1-20 of 79 items from 2014 « Prev | Next »
It probably will be hard to break Unbroken’s record for development time in getting to the screen. Universal had optioned World War II hero Louis Zamperini’s own story in 1957 as a vehicle for Tony Curtis, who was going to star but chose to do Spartacus instead. The project languished for decades until Laura Hillenbrand’s eight-years-in-the-making best-selling book made Zamperini a hot film property again. Angelina Jolie took quick interest in the story, got to know Zamperini and made the movie as her second directorial effort.
Jolie shows an epic command of the screen, whether shooting on water with sharks, crashing B-24s, dealing with the harsh brutality of Japanese prison camps or re-creating the 1936 Olympic Games. All of this was a part of Zamperini’s remarkable story, and Jolie not only has captured the scope of it all — with the key help of 11-time Oscar-nominated cinematographer Roger Deakins — but most important, »
- Pete Hammond
Is that the sound of double-dipping? Oh right, it must be Warner Bros with another extraneous Blu-ray set. Having already released a terrific Stanley Kubrick collection in 2011, they now hit us with a bigger, sexier box set… with one fewer movie and several more documentaries to differentiate it from the old one. In and of itself, it’s an excellent collection, despite the absent film. But for those who bought the earlier set, it makes for an exasperating choice. Hit the jump for my Stanley Kubrick Masterpiece Collection Blu-ray review. Naturally no film lover’s Blu-ray collection is complete without a healthy sampling of Kubrick’s work. As one of the unquestioned masters of the medium, his canon helped define cinema as an art form, and Blu-ray makes an ideal format to appreciate it. The new Masterpiece Collection assembles his final eight movies: Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, 2001, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, »
- Rob Vaux
A less publicly appreciated (and comparatively unknown) filmmaker, Saul Bass had no less enviable career than any widely recognized director. And he worked with a lot of them, too. Famous—in the film industry—for designing title sequences, Bass was a repeat collaborator to many legendary directors, including Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and Martin Scorsese. He did the titles for such great films as “Vertigo,” “North By Northwest,” “Psycho," “Spartacus,” “Ocean’s 11” (the original), “Goodfellas,” “Casino,” and “Big.” And the list goes on. The guy was prolific and busy. He also designed some of the corporate world’s most famous logos. The Bell System bell in a circle? Him. The At&T globe? Ditto. Continental Airline’s Jetstream and United’s tulip in the '70s? Yup and yup. Bass even won an Academy Award for a short film he directed. Yes, the guy was an Oscar-winning director too. (The »
- Zach Hollwedel
Legendary actor Kirk Douglas is celebrating his 98th birthday Dec. 9, with a book of poems called “Life Could Be Verse” (Hci Books). His storied career began on the Broadway stage, where he says, “I got a few bit parts, and absolutely no press notice” — that is, until “The Wind Is Ninety.”
Do you remember your first mention in Variety?
In June 1945, I opened in a drama called “The Wind Is Ninety,” playing the ghost of a World War I soldier who takes the ghost of a World War II pilot back to his family to watch them receive news of his death. Although the critic gave it a mixed review — he mostly summarized a plot he found confusing — it was the first time I saw my name in Variety. Miraculously, the play was a hit. In January of 1946, the producers bought an ad in Variety quoting other critics about my »
- Shalini Dore
Stanley Kubrick has never really been one of my favorite directors, and that’s probably no where more evident than in my preference of Eyes Wide Shut as the best of his films. In my defense I’d only seen five of Kubrick’s movies up until recently, but I also just really love the atmosphere, relationship commentary and black humor of the film. Warner Bros. has just released a new Blu-ray collection called Stanley Kubrick: The Masterpiece Collection, and it features eight of his films along with a handful of documentaries on his work and life including a brand new one, Kubrick Remembered. The eight films featured are his final eight (so his first five, Fear and Desire through Spartacus, are not included), but it serves well as a fantastic introduction to his acclaimed and eclectic career. The set also includes a hardcover book filled with thoughts and photos, but »
- Rob Hunter
People Magazine accidentally published its pre-written obituary for Kirk Douglas on Sunday night.
It’s not uncommon for major publications to write their elaborate obituaries in advance, and People Magazine clearly didn’t mean to run the story as evident from the “Do Not Pub” in the headline.
Still, “Spartacus” and his family members can’t be happy.
Douglas, who turns 98 next week, isn’t the first celebrity ‘death’ botched by People.
In 1982, Abe Vigoda was erroneously referred to as “the late Abe Vigoda” in People Magazine, which became a running joke about Vigoda on talk shows like “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.” Vigoda is, of course, still alive.
Bloomberg made a similar obituary gaffe when it published news of Steve Jobs’ death in 2008 three years before the Apple co-founder’s actually passing in 2011.
The editors of Bloomberg quickly posted a retraction and apologized for the mistake.
So far, »
- Variety Staff
The color red is striking and loaded with sometimes paradoxical meanings, like anger and joy, hate and love, pain, danger, heat, fire, sex, passion and courage. All of this is to say that the decision to use the color red is not one taken lightly, and no one understood that more than Stanley Kubrick. This week, Rishi Kaneria (via Live For Films) uploaded “Red: A Kubrick Supercut,” a look at the director’s frequent use of red in all his color films, including the unfairly over-looked Kirk Douglas film “Spartacus.” Cut together beautifully to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Kaneria’s supercut runs nearly 90 seconds and makes explicit just how much the auteur’s auteur was in control of the frames he used to communicate with the audience. It's yet another layer to the filmmaker's work to discuss and explore. Watch “Red: A Kubrick Supercut” below. »
- Cain Rodriguez
Few directors' oeuvres are as meme-able as the films of Stanley Kubrick, whose obsession with using the color red to dramatic effect is shown in this nifty supercut below (via Vimeo user Rishi Kaneria). The wall-to-wall blood reds of "The Shining" are, of course, unforgettable, as is the foreboding set design in the wild orgy sequence of "Eyes Wide Shut." But we also get to see how crimson colors work in "A Clockwork Orange," "Spartacus," "2001" and "Full Metal Jacket": never without purpose or visual beauty. Los Angeles moviegoers can catch "2001" on the big screen at the Egyptian Theatre later this month. »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Entertainment One has released a first-look image of Bryan Cranston as Dalton Trumbo in Jay Roach’s upcoming biopic of the Roman Holiday and Spartacus screenwriter, who found himself blacklisted back during the McCarthy witch-hunts in the 1940s…
Trumbo is set for release next year, with a cast that also includes Elle Fanning (Maleficent), Diane Lane (Man of Steel), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Thor: The Dark World), Helen Mirren (The Queen), John Goodman (Inside Llewyn Davis), Alan Tudyk (), Michael Stuhlbarg (Boardwalk Empire), Dean O’Gorman (The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies) and Louis C.K. (Louie).
- Gary Collinson
Directed by Anthony Mann
Written by Reginald Rose
Man of the West was director Anthony Mann’s final Western of the 1950s. As such, it stands as something of a cumulative expression of his generic preoccupations and stylistic preferences, preoccupations and preferences that were consistently integrated in a decade’s worth of some of the finest Westerns ever made. What Mann accomplished in this particular genre during a 10-year period is one of the most impressive chapters in American film history, but Man of the West is more than just a summation of the period; it is as good, if not better in many ways, as the extraordinary pictures that came before it.
Taking over the reigns from James Stewart, who had previously starred in five earlier landmark Mann Westerns, is Gary Cooper, another perennial aw shucks leading man. Like with Stewart, Mann upsets this archetypal Cooper screen persona. »
- Jeremy Carr
Sneak Peek your first look @ Emmy award winning "Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston in director Jay Roach's recently wrapped, New Orleans-set feature film "Trumbo", focusing on the blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter 'Dalton Trumbo':
The story follows the writer's stand and his professional exile of 11 months in prison for contempt of Congress.
- Michael Stevens
For fans of Hollywood's Golden Age, Trumbo should hold many delights. The biopic of the famed screenwriter will shine some light on the darker corners of the Communist witchhunt and in so doing introduce luminaries like Edward G. Robinson, Kirk Douglas and John Wayne. Dalton Trumbo himself is played by Bryan Cranston, here looking suitably learned in a first-look still from the film. Trumbo, the writer of Spartacus and Roman Holiday, among other classics, was one of those blacklisted for having ties with the Communist party in 1947. Refusing to testify to the House Un-American Activities Committee (a kind of Hydra for Senator Joseph McCarthy and his closest pals), he was jettisoned from Hollywood's inner circle and left having to use a pseudonym on his screenplays.Trumbo will major on the story behind Spartacus in 1960 and, in particular, the writer's rapport with Kirk Douglas (The Hobbit's Dean O'Gorman). The movie star's »
After tackling political drama and comedy with the likes of Recount, Game Change and The Campaign, director Jay Roach is heading further into the past for a historical drama called Trumbo. The title refers to screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, a real Hollywood screenwriter who defied the House Un-American Activities Committee by refusing to testify regarding accusations of ties to communism. Trumbo ended up being blacklisted and sentenced to nearly a year in prison but never stopped writing movies, and now this first look photo shows the Oscar winner brought to life by "Breaking Bad" Emmy winner Bryan Cranston. Here's the first image from Jay Roach's Trumbo from Entertainment Weekly: Trumbo is directed by Jay Roach and written by television writer John McNamara. The film tells the story of real-life screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, the scribe of classics like Spartacus and Roman Holiday, who was blacklisted and sent to prison during the »
- Ethan Anderton
The first image from Jay Roach’s dramedy biopic, Trumbo, has been released, offering a darned good look at leading man Bryan Cranston’s awesome moustache. Taking on the titular role, Cranston plays screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who back in the day was shunned by Hollywood for his involvement in the Communist Party.
The film takes place during the height of the cold war, during which time a group of ten screenwriters and directors were cited for contempt of Congress after refusing to testify about their ties to Communism. Trumbo was one such scribe, who shunned Congress’ House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1947 and was subsequently punished as a result.
Not only did the industry refuse to accommodate him, but he also spent eleven months in prison. Later in life, he managed to circumnavigate Hollywood’s shackles by writing under a pseudonym. Suffice it to say, his experiences never hindered his »
- Gem Seddon
Bryan Cranston portrays Dalton Trumbo, one of Hollywood's most successful screenwriters in the 1940s, whose career came screeching to a halt after he refused to testify in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947, at the height of the Cold War. This biopic, directed by Jay Roach, shows how he took a stand against Sen. Joseph McCarthy's Communist witch hunt. This resulted in him being blacklisted from the Hollywood studio system, while also serving an 11-month prison sentence for contempt and clashing with anti-Communist gossip columnist Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren).
Bryan Cranston's mustache practically won its own Emmy at August's award ceremony, but the Breaking Bad star was already hard at work on his next big project. Cranston was letting it grow to play Dalton Trumbo, the successful Hollywood screenwriter who was blacklisted by the studios after he failed to cooperate with Congress' House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1947. Trumbo, directed by Jay Roach, tells the story of the writer's stand against the communist witch-hunt at the height of the cold war, his professional exile, which included an 11-month stint in prison for contempt of Congress, and his battle »
- Jeff Labrecque
I love a good opening title sequence. These days, it is a rarity to get one, with people content on superimposing the titles on the beginning of the film or just eliminating them all together. Opening title sequences can add a lot to a film. They can set a tone. They can establish a style. They can deliver exposition in a clever way. Or they can just be fun to look at. Perhaps the king of opening titles is Saul Bass. From Anatomy of a Murder to Vertigo to Spartacus to It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Bass has created some of the most memorable openings to films ever. He has a unique way of using color, animation, and pace to instantly clue you in to what the movie you are about to watch is. Though the title sequences may differ in look and style, they are all undeniably Saul Bass. »
- Mike Shutt
'Henry V' Movie Actress Renée Asherson dead at 99: Laurence Olivier leading lady in acclaimed 1944 film (image: Renée Asherson and Laurence Olivier in 'Henry V') Renée Asherson, a British stage actress featured in London productions of A Streetcar Named Desire and Three Sisters, but best known internationally as Laurence Olivier's leading lady in the 1944 film version of Henry V, died on October 30, 2014. Asherson was 99 years old. The exact cause of death hasn't been specified. She was born Dorothy Renée Ascherson (she would drop the "c" some time after becoming an actress) on May 19, 1915, in Kensington, London, to Jewish parents: businessman Charles Ascherson and his second wife, Dorothy Wiseman -- both of whom narrowly escaped spending their honeymoon aboard the Titanic. (Ascherson cancelled the voyage after suffering an attack of appendicitis.) According to Michael Coveney's The Guardian obit for the actress, Renée Asherson was "scantly »
- Andre Soares
Audiences need a good reason to go to a movie theater these days, and a digital restoration of a great film classic is one of them. The 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival has landed four world premiere restorations set to play the fest from March 26-29, 2015 at Hollywood venues in Los Angeles. TCM will celebrate the film's 55th anniversary with a new print of Stanley Kubrick's glorious 1960 Roman epic "Spartacus," starring Kirk Douglas as the title rebel warrior, with Tony Curtis, Jean Simmons, Laurence Olivier, Charles Laughton, John Gavin and Peter Ustinov, who won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1961. A restoration of Ron Howard's beloved 1995 space odyssey "Apollo 13," turning 20 next year, will also be playing the festival. Both are presented in collaboration with Universal Home Entertainment. TCM and Warner Bros. Classics will unveil a new print of William Dieterle's majestic 1939 Rko Production of Victor Hugo's "The Hunchback of Notre. »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) has landed four film restorations set to make their world premieres during the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival, taking place March 26-29, 2015, in Hollywood. The movies, each from a different era in cinema history, including Ron Howard’s Apollo 13 (1995), Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus (1960), William Dieterle’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) and Charles Reisner and Buster Keaton’s Steamboat Bill Jr. (1928). The Keaton comedy will be accompanied by legendary silent film composer Carl Davis conducting the world premiere performance of his new score for the film.
Earlier this month, TCM announced that the theme for the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival will be History According to Hollywood:
The Old West. Medieval England. Ancient Rome. Hollywood has found endless inspiration in re-creating historical moments and bringing to life the heroes and villains of the past, creating a form of time travel for audiences through the ages and around the world. »
- Melissa Thompson
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