7 items from 2016
The camera tracks towards a gate leading to a Victorian mansion, the shot coming to center on the home’s front door. It’s the evening and lights are on in the house, tinting the window in the door a translucent yellow. This block of color is interrupted by an alternation of total blackness and person-shaped silhouettes, evoking the action of a shutter masking a frame of a film strip as it passes by the aperture of a projector. This shadow play veils the activity occurring inside the house: a slideshow of photographs. Thus begins the post-opening-credits scene of Brian De Palma’s Obsession. In this reading, it functions as a metonym of the film’s concern with dissimulation, an abiding theme in De Palma’s body of work. Perhaps, in bringing to mind the operation of the film apparatus, this image is also the director’s ontology of cinema. »
- The Film Stage
Back when I was a kid, and a lot more naïve about how the motion picture industry works, I had expectations of filmmakers that were completely unreasonable in their very reverence. If I saw a masterpiece, and then placed the person who directed it high atop my superstar pedestal of art heroes, I longed for him or her to go forward and make 10 or 20 more masterpieces (hey, why not!), and I always felt keenly disappointed if it didn’t work out that way. It was hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that even a movie as enthralling and visionary and apparently brilliantly orchestrated as “The Godfather” or “Nashville” was, among other things, a kind of fantastic accident: a coming together of elements that even the director isn’t always (or ever) in full control of.
But when it came to the art heroes who let me down, »
- Owen Gleiberman
Roland Emmerich has unveiled plans for a movie about 1942’s Battle of the Midway.
The producer-director made the announcement Tuesday night prior to a 20th anniversary screening on the Fox lot of his 1996 blockbuster “Independence Day.” Emmerich’s sequel, “Independence Day: Resurgence,” will open June 24.
The four-day battle took place six months after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, and saw the U.S. Navy decisively defeat an attacking fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy. U.S. codebreakers were able to determine the time and place of the planned attack, enabling the U.S. Navy to prepare its own ambush.
“At the time, the Americans were the underdog,” Emmerich told the crowd. “It was one of those moments where, against all odds, people came together and did the impossible. A lot of pilots died in this battle. I want to make a monument to them and it would be great »
- Dave McNary
A prolific screenwriter who emerged from the late 1970s as a promising American film director, Lewis John Carlino wouldn’t get behind the camera following his third, and least successfully received feature, Class (1983), an item which, in passing, looks to have the stamp of John Hughes and the Brat Pack all over it. Aggravating in its considerable inconsistencies, this was the director’s first attempt to film a treatment he didn’t write or adapt himself, scripted by Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt (both writers who would move into mainstream film and television). The result is a rather wishy-washy prep school version of The Graduate, but the comparison is merely a pale echo, trapped inside a banal resolution with troubling misogynist tendencies.
- Nicholas Bell
By Lee Pfeiffer
Abe Vigoda, whose hang-dog expression and low-key mannerisms help propel him to fame, has passed away at age 94. Vigoda toiled in films and TV without notable success until director Francis Ford Coppola cast him in the key role of Tessio, a mob lieutenant in the Corleone crime family in the 1972 classic "The Godfather". Tessio was one of the most trusted "employees" of the Corleone family but following the death of its patriarch Vito Corleone, Tessio is discovered to be planning the assassination of the new godfather, Michael Corleone. Memorably he is led away to his execution with typical understated emotion. Vigoda's stock in the film industry rose immediately and he became a popular character actor, appearing in such films as "The Cheap Detective", "The Don is Dead", "Newman's Law", "Look Who's Talking" and "The Cannonball Run II »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
This month marks the 50th anniversary of the Batman TV show (1966-68) starring Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and his teen partner Robin the Boy Wonder. The show was a huge hit when first released and still has a loyal following today. The show was a clever satire, not only on super heroes but also on 1960s pop-culture in general. Cinelinx celebrates ABC’s Batman at 50.
In January of 1996, a mid-season replacement show debuted on ABC and became an unexpected hit. It was originally planned to be produced for the fall ’66 season but it was moved up to January. ABC’s Batman was part of its 1966 “second wave” programming, being one of 4 shows that debuted during the mid-season. (Along with The Double Life of Henry Phyfe, Blue Light and The Baron.) While the other three are mostly forgotten, Batman became the sensation of the season—airing twice each week, »
- email@example.com (Rob Young)
Rko's final in-house production is a good end-of-an-era film, a spirited and well-made musical comedy. Bright-eyed Jane Powell can't stop accepting marriage proposals, from nerdy Tommy Noonan, dreamboat kisser Cliff Robertson and zillionare Keith Andes. She imagines her future with each man in musical terms, through production numbers staged by Gower Champion. The Girl Most Likely DVD-r The Warner Archive Collection 1956 / Color / 1:78 enhanced widescreen / 98 min. / Street Date November 17, 2015 / available through the WBshop / 21.99 Starring Jane Powell, Cliff Robertson, Keith Andes, Kaye Ballard, Tommy Noonan, Una Merkel, Kelly Brown, Judy Nugent, Frank Cady, Joseph Kearns, Marjorie Stapp, Robert Banas. Cinematography Robert H. Planck Film Editor Doane Harrison Original Music Nelson Riddle Choreographer Gower Champion Written by Devery Freeman, Paul Jarrico (uncredited) Produced by Stanley Rubin Directed by Mitchell Leisen
Reviewed by Glenn Erickson
From roughly 1925 to 1957, the powerful men in charge of the big studios controlled most aspects of production. That »
- Glenn Erickson
7 items from 2016
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