7 items from 2015
Having worked with the likes of Ridley Scott, Ron Howard, Peter Weir, Michael Mann, and Darren Aronofsky, I would venture to say Russell Crowe may have picked up one or two directing secrets over the years. The Water Diviner shows us what the Aussie actor may have learned from some of these cinematic legends. Immediately visible are traces of Ridley Scott’s wide scope as well as Ron Howard’s knack for schmaltz. In his directorial debut, Crowe feels assured in his presentation of a heartfelt historical drama, but this confidence can’t make up for a story that feels a little tired and a presentation that leans towards superfluous melodrama.
Australian farmer Joshua Connor (Russell Crowe) travels to Turkey four years after the Battle of Gallipoli to look for his three missing sons whom are presumed dead. World War I may have ended but other obstacles still stand in »
- Michael Haffner
Teresa Wright-Samuel Goldwyn association comes to a nasty end (See preceding post: "Teresa Wright in 'Shadow of a Doubt': Alfred Hitchcock Heroine in His Favorite Film.") Whether or not because she was aware that Enchantment wasn't going to be the hit she needed – or perhaps some other disagreement with Samuel Goldwyn or personal issue with husband Niven Busch – Teresa Wright, claiming illness, refused to go to New York City to promote the film. (Top image: Teresa Wright in a publicity shot for The Men.) Goldwyn had previously announced that Wright, whose contract still had another four and half years to run, was to star in a film version of J.D. Salinger's 1948 short story "Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut." Instead, he unceremoniously – and quite publicly – fired her. The Goldwyn organization issued a statement, explaining that besides refusing the assignment to travel to New York to help generate pre-opening publicity for Enchantment, »
- Andre Soares
Part I: The Lawrence Bureau
T.E. Lawrence (1888-1935) ranks among the 20th Century’s oddest heroes. This short, smart, and mischievous British soldier helped organize the Arab Revolt against Turkey, a secondary front of the First World War. He became Emir Feisal’s trusted ally, painfully conscious that the Allies wouldn’t honor promises of independence. After the Paris Peace Conference, Lawrence retreated into the Royal Air Force and Tank Corps as a private soldier, T.E. Shaw.
Lawrence lived a curious double life, befriending both private soldiers and notables like Winston Churchill and George Bernard Shaw. He wrote memoirs and translated Homer while repairing boats and seaplanes. His intellect, warmth, and puckish humor masked internal torment – guilt for failing to secure Arab freedom, regret for two brothers killed in the war, shame over an incident where Turkish soldiers sexually assaulted him.
In his autobiography Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Lawrence »
- Christopher Saunders
By Anjelica Oswald
With the DGA Award in hand, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has become a frontrunner in the best director Oscar race for Birdman.
Only seven winners of the DGA Award have not won the best director Oscar in the 66 years that the Directors Guild of America has given the award. The most recent case was two years ago, when Ben Affleck wasn’t even nominated for the best director Oscar for Argo, which won best picture.
No American has won for best director since 2011 and if Inarritu, who is from Mexico, takes the Oscar this year, the trend will continue. Inarritu could become the second Latin American director to win for best director, following Alfonso Cuaron’s win last year.
In the 86 years since the Academy Awards’ inception, 89 Oscars have been given for best director. Twenty-six awards (29 percent) went to non-American born directors.
At the first annual »
- Anjelica Oswald
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will kick off its 31 Days of Oscar, the network’s annual month-long celebration of the Academy Awards, on February 1 at 8pm with a screening of And the Oscar Goes To…, a documentary tracing the history of the Academy Awards, which premiered on the network last year.
Programming each night, starting February 1 and running through March 3, will feature a chronological “History of the Oscars” through Academy Award-nominated films highlighting at least one Best Picture winner.
Additionally, daytime programming will focus on distinguished films of a particular genre, from adventure to comedy, drama to romance, westerns to musicals.
The programming lineup for this year’s 31 Days of Oscar includes Gone With the Wind (1939), Casablanca (1942), Ben Hur (1959), Patton (1970), The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), The King’s Speech (2010) and The Artist (2011). A complete schedule for the month-long Academy Awards tribute is available at 31days.tcm.com. A preview of »
- Melissa Thompson
Moviegoers can finally enjoy a film with a genuine hero who served his country and fought in a righteous war
The New England Patriots spent this past weekend earning a spot in the Super Bowl. But many more patriots went to the movies and propelled “American Sniper” to a record-setting January box office weekend.
In doing so, they officially declared war against the likes of Michael Moore, Seth Rogen and so many liberal, peace loving, pot-smoking A-listers and Hollywood suits who, since the 1970s, have had an ambivalent, if not disdainful relationship with war movies in general, and American patriotism in particular. »
- Thane Rosenbaum
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
7 items from 2015
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