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Bing Crosby, Gene Lockhart, Barry Fitzgerald, Going My Way Leo McCarey is Turner Classic Movies' Director of the Evening this Christmas. Considering that McCarey was an ardent Catholic, TCM has made a quite appropriate choice. Unfortunately, McCarey's anti-Red My Son John — despite the fact that the Bible plays a prominent role in that film — hasn't been included on the TCM film roster. Instead, TCM watchers will have the chance to check out Going My Way, Make Way for Tomorrow, Duck Soup, The Milky Way, Love Affair, and Once Upon a Honeymoon. The year Billy Wilder's film noir classic Double Indemnity was nominated for Best Picture — and Alfred Hitchcock's Lifeboat, Vincente Minnelli's Meet Me in St. Louis, and Otto Preminger's Laura weren't — McCarey's sappy, feel-good Going My Way was chosen as the Best Picture of 1944 by enough members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. »
- Andre Soares
 Last month, we tipped you off  to an unusual project by director Edgar Wright. In his third round of programming for the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles, California, Wright decided to make the theme "Movies Edgar Has Never Seen" -- and enlisted the help of famous filmmaker pals and fans alike to guide him in picking films he'd never seen, but had always wanted to watch on the big screen. He's now made his selections, with suggestions from people like Quentin Tarantino, Guillermo del Toro, Judd Apatow, and Harry Knowles, and they represent a great mix of genres, tones, eras, and so on. Get the schedule for the program, which runs December 9-16, and read some of Wright's comments after the jump. In his blog, Wright wrote a bit about why he was inspired to fill a schedule with movies that were new to him. I hope in my »
- Angie Han
Humbly submitting himself to his own cinematic blindspots!
A smart man knows things; a wise man is smart enough to know that there are things he does not know*.
Or something like that.
For a few weeks now, Edgar Wright has proved himself a wise man, laying bare his cinematic soul, openly confessing to the classics he’s yet to see. (Unless you’re Our Fearless Leader Joe Dante, you have these.) He’s put together lists. He’s pared down lists. And he’s teased us with acronyms, all in anticipation of a special select season of programming at Los Angeles’ finest repertory house, The New Beverly.
And now, Mr. Wright has finally announced the full slate of a new Wright Stuff season at the New Beverly (his third!) full of great gems that have heretofore been left unseen by his eyes. When most people (especially in this town »
Viewers are clearly irritated by constant repetition of the same trailers – so why run them?
Broadcasters claim to be responsive to objections from viewers, through feedback shows and regulators, but the most common complaints on letters pages and fan sites – for example, obtrusive background music – tend to continue without alteration. And two new series this month confirm the survival of other much-cited viewer irritations.
One is the peculiar deja vu caused to viewers by the relentless previewing of certain lines in trails. For example, the new Ricky Gervais/Stephen Merchant series Life's Too Short, starting on Thursday on BBC2, has been heralded on TV and radio through the use of a few exchanges between the creators and Warwick Davis. When finally watching the episode, the effect is to place certain lines of dialogue in a sort of aural italic type, becoming an accidental catchphrase, already as familiar as "To be or not to be »
- Mark Lawson
"If everything moves along and there's no major catastrophes, we're basically headed towards holograms. Why can't you have Hamlet in 3D who comes out to the audience and does 'To be or not to be?' I mean, they do in the theater. You have to think that way. Don't let the economics, and fashion, inhibit you if you're being creative."
That's Martin Scorsese, as quoted by Todd Gilchrist at the Playlist. As Steven Zeitchik also reports for the Los Angeles Times, the comments followed an enthusiastic endorsement of 3D, which in turn followed this weekend's Los Angeles premiere of Hugo, Scorsese's adaptation of Brian Selznick's novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret. We saw a few early reviews last month when Hugo was still a work-in-progress. Zeitchik: "Set in the late 1920s, Hugo tells of the titular orphan (Asa Butterfield) who lives in a train station, his relationship »
As much a film scholar as a filmmaker, there are few directors better-equipped to discuss the convergence of art and technology than Martin Scorsese. But during a recent Q&A about his latest film, the 3D opus “Hugo,” Scorsese offered a few observations about the past, present and future of entertainment that suggested he’s qualified for another title: futurist. “If everything moves along and there’s no major catastrophes, we’re basically headed towards holograms,” Scorsese said during a panel discussion Saturday. “Why can’t you have Hamlet in 3D who comes out to the audience and does ‘To be or not to be?’… »
"To be or not to be?" might be regarded as one of the greatest questions ever asked. But the topic raised on whether or not William Shakespeare actually wrote the words credited to him might be a better question, according to the film Anonymous. Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow) takes a break from showcasing all of the ways our world could come to an end by directing a movie that offers up a theory that could very well shatter the world of many an aspiring writer and/or playwright. Anonymous is a very well acted film, and if you're a fan of Shakespeare, it does put the viewer in the shoes of those who first witnessed plays written by ... well, I suppose whomever they might have been written by.
Anonymous opens in the present day, on a Broadway show where a lone man stands onstage and ponders »
- J.C. De Leon
The BFI's restoration of the 1928 silent The First Born, with Stephen Horne's new score performed live, was one of the big events of the BFI London film festival. Full of surprises, including two racy "making eyes" scenes that had the Queen Elizabeth Hall audience all aflutter, it lives up to Michael Powell's description of the "fluent, expressive, visual story-telling" of late silent cinema that had been cut short by the introduction of synchronised sound. Directed by Miles Mander – a black-sheep Old Harrovian with a background in boxing promotion, aviation and sheep farming – it's a topical tale of a hypocritical, philandering politician who exploits his wife to mop up the women's vote. It was released just after the 1929 "Flapper Election", which brought women under 30 into the franchise for the first time, »
To be or not to be, that is certainly the subjective question of whether director Roland Emmerich’s new film will excite or disgust. Indeed, with the covering of one of our greatest playwright’s names in his hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon in protest of Anonymous, William Shakespeare might be thrilled at the reignited interest in him.
In writer John Orloff and Emmerich’s version of Elizabethan events, the playwright (played by Rafe Spall) is actually an illiterate fool, a scheming charlatan who grabs the opportunity for easy fame – and to make money (it could be argued, like a former-day version of a reality TV contestant) – by laying claim to a series of plays written by Anonymous that delight the crowds at the local theatre. Unbeknown to all, these were actually penned by Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford (Rhys Ifans), to silence ‘the voices’ in his head. But as a member of the Royal Court, »
- Lisa Giles-Keddie
Edgar Wright's latest epic project  has him partnering with Quentin Tarantino, Judd Apatow, Joss Whedon, Bill Hader, Guillermo Del Toro, Joe Dante, Greg Mottola, Harry Knowles, Rian Johnson and, probably, several of you. Like all of us, Wright has a bunch of classic and cult films he's never seen. Unlike all of us, he has the means to see them for the first time on the big screen and will do just that in December  at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles during Films Edgar Has Never Seen. The director of Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World asked both his famous friends (some of which are listed above) and fans to send in their personal must see lists and, from those titles, Wright came up with one mega list from which he'll pick a few movies to watch December 9-16. After the jump check »
- Germain Lussier
The big story
The Iranian night rushed against Penn's skin as he landed the base jump on the roof of the prison. The first guard heard nothing. The second too was fair game - quickly collapsing under a blow from a hand that had held Academy Awards twice over. It was sweet and lowdown work. War made easy.
The hostages greeted him with amazement: "I loved you in Mystic Ri-" "Shhhhhh." Penn hissed. "Follow me or you're a dead man walking."
None of which happened of course. But when you read headlines like "Sean Penn aided release of Us hikers" (and watch a lot of action movies) it's easy to let your imagination run wild.
In fact, Penn was in the news this week »
- Henry Barnes
On Friday, Michael Sheen was a guest on the BBC's radio program, "The Chris Evans Breakfast Show," and he talked a lot about Shakespeare (Sheen is currently preparing for a stint on-stage as Hamlet for the Young Vic theater), a chance encounter with Paul McCartney, and some of his other recent work. If you're a fan of Michael Sheen, you'll enjoy the interview. He's lovely and as entertaining as always. He's also got his hands full with Hamlet, and he knows it. "Yesterday, we were doing what's called the nunnery scene, it's a big famous scene with Ophelia, and for the first time I did 'To be or not to be' in the rehearsal room. So, I finished the day with the reality that I'm really playing Hamlet," he explained of his daunting forthco »
Release Date: Dec. 6, 2011
Price: DVD $29.95, Blu-ray $39.95
Gary Cooper (High Noon), Fredric March (The Best Years of Our Lives) and Miriam Hopkins (Trouble in Paradise) play a trio of Americans in Paris who enter into a very adult “gentleman’s” agreement in the 1933 classic comedy film Design for Living.
A risqué relationship movie (made before the Motion Picture Production Code began being enforced in 1934) and a witty take on creative pursuits, Design for Living was directed by Ernst Lubitsch (To Be or Not To Be) and freely adapted by Ben Hecht (Notorious) from a play by Noël Coward (Brief Encounter).
At once a debonair and racy adult entertainment, the movie concerns a commercial artist (Hopkins) unable — or unwilling — to choose between the equally dashing painter (Cooper) and playwright (March »
Legendary actor and life-long activist Vanessa Redgrave on bad habits, brother Corin and why the battle for the beleaguered Travellers of Dale Farm matters so much to her
When Corin Redgrave suffered a heart attack while pleading with councillors not to evict Travellers from Dale Farm in Essex in summer 2005, his sister, Vanessa, was thousands of miles away in the Us. "If it wasn't for a Traveller giving him mouth to mouth, he would have died," she says. "As it was he had such loss of oxygen to his brain that he had extreme short-term memory loss. Forty Travellers came to the Basildon hospital to pray for him."
So is her current support for the Travellers due to be evicted from Dale Farm later this month to honour her dead brother? "Oh very, very, very much so. The Dale Farm Travellers are inseparable from him for me. It's totally personal. »
- Stuart Jeffries
To be or not to be? That's been The Lone Ranger question since Disney balked at a $232 million budget (a reduction from $250 million) while the film was in advanced pre-production. After the picture (more here) got shut down due to its inflated budget, Disney, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Pirates director Gore Verbinski started playing a high stakes game of poker. Disney even considered replacing Verbinski. But Johnny Depp insists that he won't ride without him--and now that the budget has been set at $215 million by the studio (they wanted to cap it at $200 million), Bruckheimer and Verbinski may do the handshake. THR has some insider commentary on whether this will be the magic number that allows Depp and co-star Armie Hammer »
Carole Lombard Best remembered for her light comedies of the '30s and early '40s, Carole Lombard is Turner Classic Movies Star of the Day on Sunday, August 28, as TCM's continues its "Summer Under the Stars" film series. Unfortunately, TCM isn't showing any hard-to-find Carole Lombard movies. So, don't expect Swing High, Swing Low; We're Not Dressing; the eminently dreadful (and compulsively watchable) White Woman; I Take This Woman; Up Pops the Devil; It Pays to Advertise, Power, etc. [Carole Lombard Movie Schedule.] Having said that, TCM did show the lesser-known Virtue (1932) and Brief Moment (1933) earlier today, and will be showing The Racketeer (1929) later this evening. Directed by the all but completely forgotten Howard Higgin, The Racketeer is a crime melodrama that features future King Kong semi-villain Robert Armstrong. Chances are The Racketeer will turn out to be nothing more than a historical curiosity — but that's not a bad thing at all. First, »
- Andre Soares
Carole Lombard on TCM: My Man Godfrey, Nothing Sacred, The Racketeer Mitchell Leisen's Hands Across the Table (1935) would have been more enjoyable had Carole Lombard ended up with Ralph Bellamy instead of Fred MacMurray. In fact, MacMurray's obnoxious Average Joe portrayal — who comes across as the Average Jerk instead — all but destroys the film. His character should have gone to, once again, Melvyn Douglas, Herbert Marshall, Cary Grant, Brian Aherne, Gary Cooper, Ray Milland, Edward G. Robinson, Bela Lugosi, Ginger Rogers, May Robson, or just about anyone else in Hollywood at that time. I haven't watched Vigil in the Night (1940), a melodrama about two sisters/nurses that isn't considered one of George Stevens' best. The cast, however, is good: in addition to Lombard, there are Brian Aherne and Anne Shirley. Vigil in the Night is also of interest in that it's one of Lombard's rare post-1935 non-comedic roles. »
- Andre Soares
First released in 1946, Gilda is a wonderfully perverse noir classic that comes over as a cross between Casablanca (an intentional influence) and Hitchcock's Notorious (which appeared just weeks after Gilda). The movie revolves around the exotic Rita Hayworth and was produced by Virginia Van Upp, the most powerful woman at Columbia, who was charged by tough studio boss Harry Cohn with supervising the star's career. Hayworth is stranded in Buenos Aires at the end of the second world war, trapped between her sadistic, middle-aged husband, the Nazi-sympathiser Ballin Mundson (George Macready), and her ex-lover, the cruel, amoral American adventurer, Johnny Farrell (Glenn Ford). The men have a homoerotic love-hate relationship. After Johnny sees Ballin's phallic sword-cane the first time they meet, he says admiringly: "You must lead a gay life."
- Philip French
Adopting another's identity is seen as a melodramatic trick of the movies, like the evil twin in soap operas – but aren't we all imposture experts?
In The Big Picture, Romain Duris plays a prosperous Parisian lawyer who accidentally kills his wife's lover. And then, because he has always yearned to be an artist, he swaps identities with the dead man and starts a new life as a boho photographer. Taking the place of a dead person (as opposed to posing as a dead person, like Shaun of the Dead and friends) is a recurring motif of the noirish thriller, most memorably in Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr Ripley, filmed by both Réné Clément (as Plein Soleil, starring Alain Delon at the peak of his male pulchritude) and Anthony Minghella.
Ripley murders the man whose identity he appropriates, but impersonators more often drift passively into imposture because circumstances enable or even demand it. »
- Anne Billson
This one is coming up late, due to Criterion jam packing a ton of releases on Friday, right while I was finishing up the original post. I think they wanted to mess with me, which is very funny. But being the premier (and only) site that gives you the best coverage of Hulu Plus movies, I don’t mind taking the time at all. I’m hoping it has nothing to do with the recent shake-up going on that Josh just reported on the other day (here), and with Hulu wanting to be bought because of financial problems stemming from multiple sources, this makes one wonder what’s going to happen to the Criterion Collection and their deal with Hulu. I’m crossing my fingers that whoever buys the service, be it Amazon, Google or Yahoo (who is the frontrunner), it doesn’t ruin the deal in place for Criterion and its films. »
- James McCormick
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