1-20 of 39 items from 2013 « Prev | Next »
Long before filmmakers had access to the finest digital effects the industry has to offer, they had to get creative with matte paintings to blend like actors into locations and environments that couldn.t be achieved in real life. These are delicate works of art that date back to the early 20th century, when painters and artists helped directors achieve a nearly impossible vision. The website ShadowLocked.com writes a thorough history of the art of matte painting, singling out accomplished artists like Walter Percy Day, Peter Ellenshaw, Mark Sullivan and more. Beyond that, the site names what it believes to be the 50 greatest matte paintings, including imagery from such classics as Mary Poppins (above) to near-misses like Ghostbusters II, which often looked prettier than it deserved to look. This montage shows matte painting artist Matt Yuricich working on Ben-Hur, to give you an idea how a painter would create »
While not the epic 1959 Charlton Heston film, Ben Hur the miniseries does attempt to achieve television levels of epicness. And by channeling HBO’s Rome, this miniseries succeeds. The retelling of this religion-infused revenge saga turns out to be a not-terrible way to spend three hours. If it seems an odd time to be releasing a 2010 miniseries on DVD, it is probably related to the fact that nearly the entire cast has been featured in popular TV shows this season.
Ben Hur tells the story of two childhood friends whose lives go in drastically different directions leading to an unforgivable betrayal and lifelong quest for revenge. Judah Ben-Hur (Joseph Morgan, The Vampire Diaries) is wrongly accused of inciting a riot that endangered the life of Pontius Pilate (Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey). As a result, Judah’s former best friend and now up-and-coming Roman soldier Messala (Stephen Campbell Moore, Hunted) condemns »
- John Keith
Directed by: Steve Shill
Running Time: 3 hr 12 mins
Rating: Not Rated
Due Out: April 30, 2013
Who’S It For? Those who enjoyed History Channel’s The Bible or other similar adaptations might find some enjoyment in this Ben Hur miniseries. Anyone who is only interested in seeing what an updated take on the chariot race looks like should save themselves the trouble.
Though its aspirations are far more modest, I went in expecting Ben Hur to be similar to the recent History Channel miniseries, The Bible. While I’m not religious, I slogged through it because I still find a lot of the stories interesting. »
- Shane T. Nier
Screenwriting isn’t quite as hard as novel writing or literary writing of any kind, but it is still a difficult thing. Forming a character and its words is a most disagreeable endeavour – imagine what Tolstoy went through – but there are some people who have gone a long way in making screenwriting as important as the film itself – almost. The script is as we know a blueprint for what could be a great thing. There are thousands of screenwriters but only a few who have gone on to utter greatness but in my mind there is only one who has never failed, and he ranks at number 1 on this list. That person’s films are so enjoyable that even the bad ones are fun to watch.
Considering a small list like this means considering an awful lot of people and making it a small list – 5 points – makes it that much »
- Quinn Steers
There are few people who deserve a documentary (or 20 of them) more than Gore Vidal. A ferocious thinker and fierce commentator whose output is gargantuan as well as wide in scope, Vidal contributed to and steered the national conversation for decades after the end of WWII. He’s celebrated as a screenwriter (Ben-Hur), essayist, novelist, political philosopher, and playwright, but any man who nearly comes to physical blows with William F. Buckley on national television has probably earned his talking head treatment. Enter Nicholas Wrathall. The director has made Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia with what may very well be some of the last footage of Vidal ever captured before he passed away last year. The film will see its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, and it’s got a trailer that makes it look as gorgeously-shot as it is compelling: »
- Scott Beggs
On Easter Sunday, many people watch the old religious film favorites. Just look at today’s TCM schedule to see the epic staples programmed, like King of Kings, The Robe, The Greatest Story Ever Told and Ben-Hur (which Neil highlighted for Scenes We Love last year). They’re also showing the obviously appropriate musical Easter Parade. But there are a lot of other movies that aren’t recognized enough for either being Easter movies or including memorable Easter scenes. Did you know Altman’s Cookies Fortune takes place over Easter weekend? And major events happen on the holiday in such films as Chocolat, Steel Magnolias and Resnais’s The War is Over. Quite suitably, Charlton Heston’s first movie, Dark City, opens with him carrying a gift box with an Easter bunny inside. Six other movies selected here are rarely thought of as Easter movies, if they’re thought of at all. Consider »
- Christopher Campbell
"As a kid I decided that a Canadian accent doesn't sound tough. I thought guys should sound like Marlon Brando. So now I have a phony accent that I can't shake, so it's not phony anymore." – Ryan Gosling
Greetings from the apocalypse! I gave up hunting for Cadbury Creme Eggs on my front lawn for Lent, so this Easter holiday comes as a huge relief. Let's celebrate this holiest of weekends with a story featuring death and glorious resurrection … of Hasbro toy characters.
Friday, March 29
Pow! In Theaters
Get locked and loaded as Dwayne Johnson brings out the big guns for "G.I. Joe: Retaliation." Ever since the trailer debuted in 2011 I've had visions of mountain-climbing ninjas dancing in my head, but what the good lord giveth, the good lord taketh away, and the summer 2012 release got delayed so they could add more Channing Tatum. That better not be at »
- Max Evry
Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: April 30, 2013
Price: Blu-ray $19.99
Legendary superstar Barbra Streisand (A Star is Born) stars in her Academy Award-winning role of famed performer Fanny Brice in the 1968 romantic musical biography Funny Girl, on Blu-ray for the first time and exclusively available at Amazon.
In her first starring film, Streisand recreated her Tony Award-nominated Broadway role for Hollywood giant William Wyler (Ben-Hur), playing the comedienne in a story that contrasted Fanny’s comic onstage antics with her dramatic offstage romance with that gambling nogoodnik Nicky Arnstein (Omar Sharif, Lawrence of Arabia).
Blu-ray Release Date: June 4, 2013
Price: Blu-ray $19.98
Who gets caught in the crunch of the titular Los Angeles rumble? Well, let’s see: there’s a construction engineer (Charlton Heston, Ben-Hur), his lover (Geneviève Bujold, Dead Ringers), his bitter wife (Ava Gardner, The Killers), her corporate executive (Lorne Greene, TV’s Bonanza), a weary street cop (George Kennedy, Airport), a motorcycle daredevil (Richard Roundtree, Shaft), a strange supermarket cashier (Marjoe Gortner, StarCrash) and a busty actress wannabe with a large afro (Victoria Principal, TV’s Dallas).
There are no bonus features on the Blu-ray. »
Above: 20,000 Years in Sing Sing (Michael Curtiz, USA, 1932).
When I wrote about the posters of 1933 last week this was one poster I deliberately held back (though 20,000 Years in Sing Sing was released on Christmas Eve 1932, it is included in Film Forum’s retrospective). The early 1930s, no less than today—though the execution was a lot more interesting— was an era of big floating heads in movie posters. While 1920s movies had the occasional floating head poster for their biggest stars, artists and studios still favored the look of early silent posters with their head-to-toe portraits and snippets of narrative. Though Norma Desmond said famously of the silent era “We didn’t need dialogue...we had faces!” it was ironically with the coming of sound that faces started to dominate movie posters and, until Saul Bass, minimalism in American movie posters was almost non-existent.
All that makes the 20,000 Years poster, »
- Adrian Curry
When they say, "They don't make 'em like that anymore," this is what they're talking about. "How the West Was Won," released in America 50 years ago this week (on February 20, 1963) was probably the most ambitious western ever made, an epic saga spanning four generations, 50 years, two-and-a-half hours, five vignettes, three directors (well, actually four), the widest possible screen, and an enormous cast of A-listers, including James Stewart, Debbie Reynolds, Gregory Peck, George Peppard, Henry Fonda, John Wayne, Karl Malden, Carroll Baker, and Spencer Tracy. It's hard to imagine any movie, let alone a western, being made on such a grand scale today, when it would cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Naturally, in a production that massive, there was a lot of chaos behind the scenes. Even fans of the movie may not be aware of the off-camera feud between Peck and his director, the technical challenges imposed by the untried widescreen format, »
- Gary Susman
Ten men. Ten Oscars. Ten eternal images of hotness that I'm happy to rank.
You'll be either excited or depressed to learn that the idea of a hot Best Actor Oscar winner is mostly a recent invention. There are some Oscar-winning studs from the the '30s and '40s, but you see plenty more GQ-ready gents in the Academy Award-winning roles of the '90s and 2000s. So without further ado, let's take another trip back and time and count down the 10 hottest "Best Actor" winners.
Perhaps his performance in Les Miserables is preventing me from ranking him higher, but Russell Crowe was the picture of macho angst and valor in Gladiator. Gotta love when an actor finds the perfect forum to vent his infamous angst.
I'm often too charmed by Colin Firth's character and inteligence to notice the obvious: »
Feature Paul Martinovic Jan 18, 2013
Howard Hawks, one of the most successful Western directors of all time and a key influence on Sergio Leone, once said a great movie can be defined as one with "three great scenes, and no bad ones." There can be few directors who understood the power of great scenes quite as strongly as Leone, the director of the Dollars trilogy and de facto godfather of the spaghetti western.
Some might argue his emphasis on great individual moments was to his detriment, as the MacGuffin-laden plots of his films seem to exist mainly as devices on which he can hang his elaborate setpieces, and were subsequently labeled as exercises in pure style. While the artistic and intellectual merits of the three films are up for debate, »
Back in 1959 MGM released the grand epic movie that starred Charlton Heston as a prince betrayed and sent into slavery until he regains his freedom and comes back for revenge. This may come as a shock to you, but the name of that movie was not Django Unchained. It was called Ben-Hur and it is one of the biggest moneymakers of all time, adjusted for inflation of course. The original was an epic Hollywood movie that won an astonishing 11 Oscars. »
- Kerry Fleming
MGM hopes it can strike gold twice with the same product, as the studio recently announced plans to remake its 11-time Oscar winner Ben-hur.
The 1959 classic directed by William Wyler and starring Charlton Heston was loosely based on the 1880 Lew Wallace novel Ben-hur: A Tale Of The Christ. In their announcement, MGM hinted that the film would be less a remake and more a reboot, with a tighter focus on the premise of the original novel.
While the news may prove little comfort to dedicated cinema enthusiasts who abhor Hollywood’s insistence on remaking the classics, MGM seems set on updating its ancient Roman tale of betrayal and friendship.
As of yet, there is no word on a finished script or even a potential director, which suggests the film – if it actually does come to fruition – is in the very early stages of development.
While some may pump their fists »
- Laura Grande
The evergreen method of adding “…in space!” to the end of an existing title in order to pitch a “new” film has finally blindsided Greek poet Homer. Good thing he’s not around to not see it. According to Deadline Hollywood, Warners has hired James Dilapo to write a new version of “The Odyssey” that takes place in space. Yes, they literally want to make a space “Odyssey.” Dilapo is a recent Nyu grad who earned a Nicholl Fellowship and placement on the Black List with his first script, Devils At Play, but there’s no word yet on how the young talent will be engaging the story and transmitting it into the world of science fiction. At its very core, it could a tale of a captain trying desperately and difficultly to get home, or it could involve more of the direct elements of the classic epic poem. Undoubtedly, it »
- Scott Beggs
Skyfall and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey‘s collective $2 billion (or so) gross around the world has allowed onetime-baknrupt MGM to plant its feet firmly on solid ground. The studio’s now getting in on what’s quickly become the next big Hollywood craze – the (return of the) Biblical epic – with a fresh adaptation of Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel Ben-Hur.
Of course, this project faces the same dilemma as the multiple Moses biographical pictures currently in the early stages of development (specifically, Ridley Scott’s Moses and Steven Spielberg’s Gods and Kings): how to tread on sacred ground while contemporizing such a revered and well-known story. The answer (“going back to the source material”) is pretty familiar nowadays, but that’s where things could get sticky.
Wallace’s book “Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ” still ranks among the ...
Click to continue reading MGM Rebooting ‘Ben-Hur’; New Adaptation »
- Sandy Schaefer
1.) Scott "Kid Cudi" Mescudi has joined Dreamworks' car racing flick Need for Speed. The film already had a solid cast of rising stars in Aaron Paul ("Breaking Bad"), Imogen Poots (Fright Night) and Dominic Cooper (Captain America: The First Avenger), but it seems no would-be action franchise's cast is complete without the requisite hip-hop artist. The studio claims the project is aiming for the tone of the car-culture films of the 1970s, but they might have to bring Steve McQueen back from the dead to prove to me they're doing anything more than trying to capitalize on the success of the Fast and Furious franchise. At any rate, the film stars Paul as a street racer who joins a coast-to-coast race to get revenge after being framed for the death of a friend. Scott Waugh (Act of Valor) directs for a February 2014 release. THR 2.) MGM is taking all that money »
- Kevin Blumeyer
Back in the 80s, when MGM was a bit tight on cash, the studio sold the rights to the 1959 Charlton Heston film. So, you may ask, how are they able to make a new movie? Well, the source material (Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, written in 1880 by Lew Wallace) is part of the public domain; which means rights aren’t an issue.
Here’s the plot of Ben-Hur:
Judah Ben-Hur was a Jewish prince and Messala the son of a Roman tax collector. After the latter leaves to be educated in Rome for five years, the young man returns with a different attitude. Messala mocks Judah and his religion and when a procession passes by Judah »
- Philip Sticco
MGM is reportedly set to remake a classic. According to Deadline.com, the studio has plans to develop its 1959 classic, "Ben-Hur." Starring the late Charlton Heston, the epic "Ben-Hur" is credited with changing the aspirations of the film industry and inspiring current filmmakers, such as George Lucas.
While MGM released both the 1959 drama, as well as the 1925's "Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ," the studio sold the rights to "Ben-Hur" to Ted Turner in the '80s. As Lew Wallace's 1880 novel "Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ" is public domain, the latest "Ben-Hur" that MGM is eyeing is a script that was written by Keith Clarke ("The Way Back"). Deadline reports Sean Daniel and Joni Levin have been tapped to produce the project, while Clarke will serve as executive producer with Jason Brown.
The Clarke script is "faithful to the book" and "much different than the 1959 William Wyler film, »
- The Huffington Post
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