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Gonzo, goofball, gangstery goodness. South of Heaven spends every dollar of it's $1.98 budget on the right things, taking a very funny script, putting it in the hands of a solid cast and sending up the likes of Big Jim Thompson, as well as invoking a variety of other things in my head, among them the visual palette of a Wisit Sasanatieng or the stylings of the Coen Brothers. But unlike most people "inspired" by the Coen's style this is a sincere homage and like those other examples, this is a tiny film that dares to aim and damn near reaches a sense of epic storytelling. For all of it's flaws it largely accomplishes what it sets out to do in hugely entertaining, often hilarious and »
Thanks to Criterion, Stanley Kubrick's The Seafarers is now the only film from the iconic director not available on Blu-ray. Criterion recently brought Kubrick's Paths of Glory to beautiful high-definition and now the director's 1956 heist feature, The Killing, arrives with a special inclusion, the helmer's 1955 feature Killer's Kiss. Releasing The Killing is one thing and should be enough to get you to buy this title, but the fact it also includes Killer's Kiss pretty much means any Kubrick fan simply has to buy it. I'm sorry, but those are the rules.
The screenplay was co-written by Kubrick with dialogue by pulp novelist Jim Thompson (though Thompson would later claim he wrote most of the film, a spat that almost ended their relationship), The Killing is based on "Clean Break" by Lionel White. The story is told using a fractured narrative, following the planning of a racetrack robbery. Throughout the film's brisk, »
- Brad Brevet
"I'm a Friedkin fan, but this one let me down," writes Dan Sallitt in a dispatch to the Notebook today, and he pretty well sums up the general consensus, give or take, that Killer Joe, which screened in Competition in Venice (and left empty-handed) before rolling on to Toronto, is no Exorcist (1973) — or French Connection (1971), which happens to be opening today for a 9-day run at New York's Film Forum.
"Playwright Tracey Letts and director William Friedkin seem both a natural pair and way the hell too much together," writes Scott Tobias. "Letts's work is overheated enough without Friedkin turning up the gas. As with Bug, Killer Joe pitches to the rafters, amping up a hicksploitation thriller with unnecessary jolts of savage violence and abuse." Also at the Av Club, Noel Murray: "As a fervent fan of Friedkin, I confess that I miss the director's more action-oriented side, which isn't »
Chicago – When film lovers hear the name of one of the great masters of the form — Stanley Kubrick — their mind usually races to one of his most famous flicks, whether it be “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “A Clockwork Orange,” “Dr. Strangelove,” “The Shining,” or even “Full Metal Jacket.” But where did one of our most beloved directors hone his craft? In a series of smaller films, two of which are now available in a single Criterion Blu-ray or DVD release — “The Killing” and “Killer’s Kiss.”
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.5/5.0
Stanley Kubrick’s account of an ambitious racetrack robbery is one of Hollywood’s tautest, twistiest noirs. Aided by a radically time-shuffling narrative, razor-sharp dialogue from pulp novelist Jim Thompson, and a phenomenal cast of character actors, including Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray, Timothy Carey, Elisha Cook Jr., and Marie Windsor, The Killing is both a jaunty thriller and a cold-blooded punch to the gut. »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
The death of Stanley Kubrick in 1999 left many wondering what else the filmmaker would have done if there was more time. The thing is, that’s a tough question to answer, seeing as he had so many unfinished projects accumulate over the decades. From his film about Napoleon to A.I. — the latter of which was later directed by Steven Spielberg — reading his history of almost getting things made is nearly as fascinating as watching the ones that crossed the finish line.
It looks like a few of those are coming to the screen, however, with ThompsononHollywood reporting that three previously planned films of his are finally being adapted. The first of these is Lunatic at Large, which has been in various stages of development for what feels like a while. The original treatment was written by Jim Thompson, a novelist whom Kubrick had worked with twice before — the first time on The Killing, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (thefilmstage.com)
"Often unfairly dismissed as a minor prelude to Stanley Kubrick's work from his attention-demanding antiwar indictment Paths of Glory onwards, 1956's The Killing finds the master imposing Big Direction on Small Ideas," argues Vadim Rizov at GreenCine Daily. "Instead of the headier themes associated with Kubrick — nuclear war, Vietnam, extraterrestrial monoliths — here is an 84-minute noir, adapted from a Lionel White novel by expert nihilist Jim Thompson, confined to the bare minimum of sets and a few street exteriors. The dialogue has Thompson's characteristic mean-spirited tone: when Sherry Peatty (Marie Windsor) tells her lover Val Cannon (Vince Edwards) about her meek husband George's (Elisha Cook Jr) upcoming involvement in a robbery, he scoffs. 'That meatball?' Sherry corrects him: 'A meatball with gravy.'"
"The first product of the reportedly strained, multi-film collaboration between Kubrick and Thompson, their incendiary script for The Killing remains cinematic legend, lightning trapped in »
by Vadim Rizov
Often unfairly dismissed as a minor prelude to Stanley Kubrick's work from his attention-demanding antiwar indictment Paths of Glory onwards, 1956's The Killing finds the master imposing Big Direction on Small Ideas. Instead of the headier themes associated with Kubrick—nuclear war, Vietnam, extraterrestrial monoliths—here is an 84-minute noir, adapted from a Lionel White novel by expert nihilist Jim Thompson, confined to the bare minimum of sets and a few street exteriors. The dialogue has Thompson's characteristic mean-spirited tone: when Sherry Peatty (Marie Windsor) tells her lover Val Cannon (Vince Edwards) about her meek husband George's (Elisha Cook Jr.) upcoming involvement in a robbery, he scoffs. "That meatball?" Sherry corrects him: "A meatball with gravy."
It’s extremely difficult to type the words “my favorite Kubrick film” because I honestly feel I could put that down while writing about any of them. But what I can say about Stanley Kubrick’s Hollywood calling card The Killing is it’s the one film of his that I’m most nostalgic about.
Film noir. Jim Thompson’s words. Sterling Hayden’s “when men were men” bravado. The contract studio picture was on the way out and the New Hollywood of Bogdanovich, Ashby and Nichols were breaking down the doors.
But before that (and likely escalating the emergence of New Hollywood) there was Kubrick. Then 28 and coming from New York’s beatnik era having just made a twisted romance drama Killer’s Kiss (which he shot with no sound and dubbed the dialogue in post) in 1955, one year later he would team with indie producer James B. Harris »
- Jason Guerrasio
Your Weekly Source for the Newest Releases to Blu-Ray Tuesday, August 16th, 2011
Agent 8 3/4 (1964)
Directed by: Ralph Thomas
Synopsis: Unemployed Czech-speaking writer Nicholas Whistler thinks he’s got a job visiting Prague for a bit of industrial espionage. In fact he is now in the employ of British Intelligence. His pretty chauffeuse on arrival behind the Iron Curtain, Comrade Simonova, is herself a Czech agent. Just as well she’s immediately attracted to 007′s unwitting replacement. [highdefdigest.com]
Special Features: Unknown.
Armed And Dangerous (1986)
Directed by: Mark L. Lester
Synopsis: Dooley, a cop wrongly sacked for corruption, teams up with a useless defense lawyer in their new careers… as security guards. When the two are made fall guys for a robbery at a location they are guarding, the pair begin to investigate corruption within the company and their union. »
- Travis Keune
DVD Playhouse—August 2011
By Allen Gardner
High And Low (Criterion) Akira Kurosawa’s 1963 adaptation of Ed McBain’s novel King’s Ransom is a multi-layered masterpiece of suspense and one of the best portraits ever of class warfare in post-ww II Japan. Toshiro Mifune stars as a wealthy businessman who finds himself in a moral quandary when his chauffer’s son is kidnapped by ruthless thugs who think the boy is Mifune’s. Beautifully realized on every level. Also available on Blu-ray disc. Bonuses: Commentary by Kurosawa scholar Stephen Prince; Documentary on film’s production; Interview with Mifune from 1984; Trailers and teaser. Widescreen. Dolby and DTS-hd 4.0 surround.
Leon Morin, Priest (Criterion) One of French maestro Jean-Pierre Melville’s rare non-crime-oriented films, starring Jean-Paul Belmondo as a devoted cleric who is lusted after by the women of a small village in Nazi-occupied France. When Fr. Morin finds himself drawn to a »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
Okay, Daniel Woodrell of West Plains, Miss., has just been elevated by Winter’s Bone and Sundance and the Oscars and the general high opinions of critics everywhere into the stratosphere of Great American Novelists, Gritty Division. The buzz, cicadas on a summer night, is deafening. It should be. Woodrell single-handedly generated a new genre—country noir—with his Ozarks-based crime stories. Sure enough, the usual glowing comparisons to Chandler, Faulkner, Mosley, Jim Thompson and Cormac McCarthy have all been sung. He’s a “backcountry Shakespeare,” opines the La Times. He’s “deeply atmospheric and oozing with the mojo of the swamp,” says the Chicago »
In the midst of a summer movie season dominated by expensive special effects and loud noises, one of the most entertaining cinematic offerings available consists of little more than two people talking. Michael Winterbottom’s The Trip traps British comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon together for an extended road trip across England that sees them visiting restaurants, landmarks, poet’s homes, and bickering relentlessly along the way. The film is something of a feature length ode to a neurotic friendship between two longtime collaborators and study of middle age listlessness. It’s also really fucking funny and should not be missed by any self-confessed British comedy fan or anyone who simply enjoys laughter for that matter. Hit the jump for the full review. Michael Winterbottom has been something of an odd duck of British filmmaking over the last decade, cranking out a film a year with subject matter varying »
- Phil Brown
Michael Winterbottom is one of the great unsung directors, if only for his chutzpah: One minute he's brashly cutting new windows into old works by Thomas Hardy and Laurence Stern; the next he's concocting a version of Jim Thompson's shivery pulp masterpiece The Killer Inside Me that exceeds its source material's grim explicitness (though not in a good way); the next he's tracing the disintegrating arc of a couple's relationship by showing actors engaging in nonsimulated sex. But Winterbottom isn't just a stuntman: He'll try anything, but he'll do it differently every time. And in the process -- even at times in his less-successful experiments -- he'll come up with an intelligent and nuanced take on a complex political situation, or an observation about the things we demand (or recoil from) in a literary adaptation, or just an unexpected insight into what scares people the most, or gives them the most joy. »
Boy, do I envy Steve Niles’ job! Not only does he get to dream up horrific things each day, but he gets to work on comics, books, and video games. At Dallas Comic-Con, I spoke with the horror writer about his zombie project Remains that is being adapted for television, his work with John Carpenter on FEAR3, and gritty adventures of paranormal detective Cal McDonald in Criminal Macabre.
SciFi Mafia: Now, you’ve made vampires scary again with 30 Days of Night. Did you seek to do the same to zombies in your zombie story, Remains, that is being adapted for the Chiller network? How does it distinguish itself from other zombie stories like The Walking Dead or Zombieland?
Steve Niles: In my comic, there are different sects of zombies. Some were affected by radiation differently. Some start to evolve. So you can’t use any of the normal I’m-just-going-to-hide-in-the-house-and-wait-till-they-rot methods. »
- Lillian 'zenbitch' Standefer
The story of a well-planned racetrack robbery is told via a radical-for-its-time splintered narrative peppered with sharp dialogue from the great pulp writer Jim Thompson. Plus, the film features a cast of legendary character actors, including Sterling Hayden (Dr. Strangelove), Coleen Gray (Red River), Timothy Carey (Paths of Glory) and Elisha Cook Jr. (The Maltese Falcon).
A too-cool thriller embodying all of film noir’s finest characteristics — deceit, betrayal, fate and a femme fatale — as well as its maker’s trademark tracking shots and precise mise-en-scene, The Killing is definitely a must-own for Criterion classics collectors.
The movie will feature a new high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition. »
It looks like Andy Richter will be stepping from behind the podium on Conan to another podium (I am guessing) for a new game show on TBS entitled Pyramid. The show is reportedly a modern-day take on the iconic game show that began asThe $10,000 Pyramid.
I really enjoye watching Men of A Certain Age, and highly recommend it. The new shows don't really catch my interest yet, aside from Pyramid. Check out the full lineup below and share your thoughts on what shows you are most interested in seeing.
TNT scripted series in development
Untitled Kip Koenig/John Wells Productions Project – Set against the backdrop of the Pacific Northwest, this drama follows a family of cops who uncover the mystical and often crime-ridden world of a small town where things aren’t as they appear. The project comes to TNT from Warner Horizon Television, Kip Koenig (Grey’s Anatomy) and John Wells Productions (Southland, »
It’s so strange, writing this so long after the announcement yesterday. In today’s internet world of instant information, and twenty four second news cycles, yesterday’s August 2011 Criterion Collection new releases may as well have happened last week, or last month. I’m sure that the page views for this post will be markedly smaller than the usual, as I have tried consistently to have the new release post up within minutes of the pages going live on Criterion’s website. I know this all sounds like inside baseball stuff, but it’s on my mind, and darn it, this is my website.
I had a whole, several paragraph long, write up of the August titles, but since I’m finding myself writing this at 10pm on Tuesday evening, I think it’s better if I just scrap that whole thing and start over. I was going on »
- Ryan Gallagher
Back in February, Obsessed With Film’s Stuart Cummins dedicated an entry into his Top Ten Tuesdays series with his choice of the 10 Greatest Heist Movies Ever Made. It was a fun list and I loved most of the movies he chose but one classic he left out deserved recognition.
In fact I believe it to be the greatest heist film ever made.
Stanley Kubrick’s early career thriller The Killing, a movie so refined and perfectly put together – Criterion have got the idea to give it the kind of Blu-ray treatment only that magnificent company can with his 1958 boxing drama Killer’s Kiss getting the full restoration treatment as an bonus feature! Save your pennies in August.
Press release below;
The Killing – Blu-ray & DVD
Stanley Kubrick’s account of an ambitious racetrack robbery is one of Hollywood’s tautest, twistiest noirs. Aided by a radically time-shuffling narrative, razor-sharp dialogue from pulp novelist Jim Thompson, »
- Matt Holmes
Norwegian crime novelist Jo Nesbø inspires quasi-religious zeal among his hard core fans. One devoted reader got a Harry Hole tattoo, in honor of Mr. Nesbø’s iconic detective character. Another fan changed his middle name to Harry (that was Mr. Nesbø’s literary agent, but still, most agents just send congratulatory emails).
Lately, Mr. Nesbø has been attracting new legions of readers. His books have sold nine million copies worldwide, up from five million a couple of years ago. »
- Alexandra Alter
New work includes the U.S. premiere of Melanie Gilligan’s experimental sci-fi feature Popular Unrest for the fest’s Opening Night event. Then, throughout the fest, will be Jacqueline Goss‘ meteorology meditation The Observers, Liu Jiayin’s two-part family drama Oxhide and Oxhide II, Madison Brookshire’s light processing experimentation Color Series, Oliver Laxe’s meta-documentary You Are All Captains for the Closing Night event, and more.
- Mike Everleth
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