14 items from 2013
’Gravity’ to pass $200 million at domestic box office next weekend? (photo: Sandra Bullock as Ryan Stone in ’Gravity’) Starring Academy Award winners Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, Alfonso Cuarón’s thriller Gravity will quite likely pass the $200 million milestone at the North American box office this coming weekend, October 25-27, 2013. Gravity’s domestic cume currently stands at $174.91 million, after having added $30.02 million last weekend (Oct. 18-20), in addition to $2.4 million on Monday (Oct. 21) and $2.95 million on Tuesday (Oct. 22) according to figures found at Box Office Mojo. In the next couple of days, Gravity should add another $5-5.5 million, raising its domestic total to a little over $180 million. Last weekend, Gravity was down only 30.5 percent. As long as it drops about 33 percent or less next weekend, which is certainly a possibility even if it starts shedding theaters, Gravity will pass the $200 million milestone in the U.S. and Canada by Sunday evening. »
- Zac Gille
On this day 81 years ago the Universal classic The Old Dark House (1932) premiered in theaters. The James Whale film featured cinemas first spooky mansion of the talky era with a peculiar family and strange happenings that may or may not have been a result of supernatural phenomena. Whales odd little brood even inspired the behavior of the clan of cannibals in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). Tobe Hoopers creation is arguably a latterday remake of The Old Dark House (1932) appropriately updated for a thoroughly desensitized American public. »
Kino Lorber makes an exciting restoration this month with the 1961 directorial debut of genre favorite Curtis Harrington, Night Tide, which starred a nubile and then unknown Dennis Hopper in an early lead role. An independently financed film, Harrington’s atmospheric and moody debut feels like a Val Lewton production transposed onto the carnivalesque dread of the Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach, where the specter of metamorphosis haunts the narrative into an ambiguous fever.
Johnny Drake (Dennis Hopper) is a sailor on shore leave and almost immediately while on break he spies a beautiful woman named Mora (Linda Lawson) and he offers to buy her a drink. She lives above the merry-go-round at or around the Santa Monica Pier and she professes to like the music as it reminds her of childhood. It turns out that Mora headlines the sideshow act titled Mora the Mermaid, where she dons a tail »
- Nicholas Bell
In our second Friday double feature in the runup to Halloween we suggest The Old Dark House (1932) and May (2002). The first one is a Universal production that taps the mood of Halloween in brilliant gothic splendor. Next in the lineup is a refreshingly innovative film about an awkward girl who never could fit in. May is not meant to scare (although that certainly happens) so much as express difficulties in encountering the other that is equally terrifying for both parties. Regardless little May certainly earns her right to roam freely with the other ghouls on Halloween night. »
Lon Chaney didn't speak during early childhood, as his parents were deaf and mute, and he communicated with them via sign language. When silent movies came along, he was a natural. And at the end of his life, stricken with throat cancer, he lost his voice and again relied on pantomime to make himself understood. He came from silence and went back to silence.
Chaney was a unique kind of movie star, in that his success rested more on variety than reliability: if his audiences had any expectations going into a Chaney film, surely they must have been expectations of surprise, perhaps of an encounter with the unfamiliar and bizarre.
Outside the Law (1920) was Chaney's second film for director Tod Browning, whose concerns seemed to merge with his own in a particularly conducive way: separately and apart, both men pursued stories of humiliation, disfigurement, and revenge, featuring bizarre, displaced menageries and elaborate and uncomfortable disguises. »
- David Cairns
‘The Cat and the Canary’ 1939: Paulette Goddard / Bob Hope haunted house comedy among Halloween 2013 movies at Packard Theater There’s much to recommend among the Library of Congress’ Packard Campus and State Theater screenings in Culpeper, Virginia, in October 2013, including the until recently super-rare Bob Hope / Paulette Goddard haunted house comedy The Cat and the Canary (1939). And that’s one more reason to hope that the Republican Party’s foaming-at-the-mouth extremists (and their voters and supporters), ever bent on destroying the economic and sociopolitical fabric of the United States (and of the rest of the world), will not succeed in shutting down the federal government and thus potentially wreak havoc throughout the U.S. and beyond. (Photo: Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard in The Cat and the Canary.) Screening on Thursday, October 31, at the Packard Theater, Elliott Nugent’s The Cat and the Canary is a remake of Paul Leni »
- Andre Soares
Movies and television have a long history of casting effeminate gay men as the bad guys – the added layer of “otherness” is a popular way of making a villain all the more loathsome to a mainstream audience. While recent years have brought us several notable subversions of this idea with aggressively masculine gay villains (Strike Back‘s James Leatherby, Dexter‘s Ivan Sirko), the hissing, scheming gay baddie has always been the more popular stock-in-trade.
Whether explicitly gay or just “coded” that way to slip past the sensors, these guys represent some of cinema’s most notable acts of heteronormative villainy.
Much has been made about the fact that a movie that could otherwise have doubled as an International Male swimwear catalog went out of its way to present evil King Xerxes as a prissy, jewelry-crazed predatory homosexual (despite the fact that the actual Xerxes is portrayed »
- Brian Juergens
The Cat and the Canarys influence on the horror genre cannot be overstated. For starters the film popularized the basic plot of spending a night in a haunted house in exchange for a sum of money or inheritance. The Old Dark House (1932) would build on this theme five years later and make different takes on it as ubiquitous in classic horror films as the slasher is to the contemporary genre. (The theme would eventually reach its pinnacle with the Vincent Price classic The House on Haunted Hill (1959).) »
Hattie McDaniel: Oscar winner on TCM tonight One of the best and, despite nearly 100 film appearances, most poorly utilized actresses of the studio era was Hattie McDaniel, Turner Classic Movies’ "Summer Under the Stars" featured player today, August 20, 2013. Right now, TCM is showing Gone with the Wind (1939), the movie that earned McDaniel — as Scarlett O’Hara’s Mammy — the year’s history-making Best Supporting Actress Academy Award. She was the first black performer to take home an Oscar; in her (reportedly) studio-prepared Oscar acceptance speech, McDaniel hoped to “always be a credit to my race and to the motion picture industry.” And in my view, she remains among the most well-deserved winners, regardless of skin color. (See also: “Hattie McDaniel Oscar Speech.”) (Photo: Hattie McDaniel ca. 1930s.) Hattie McDaniel movies: ‘Show Boat,’ ‘Alice Adams’ Two other movies showcasing Hattie McDaniel’s talents will follow Gone with the Wind: Show Boat and Alice Adams. »
- Andre Soares
Will the 3D rerelease of Spielberg's '90s blockbuster trail Cameron's and Lucas' at the domestic box office? Directed by Steven Spielberg the 3D rerelease of the 1993 blockbuster Jurassic Park should end up with $17-18 million at the Us / Canada box office this weekend (April 6-8), after having brought in an estimated $7 million at 2,771 theaters this past Friday, according to studio figures found on the web site Box Office Mojo. Please scroll down for comparisions to the 3D box-office performances of George Lucas' The Phantom Menace and James Cameron's Titanic. Originally released two decades ago, the sci-fier / thriller starring Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Richard Attenborough earned $357.06 million back then, or approx. $694 million in current dollars. Worldwide, the film pulled in $557.62 million, or approximately $896 million in 2013 dollars, for an adjusted worldwide total of close to $1.6 billion. See also: "Colin Trevorrow Jurassic Park 4 director." Pictured above: Laura Dern, »
- Zac Gille
Del Toro's haunted-house flick to get a new cast member? According to a Variety report, this year's Oscar-nominated actress Jessica Chastain (for Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty) is in "final negotiations" to become the latest addition to the cast of filmmaker Guillermo del Toro's haunted-house movie Crimson Peak. If her signature does end up in the dotted line, Chastain will be featured next to Pacific Rim / Queer as Folk's Charlie Hunnam, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug / Star Trek Into Darkness' Benedict Cumberbatch, and one of Chastain's The Help co-stars: Emma Stone. Needless to say, for that to happen all of the aforementioned names must actually end up in the film. As per Justin Kroll's Variety article, the plot of the Legendary Pictures horror film (possibly to be handled by Universal Pictures) remains unknown. Could GdT's latest turn out to be Robert Wise's The Haunting »
- Andre Soares
The St. Louis Globe-Democrat is a monthly newspaper run by Steve DeBellis, a well know St. Louis historian, and it’s the largest one-man newspaper in the world. The concept of The Globe is that there is an old historic headline, then all the articles in that issue are written as though it’s the year that the headline is from. It’s an unusual concept but the paper is now in its 25th successful year! Steve and I collaborated last year on an all-Vincent Price issue of The Globe and I’ve been writing a regular movie-related column since. Since there is no on-line version of The Globe, I post all of my articles here at We Are Movie Geeks as well. When Steve informed me that this month’s St. Louis Globe-Democrat is written as if it’s 1934, I jumped at the chance to write about the »
- Tom Stockman
The St. Louis Globe-Democrat is a monthly newspaper run by Steve DeBellis, a well know St. Louis historian, and it’s the largest one-man newspaper in the world. The concept of The Globe is that there is an old historic headline, then all the articles in that issue are written as though it’s the year that the headline is from. It’s an unusual concept but the paper is now in its 25th successful year! Steve and I collaborated last year on an all-Vincent Price issue of The Globe and I’ve been writing a regular movie-related column since. Since there is no on-line version of The Globe, I post all of my articles here at We Are Movie Geeks as well. When Steve informed me that this month’s St. Louis Globe-Democrat is written as if it’s 1934, I jumped at the oppurtunity to write about the »
- Tom Stockman
Feature Sarah Dobbs Jan 31, 2013
As the anniversary of his passing approaches, Sarah looks back over the career of Boris Karloff - one of cinema's true icons...
If there’s one classic movie star I’d love to have met, it’s Boris Karloff. Now, he’s mostly remembered for his breakthrough role in Universal’s 1931 adaptation of Frankenstein: if you close your eyes right now and imagine Karloff, chances are it’s in green face paint with bolts in either side of his neck. But there was a hell of a lot more to him than that.
Karloff was an amazingly talented actor who brought something special to just about every role he played, and it would have been amazing to get the chance to sit down and talk to him about his life and career, to get his perspective on fame, Hollywood, horror, acting, and all the rest of it. »
14 items from 2013
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