12 items from 2013
Jean Kent: British film star and ‘Last of the Gainsborough Girls’ dead at 92 (photo: actress Jean Kent in ‘Madonna of the Seven Moons’) News outlets and tabloids — little difference these days — have been milking every little drop from the unexpected and violent death of The Fast and the Furious franchise actor Paul Walker, and his friend and business partner Roger Rodas this past Saturday, November 30, 2013. Unfortunately — and unsurprisingly — apart from a handful of British publications, the death of another film performer on that same day went mostly underreported. If you’re not "in" at this very moment, you may as well have never existed. Jean Kent, best known for her roles as scheming villainesses in British films of the 1940s and Gainsborough Pictures’ last surviving top star, died on November 30 at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, England. The previous day, she had suffered a fall at her »
- Andre Soares
Laurence Anyways I do have a copy of this one and it's a film that just might make my top ten this year. I saw it at the Cannes Film Festival last year and it served as my introduction to writer/director Xavier Dolan and having now seen all four of his feature films I'd definitely say this is his best. I really hope more people find the opportunity to see not only this film, but everything else he has to offer.
Stalag 17 I can't remember when I watched Billy Wilder's Stalag 17, but I enjoyed it very much and would love to return to this black comedy meets action film centered in a WWII Pow camp. Starring the likes of William Holden and Otto Preminger, this flick won Holden the Best Actor Oscar in 1954 and is one I would recommend you check out. I don't have any details on this Blu-ray, »
- Brad Brevet
In 1953, From Here to Eternity took the world by storm, going on to win eight Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. Not a bad haul for a film based on a book that was considered quite controversial at the time due to language and its painting of the military in a bad light. To celebrate its 60th anniversary, the film is being given an upgrade to Blu-Ray so that a whole new generation can continue enjoying it for years to come.
That being said, it’s rather curious to see how the film holds up nowadays. It’s been over ten years since I first saw it, with my vague memories of it being mostly positive, but was there a reason that I didn’t see it again for so long? Well, this brand new edition is the perfect opportunity to go back and revisit what »
- Jeff Beck
As of last month, The Great Escape is now fifty years old. First released in 1963, John Sturges’ World War II epic depicted the escape of seventy six airmen from the Stalag Luft III prisoner of war camp in 1944.
Based loosely on Paul Brickhill’s book, which chronicled the actual happenings at the camp, the film garnered significant critical acclaim and earned three times its budget at the box office, and has since become the quintessential film in the prisoner-of-war genre (which includes other greats such as Stalag 17 and (for part of it at least) The Bridge on the River Kwai).
As the BBC gears up to produce a television dramatisation of the escape, let us have a nostalgic look back at several key elements of the film (which happens to be a favourite of mine, as well as Quentin Tarantino) over the next few pages. Be wary of spoilers, »
- Alex Antliff
The hit show ran for more than a year and was adapted into the 1953 Billy Wilder film that inspired the TV show “Hogan’s Heroes.” Bevan and Trzscinski drew on their experience as prisoners of war after they were shot down in Germany and spent time at Stalag 17B in Austria. In the prison, they wrote and staged sketches in a theater they built; Bevan also started cartooning there, where his drawings were noticed by war correspondent Walter Cronkite.
- Variety Staff
It's not a huge week for new DVD and Blu-ray releases, but Amazon has a couple deals going you may be interested in. First there is The Godfather Collection on Blu-ray for only $24.73 (buy it here) and The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series is also on sale on both DVD and Blu-ray, you can check out both right here. The Blu-ray set is 64% off at $143.99 and the DVD set is 62% off at $113.99. Finally, there are several Drewamworks animated titles on sale including Kung Fu Panda, Puss in Boots, How to Train Your Dragon, Shrek, Rise of the Guardians, Megamind and the Madagascar films. You can browse the selection right here. The deal with these is along with the purchase you get a $7.50 Hollywood Movie Money certificate to see Turbo. Other than that, here are today's new releases and the latest titles I've added to the DVD and Blu-ray release date calendar. »
- Brad Brevet
Directed by: Shawn Levy
Running Time: 1 hr 59 mins
Release Date: June 7, 2013
Plot: Two suddenly unemployed middle-aged salesmen (Vaughn, Wilson) embark on an internship opportunity at Google headquarters.
Who’S It For? If you lay before the search bar altar of Google, then here’s your Mac and Me, or your Space Jam, or your Kazaam. If you like Wedding Crashers a lot, be advised that this one isn’t as funny. But, for those who don’t like that film, this one is not as obnoxious either.
Expectations: Wedding Crashers may not be my favorite comedy, but Vaughn can still be a commendable comedic force. It just feels like a long, long, long time since that happened.
- Nick Allen
There's an unadulterated joy in the re-teaming of those fast-talking "Wedding Crashers" Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, a wholesome novelty in their playing laid-off salesmen forced to do what millions of Americans have had to do in the past six years -- reinvent themselves.
We've missed the patter, the Red Bull-fueled banter that was Vaughn's bread and butter before Jennifer Aniston and "Fred Claus" sucked away his soul. He came up with this zeitgeist tale of pals Billy (Vaughn) and Nick (Wilson), told they're over and done with when the watch company they worked for folds.
"Face it," the boss (John Goodman) mutters, "where you're going you've already been."
They're starting over in their 40s. That means finding a job -- any job -- with "a future."
No, taking a job with Nicky's sister's boorish boyfriend (Will Ferrell, hilarious) at his mattress store isn't it. To Billy it means landing »
Marlon Brando didn't show up to collect his second Golden Globe in 1972 for "The Godfather," which should have signaled his upcoming rejection of the Oscar. After all, back in 1954, he was there to pick up his prize from the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. when he won for "On the Waterfront." The HFPA, which only nominated three performers in each category back then, had snubbed Brando for his Oscar-nominated turns in "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951), "Viva Zapata!" (1952) and "Julius Caesar" (1953). He lost those Oscar races to Humphrey Bogart ("The African Queen"), Gary Cooper ("High Noon") and William Holden ("Stalag 17") respectively. Determined to finally prevail, Brando changed his ways, becoming the prince of politeness with the press. As the La Times reported on his Globes appearance, “Unusual was the fact tha »
Marlon Brando didn't show up to collect his second Best Actor Oscar in 1972 for "The Godfather," sending an actress in his stead to decline as a protest to Hollywood's portrayal of Native Americans. However, back in 1954 Brando was keen to win the award, after being skunked three previous times. His losing streak began in 1951 when his "Streetcar Named Desire" castmates (Vivien Leigh, Karl Malden, Kim Hunter) prevailed in the other three acting categories but Brando was bested by Humphrey Bogart ("The African Queen"). The following year, he lost his bid for "Viva Zapata!" to Gary Cooper ("High Noon") while in 1953 his nod for "Julius Caesar" was edged out by William Holden ("Stalag 17"). Brando had been surly and uncooperative while on the derby track those three times. So he switched strategies. First up was the Golden Globes on Feb. 24. As the La Times reported, “Unusual was the fact that B. »
This article is dedicated to Andrew Copp: filmmaker, film writer, artist and close friend who passed away on January 19, 2013. You are loved and missed, brother.
Looking at the Best Actor Academy Award nominations for the film year 2012, the one miss that clearly cries out for more attention is Liam Neeson’s powerful performance in Joe Carnahan’s excellent survival film The Grey, easily one of the best roles of Neeson’s career.
Along with negligence, other factors commonly prevent outstanding lead acting performances from getting the kind of critical attention they deserve. Sometimes it’s that the performance is in a film not considered “Oscar material” or even worthy of any substantial critical attention. »
- Terek Puckett
Odd List Ryan Lambie Jan 8, 2013
It takes a certain kind of actor to bring a truly great villain to life. They need to be able to reach into the darkest recesses of their psyche, certainly, but they also need to bring a touch of something extra, too. They need to convince us not only that they're cruel, but that they're also human beings - after all, the best movie villains are often seductive and magnetic as well as unspeakably amoral.
While the finest antagonists are usually played by actors, there have been occasions where directors have stepped in front of the camera to indulge their inner demon. The list that follows attempts to deal exclusively with performances from people known primarily as directors first, »
12 items from 2013
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