with 108 Media's honcho Mark Urman, who I have always looked up to in the independent scene," the actor said in a statement. "This was my first foray into screenwriting and in trying to up-end a format by making an anti-romantic comedy." 108 Media plans to open it this summer. »
- Cristina A. Gonzalez
Further flexing the muscles of its worldwide sales and distribution operation at this year’s European Film Market, 108 Media has just sealed a deal on Fugly!, an autobiographical comedy written by and starring John Leguizamo, it was announced by 108 CEO Abhi Rastogi. With foreign sales commencing immediately in Berlin, the film will also see a theatrical release in North America via 108 Media and it’s distribution partner, Paladin. Fugly! Is slated to open in the third quarter of this year. A fictionalized rendering of his acclaimed one-man show, “Ghetto Klown,” (which played on Broadway prior to an extensive international tour), Fugly! casts Leguizamo as Jesse Sanchez, a Latino comic who has a near-death experience that forces him to revisit his personal and professional highs and lows. Told in a style that befits the envelope-pushing Jesse–and Leguizamo–the film blends past, present, fantasy, and reality to tell of one man’s hilarious quest for fame, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Hollywood News Team)
Giallo: An Italian adjective describing the thriller genre, primarily in Italian books and films. Translated as simply “yellow,” giallo takes its name from the distinctive yellow covers commonly seen on Italian pulp thriller novels dating back to the late '20s. Giallo Fever: A condition afflicting fans of European horror cinema after prolonged exposure to giallo films. Symptoms include an increased fondness for '60s and '70s music and fashion, an enhanced sense of color, and occasionally intense sex appeal. So that's the short version... and here's where we're going with it: on a regular basis we'll be picking a film from the giallo genre, be it an esteemed classic, a weird obscurity or a modern spin on the formula, and bringing it to your attention. No heavy analysis, no film school mumbo-jumbo; just an overview, some highlights, and why you should see it... or in some cases, avoid it. »
- Gregory Burkart
Keeping up with his career plan of paying homage to every film genre going, Quentin Tarantino has moved onto the spaghetti western with Django Unchained (2012). It’s not a remake of the pasta classic Django (1966), or indeed a spaghetti western, but it has clearly taken its inspiration from those violent Italian productions that swamped the late sixties.
Hollywood may have dominated the field since the beginning of motion pictures but European westerns are not exactly new; the earliest known one was filmed in 1910. Sixties German cinema made good use of Kay May’s western heroes Shatterhand and Winnetou, and the British produced The Savage Guns (1961), Hannie Caulder (1971), A Town Called Bastard (1971), Catlow (1971), Chato’s Land (1972) and Eagle’s Wing (1979). When the genre showed signs of flagging in the mid-sixties, a clever Italian director named Sergio Leone took it upon himself to reinvent the western – spaghetti style!
What made the spaghettis »
by Nick Schager
[This week's "Retro Active" pick is inspired by Quentin Tarantino's slavery-themed revisionist Spaghetti Western Django Unchained.]
Unrelated to Sergio Corbucci's Django (1966) save for its title, which was tacked on at the last second for marketing purposes, Django Kill... If You Live, Shoot! takes the Spaghetti Western into the realm of the grotesque and surreal—and, in the process, proves to be one of the genre's all-time unsung gems. Giulio Questi's saga is a mishmash of the biblical, the Shakespearean, and the outright peculiar, tracking an unnamed Stranger (Tomas Milian)—ostensibly the story's Django, though he never drags around a coffin—as he rises from the dead to chase down the bandit comrades who double-crossed him out of his share of gold and then shot him and his Mexican mates. The Stranger's Christ-like resurrection will be followed much later by his crucifixion at the hands of a crime boss named Sorrow (Roberto Camardiel). Such continuity screwiness, however, is part and parcel of »
9 items from 2013
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