5 items from 2015
Old-fashioned cowboys and lawmen still ride the range along the banks of the Rio Grande in “Western,” the third feature-length documentary by the brothers Turner and Bill Ross. Specialists at a kind of intimate, incisive community portraiture, the Rosses here fashion an elegiac tale of two cities — small cattle towns on opposite sides of the Texas-Mexico border — whose neighborly tranquility is threatened by the encroaching shadow of the Mexican drug cartels. (Were the title not already in use, the movie might have been named “A Most Violent Year.”) Like the brothers’ earlier work, the result is a low-key but sharply observed work that benefits from real local flavor and a gift for lyric image making. Commercial prospects are modest at best, but Sundance will hardly be the film’s last festival rodeo.
With a gentle hand, “Western” deposits us in the community of Eagle Pass, Texas, where gruff, mustachioed men »
- Scott Foundas
Pioneering woman director Lois Weber socially conscious drama 'Shoes' among Library of Congress' Packard Theater movies (photo: Mary MacLaren in 'Shoes') In February 2015, National Film Registry titles will be showcased at the Library of Congress' Packard Campus Theater – aka the Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation – in Culpeper, Virginia. These range from pioneering woman director Lois Weber's socially conscious 1916 drama Shoes to Robert Zemeckis' 1985 blockbuster Back to the Future. Another Packard Theater highlight next month is Sam Peckinpah's ultra-violent Western The Wild Bunch (1969), starring William Holden and Ernest Borgnine. Also, Howard Hawks' "anti-High Noon" Western Rio Bravo (1959), toplining John Wayne and Dean Martin. And George Cukor's costly remake of A Star Is Born (1954), featuring Academy Award nominees Judy Garland and James Mason in the old Janet Gaynor and Fredric March roles. There's more: Jeff Bridges delivers a colorful performance in »
- Andre Soares
Exclusive: Karen Kramer is going on the offensive again against Lionel Chetwynd, who again has called her late husband, legendary filmmaker and liberal icon Stanley Kramer, an “enabler” of the Hollywood blacklist. She has accused Chetwynd, a darling of Hollywood conservatives, of defaming her husband, who produced and directed such classics as High Noon, Inherit The Wind, Judgment At Nuremberg, On The Beach and Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner.
The blacklist, which ended some 55 years ago, is still a polarizing issue.
There is no doubt that blacklisted screenwriter Carl Foreman felt betrayed by Kramer in connection with the 1952 masterpiece High Noon. Foreman, who died in 1984 and was a longtime friend of Chetwynd’s, said as much in a lengthy letter to New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther after his glowing review of the film. Foreman never forgave Kramer for denying him associate producer credit on the film. Foreman »
- David Robb
It’s December. And you know what that means? It means for every popcorn blockbuster, we get about three Oscar bait movies that are made solely to appease that body of somewhat stodgy Academy voters. Don’t get me wrong – a good portion of the Best Picture winners in history are still some of the greatest films ever made – “The Godfather” (Parts I and II), “Schindler’s List,” etc. But what about those historically good movies that got the nomination, but didn’t take home the prize? What about those popular movies that carried fan support, but lost out to a smaller, most of the time better, film? Well, here they are. This list focuses on those films that may or may not have been produced as Oscar bait, but earned the recognition of “Best Picture nominee,” only to walk away without the big prize. As usual, not in order of worst to best. »
- Joshua Gaul
I normally publish this list on Luise Rainer's birthday but having lost her just as 2014 ended after a year already marked by the loss of several screen giants including Mickey Rooney, Peter O'Toole and Joan Fontaine, we needed some positivity to kick off the new calendar!
Olivia de Havilland, two time best actress. She's still defiantly with us!
This semi-annual list of living Oscar-vets was never intended to be a morbid countdown list as a stray commenter or three has complained. Not at all! It's a way for us to honor people while they're still conscious of our appreciation for their indelible contributions to our favorite artform. Your assignment: pick six players here and during the year, rent a key film from each so that they can receive your telepathic waves of appreciation in 2015! (That's only 1 film every other month. You can do it!)
So our very best wishes »
- NATHANIEL R
5 items from 2015
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