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Review: The Death of Stalin (2017)

Anybody who discusses satire in audio-visual media at some point must mention the work of Armando Iannucci. Creator of TV’s The Thick Of It and Veep, with credits that include The Day Today and Alan Partridge, his work is some of the finest in Comedy. And in 2009, Iannucci made his big screen full feature directorial debut with The Thick Of It spin-off In The Loop (one of the best comedies of our times) and now, Iannucci casts his eye to even darker – and even more volatile – political territory with The Death of Stalin.

As concepts go, this film has a pitch black core, as it not only delves into a figure whose actions have reverberated throughout socio-political history but in looking at the events surrounding his death in 1953 and the power struggles within the Soviet Union, it is a brazen era, to say the least, in which to set a Comedy.
See full article at The Cultural Post »

Movie Poster of the Week: The Top 10 Favorite Posters of Nathan Gelgud

  • MUBI
A couple of weeks ago, I interviewed Nathan Gelgud, an artist who has brought a wry comic book charm to the world of cinephilia. It seemed only natural that I should find out more about the art that has influenced him and so I asked him to select his personal top ten favorite movie posters. He was more than up for the challenge and decided to narrow the field to illustrated posters, which makes perfect sense. Here are his ten favorites, in no special order.1. (Above) Us one sheet for Five on the Black Hand Side (Oscar Williams, USA, 1973). Artist: Jack Davis.I love all the accouterments on the main figure—the hat, the cigar, the umbrella, suitcase, those things that go over the shoes. But even better is the way Davis has arranged all the characters around him, the way the jumping guy’s arm joins with the guy
See full article at MUBI »

Mel Brooks: ‘Blazing Saddles’ Would Never Be Made in Today’s ‘Stupidly Politically Correct’ Culture

Mel Brooks: ‘Blazing Saddles’ Would Never Be Made in Today’s ‘Stupidly Politically Correct’ Culture
Blazing Saddles” may be a groundbreaking comedy, but director Mel Brooks doesn’t think Hollywood would make the iconic Western parody in this current “stupidly politically correct” climate.

The Oscar winner discussed PC culture in a recent interview with BBC Radio 4, calling it “the death of comedy.”

“No, no, I mean maybe ‘Young Frankenstein.’ Maybe a few. But never ‘Blazing Saddles,’ because we have become stupidly politically correct, which is the death of comedy,” he said when asked if he thinks he could get films like “Blazing Saddles,” “The Producers,” or “Young Frankenstein” made today. “It’s okay not to hurt feelings of various tribes and groups. However, it’s not good for comedy. Comedy has to walk a thin line, take risks. Comedy is the lecherous little elf whispering into the king’s ear, always telling the truth about human behavior.”

Blazing Saddles,” a Western spoof about a black sheriff in a racist town, starring
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Mel Brooks Says ‘Blazing Saddles’ Would Never Get Made Today Because Political Correctness ‘Is the Death of Comedy’

  • Indiewire
Mel Brooks Says ‘Blazing Saddles’ Would Never Get Made Today Because Political Correctness ‘Is the Death of Comedy’
Blazing Saddles” has long been considered an all-time-great comedy, as have several other movies directed by Mel Brooks. In a new BBC Radio 4 interview, the revered actor and filmmaker was asked whether he thought he’d be able to make such films as “Young Frankenstein” and “The Producers” today. His response touched on a hot topic in the comedy world of late: political correctness.

Read More:Mel Brooks Jokes With President Obama as He Receives Medal of Arts at White House

“Maybe ‘Young Frankenstein,’ but never ‘Blazing Saddles,’” said Brooks. “Because we have become stupidly politically correct, which is the death of comedy. It’s okay not to hurt feelings of various tribes and groups. However, it’s not good for comedy. Comedy has to walk a thin line, take risks. Comedy is the lecherous little elf whispering in the king’s ear, always telling the truth about human behavior.
See full article at Indiewire »

The 100 Greatest Comedies of All-Time, According to BBC’s Critics Poll

After polling critics from around the world for the greatest American films of all-time, BBC has now forged ahead in the attempt to get a consensus on the best comedies of all-time. After polling 253 film critics, including 118 women and 135 men, from 52 countries and six continents a simple, the list of the 100 greatest is now here.

Featuring canonical classics such as Some Like It Hot, Dr. Strangelove, Annie Hall, Duck Soup, Playtime, and more in the top 10, there’s some interesting observations looking at the rest of the list. Toni Erdmann is the most recent inclusion, while the highest Wes Anderson pick is The Royal Tenenbaums. There’s also a healthy dose of Chaplin and Lubitsch with four films each, and the recently departed Jerry Lewis has a pair of inclusions.

Check out the list below (and my ballot) and see more on their official site.

100. (tie) The King of Comedy (Martin Scorsese,
See full article at The Film Stage »

Mindy Newell: Migraines and Mel

  • Comicmix
This may turn out to be a short one, guys.

A lot of us here at ComicMix have written about the agonies of writer’s block, but I don’t think anyone has ever talked about the torture of trying to write when your head is trying to separate itself from the rest of your body.

That’s ‘cause I have the worst tension migraine right now. I’ve been having them all week, on and off. It’s probably because I’m starting to go nuts from being – mostly – stuck in the house. My vision is okay, but there’s a little man with a pick-ax standing on the right side of the crown of my head, and he’s swinging away and my right ear is ringing in response – I feel like Wile E. Coyote after a run-in with the Roadrunner. I’ve taken my Advil, but the
See full article at Comicmix »

Theatre Review:"Zero Hour" Starring Jim Brochu; Theatre At St. Clement's, New York

  • CinemaRetro
By Lee Pfeiffer

All things come to those who wait. Having somehow inexcusably missed actor/writerJim Brochu's award-winning play "Zero Hour" that depicts the controversial life and career of Zero Mostel, I was able to see the show's most recent revival at the Theatre at St. Clement's  which is just off Broadway. The show is presented by the Peccadillo Theatre Company, which specializes in staging worthy productions in the prestigious venue that is just off Broadway. For Brochu, the one-man show is a triumph.. He wrote the script himself and the production is directed with flair by three-time Oscar nominee Piper Laurie. Mostel was a larger-than-life talent and he is played with uncanny skill by Brochu, who somehow makes himself into the spitting image of the iconic actor (he doesn't bare the slightest resemblance to Mostel off-stage). The imaginative scenario finds the entire play set in Mostel's New York painting
See full article at CinemaRetro »

Mel Brooks Says 'Spaceballs 2' Is Still Possible

  • Movies.com
Once upon a time, Mel Brooks was a mighty force in comic cinema. Beginning with The Producers in 1967, he directed a string of very funny movies, reaching an early crescendo with Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, both released in 1974. The movies that followed -- Silent Movie, High Anxiety and History of the World: Part 1, may have been a step down in consistency and popularity, even though they were still hilarious. In 1987, he faced his toughest challenge yet, making fun of popular sci-fi movies (mostly the original Star Wars trilogy) in Spaceballs. The intentionally low-budget look and feel of the movie was, of course, part of the joke (watch the clip above), and Brooks was spot-on with much of the humor, which ridiculed the costumes, the portentous dialogue, silly...

Read More
See full article at Movies.com »

Mel Brooks On Spaceballs 2: 'MGM Is Slightly Interested'

  • LRM Online
Ever since Disney brought Star Wars back in 2012, rumors have popped up from time to time about a sequel to Mel Brooks’ classic Spaceballs. During a Q&A following a recent screening of Young Frankenstein, Mel Brooks spoke briefly about the possibility of a new Star Wars parody film:

“MGM is slightly interested in doing it.” Said Brooks, “So we’re talking. Who knows?”

While there is certainly nothing concrete there, Brooks did seem excited about the project and sounded optimistic about the film being made. Brooks also said the studio is looking at the success of the Star Wars movies as a factor in the decision whether or not to move forward. Considering the current state of Star Wars fandom, there probably isn’t a better time to bring back Spaceballs. The world also needs another Mel Brooks parody, the last film made that was written by Brooks was the 2005 remake of The Producers.
See full article at LRM Online »

Mel Brooks Is Definitely Having Discussions About Spaceballs 2

Actor, writer, director, producer, and all-round showman Mel Brooks is a bona fide icon of comedy and cinema – and with good reason. He has, over the course of his 68-year career, delivered such classics as The Producers, Blazing Saddles and High Anxiety. But it’s another two, very different films of his that have combined to bring us some welcome news today, as the filmmaker discussed Spaceballs 2 at a screening of Young Frankenstein.

The screening took place at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center on Sunday, May 21st, and Brooks was on hand for a Q & A session afterward. During this event, he was asked about the likelihood of a sequel to 1987’s Spaceballs, and Brooks confirmed that discussions are underway.

“Well, you know, I’m doing it. MGM is slightly interested in doing it because of the new Star Wars… They think maybe, so we’re talking.”

So… will
See full article at We Got This Covered »

‘The Last Laugh’ Review: A Funny, Fitfully Interesting Doc About Why Jews Make Holocaust Jokes

  • Indiewire
‘The Last Laugh’ Review: A Funny, Fitfully Interesting Doc About Why Jews Make Holocaust Jokes
Ferne Pearlstein’s “The Last Laugh” is a rather safe and genteel documentary about the limits of humor (especially as they pertain to the Holocaust), but it opens with a subtly provocative sequence of events that’s hard to shake. Rob Reiner, but one of the film’s many different talking heads, tells a very benign joke about two Jews who tried to kill Hitler. Gilbert Gottfried pops up to get in on the action. Then we cut to Mel Brooks — perhaps the single most significant figure in permitting modern Jews to make light of their darkness — and he performs some light Hitler shtick, culminating in a shoutout to “The guy who made me money.”

Finally, and seamlessly, the film cuts to survivor and educator Renee Firestone, introducing the nonagenarian just as she launches into a bit about Dr. Josef Mengele inspecting some of the young women on whom he was hoping to experiment.
See full article at Indiewire »

Review: ‘The Last Laugh’ Insightfully Probes the Limits of Comedy

George Carlin had a famously controversial stand-up routine, in which he attempted to prove rape can be funny. Taken at face value, and especially if you aren’t familiar with Carlin, this sounds like it could be a shock-value gag. In delivery, it is not, and by the end of the act – which is a thinly veiled rant against political correctness — his point resonates.

But are some topics truly off limits? This is the compelling question of Ferne Pearlstein’s The Last Laugh, a documentary that questions whether the Holocaust is something that can ever be a source of humor.

Pearlstein interviews many noteworthy figures from the comedy world — Mel Brooks, Gilbert Gottfried, Sarah Silverman, David Cross, Rob Reiner and Carl Reiner, to name but a few – and what’s surprising is the disparity in their opinions on the subject. For example, one might be surprised to hear Brooks opine
See full article at The Film Stage »

Gene Wilder remembered at the Oscars ceremony

The Academy paid tribute to the actor in its In Memoriam montage

• Follow all the action from this year’s Oscars – live

Gene Wilder, the comedy actor best known for his collaborations with Mel Brooks, and for playing Willy Wonka, has been remembered at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles.

Wilder died in August 2016, aged 83, from complications from Alzheimer’s. He was twice Oscar nominated, first as best supporting actor for 1969’s The Producers and then for his screenplay for Young Frankenstein in 1975.

Continue reading...
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Oscars 2017: Sara Bareilles to Perform During 'In Memoriam' -- Why It Will Be the Saddest Ever

2016 saw the unexpected and untimely deaths of a slew of beloved icons and screen legends, which means viewers can expect one monumental In Memoriam segment at the 89th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday.

It was announced on Thursday that Sara Bareilles will be performing during the emotional tribute. "Sara’s unique artistry will honor those we’ve lost in our community including familiar faces and those behind the scenes who have enriched the art of moviemaking," producers Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd said in a statement.

The tribute will no doubt have everyone in tears, especially when you consider just how many icons have passed away since last year's awards show.

Photos: Stars We've Lost In Recent Years

Looking back over the past year, here are just a few of the late stars who will likely be honored at this year's Oscars ceremony.

Getty Images

Comedian and actor Garry Shandling, who died on
See full article at Entertainment Tonight »

Writers Guild Award Analysis: It’s Still ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Manchester’ At the Oscars

Writers Guild Award Analysis: It’s Still ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Manchester’ At the Oscars
The Writers Guild Awards and the Academy writing nominees always don’t line up; many films are ineligible. This year, those included Oscar-writing nominees “Lion” and “The Lobster.”

This year, the WGA and the Academy differed dramatically. While the WGA deemed “Moonlight” and “Loving” as Original Screenplays, the Academy considered both as Adapted; only “Moonlight” landed a nomination.

At the WGA, as at the BAFTAs, Barry Jenkins’ script for “Moonlight” competed for the Original Screenplay Award against both Kenneth Lonergan’s “Manchester by the Sea” and Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land.” Unlike the BAFTAs, Jenkins emerged the winner over Lonergan, a sign of strength for “Moonlight,” which is nominated for eight Oscars.

Read More: Yes, Damien Chazelle’s ‘La La Land’ Really Will Win Director and Picture Oscars — Here’s Why

However, in the Oscars’ Original Screenplay contest, lauded playwright and Oscar-nominated screenwriter Lonergan (“You Can Count On Me,
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

Mel Brooks Meets Prince William: ‘Comedy’s Job Is to Say the Truth in the King’s Ear’

  • PEOPLE.com
Mel Brooks Meets Prince William: ‘Comedy’s Job Is to Say the Truth in the King’s Ear’
Mel Brooks has revealed his greatest comedy secret – and it’s surprisingly royal.

“Comedy’s job is to say the truth in the king’s ear,” the 90-year-old comic told People at the BAFTA awards in London on Sunday. “I think comedy is too PC.”

Brooks made no mention about whether he did just that to real-life future king (and academy president) Prince William when collecting a BAFTA Fellowship from the royal dad, who attended the ceremony alongside wife Princess Kate.

Yet the experience of meeting the second-in-line still left something of a mark on the man behind such comedy classics as Blazing Saddles,
See full article at PEOPLE.com »

Damien Chazelle and Kenneth Lonergan are Neck and Neck in Original Screenplay Oscar Race — Here’s Why

Damien Chazelle and Kenneth Lonergan are Neck and Neck in Original Screenplay Oscar Race — Here’s Why
When the Academy moved Barry Jenkins’ script for “Moonlight” to the Adapted Screenplay category, the Oscar race for Original Screenplay became a battle between two writer-directors. While Damien Chzelle’s reboot of the Hollywood musical is a strong contender throughout its 14 nominations, and Oscar voters will tick plenty of “La La Land” boxes on their ballots, it’s still rare for an original musical to land a screenplay win. (Alan Jay Lerner’s “An American in Paris” and Mel Brooks’ “The Producers” are exceptions.)

That’s why lauded playwright and screenwriter Kenneth Lonergan could win this race.

Here’s how Original Screenplay is shaking out:

Kenneth Lonergan (“Manchester by the Sea”)

The Oscar could go to the comeback writer-director for his tragic New England family drama.

Lonergan initially struggled with “Margaret” star Matt Damon and John Krasinski’s story idea about a man with a tragic history who must face
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

Damien Chazelle and Kenneth Lonergan are Neck and Neck in Original Screenplay Oscar Race — Here’s Why

  • Indiewire
Damien Chazelle and Kenneth Lonergan are Neck and Neck in Original Screenplay Oscar Race — Here’s Why
When the Academy moved Barry Jenkins’ script for “Moonlight” to the Adapted Screenplay category, the Oscar race for Original Screenplay became a battle between two writer-directors. While Damien Chzelle’s reboot of the Hollywood musical is a strong contender throughout its 14 nominations, and Oscar voters will tick plenty of “La La Land” boxes on their ballots, it’s still rare for an original musical to land a screenplay win. (Alan Jay Lerner’s “An American in Paris” and Mel Brooks’ “The Producers” are exceptions.)

That’s why lauded playwright and screenwriter Kenneth Lonergan could win this race.

Here’s how Original Screenplay is shaking out:

Kenneth Lonergan (“Manchester by the Sea”)

The Oscar could go to the comeback writer-director for his tragic New England family drama.

Lonergan initially struggled with “Margaret” star Matt Damon and John Krasinski’s story idea about a man with a tragic history who must face
See full article at Indiewire »

Mel Brooks: ‘Donald Trump doesn't scare me. He's a song-and-dance man'

One of America’s great comics for the past 60 years, the maker of films Blazing Saddles and The Producers talks about why he can’t take the president seriously – and the White House sidekicks that are no laughing matter

Related: Mel Brooks to receive the 2017 Bafta fellowship

On Sunday night, the legendary director, producer, screenwriter, gag writer, standup comic, composer, impressionist and drummer Mel Brooks will be honoured for a lifetime of comedic excellence by Bafta. Noting that an awful lot of great British comics – Morecambe and Wise, the two Ronnies, even Rowan Atkinson – never made it big in the Us, Brooks says, “I was happy that they got my work in Britain. And I was surprised.”

Continue reading...
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Mel Brooks to be honoured with BAFTA Fellowship at the British Academy Film Awards

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has announced that legendary actor and filmmaker Mel Brooks is set to be honoured with the BAFTA Fellowship at the Ee British Academy Film Awards this Sunday, February 12th.

Brooks, who began his career in the 1940s, is one of only twelve people to have won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony Award, and his C.V. includes the likes of The Producers, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Silent Movie, Spaceballs and Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

“I am not overwhelmed, but I am definitely whelmed by this singular honor,” said Brooks. “To be included among such iconic talents is absolutely humbling. In choosing me for the 2017 Fellowship I think that BAFTA has made a strangely surprising yet ultimately wise decision.”

Mel Brooks is a truly unique and multi-talented filmmaker,” added Amanda Berry, Chief Executive of BAFTA. “We are absolutely thrilled to award him the Fellowship,
See full article at Flickeringmyth »
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