12 items from 2012
"The Producers" (1968): Mel Brooks snagged an Academy Award for his ingenious and hilarious screenplay about a shady Broadway producer (Zero Mostel) who schemes to make a fortune by overselling shares in a musical that is so mind-bogglingly terrible that it will close on opening night, allowing him to pocket most of the cash. Unfortunately, his chosen property -- "Springtime for Hitler" -- is such a surreal train wreck that audiences embrace it as a screwball comedy. Gene Wilder also was Oscar-nominated as Mostel's high-strung accomplice.
"Blazing Saddles" (1974): On its original release, some critics must have stared aghast at "Blazing Saddles" like that "Springtime for Hitler" Broadway audience in "The Producers," as Brooks gleefully challenged good taste to a gunfight at the Oy Vey Corral with his sendup of Western cliches that, among other things, lampooned the virulent racism of that period and pointed out the logical outcome of »
As violence across the Middle East increases in reaction to the poorly-acted, low-budget, English language, Muhammad-mocking film Innocence of Muslims, so too does murky, confusing controversy over the identity of the director and the involvement of Southern California-based members of the Egypt-based Coptic Church.
The release of an Arabic translation of the film, which was originally posted in English to YouTube in July, was coincidentally timed to the anniversary of Sept. 11. The Associated Press first reported Tuesday that the the film’s director was a Jewish California-based real estate developer named Sam Bacile, and then the AP tracked down a man in Cerritos, »
- Solvej Schou
By Allen Gardner
A Separation (Sony) This drama from Iran won the 2011 Best Foreign Film Oscar, telling the story of a couple who file for a legal separation, with the wife pushing for a divorce. He won’t leave his Alzheimer’s-afflicted father behind, while she is wanting to take their young daughter with her to the United States. After a series of misunderstandings, threats and legal actions, the couple find that there is more than just their marriage that’s on the line. Hyper-realistic to a fault, reminiscent of the neo-realist films that came out of post-ww II Europe, but also repressive and redundant in the extreme, with the characters seeming to throw the same temper tantrum for two hours straight while the story, meanwhile, seems stalled. Wildly overpraised film is a real litmus test, with viewers seeming to be staunch defenders or equally impassioned detractors. It did win an Oscar, »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage. The producers of the new high-concept NBC drama Revolution couldn’t have seen it coming, but the forthcoming Monday night adventure from the stable of exec producer Jj Abrams could well find themselves at Ground Zero this fall in the suddenly hot-button issue of gun control. The fantasy series surrounds one family’s attempt to reunite in an America that is entirely devoid of electronics and modern technology. It’s also a dictatorship in which conventional firearms have been banned and people instead arm themselves with antiquated weapons like muskets. In the wake of last week’s movie-theater shooting in Aurora, Co, many could see Revolution as a politically-driven piece of left-wing propaganda. Abrams was unable to attend the afternoon TCA panel, but exec producer Eric Kripke described how the series deals with possession of guns. “In the pilot, Giancarlo Esposito’s »
- THE DEADLINE TEAM
After a few of years since the last major effort (the ill-fated "Nine"), the live-action movie musical is back again, with two starry efforts due this year about as far away from each other as you can get. This Christmas will see the terribly serious-looking "Les Miserables" hit theaters, with a star-studded cast including Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway. But first is "Rock of Ages," which arrives in theaters tomorrow, with another A-list ensemble including Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Musicals have given serious career boosts to stars like Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere, Nicole Kidman and Eddie Murphy in recent years, but if you pick the wrong project, or are more self-confident about your pipes than you should be, it's also the best way to embarass yourself completely. In honor of Alec Baldwin's tone-deaf belting in "Rock of Ages," we've collected five of our »
- Oliver Lyttelton
In this remarkable British documentary, the film-maker William Spicer and his journalist sister Kate take their 40-year-old brother Tom from Devon to Los Angeles via Las Vegas to meet his long time idol, Lars Ulrich, the drummer of the heavy metal band Metallica. Tom suffers from fragile X syndrome, what his sister calls "a sort of autism with knobs on", and the journey involves the whole family in complex ways. In last Sunday's Observer, my colleague Kate Kellaway wrote at length about this sensitive, funny, wide-ranging film and its background, and I urge you to read her piece. I can only add that though it inevitably reminds one of Rain Man, the movie it brought to my mind (and compares favourably with) is Ira Wohl's equally personal, wonderfully inspiring Best Boy, which won an Oscar for best documentary in 1979. It's about Wohl's mentally handicapped 52-year-old cousin Philly preparing to »
- Philip French
Another week, another Monday. So it’s time for the rundown of DVDs and Blu-ray’s hitting stores online and offline this week. It’s another packed week, with plenty of movies waiting to take you money, so let us breakdown the new releases and highlight what you should – and shouldn’t – be buying from today, May 14th 2012.
Pick(S) Of The Week
The Sitter (DVD/Blu-ray)
When the world’s most irresponsible babysitter takes three of the world’s worst kids on an unforgettable overnight adventure through the streets of New York City, it’s anyone’s guess who’s going to make it home in one piece. Starring Jonah Hill (Knocked Up, Get Him To The Greek) and Sam Rockwell (Moon & The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), The Sitter is a new level of twisted and debauched hilarity from the director of Pineapple Express, David Gordon Green. »
Emily Maynard has left her sweet Southern charm, well, in the south. Insiders say that the blonde vixen is running the new season of The Bachelorette and making everyone play by her rules! After declaring that she had Zero desire to be new Bachelorette, Emily Maynard seems quite happy in her new leading role. And she should be! Not only does the 26-year-old single mom have 25 handsome guys fighting for her love and affection, the show's producers have bent over backwards to accomodate her needs. "The producers have completely changed the format this season in order to meet Emily's demands," a source tells In Touch. Not only is Emily being paid a whopping $250,000 -- more than any other contestant in the show's history -- she's getting extra days off and making sure that all her suitors are extremely well-off! Apparently, Emily was so horrified by Ashley's season that »
- HL Staff
I'm going to shock you with my findings here, but I believe spring is the most underrepresented season in movies. "Summer" is practically its own genre, fall gets plenty of Halloween-themed flicks, and winter films are downright ubiquitous. Problem is, spring is the time of year when the worst movies come out, so it's difficult to pinpoint the season's best finds. Lo and behold, we've done it: Here are our nine favorite movies that remind us spring's sassy freshness. There's even baseball! I can't believe it either.
9. Ghost World
If you're like me, spring means one thing. Say it with me! A Strange, Isolating Weariness!
Yeah, it means other things too, but spring routinely brings me back to high school when graduation was near, motivation was far, and you couldn't escape that pervading languor. In Ghost World, Thora Birch played a disillusioned teenager named Enid Coleslaw whose cynicism gives way to a realistic, »
While New Yorkers have plenty of opportunity to see classic films on the big screen, you'll be hard pressed to find a lineup as front to back awesome as the Film Society Of Lincoln Center's "15 For 15: Celebrating Rialto Pictures."
The series honors the reknowned arthouse distribution shingle founded in 1997 that has brought some of the best known (and previously unknown) classics of cinema to American audiences. And the selection here by programmers Scott Foundas, Eric Di Bernardo and Adrienne Halpern represents the breadth and scope of the films Rialto has put their stamp on, ranging from the French New Wave ("Breathless") to film noir ("Rififi") to comedy ("Billy Liar") and more. There is something here for everybody and with the series kicking off tonight, we've got a special prize for some lucky readers.
Courtesy of Film Society Of Lincoln Center, we've got a copy of the excellent Rialto DVD »
- Kevin Jagernauth
From John Gall, art director for Vintage and Anchor Books, comes word that legendary publisher and film distributor Barney Rosset has passed away at the age of 89. Gall points us to a lively profile by Louisa Thomas that ran in Newsweek in late 2008: "Rosset's publishing house, Grove Press, was a tiny company operating out of the ground floor of Rosset's brownstone when it published an obscure play called Waiting for Godot in 1954. By the time Beckett had won the Nobel Prize in 1969, Grove had become a force that challenged and changed literature and American culture in deep and lasting ways. Its impact is still evident — from the Che Guevara posters adorning college dorms to the canonical status of the house's once controversial authors. Rosset is less well known — but late in his life he is achieving some wider recognition. Last month, a black-tie crowd gave Rosset a standing ovation »
Sneak Peek attended the opening night of "Zero Hour", followed by an 'After-Show Champagne Reception', February 9, 2012 @ Toronto's Bathurst Street Theatre.
Directed by Oscar-nominated actress Piper Laurie ("Carrie") and produced by Lia and Dana Matthow, the limited run of the one-man show starring and written by actor Jim Brochu recreates the persona of funnyman actor 'Zero Mostel' ("The Producers"):
"...Jim Brochu brings Zero Mostel back to extraordinary life in 'Zero Hour', re-creating the definitive backstory to this amazing performer's appearances in 'Fiddler on the Roof', 'A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum' and Mel Brooks' 'The Producers'. Brochu is both hilarious and poignant as he recounts Mostel's big life - as a Broadway legend, a larger than life personality and the target of Hollywood blacklisting..."
"Zero Hour" won the New York Drama Desk Award for 'Outstanding Solo Performance', the »
- Michael Stevens
12 items from 2012
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