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From a charismatic star to a pariah infamous for his racist outbursts, Mel Gibson's fall from grace has been spectacular. But can Hollywood live without him?
Mel Gibson has been a repellent human being for so long it is getting hard to remember when he was not. But once upon a time, Gibson was positively adored, the hottest thing since sliced bread. As the historian Ajp Taylor once put it, when something is now very much in the past, it is hard to remember that it was once still in the future. Thus it will shock many to learn that Gibson, like Paul McCartney and Sting and even Madonna, was once a breath of fresh air.
When Mad Max first started making the circuit in 1979, hipsters were all over it. Gibson also won over critics' hearts with his top-notch performances in Gallipoli and The Year of Living Dangerously, both directed by the very young, »
- Joe Queenan
As discussed in last week’s entry in the cannon of the Criterion Files with Carol Reed’s The Third Man for our themed month dubbed “Noirvember”, the delineation of what is considered film noir is as gray as the pictures that encompass the genre (if genre is what it’s believed to be). It’s many things yet nothing distinctive. In many cases, the aesthetics of low-angles and dark photography dominating the image mark a common visual signature that’s distinguishable, but not always definitively ‘noir’ and not always present in film-noir. Yet, somehow, we kind of know it when we see it. In other instances, visual style takes the backseat of the police car in a picture with literary elements of crime, corruption, betrayal and other sinful activity found quite often in the films considered undoubtedly ‘noir,’ yet their presence does not define their categorical placement amongst films like The Third Man. Yet »
- Adam Charles
Certainly more creative retrospectives could be assembled from the 30 films Akira Kurosawa made as director, but we suppose even gripping noir like "High and Low" and "Drunken Angel" don't quite carry the iconic stamp this filmmaker’s “Samurai Films” do. And so for their latest program, Brooklyn's BAMcinematek offers up all eight of 'em, providing you an opportunity to see these classics of Japanese cinema on the big screen, perhaps for the first time. The retrospective runs from Oct. 29th to Nov. 21st, and we're taking a two-part look at the films that will be featured there (coincidentally enough, news… »
Whether you recognize it or not, we're currently in a bit of a music video renaissance. Once again, clips from major artists are hotly anticipated, and more often than not they are evaluated on their artistic merits and their ability to push the envelope of an admittedly limited medium (look no further than the work of Lady Gaga or Rihanna for proof). The genre of music videos has peaked a number of times in the three decades that MTV has been on the air (most notably at the heights of the grunge and boy band eras), but the first one came in 1985 when videos like A-Ha's "Take On Me" found their way into heavy rotation and blew minds in the process. The success of the video pushed "Take On Me" to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 on this day in 1985.
Even 25 years later, "Take On Me" still seems pretty mind-bending. »
- Kyle Anderson
In a bit of casting news that’s surprising (though not entirely out of left field), Chris Rock has joined the cast of Julie Delpy’s 2 Days in New York, the sequel to 2007’s 2 Days in Paris. Delpy wrote, directed, and starred in the first film, which saw her on vacation with her American boyfriend in France. Delpy stated that her follow-up is about “the difficulty of relationships, but also about the main character’s evolution in general.” Details are scarce in the Production Weekly tweet that broke the news, though TheWrap speculates that Rock may play Delpy’s new lover in the sequel. Production is set to begin this October with hopes of landing a spot in Cannes 2011.
- Brendan Bettinger
I'd like to show Epic Movie to an audience that hadn't seen a film for 20 years and see what they made of it. Would it make any sense?
Split-screen, saturated colour, ropey back-projection, gratuitous zooms: Black Dynamite is so on the money you could almost be watching genuine 1970s blaxploitation instead of a 2009 spoof, custom-made to mimic the real McCoy. Michael Jai White has his martial arts moves down pat, and there's so much nunchuck-wielding that the Trevelyan-era BBFC would probably have had to slash at least a third of the running time. It's clearly been put together with care and affection. So why does watching it feel like such a pointless exercise?
Genres go in cycles, but the cycles invariably end in farce as the conventions become familiar to audiences and are replayed to comic effect. For years the spoof industry ambled along, an irreverent low-budget shadow of the »
- Anne Billson
With TV being their go to medium, Hulu is slowly making a name for itself with the feature films that it is slowly releasing to their platform.
Films like Charade (the new Blu-ray is set to be released from Criterion this Sepember) have found a home on the website (as well as Netflix Watch Instantly), and now it appears as though the group have outdone themselves. Thanks to Hulu, Akira Kurosawa’s legendary film, Ran, which has gone out of print through Criterion, and recently re-released on Blu-ray through Studio Canal and Lionsgate, is now available to watch for free on the website.
Like most of Kurosawa’s canon, Ran is an absolute masterpiece that is Kurosawa’s take on the tale of King Lear. It follows three sons who must not only find peace in a world torn apart by war, but one brother must also deal with the »
- Joshua Brunsting
Akira Kurosawa (1910-1998) was one of the greatest filmmakers of all-time and yet, I’d bet most people have never even heard of him. That’s a shame, because his long and extremely accomplished career has produced some of the most beautiful, most influential films the world has ever seen. Viewing, no… experiencing Kurosawa films such as Rashoman, Ikiru, Ran or Throne Of Blood are simply a necessity of life, something that must be done before one dies. Period.
Filmmakers across the globe have drawn endless inspiration from Kurosawa’s work, including the Hollywood remake of Seven Samurai (The Magnificent Seven), the spaghetti western remake Yojimbo (Fistful Of Dollars) by Italian filmmaker Sergio Leone and even George Lucas himself has cited Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress as the inspiration for his creating C3PO and R2-D2.
So, with such a powerhouse of cinematic prowess and one of my top 3 favorite filmmakers of all-time, »
- Travis Keune
Stadium stand-up joins all-star cast before turning investigative reporter
For his forthcoming documentary film, Good Hair, comedian Chris Rock received an education in the female pursuit of beauty. He talked to women in beauty shops, followed a hair show competition in Atlanta, visited a product-manufacturing plant in North Carolina, and even travelled to a Hindu temple in India. But he still doesn't get the lengths some women go to.
"There's never been a moment in history when men were not fucking the women in front of them," he says wryly. "Men never cared about looks. There's no style of clothes that ever stopped people from having sex! It's not like women wore corsets one year and the birth rate went down. Of course men notice when women look good. But what do they ultimately do?" he asks. "They end up with somebody like their mother."
The documentary, which Rock wrote, »
To celebrate its 20th Anniversary, it appears as though the Tiff Cinematheque is set to pull out all the stops.
According to Criterion, the Tiff, formerly known as the Cinematheque Ontario, will be bringing out a rather superb and cartoonishly awesome summer schedule, that will include films ranging from Kurosawa pieces, to films from Pier Paolo Pasolini. Other films include a month long series dedicated to James Mason, Eric Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales, a tribute to Robin Wood, and most interesting, a retrospective on the works of one Catherine Breillat.
Personally, while the Kurosawa, Pasolini, and Rohmer collections sound amazing, the Breillat series is ultimately the collective that I am most interested in. Ranging from films like the brilliant Fat Girl, to the superb and underrated Anatomy of Hell, these are some of the most interesting and under seen pieces of cinema of recent memory, and are more than »
- Joshua Brunsting
With Akira Kurosawa’s 100th birthday just a few months behind us, the celebration of not only the man, but his stunning filmography is still going strong.
Los Angeles readers better be prepared, as Friday is the kick off of a special two-part Akira Kurosawa Centennial Film Festival, brought together by the American Cinematheque and UCLA’s Film & Television Archive.
Part 1 of this festival kicks off Friday, and runs until May 23, and will feature screenings of Rashomon, The Seven Samurai, Ran, Dodes’Ka-Den, Stray Dog, High And Low, Kagemusha, Hidden Fortress, Yojimbo, Sanjuro, and I Live In Fear, all of which are currently available on the Criterion Collection.
This would be a must see for any and all film fans and cinephile, however, at prices of $11.00 for the general public, $9.00 for students and seniors, and $7.00 for members of the American Cinematheque, you really cannot go wrong here. It has been »
- Joshua Brunsting
A-ha have announced that they will play a one-off concert at London's Royal Albert Hall. The Norwegian pop band, who have decided to disband after 25 years of recording and touring, will celebrate their debut album Hunting High And Low by playing the entire record in a special live performance on October 8. Keyboard player Magne Furuholmen told Pa: "The Royal Albert Hall (more) »
- By Paul Millar
Amy Dawes reports on the lost art of the classic Hollywood fan magazine. There it was behind glass: “Why Can’t Stars Stay Married?” was the madly up-to-date headline on a 1924 issue of Screenland magazine, beneath an illustrated portrait of dreamboat Rudolph Valentino. Clearly, little has changed in the world of celebrity culture save the presentation – and that was the point of an event Thursday night at USC’s Cinematic Arts Library to launch the book “Inside the Hollywood Fan Magazine: A History of Star Makers, Fabricators and Gossip Mongers” by Anthony Slide. High and low culture is my favorite combination, and this shindig had it in spades; the classily curated exhibit runs through July 30, and the book brings the highest scholarly standards to preserving »
Trevor Hogg profiles the internationally renowned filmmaker Akira Kurosawa in the third of a four part feature... read parts one and two.
“Since the time I was a young man I have always kept a notebook handy when I read a book,” stated filmmaker Akira Kurosawa who has a great appreciation for literature. “I write down my reactions and what particularly moves me. I have stacks and stacks of these college-style notebooks, and when I go off to write a script, these are what I read. Somewhere they always provide me with a point of breakthrough. Even for single lines of dialogue I have taken hints from these notebooks.” A novel which left a lasting impression on the director was one written by author Maxim Gorky, which served as the basis for Donzoko (The Lower Depths, 1957). “Gorky’s setting was Imperial Russia but I changed it to Japan, the Edo period, »
At yesterday's press conference for the new film titled Death At A Funeral which stars Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence and Tracy Morgan (just to name a few) we discovered a news item from Chris Rock himself.
Rock stated that he has agreed to write and possibly star in a new screenplay, which we later discovered was intended for playwright David Mamet titled High and Low and would have Mike Nichols attached, who was brought on to direct.
We discovered that the film is another remake which is a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s acclaimed 1963 detective thriller High and Low, and follows a wealthy executive whose son has been kidnapped. He’s prepared to pay the ransom using funds he needs for a critical corporate buyout. But, before he can send the payment, he realizes the kidnappers have mistakenly abducted the child of his chauffeur and thus the decision becomes much more complicated. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (The Humor Mill Magazine)
But ok, we should write about this without prejudice, because, as you will have a chance to see by reading the rest of the report, some interesting names are involved around the whole thing…
So, we know that this remake movie is based on the 1963 detective thriller classic from director Akira Kurosawa. Kurosawa’s movie, starring Toshiro Mifune was based on the Ed McBain novel King’s Ransom about a businessman who is ruined when he honorably pays ransom to kidnappers who mistakenly nabbed his driver’s son.
Interesting story was about to reincarnate once again, and at the time there was a kind of perfect plan.
I haven't seen Akira Kurosawa's 1963 "High and Low," which I'm ashamed about. I'm ashamed about a lot of things.I know that the movie is based on the book "King's Ransom" by Evan Hunter and the Kurosawa iteration is closely linked to Asian culture (sorry guys who actually know - I'm grasping at straws).In 1999 Martin Scorsese and producer Scott Rudin optioned a re-make and set David to write the film.Now, that project has re-surfaced with Chris Rock as the new writer and Mike Nichols (dir "Closer," "Charlie Wilson's War") on board to direct.I'm actually greatly in favor of this, because it's shaping up to be interesting. As far as Chris Rock's drama adaptations go, the only one that exists is "I Think I Love My Wife," which was a remake of "Chloe in the Afternoon."He's also starring in "Death at a Funeral," a re-make as well, »
I'm really looking forward to checking out "Death at a Funeral" this weekend. Someone from Screen Gems e-mailed me towards the end of the year with a list of upcoming movies on the studio's slate. "Funeral" was among them. I immediately scanned past it to focus on more action-driven fare, like "Legion" and "Takers." A leopard can't change its spots and all that.
I later returned to "Funeral," a Neil Labute-directed remake of the 2007 UK film (directed by Frank Oz!), and watched the trailer. That was it. Massive ensemble cast that includes Tracy Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Martin Lawrence, Luke Wilson and Peter Dinklage. A trailer overflowing with funny moments. Chris Rock produced. I'm sold.
Rock has come quite a long way since his early bit roles in "Beverly Hills Cop II" and "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka." He's evolved as both a performer and a writer. Or has he? »
- Adam Rosenberg
Kevin Bacon has joined Steve Carell in an untitled comedy about divorce. Bacon has been tapped to play "an alpha male" who sleeps with Carell's wife. Since Bacon's handled Graboids, he shouldn't be too afraid of Carell's character's wrath. [THR] After remaking the U.K. flick Death at a Funeral for U.S. audiences, Chris Rock will be writing High and Low, a U.S. adaptation of Akira Kurosawa's 1963 film, which will be directed by Mike Nichols. Now if only Rock would give Osmosis Jones another shot. [Bv on Movies] Eagle Eye co-writer Travis Adam Wright has been tapped to adapt Here, There »
- Kate Ward
Chris Rock has signed on to pen High And Low, according to Empire Online. The comedian and actor will rewrite David Mamet's version of Akira Kurosawa's 1963 film based on Evan Hunter's novel. The plot follows an executive named Kingo Gondo who agrees to pay a hefty ransom after finding out that his son has been kidnapped. When Gondo learns that the criminal mistakenly took his chauffeur's (more) »
- By Shannon McGarvey
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