17 items from 2016
With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit the interwebs. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.
45 Years (Andrew Haigh)
Andrew Haigh’s third feature as a director, 45 Years, is an excellent companion piece to its 2011 predecessor, Weekend. The latter examined the inception of a potential relationship between two men over the course of a weekend, whereas its successor considers the opposite extreme. Again sticking to a tight timeframe, the film chronicles the six days leading up to a couple’s 45th wedding anniversary. »
- The Film Stage
Gregory Peck was an instant sensation at the cinema. He was nominated for Best Actor in his very first year of the movies for The Keys of the Kingdom (1944) and the hits just kept on coming: The Yearling (1946), Gentleman's Agreement (1947), Twelve O'Clock High (1949). The Academy became less interested in nominating him after that the 1940s but for his Oscar winning and most iconic role (To Kill a Mockingbird) but audiences never stopped loving him. He had key hit films for over 30 years in his big screen career.
Though he was a very politically active liberal he was never interested in running for office himself but he proved to be an influential politician within the industry itself as a key AMPAS president.
For this week's Hit Me With Your Best Shot, in honor of Peck's Centennial, we gave participants the choice between what are arguably his two greatest films, Roman Holiday »
- NATHANIEL R
Glenn here. Each Tuesday we bring you reviews and features on documentaries from theatres, festivals, and on demand. This week we’re looking at a documentary about Gregory Peck for what would have been his centennial birthday.
“It takes ten pictures to make a star”, says the subject of A Conversation with Gregory Peck quoting Carole Lombard. It’s a statement worth reiterating today for any number of reasons, not least of all because there are few actors these days who epitomise the word ‘star’ better than Peck. It happens several times throughout this 1999 documentary where people refer to the Oscar-winning actor as a shining example of humanity and a beacon for what people ought to strive for. He was, and still is, a star.
This career overview and remembrance by Barbara Kopple offers Peck the same sort of dignity and respect that the director has afforded all of her »
- Glenn Dunks
New Series. Daniel Walber talks production design in "The Furniture". Previously we looked at The Exorcist, Carol and Brooklyn and Batman.
Gregory Peck, whose centennial we’ll all be celebrating tomorrow, was in a grand total of six films that were nominated for Best Production Design. Two of the best, To Kill a Mockingbird (the only winner) and Roman Holiday, will be featured in this week’s Hit Me with Your Best Shot. And so, in the interest of spreading the love, I’ll talk about a very different: 1962’s Cinerama epic, How the West Was Won.
The film, though it tells the story of a single American family, is broken up into five distinct sections. Peck is only in one of them, “The Plains.” This is actually good for our purposes, because it’s one of the three directed by Henry Hathaway. The John Ford and George Marshall chapters »
- Daniel Walber
Fans of this show know it as the It's a Wonderful Life of war movies, an intensely moving tale that restores feeling and tenderness to people crippled by loss and despair. The stellar pairing of top star Gregory Peck and Burmese unknown Win Min Than is unique in movies and not to be missed. The Purple Plain Blu-ray Kl Studio Classics 1955 / Color /1:66 widescreen / 100 min. / Street Date April 5, 2016 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95 Starring Gregory Peck, Win Min Than, Brenda De Banzie, Bernard Lee, Maurice Denham, Lyndon Brook, Anthony Bushell, Josephine Griffin Cinematography Geoffrey Unsworth Art Direction Donald M. Ashton, Jack Maxsted Film Editor Clive Donner Original Music John Veale Written by Eric Ambler from a novel by H.E. Bates Produced by John Bryan, Earl St. John Directed by Robert Parrish
Reviewed by Glenn Erickson
How can one convey the way a picture grows on one? I liked The Purple Plain »
- Glenn Erickson
Another popular screen classic is headed for the stage. Producers on Wednesday announced that Roman Holiday — The Cole Porter Musical will premiere in summer 2017 at the Shn Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco, in what is being billed as a pre-Broadway engagement. The show is adapted by Kathy Speer & Terry Grossman and producer Paul Blake from Paramount's 1953 romantic comedy, which starred Audrey Hepburn as a princess weary of royal protocol who goes Awol in the Italian capital during a European tour and gets help in remaining incognito from an American reporter, played by Gregory Peck.
- David Rooney
The creation of any work of art is tricky. If everything meshes, it’s magic. But if one key element is off, it’s just an interesting experiment.
This week marks the 60th anniversary of “My Fair Lady,” which opened March 15, 1956, at Broadway’s Mark Hellinger. Theater lovers consider it one of the few perfect musicals, because every piece worked. And while nobody would question the talents of Rodgers & Hammerstein, Mary Martin, Cary Grant and Doris Day, it’s probably a good thing that they never became a part of “My Fair Lady,” though all of them were possibilities.
The “Oklahoma!” composers, Broadway star Martin, and Noel Coward flirted with the idea of the stage musical, but the deals never happened. In 1955, Variety reported that “Lady Liza,” a musical adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion,” was being targeted for a Broadway debut the following year. Alan Jay Lerner and »
- Tim Gray
Time for another Q&A Column. So ask away. I'll pick 10 questions to answer for Wednesday evening. We'll try to do this weekly. Now that the Oscars have wrapped it's time to get back to something like a regular schedule (though we're still working out the kinks backstage. There's always something happening here at Tfe is the point so visit us daily.)
Hit Me With Your Best Shot Schedule
Ghostbusters (1984) If you're playing along post your best shot by 9 Pm Est so we can include you in the round up. (Amazon Prime)
• Tues March 22nd Tba
- NATHANIEL R
Our series on remakes continues with a film which is more of a duplication than an actual remake. This week, Cinelinx looks at The Omen (2006).
If you’ve seen the original version of The Omen (1976) and then you watch the remake from 2006, you have to ask “Why did they even bother?” The remake was barely even a remake. It was a shot-for-shot, scene -for-scene copy of the original. Released on the 30th anniversary of the original, it offered absolutely nothing new, except a more modern cast and some mediocre CGI effects. Other than that, this is a completely unnecessary, gratuitous photo-copy of the first version.
About this film Rolling Stone Magazine wrote, “Not since Gus Van Sant inexplicably directed a shot by shot remake of Hitchcock’s Psycho has a thriller been copied with so little point or impact”. Recently, we did a dissection of the Van Sant remake of »
- email@example.com (Rob Young)
The agonies of screenwriting were on full view Thursday night at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills, where 11 scribes nominated for WGA Awards took part in the guild’s Beyond Words program.
One of the biggest laughs from the full house came when “Spotlight” writer Josh Singer admitted that he and writer-director Tom McCarthy spent several years going through the Boston Globe’s investigation of pedophile priests.
“We did research for a long time,” Singer said. “Anything to put off writing.”
McCarthy admitted that interviews with the victims of the scandal was a turning point. “The story really came together once we talked with survivors,” he added.
Both “Spotlight” writers were effusive in their praise of the Boston Globe journalists portrayed in the film, noting that editor Martin “Marty” Baron (portrayed by Liev Schreiber) even supplied them with extensive emails to keep the timeline straight. They also credited the initial producers, »
- Dave McNary
Xan Brooks, Henry Barnes and Peter Bradshaw review Trumbo, a biopic about the 1950s screenwriter, Dalton Trumbo, who was blacklisted by Hollywood for his communist beliefs. The film, which stars Bryan Cranston as the writer of Roman Holiday and Spartacus, follows Trumbo through his 11-month imprisonment and subsequent vindication, which was spurred in part by Spatacus star Kirk Douglas. Trumbo, which also stars Helen Mirren and Elle Fanning, is release in the UK on 5 February
Continue reading »
- Xan Brooks, Henry Barnes, Peter Bradshaw, Dan Susman, Adam Sich and Joan Portillo
Oscar-nominated Bryan Cranston toys theatrically with the role of a persecuted screenwriter in a heartfelt account of the anticommunist witch-hunts of the 50s
It falls to Jay Roach, director of the Austin Powers movies, to make this heartfelt, stolid picture about an important period in American history: the petty Maoism of 1950s Hollywood, when studios voluntarily submitted to their own self-purifying “blacklist” to appease anti-communist witch-hunters in Congress on the House Un-American Activities Committee, or Huac. The movie business wouldn’t hire communists and encouraged Washington’s grisly new public theatre of denunciation and shame, with witnesses permitted to save their skins by identifying reds under the Tinseltown bed – naming names.
The most famous Hollywood victim was the productive, talented and wealthy Dalton Trumbo, played here by Bryan Cranston. Once the best-paid screenwriter in the business, and also the most prominent Communist party member, Trumbo refused to cooperate with the committee. »
- Peter Bradshaw
February may be the shortest month of the year, but the major streaming sites certainly haven't used that as an excuse to slack off. Perhaps motivated by the imminent Leap Day, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime are unleashing an absolute blizzard of new titles over the next four weeks — from a martial-arts sequel 16 years in the making, to a note-perfect new comedy series that's arriving just in time to cure (or inflame) those post-Valentine's Day blues. Here are our top 10 picks for what to watch in the next 29 days.
11.22.63 (Hulu, »
McNamara, who is also a producer on “Trumbo,” will be recognized at the Writers Guild Awards L.A. ceremony on Feb. 13, at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. He recently received a WGA Adapted Screenplay nomination for his script.
“The Paul Selvin Award honors ‘that member whose work best embodies the spirit of the constitutional and civil rights and liberties that are indispensable to the survival of free writers everywhere,’” said WGA West President Howard A. Rodman. “Though we’ve given it since 1989, it might as well have been purpose-built for John McNamara’s ‘Trumbo.’ In shining light on a dark corner of our history, »
- Dave McNary
Sara Hemrajani on Hollywood’s love affair with its Golden Age…
Since there’s no business like show business, it’s unsurprising that one of Hollywood’s favourite topics is itself. The recent wave of award nominations for Trumbo, including a best actor Oscar nod for Bryan Cranston, is fresh evidence of the industry’s fascination with the so-called Golden Age.
In Trumbo, Cranston plays real-life writer Dalton Trumbo who was jailed and blacklisted for his ties to the American Communist Party. Despite the ban, Trumbo and his peers managed to flout the system using pseudonyms and support from eager filmmakers. He went on to write screenplays for classics such as Roman Holiday and Spartacus.
Following swiftly in its steps is Hail, Caesar!, the Coen brothers’ throwback to the glossy studio pictures of the 1940s. The trailer reveals characters reminiscent of Gene Kelly and Esther Williams, as well as producer »
- Sara Hemrajani
When Mitzi Trumbo was 15, she opened her front door to find one of Hollywood’s most famous actors standing outside. It was Kirk Douglas. A few days later, Laurence Olivier turned up. “He outstretched his hand for me to shake and the dog got in the way and he tripped over.”
Fifty-five years later, she still remembers how starstruck she felt. But besides the excitement, what Mitzi most recalls from those encounters was a feeling of frustration that she couldn’t brag about it to her high-school friends. Her father, Dalton Trumbo, was one of the most famous Hollywood screenwriters of his generation, both for his work (he wrote the Oscar-winning Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, and several novels) and for his leftwing politics.
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- Elizabeth Day
We’ve reached the near mid-point of this Definitive List; 20 down, 30 to go. As we move forward, the story of “boy meets girl” becomes more complicated, as plenty of stumbling blocks stand in the way: lack of experience, insecurity, unsupportive parents, and, as in most cases, ego. So, when we watch all these films, what do we learn? Hundreds of romantic comedies end happily, but none end in the same way. Perhaps there’s a method to the madness, but the more we tread through these highlights, the more it’s clear that to make an impact, you have to change the game or perfect the existing one.
#30. Bull Durham (1988)
Baseball movies had worn out their welcome a bit in the mid-80s and audiences weren’t clamoring for a romantic comedy based around the national pastime. Enter writer/director Ron Shelton, who decided to write a film based on »
- Joshua Gaul
17 items from 2016
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