14 items from 2014
Audrey Long, actress in B film noirs and Westerns, and widow of author Leslie Charteris, dead at 92 (photo: Audrey Long publicity shot ca. late '40s) Actress Audrey Long, a leading lady in mostly B crime dramas and Westerns of the '40s and early '50s, and the widow of The Saint creator Leslie Charteris, died "after a long illness" on September 19, 2014, in Virginia Water, Surrey, England. Long was 92. Her death was first reported by Ian Dickerson on the website LeslieCharteris.com. Born on April 14 (some sources claim April 12), 1922, in Orlando, Florida, Audrey Long was the daughter of an English-born Episcopal minister, who later became a U.S. Navy Chaplain. Her early years were spent moving about North America, in addition to some time in Honolulu. According to Dickerson's Audrey Long tribute on the Leslie Charteris site, following acting lessons with coach Dorothea Johnson, whose pupils had also included »
- Andre Soares
Judging by Michael Douglas’ presence as producer and star, “The Reach” must have been some sort of passion project for the aging Hollywood icon. Well, as Pascal observed, the heart has its reasons — which, in Douglas’ case, remain impenetrable at the end of “The Reach,” for upwards of 90 minutes, while the audience looks on in quiet disbelief. A hopelessly misguided mashup of Cornel Wilde’s 1955 cult favorite “The Naked Prey” and “The Most Dangerous Game,” with Douglas playing a mutant hybrid of Gordon Gekko and the Glenn Close character from “Fatal Attraction,” this inauspicious English-language debut for promising French helmer Jean-Baptiste Leonetti doesn’t look to reach far from its Toronto premiere (where Lionsgate paid a surprising $2 million for the U.S. rights).
If there were a festival prize for most Chekovoian use of a handgun, it would surely go to “The Reach” for the early scene in which small-town »
- Scott Foundas
Emil Kovac (Travolta) is a former Scorpions soldier based in Serbia on the assignment of his career: find and capture Colonel Benjamin Ford (De Niro). Wanted for being a former Nato operative, Ford has now retired from war and lives a reclusive lifestyle in the Appalachian mountains. Determined to finish what his people started, Kovac poses as a friendly European tourist and tracks Ford to his secret hideaway. As Kovac gets all the evidence he needs, he pursues Ford in a brutal game of cat and mouse, intent on bringing him to justice.
First Blood, »
- Phil Wheat
Some days the Internet is a beautiful place, full of helpful information and good humor. And some days it is a pit of ignorance so deep it threatens to drown us all in the bubbling muck. Today is the latter, but not for the reasons you think. A few days ago, Jay Branscomb posted the following image from 'Jurassic Park' to his 4,500 Facebook followers. Source: Facebook Hahaha! Super cute joke right? Wrong. As with any attempt at satire a couple of people weren't quite ready. These poor souls mistakenly believed that somewhere out there man has not only resurrected this majestic species from the late Cretaceous period but has done so for the express purpose of killing them for sport. Now I'm not saying we wouldn't do it — we've all seen 'The Most Dangerous Game' and know bored upperclass humans are the worst — I'm just saying »
- Donna Dickens
For those who felt the first The Purge was too limited and too familiar, The Purge: Anarchy takes the same basic premise but goes in a bolder, more extreme direction. Once again, the story is set in a dystopian America where, in a ghastly effort to weed out the weak and let the strong blow […]
- Angie Han
A no-budget variation on “The Most Dangerous Game,” “Battle Royale,” “The Hunger Games” and other violent survival-sport fantasies, “The Human Race” falls into that gray zone where it can be judged either an admirably resourceful amateur feature or a pretty inept professional one. Wildly variable performances, Christian overtones jostling with cheesy gore f/x, and choppy editing and storytelling are among the factors likely to make some genre fans roll their eyes. Others, however, will appreciate writer-director Paul Hough’s overall enterprise, unpredictable fatalities and fast (to a point) pacing. Following a tour of horror fests, the film launched theatrically June 13 at Hollywood’s Arena Cinema, in conjunction with its VOD and iTunes release. Niche home-format sales should be decent.
After each experiencing a flash of white light, 80 or so strangers who happened to be on the same Los Angeles block mysteriously find themselves in an enclosed indoor/outdoor institutional setting. »
- Dennis Harvey
Game On: Stamm’s Latest a B-Grade But Fun Genre Flick
Director Daniel Stamm leaves behind the found footage genre for his third outing as director with 13 Sins, a remake of a 2006 Thai film. While Stamm’s follow-up to his surprisingly well made 2010 film The Last Exorcist was originally slated to be an English language remake of the French juggernaut of torture porn, Martyrs (2008), it is perhaps a stroke of luck to see him working with less controversial material this time around as it gives Stamm a chance to flex his skills with darkly humorous genre. Playing like a blend of Saw meets The Most Dangerous Game in the confines of “The Twilight Zone,” there’s a lot of fun to be had with this blatant metaphor for the capacity (or is it necessity?) of violence in the face of overcoming the trap of economic systems and realities, even though »
- Nicholas Bell
Game of Thrones, Season 4, Episode 2: “The Lion and the Rose”
Written by George R.R. Martin
Directed by Alex Graves
Airs Sundays at 9pm Et on HBO
As per usual, kindly avoid revealing future book spoilers in the comments.
It would be an understatement to say the “The Lion and the Rose” merely lives up to its hype; it nearly destroys the meaning of hype. Alex Graves directs an extraordinary instalment, grandly conceived, brilliantly executed and incredibly entertaining. It has passion, raw emotion, true terror, and a palpable sense of evil. Despite knowing George R. R. Martin insists on ending each wedding with a gruesome death, as a non-book reader, I was shocked with the end result. It’s also worth mentioning that Martin himself wrote this particular episode, only the third after “Blackwater” and “The Bear and the Maiden Fair.” This time around, he’s given us a royal wedding and in doing so, »
Of all "The Americans" episodes in this excellent Season 2, "Behind the Red Door" might best encapsulate the passion, fear and danger of espionage. It's hard to remember sometimes that these are people who have literally given up everything for a cause -- and that makes them some of the most fascinating and dangerous people on the planet.
Even in this fictional version, it's fascinating to watch them try to change the world.
Philip and Elizabeth are finally ready to target Marshall Larick, the military guy who they suspect may have killed Emmett and Leanne. Unfortunately for them, Larick is both highly intelligent and rather angry about this whole being-blackmailed-by-the-communists-because-he's-gay thing.
While Larick is quite convincing about not being the killer, he also lets slip that he's involved with the training of Nicaraguan Contra leaders on Us soil. It's safe to say that the Soviet Union wants »
To mark the release of Pit Stop on 7th April, we’ve been given 3 copies to give away on Blu-ray.
The most dangerous game ever devised, to pit man against man, flesh against steel – the figure-8 race! Jack Hill (Coffy, Foxy Brown) follows up Spider Baby, once again teaming up with Sid Haig (House of 1000 Corpses) in one of his greatest roles for this action-spectacular crash-o-rama!
Richard Davalos (East of Eden) stars as Rick Bowman, a street punk who winds up in jail after a street race goes wrong. Bailed out by race promoter Grant Willard, Davalos is put in the deadly track where he comes up against Haig’s maniacal winner Hawk Sidney. Featuring an outstanding supporting cast including Brian Donlevy (The Quatermass Xperiment) in his last film appearance, Ellen Burstyn (The Exorcist), billed as Ellen McRae, and Beverly Washburn (Spider Baby), Pit Stop is one of Hill »
Fresh off of its premiere at the SXSW Film Festival, the Epix documentary Doc of the Dead, directed by Alexandre Philippe, examines the rise and evolution of zombies in film, television and literature, and their impact on pop culture. Many of the genre’s most influential figures are featured in the film, including the “godfather of the zombie genre” George A. Romero, actors Simon Pegg and Bruce Campbell, producer Greg Nicotero, effects guru Tom Savini and acclaimed author Max Brooks. During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, Alexandre Philippe and Tom Savini talked about how this documentary came about, when they both became aware of zombies as a storytelling device, why torture porn isn’t entertainment, why people identify with zombies in a way they don’t with vampires and werewolves, how they feel about remakes, Savini’s desire to redo The Most Dangerous Game, and what the greatest representation of zombies is to them. »
- Christina Radish
The question of how far a person will go -- or how low a person will sink -- for large financial gain is one of the more prevalent and provocative questions in recent horror cinema. Eli Roth's Hostel series had a dark and compelling hook that showed how the very wealthy can toy with a person's flesh just because they need a new kick. More recently the excellently twisted thriller called Cheap Thrills offered a series of progressively more disturbing bribes and wagers.
The also fascinating Series 7: The Contenders (2001) offered murder for money, as did Roger Corman's delightful Death Race 2000 from 1975 and the half-decent remake from 2008. Going back as far as The Most Dangerous Game (1932), and probably earlier, the idea of murder as a financial "game" has been a hallmark of horror cinema. One mentions all of that because of this: several years ago the Weinstein »
- Scott Weinberg
Pre-Code Hollywood studios spent millions transitioning their medium to sound and other new technologies that brought about major advances in photography, lighting, and set design. But there were still five million unemployed people in the United States and many more just getting by. The studios were losing money, many of them going bankrupt.
By 1930 the breadlines were longer than the ticket lines and people were slow to give up their hard earned money. They wanted to be entertained, they wanted to laugh and forget their troubles for just a while. Comedies, adventure, and musicals quickly became the most popular film genres of the time.
I. Pre-Code Action, Adventure, and Drama
Hollywood took their stories to the far corners of the earth as places like Africa, the South Pacific, and the Far East became exotic settings for movies. An island kingdom somewhere in the Pacific with strange creatures, even stranger natives, »
- Gregory Small
Where others may diagnose death for a failed film, a certain cinematic surgeon endeavors to breathe new life into moribund movies through extreme and invasive procedures. Whether it be rescuing invaluable elements from train wrecks for transplant, identifying cause of symptoms or resurrecting doomed patients with wholesale rewrites, Cinematic Surgery aims to show that even the most tragic or insolvable cases can be saved in the operating/editing room.
Such is the current culture in the filmmaking world that the very notion of suggesting ‘remake’ is considered sacrilege, a soul selling throw down to the cynical moneymakers bleeding dry a stable of beloved movies of the past in pursuit of sales through nostalgia and association, all to the detriment of goodwill and creativity. But the problem isn’t in the concept, it’s in the choices.
On occasion, there has been a film put out that sells itself through the strength of its tantalizing premise, »
- Scott Patterson
14 items from 2014
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