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Bryan Cranston directs the pre-Christmas episode of Modern Family, and Heisenberg brings us a batch of storylines that are both naughty and nice. However, even without the Emmy-winning actor working behind the camera, “The Old Man & The Tree” would still have been a memorable holiday-seasoned half-hour.
Episode scribes Paul Corrigan and Brad Walsh have been writing partners since the series began and have given audiences some of Modern Family’s pinnacle episodes: “Fizbo,” “Earthquake,” “Bringing Up Baby.” With the comedy’s experts at the helm, they know how to tweak some of the issues viewers (and this critic) have had with Modern Family as of late; namely, the rushed pace of the episodes and the lack of quality storylines for all of the characters.
Corrigan and Walsh do something terrific and unexpected: they give every character something interesting to do. Moreover, they deal with the hurried feel of this latest »
- Jordan Adler
Stewart Alexander is a Canadian actor and writer based in London, England. He was born and raised in Lachine, Quebec, and moved to the UK shortly after graduating from McGill University. Having made a number of short films on Super-8 in college, he embarked on a self-appointed apprenticeship assisting in the lighting, sound and editorial departments for a number of production companies in the UK. He also wrote and directed a short film called, “The Leather Jacket,” which was shot on 16mm, and edited, in a pre-digital age, on a Steenbeck. After meeting Kerry Skinner while studying to be an actor, he wrote the stage-play “Body Checks,” which they co-produced to considerable critical acclaim, and then adapted into a screenplay.
Now Alexander and Skinner have co-directed their first feature, the comedy-drama Common People. The film weaves together six stories and over thirty characters to present a dramatic, humorous and sometimes magical tale of romance, »
- Tom Stockman
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a superhero movie... and they've taken over Hollywood with their superpowers and Spandex costumes. The Guardian and Observer's critics pick the 10 best
• Top 10 action movies
• Top 10 crime movies
• Top 10 arthouse movies
• Top 10 family movies
• Top 10 war movies
• Top 10 teen movies
• More Guardian and Observer critics' top 10s
10. Iron Man 3
Shane Black's jagged-edged debut in the Marvel hotseat might easily have been a by-the-numbers "threequel", especially with star Robert Downey Jr out of contract and The Avengers' stupendous box office success a year earlier. Instead, the Kiss Kiss Bang Bang director delivered the series' best instalment so far via a perfectly-pitched twist that comes about as close as the superhero genre will ever get to its very own Crying Game moment.
Ben Kingsley's nefarious Mandarin is a preposterous, shadowy Bin Laden clone with a big bushy beard »
★★★☆☆Before 1948's Red River, Howard Hawks had already made half a dozen classics including Scarface, Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday and The Big Sleep. A decade later, Hawks would direct one of the great westerns - Rio Bravo (1959). Whilst Red River isn't quite of the same calibre as these other works, it's certainly not without its charms. A prologue shows Thomas Dunson (John Wayne) founding his Texas ranch alongside his trusted companion Groot (Walter Brennan) and young orphan Matt Garth. As Dunson describes his plans for expansion, a montage takes us forward another 14 years.
- CineVue UK
The ancient ads of times past, the physical, getting-fuzzier evidence of films watched over and over, the simplicity my Dad can comprehend: we haven't mourned the VHS enough
As gazillions of video recordings reach the end of their useful life, it occurred to me that unlike the LP, and Polaroids, the demise of the big, bulky VHS tape hasn't been mourned half so much as it deserves. According to the Washington Post, in 2005 94.7m American households still owned VCRs. I doubt it would be quarter of that now. I can count the people I know under 60 with video players on my two index fingers.
Before home-recorded videos decline entirely from functional to shabby retro-decoration, I'm going to press pause and give them their clunky due. Here's why I love watching films on video.
They wear their loving proudly
Like teddy bears and your comfiest pair of jeans, you can tell »
During my years at McGill, I decided to stray from studying the sciences and take my love of cinema more seriously: I turned my mind towards Cultural Studies and spent my early twenties relishing in Canadian cinema, slasher films, the French New Wave, Godard’s wonderfully bizarre oeuvre, and the philosophy of film.
It’s been three years since I decided to take my career down a different path, turning towards my other major in anthropology. Right after obtaining my fancy arts degree and wanting nothing to do with, well, anything anymore, I began looking for alternatives to my film studies courses and Bazin quoting peer community. I was looking to re-ignite my passion for the screen; from the cerebral to the heart and back.
Thus, I began volunteering for film festivals, but found myself wanting and in need of more starch in my film diet. Since I’d turned »
- Pamela Fillion
It says a lot about Philip French that after 50 years as the Observer's film critic – five decades in which he has watched more than 2,500 movies, written six books on the subject and received an OBE for his services to film – he is nervous enough about this interview to have researched his answers in advance.
When I arrive at his house in Tufnell Park, north London, I find French poring over a thick reference book at the kitchen table. A cup of coffee is left to cool as he thumbs through the relevant footnotes, anxious to get the facts absolutely right. He will turn 80 in a couple of weeks and says that he occasionally struggles to remember names of directors or actors. »
- Elizabeth Day
Every Thursday between now and the 2013 Primetime Emmy Awards on Sept. 22, Zap2it will be looking at certain categories and making bold predictions. We'd love to state that you can use these predictions to guarantee victory in whatever Emmys pool you enter. But let's be honest: What seems obvious in hindsight can be anything but leading up to any given awards show. So take any and all predictions between now and then with the requisite silo of salt.
While there are dozens upon dozens of categories we could analyze, we're going to stick with the main ones over the next five Thursdays. There will be time to look at other categories in other Emmys pieces between now and then, but write these dates into your Emmys Excitement Calendar:
Aug. 29: Best supporting actress/actor in a drama series
Sept. 5: Best actress/actor in a comedy series
Sept. 12: Best »
Noah Baumbach's newest movie, Frances Ha, which he co-wrote with his leading lady, Greta Gerwig, is some kind of magic. It not only does away with the often nasty tone of the director's other movies, it likewise does away with what we're normally fed in modern American comedies, the loutish dude who needs a babe, in favor of a pair of ladies as its focus: Frances and her best friend Sophie. In other words, this is not your average hetero-normative fantasy. Rather, it's about the necessarily chaste but nonetheless powerful love that binds us to our "best friends," those once-strangers with which we fashion a new kind of relationship that's just short of family and just beyond friendship.
What's more, the movie is fast, speeding in staccato from one scene to the next with one-liners piling up in a way few American comedies of the past five years have executed. »
- Ryland Walker Knight
Chicago – The “Best of Warner Bros.” series of DVD box sets increased by one last week with the 4th edition (following Best Pictures, Musicals, and Romance) of the 20 Film Collection versions of this series (one can also buy a massive 100 Film Collection set on DVD and a 50 Film Collection on Blu-ray). The new release centers on comedies released by the legendary studio from 1935 (“A Night at the Opera”) to 2009 (“The Hangover”).
Sold at most for $100 (and some outlets mark it down significantly from that), these 20 Film Collection releases work out to less than $5 a film. So, yes, they’re little more than repackagings given that they literally contain just the DVDs from the standalone releases of each of these films (with all special features intact) but they’re remarkably cheap repackagings, thematically arranged, and space-saving. Few studios have the history to produce box sets like this, ones that really »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Best of WB: 20 Film Collection – Comedy A Night at the Opera, Stage Door, Bringing Up Baby, The Philadelphia Story, Arsenic and Old Lace, The Long Long Trailer, The Great Race, Blazing Saddles, The In-Laws, Caddyshack, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Risky Business, The Goonies, Spies Like Us, Beetlejuice, Grumpy Old Men, Ace Venture: Pet Detective, Analyze This, Wedding Crashers, The Hangover Warner Bros. has been releasing various box sets to celebrate various anniversaries, genres and talents (including musicals, gangsters and Clint Eastwood), and as is often the case with collections there’s inevitably a mix of good and bad. Their comedy collection manages a coup of sorts though by featuring almost nothing but fantastically funny films. (Sorry Analyze This.) The discs are in sleeved pages along with brief info on each movie, and »
- Rob Hunter
The legacy of Princess Diana will continue to live on! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are preparing to welcome their bundle of joy, and they want to be the best parents they can be — with the help of the Will’s late mother.
Kate Middleton, 31, has done nothing but impress the public and make the royal family happy since she and Prince William, 31, married in 2011, and their parenting style will seemingly do just the same. They have not only been predicted to be fabulous parents once their baby is born, but they will be especially great because they’ll be taking after the one and only Princess Diana!
Kate and William are expected to try and give their child a fairly normal upbringing, as Diana did with William. Diana’s low-key parenting method had great impact on William and Prince Harry, »
- HL Intern
Moviefone's Top DVD of the Week
What's It About? Eugene Jarecki's ("Freakonomics") "The House I Live In" gives an in-depth look at America's war on drugs. The documentary brings our attention to the human rights issues created by the country's drug policy and the overcrowded prison system.
Why We're In: Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, Jarecki's solid work of journalism brings up a controversial and dire issue that calls for attention. While the doc's subject may only affect a segment of the population, it reminds us that the war on drugs is everybody's problem.
Moviefone's Top Blu-ray of the Week
What's It About? One of the funniest comedies ever, "The Producers" stars Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel as an accountant and playwright who do everything they can to produce a Broadway flop. The 1968 dark comedy was Mel Brooks' »
- Erin Whitney
Chicago – It’s a cause for celebration amongst film buffs when any picture—however minor or unremarkable—is miraculously resurrected from the dead, enabling us to view a lost piece of cinema history. That being said, there are countless titles more worthy of being reborn than “Perfect Understanding,” the latest alleged classic released by Cohen Media Group.
At first glance, this 1933 talkie promises to be fascinating. After making the intimidating transition to sound, while scoring two Oscar nominations in the process, one would imagine that Gloria Swanson’s career was on fire. Yet her popularity was waning with audiences, inspiring the star to form her own production company to make this comeback vehicle with a young up-and-comer named Laurence Olivier. Apparently the film fizzled during its initial release, inspiring Swanson to make only two more pictures before disappearing for nearly a decade.
Blu-ray Rating: 1.5/5.0
It wasn’t until 1950 when Swanson »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
Cinelinx knows as long as we've got each other, and the Growing Pains Season 3 DVD set, we've got the world spinning right in our hands.
This Warner Archive release is a Manufacture-On-Demand (Mod) DVD. It is made to be played in "play only" DVD devices, and may not play in some DVD recorders or PC drives. This disc, however, played fine in the Toshiba DVD recorder used for this review. This title is available directly from WBShop.com by clicking here.
The Seaver family faces the trials and tribulations of suburban life in the 1980s. This DVD set includes all 26 episodes of season three (1987-1988). Included are the following episodes: "Aloha (Parts 1 and 2)," "Taking Care of Business," "Not Necessarily the News," "Michaelgate," "Big Brother is not Watching," "A Star Is Born," "Gone but Not Forgotten," "Who's Zoomin' Who?" "This Is Your Life," "Broadway Bound," "The Scarlet Letter," "A Reason to Live, »
- email@example.com (Victor Medina)
Simon Columb attends BFI Southbank's Rita Hayworth retrospective...
Recently, Top Gun played at The Prince Charles Cinema and, writing a review of the film, it is clear that the success of Top Gun is in the aeriel sequences of brutal, streamline fighter-jets swooping and speeding across the sky. Both Top Gun and Only Angels Have Wings were nominated for Special Effects at the Academy Awards (separated by almost 40 years) but Only Angels Have Wings still portrays flight sequences that make your jaw drop. Starring Jean Arthur, Cary Grant and - in her first major screen appearance - Rita Hayworth, Only Angels Have Wings was another success under the direction of Howard Hawks. But it is Rita Hayworth that the BFI are celebrating this month, showing a retrospective of her entire career with sold out screenings already for many of her films - and in Only Angels Have Wings she steals every scene she's in. »
- Flickering Myth
The Duchess of Cambridge is once again open to defying royal tradition if it’s what the doctors say! Kate Middleton is leaving it up to the royal doctors to decide if the royal baby will be born naturally or via C-section.
In her final weeks of pregnancy, Kate Middleton is making major decisions regarding the arrival of the royal baby. As her due date draws closer, Kate will take doctors’ advice on whether or not she will have a C-section.
Kate Will Let Doctors Decide On Birthing Method
That’s right, Kate is going to leave it up to the royal doctors’ to decide what method is appropriate for the royal baby. Robert Jobson, a royal correspondent, tells Now magazine that it’s all in the royal doctors’ hands.
“When it comes to the birth itself, Kate will leave all the decisions to the doctors on the day about »
- HL Intern
Fast National ratings for Monday, May 27, 2013
"The Voice" and "Revolution" had a pretty clear path to the top of the ratings Monday, as there was less competition than the two shows have faced during the regular TV season. "The Voice" continued its downward trend since it began its live shows, but it still led the night by a wide margin in both viewers and adults 18-49.
NBC's only real challenge came from the premiere of "The Bachelorette" on ABC. It was down a good amount from last year's premiere -- which benefited from a "Dancing With the Stars" lead-in -- but up a little from its Memorial Day airing in 2012.
NBC averaged 9.4 million viewers and a 5.6 rating/9 share in households for the night. ABC (5.8 million, 3.8/6) came in second, ahead of CBS (4.35 million, 2.8/5). The CW (1.5 million, 1.0/2) managed to edge out Fox (1.4 million, 0.9/2) in viewers.
NBC easily led the adults 18-49 demographic with a 2.7 rating, »
Though “The Voice” hit a season low for a Monday, NBC easily won the primetime ratings race on Memorial Day.
According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, “The Voice” (3.1 rating/9 share among viewers 18-49, 10.9 million overall) came in below last week’s previously established Monday season-low rating of 3.5. Nevertheless, it easily outdistanced its closest competition, ABC’s “The Bachelorette” (1.9/5, 5.8 million), which dropped more than 25% in 18-49 rating from last year’s premiere to its worst ever.
Typically, the “Bachelorette” premiere is boosted by the “Dancing With the Stars” season finale, but the two were separated by a week this year. Compared with Memorial Day 2012, “Bachelorette” gained 2% in overall viewers and was even in 18-49. The program posted ABC’s best summer numbers from 8-10 p.m. on a Monday since July 16.
With viewership increasing every halfhour, “The Voice,” did help “Revolution” (1.9/5, 6.5 million) achieve week-to-week improvement and win the 10 p.m. timeslot for the Peacock, »
- Jon Weisman
Tickets are currently on sale for a special screening of Frank Capra's 1933 film Lady for a Day at the Paramount. On hand to introduce the movie, and to talk more about classic films in general, will be film critic and historian Leonard Maltin. Maltin was one of the proponents for making this movie available on Blu-ray, and the event will include a rare 35mm projection of the classic, thanks to a loan from the Capra estate.
Lady for a Day is early Capra, made before he really burst on the scene with his big hit It Happened One Night. It's adapted from a Damon Runyon story by Robert Riskin, who continued to team up with Capra on many other movies in the 1930s and early 1940s.
- Elizabeth Stoddard
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