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Bill Hader has come a long way since his stint on Saturday Night Live, creating many popular characters and impersonations such as Stefon, Vincent Price and CNN’s Jack Cafferty. He is one of the highlights in such films as Adventureland, Knocked Up, Superbad and Pineapple Express, and so it is easy to see why author Mike Sacks interviewed him for his new book Poking A Dead Frog. In it, Hader talks about his career and he also lists 200 essential movies every comedy writer should see. Xo Jane recently published the list for those of us who haven’t had a chance to read the book yet. There are a ton of great recommendations and plenty I haven’t yet seen, but sadly my favourite comedy of all time isn’t mentioned. That would be Some Like It Hot. Still, it really is a great list with a mix of old and new. »
Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Nov. 18, 2014
Price: DVD $29.95, Blu-ray $39.95
Opposites attract with magnetic force in 1934’s It Happened One Night, a romantic road-trip delight from Frank Capra (It’s a Wonderful Life), about a spoiled runaway socialite (Sleep My Love’s Claudette Colbert) and a roguish man-of-the-people reporter (Gone with the Wind’s Clark Gable) who is determined to get the scoop on her scandalous disappearance.
Featuring two actors at the top of their game, sparking with a chemistry that has never been bettered, It Happened One Night represents the birth of the screwball comedy.
The first film to accomplish the very rare feat of sweeping all five major Oscar categories (best picture, best actor, best actress, best director, and best screenplay), It Happened One Night is among the most gracefully constructed and edited »
Claudette Colbert movies on Turner Classic Movies: From ‘The Smiling Lieutenant’ to TCM premiere ‘Skylark’ (photo: Claudette Colbert and Maurice Chevalier in ‘The Smiling Lieutenant’) Claudette Colbert, the studio era’s perky, independent-minded — and French-born — "all-American" girlfriend (and later all-American wife and mother), is Turner Classic Movies’ star of the day today, August 18, 2014, as TCM continues with its "Summer Under the Stars" film series. Colbert, a surprise Best Actress Academy Award winner for Frank Capra’s 1934 comedy It Happened One Night, was one Paramount’s biggest box office draws for more than decade and Hollywood’s top-paid female star of 1938, with reported earnings of $426,944 — or about $7.21 million in 2014 dollars. (See also: TCM’s Claudette Colbert day in 2011.) Right now, TCM is showing Ernst Lubitsch’s light (but ultimately bittersweet) romantic comedy-musical The Smiling Lieutenant (1931), a Best Picture Academy Award nominee starring Maurice Chevalier as a French-accented Central European lieutenant in »
- Andre Soares
Criterion has announced their November slate of releases and among them is Frank Capra's romantic-comedy classic It Happened One Night and Blu-ray upgrade of Michelangelo Antonioni's L'avventura and Sydney Pollack's Tootsie starring Dustin Hoffman. First off, and most exciting as far as I'm concerned, is Capra's It Happened One Night, which I speculated previously would be added to the collection sooner rather than later. Starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, this is an all-timer in terms of romantic comedies and Criterion is delivering it with an all new 4K digital restoration, new conversation between critics Molly Haskell and Phillip Lopate, the 1997 feature-length documentary Frank Capra's American Dream, Capra's first film, the 1922 silent short The Ballad of Fisher's Boarding House, the American Film Institute's tribute to Capra from 1982 and the film's trailer. The release arrives on November 18. The other title I'm excited about is Antonioni's L'avventura, the »
- Brad Brevet
The Criterion Collection is always guaranteed to earn some of our money each month, but what to do when some of the big movies they've got coming have already been on home video for years? Is it really worth it just to get a wacky C on the cover? You tell us, but this lineup for November is still pretty solid all around. Leading the way is Frank Capra's comedy classic "It Happened One Night," the first movie in Oscar history to sweep all five top categories —Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay. As per usual, this edition is coming fully loaded, with a feature length documentary about the director, his first silent film and much more. And while this movie has been around on DVD for a while, perhaps this dazzling new 4K reproduction will indicate new depths in the film. Speaking of classics, »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Over at The Telegraph, Robbie Collin has chosen to take on the impossible, he's set out to create a list of films that tells the story of Hollywood "in terms of how one picture or director led to the next." It's a daunting task that creates an interesting narrative and he prefaces his ten selections saying: ...none of the individual works is "great" or "important" enough to drown out the others. I've avoided films such as Citizen Kane, Vertigo, Singin' in the Rain, Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, Lawrence of Arabia and The Godfather, not just because we already know they're great, but because their greatness might throw the story off-balance - although I wouldn't hesitate to describe any of the films that are on this list as a masterpiece. So how does his list shape outc Have a look: One Week (1920) - dir. Buster Keaton It Happened One Night (1934) - dir. »
- Brad Brevet
Dear Television Programmers of the World,
You’re doing okay. If you were in elementary school, you’d all be getting Bs—solid effort, little imagination.
You see, Shark Week is coming to the Discovery Channel this week, and while some of you have stepped up to provide some quality programming riffing on the 27-year-old shark-based franchise—we’re looking at you, Hub network’s dog-themed Bark Week—not nearly enough have stepped up to the plate.
For instance, Logo TV has planned its inaugural Snark Week to coincide with Discovery’s own bite-filled festival. The network plans to air »
- Jackson McHenry
Growing up, Daniel Radcliffe always thought Harry Potter would die at the end of J.K. Rowling’s books. “Because of the prophecy with Lord Voldemort,” Radcliffe says on a recent afternoon in New York, between cigarette puffs. “I thought, ‘How is she going to get out of that one?’ ” He finally worked up the courage to ask the bestselling author when she came to see him in the London production of “Equus” in 2007. “I was happy to be proven wrong,” Radcliffe says. “For an actor, what more can you wish for? You get a death scene — and then you get more screen time.”
Even though Voldemort couldn’t finish off Potter, someone else has. The culprit is none other than Radcliffe himself, who was cast to play the boy wizard at the age of 11 in 2001’s “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” Over the next 10 years, the eight “Potter »
- Ramin Setoodeh
The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya? “The Story of Hollywood in 10 Films” — Robbie Collin at The Telegraph attempts a simply/impossible feat of boiling down American industry filmmaking into .000000001% of its output. “The industry grew into itself, the star system formed, and filmmakers from around the world fluttered, moth-like, to Hollywood, bringing European elegance and style with them. Some, like Ernst Lubitsch and F W Murnau, were already successes at home. Others, like the Italian-born Francesco Capra, arrived in America as children and were seduced by Hollywood on its home turf. The film of 1934 was Capra’s It Happened One Night, and the Oscars agreed. (It was the first to win in all five major categories.) Here was another comedy that centered on an ordinary man on the make – in this case, Clark Gable »
- Scott Beggs
In music there are only 12 notes, so it's no wonder so many songs sound the same. But what about someone's voice? The way someone speaks is not bound by any kind of scale or music theory, rather it's the sum a person’s upbringing, their physicality, and their personality. So why do so many cartoon characters sound so eerily familiar? In this list we highlight 10 cartoon characters whose voices (and often their likenesses) are based on other actors. We also mention 5 other cartoon voices that are impressions in the bonus sections of related entries. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, these actors have been thoroughly praised by some of the best.
Over the past 3 decades The Simpsons has been on the air, America’s favorite family has gone through many changes. Aside from the quality of the animation, the most noticeable »
- Eli Reyes
Marking its 25th anniversary this week is "When Harry Met Sally," which many viewers consider the best romantic comedy ever made. Certainly, the film (released on July 12, 1989), deftly directed by Rob Reiner, smartly written by Nora Ephron, and indelibly acted by Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan, is the most influential romantic comedy of the past quarter century. Virtually every rom-com since has borrowed from its witty banter, its urban setting, its soundtrack both modern and nostalgic, and its neurotic-yet-lovable leads.
Of course, "When Harry Met Sally" also owed a debt of influence to Woody Allen's romantic comedies about talky New Yorkers, as well as to dozens of other rom-coms, going all the way back to the road-trip antics of Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert in 1934's screwball classic, "It Happened One Night."
There are a lot of great romantic films that go to such dark places (from "The Apartment »
- Gary Susman
The clue to the right was included in Criterion's most recent newsletter, hinting at an upcoming title they will be releasing. I am terrible at these things and can never get them right, but I took it to Twitter and guesses began flooding in including Paul Robeson's Jericho (1937) and Robert Bresson's Lancelot of the Lake (1974), but it seems the folks over at Criterion Forum may have been onto something guessing Frank Capra's It Happened One Night (1934) starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert with the image referring to Gable's character's reference to the "Walls of Jericho" as he walks in to see Ellie (Colbert) has erected a sheet between their two beds: Oh thisc Well, I like privacy when I retire. Yes, I'm very delicate in that respect. Prying eyes annoy me. Behold the walls of Jericho! Uh, maybe not as thick as the ones that Joshua blew down with his trumpet, »
- Brad Brevet
Blu-ray Release Date: Sept 30, 2014
Price: Blu-ray $49.99
Studio: Warner Home Video
Classic romance drama Gone With the Wind — perhaps The classic romance drama film — turns 75 and is celebrated with another Ultimate Collector’s Edition, but the set does have some new features.
Limited and numbered with new memorabilia, packaging and special features, the Gone With the Wind 75th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-ray set includes a replicaof Rhett Butler’s handkerchief and a music box paperweight playing Tara’s theme with an image on top of the Rhett-Scarlett kiss.
Also included is a 36-page companion booklet featuring a look at the timeless style of the film, written by New York fashion designer and Project Runway finalist Austin Scarlett, whose signature look reflects the romantic elegance of the Gone With the Wind era.
The new special features on the Blu-ray disc are:
When we think of movie characters they are larger than life in human form. However, there is a tendency to connect a particular film or film’s mortal personality with something that registers beyond the piece of entertainment or the walking and talking characterizations. The realization is that some movie-related inanimate objects equal or surpass the human element in cinema while adding elements of mystery, curiosity, symbolism and imagination.
In The Top 10 Iconic Movie Objects let us take a look at some of the non-breathing items that made an impact in their perspective films and see what meaning these images brought to the table. Perhaps you have in mind your own treasured inanimate objects that come to mind that transcends your viewing pleasure during the screening of your favorite flicks?
The Top 10 Iconic Movie Inanimate Objects are as follows (Note: the selections are not presented in any order of chosen »
- Frank Ochieng
But prepping for his first romantic lead required more than just dropping his drawers. In the film, from director Michael Dowse (Goon, Take Me Home Tonight), Radcliffe, 24, had to get comfortable acting in modern times. After Harry Potter and period films such as The Woman in Black, What If — about a med-school dropout (Radcliffe) who falls for an already attached art director (Ruby Sparks’ Zoe Kazan) — is Radcliffe’s “first foray into the 21st century,” he notes. To prep, »
- Nicole Sperling
It’s not always the destination but how you get there, and John Curran’s Tracks, released today in the UK, proves exactly that. Starring Mia Wasikowska as the socially inept and desperately stubborn Robyn, Tracks follows this young woman as she treks 1,700 miles across West Australia.
To celebrate the film’s release we took a look at some of the best journeys in cinema and the characters who took them.
1986, dir. Rob Reiner
A perfect film about the tribulations of growing up, Stand By Me ends with four boys visiting a missing body, but the obstacles that they endure on their trip, from raging trains to high school bullies are what shape its characters. So believable are the scrappy and defiant nature of our four protagonists that its difficult not to side with them, even if the end of their journey doesn’t signify a great victory. »
- Beth Webb
Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: April 15, 2014
Price: DVD $24.95, Blu-ray $29.95
Studio: Olive Films
With the 1948 film noir mystery Sleep, My Love, the great Douglas Sirk (All That Heaven Allows) directed the third and final teaming of Claudette Colbert (It Happened One Night) and Don Ameche (Cocoon), who previously appeared together in Mitchell Leisen’s Midnight and later in Sam Wood’s The Guest Wife).
The movie casts Colbert as Alison Courtland, a wealthy New York socialite who awakens on a Boston-bound train with no memory of how she got there. A kind, elderly woman helps Alison call her husband Richard (Ameche), who in the meantime had contacted a detective (Raymond Burr, TV’s Perry Mason) to help him find his missing wife. On the plane back home, Alison meets Bruce (Robert Cummings, The Devil and Miss Jones), who’s immediately enamored with her. »
What’s new, what’s hot, and what you may have missed, now available to stream.
streaming now, while it’s still in theaters
The Unknown Known: documentary interview with Bush-era insider Don Rumsfeld is like a horror movie with a calm sociopath at its center [at Amazon Instant Video]
streaming now, before it’s on dvd
Great Expectations: a lively, vibrant retelling that feels very modern, with none of the stuffiness of a traditional costume drama [my review] [at Amazon Instant Video] Philomena: a cry-till-you-laugh-dramedy about seeking lost family and finding new purpose; Judi Dench and Steve Coogan are fantastic; seriously, though: bring Kleenex [my review] [at Amazon Instant Video]
streaming now, before it’s in theaters
The Machine: the bleak chic of this Sf drama is intriguing, but the script that starts out smart and elegant soon slips into the shoddy and familiar [my review] [at Amazon Instant Video]
new to Prime
new to stream
Crouching Tiger, »
- MaryAnn Johanson
The members of the Online Film Critics Society — of which I am one — have jointly ranked the 86 movies that have won the Academy Award for Best Picture. This is our top 10:
1. The Godfather (1972)
2. Casablanca (1943)
3. The Godfather Part II (1974)
4. Sunrise (1927/28)
5. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
6. It Happened One Night (1934)
7. All About Eve (1950)
8. Annie Hall (1977)
9. On the Waterfront (1954)
10. All Quiet on the Western Front (1929/30)
Links go to my reviews. The rest of the Ofcs list is at Online Film Critics Society. (You’ll see how current we can be: newly minted Best Pic 12 Years a Slave is on the list, at No. 23.)
Read more about the Oscar Best Pictures, including fascinating trivia nuggets for each Best Picture and the other nominees each were up against, in these Ofcs posts:
• “The Best of the Best Picture Oscar Winners, Part 1” (counting down from 86 to 66)
• “The Best of the Best Picture Oscar Winners, Part 2” (65 through 51)
• “The »
- MaryAnn Johanson
The 86th Academy Awards are this Sunday evening, and we're counting down the minutes!
We've already given you our Oscar predictions, and now we're bringing you a few of the best (and craziest) Academy Awards facts. From the first Best Actor winner to the "one dollar" Oscar rule, here are 23 things you (probably) don't know about the Oscars.
1. The youngest Oscar winner was Tatum O'Neal, who won Best Supporting Actress for "Paper Moon" (1973) when she was only 10 years old. Shirley Temple won the short-lived Juvenile Award at 6 years old.
3. After winning Best Actress for "Cabaret" (1972), Liza Minnelli became (and still is) the only Oscar winner whose parents both earned Oscars. Her mother, Judy Garland, received an honorary award in 1939 and her father, Vincente Minnelli, »
- Jonny Black
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