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“Murder, mysteries and crimes of passion.” We would argue there’s a bit more to it than that, but if you had to distill the cinema of Alfred Hitchcock into just three elements, that’s a pretty good place to start. Few directors can come within spitting distance of an oeuvre encompassing some of the greatest films of all time, including “The 39 Steps,” “Strangers on a Train,” “Rear Window” and of course “Psycho.” He’s also one of the most memorable of filmmakers in terms of his public persona, with a capacity for charming, grandiloquent speechifying and a rapier wit that seemed to let his audiences know he was in on the joke even as he delighted in terrifying them. Hitchcock's legacy has loomed large over the last half-century of American film, directly influencing everyone from his friend and peer Francois Truffaut (see “The Soft Skin” if you haven’t »
- Nicholas Laskin
The sequel to Horrible Bosses is too content to rest on the first film's laurels, rather than doing anything of any real note...
It's not often that we reasonably expect a sequel to win over new converts, especially those who hated the original, and in that regard, Horrible Bosses 2 does not disappoint. By the same token, anybody who loved Horrible Bosses will probably find stuff to like here too. On the other hand, there's no way to tell how you will react if (like this reviewer) you had mostly forgotten about the original.
Director Seth Gordon and lead actors Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day enjoyed a surprise critical and commercial hit back in the summer of 2011. Their hapless Strangers On A Train-style plot to murder each other's loathsome employers won over cinemagoers, particularly with a comedic chemistry that made them something like the Three Stooges for the modern R-rated comedy audience. »
As announced last May, Patrick Wilson and Jessica Biel are about to star in an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's murder mystery novel The Blunderer. Now, with shooting just underway, it's been revealed that they've been joined by Eddie Marsan. Haley Bennett is also in the cast of the film, under the watchful eye of director Andy Goddard (Set Fire To The Stars).The film is actually currently without a title, but we'll stick with The Blunderer until a replacement turns up. Highsmith's novel was first published in 1953, in between Strangers On A Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley. It involves successful architect Walter Stackhouse (Wilson), who's struggling in his marriage to the neurotic Clara (Biel) and finds his amorous attentions turning to music teacher Ellie.As his personal life unravels in various ways, he becomes obsessed with an unsolved murder. Digging deeper into the case, he comes to the »
It’s not funny, only its villains speak truth, and its putative heroes are now the horrible bosses… though the movie doesn’t seem to realize that. I’m “biast” (pro): enjoyed the first movie
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
It’s disconcerting when this happens: My reaction to a sequel is so powerfully diametrically opposite my reaction to its progenitor that it makes me wonder if I entirely misread that first film. (This has happened before.) Horrible Bosses 2 left such a rancid taste in my mouth that it left me reconsidering the fact that I kinda liked Horrible Bosses. Was I wrong back in 2011?
But I rewatched Bosses, and no: It’s a pretty good — not great, but pretty good — black comedy with a little bit of something to say about the desperation of the Great Recession »
- MaryAnn Johanson
The project was unveiled at Cannes with Sierra/Affinity handling international sales and CAA overseeing the sale of the project domestically. The film has started production in Cincinnati.
Andy Goddard, who helmed the third season finale of “Downton Abbey,” is directing. He’s been attached to the project — formerly known as “The Blunderer” — since early last year. It’s based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel “The Blunderer.”
Highsmith’s novel is centered on a successful and handsome man (Wilson) who seems to have it »
- Dave McNary
The most popular poster I’ve posted on Tumblr in the past three months—and actually the second most “liked” poster I’ve posted in the three years I’ve been doing this—was this Italian design by the great Luigi Martinati for a lesser known Lauren Bacall vehicle, but one in which the late star was unusually front and center. (You can see more of Bacall’s posters here.)
The rest of the top twenty are a wild variety of old (three for films from the 1920s, no less) and new (two 2014 releases). I was especially pleased to see Dorothea Fischer-Nosbisch’s superb 1967 design for a Festival of Young German Film get such attention. A lot of other design greats are featured: Saul Bass, the Stenberg brothers, Macario Gomez, Karl Oskar Blase and Josef Fenneker. And »
- Adrian Curry
Our coverage of The New York Film Festival continues with Jason's take on actor-director Mathieu Amalric's The Blue Room.
The ordinary afternoon street-scene beyond an open window half-illuminates a hotel room, letting in a miniature horde of visitors - refracted sunlight, a honeybee, a cool breeze, the implacable face of somebody's unexpected husband - all inclined to land upon the sweat-strewn backs of the bed's entangled bodies in one way or another. In Mathieu Amalric's The Blue Room the lovers inside dare this space, their nudity displayed openly, to crash down around them - the bee makes a pretty picture, the breeze cuts the sticky air, and the husband, well, he'll have his day too.
On paper, there are any number of reasons to be excited for "The Two Faces of January." The three leads, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen and Oscar Isaac, are all actors we admire, the director may be a first-timer in this role, but Hossein Amini is the high-profile screenwriter of "Drive" and "Snow White and the Hunstman" and, beyond that, it's based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith, whose books have previously yielded such films as "The Talented Mr Ripley," "Strangers on a Train," and the underseen "Ripley's Game." But something is lost in the translation of all these promising elements from the page of the novel (which itself is not generally regarded as top-tier Highsmith), to the page of the screenplay, to the big screen itself, and the resulting film is little more than a competent disappointment, and a strangely old-fashioned one at that. The problems are script-deep, because as a director, »
- Jessica Kiang
Exclusive: MGM and Paramount have found Ben-Hur. The studios are setting Jack Huston, and you just knew he was going to get a big, star-making film role after his portrayal of the masked, war-scarred assassin Richard Harrow on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. It would be hard to imagine a bigger-scale picture than Ben-Hur, with Timur Bekmambetov directing the epic remake in Europe next year. Huston joins Morgan Freeman, whom Deadline broke will play the role of Ildarin, the man who teaches the slave Ben-Hur to become a champion-caliber chariot racer.
MGM and Paramount still have to find their Messala, Ben-Hur’s former close friend-turned-bitter rival. Actors have been circling both parts, and it looked for a while there like Huston might have played the latter. He read for that role, but Bekmambetov decided instead he had the sympathetic manner and grit to play the title role, the one that brought »
- Mike Fleming Jr
There are certain styles of cinema that what a bygone age, classics that you’d not expect to be recreated because modern movie making has changed, whether that is a positive or negative thing. The Two Faces of January is somewhat of a surprise because instead of being a modern thriller it looks back to the styles of directors like Hitchcock and stylistically could easily with such classics as Strangers on a Train; fitting as both are written by author Patricia Highsmith.
The Two Faces of January is the tale of Rydal (Oscar Isaac) an American tour guide working in Athens. Aligning himself with Colette (Kirsten Dunst) and Chester MacFarland (Viggo Mortensen) an American couple, they seem to be an easy way to make a quick buck. »
- Paul Metcalf
Michael Cusumano here to review the latest stylistic throwback based on the writing of Patricia Highsmith.
When people gripe “They don’t make ‘em like they used to” films like Hossein Amini’s The Two Faces of January are the kind of movie they mean. It’s adapted from the work of an acclaimed novelist whose books were the source of such beloved films as The Talented Mr. Ripley and Strangers on a Train. It features big stars in sumptuous foreign locales. It is made with a careful attention to detail. It doesn’t dumb things down or clutter the plot up with needless action. It is fair to say I was primed to love this movie, yet it never quite jolts to life. At some point my investment in the story passed from suspense to impatience. It never went so far as indifference, but I was pretty far from the edge of my seat. »
- Michael C.
Every once in a while, you’ll hear the details of an event that sounds so, so awesome, that it takes you a moment to properly process what you just heard. Such was the case when my friend Monica invited me to join her for what was being billed as “The Big Picture: Hitchcock!” – A tribute to the great Alfred Hitchcock, one of the greatest directors of all time, and more importantly a tribute to all the wonderful music that has been created for his masterpieces. The concert took place at the legendary Hollywood Bowl theater on August 31st, 2014 with composer David Newman (son of the great Alfred Newman) leading the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra to perform live music from select scenes of 12 Hitchcock pictures.
The performers took to the stage to the narration that opens the record Alfred Hitchcock Presents “Music To Be Murdered By,” which immediately set the fun »
- Rob Galluzzo
Throughout the summer, an admin on the r/movies subreddit has been leading Reddit users in a poll of the best movies from every year for the last 100 years called 100 Years of Yearly Cinema. The poll concluded three days ago, and the list of every movie from 1914 to 2013 has been published today.
Users were asked to nominate films from a given year and up-vote their favorite nominees. The full list includes the outright winner along with the first two runners-up from each year. The list is mostly a predictable assortment of IMDb favorites and certified classics, but a few surprise gems have also risen to the top of the crust, including the early experimental documentary Man With a Movie Camera in 1929, Abel Gance’s J’Accuse! in 1919, the Fred Astaire film Top Hat over Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps in 1935, and Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing over John Ford’s »
- Brian Welk
Any Hitchcock fan has no doubt looked carefully while watching one of his movies in order to spot his infamous cameos. Hitchcock’s earlier cameos are especially hard to catch, and so Youtube user Morgan T. Rhys put together this video compiling every cameo Alfred Hitchcock ever made.
Hitchcock made a total of 39 self-referential cameos in his films over a 50 year period. Four of his films featured two cameo appearances (The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog UK), Suspicion, Rope, and Under Capricorn). Two recurring themes featured Hitchcock carrying a musical instrument, and using public transportation.
The films are as follows:
The Lodger (1927), Easy Virtue (1928), Blackmail (1929),Murder! (1930), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), The 39 Steps (1935),Sabotage (1936), Young and Innocent (1937), The Lady Vanishes (1938), Rebecca(1940), Foreign Correspondent (1940), Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941), Suspicion (1941),Saboteur (1942), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Lifeboat (1944), Spellbound (1945),Notorious (1946), The Paradine Case (1947), Rope (1948), Under Capricorn (1949),Stage Fright (1950), Strangers on a Train »
Few other filmmakers lived to see their name become synonymous with a specific brand of filmmaking quite like Alfred Hitchcock did. This month, as part of their Summer Classic Film Series, the Paramount and Stateside Theaters have lined up a weeklong tribute to Hitchcock featuring the likes of Psycho and The Birds, among other gems from the master of suspense; each of which, regardless of how many prior viewings, remains a thrilling pleasure to see on the big screen.
"We're playing the hits, and a few B-sides too," proclaims Paramount's official site in describing Hitchcock week. Hits is right with North by Northwest, Vertigo and Notorious also scheduled to screen, while "second-tier" Hitchcock classics Rebecca and Strangers on a Train (screening the following week) also make appearances. However, it's the four interestingly chosen aforementioned B-sides that prove interesting highlights and really speak to Hitchcock's versatility as a filmmaker. »
Billy Bob Thornton has strung together a career’s worth of memorable performances in films including Sling Blade, A Simple Plan, Primary Colors, Bad Santa, Monster’s Ball, Love Actually, Friday Night Lights, and the Joel and Ethan Coen-directed Intolerable Cruelty and The Man Who Wasn’t There. Has he ever played as riveting a character as his small screen turn as Lorne Malvo, the manipulative, malevolent murderous catalyst for the series transfer of the Coen Brothers film classic Fargo? Thornton is smack in the center of an Emmy category stacked with fellow movie stars lured by the superior writing and character development largely missing from features nowadays. Here, he tells Deadline why the small screen was the perfect forum for his resurgence, and what happens when an actor interprets a mortal character as something else.
Deadline: Lorne Malvo facilitated all the good and bad that happens in Fargo‘s snowy Minnesota town. »
- Mike Fleming Jr
Trains in cinema have always made for an excitable source within the realm of the comedy, drama, mystery or suspense pertaining to the plot of a particular film. The setting for the featured trains as the driving force of entertainment serves as the heart and soul of the action for the most part.
In some cases using trains as a last minute symbolic theme for a film can generate great impact that thrives and questions the motives and urgency of the characters and storyline (i.e. the climax scene in The Defiant Ones where the salt-and-pepper escaped convicts Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier try and make a desperate dash for permanent freedom on a speeding train en route to permanent freedom). Perhaps a train could also add an extra element of action-packed excitement in a film’s conclusive ending such as the uncontrollable commuter train in Speed?
In Getting on »
- Frank Ochieng
This week’s Blu-ray and DVD releases are an eclectic bunch, to say the least. Not only is Steve Miner’s criminally overlooked horror/comedy creature feature Lake Placid swimming its way onto Blu-ray, but Severin Films is also releasing a trio of controversial cult classics- Bloody Moon, The Baby and Bloody Birthday-all in high definition for the first time ever.
The Time Machine is also getting a Blu-ray release this week, along with Gareth Evans’ stunning action masterpiece The Raid 2 and a handful of indie horror films, including the wickedly entertaining horror musical Stage Fright starring Minnie Driver and Meat Loaf. Overall, it’s a good week to be a genre fan with oddball tastes because there’s a whole lot of wonderfully weird stuff arriving this Tuesday.
An A-list director. A jaw-dropping storyline. And depraved depictions of suburban violence, »
- Heather Wixson
Back in 2011, Horrible Bosses wound up being one of the biggest surprises of the summer. In addition to banking an impressive $209 million global box office take (on a $35 million budget), the movie also wound up being a successfully funny take on Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train, packed with a fantastic cast. A Horrible Bosses 2 was inevitable, and while it won't be a part of the summer season this year, New Line has just released a debut teaser trailer to get you pumped for the movie. If you're like me, you watched this trailer and immediately asked yourself or the people around you, "What the hell is this movie about?" Instead of providing any information about the story, the spot is really only dedicated towards short funny moments that show off the fact that the entire cast of the original is coming back (well, the surviving ones anyway »
When three people are mixed up in a crime that could cost them their lives, who can be trusted? More importantly, who will crack under the pressure first? Those are the questions posed by the new trailer for screenwriter Hossein Amini’s (Drive) directorial debut The Two Faces of January, which can be watched above.
The Two Faces of January is based on a 1964 novel by prolifically adapted thriller and suspense author Patricia Highsmith, whose more well known works include Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley. Strangers was of course famously brought to the big-screen by legendary director Alfred Hitchcock, making it quite fitting that the trailer for Two Faces puts off a noticeably Hitchcockian vibe in mood, performance, wardrobe, and setting.
For those unfamiliar with Highsmith’s novel, The Two Faces of January is set in 1962 Greece, and centers ...
Click to continue reading ‘The Two Faces of January »
- Michael Kennedy
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