12 items from 2013
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
Written by Ben Hecht
Directed by Otto Preminger
To those paying attention, film history teaches that groups of like-minded artists enjoy working together. The better the result of their initial project, the higher the likelihood the same team shall reconvene to produce one, two, or more films, hopefully of equal or superior quality. Some time ago in this column, Otto Preminger’s 1944 Laura was reviewed, a brilliant picture about a detective falling in love with a believed-to-be-deceased woman based on her stunning portrait, starring Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney as the lovers in question. Six years following said sumptuous collaboration, the same director-actors partnership brought audiences Where the Sidewalk Ends, an equally bittersweet tale of misguided love.
- Edgar Chaput
With movie music nights having become de rigueur at concert halls and amphitheaters across the land — not to mention recently sprung festival showcases — it might be important to note the event that started it all. Fifty years ago next month, an extraordinary collection of film composers gathered to celebrate the great songs and scores of Hollywood history.
It was Sept. 25, 1963, at the Hollywood Bowl, and although it was a hot night in the middle of the week, an estimated 10,000 gathered to listen to the movies’ greatest hits as conducted by the men who originally wrote them.
Elmer Bernstein opened with “The Magnificent Seven.” Henry Mancini, who would become a Bowl regular in years to come, made only his second appearance there, conducting “Days of Wine and Roses” and “Peter Gunn.” Alfred Newman brought the house down with his rousing “How the West Was Won” overture.
- Jon Burlingame
August 2013 -
The cast of characters in writer/director Curtis Harrington’s autobiography Nice Guys Don’t Work In Hollywood: The Adventures of an Aesthete in the Movie Business (Drag City Incorporated, www.dragcity.com) is nothing short of amazing. A partial list of featured and supporting players includes avant-garde pioneer Kenneth Anger, director James Whale, Jean Cocteau, Shelley Winters, Robert Bresson, Forrest (Forry) Ackerman, Christopher Isherwood (who punched Harrington), Stanley Kubrick, Debbie Reynolds, Roger Corman and the cast of Charlie’s Angels. To call his CV eclectic is something of an understatement, and it’s doubtful that any other major or minor Hollywood figure’s career moved as Harrington’s did: from the resolutely experimental to the realm of low brow American television drama of the ‘70s and ‘80s.
Born and raised in California, Harrington was entranced by movies, art and literature at an early age. Among his early accomplishments, »
- Ian Gilchrist
Directed by Otto Preminger
A detective’s work is challenging enough already without the complications that arise when he or she is involved with one of the suspects of a crime. Determining the innocence or guilt of an individual or party would be a lot simpler were it not for the mind games suspects so often play with investigators, evading conviction with lies and half truths. The sudden emotional attachment to one of the targets of police suspicion could send everything into a tailspin, provided the assigned investigator is capable of keeping a lid on his or her emotions. However, what if a detective grew attached to a person he could not physically relate to, such as the victim of a murder? What if, after believing the object of one’s desire was unattainable, a new reality »
- Edgar Chaput
You don’t see many film noirs nowadays, so to get your fix you usually have to dive into the vaults of studios and pick out a hard-boiled detective flick from way back when. In an effort to make that easier and to cash in on annual Oscar-fever, Fox has released Otto Preminger’s 1944 Laura a film that loosely qualifies as a noir but certainly deserves the recognition it received for its beautiful cinematography, the very quality which also makes it an ideal transfer for Blu-ray. Laura might not be the traditional film noir of cleverly lit rooms or a strong femme fatale, but it’s a compelling enough mystery with some strong character performances that makes it a worthwhile watch from start to finish.
- Lex Walker
Otto Preminger's classic thriller Laura is out on Blu-ray this week from 20th Century Fox and we've got two copies to give away to our lucky readers. From the official synopsis for this noir classic: This gripping and lushly photographed film noir, one of the most acclaimed mystery thrillers of all time, is a must-own classic on Blu-ray. Jealousy, passion and blackmail surround the murder investigation of the stunning Laura (Gene Tierney), leading to one of the most surprising twists the screen has ever seen. To win, follow @twitchfilm on Twitter, and then retweet the link to this post using the hashtag #LauraTwitch. Contest is open to readers in the U.S. and Canada. The Contest ends Thursday, February 7 at 11:59 Pm Pst....
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
It's not a great week for new releases on DVD and Blu-ray... in fact, some might say it's downright terrible, but there are still a few things worth mentioning. The biggest titles hitting stores today include Robert Zemeckis' Flight (which earned Denzel Washington an Oscar nomination), Here Comes the Boom starring Kevin James, and one of 2012's biggest box office bombs, Alex Cross. Fortunately, a few of the smaller releases seem a little more promising, such as A Late Quartet starring Christopher Walken and Philip Seymour Hoffman, Deadfall starring Eric Bana, and the Czech animated film Toys in the Attic. Keanu Reeves' digital vs. film documentary Side by Side is also out this week, and for the first time on Blu-ray, we've got Otto Preminger's Laura, a 40th Anniversary edition of Cabaret and Disney's Peter Pan! What will you be buying or renting this week? Check out »
We know the winter moviegoing season can be a bit disheartening, but if the multiplex doesn't have any options for you, there's no better time to curl up at home and rediscover an old classic. And Otto Preminger's classic noir "Laura" gets the high def treatment in February and we've got a couple of copies for some lucky readers. Told largely in flashback, the film follows Detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) as he investigates the murder of Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney), a beautiful Park Avenue society girl. Through the men in her life -- critic Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb) and playboy fiancé Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price) -- he begins to get a portrait of who she was, until he's in for a shocking surprise. Essentially, this is one of the greats of the genre. So how to do you get a copy? Email us with your name and address »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Film from the ’40s is perhaps best remembered for all of the dark and moody crime dramas it produced that kicked off the film noir genre. Hundreds of films full of fog, dicks, and dames have been made over the years, but really there are only an elite handful that stand the test of time as the big ones everyone thinks of when they think about noir. 1946’s The Big Sleep is definitely one of those films, and seeing as it was directed by the legendary Howard Hawks, it stars the iconic duo of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, it was adapted from a Raymond Chandler novel, and it features one of the most famous fictional detectives of all time, Philip Marlowe, it’s not hard to understand why that’s the case. This thing has pedigree to spare. Laura, an Otto Preminger-directed film from two years earlier, doesn’t quite share the same reputation. Though »
- Nathan Adams
Our daily countdown continues with part 18 out of 30 in our list of the 300 Greatest Films Ever Made. These are numbers 130-121.
130) Touch Of Evil (1958) Orsen Wells USA
128) Le Samourai (1967) Jean-Pierre Melville France/ Italy
125) Et: The Extra Terrestrial (1982) Steven Spielberg USA
124) It’S A Wonderful Life (1946) Frank Capra USA
121) L’Avventura (1960) Michelangelo Antonioni France/ Italy
Numbers 120-111 coming next.
film cultureClassicslist300 »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Rob Young)
Odd List Ryan Lambie Jan 8, 2013
It takes a certain kind of actor to bring a truly great villain to life. They need to be able to reach into the darkest recesses of their psyche, certainly, but they also need to bring a touch of something extra, too. They need to convince us not only that they're cruel, but that they're also human beings - after all, the best movie villains are often seductive and magnetic as well as unspeakably amoral.
While the finest antagonists are usually played by actors, there have been occasions where directors have stepped in front of the camera to indulge their inner demon. The list that follows attempts to deal exclusively with performances from people known primarily as directors first, »
12 items from 2013
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