8 items from 2013
Hell is repetition.
This refrain, from King’s surrealist slice of late-90s horror, “That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is in French,” has become something of a thematic sticking point for Stephen King. Not that that’s a bad thing; King has long been interested in exploring motifs from every possible angle in subsequent stories until he’s exhausted them. See his series of “children with wild talents” novels, starting with Carrie and ending (for the most part) with Firestarter, or his exegeses on the process of writing, bookended (largely) by Misery and Bag of Bones. Recently, especially in his short stories, King has been concerned with mortality, repetition, and penance. The end of the Dark Tower series proper coalesced around these concerns, and King further explored them in the recent “Herman Wouk is Still Alive” and “The Dune.” “Afterlife,” however, seems to burble more directly out »
- Kevin Quigley
10: Gentleman’s Agreement
Perhaps a bit tame by today’s standards, but Kazan’s message drama was an extremely important film in 1947, marking one of the first times that the word Jew was explicity used in a Hollywood picture. Kazan was known throughout his career as a champion of social causes, and Gentleman’s Agreement earned him the first of two Best Director wins (out of five such nominations). Agreement follows a respected gentile journalist (Gregory Peck) hired by a magazine publisher (Albert Dekker) to write a gutsy expose about anti-Semitism. In order to deliver a true, honest and powerful story, he decides to present himself as Jewish everywhere he goes. Gregory Peck gives unquestionably the second best performance of his career. His strong, steady portrayal earned him a Best Actor nomination (although not a win).
- Ricky D
9: Wild River
Set during the early 1930s when American »
Film nerds rejoice! Innovative classic service Warner Archive, the Warner Bros. studio's top-notch repertory wing dedicated to restoring archival gems--via consumer demand-- and making little-seen titles available on DVD, has some exciting news: Warner Archive Instant. Like Netflix, the new service will let you stream films for a monthly fee (in this case, $10) but instead the flicks available are vintage, B-movie, obscure -- all the lost-and-refound greatness you've come to expect from Warner Archive. Case in point: Currently available are 1959's "The Mummy," "Tarzan and the Mermaids," Yul Brynner-Max von Sydow sci-fi title "The Ultimate Warrior" and TV series like "77 Sunset Strip" and 1952's "Adventures of Superman." Classics worthy of revisiting (and revisiting, and revisiting) are also ready to stream, like Elia Kazan's brilliant and acerbic "A Face in the Crowd," Jacques Tourneur's sexual psychosis horror staple "Cat People," Spencer Tracy-Robert Ryan noir "Bad Day at Black. »
- Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna
The studio quietly launched WB Archive Instant. According to the website, it enables subscribers who pay $9.99 a month opportunities to watch what the company calls “rare and hard-to-find” content. The moldy oldie movies include The Americanization Of Emily, A Face In The Crowd, Freebie And The Bean, and Black Legion. TV shows include The Adventures Of Superman, 77 Sunset Strip, and Cheyenne. New users can try the Warner Bros service two weeks for free. But for now it’s just available on PCs and Macs — no mobile devices — and televisions connected to a Roku box. Only the Roku can handle HD streams. »
- DAVID LIEBERMAN, Executive Editor
Every year it's one of the more reliably ridiculous award show controversies: Who didn't make the cut for In Memoriam?
When it comes to the Oscars, these "snubs" are particularly sensitive given the prestige and viewership of the show, and the fact that the montage inevitably leaves out names and faces of recognizable stars -- usually those known far more for their work in television than their work in film, which is the medium that the Academy Awards actually celebrate.
However, the Academy is hip to the annual controversy and this year produced a supplemental slideshow on their website featuring 114 names and photos of entertainers and film craftspeople who passed away in the past year.
Among the late greats included in the slideshow but not on the »
It happens every year: a beloved celeb gets left out of the annual Oscars In Memoriam segment. So who ended up getting snubbed this year? Andy Griffith was the most noticeable star not on the list. The actor, who passed away last July, rose to prominence with his role in Elia Kazan's "A Face in the Crowd," along with the television series "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Matlock." Actor Alex Karras also missed out on the memorial tribute. Karras had starred in films including "Blazing Saddles" and "Buffalo '66." Another big omission: Richard Dawson, who, in addition to his hosting duties on "Family Feud," appeared in such films as "The Running Man" and the TV show "Hogan's Heroes." However, as Deadline points out, those three ended up getting honored on the Academy's website, in a gallery paying tribute to those we lost this past year. Granted, there were even more snubs on there, »
- Alex Suskind
Oscar season comes to an abrupt end at the end of February which frees up our time. One of The Film Experience's most popular series, a communal viewing party of sorts, returns for another season. Byoe (Bring Your Own Eyes) to these blog-a-thon like events wherein participates choose their single favorite shot from movies from all eras. Watch, Read, Converse -- It's Edumucational!
Wed March 6th The Wizard Of Oz (1939) since Oz, the Great and Powerful is about to hit and we might need this as a lovely antidote.
Wed March 13th Barbarella (1968) ...I've been itchy to revisit
Wed March 20th ???
...and more to be scheduled including, as ever, a mix of genres, eras, and anniversary celebrations. It's a great way to have a virtual visual conversation from other cinephiles, catch up on classics you've never seen, revisit »
- NATHANIEL R
What fun it must have been to be a Stephen King fan in the 1980s! Stephen King was releasing new material at an exponential rate (twenty-two books between 1980 and 1989, most of which were bestsellers), King films were coming out left and right, the man appeared on the cover of Time in 1986, and an explosion of criticism centered around this relatively new author erupted. In 1982, the first iteration of Douglas Winter’s The Art of Darkness proved a watershed moment in King study, catalyzing the entire King criticism movement. George Beahm released what proved to be the most accessible book for a King dilettante, The Stephen King Companion. Starmont House, a small publisher known for their innovative works of serious Sf/Fantasy/Horror criticism, released no fewer than thirteen books on King.
Then things seemed to dry up. I say seemed to; King criticism has never really gone away. Many of »
- Kevin Quigley
8 items from 2013
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