10 items from 2015
Kiss Me, Stupid
Directed by Billy Wilder
How good was Billy Wilder? So good that this film, Kiss Me, Stupid—largely entertaining, frequently witty, beautifully shot, and with at least two noteworthy performances—probably wouldn’t figure in most lists of his top 10 movies. Yet it is a good Billy Wilder film, if not a great one.
Starting in Las Vegas, we are introduced to Dino, a womanizer, a drunk, an accomplished singer, and a clever jokester. Dean Martin, in a bit of curiously inspired and rather daring casting, plays the rapscallion; not surprisingly, he does so very well. On his way to Los Angeles, he stops in Climax, Nevada (with all the sexual innuendo built into this film, the town’s name almost seems the least obvious). There he encounters Orville (Ray Walston), a nebbish piano teacher and amateur songwriter who »
- Jeremy Carr
It's been a strange couple of weeks of films with the boys. First, we had a period of almost three weeks where I didn't get to see them because of all sorts of different scheduling issues. The hardest part of adjusting to life as a divided family is making my peace with the very different way the kids and I spend time together now. I've gone from having hours with them every day to having a handful of hours every couple of weeks. It makes time feel much more precious, but it can add a layer of stress, as well, because I'm constantly aware of the ticking clock. I know the boys feel it, too. We talk when I don't see them, but it's not the same. You try having a serious conversation on the phone with a seven-year-old. It's just not satisfying, no matter what. Kids today don't really »
- Drew McWeeny
If you're not familiar, Seattle is home to one of only three movie theaters in the United States with the capability of playing three-panel Cinerama films. It is rightfully called the Seattle Cinerama theater and in 2014 it was fully restored, equipped with a Christie 6P laser projection system and Dolby Atmos sound along with the ability to screen 35mm, 70mm and Cinerama films. On Valentine's Day night I had my first experience with the new theater, when I saw Some Like It Hot, but a couple days later I got my first taste of what the new theaters actually had to offer, mind you only a small taste. And this is where this Cinerama project I'm referring to comes into play. I've mentioned this on our podcast a couple times recently, but I will be putting together a short video exploring the ins and outs of the newly restored Cinerama. »
- Brad Brevet
With the slightest excuse, I can go on and on about how Some Like It Hot is truly the perfect comedy if not the perfect movie. Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond's script has a perfect symmetry -- every setup is paid off, every gag is repeated bigger, better and often with a kind of lyricism ("we have the same type blood, type O"). The timing of the maracas scene is breathtakingly brilliant. People like to gossip about director Wilder's difficulty in working with Marilyn Monroe but you see none of that onscreen. Most importantly, I've seen the movie countless times but it's still funny, every single time.
Recently I've been interested in -- and vastly entertained by -- comedies that aren't perfect, and that don't quite work for one reason or another. The thin, ridiculous plot is just an excuse for strings and strings of gags. You can see »
- Jette Kernion
I feel like it was a really good week of movie watching for me as I kicked things off watching Criterion's new Blu-ray release of Don't Look Now (read my review here) and then caught a couple screenings with Kingsman: The Secret Service (read my review here) and Fifty Shades of Grey (read my review here). Then, at home, I watched Edge of Tomorrow yet again (man, I really like that movie) and, for Valentine's Day, my wife and I caught Some Like It Hot at the local Cinerama. Then, on top of that, I watched the five, Oscar-nominated, live action shorts and it's sort of a tough call attempting to predict which one will win, though, right now, I'd probably lean to either Aya or Parvaneh. Certainly Boogaloo and Graham, centering on a couple Irish kids given chickens for gifts, is the most accessible. Aya, centering on a woman »
- Brad Brevet
Valentine's Day is this weekend and many couples are going to celebrate by heading to the multiplex and seeing Fifty Shades of Grey. Analysts are saying it might gross an astonishing $100 million during the four-day weekend despite mostly scathing reviews. Some critics are saying that parts of the movie are so inadvertently funny you almost feel like you're watching a romantic comedy.
Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett movies (See previous post: "The Charles Brackett Diaries: Billy Wilder and Hollywood in the '30s and '40s.") Below is a list of movies on which Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder worked together as screenwriters, including efforts for which they did not receive screen credit. The Wilder-Brackett screenwriting partnership lasted from 1938 to 1949. During that time, they shared two Academy Awards for their work on The Lost Weekend (1945) and, with D.M. Marshman Jr., Sunset Blvd. (1950). Billy Wilder would later join forces with screenwriter I.A.L. Diamond in movies such as Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, and One, Two, Three. However well-received, Wilder's later films generally lacked the sophistication and subtlety found in his earlier work with Brackett. Charles Brackett, for his part, became associated with 20th Century-Fox, working as a producer-screenwriter. His Fox films, though frequently popular and at times applauded by critics, were decidedly made-to-order, »
- Andre Soares
Billy Wilder screenwriter-producer partner Charles Brackett remembered: Q&A with film historian Anthony Slide (photo: Charles Brackett ca. early 1940s) Six-time Academy Award winner Billy Wilder is a film legend. He's renowned for classics such as The Major and the Minor, Sunset Blvd., Some Like It Hot, and The Apartment. The fact that Wilder was not the sole creator of these movies is all but irrelevant to graduates from the Auteur School of Film History. Wilder directed, co-wrote, and at times produced his films. That should suffice. For auteurists, perhaps. But not for those interested in film history facts. That's why the Charles Brackett diaries offer such a refreshing glimpse into his and Billy Wilder's moviemaking process. Now, Charles who? Oscar winner Charles Brackett Charles Brackett (1892-1969) just happens to be the – largely forgotten – guy who co-created with Billy Wilder (and, at times, with a third screenwriting partner) classics »
- Andre Soares
Producer Walter Mirisch is on a first- and second-name basis with Oscar, having a Thalberg, a Hersholt and a best picture statue for producing “In the Heat of the Night.” His career also includes cinematic highwater marks such as “Some Like It Hot” and “West Side Story.” But it all started on Hollywood’s so-called Poverty Row at Monogram Pictures where a 25-year-old Mirisch was high on “Cocaine,” a crime yarn by Cornell Woolrich, which in 1947 was turned into “The Fall Guy,” Mirisch’s first producing credit.
My second picture was also based upon a Woolrich story: “I Wouldn’t Be in Your Shoes.” But he was very private and I only spoke to him through his agents.
- Steven Gaydos
Luis Buñuel movies on TCM tonight (photo: Catherine Deneuve in 'Belle de Jour') The city of Paris and iconoclastic writer-director Luis Buñuel are Turner Classic Movies' themes today and later this evening. TCM's focus on Luis Buñuel is particularly welcome, as he remains one of the most daring and most challenging filmmakers since the invention of film. Luis Buñuel is so remarkable, in fact, that you won't find any Hollywood hipster paying homage to him in his/her movies. Nor will you hear his name mentioned at the Academy Awards – no matter the Academy in question. And rest assured that most film critics working today have never even heard of him, let alone seen any of his movies. So, nowadays Luis Buñuel is un-hip, un-cool, and unfashionable. He's also unquestionably brilliant. These days everyone is worried about freedom of expression. The clash of civilizations. The West vs. The Other. »
- Andre Soares
10 items from 2015
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