1-20 of 34 items from 2017 « Prev | Next »
MaryAnn’s quick take… This may be Werner Herzog’s most conventional film, but its mostly untold true story knows what it means for a woman to choose a life of adventure and intellect. I’m “biast” (pro): I’m desperate for stories about women
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
Have you heard that there is a new movie, a sweeping biopic of a major historical figure, written and directed by Werner Herzog, starring Nicole Kidman, James Franco, and Robert Pattinson? Seems like kind of a big deal, doesn’t it? Seems like the kind of movie you’d hear a lot about. Instead, Queen of the Desert has been sitting on a shelf since it debuted at the Berlin International Film Festival in February 2015 — more than two years ago — because… why? Why did it just now get a »
- MaryAnn Johanson
The Promise, 2016.
Directed by Terry George
In the days just before World War I, Michael (Oscar Isaac) has become engaged to a girl in his home village and is studying to be a doctor in Constantinople. He falls in love with Ana (Charlotte Le Bon), but she is attached to American journalist Chris (Christian Bale). As the situation in the region escalates and the Armenians are increasingly persecuted, the three are repeatedly separated and re-united. And Ana has to choose between the two men.
Never a director to shy away from tough subjects – think Hotel Rwanda and In the Name of the Father – Terry George has returned to the subject of genocide in The Promise, but this time moving his theatre of war to the start of World War I. The Ottoman Empire was crumbling and »
- Freda Cooper
A new Wes Anderson is movie coming…in 12 months. Fox Searchlight Pictures has released the teaser poster for the director’s stop-motion “Isle of Dogs,” which confirms Anderson will be back in U.S. theaters on April 20, 2018.
“Isle of Dogs” is Anderson’s first stop-motion animated movie since 2009’s “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” The story is set in Japan, as the post makes abundantly clear, and follows a young boy’s adventure in search of his missing dog. Earlier this year, Anderson said the film was “less influenced by stop-motion movies than it is by Akira Kurosawa.”
Further details around the project have remained under wraps. Anderson has been filming in London this year.
- Zack Sharf
Let’s teach Marvel about spoilers.
Does Marvel know what spoilers are? We’re skeptical. On the subject of the title of the follow-up movie of Avengers: Infinity War, a yet untitled sequel, they appear to be confused. Yesterday, Cinema Blend published an interview with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, who answered the direct question of “I’m curious if the reason [they’re not going to announce the title] is because it’s a spoiler” with “Yeah, for sure.”
This led to all sorts of speculation as to what kind of spoiler would be so hot that Marvel wouldn’t want to release the title of the Infinity War sequel until after we’ve seen the first movie. For a time, it was fun. Then later in the day, a BBC News reporter talked to Zoe Saldana on the red carpet for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, who said that after Infinity War, they had to go back for Gauntlet. This »
- Film School Rejects
21 April 2017 10:50 AM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »
The personal archives of Peter O'Toole, the late and legendary British star of Lawrence of Arabia and so many other memorable films and plays, have been acquired by the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin.
The veritable treasure trove contains O'Toole's correspondence with Laurence Olivier, Marlon Brando, Michael Caine, John Gielgud, Katharine Hepburn, Jeremy Irons, Paul Newman, Kevin Spacey and others; diaries, notebooks, and theater and film scripts; photos, both professional and personal; and audio recordings of O'Toole rehearsing lines and reciting poetry (those alone are surely worth the price of admission).
The collection, held in 55 »
- Mike Barnes
The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, Austin has acquired the archive of British theater and film actor Peter O’Toole.
O’Toole began his career as a theater actor in Britain and went on to receive eight Academy Award nominations for films including “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Goodbye, Mr. Chips,” “My Favorite Year,” and “Venus.” His 1962 role as the titular character in “Lawrence of Arabia” made him a household name. In 2002, O’Toole received an honorary Academy Award for his lifetime of work.
The archive contains several theater and film scripts, as well as O’Toole’s writings, including drafts and notes from his three memoirs, the last of which remains unfinished and unpublished since his death. Letters between O’Toole and other renowned members of the film and theater industries are also included, with correspondents like Marlon Brando, Katharine Hepburn, Michael Caine, Paul Newman, Dustin Hoffman, and Laurence Olivier among them. »
- Erin Nyren
MaryAnn’s quick take… One of the most cinematically beautiful documentaries ever is a phenomenal portrait of a shamefully forgotten woman who helped shape political history. I’m “biast” (pro): I’m desperate for stories about women
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
If there was any justice in the world, T.E. Lawrence — aka Lawrence of Arabia — would be known as “the male Gertrude Bell,” instead of Bell being spoken of, when she is spoken of at all, as “the female Lawrence of Arabia.” Lawrence, 20 years her junior, was barely out of diapers when Bell first journeyed from England to the Middle East, and by the time he was traipsing around the desert, he was using intelligence on the local landscape — political and well as geographical — that she had gathered by living and working among the Arab tribes and gaining their enormous respect. »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Tilda Swinton reads from the letters of the colourful and charismatic explorer, diplomat and archeologist who, along with Te Lawrence, shaped modern Iraq
It is one of the injustices of the universe that the fame of Te Lawrence, Aka Lawrence of Arabia, lives on (probably mostly thanks to David Lean and Peter O’Toole), while far fewer people are familiar with the biography of his contemporary and comrade-in-diplomacy, Gertrude Bell (1868-1926), a character no less colourful, charismatic and compelling than Lawrence. Getting a niche arthouse release, this finely wrought documentary won’t rectify that imbalance in their respective reputations. But it does serve as a handy summary for those who want a cinematic introduction to Bell’s sprawling, singular story, and don’t want to start with Queen of the Desert, Werner Herzog’s dramatised flop that starred Nicole Kidman as Bell.
Related: The extraordinary life of Gertrude Bell
Continue reading. »
- Leslie Felperin
Exclusive: Letters, manuscripts, photographs and props have been acquired by university in Austin for $400,000
The personal archive of Peter O’Toole, including bundles of letters, unpublished manuscripts, photographs and props, has been acquired by the University of Texas in Austin for $400,000.
O’Toole, who died aged 81 in 2013, was as well known for his hellraising and his enormous appetite for alcohol as he was for his memorable performances including his career-defining role in David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia.
Continue reading »
- Mark Brown Arts correspondent
Author: Amanda Carnac
Many Western names are associated with the history of the Middle East, such as Lawrence of Arabia, but few will have heard of the British explorer, diplomat and spy Gertrude Bell who is the one of very few remembered today with any fondness.
Thankfully filmmakers Zeva Oelbaum and Sabine Krayenbuhl have chosen to bring her extraordinary story to light using the letters she wrote throughout her life, beautifully narrated by actress Tilda Swindon. It is hard to be brief when listing her achievements but ultimately Bell played an important hand in history when she was given the incendiary task of creating Iraq from the area formerly known as Mesopotamia. The film is startlingly pertinent considering the current state of Iraq and Syria today as there has been speculation that the borders of these countries may need to be redrawn.
Letters From Baghdad gives an honest, intimate insight »
- Amanda Carnac
You can’t often call something the cat’s pajamas and really mean it — until now.
Patricia Altschul, the matriarch from Bravo’s Southern Charm, has launched her very own line of luxuriously long custom caftans, and the one you’ll glamorously wear around your own mansion can feature a favorite image of your own pet (for $299 a piece at patriciascouture.com).
The idea for Altschul’s new Patricia’s Couture line was born on a trip to India where the lifestyle maven was traveling with her friend, entrepreneur Georgette Mosbacher, who also has a love for caftans. There, they met fashion designer Sherina Dalamal, »
- Amy Jamieson
The most interesting thing about the Netflix exclusive Sand Castle is probably how much of an Iraq War movie it is, in the sense that, like any truly middling example of a genre, it involuntarily bares the genre’s tropes. It’s a stale, phony, grunt-level sort of view of American intervention, cast in large part with Brits and shot in the familiar desert backlots of Jordan, which has stood in for the site of one Middle Eastern conflict after another since Lawrence Of Arabia. Within its unremarkable mise-en-scène, one finds Humvees, makeshift plywood walls, and defaced Ba’athist palaces where dirt-seamed American soldiers lounge on showroom-style furniture—all those things that made the Iraq War, like all widely televised conflicts, into a subgenre of war story before anyone had a chance to write about it in fiction or memoir. It’s that paradigm shift of war in the buzzing »
- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
Robert Keeling Apr 25, 2017
Saluting the movie characters who make an impression, the minute they appear on the screen...
One thing that unites all of cinema’s most iconic characters is that they were able to make a memorable first impression. Whether it’s bursting onto the scene in a flurry of noise or slowly skulking their way into shot, there’s a fine art to ensuring a character makes an instant impact on screen. An iconic entrance is not just about a momentary impact however, it can also emphasise a character’s importance and help to cement their influence over the rest of the movie.
There are any number of contributory factors that can be blended together in order to make an entrance truly memorable. These include the accompanying music, the choice of camera shot, the »
Henry Bevan with his top five movie explorers…
The film follows the exploits of the real-life explorer Percy Fawcett, played by Charlie Hunnam, leading up to his famous disappearance in 1925. The mysterious circumstances surrounding his disappearance have turned Fawcett into a figure almost as mythological as the city he was looking for.
His “myth” has impacted culture and he has inspired the creation of many fictional explorers. Inspired by the film’s Us release, here are the Top 5 Movie Explorers.
5) Milo Thatch – Atlantis: The Lost Empire
If there is one hallmark of many movie explorers it is that they must be obsessed with finding a lost city. Milo Thatch from Disney’s underrated Atlantis: The Lost Empire has been searching for Atlantis his whole life. »
- Henry Bevan
The “Lawrence of Arabia” of half-assed Adam Sandler comedies, “Sandy Wexler” is an epic period piece that spans 10 years and 131 minutes of mildly amusing mediocrity before climaxing with a Rob Schneider cameo where he plays a Middle Eastern man in full brownface — it’s awful, and yet it’s almost objectively Sandler’s best movie since “Funny People.”
Of course, quality has never been a very useful metric for measuring Sandler’s work, and that’s especially true now that we’re knee-deep in an eight-picture Netflix deal which guarantees that, for the foreseeable future, we can expect new Sandler films to arrive with all the predictably of seasonal allergies. Once upon a time, he was a cottage industry — now, he’s an assembly line.
- David Ehrlich
Two new indie distributors injected some life into the specialty box office this weekend with two unconventional releases.
Both “Colossal” (Neon Films) and Japanese anime smash “Your Name.” (FUNimation) rode positive reviews to strong box office. With more conventional World War II drama “Their Finest” (Stx), three films from non-establishment distributors show impressive arthouse strength.
Jessica Chastain vehicle “The Zookeeper’s Wife,” shaping up to be the biggest specialty release so far this year, justified its initial wider run with a solid second weekend.
At least nine of the new limited releases this week also are available on Video on Demand. The only one to see much traction was “Alive and Kicking” (Magnolia), directed by specialty industry veteran Susan Glatzer, marking an unusual documentary presentation from Blumhouse Productions. The dance movie grossed $9000 in five theaters. »
- Tom Brueggemann
Nicole Kidman and director Werner Herzog bring to life the true story of a trailblazing woman who found freedom in the Middle East. Gertrude Bell (Kidman) leaves behind her buttoned-up life in England for Tehran. Her excursion across the post-World War I Middle East takes her from finding love with a British officer (James Franco), and an encounter with the legendary T.E. Lawrence (Robert Pattinson) – the character that inspired the film Lawrence Of Arabia. While that previous cinematic classic that will come to mind several times while watching this one, the nostalgia doesn’t help matters across this long desert trip.
Nicole Kidman lends the famous traveler, writer, and cartographer just the right amount of spitfire and gumption, especially towards the beginning of the film – she looks towards the heavens and wishes for an earthquake to take her away from a lavish party that she doesn’t want to be attending. »
- Michael Haffner
The year is 1942, in French Morocco an American operative parachutes onto the sandy dunes before being picked up and whisked away to his ‘wife’. This is how Allied begins and, just like the rest of the film, isn’t quite what it seems.
Set during World War II, our story tells the journey of intelligence officer Max (Brad Pitt) who encounters a French Resistance fighter, Marianne (Marion Cotillard), when they embark on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Whilst they prepare for the task ahead the pair fall for each other and, upon completion of their deed, return to London and get married. Cut to a year later and the pair are happily married with a child, but Max gets news that his wife might actually be a German double agent. He has seventy-two hours to test her innocence, is she who he thinks she is? And if not, can »
- The Hollywood News
Mark Ramsey knows that it’s sometimes best to hide the star of the show until the moment is absolutely right. It’s why, in the first episode of “Inside Psycho,” a new six-part series about the birth, production and aftermath of the 1960 horror classic, you won’t hear the words “shower” or “Leigh” or “Hitchcock” or “Universal.”
It’s a particularly striking debut, not just because of the delayed introduction of the expected cast of characters. In opening this “Psycho” origin story with a 25-minute overview of the life and crimes of Plainfield, Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein, Ramsey makes an early case that the best path to understanding the film is via a circuitous route, one with an ever-changing narrative perspective. And plenty of “Mother.”
This trail, particularly in its opening salvo, is unapologetically soaked in goo and gore. (“The following contains mature content,” Ramsey explains at the top of the premiere. »
- Steve Greene
Today is the fifty-forth anniversary of the release of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic horror film “The Birds,” and what better way to celebrate than watching one of the major contributors talk about his role on the film?
Harold Michelson was not only the storyboard artist on “The Birds,” but also one of the Hollywood Golden Age’s major unsung heroes, which makes him such a fitting and fascinating subject for Daniel Raim and Danny DeVito’s documentary “Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story.”
Michelson and his wife Lillian, a revered film researcher, quietly became the film industry’s secret weapons, though their contributions were largely uncredited, meaning that their story has never been told until now. The two were partially responsible for films like “The Graduate,” “Rosemary’s Baby,” and “Scarface. »
- Allison Picurro
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