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There was a lot of hoopla this year over “The Sound of Music,” but that isn’t the only musical celebrating its 50th anniversary.
The Beatles’ “Help!” opened on Aug. 25, 1965, and the general consensus at the time was that it was the second-best Beatles movie ever made.
When the quartet made their film debut in 1964 with “A Hard Day’s Night,” Beatlemania guaranteed box office, but artistic expectations were low. Whenever rock-pop acts had previously hit the bigscreen, they were often in quickie exploitation fare, such as “Don’t Knock the Rock” (featuring Bill Haley & the Comets and Little Richard) and “Twist Around the Clock” (Chubby Checker) or the dozen Elvis Presley movies (with Col. Tom Parker bragging that each film was completed in 15 days).
So “Hard Day’s Night” took everyone by surprise, even earning two Oscar nominations. That set the bar awfully high for “Help!” Critics and audiences »
- Tim Gray
The Long Spliff Goodnight: Nourizadeh’s Stoner Action Flick Mixes Kooky with Convention
Comprised of a tangle of similar narrative threads spliced together from a variety of genres and time periods, Nima Nourizadeh’s sophomore directorial effort American Ultra is generally more often entertaining than not, though considering the significant reputations of its leads and zany array of the supporting cast, it could have been better served with a bit more outlandishness than the conventional acts it delivers. As it stands, the success of this rural set conspiracy comedy depends mostly on the low-key charm this rather approximately defined scenario allows to transpire, but it ultimately isn’t goofy enough to allow for the cult notoriety something like this promises. As scripted by Max Landis (again returning to the landscape of youthful, self-reliant outsiders as in his 2012 Chronicle), there’s not a whole lot of surprise, but much like its drug of choice, »
- Nicholas Bell
Famed producer Howard W. Koch directed a dozen or so motion pictures himself over the course of an illustrious career. None of his own directorial efforts would reach the prolific heights as items he produced (The Manchurian Candidate; The Odd Couple, etc.) and often seemed to be the types of B grade fare dumped into double feature matinees. His sophomore effort, Big House, U.S.A. promises to have all the makings of a hard boiled noir, headlined by a gnarly group of cinematic toughs and racing across events like kidnapping, murder, and prison escape to a grand shootout with breakneck speed. Unfortunately, this plays out like a wooden procedural cobbling together themes already overused by the time it was made.
Jerry Barker (Ralph Meeker) stumbles upon a helpless asthmatic boy lost in the woods of Colorado’s Royal George National Park. He’s aware the boy is the son of a very rich man, »
- Nicholas Bell
Theodore Bikel. Theodore Bikel dead at 91: Oscar-nominated actor and folk singer best known for stage musicals 'The Sound of Music,' 'Fiddler on the Roof' Folk singer, social and union activist, and stage, film, and television actor Theodore Bikel, best remembered for starring in the Broadway musical The Sound of Music and, throughout the U.S., in Fiddler on the Roof, died Monday morning (July 20, '15) of "natural causes" at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. The Austrian-born Bikel – as Theodore Meir Bikel on May 2, 1924, in Vienna, to Yiddish-speaking Eastern European parents – was 91. Fled Hitler Thanks to his well-connected Zionist father, six months after the German annexation of Austria in March 1938 ("they were greeted with jubilation by the local populace," he would recall in 2012), the 14-year-old Bikel and his family fled to Palestine, at the time a British protectorate. While there, the teenager began acting on stage, »
- Andre Soares
The two directors will preside over the Orizzonti and Lion of the Future award, respectively.
Directors Johnathan Demme and Saverio Costanzo will head juries at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival (September 2-12).
Demme (The Silence of the Lambs) will lead the international jury in judging the Orizzonti section, which focuses on new trends in world cinema and presents awards for best film, best director and a special jury prize.
Costanzo (Hungry Hearts) is presiding over the “Luigi di Laurentiis” award for a debut film – ‘Lion of the Future’, which will award one prize of $100,000 to the best debut film (to be split evenly between director and producer) screened in any of the Venice competitions.
Demme has brought several of his films to Venice in the past, including [link=tt »
Director John Frankenheimer.
I'm often asked which, out of the over 600 interviews I've logged with Hollywood's finest, is my favorite. It's not a tough answer: John Frankenheimer.
We instantly clicked the day we met at his home in Benedict Canyon, and spent most of the afternoon talking in his den. A friendship of sorts developed over the years, with visits to his office for screenings of the old Kinescopes he directed for shows like "Playhouse 90" during his salad days in live television during the 1950s.
We hadn't spoken for nearly a year in mid-2002 when the phone rang. It was John, who spoke in what can only be described as a "stentorian bark," like a general. "Alex!" he exclaimed. "John Frankenheimer." He could sense something was amiss with me. It was. My screenwriting career had stalled. My marriage was progressing to divorce. I had hit bottom. John knew that »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
Olivia de Havilland picture U.S. labor history-making 'Gone with the Wind' star and two-time Best Actress winner Olivia de Havilland turns 99 (This Olivia de Havilland article is currently being revised and expanded.) Two-time Best Actress Academy Award winner Olivia de Havilland, the only surviving major Gone with the Wind cast member and oldest surviving Oscar winner, is turning 99 years old today, July 1. Also known for her widely publicized feud with sister Joan Fontaine and for her eight movies with Errol Flynn, de Havilland should be remembered as well for having made Hollywood labor history. This particular history has nothing to do with de Havilland's films, her two Oscars, Gone with the Wind, Joan Fontaine, or Errol Flynn. Instead, history was made as a result of a legal fight: after winning a lawsuit against Warner Bros. in the mid-'40s, Olivia de Havilland put an end to treacherous »
- Andre Soares
Time to get cracking on that Netflix queue! A whole bunch of titles are about to disappear in July, including movies like Super Troopers, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Cast Away. Even if you're only halfway through June's new movies, it's time to take a break, because this may be your last chance to see She's All That for a while. Check out the full list of movies and shows below! Expiring July 1 Big Fish Big Top Pee-wee Bowling for Columbine Cast Away Cheech and Chong's Next Movie Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Four Weddings and a Funeral Fried Green Tomatoes Harper's Island: The Complete Series Jack Frost Louis C.K.: Hilarious Melrose Place 2.0 Melrose Place (Seasons 1-7) Moonstruck Natural Born Killers: Director's Cut Patton Racing Stripes Seven Years in Tibet She's All That Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow Space Cowboys Stephen King »
Though it quickly escalates into one of the most exciting, suspenseful action films of the 1960s, The Train starts off in near silence. A German officer walks amidst an art gallery, surveying dozens (hundreds?) of key works of French art. They have remained safe during the war, which is soon to end in Europe, as we learn from his conversation with the makeshift museum’s manager. Finally, a sigh of relief. But the officer turns on a dime, immediately orders all the paintings be shipped by train to Germany to keep them under German control after that army is ousted from France. If the art should survive the trip, of course.
The curation and preservation of classic Western art is now practically a given. Funding may be slashed and flushed, tastes may miss the mark regarding who or what is truly important, and it will forever remain a struggle to »
- Scott Nye
Want to revisit "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" before "Terminator: Genisys" opens? Better do it before July 1, when Netflix says "Hasta la vista" to the 1991 sequel.
And start marathoning these TV classics before they go poof: "Leave it to Beaver," "Dragnet," "Mission: Impossible," "Hawaii Five-o," "Magnum P.I.," "Miami Vice," "Knight Rider," "Melrose Place" and "Wings." Also bid goodbye to the Stephen King miniseries "The Stand" (1994) and "The Langoliers" (1995).
Below is a complete list of the movies that Netflix is pulling from your streaming list. And, just so you're not left empty-handed, here's a list of what's new on Netflix in July 2015. (All titles and dates provided by Netflix and subject to change.)
Leaving July 1
"Beauty and the Beast" Seasons 1- »
- Sharon Knolle
By: Jay Dyer
Some of these will be obvious, but are there insights in certain lesser-known films that shed light on real-world conspiracies? My list will exclude all things alien, since I’m of the opinion the alien agenda is largely a bunch of bunk. In selecting my favorites, I’ve tried to balance quality with subject matter, as some films may have a great concept with poor execution. If you missed any of these or if they’re long-forgotten films you halfway watched with that sexy date 15 years ago, I recommend giving them a new look.
10.Conspiracy Theory. 1997. Director Richard Donner has Mel Gibson as the tinfoil hat nutball seeking to uncover the truth about his own past. Ultimately the film details the actual Mkultra program, with Captain Picard as the handler.
9. V for Vendetta. 2005. A Wachowski brothers work, V initiates Eve into the realities of the establishment’s corruption. »
- Jay Dyer
The Doctorate of Fine Arts degrees will be presented at AFI’s commencement ceremonies at the Tcl Chinese Theatre.
Previous recipients include Robert Altman, Maya Angelou, Kathryn Bigelow, Mel Brooks, Anne V. Coates, Clint Eastwood, Roger Ebert, Nora Ephron, James Earl Jones, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Kathleen Kennedy, John Lasseter, Spike Lee, David Lynch, Helen Mirren, Robert Towne, Cicely Tyson, Haskell Wexler and John Williams.
Lansbury began her career at the age of 17, earning her first Academy Award nomination for 1944’s “Gaslight” and her second a year later for “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” She earned a third nomination in 1962 for “The Manchurian Candidate.”
- Dave McNary
'The Fixer' movie with Alan Bates, Dirk Bogarde and Ian Holm (background) 'The Fixer' movie review: 1968 anti-Semitism drama wrecked by cast, direction, and writing In 1969, director John Frankenheimer declared that he felt "better about The Fixer than anything I've ever done in my life." Considering Frankenheimer's previous output – Seven Days in May, the much admired The Manchurian Candidate – it is hard to believe that the director was being anything but a good P.R. man for his latest release. Adapted from Bernard Malamud's National Book Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning novel (itself based on the real story of Jewish brick-factory worker Menahem Mendel Beilis), The Fixer is an overlong, overblown, and overwrought contrivance that, albeit well meaning, carelessly misuses most of the talent involved while sadistically abusing the patience – and at times the intelligence – of its viewers. John Frankenheimer overindulges in 1960s kitsch John Frankenheimer »
- Andre Soares
Brad Pitt 'Glory Days' costar Nicholas Kallsen Brad Pitt 'Glory Days' costar Nicholas Kallsen dead at 48 Nicholas Kallsen, who was featured opposite Brad Pitt in the short-lived television series Glory Days, has died at age 48 in Thailand according to online reports. Their source is one of Rupert Murdoch's rags, citing a Facebook posting by one of the actor's friends. The cause of death was purportedly – no specific source was provided – a drug overdose.* Aired on Fox in July 1990, Glory Days told the story of four high-school friends whose paths take different directions after graduation. Besides Nicholas Kallsen and Brad Pitt, the show also featured Spike Alexander and Evan Mirand. Glory Days lasted a mere six episodes – two of which directed by former Happy Days actor Anson Williams – before its cancellation. Roommates Nicholas Kallsen and Brad Pitt vying for same 'Thelma & Louise' role? The Murdoch tabloid also »
- Andre Soares
One of the most anticipated “midnight” movies at this year’s SXSW (South by Southwest) festival, is director Mickey Keating’s Pod, the follow-up to Keating’s Very entertaining 2013 low-budget yet high on thrills film Ritual. While Ritual was a scary and tense film about two people being stalked by a cult, Pod deals with very different subjects and shows Keating’s trend of never making the same kind of films twice. A true cinephile, Keating is a director to look out for, and we were lucky enough to have a chat with the talented filmmaker regarding Pod, Ritual and his next two films, Darling and Carnage Park. Read on!
How’s it going, Mickey?
Hey, how’s it going, man?
I am doing fine, just reading about Harrison Ford crashing his plane into a golf course, what’s up with that?
I know dude, how weird is that? He’s still tickin though, »
- Jerry Smith
Directed by Peter Godfrey
*It should be noted that the following review contains spoilers pertaining to the film’s plot, including an important revelation on which most of the drama hinges. Readers have been forewarned.
Defence Attorney Craig Carlson (Raymond Burr) sits alone in his office late one night. Having turned on a recording machine he begins to narrate to a fellow lawyer that he is surely to be killed within the hour. At that moment the film flashbacks to some months ago when Craig approaches a dear old friend, Joe Leeds (Dick Foran) with terrible news: Joe’s wife and him have fallen in deeply in love. Joe appears visibly disappointed, but, curiously, less angry than one might expect. He implores Craig to give him time to mull over the situation. Shortly thereafter Joe returns home to see his wife, »
- Edgar Chaput
Teresa Wright and Matt Damon in 'The Rainmaker' Teresa Wright: From Marlon Brando to Matt Damon (See preceding post: "Teresa Wright vs. Samuel Goldwyn: Nasty Falling Out.") "I'd rather have luck than brains!" Teresa Wright was quoted as saying in the early 1950s. That's understandable, considering her post-Samuel Goldwyn choice of movie roles, some of which may have seemed promising on paper. Wright was Marlon Brando's first Hollywood leading lady, but that didn't help her to bounce back following the very public spat with her former boss. After all, The Men was released before Elia Kazan's film version of A Streetcar Named Desire turned Brando into a major international star. Chances are that good film offers were scarce. After Wright's brief 1950 comeback, for the third time in less than a decade she would be gone from the big screen for more than a year. »
- Andre Soares
The Manchurian Candidate, 1962.
Directed by John Frankenheimer.
A former Korean War Pow is brainwashed by Communists into becoming a political assassin. But another former prisoner may know how to save him.
Exploring the extremes of cold war paranoia in a stylish cloak and dagger format that must have raised more than a few eyebrows on its release in 1962, The Manchurian Candidate is a film that takes a look beyond the usual political invective.
Following the terrifying experiences of Korean War veterans as they attempt to settle back into ‘normal’ American life, the film is a supremely dark portrayal of influence and control. Laurence Harvey (Room at the Top, Darling) as Raymond Shaw creates a terrifyingly understated performance as the pawn in the games of the political elite. Specifically, his character is controlled through the use »
- Robert W Monk
There are 195 individuals nominated for Oscar this year. And when the winners are named Feb. 22, they will become part of film history, joining such greats as Billy Wilder, Ingrid Bergman, Ben Hecht and Walt Disney.
But 80% of the contenders will go home empty-handed. However, there is good news: They are in good company as well.
Here is a sampling of nominees that didn’t win: “Citizen Kane,” “Chinatown” and “Star Wars”; directors Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hawks, Stanley Kubrick and Ingmar Bergman; writers Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Dashiell Hammett, John Steinbeck, Graham Greene, Harold Pinter and David Mamet; actors Gloria Swanson in “Sunset Blvd.”; Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”; and Peter O’Toole in “Lawrence of Arabia.”
They managed to do Ok, though.
- Tim Gray
Editor's Note: RogerEbert.com is proud to reprint Roger Ebert's 1978 entry from the Encyclopedia Britannica publication "The Great Ideas Today," part of "The Great Books of the Western World." Reprinted with permission from The Great Ideas Today ©1978 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
It's a measure of how completely the Internet has transformed communication that I need to explain, for the benefit of some younger readers, what encyclopedias were: bound editions summing up all available knowledge, delivered to one's home in handsome bound editions. The "Great Books" series zeroed in on books about history, poetry, natural science, math and other fields of study; the "Great Ideas" series was meant to tie all the ideas together, and that was the mission given to Roger when he undertook this piece about film.
Given the venue he was writing for, it's probably wisest to look at Roger's long, wide-ranging piece as a snapshot of the »
- Roger Ebert
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