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Douglas Fairbanks Jr. ca. 1935. Douglas Fairbanks Jr. was never as popular as his father, silent film superstar Douglas Fairbanks, who starred in one action-adventure blockbuster after another in the 1920s (The Mark of Zorro, Robin Hood, The Thief of Bagdad) and whose stardom dates back to the mid-1910s, when Fairbanks toplined a series of light, modern-day comedies in which he was cast as the embodiment of the enterprising, 20th century “all-American.” What this particular go-getter got was screen queen Mary Pickford as his wife and United Artists as his studio, which he co-founded with Pickford, D.W. Griffith, and Charles Chaplin. Now, although Jr. never had the following of Sr., he did enjoy a solid two-decade-plus movie career. In fact, he was one of the few children of major film stars – e.g., Jane Fonda, Liza Minnelli, Angelina Jolie, Michael Douglas, Jamie Lee Curtis – who had successful film careers of their own. »
- Andre Soares
Sister, My Sister: Baumbach’s Energetic Return to Facades of NYC
The latest in Noah Baumbach’s prolific slew of projects, Mistress America is the follow-up collaboration between the director and actress/muse Greta Gerwig. Though it isn’t as fine-tuned and charmingly buoyant as their 2012 feature Frances Ha, it’s an intelligently droll counterpart to the pleasant yet painstakingly glossy While We’re Young (which reaches theatrical release this coming spring). Witty and well-written, Baumbach’s tone is influenced by a slew of transmogrifying 1980s American films, though the dialogue heavy banter recalls everyone from Howard Hawks to Woody Allen sidestepping on slapstick. Though Baumbach isn’t covering new ground, his post-collegiate privileged characters still inveigled with the paralyzing ennui of adult prospects that graced his lovely 1995 debut, Kicking & Screaming, he hasn’t lost his knack for portraying disillusioned lives lost hopelessly in their own sea of problems.
Entering Columbia as a college freshman, »
- Nicholas Bell
Adolphe Menjou movies today (This article is currently being revised.) Despite countless stories to the contrary, numerous silent film performers managed to survive the coming of sound. Adolphe Menjou, however, is a special case in that he not only remained a leading man in the early sound era, but smoothly made the transition to top supporting player in mid-decade, a position he would continue to hold for the quarter of a century. Menjou is Turner Classic Movies' Star of the Day today, Aug. 3, as part of TCM's "Summer Under the Stars" 2015 series. Right now, TCM is showing William A. Wellman's A Star Is Born, the "original" version of the story about a small-town girl (Janet Gaynor) who becomes a Hollywood star, while her husband (Fredric March) boozes his way into oblivion. In typical Hollywood originality (not that things are any different elsewhere), this 1937 version of the story – produced by »
- Andre Soares
A Star is Born: Miller’s Returns to Saga of the Streets
Director Keith Miller returns to a similar style of filmmaking with his sophomore film Five Star, once again utilizing non-actors basically playing extended versions of their own selves as seen in his 2012 debut Welcome to Pine Hill. Casting certainly lends the film a bit of authentic integrity, although this doesn’t necessarily translate into innovative filmmaking. A somewhat beleaguered first act slowly gives way to a more absorbing finale, but the film ends just as it finally seems to begin.
Here we focus on the member of a notorious gang, the Bloods, provocatively portrayed by a man who has lived the lifestyle since the age of twelve. However, this sounds much more dramatic than the film actually is, and some of the more laborious aspects on display in Miller’s previous film have a tendency to overpower »
- Nicholas Bell
One needn’t have spent much time on dating sites to know that guys have a tendency to exaggerate where size is concerned, so fans of Warner Bros.’ 2012 striptease sleeper should set their expectations accordingly over “Magic Mike Xxl.” Meanwhile, someone in the studio’s marketing department deserves a raise for so enticingly fluffing the title of a sequel that sheds the newbie (Alex Pettyfer), the emcee (Matthew McConaughey) and nearly all traces of plot, yielding an encore whose putative selling point is getting to know the fellas who shook their stuff in the next-to-buff. Trading the “A Star Is Born” angle for a rambling road-trip format, “Magic Mike Xxl” offers creative dance numbers for demos underserved by the original — post-menopausal divorcees, women of color and, in one odd scene, gay fans open to seeing these hunks in drag — but seems unlikely to measure up to its predecessor’s $113 million score. »
- Peter Debruge
Though he would actually direct other features, including the ill received 1967 A Countess From Hong Kong, wherein Marlon Brando decided to be a mean girl to co-star Sophia Loren, and the neglected A King in New York (1957), many read the 1952 Limelight as Charles Chaplin’s ‘enduring’ final film. An appropriate approximation of his immortal Tramp character after fame has fallen away, the bittersweet tragicomedy wasn’t well-received at the time (though Bosley Crowther raved in The New York Times, hailing the film as “eloquent, tearful, and beguiling with supreme virtuosity”). McCarthyism succeeded in thwarting the film’s distribution, limiting the release to New York City and those labeling Chaplin a Communist picketed screenings where it did play. In the UK, the film’s release was less harried, with newcomer Claire Bloom securing a BAFTA win for Most Promising Newcomer. The film would receive a theatrical release for the first in Los Angeles twenty years later, »
- Nicholas Bell
This documentary about the late British soul singer is an overwhelmingly sad, intimate – and dismaying – study of a woman whose talent and charisma helped turn her into a target
A star is born — all over again. Asif Kapadia’s documentary study of the great British soul queen Amy Winehouse, who died of alcohol poisoning at the age of 27, is stunningly moving and powerful: intimate, passionate, often shocking, and almost mesmerically absorbing.
Continue reading »
- Peter Bradshaw
Natalie Portman and husband-to-be Benjamin Millepied on the Red Carpet Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied at the Oscars Best Actress winner Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied (at the time, Portman's husband-to-be)* arrive at the 2011 Academy Awards ceremony held on Feb. 27 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. Portman took home the Oscar for her performance as a mentally unstable ballerina in Darren Aronofsky's psychological drama Black Swan. An international box office hit, Black Swan was also a Best Picture nominee, ultimately losing the Oscar to Tom Hooper's The King's Speech. Besides Natalie Portman and dancer-choreographer Benjamin Millepied, also in the Black Swan cast are Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder, Barbara Hershey, and Vincent Cassel. Portman's fellow Best Actress contenders were: Annette Bening for The Kids Are All Right. Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine. Nicole Kidman for Rabbit Hole. Jennifer Lawrence for Winter's Bone. Natalie Portman had been previously nominated in »
- D. Zhea
A nitrate print of William A. Wellman’s 1936, early Technicolor marvel, A Star is Born screens on April 30th at the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY in advance of the Nitrate Picture Show. After the film I’ll be having a discussion with William Wellman Jr. about the film, his father, and his new comprehensive biography of his father, “Wild Bill Wellman: Hollywood Rebel.”Stay tuned for more Nitrate Picture Festival coverage; allowing of course, that we manage to survive the weekend without being enveloped ourselves by beautiful nitrate flames.***Wellman’s 1936 take on Hollywood and one woman’s rise alongside one man’s fall isn’t as glamorous as its 1954 successor, instead finding its footing amidst the humble beginnings of its protagonist—a ground that it stands for the full length of the picture, despite rapidly changing sets and social classes. Janet Gaynor’s Esther Blodgett may eventually »
- gina telaroli
Jenni Olson’s latest film, The Royal Road, weaves through seemingly unrelated subjects, including a lesbian woman’s search for love, the Spanish colonization of California, the Mexican-American War, and Hollywood cinema. These subjects are connected by El Camino Real—the Royal Road—which originally linked Spanish missions from San Diego to Sonoma in Northern California. Fractured by hundreds of years of urban development, El Camino Real now runs through some of California’s most iconic and populated locations. The Royal Road meditates on these locations, the steady 16mm camera lingering on graffitied buildings, Edwardian apartments, historical statues, and San Francisco’s Mondrian-like cacophony of telephone lines. Olson’s narration bridges the apparent chasm between the contemporary landscape, the region’s past, and her own experiences. Two hundred and fifty years of history converge poetically and almost seamlessly. The Royal Road traces the residue of colonization and war and gestures »
- Matthew Harrison Tedford
Meryl Streep, who is officially a genius angel sent from a better dimension, is funding a screenwriting lab for women over 40. The initiative aims to create opportunities for that contingent, and it'll be run by New York Women in Film and Television and Iris, a collective of women filmmakers. Because this idea is so brilliant, we'll toast a bunch of 40+-year-old female screenwriters whose works are available on Netflix now. The Kids are All Right (Lisa Cholodenko) Aside from the fact that "The Kids are All Right" feels like a prime James L. Brooks feature, the 2010 family drama gives you a myriad of irresistible moments and performances. Annette Bening is biting and funny as an alcoholic lesbian mother; Julianne Moore is harried and loving as her conflicted wife. Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowska, and Josh Hutcherson add perfectly pitched dramedy with their sincere roles. You want to hug this movie, but »
- Louis Virtel
Above: a theater advertising Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole (1951).If there’s one thing I love almost as much as movie posters (at least as far as the world of movie advertising goes) it is the movie theater marquee. I am particularly attracted to marquees in their more elaborately designed and outlandish incarnations, but I am also fond of photographs of marquees simply as a record of a moment in time when a particular film was out in the world. (One of my personal favorite Movie Poster of the Week posts was this examination of a 1930 photo of Times Square theater signs.)Over the past few years on Tumblr I have been collecting some of the best images of movie theater signage through the ages and today I am launching Movie Poster of the Day’s sister blog Movie Marquees. In Maggie Valentine’s The Show Starts on »
- Adrian Curry
Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are in talks to lead Damien Chazelle's romantic musical, La La Land. The film centers on the love story between a jazz pianist and an aspiring actress. La La Land is Chazelle's directorial follow up to Whiplash, which took home the 3 Oscars last year. We reported last summer that Chazelle would re-team with Whiplash star Miles Teller in the role of the pianist, but, per Deadline, Teller has moved on from the project. Likewise, Emma Watson, who was originally attached as the aspiring actress, has departed for Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast. When Steve interviewed Chazelle last year, the director cited Singing in the Rain, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, and A Star is Born as influences, and described La La Land as "an old fashioned song and dance". Though the film is conceived in a retro vein, the story is set in contemporary times as a “a big, »
- Haleigh Foutch
A star is born! Prince Charles gave his grandson, Prince George, premium screen time in his latest video promoting Earth Hour UK 2015. Though the adorable tot doesn't make an in-person appearance in the clip, he's featured prominently in a framed snapshot on the table next to his proud grandfather. The photo, taken sometime last summer, shows the Prince of Wales holding the heir to the throne (now 20 months old) against his chest. George — who's soon to be a big brother — wears a white [...] »
B&B Wildwood Theatre is having their March Retro Night on Thursday, April 2. They are showing the classic film, The Wizard Of Oz. Shows are at 4pm & 7pm.
This magical cinematic event finds Kansas farm girl Judy Garland (“A Star is Born,” “Meet Me in St. Louis”) caught in a tornado and magically transported to the Land of Oz. Needing help to return home, she is told to follow the Yellow Brick Road and find the powerful Wizard (Frank Morgan). On her perilous journey, she is befriended by the Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), the Tin Man (Jack Haley), and the Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr) who help her battle the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton) and her flying monkeys. Based on the classic book by Frank L. Baum, “The Wizard of Oz” is a dazzling motion picture achievement, featuring unforgettable songs (including Oscar-winner “Over the Rainbow”), scenery, and costumes.
- Movie Geeks
We've known for a few months that Bradley Cooper isn't content with just starring in films, but would also like to get behind the camera in the near future. It appears his directorial debut might be starting to take shape. Both Deadline and the L.A. Times are reporting that Cooper is in talks with Warner Bros. to direct a remake of 1937's A Star Is Born after his newfound mentor, Clint Eastwood, has apparently handed him the reins. (Eastwood had originally helmed the remake, and wanted Cooper for a lead role.) Cooper will now reportedly direct and co-star in the film. And who does he want for the role made famous by Judy Garland in the 1957 remake? None other than Beyoncé! Bey has long been attached to the project and was picked by Eastwood himself to star in it years ago, but she dropped out of the film back »
- Dee Lockett
Bradley Cooper is in talks to direct Warner Bros.' remake of 1937 musical "A Star Is Born," which would make this his first feature. Cooper, along with Jon Peters, Bill Gerber and Basil Iwanyk, will also produce this version of William A. Wellman's Oscar-nominated Tinseltown tale of aging movie star Norman Maine who ushers a hopeful young starlet's rise to fame while grappling with alcoholism and the near-end of his career. The film has already been remade twice: first in 1954 with Judy Garland, who was in the hospital during her notorious Oscar snub, and in 1976 with Barbra Streisand. Clint Eastwood was attached to this latest remake back in 2011, with Beyonce Knowles in talks to play Esther Blodgett. That fell through and Eastwood shifted to another musical, "Jersey Boys." According to THR, Cooper is shopping several projects to direct for Warner Bros. In 2014 he and "Hangover" director Todd Phillips signed a three-picture, »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Now here’s a pairing none of us saw coming: hot off an Oscar nomination for his powerhouse leading turn in American Sniper, Bradley Cooper has entered negotiations to take the reins on a Warner Bros. remake of A Star Is Born that was previously being circled by Cooper’s Sniper director Clint Eastwood. The redo, which has been in the pipeline for many years, had courted Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Smith, Russell Crowe, Christian Bale and Tom Cruise over the years to star, but it’s expected that Cooper will also take on the male lead.
As for the equally important female lead, the project is apparently still angling for pop royalty, with eyes for veritable Queen of the World Beyoncé Knowles. Of course, Beyoncé has not yet been approached, but the producers are hoping to do that very quickly if Cooper signs a deal to direct.
- Isaac Feldberg
Anyone who has been following along with Bradley Cooper‘s career knew that he had higher ambitions than being one of the biggest actors in Hollywood. He has started to achieve that first goal. Then his work producing American Sniper led that film to being the highest-grossing studio film of 2014, and an awards contender as well. Now […]
- Russ Fischer
In the works for a while now, the new version of the film was initially set to be directed by Cooper’s American Sniper director Clint Eastwood, but went on the back-burner after Eastwood chose to make Sniper and last year’s Jersey Boys instead. Word is that once Cooper has finished his run in The Elephant Man, which moves from Broadway to London’s West End very soon, he will start work on the film.
In addition, the studio are hoping that Cooper will take on the male lead in the film, which had Tom Cruise (Edge of Tomorrow), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street), Will Smith (Focus) and Christian Bale (Knight of Cups) all rumoured for at different points, »
- Scott J. Davis
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