5 items from 2014
Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent is exactly the kind of film that benefits from a Criterion Collection release. I don't consider this to be one of Hitch's "best", but at the same time it's got the elements that make his films fascinating, and, most importantly, entertaining. And Criterion always does a great job bringing a focus to some of Hitchcock's less discussed gems. Add to that, Foreign Correspondent carries an additional weight as a result of its place in history as a propaganda film, emphasized most in Joel McCrea's speech at the end of the film amid the bombing of London, warning those back in the U.S. just what exactly Germany was up to. The scene was added after filming had already wrapped, just over a month before the film would actually hit theaters. Following Rebecca, Foreign Correspondent was Hitchcock's second American feature. Both would be nominated for »
- Brad Brevet
Surprise! As a side bar series to Anne Marie's brilliant "A Year With Kate" project, I present to you "Seasons of Bette". Together with Streep, who we talk about a lot, Katharine Hepburn and Bette Davis form the Holy Trinity of Oscar's Best Actress category, with 41 nominations and 9 statuettes between them. Streep is bound to have another big year in 2014 with The Homesman, The Giver and Into the Woods all arriving but we're finally giving the other two their due.
"Seasons of Bette" won't be a comprehensive film-by-film study like Anne Marie's (Bette made 80+ features and a ton of television so, uh, no.) but I will personally be visiting each of Bette's Oscar nominated star turns, as they come up within Kate's timeline. When Anne Marie pitted them against each other in her last episode, I realized that they'd only squared off four times at the Oscars but that I »
- NATHANIEL R
Netflix Instant is a wonderland of new treasures and old favorites. Here are five titles you’ll want to scoop up during, say, a particularly chilly Tuesday night.
For me, the creepiest thing about Sunset Boulevard isn’t Norma Desmond’s clownish, Dee Snider-like expressions or William Holden‘s descent into some seriously gray gardens. It’s that the characters in the film make such casual references to other movie stars of the time — Barbara Stanwyck, Tyrone Power, Alan Ladd, and Betty Hutton all come up — that you feel like you’re listening to modern-day showbiz types in a 1950 movie. These people sound like tamer Nikki Finkes. It’s weird! I’m not used to people in old movies sounding real and current. What if Grace Kelly just turned to the camera in Rear Window and deadpanned, “I don’t find Hannah sympathetic on Girls“? It’s like that! »
- Louis Virtel
There's a vicious moment in August: Osage County wherein Violet Weston (Meryl Streep), who hasn't tasted enough blood for the day, humiliates her daughter Karen (Juliette Lewis) who has recently entered her 40s that she's losing her looks. A less vicious but still hurtful joke follows later in the film when Barbara (Julia Roberts) tells her sister Ivy (Julianne Nicholson) "You can't move to New York. You're almost 50, you'll break a hip.". The Weston women, tearing each other down and using their advancing age as just one of the weapons with which to do so, probably wouldn't take comfort in the maturity of this year's Best Actress race but the rest of us should.
Even if it's not our dream lineup (my own happens to skew much younger this year), it's a good push back against Oscar's frequent preference of youth over accomplishment... particularly in this category.
I didn't mean »
- NATHANIEL R
I had a busy weekend, and in the rush of it, somehow missed the news that producer Saul Zaentz passed away at the age of 92. As well as being an accomplished producer and industry figure, Zaentz is a name familiar to seasoned Oscar-watchers, having won the Best Picture award on three occasions: for "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1975), "Amadeus" (1984) and "The English Patient" (1996). No one has produced more winners of the Academy's top honor. Zaentz shares the record with Golden Age legends Darryl F. Zanuck ("How Green Was My Valley," "Gentleman's Agreement," "All About Eve") and »
- Guy Lodge
5 items from 2014
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