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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
“I’ve just been at the Sydney Film Festival and came back through London, which is where I live, before I came here,” he said with a smile. “Now I’m drinking this caffeinated soda.”
Despite the changing time zones, Amini was in an exuberant mood, waxing on at length about his affection for novelist Patricia Highsmith and star Viggo Mortensen — and their ability to bring the dark side of human nature to the fore.
“I love the cruelty in her writing,” he told the audience. “Viggo really embraces the ugly side of characters… not a lot of stars do.”
- Dave McNary
Conscious-free kids who kill, a man living like a baby, and a killer stalking Spanish schoolgirls: Severin Films is plucking these three stories from the old-school horror shelf and bringing them to Blu-ray this summer, and we have the release details for you now.
Set for a July 8th home media release, the Blu-ray releases of 1981′s Bloody Birthday, 1973′s The Baby, and 1981′s Bloody Moon should excite fans of these grindhouse films and bring new viewers in, as well. Here are the release details from Severin Films:
Bloody Birthday Blu-ray:
“Get ready for the rarely seen slasher classic from the ’80s that may also be the most disturbing ‘killer kids’ movies in grindhouse history: Three babies are simultaneously born in the same hospital at the peak of a full solar eclipse. Ten years later, these adorable youngsters suddenly begin a kiddie killing spree of stranglings, shootings, stabbings, beatings and beyond. »
- Derek Anderson
It's always an exciting thing when horror flicks hit Blu-ray for the very first time, and Severin Films has three such debuts in store for us on July 8, inviting us to a Bloody Birthday, allowing us to hold The Baby, and encouraging us to howl at the Bloody Moon.
Read on for complete release details for all three!
Bloody Birthday Synopsis
Get ready for the rarely seen slasher classic from the 80s that may also be the most disturbing "killer kids" movies in grindhouse history: Three babies are simultaneously born in the same hospital at the peak of a full solar eclipse. Ten years later, these adorable youngsters suddenly begin a kiddie killing spree of stranglings, shootings, stabbings, beatings, and beyond. Can the town's grown-ups stop these pint-sized serial killers before their blood-soaked birthday bash? K.C. Martel (E.T., "Growing Pains"), Joe Penny ("Jake and The Fat Man"), Michael Dudikoff (American Ninja »
- John Squires
Written and directed by Hossein Amini
USA and UK, 2014
Anyone acquainted with Roman theology or a pub quiz will know that January is a Anglicisation of the Roman god Janus, the two-faced figurine who stands at the cusp of the new year, simultaneously musing backward at recent lessons and experiences, and peering forward to the murky and elusive future ahead, a guardian at the crossroads of the past and present. These twin impulses swirl in the miasma of Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Two Faces of January, first published in 1964. It’s a lesser-known work of her serrated literature, which is obsessed with psychological and sexual criminal deviancy, most famously brought to the screen by Hitchcock in the minor classic Strangers On A Train and by Anthony Minghella in 1999’s acclaimed The Talented Mr. Ripley. After decades of intense wrangling, accomplished screenwriter Hossein Amini (Jude, »
The Two Faces of January, 2014.
Directed by Hossein Amini.
A deadly game of cat and mouse ensues between a con man, his wife and an enigmatic young stranger.
Patricia Highsmith’s novels have been the source of many great adaptations from Strangers on a Train to The Talented Mr Ripley; and now comes the adaptation of The Two Faces of January. Set in 1962 it follows married couple Chester MacFarland (Mortensen) and Collette MacFarland (Dunst) as they attempt to run away from Chester’s numerous bad investments and cons in the states. A chance meeting in Athens with the quick witted American tour guide Rydell (a superbly cast Oscar Isaac) leads them on a dangerous path after Chester accidentally kills a Private Detective.
The first thing to say about this taut thriller is that it is a beautiful film to watch. From »
- Helen Murdoch
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