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The Death of Stalin movie review: the great dictator

MaryAnn’s quick take… Audacious, outrageous, bleakly funny. Not since Charlie Chaplin sent up Hitler and invited us to laugh at terrible reality has there been a movie like this. I’m “biast” (pro): love Armando Iannucci’s work

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

I have not read the source material

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Presenting… Monty Python’s production of George Orwell’s 1984. Or damn close to it. So The Death of Stalin is akin to Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, then? Well, sort of. (I definitely scribbled “Brazil” in my notes while watching.) But Brazil was fiction; clearly inspired by actual totalitarian regimes, but entirely fictional. Stalin, however, is based on terrible reality. Perhaps not since Charlie Chaplin’s 1940 satire The Great Dictator has a filmmaker taken on such awful personalities and events and attempted to make us laugh about it all.
See full article at FlickFilosopher »

‘It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World’ Blu-ray Review (Criterion)

Stars: Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle, Ethel Merman, Jimmy Durante, Buddy Hackett, Mickey Rooney, Dick Shawn, Phil Silvers, Terry-Thomas, Jonathan Winters | Written by William Rose, Tania Rose | Directed by Stanley Kramer

If you are a fan of comedy films, you’ll already know that It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World is one of the greatest ones ever brought to the silver screen. Including most of the biggest names in comedy, it quite simply is a film that could never happen again. Now the Criterion Collection release has come to the UK and it is well worth buying.

When Smiler Grogan (Jimmy Durante) has a high-speed crash, a group of drivers who come to his aid find him close to death. Before he literally kicks the bucket, he shares with them the location of a $350,000 treasure, leading to a frantic race to be first to the prize. One thing they
See full article at Blogomatic3000 »

The 20 Funniest Movies Ever Made

  • Cinelinx
Comedy is very subjective but a great comedy will stand the test of time and continue to make generation after generation laugh. Some people like their humor dry, while some like it shocking and offensive. Whatever your taste, good humor will always be out there. Here are 20 great comedies that will no doubt continue to be appreciated in the future.

20. Fargo: The Cohen Brothers funniest black comedy may not be for everyone's taste, because it is quite violent. However, underneath all that is a droll observation on the human condition, highlighted by a winning performance from Frances McDormand as a very likeable and very pregnant police chief. Her character police chief Marge Gunderson is kind, clever and compassionate. She’s a much more admirable role model than all the recent ‘badass female’ clichés we’ve been inundated with lately. Another standout here is William H. Macy as a two-bit schemer who's plan utterly backfires.
See full article at Cinelinx »

Criterion Reflections – The Producers (1968) – Ld #35

David’s Quick Take for the tl;dr Media Consumer:

A brash, vulgar, wildly energetic and shamelessly provocative comedy romp that launched Mel Brooks as a film director, Gene Wilder as a popular comic actor, and grossly expanded the latitude extended to comedians in cinema, establishing radically poor taste as an acceptable marketing strategy in mainstream entertainment. Though The Producers is fondly remembered, massively influential and boasts some truly unforgettable sequences of inspired lunacy, too much time is dedicated to histrionic leering, shouting and shrieking episodes that don’t deliver enough in terms of wit to earn my enthusiastic endorsement overall. The story line is pretty familiar – a rambunctious Broadway showman conspires with a neurotic accountant to bilk investors in an offensive production, only to see their plan foiled when the play becomes an unexpected hit. The premise is clever and offers a broad platform for unbridled zaniness. A lot
See full article at CriterionCast »

The Happy Ending

Jean Simmons is the original frustrated Mad Housewife who runs away from a 'dream marriage' in search of something more fulfilling. Uncompromising, adult, and making use of an interesting cast. Plus, the soundtrack uses Michel Legrand's incomparable song "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?" The Happy Ending Blu-ray Twilight Time Limited Edition 1969 / Color / 2:35 widescreen / 112 min. / Ship Date January 19, 2016 / available through Twilight Time Movies / 29.95 Starring Jean Simmons, John Forsythe, Shirley Jones, Teresa Wright, Nanette Fabray, Bobby Darin, Kathy Fields, Tina Louise, Dick Shawn, Lloyd Bridges, Karen Steele, Erin Moran. Cinematography Conrad Hall Original Music Michel Legrand, lyrics Alan & Marilyn Bergman Produced, Written and Directed by Richard Brooks

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

I looked at some of the poster artwork for The Happy Ending, and yes indeed, one of the main styles is indeed like the cover of this disc -- a photo of a rusty garbage
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Oscar History-Making Actress Has Her Day on TCM

Teresa Wright ca. 1945. Teresa Wright movies on TCM: 'The Little Foxes,' 'The Pride of the Yankees' Pretty, talented Teresa Wright made a relatively small number of movies: 28 in all, over the course of more than half a century. Most of her films have already been shown on Turner Classic Movies, so it's more than a little disappointing that TCM will not be presenting Teresa Wright rarities such as The Imperfect Lady and The Trouble with Women – two 1947 releases co-starring Ray Milland – on Aug. 4, '15, a "Summer Under the Stars" day dedicated to the only performer to date to have been shortlisted for Academy Awards for their first three film roles. TCM's Teresa Wright day would also have benefited from a presentation of The Search for Bridey Murphy (1956), an unusual entry – parapsychology, reincarnation – in the Wright movie canon and/or Roseland (1977), a little-remembered entry in James Ivory's canon.
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Why aren't more comedians cast for their full terrifying potential in films?

  • Hitfix
One of the great things about having friends who are film nerds is that you end up having a lot of phone calls about nothing urgent. You end up talking about alternate theories and dream casting and things that might have been. I've got some other things I'll be posting tonight that speak to that, but first up, let's just play a little bit. The conversation I was having with Scott Weinberg today was about the way I find casting shortsighted in movies sometimes. In particular, I love comedians who push themselves, and Scott's article about Robin Williams (it would have been his birthday today, something that makes me unspeakably sad this year) focused on some of his left-of-center choices as an actor. Scott's fond of "Insomnia," where Williams gives some really good creepy, something that doesn't surprise me at all. Of course Williams was effective at playing dark and dangerous.
See full article at Hitfix »

Wright Was Earliest Surviving Best Supporting Actress Oscar Winner

Teresa Wright: Later years (See preceding post: "Teresa Wright: From Marlon Brando to Matt Damon.") Teresa Wright and Robert Anderson were divorced in 1978. They would remain friends in the ensuing years.[1] Wright spent most of the last decade of her life in Connecticut, making only sporadic public appearances. In 1998, she could be seen with her grandson, film producer Jonah Smith, at New York's Yankee Stadium, where she threw the ceremonial first pitch.[2] Wright also became involved in the Greater New York chapter of the Als Association. (The Pride of the Yankees subject, Lou Gehrig, died of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in 1941.) The week she turned 82 in October 2000, Wright attended the 20th anniversary celebration of Somewhere in Time, where she posed for pictures with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. In March 2003, she was a guest at the 75th Academy Awards, in the segment showcasing Oscar-winning actors of the past. Two years later,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

February 10th Blu-ray & DVD Releases Include Nightcrawler, Once Bitten, Vampire’s Kiss

  • DailyDead
For the week of February 10th, your horror and sci-fi home entertainment choices are practically boundless, as we’ve got a bevy of great films being released (something that might be helpful for those of you still in search for a gift for your Valentine). Scream Factory is pulling double-duty with both of their dual Blu-ray releases, Love at First Bite/Once Bitten and Vampire’s Kiss/High Spirits, and the cult classic Nekromantik 2 is getting a high def upgrade as well.

Other notable titles to look forward to this Tuesday include Nightcrawler, Predestination, Fear Clinic, Z Nation: Season One and the Criterion release for the classic thriller Don’t Look Now.

Love at First Bite/Once Bitten (Scream Factory, Blu-ray)

Love At First Bite: George Hamilton is possibly the tannest vampire in screen history in 1979’s Love at First Bite. When Count Dracula (Hamilton) is forced
See full article at DailyDead »

Trailers & Clips from Vampire’s Kiss / High Spirits & Love at First Bite / Once Bitten Blu-rays

  • DailyDead
Love can be complicated, especially when a relationship has supernatural elements. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, Scream Factory is about to release two Blu-ray double features that celebrate love in various forms: the obsessive nature of Nicolas Cage’s Peter Loew in Vampire’s Kiss, the ghost/human coupling in High Spirits, the desperate seeking of companionship in Love at First Bite, and the wide-eyed puppy love of Jim Carrey’s Mark Kendall in Once Bitten.

These double bill Blu-rays are due out from Scream Factory on February 10th, and we have a batch of clips and trailers from the films that tease the pleasures and pains of paranormal romance and supernatural seduction.

High Spirits: “Daryl Hannah, Peter O’Toole, Steve Guttenberg, Beverly D’Angelo, Jennifer Tilly, Peter Gallagher and Liam Neeson star in this hilariously haunting comedy! When a castle-turned-hotel owned by Peter Plunkett (O
See full article at DailyDead »

It’S A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World – Criterion Review

Cast

Captain T. G. Culpeper Spencer Tracy J. Russell Finch Milton Berle Melville Crump Sid Caesar Benjy Benjamin Buddy Hackett Mrs. Marcus Ethel Merman Ding Bell Mickey Rooney Sylvester Marcus Dick Shawn Otto Meyer Phil Silvers J. Algernon Hawthorne Terry-Thomas Lennie Pike Jonathan Winters Monica Crump Edie Adams Emeline Finch Dorothy Provine Cabdriver Eddie “Rochester” Anderson Tyler Fitzgerald Jim Backus Man driving in the desert Jack Benny Union official Joe E. Brown Biplane pilot Ben Blue Police sergeant Alan Carney Detective Chick Chandler Mrs. Halliburton Barrie Chase Mayor Lloyd Corrigan Police chief William Demarest Sheriff of Crocket County Andy Devine Ginger Culpeper (voice) Selma Diamond Cabdriver Peter Falk Detective Normal Fell Colonel Wilberforce Paul Ford Deputy sheriff Stan Freberg Billie Sue Culpeper (voice) Louise Glenn Cabdriver Leo Gorcey Fire chief Sterling Holloway Mr. Dinckler Edward Everett Horton Irwin Marvin Kaplan Jimmy the Cook Buster Keaton Nervous motorist Don Knotts Airport
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Scream Factory Set To Make Your February A Busy One With Vampires, Ghosts and Slashers!

The gang at Scream Factory are making it incredibly easy to choose Valentine’s Day gifts for your significant horror loving other, with the announcement of Five titles, all ranging from hilarious to frightening. Personally, I’m looking forward to all of the February releases and think it’s pretty awesome how all across the board the films are.

Making their Scream Factory Bluray double feature debut on February 10th is the one-two punch of both the Love At First Bite/Once Bitten double, but also, Vampire’S Kiss/High Spirits, two films that are a lot of fun on their own.

Love At First Bit/Once Bitten

Love At First Bite

George Hamilton is possibly the tannest vampire in screen history in 1979’s Love at First Bite. When Count Dracula (Hamilton) is forced out of his castle to make room for an Olympic training facility, he relocates to New
See full article at Icons of Fright »

A Tribute to Sid Caesar and a Look Back at It’S A Mad Mad Mad Mad World

Article by Sam Moffitt

It’s tough to say goodbye to Sid Caesar. I’ve been pondering what I can possibly say about a comedy legend who has been around as long as I can remember and contributed so much to comedy, mostly on television but also many times in motion pictures.

Firstly Sid Caesar was in on the ground floor of television, his earliest programs done live in 1949 before the video switch board had even been invented. In those earliest shows the director was on the stage telling the floor managers which cameras and mikes to hook or unhook to the coax and audio cables! Consider that just for a moment!

Caesar’s wonderful book Caesar’s Hours: My Life in Comedy, with Love and Laughter, co written with Eddie Friedfeld tells all about Sid Caesar’s years in show business and the legendary live variety shows; Your Show of Shows
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Review: Criterion's "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" (1963) Five Disc Release

  • CinemaRetro
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Hollywood Goes "Mad"

By Raymond Benson

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, the 1963 classic epic comedy directed by Stanley Kramer, is one of those Hollywood train wrecks that you can’t help but like. It’s a one-of-a-kind all-star extravaganza featuring some of the biggest names of mostly 1950s and early 1960s comedy (and a good number of them were known primarily as television actor/comics rather than big screen performers). The United Artists release was one of a current trend of movie star ensemble film in which the producers attempt to throw in as many big names as possible (e.g. Exodus, Judgment at Nuremberg, The Longest Day). As Kramer himself states in a reunion extra that appears on Criterion’s new Blu-ray/DVD combo set, “It would be impossible to make today,” due to the salaries stars demand now.
See full article at CinemaRetro »

Blu-ray, DVD Release: It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Jan. 21, 2014

Price: Blu-ray/DVD Combo $49.99

Studio: Criterion

The comedy legends of yesteryear come together for It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

Stanley Kramer followed his Oscar-winning Judgment at Nuremberg with the much-loved 1963 comedy spectacular It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Concerning about a group of strangers fighting tooth and nail over buried treasure, the film is the most grandly harebrained movie ever made, featuring a pileup of slapstick and borscht-belt-y one-liners performed by a nonpareil cast, including Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Ethel Merman, Dick Shawn, Mickey Rooney, Spencer Tracy, Jonathan Winters, and a boatload of other playing-to-the-rafters comedy legends.

For sheer scale of silliness, Kramer’s wildly uncharacteristic film is unlike any other, an exhilarating epic of tomfoolery.

Criterion’s release features a new high-definition digital transfer of a 197-minute extended version of the film, reconstructed and restored by Robert A. Harris
See full article at Disc Dish »

Virgins and Prostitutes: Jones' Movies on TCM

Shirley Jones Movies: Innocent virgins and sex workers galore (photo: Shirley Jones and Burt Lancaster in ‘Elmer Gantry’) (See previous post: “Shirley Jones: From Book to Movies.”) I haven’t watched The Cheyenne Social Club (1970), a comedy Western directed by Gene Kelly, and starring 62-year-old James Stewart as a cowpoke who inherits an establishment that turns out to be a popular house of prostitution. Henry Fonda plays Stewart’s partner. And I’m sure Shirley Jones, as one of the sex workers, looks lovely in the film. Hopefully, director Kelly gave this likable, talented actress the chance to do more than just stand around looking pretty. But then again … For all purposes, The Cheyenne Social Club ended Shirley Jones’ film stardom; that same year she turned to TV and The Partridge Family. Jones would return to films only nine years later, as one of several stars (among them Michael Caine,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

"Here's Edie: The Edie Adams Television Collection" - November 19, 2013

  • SneakPeek
Produced and distributed by Mvd Entertainment Group, in association with Ediad Productions,"Here's Edie: The Edie Adams Television Collection", available November 19, 2013, is a new four DVD box set, featuring 12 Hours of the early 1960's TV series "Here's Edie" and "The Edie Adams Show".

Performances include classic Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Stan Getz, Andre Previn, Sammy Davis, Jr., Bobby Darin, Johnny Mathis, Nancy Wilson, Buddy Hackett, Bob Hope, Dick Shawn, Rowan & Martin, Peter Falk, Sir Michael Redgrave, Zsa Zsa Gabor and a whole lot more :

"...more than 50 years after it premiered on the ABC network, the variety shows 'Here's Edie' and 'The Edie Adams Show' are set for release on DVD and digital formats, the first time either series has been seen in any format since its original broadcast more than a half century ago.

"The 'wow' factor of this box set resides in the eclectic guest stars Edie Adams
See full article at SneakPeek »

2013 TCM Classic Film Festival Adds More Movies, Stars & Frank Capra’s The Donovan Affair (1929) To Lineup

The 2013 TCM Classic Film Festival continues to expand, with newly added appearances by legendary stars at screenings of some of their most memorable films, including Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Mickey Rooney, Jonathan Winters, Marvin Kaplan, Barrie Chase, Polly Bergen,Coleen Gray, Theodore Bikel and Norman Lloyd, as well as producer Stanley Rubin, Clara Bow biographer David Stenn, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) film collections manager Katie Trainor and director Nicholas Ray’s widow, Susan Ray. In addition, TCM’s Essentials Jr. host and Saturday Night Live star Bill Hader will present screenings of Shane (1953) and The Ladykillers(1955).

And The Film Forum’s Bruce Goldstein will present a special screening of Frank Capra’s The Donovan Affair (1929), complete with live voice actors and sound effects to replace the film’s long-lost soundtrack.Mel Brooks is slated to talk about his comedy The Twelve Chairs (1970). Carl Reiner, Mickey Rooney, Jonathan Winters, Marvin Kaplan
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Attention NYC: Win The Rialto DVD Box Set & Tickets To 15th Anniversary Screenings At Film Society Of Lincoln Center

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
See full article at The Playlist »

William Shatner seeks out strange new worlds on Broadway

  • Pop2it
Yes, he really does go where no man has gone before because he goes his own way, and that's quite wonderful.

William Shatner's one-man show, "Shatner's World we just live in it ..." opened Thursday night (Feb. 16) at The Music Box. It's great fun, and this is from someone who was not a bona fide Trekkie. 

Clearly many in the theater were, and cheered as soon as the familiar strains of the theme song filled the theater. What Shatner very ably does, with "Star Trek" and other earlier TV gigs, stage work and movies, is give the audience his perspective on himself.

To do a one-person show about one's life, one must have lived; think about how thrilling memoirs from teenagers are. And at 80, Shatner has lived a terrific life. He opens with "Star Trek" memories, which makes sense because he knows that he will always be remembered as Captain James Tiberius Kirk.
See full article at Pop2it »
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