1-20 of 41 items from 2011 « Prev | Next »
Chicago – Does it say something about the current market of Blu-rays that nine of our top ten releases of the year (and, honestly, most of the runner-ups considered) are for catalog releases and special editions instead of films produced in the current era? More and more often, modern releases seem kind of lackluster. Throw on a featurette, maybe a deleted scene or two, and put it on the shelf.
More often, it is the anniversary editions, special release, and, of course, The Criterion Collection that lives up to the true potential of the format. Critics Matt Fagerholm and Brian Tallerico have assembled their ten best of 2011, all of which should be added to your collection as soon as possible. Or ask Santa if you think you’ve been good enough this year.
Matt Fagerholm’s Five Best Blu-rays of 2011
5. “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Photo credit: Paramount »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
Exclusive: Anthony Tambakis, who teamed with Gavin O’Connor and Cliff Dorfman to write the underrated film Warrior, has sold his novel Swimming With Bridgeport Girls to Simon & Schuster for spring 2013 publication. This comes at a time when Tambakis and O’Connor are teamed on a stage play adaptation of The Hustler, the Walter Tevis novel that was turned into the 1961 pool hustler film that starred Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason. Tambakis and O’Connor are writing it and eyeing a Broadway bow, with Renee Zellweger aboard to play Sarah Packard, Fast Eddie Felson’s companion. Swimming With Bridgeport Girls is a romantic comedy about a charismatic young gambler who loses everything and sets off on a quest to win back his wife, using a faulty recollection of the climax of The Great Gatsby as his inspiration. Tambakis will adapt the novel for the screen, and The Gotham Group will produce. »
- MIKE FLEMING
Chicago – Few character actresses have proven to be as effortlessly versatile as Piper Laurie. Her Oscar-nominated turns as Paul Newman’s alcoholic lover in Robert Rossen’s 1961 classic “The Hustler” and Marlee Matlin’s estranged but loving mother in Randa Haines’s 1986 drama “Children of a Lesser God” offer a mere sample of her remarkable range and magnetic screen presence.
Yet her role that remains immortalized in the minds of moviegoers is Margaret White, the psychotic mother of the titular telekinetic teen in Brian De Palma’s marvelously effective 1976 thriller “Carrie.” Chicagoans will have the opportunity to meet the legendary actress when she attends Camp Midnight’s presentation of “A Very Carrie Christmas” at 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4 at the Music Box Theatre.
The event includes pre-show entertainment from Hell in a Handbag Productions, as well as an interactive audience guide and running commentary from Dick O’Day and David »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
There is a scene in Alexander Payne’s The Descendants after George Clooney’s Matt King waves goodbye to the last guests to leave the “party” he’s thrown to inform his close friends that his wife will never recover from her coma. Once they’re out of sight, he turns to walk back towards the house, but he’s completely shattered. His shoulders sag, his face is ashen, and every step looks like it could be his last. He crumbles to his knees, but it’s those last few tottering steps that took the wind out of me as a viewer. »
- Jeff Labrecque
"Learning to Live Out Loud: A Memoir" (Crown Archetype), by Piper Laurie: Rosetta Jacobs was a bright and thoughtful child but struggled to express herself. Only after she was a teenager and theater marquees began carrying her new name – Piper Laurie – did the quiet girl from Detroit begin to find the strength to speak up.
It would take time and heartache for her to reach a full-throated freedom.
"Learning to Live Out Loud" is Laurie's absorbing memoir about that personal transition as well as her professional development from a popular star of grade B entertainments to an Oscar-nominated actress ("The Hustler," "Carrie" and "Children of a Lesser God") who also had memorable roles on television and the stage.
She was born in 1932 to first-generation American Jews – her mother's parents had emigrated from Russia, her father's from Poland. They accepted their youngest daughter's relative silence – she now believes she suffered »
In the daily Oscar Horrors series we're looking at those rare Oscar nominations for horror movies. Happy Halloween from Team Film Experience.
Here lies… Sissy Spacek’s Oscar for Best Actress in Carrie (1976). Carrie White may burn in hell (along with her ill-fated off-Broadway musical), but Sissy Spacek’s nomination remains a shining beacon of hope that genre fare from little-known actors don’t have to be relegated to, ahem, the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films Awards.
Can you conceive of it today? A 26-year-old actress, in one of her first major roles, portraying an introverted teenage high schooler with supernatural powers who kills the students at her senior prom. Sounds like fairly standard genre stuff, especially when coming from the minds of an up-and-coming writer (Stephen King was paid $2,500 for the book rights) and director (Brian De Palma). Yet somehow, it became one of the few »
- Glenn Dunks
Filed under: Best Movies Ever, Columns, This Week in Movies
Rack 'em! This week marks the 50th anniversary of 'The Hustler,' the landmark drama that cemented Paul Newman's stardom and gave him his signature rebellious antihero role, pool shark Fast Eddie Felson. It was a movie that sparked a real-life pool craze and inspired an actual pool hustler to rise to fame by renaming himself Minnesota Fats after Jackie Gleason's on-screen pool hall king. In honor of the film's golden anniversary, here are 25 things you may not have known about the grimy classic, including how Bobby Darin got hustled out of the movie, how the film helped Piper Laurie's love life while sidelining her career, and why it took a quarter-century to make the sequel, 'The Color of Money.'
Continue Reading »
- Gary Susman
 Despite a very positive critical reception and the considerable talents of cast members Nick Nolte, Tom Hardy, and Joel Edgerton, Gavin O'Connor's Mma drama Warrior didn't exactly set the box office on fire when it opened earlier this month. But the director doesn't seem too concerned with dwelling on the commercial disappointment. He's already moved on to his next two projects, and they both sound pretty interesting. The writer/director is reportedly working on a film project titled The Samurai for Warner Bros., as well as a stage adaptation of The Hustler. More details after the jump. Deadline  writes that O'Connor co-wrote the spec script for The Samurai with Ice Age scribe Michael J. Wilson, and that the two sold it to Warner Bros. earlier this week for an amount in the high six figures. The action flick centers around a rogue assassin named Townes Joyce, whose escape from »
- Angie Han
In a move that will require some haste due to another pending project, Warner Bros. has signed "The Warrior" director Gavin O'Connor to direct the screenplay he co-wrote with Michael J. Wilson (of "Ice Age" and "Shark Tale"). The project must move towards production rapidly, because O'Connor is also teed up to direct a stage play adaptation of "The Hustler," a co-writing effort with his "Warrior" writing partner Anthony Tambackis. Proceeding from the 1961 pool hustler drama that starred Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason, the stage play is aiming for a »
- Fred Schruers
Breaking: In a high-six-figure deal, Warner Bros has acquired The Samurai, a spec script that will be the next film directed by Warrior helmer Gavin O’Connor. The intention is to get it into production quickly, because O’Connor is also working on a stage play adaptation of The Hustler, the Walter Tevis novel that was turned into the 1961 pool hustler film that starred Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason. O’Connor secured the rights from the author’s estate and Fox and is writing the stage play with his Warrior co-writer Anthony Tambackis. They are deep into it, and while they’ve not yet taken the play out for financing, O’Connor is eyeing a Broadway bow and said he’s got a commitment from Renee Zellweger to play Sarah Packard, the companion of Fast Eddie Felson who was played in the film by Piper Laurie. As for The Samurai, »
- MIKE FLEMING
I may have to jump into a time machine this weekend and go back thirty years to when I first saw The Man Who Fell To Earth in 35mm at the Tivoli in St. Louis. Oh wait, I won’t need a time machine! The film is back at the Tiv in a brand-new print that’s 20 minutes longer than it was the last time it played here. When the film was set to be released theatrically in the United States in 1976, studio execs were puzzled by the daring film and director Nicholas Roeg’s curious storytelling style. Twenty minutes of the film’s more unconventional scenes were excised, making an already challenging film even more so. Ambitious, imaginative, pretentious, and baffling in equal measure The Man Who Fell To Earth has had a huge cult following ever since its initial release. It left a strong emotional impact on me »
- Tom Stockman
First off, I have to tell you that this page may load slow. We're making an awful lot of calls to the Amazon Api here, and that's bound to monkey with things. If you have no idea what that means... it's shiny. Please note also that, for the same reason, you may find, depending on traffic, that not all of the Amazon details will load properly. I apologize for that, it's just the nature of the beast, and the fact that the Api wasn't really meant for such things. If you refresh, it will probably fix.
You may have heard me mention this giveaway quite a while ago, and it's taken me a long time to figure out what sort of format to put things in, and I kept added things. Eventually it became too much to really give any kind of run down on the items, so I decided »
- Marc Eastman
New York — President John F. Kennedy had just one critique when he saw photos of the actor set to play him in a World War II drama.
The year was 1963 and actor Cliff Robertson looked convincing in his costume for "Pt-109," the first film to portray a sitting president. Kennedy had favored Robertson for the role, but one detail was off.
Robertson's hair was parted on the wrong side.
The actor dutifully trained his locks to part on the left and won praise for a role he'd remain proud of throughout his life.
Robertson, who went on to win an Oscar for his portrayal of a mentally disabled man in "Charly", died of natural causes Saturday afternoon in Stony Brook, a day after his 88th birthday, according to Evelyn Christel, his secretary of 53 years.
Robertson never elevated into the top ranks of leading men, but he remained a popular actor »
We may never understand why Paul Newman had to wait nearly three decades to receive his Oscar for playing “Fast Eddie” Felson in The Hustler. The Oscar went to Maximillian Schell that year – a strong performance that really should have been in the Supporting Actor category – and Schell didn’t create an icon the way Newman did. His belated Oscar for Scorsese’s not-quite-a-sequel The Color of Money felt almost like an apology, and with The Hustler now available in glorious Blu-ray, it only confirms just how terrific he was. Hit the jump for my full review. Felson lives life as a small-time pool shark, dwelling in the grey area where dodgy behavior gives way to the flat-out criminal. He’s the best in the world, but he doesn’t know how to parlay that into anything meaningful. When he challenges the great Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason) to a match, »
- Rob Vaux
Chicago – One of the most important home entertainment releases of the year is Criterion’s high-definition restoration of Robert Siodmak and Edgar G. Ulmer’s “People on Sunday,” an extraordinary filmic landmark from 1930 that is a must-see for any self-respecting cinephile. Watching it for the first time, I felt like I was witnessing nothing less than the birth of independent cinema.
Coming out on the heels of “city symphony” pictures such as Walter Ruttman’s 1927 opus “Berlin: Symphony of a Great City,” and Dziga Vertov’s 1929 classic “Man With a Movie Camera,” “Sunday” blended the stylistic flourishes of avant-garde documentaries with experimental narrative structures. At its core are five non-actors playing characters loosely based on themselves, and the film’s witty prologue notes that after production wrapped, they all returned to their regular jobs.
Blu-Ray Rating: 5.0/5.0
A triumphant success with critics and audiences alike, this silent German masterwork united a group of brilliant unknowns, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
"It's easy to enjoy Raffaello Matarazzo's melodramas for the campy excess of their acting and story lines," blogs Dave Kehr, "but it's more productive to take them seriously, I think — to see how cleanly and elegantly Matarazzo presents this bezerko material, with a visual style that reminded Jacques Lourcelles of Lang, Dreyer and Mizoguchi, and how perfectly engineered his narratives are, with every outlandish episode incorporated into a serene, symmetrical structure. The new Matarazzo box set (my New York Times review is here) from Criterion's budget Eclipse line contains four of Matarazzo's seven films with the towering star couple Amedeo Nazzari and Yvonne Sanson (literally — Matarazzo's mise-en-scene somehow makes them seem larger, both physically and emotionally, than any of the other characters on the screen), all subtitled in English for the first time: Chains (1949) [image above], Tormento (1950), Nobody's Children (1952) and The White Angel (1955)."
"Though immensely popular, the films were dismissed by »
Stuck for something last-minute to buy your beloved Dad this coming Sunday? Well, fear not, for below are a few suggestions from us to show your cinephile pops exactly how much he means to you on Father’s Day.
And even better, they’re all pretty much brand spanking new, so chances are he won’t have already bought them for himself.
Warning, the following post contains way too much testosterone, and adheres to various stereotypes of masculinity. I can practically smell the stubble from here…
It had to get a high-definition release treatment that matched the Herculean effort that it took to make the film in the first place, and in this superior special edition package that achievement has been realised in some style. The film itself is epic, and includes too many brilliant performances to count off – but most notably Martin Sheen and Marlon Brando – and the visuals are jaw-dropping. »
- Simon Gallagher
The Hustler is one of those enduring classics which captures your attention from the outset, leaves you feeling good at the end, and only gets better with age and repeat viewings. For my money, the closing speech by Eddie Felson to Bert stands side-by-side with Jimmy Stewart’s famous bit from It’s a Wonderful Life and is just as impactful on how people watch movies after they’ve seen it. With Paul Newman delivering one of his better and more playful performances alongside George C. Scott’s stone-faced brilliance and Jackie Gleason’s big dramatic break, The Hustler deserves to be in that grouping of films that parents insist on watching with their children along with The Wizard of Oz and similar classics. The 50-year anniversary release from Fox restores the film’s beauty and offers up a surprising amount of extras to boot.
DVD Playhouse June 2011
Kiss Me Deadly (Criterion) Robert Aldrich’s 1955 reinvention of the film noir detective story is one of cinema’s great genre mash-ups: part hardboiled noir; part cold war paranoid thriller; and part science- fiction. Ralph Meeker plays Mickey Spillane’s fascist detective Mike Hammer as a narcissistic simian thug, a sadist who would rather smash a suspect’s fingers than make love to the bevvy of beautiful dames that cross his path. In fact, the only time you see a smile cross Meeker’s sneering mug is when he’s doling out pain, with a vengeance. When a terrified young woman (Cloris Leachman, film debut) literally crossed Hammer’s path one night, and later turns up dead, he vows to get to the bottom of her brutal demise. One of the most influential films ever made, and perhaps the most-cited film by the architects »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
Twentieth Century Fox and MGM Home Entertainment have come up with some cool packages that will make shopping for Father’s Day a lot easier. Below is their press release detailing the television series and feature films that are part of their library and aimed squarely at dads of all ages. Here are the details:
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment and MGM Home Entertainment’s twelve-month campaign, Year of A Million Moments, continues by recognizing heroes during the month of June. Between heroes from movies like Oliver Stone’s masterpiece Platoon, the underdog fighter in Rocky, or the comedic spy father in TV’s American Dad, pay tribute by logging on to www.YearOfAMillionMoments.com for the opportunity to win $1 million dollars!
As an added bonus for Father’s Day gifts, up to $12.00 ‘Hollywood Movie Money’ to see X-men: First Class will be available for consumers to print at home »
- Robert Greenberger
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