4 items from 2014
Howard G. Barnes, a film and television veteran who executive produced the Australian “lost film” Outback, died Dec. 8 of natural causes at The Motion Picture Television Fund home in Woodland Hills, his daughter Christie announced. He was 100. As vice president in charge of Westinghouse Broadcasting’s film division, Barnes exec produced Outback, a 1971 Australian-American thriller that starred Donald Pleasence, Gary Bond, Chips Rafferty and Jack Thompson in the story of a young schoolteacher (Bond) who finds himself trapped and menaced in a barbaric Australian town. Read more Hollywood's Notable Deaths of 2014 The film, directed by
- Mike Barnes
John Grant (Gary Bond) is a bonded school teacher who finds himself teaching in the outback. When travelling back to Sydney he stays overnight in the mining town of Bundanyabba where the lure of gambling and alcohol soon traps him in a nightmare. Seemingly trapped in his own hell Grant clings to the hopes of Sydney while his life spirals to a point so low that the only escape may be the one bullet he has left in his rifle.
At the start of Wake in Fright John Grant is an educated man who looks at his current situation as a form of slavery to the system, being a bonded teacher means that he has to work wherever he is put, and the »
- Paul Metcalf
You wonder how long Anderson can keep accumulating star actors and creating ever more elaborate microcosms but, judging by this, he's a long way from running out of steam. It's a witty caper-within-a-reminiscence-within-a-flashback set in interwar Europe, through which Fiennes's debonair concierge must flee, protege lobby boy in tow, after an heiress's murder. It's breathlessly paced and breathtakingly designed, but with a solid core – like a fancy cake with an iron file concealed inside.
300: Rise Of An Empire (15)
With the bar for violent historical silliness raised by Game Of Thrones, this sequel pitches recklessly into another orgy of fetishised classical warfare with comic-book effects. »
- Steve Rose
Miscasting in films has always been a problem. A producer hires an actor thinking that he or she is perfect for a movie role only to find the opposite is true. Other times a star is hired for his box office draw but ruins an otherwise good movie because he looks completely out of place.
There have been many humdinger miscastings. You only have to laugh at John Wayne’s Genghis Khan (with Mongol moustache and gun-belt) in The Conqueror (1956), giggle at Marlon Brando’s woeful upper class twang as Fletcher Christian in Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) and cringe at Dick Van Dyke’s misbegotten cockney accent in Mary Poppins (1964). But as hilarious as these miscastings are, producers at the time didn’t think the same way, until after the event. At least they add a bit of camp value to a mediocre or downright awful movie.
In rare cases, »
4 items from 2014
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