20 items from 2014
Moviefone's Top DVD of the Week
What's It About? Judi Dench stars as an Irish woman who wants to find the son she gave birth to as a teen sent to live in a convent; Steve Coogan co-stars as the posh journalist who wants to write a story about her journey.
Why We're In: Based on a true story about Philomena Lee's travels to find her long-lost son, this is a sweet drama with moments of levity, thanks to the chemistry between Coogan and Dench.
Moviefone's Top Blu-ray of the Week
What's It About? Ah, yes. Another tale by Lars von Trier about tormented love, sex, and religion! Stellan Skarsgård and Emily Watson play newlyweds who are forced into some rather extreme circumstances after he's paralyzed while working on an oil rig.
Why We're In: This tragic tale gets the full Criterion treatment, including select »
- Jenni Miller
Double Indemnity A wonderful film and most likely the next entry in my Best Movies features once I'm able to get around to this new Blu-ray. The last time I wrote about it was in July 2011 were I said it would be one of my personal "must own" movies on the heels of this post. I can't wait to revisit it in HD.
Touch of Evil I did get a chance to watch this new Blu-ray and it's an interesting presentation. I don't know how many times I've seen Touch of Evil, probably about three times before this latest viewing, and boy did this presentation seem darker. Gary over at DVD Beaver went into this too, comparing to the Masters of Cinema release, which looks to have maintained the film's grain structure to a higher degree. In this situation I'm not sure if either is necessarily the "correct" way to »
- Brad Brevet
Tom Woodruff, Jr., is a celebrated and award-winning special effects makeup artist, and now he’s stepping into the directorial arena with Fire City: Interpreter of Souls. Dread Central was lucky enough to get an exclusive look-see on a special day. (There were demon fights!)
At the lovely location (an art deco building and mini-campus) in Los Angeles, we not only got a chance to interview everyone and watch filming – we even got a bunch of cool photos you won’t see anywhere else!
Dread Central: You have been with this project for a while, right?
Tom Woodruff Jr.: Through a couple different iterations. The first time I was ever made aware of it was when (the writer-producers) Brian and Michael came to me a couple of years ago with a script, I believe it was Fire City: Demon in the Darkness. And the script was honestly hard to »
- Staci Layne Wilson
For the fifth consecutive year, thousands of movie lovers (and Geeks) from around the globe will descend upon Hollywood for the TCM Classic Film Festival beginning this Thursday, April 10 and running through Sunday, April 13.
Coinciding with TCM’s 20th anniversary as a leading authority in classic film, attendees will be treated to an extensive lineup of great movies, appearances by legendary stars and filmmakers, fascinating presentations and panel discussions, special events and more.
TCM recently announced the tribute to Mickey Rooney, who passed away last weekend, will be Sunday, April 13 at 9am with a screening of National Velvet at the Tcl Chinese Multiplex 4. Eddie Muller will speak with Margaret O’Brien and read a poem written by Mickey Rooney, titled “Flesh and Bones” to close the tribute.
Fans of Rooney can watch a full day of his films this Sunday on TCM beginning at 6Am with Broadway To Hollywood. The »
- Melissa Thompson
There are two ways a film can swing when it sets out an incredibly modest set of parameters: It can either prove to be a bland and unambitious retread of the typical and the well-worn, or it can manage – through solid filmmaking and sheer force of will – to succeed within its limited boundaries. While it falls into the latter, Better Living Through Chemistry isn’t really its own movie, it’s more a lightweight mish-mash of American Beauty and Double Indemnity with a dash of Breaking Bad for good measure. It’s amiable, mostly forgettable, and it’s not going to change the world – but boy do I prefer it to alot of the dross out there.
- Dominic Mill
Sparks is a phenomenal new period superhero movie co-directed by Christopher Folino and Todd Burrows. It stars Chase Williamson as the title hero, Ashley Bell, Clancy Brown, Jake Busey, William Katt and Clint Howard. It is currently playing in limited theatrical release — and is well worth seeing in the theater — and streaming on iTunes.
The Underground Film Journal’s Executive Editor, Mike Everleth, attended a special screening on March 16 during the movie’s opening weekend, at which filmmaker Folino and stars Bell, Katt and Howard were in attendance. The photo above and those in the gallery below were all taken at this event.
Folino previously solo directed the award-winning indie comedy Gamers, which the Journal was a fan and supporter of back in the day. (Gamers is also currently streaming on Amazon.)
- Mike Everleth
In the midst of all the excitement over the Texas Film Awards and SXSW 2014, another film-related event took place recently: the first annual Noir City Austin. While free of a red carpet and movie stars in the flesh, this festival celebrated its inaugural weekend at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz from Feb. 28 to March 2.
Hosted by the Film Noir Foundation, Noir City Austin screened 10 films straight from the genre’s heyday, and featured many faces familiar to devoted noir fans, such as Shelley Winters, Peter Lorre, Ray Milland and Lizabeth Scott.
Yet rather than screening such noir staples like The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity and The Big Sleep, the foundation chose lesser-known titles that, though unknown to the majority of those in attendance, still contained all the necessary ingredients essential to any noir. More than that though, the movies selected tended to go beyond the conventions of the »
Sugar and spice and slice-and-dice.
Women are not natural born killers. That’s the commonly held belief, supported by crime statistics that show that 93% of all murders are committed by men. But, what about that 7% of women that do kill, the ones responsible for 16,000 murders a year? Are women killers different, somehow, than other women, or are they just regular women driven to acts of insanity by money, revenge or passion? Examining the motivations and methodologies of women killers is what makes our crime series Snapped (weekdays at 6pm Et/3pm Pt) so wickedly fascinating.
As in real life, violent female characters comprise only a small percentage of the perpetrators of violence depicted on the big screen, but the truly terrifying ones make a lasting impression on us. Here's our rundown of the most infamous female characters in cinema, women that snapped and resorted to violence and even murder to achieve their goals. »
- BJSprecher Sprecher
Guess what unforgettable movie about people wanting to forget is about to celebrate its 10th anniversary?
Have you ever thought about what your favorite shot from it is? Or which shot best represents the movie as a whole? Have you ever wondered how it can possibly be that the cinematographer Ellen Kuras has only done 4 narrative features in the ten years since?
You know where this is going right?!
Break out the bubbly because "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" returns on March 18th (We're moving it to Tuesdays at 9 Pm to give people the weekend to screen the movies and be ready!). If you're new to the blog or haven't yet experimented with actually participating, I guarantee a good time. Everyone who has participating religiously has said that they've gotten a ton out of it. Plus it proves the point 'the more the merrier' because the best episodes offer »
- NATHANIEL R
Film Noir. One of those few genres in which the words themselves manage to convey a sense for the genre itself. It evokes a black and white image of a world weary P.I. in a trench coat, scouring the back alleys of Los Angeles. The characters on both sides of the law are hardboiled and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.
Everyone knows the classics of the genre, The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, The Big Sleep, The Third Man, or some of the great Neo-Noirs like Chinatown, Blood Simple, or Mulholland Drive. These are movies which represent the genre, and they’re some damn good ones too. But too often the rest of the genre is left at the bottom of the barrel, and there are great Noirs from the 1940s and 50s which slipped through the cracks of time.
These are films that stretch the genre to its limits, »
- Josh Hamm
3 Notes. Oh don't click away you have time to read them. And yes I'll be live tweeting and a little light blogging tonight
01. Like The Film Experience on Facebook. Follow Nathaniel on Twitter, Pinterest? Why am I so needy? It's like this: Once Oscar night wraps up I experience something like a free fall; help me pull that parachute string.
02. We're here all year -- it's not just an Oscar site so don't abandon us if you're exhausted by Oscar shenanigans. There's only one more week of it, recapping this year's Oscars, filmbitching, and we'll close out the annual festivities with that Supporting Actress Smackdown we promised (yes, the one I flubbed that you've been impatient for). After that one eye returns to brand new movies and pinch of tv and the other to occasional trips back to favored oldies in A Year With Kate, Seasons of Bette, and Hit Me. »
- NATHANIEL R
Though the film noir genre has spawned some of the finest movies ever made, illuminated by the likes of Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon and The Third Man – it seems to be a classic style mostly confined to the past, encapsulating the treasured 1940s era of cinema.When tackled in contemporary film, we tend to see subversions of the genre, with the likes Sin City and Drive, for example. However, Hossein Amini’s adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s eponymous novel, The Two Faces of January, is noir in its purest form, as a real attempt to recreate the quintessential pictures of old, and remain faithful to the discernible tropes and conventions. Though admiring Amini for giving it a go, this particular endeavour is uninspiring and forgettable.
Set in Athens, Oscar Isaac plays Rydal, a tour guide by day and chancer by night, always looking to make a cheap dollar off a »
- Stefan Pape
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will open the 2014 edition of the TCM Classic Film Festival with the world premiere of a brand new restoration of the beloved Rodgers & Hammerstein musical Oklahoma! (1955). TCM’s own Robert Osborne, who serves as official host for the festival, will introduce Oklahoma!, with the film’s star, Academy Award®-winner Shirley Jones, in attendance. Vanity Fair will also return for the fifth year as a festival partner and co-presenter of the opening night after-party. Marking its fifth year, the TCM Classic Film Festival will take place April 10-13, 2014, in Hollywood. The gathering will coincide withTCM’s 20th anniversary as a leading authority in classic film.
In addition, the festival has added several high-profile guests to this year’s lineup, including Oscar®-winning director William Friedkin, who will attend for the screening of the U.S. premiere restoration of his suspenseful cult classic Sorcerer (1977); Kim Novak, who »
- Melissa Thompson
For the next twenty-one days we'll be sharing little trivia items as we count down to Hollywood's High Holy Night and surveying each category though we're not ready for the latter part just yet. Sound fun?
Guess who's the only famous director to ever win exactly 21 nominations? That's Billy Wilder, pictured above with his bounty from The Apartment (1960). He won nominations in Picture, Director, and in the Writing categories over his very long directorial career which stretched from the French language Mauvaise Grain (1934) to the Jack Lemmon/Walter Matthau comedy Buddy Buddy (1981). His career total: 6 Oscars and a Thalberg!
The only director more celebrated in terms of total nominations in multiple categories is Woody Allen with 24 career nods, the huge bulk of which are for Best Original Screenplay (where he's nominated again this year for Blue Jasmine). Billy Wilder is also in second place in terms of total Best »
- NATHANIEL R
'If I'm wrong, I'm insane. If I'm right, it's worse': in conspiracy films – from Rosemary's Baby to State of Play – solving the crime does not bring peace. Michael Newton investigates a rich cinematic genre
Some believe that JFK was shot by his driver, some that Bobby Kennedy was killed by one of his guards; some believe the world is ruled by a Yale fraternity, some by lizard-aliens in disguise; some believe that Obama is a Communist mole; some that, back in 1966, Paul McCartney died. These notions are, at best, deluded; but as potential pitches for an as yet unmade Hollywood movie, they might just secure the contract. For, in movies, you can believe that the moon shots were faked, or that men are replacing their wives with compliant robots, or that space shuttles are firing earthquake-inducing weapons, or that the world itself is a delusion – and in each case you could be proved right. »
- Michael Newton
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) has added an exciting roster of screen legends and beloved titles to the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival, including appearances by Maureen O’Hara, Mel Brooks and Margaret O’Brien, plus a two-film tribute to Academy Award®-winner Richard Dreyfuss. Marking its fifth year, the TCM Classic Film Festival will take place April 10-13, 2014, in Hollywood. The gathering will coincide with TCM’s 20th anniversary as a leading authority in classic film.
O’Hara will present the world premiere restoration of John Ford’s Oscar®-winning Best Picture How Green Was My Valley (1941), while Brooks will appear at a screening of his western comedy Blazing Saddles (1974). O’Brien will be on-hand for Vincente Minnelli’s perennial musical favorite Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), starring Judy Garland. The tribute to Dreyfuss will consist of a double feature of two of his most popular roles: his Oscar®-winning performance »
- Melissa Thompson
The history of errant women has been a mainstay of cinema from its earliest days. There was Theda Bara as the mysterious intoxicating temptress who led men to their ruin in A Fool There Was. However, femmes fatales really came into their own as double crossing dames in the 1940s, when the genre of film noir was in ascendancy. Audiences were scandalised by these cold hearted, sometimes murderous women and entranced as they watched big star names such as Barbara Stanwyck (in Double Indemnity) misbehave abominably.
The archetype of the femme fatale is still very much used in cinema in modern times for it is an archetype that will always fascinate the film fan’s imagination. Exploring female bad behaviour is an endlessly interesting and entertaining topic for film makers to tackle. What is particularly captivating about femme fatale films is the extent to which they receive their comeuppance or get away with their crimes. »
- Clare Simpson
Another raft of quality classics have just been announced as joining Eureka Entertainment's Masters of Cinema series. Lindsay Anderson's brilliant If...., Robert Altman's Nashville, Billy Wilder's Ace In The Hole and Hal Ashby's Harold & Maude will be released between April and June 2014, alongside Elia Kazan's Boomerang, John Cassavetes' Too Late Blues, Richard Fleischer's Violent Saturday and Charlton Heston medieval epic War Lord.Here's the press release for all the details:The latest slate of films from Eureka!'s The Masters of Cinema Series brings together some of the most heralded masterpieces of the 20th century. Releases include Billy Wilder's Ace in the Hole (the follow-up to the great director's Sunset Boulevard, and a follow-up to Masters of Cinema's extremely successful releases of Wilder's Double Indemnity and...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
Joel and Ethan Coen have built a reputation as two of the most visionary and idiosyncratic filmmakers working today. Dabbling in Film Noir to screwball comedy, from off-beat indies to big-budget studio pieces, their films are adored by critics and audiences alike. The two-man writer-director-producer-editor team, have long been regarded by cinephiles as masters of the craft. Choosing our favourite Coen Bros. film isn’t an easy task, but we asked our staff to rank their films from favourite to least favourite. The results were interesting, with Fargo running away with first place, and two of their 16 films not producing enough votes to justify making the cut (The Lady Killers, Intolerable Cruelty). Here are the results. Let us know which is your favourite Coen Bros. film?
13. Burn After Reading, 2008
The 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival will honor legendary actor, filmmaker and humanitarian Jerry Lewiswith a multi-tiered celebration of his remarkable career. Highlighting the tribute, Lewis will have his hand and footprints enshrined in concrete in front of the world-famous Tcl Chinese Theatre IMAX. In addition, Lewis will be on-hand for a screening of one of his most memorable films: The Nutty Professor (1963). Marking its fifth year, the TCM Classic Film Festival will take place April 10-13, 2014, in Hollywood. The gathering will coincide with TCM’s 20th anniversary as a leading authority in classic film.
“Jerry Lewis is a very important name whenever movie comedy is discussed and enjoyed,” said TCM host Robert Osborne, who also serves as the official host of the TCM Classic Film Festival. “Jerry has provided the world with great merriment and laughter, while also showing, in such films as Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy, »
- Melissa Thompson
20 items from 2014
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