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4 items from 2016


TCM Oscar Homage Kicked Off Today: Is Bigger Always Better?

1 February 2016 10:33 PM, PST | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

'Ben-Hur' 1959 with Stephen Boyd and Charlton Heston: TCM's '31 Days of Oscar.' '31 Days of Oscar': 'Lawrence of Arabia' and 'Ben-Hur' are in, Paramount stars are out Today, Feb. 1, '16, Turner Classic Movies is kicking off the 21st edition of its “31 Days of Oscar.” While the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is being vociferously reviled for its “lack of diversity” – more on that appallingly myopic, self-serving, and double-standard-embracing furore in an upcoming post – TCM is celebrating nearly nine decades of the Academy Awards. That's the good news. The disappointing news is that if you're expecting to find rare Paramount, Universal, or Fox/20th Century Fox entries in the mix, you're out of luck. So, missing from the TCM schedule are, among others: Best Actress nominees Ruth Chatterton in Sarah and Son, Nancy Carroll in The Devil's Holiday, Claudette Colbert in Private Worlds. Unofficial Best Actor »

- Andre Soares

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New on Video: ‘Bitter Rice’

18 January 2016 10:16 PM, PST | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

Bitter Rice

Written by Giuseppe De Santis, Carlo Lizzani, Gianni Puccini

Directed by Giuseppe De Santis

Italy, 1949

The opening credits of Bitter Rice parade an array of Italian film industry luminaries, figures who would help redefine the country’s national cinema, picking up where neorealism left off and setting the stage for the remarkable work that would emerge in the decades to come. Screenwriters Carlo Lizzani and Giuseppe De Santis (who also directed) were two of eight individuals contributing in one way or another to the script, though they were the two who would share an Academy Award nomination for its story. Cinematographer Otello Martelli had nearly 50 films under his belt by the time of Bitter Rice, but in the years that followed he would most memorably man the camera for Federico Fellini’s finest films. And producing the movie was the venerable Dino De Laurentiis, really just at the start of his legendary career. »

- Jeremy Carr

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Bitter Rice

12 January 2016 10:22 AM, PST | Trailers from Hell | See recent Trailers from Hell news »

Forget the proletarian messages, this Italian Neorealist classic is really an exploitation film about ogling brazen, buxom babes in short-shorts, up to their knees in a rice paddy. Hollywood actress Doris Dowling is the nominal star but new discovery Silvana Mangano became the knockout dream of every Italian male suffering from postwar shortages (cough). Giuseppe De Santis delivered the perfect combo -- an art film that pulled in every lonely guy nella cittá. Bitter Rice Blu-ray The Criterion Collection 792 1949 / B&W / 1:33 flat full frame / 109 min. / Riso amaro / available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date January 12, 2016 / 29.95 Starring Vittorio Gassman, Doris Dowling, Silvana Mangano, Raf Vallone. Cinematography Otello Martelli Film Editor Gabriele Varriale Original Music Goffredo Petrassi Written by Corrado Alvaro, Giuseppe De Santis, Carlo Lizzani, Franco Monicelli, Carlo Musso, Ivo Perilli, Gianni Puccini Produced by Dino De Laurentiis Directed by Giuseppe De Santis

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Way back in »

- Glenn Erickson

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Criterion Collection: Bitter Rice | Blu-ray Review

12 January 2016 9:05 AM, PST | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

Criterion digs Bitter Rice out of obscurity this month, a pulpy mix of social drama and dime store pathos from director and screenwriter Giuseppe De Santis. Premiering at the 1949 Cannes Film Festival, the title was also nominated for an Oscar in 1950 for Best Story. Lumped in with the neo-realism movement, it’s been a well-regarded minor title, but its problematic noir elements seem to have denied it prominent classification, at least compared to De Santis’ contemporary, Roberto Rossellini, whose Rome, Open City (1945) birthed the movement (and had just finished his notable war trilogy the year prior to release of this title). But De Santis creates something a bit stranger with this hybrid, a darker examination of sex and violence from the perspective of two central female characters. In its native language, the title is a pun since the Italian word for rice can also be substituted for the word laughter, »

- Nicholas Bell

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4 items from 2016


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