16 items from 2015
Hail to the chief — our future President Kanye West stole the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, announcing his beautiful dark twisted candidacy for Commander-in-Cheezus. "Yes, as you probably could have guessed by this moment, I have decided to run for President in 2020," he said, after a brilliantly rambling 10-minute-plus speech that had more music in it than any of the night's performances. Kanye's stoned Video Vanguard soliloquy ("we the Millennials, bro!") was this year's Vma highlight, as everybody knew it would be. The whole point of the bash every year is »
Virginia Bruce: MGM actress ca. 1935. Virginia Bruce movies on TCM: Actress was the cherry on 'The Great Ziegfeld' wedding cake Unfortunately, Turner Classic Movies has chosen not to feature any non-Hollywood stars – or any out-and-out silent film stars – in its 2015 “Summer Under the Stars” series.* On the other hand, TCM has come up with several unusual inclusions, e.g., Lee J. Cobb, Warren Oates, Mae Clarke, and today, Aug. 25, Virginia Bruce. A second-rank MGM leading lady in the 1930s, the Minneapolis-born Virginia Bruce is little remembered today despite her more than 70 feature films in a career that spanned two decades, from the dawn of the talkie era to the dawn of the TV era, in addition to a handful of comebacks going all the way to 1981 – the dawn of the personal computer era. Career highlights were few and not all that bright. Examples range from playing the »
- Andre Soares
Criterion digitally restores this earlier release, a combination offering of Robert Siodmak’s 1946 film noir masterpiece The Killers paired with Don Siegel’s retro 1964 remake. Famed adaptations of Ernest Hemingway’s short story, both filmmakers take liberties with the original material to create aggressively different products. Siodmak’s version is not only the German ex-pat’s enduring masterpiece, it’s a definite cornerstone of classic American film noir. Though Siegel’s 60s rehash is considered tacky pastiche of the era, it’s brutal, hard boiled B-grade pulp, notable for its own significant instances.
Siodmak’s version arrived during a golden era of noir, premiering a year after WWII officially ended, with cinematic masculine representation on the eve of an overhaul as method acting would soon reign supreme. Hemingway’s spare story gets a face life from Anthony Veiller (The Stranger; Night of the Iguana), using the murder as a jumping »
- Nicholas Bell
Written by Anthony Veiller
Directed by Robert Siodmak
Written by Gene L. Coon
Directed by Don Siegel
Ernest Hemingway’s 1927 short story, “The Killers,” inspired to varying degrees the 1946 and the 1964 screen versions of the same name. To varying degrees because the story is less than 3,000 words and essentially only covers the opening of the two films. A man—Ole “The Swede” Anderson (Burt Lancaster) in the first film, Johnny North (John Cassavetes) in the remake—is hunted down by two hired killers. Right before they shoot him, Ole and Johnny do something strange, or rather, they don’t do something they should: they don’t run, they don’t really move, they don’t even seem to care. Before Ole is killed, he admits he “did something wrong, once” (in film noir, that’s all it takes), and when Johnny is told two men are »
- Jeremy Carr
I feel I've finally gotten into something of a groove as of late, watching a few more movies than I was earlier this year and this week was no different. Hell, I've even added write a bit of television this year, something else that continued this week as I am now eight episodes into the ten-episode final season of "The Wire", which I'm 50/50 on so far with the fourth season being the runaway best season of the series. I have still not yet watched the latest episode of "Hannibal" and if I don't watch it this evening I might hold off and do a back-to-back viewing this coming Thursday. Tonight, however, I will be watching "True Detective" as we will be recording our latest episode of the "True Detective" podcast tomorrow morning as HBO is no longer sending out screeners to press. As far as movies are concerned, you already »
- Brad Brevet
One story, three films, one Blu-ray disc. Excellent! Last night I finished my dive into the Criterion Collection's new Blu-ray release The Killers, which features two feature films and one short film, all adapted from the short story by Ernest Hemingway and all different in their own right and yet the same. From the noirish black-and-white of Robert Siodmak's 1946 original to Don Siegel's made-for-tv, 1964 adaptation shot in bright colors and telling the story from completely different perspective and yet, coming back to similar moral ground, or at least what may be referred to as "guy code" a la Hemingway. And don't forget Andrei Tarkovsky's 1956 short he made as a film student and you have one impressive package. If you're unfamiliar with Hemingway's short you can read it here, or, better yet, there's a reading of it by actor Stacy Keach included on this Blu-ray. Playing closest »
- Brad Brevet
Links: Blu-rays Under $10 | Today's Deals | Release Dates | Reviews
Slow West This week has several titles I need to watch and will be sure to watch beginning with this one. Several, including our very own Jordan Benesh, have had high praise for this film and as a fan of both Westerns and Michael Fassbender I intend to crack open this Blu-ray very soon. Set at the end of the nineteenth century, 16-year-old Jay Cavendish journeys across the American frontier in search of the woman he loves. He is joined by Silas, a mysterious traveler, and hotly pursued by an outlaw along the way.
The Killers (Criterion Collection) This new Criterion release includes not one, but two versions of Ernest Hemingway's The Killers. Last night I watched the 1946 version from director Robert Siodmak starring Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner and enjoyed it quite a bit and will hopefully get to the 1964 made-for »
- Brad Brevet
The first week of July sees a ton of genre titles headed home on DVD and Blu-ray including a handful of cult classics including Stuart Gordon’s Robot Jox, The Crimson Cult which co-stars Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee, Luigi Cozzi’s Contamination, a pair of 1974 shockers- Deranged and Spasmo- as well as The Killers, which is based on Ernest Hemingway’s chilling tale of the same name and gave the film noir subgenre a boost back in the 1940’s.
For those of you looking for something a little more current, you’ve got Alien Outpost, The Pact 2, Trophy Heads and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recent zombie film, Maggie, to look forward to as well. As if that wasn’t enough, we also have last year’s Town that Dreaded Sundown remake is also arriving on both DVD and Blu-ray, with the latter being available exclusively at Best Buy on July 7th. »
- Heather Wixson
“We’Re Gonna Kill The Swede”
The Criterion Collection gave us the DVD versions of these two excellent crime thrillers twelve years ago. The company has now seen fit to upgrade the release to Blu-ray.
Based loosely on a short story by Ernest Hemingway, both versions of The Killers begin with the author’s premise and then take off from there in very different directions. It’s interesting to see how the respective screenwriters adapted the story and then created two disparate feature-length tales out of it. In Hemingway’s piece, two hit men arrive in a small town looking for “the Swede.” They terrorize the owner, cook, and a customer in a diner in an attempt to find the guy. After the killers leave in frustration, the customer runs to the Swede’s boarding house and finds him in bed with his clothes on. He warns the Swede about the men, »
- email@example.com (Cinema Retro)
By Lee Pfeiffer
One of the most rewarding byproducts of reviewing movies for a living is that you will often encounter some prominent gem that somehow managed to escape your attention previously. In certain cases, it's arguable that a film might well be more appreciated many years later than it was during its initial release. Such a case pertains to the 1965 crime drama Once a Thief. Directed by the under-rated Ralph Nelson, the film successfully invokes the mood and atmosphere of the classic black-and-white film noir crime thrillers of the 1940s and 1950s. Although this movie was widely credited as being Alain Delon's first starring role in an English language production, he was among the all-star cast seen the previous year in the big budget Hollywood production of The Yellow Rolls Royce. It is accurate to say, however, that Once a Thief afforded him his first opportunity to be »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
1971 was an incredibly violent year for movies. That year saw, among others, Tom Laughlin’s Billy Jack, with its half-Indian hero karate-chopping rednecks; William Friedkin’s The French Connection, its dogged cops stymied by well-heeled drug runners; Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, banned for the copycat crimes it reportedly inspired; and Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs, featuring the most controversial rape in cinema history. Every bloody shooting, sexual assault and death by penis statue reflected a world gone mad.
It seemed a reaction to America’s skyrocketing crime. Between 1963 and 1975, violent crimes tripled; riots, robberies and assassinations racked major cities. The antiwar and Civil Rights movements generated violent offshoots like the Weathermen and Black Panthers. Citizens blamed politicians like New York Mayor John Lindsay (the original “limousine liberal”), who proclaimed “Peace cannot be imposed on our cities by force of arms,” and Earl Warren’s Supreme Court, »
- Christopher Saunders
'The Devil Strikes at Night,' with Mario Adorf as World War II era serial killer Bruno Lüdke 'The Devil Strikes at Night' movie review: Serial killing vs. mass murder in unsubtle but intriguing World War II political drama After more than a decade in Hollywood, German director Robert Siodmak (Academy Award nominated for the 1946 film noir The Killers) resumed his European career in the mid-1950s. In 1957, he directed The Devil Strikes at Night / Nachts, wenn der Teufel kam, an intriguing, well-crafted crime drama about the pursuit of a serial killer – and its political consequences – during the last months of the mass-murderous Nazi regime. Inspired by real events, The Devil Strikes at Night begins as war-scarred Hamburg is deeply shaken by the horrific murder of a waitress. Through the Homicide Bureau, inspector Axel Kersten (Claus Holm) begins an investigation that leads him to a mentally disabled laborer, »
- Andre Soares
The Criterion Collection has announced its new release line-up for June with five new titles set for a Blu-ray release in June.
On July 7, it will release Robert Siodmak’s The Killers (1946) and Don Siegel’s The Killers (1964). On July 14, it will release Alain Resnais’ Hiroshima mon amour, Jan Troell’s Here’s Your Life, and Carroll Ballard’s The Black Stallion. And on July 21, it will release Stephen Frears’ My Beautiful Laundrette and Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom.
Ernest Hemingway’s simple but gripping short tale The Killers is a model of economical storytelling. Two directors adapted it into unforgettably virile features: Robert Siodmak, in a 1946 film that helped define the noir style and launch the acting careers of Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner; and Don Siegel, in a brutal 1964 version, starring Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, and John Cassavetes, that was intended for television but deemed too »
- Scott J. Davis
How 'Grey Gardens' Was Restored To its Squalid Glory (And Why You Need To See It) Christmas comes but once a year...but the Criterion Collection adds new titles all the time, which is kind of like Christmas for film lovers. All films are being released on Blu-ray and DVD. See below for the latest additions, synopses courtesy of Criterion, though you'll have to wait until summer to buy them. "The Killers" (1946 and 1964) Ernest Hemingway's simple but gripping short tale "The Killers" is a model of economical storytelling. Two directors adapted it into unforgettably virile features: Robert Siodmak, in a 1946 film that helped define the noir style and launch the acting careers of Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner; and Don Siegel, in a brutal 1964 version, starring Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, and John Cassavetes, that was intended for television but deemed too violent for home audiences and released theatrically instead. »
- Elizabeth Logan
Criterion has announced their July 2015 line-up of releases and it's a rather impressive one with the most notable title being a brand new release of the Alain Resnais' classic Hiroshima mon amour (July 14), a film I have never seen and there's a small bit of shame in that fact considering its influence on so many filmmakers and its importance in establishing what is now referred to as the French New Wave. The release is not without new features as Criterion gives it the Blu-ray upgrade: New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray Audio commentary by film historian Peter Cowie Interviews with director Alain Resnais from 1961 and 1980 Interviews with actor Emmanuelle Riva from 1959 and 2003 New interview with film scholar Fran?ois Thomas, author of L'atelier d'Alain Resnais New interview with music scholar Tim Page about the film's score Revoir Hiroshima . . . , a 2013 program about the film's restoration »
- Brad Brevet
Christian Petzold took a bold step into history with 2012's Barbara, exiling Nina Hoss's heroine into the diaphanous threats and suspicions of a provincial, 1980s East Germany. With Phoenix, his follow-up, Petzold takes this movement into history even further, striking starkly, deeply at questions of identity in a post-war Germany quivering silently with destitution, rage, and willful blindness. In a spectral sequence opening the film directly evoking the eerie clinical imagery of Georges Franju's lyrical horror film Eyes without a Face, Nelly, a concentration camp survivor, returns in quiet to Berlin after having reconstructive surgery following wartime mutilations. The woman who emerges from under the knife cannot be recognized. She emerges as embodied by Nina Hoss—a true queen in today's cinema—and her slender, lean physique becomes that of a post-war zombie, a ghost embodied, tottering and halting, a body not familiar with movements outside the camp, »
- Daniel Kasman
16 items from 2015
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