19 items from 2017
Here’s how one pushed the limits of good taste in 1974. James Caan and Alan Arkin run the gamut of racist, raunchy, sexist & homophobic jokes as bad boy cops breaking the rules, and director Richard Rush delivers some impressive, expensive action stunts on location in San Francisco. Does it get a pass because it’s ‘outrageous?’ The public surely thought so. If the star chemistry works the excess won’t matter. With Valerie Harper, Loretta Swit and Jack Kruschen.
1974 / Color / 2:40 widescreen / 113 min. / Street Date August 8, 2017 / available through the WBshop / 21.99
Cinematography: Laszlo Kovacs
Original Music: Dominic Frontiere
Produced and Directed by Richard Rush
‘Buddy’ pictures have been around forever, but I »
- Glenn Erickson
A generic spy story becomes an inspired light comedy with the application of great talent led by the star-power of Walter Matthau. Matthau’s CIA spook hooks up with old flame Glenda Jackson to retaliate against his insufferable CIA boss (Ned Beatty) with a humiliating tell-all book about the agency’s dirty tricks history. Matthau’s sloppy, slouchy master agent is a comic delight; Ronald Neame’s stylishly assured direction makes a deadly spy chase into a wholly pleasant romp.
The Criterion Collection 163
1980 / Color / 2:39 widescreen / 105 min. / available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date August 15, 2017 / 39.95
Production Designer: William J. Creber
Film Editor: Carl Kress
Original Music: Ian Fraser
- Glenn Erickson
24 July 2017 6:30 AM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »
In the mid-1970s, William Goldman took on what seemed like an insurmountable challenge: how to turn the richly detailed manuscript of All the President’s Men, which Robert Redford had just optioned from Watergate reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, into a movie.
The celebrated screenwriter had faced other such challenges: transforming the meandering story of two turn-of-the-century bandits into 1969’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; figuring out how to terrify us with a Nazi fugitive on the loose in contemporary Manhattan, in 1974’s Marathon Man. (Will a dental visit ever be the same again?) In each case, he succeeded, winning an Oscar »
- Stephen Galloway
The classical western exists as an ideal sandbox for stories of heroism, in which white hats can immediately separate our protagonists from the black-hatted antagonists. Occasionally, though, we have a revisionist western that questions and defies the well-trodden patriarchal confines of the genre, as if looking at an old image from a tilted perspective and finding something new.
Sometimes, the characters don’t fit into the dusty old boxes occupied by so many western heroes and heroines. The hero robs and kills to stay alive, frightened and overwhelmed by this strange, new frontier. Other times, the stereotypical Western landscape disappears, blanketed in snow. Horses drive their hooves through ice-covered puddles. Wind screams past bone-thin trees — manifest destiny frozen over, encasing the American dream in ice.
In the case of Sofia Coppola’s newest, The Beguiled, gender and power roles reverse: an injured Union soldier (Colin Farrell) turns up at a girl’s school, an arrival which breeds intense sexual tension and rivalry among the women (Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning). According to our review, the movie is “primarily based on the 1966 book by Thomas Cullinan,” and “appears, at first glance, to be a remake of Don Siegel’s 1971 film adaptation rather than any sort of new reading of the original text. Coppola, of course, is far too clever for that.”
In celebration of The Beguiled, we’ve decided to take a look at the finest examples of the revisionist western. Enjoy, and please include your own favorites in the comments.
Robert Ford (Casey Affleck) idolized the legendary outlaw Jesse James (Brad Pitt), growing up hearing campfire stories about the man. Ford loved James so much that he eventually willed himself into the man’s life story. You cannot tell James’s story without also telling Ford’s. These two tragic lives are irrevocably linked by Ford’s betrayal. The film’s dryly antiseptic voiceover narration confides that Ford grew to regret his violent ways. The same goes for James, who at one point beats a child and then weeps into his horse’s neck, unable to live with his own deeds. While James’ propensity for violence is a deeply cut character flaw, Pitt plays the outlaw like an emotionally wounded teenager. His jovial sense of humor cloaks a vindictive and self-loathing interior. Whether Jesse James hurts himself or someone else, there is always a witness looking on with wide eyes. After James’ murder, Ford became a celebrity, touring the country reenacting the shooting. But Ford gained his prominence by killing a beloved folk hero. And so, one day, a man named Edward Kelly walked into Ford’s saloon with a shotgun and took revenge for James’s murder. Unlike the aftermath of Ford’s deed, people leapt to Kelly’s defense, collecting over 7000 signatures for a petition, leading to his pardon. America hated Robert Ford because he killed Jesse James. They loved Edward Kelly because he killed Robert Ford.
Robert Altman’s largely forgotten and often funny western about egotistical showman Buffalo Bill Cody (Paul Newman) treats its lead without respect, eagerly mocking him at every opportunity. Known across America as they best tracker of man and animals alive, Cody runs Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, a rodeo-like performance of cowboy-feats, ranging from simple rope tricks to the trick-shots of the legendary Annie Oakley. However, Cody is a fraud, a walking accumulation of lies and tall-tales. When Cody gets the chance to hire Chief Sitting Bull, the man who defeated General Custer at Little Big Horn, he’s thrilled, until Sitting Bull refuses to participate in his offensive show. Contrasted with phony Buffalo Bill Cody, Sitting Bull drips with dignified authenticity, totally uninterested in living up to the ignorant public’s racist image of his people. While the manufactured “reality” of Cody’s shows gets applause from white audiences, the stoic realness of Sitting Bull initially receives jeers, until something occurs to the crowd: this isn’t showmanship; this is the real thing. Later, when Cody and his gang form a posse, he hastily removes his show attire and searches through his wardrobe, cursing: “Where’s my real jacket?” So utterly consumed by his own public image, Cody can no longer locate his true self. Altman’s film is a rare western with a lead character who never succeeds, changes, or learns from his mistakes, always remaining a hopelessly pompous horse’s ass.
As we meet the legendary Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) he’s scoping out a bank, recently renovated to include heavy iron bars over every window and bolted-locks on every door. He asks the guard what happened to the old bank, which displayed such architectural beauty. “People kept robbing it,” the guard says. “Small price to pay for beauty,” Butch replies. It’s a running theme in revisionist westerns to reveal the truth behind the legend. The changing times had rendered bandits on horseback obsolete. But Butch Cassidy and his partner, the Sundance Kid (Robert Redford) didn’t see the end coming until the future was already upon them. After barely evading a super-posse (to use a term coined by screenwriter William Goldman) led by a ruthless bounty hunter, they escape to Bolivia with Etta (Katherine Ross) Sundance’s girl, where their criminal ways are similarly received. What began as a vacation away from their troubles slowly becomes a permanent getaway run, sowing seeds of inevitable tragedy. Etta sees what Butch and Sundance cannot: the end. “We’re not going home anymore, are we?” Etta tearfully asks Sundance, informing him that she has no plans to stick around to watch them die. George Roy Hill’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is a tearful celebration of a pair of old dogs too foolish to learn new tricks.
Dead Man (Jim Jarmusch)
The gorgeous and haunting Dead Man opens with a soot-faced Crispin Glover trilling as he points out the window of a train: “They’re shooting buffalo,” he cries. “Government said, it killed a million of them last year alone.” The American machine greedily consumes the landscape, leaving smoldering devastation in its path, while a stone-faced accountant named William Blake (Johnny Depp) travels to the hellish town of Machine, where he’s promised a job. Unfortunately, there’s no job at the end of the line for this seemingly educated man, blissfully unaware of his namesake, the poet William Blake. After taking a bullet to the chest, Blake wanders this dying western landscape as if in a dream, guided by Nobody (Gary Farmer) a Native American raised in England after getting kidnapped and paraded around as a sideshow attraction for whites. At one point, Blake stumbles upon three hunters by a camp fire, one of which, played by Iggy Pop, wears a muddy dress and bonnet like a twisted schoolmarm. Writer-director Jim Jarmusch’s twist on the western (accompanied by Robby Müller’s flawless cinematography) hums with textured period detail and vivid costume design, the accumulation of which achieves an eerily stylized tone.
The spirit of Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained is in the sequence scored by Jim Croce’s “I’ve Got a Name.” Django (Jamie Foxx), now a free man, removes the old saddle from his horse’s back, a saddle originally procured by a white slaver, the animal’s previous owner. He then mounts in its place, his own saddle personalized with an embroidered D. His freedom is still new and unfamiliar but, Django is more than willing to grasp those reigns. What works best about the film is how Tarantino’s screenplay embraces the politics of the Antebellum South in a fashion carefully ignored by every other western of its time. The dialogue, Tarantino’s most applauded talent, wheels a careful turn between a sly comedy-of-manners and a bluntly provocative historical indictment, always landing on a shameless exploitation cinema influenced need for violent catharsis. Tarantino’s channeling of Spaghetti Western violence, with the gore cranked up to a level far beyond that of even Sergio Corbucci’s bloodiest work, delivers tenfold on that catharsis, splattering the pristine white walls of Candyland plantation bright red.
Dripping with transgressive and bizarre imagery, El Topo embraces every taboo imaginable with a breathless zeal. Existing somewhere between Midnight Movie oddity and art-house epic, Alejandro Jodorowsky’s second feature envisions the west as an unknowable landscape, dotted with peculiar and grotesque characters, such as a legless gunfighter who rides around on the back of an armless man. Describing the film in narrative terms, beat by beat, would be pointless, although we follow a rider in black, the titular El Topo (which means The Mole) who crosses the desert with a naked boy on the saddle. Though we spend more time with El Topo, his son is the heart of the film, this warped and subversive pseudo-fable exploring the cyclical nature of life. Jodorowsky’s painterly eye for composition lends individual shots with arresting and breathtaking resonance. With less than subtle biblical imagery scattered throughout, including a marvelous sequence involving a religion based around the game of Russian Roulette, Jodorowsky’s film feels at times like a twisted celebration of mysticism, sampling notes from Catholicism, Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism. It’s ending, a chaotic, dream-like burst of violence, adds a scathing gut-punch to an already overwhelming experience. There is no other western quite like El Topo, to say the least.
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- Tony Hinds
We may never see the likes of Paul Newman again. But we can at least hear the blue-eyed star of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid one more time after it was announced that Newman, who died in 2008, will return as the voice of old-time racer Doc Hudson in forthcoming animated adventure Cars 3.
Continue reading »
- Ben Child
Chicago – The familiar character actor and voiceover artist, Sam Elliott, has been breaking out in that latter part of his career. Known for his cowboy roles, smooth bass-tone voice and epic mustache, the icon has been seen lately in diverse roles in “Grandma,” “Digging for Fire,” “Grace and Frankie” and his latest – and perhaps greatest – “The Hero.”
Photo credit: The Orchard
“The Hero” is co-written (with Marc Basch) and directed by Brett Haley, who had previously directed Elliott, opposite Blythe Danner, in “I’ll See You in my Dreams.” Haley must have been inspired, because he wrote “The Hero” expressly for Elliott, and uses the actor’s cowboy character past as a basis for the role of Lee Hayden, an old actor with a broken past, and a health condition that changes everything. Elliott is masterful as the lead in the film, »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
Thank you for the questions - I'm flattered that you're interested. It's a nice feeling - not just that people are enjoying the show but also that they want to know more about the people who made it.
Do you put milk first in your tea or last? And do you take sugar?
Last. And I never take sugar in tea.
Have you ever been to Nando’s?
Yes! There's an excellent one in Dorchester, right next to the cinema.
How tall are you?
Are you planning to write anything in a contemporary setting, outside of your direct experience? I believe there is too much reverence for »
- Guardian Staff
Welcome to “Playback,” a Variety podcast bringing you exclusive conversations with the talents behind many of today’s hottest films.
Icon is a word that gets thrown around a lot but it seems safe to say Sam Elliott qualifies. Even the man’s voice is iconic, which was the entry-point for his role in Brett Haley’s new film, “The Hero.” Elliott stars as a voice actor searching for that next gear in life, and it’s the kind of character he admits he doesn’t get to play very often. Deep into a nearly 50-year career, he cherishes these kinds of opportunities — so much so that he’s actually taken to calling the role of Lee Hayden a gift, rather than an opportunity.
He put plenty of himself into the part, but he cautions that there are glaring differences. Still, he could relate to Lee’s plight, both in »
- Kristopher Tapley
“Think ya used enough dynamite there, Butch?”
Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid screens at St. Louis’ fabulous Hi-Pointe Theater this weekend as part of their Classic Film Series. It’s Saturday, June 10th at 10:30am at the Hi-Pointe located at 1005 McCausland Ave., St. Louis, Mo 63117. The film will be introduced by Harry Hamm, movie reviewer for Kmox. Admission is only $5
Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid (1969) is a Western based loosely on fact as it tells the story of Wild West outlaws Robert LeRoy Parker, known to history as Butch Cassidy and his partner Harry Longabaugh, the “Sundance Kid” as they migrate to Bolivia while on the run from the law in search of a more successful criminal career.It stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid respectively,together with Katharine Ross.It was written by William Goldman and directed by George Roy Hill. »
- Tom Stockman
Neil Calloway wonders why every film has to be so long now…
With the rumour that Justice League is going to clock in at just shy of three hours, it’s time to ask when did movies start getting really long?
Of course, there have always been long movies, but back then films came with an intermission, now we’re expected to sit through 170 minutes with no respite. There are a couple of reasons for this, I reckon. Though Zack Snyder has denied the movie will be that long, it sounds about right.
One is that with franchise films, each instalment has to be bigger and better, both metaphorically and literally. Everyone wants more action sequences than the last, and everyone wants more characters, too, which is where the second reason comes in.
Every actor wants to be the lead in a film and to receive top billing, but that »
- Neil Calloway
When attending South by Southwest every year, there’s at least one press junket that goes above-and-beyond. Food, activities – the works. This year, it was for Free Fire – Ben Wheatley’s feature-length shootout where a gun deal goes butts-up. I’d already caught his masterpiece at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it quickly become one of my favorite movies of 2016 (and now, by release date scheduling, 2017). Such a crazy concept billed on 70s action sleaziness, but Wheatley executes each trigger-pull beautifully. Read about my love for this maniac shoot-em-up right here, or accept the following blurb as gospel:
Free Fire is a relentless genre assault of bullets, laughs and personality, like a pseudo action movie that cranks intensity to 11 and rips off the knob.
Needless to say, the only thing better than watching Free Fire would be participating in a non-lethal shootout with the film’s cast and creators. »
- Matt Donato
Donnie Darko is one of my all time favorite movies and the news from Arror Films has me stoked!
The movie will be shown in select theaters beginning March 31st. Check out all the dates and times from the official releases below.
From The Press Release
Arrow Films has announced the March 31st domestic theatrical debut of the 4K restoration of Richard Kelly's cult hit Donnie Darko. Following a wildly successful re-release in the UK for its fifteenth anniversary, the film will return to theaters in cities across the United States. Fifteen years before "Stranger Things" combined science-fiction, Spielberg-ian touches and 80s nostalgia to much acclaim, Kelly set the template and the benchmark with his debut feature, Donnie Darko. Initially beset with distribution problems, »
Arrow Films recently celebrated the 15th anniversary of Donnie Darko with a new 4K restoration, and after taking it on the road in the UK, Arrow Films has now announced a Us theatrical re-release of the cult film:
Press Release: Los Angeles, CA - Arrow Films has announced the March 31st domestic theatrical debut of the 4K restoration of Richard Kelly's cult hit Donnie Darko. Following a wildly successful re-release in the UK for its fifteenth anniversary, the film will return to theaters in cities across the United States. Fifteen years before "Stranger Things" combined science-fiction, Spielberg-ian touches and 80s nostalgia to much acclaim, Kelly set the template and the benchmark with his debut feature, Donnie Darko. Initially beset with distribution problems, it would slowly find its audience and emerge as arguably the first cult classic of the new millennium. The 4K restoration of Donnie Darko will premiere »
- Derek Anderson
Over the last few decades – thanks in part to movies and TV shows like Dazed and Confused, Boogie Nights, Anchorman and HBO's Vinyl – there’s been a pronounced pop cultural tendency to reduce the 1970s to little more than a fabulous parade of campy signifiers like mirrored disco balls, brightly-painted muscle cars, platform shoes, bellbottomed jeans, tube tops, Afro hairdos, pornstaches and piles of cocaine.
It's an understandable impulse, of course. (Who doesn't love Afros or piles of cocaine?) But taking such a superficial approach to the seventies means glossing over the grittier, »
Brendon Connelly Feb 23, 2017
Working out what stars go in what order on a movie poster is quite a job. And causes many, many arguments...
Billing can be important to an actor's career. Arguably, it's more important to their ego. Most of all, though, it's cross-eyed dead crucial to their agent. The order in which actor's names appear on a poster might be contested as if it's a matter of life or death. It's no exaggeration to say that people have been sent to the electric chair with less wrangling or dispute than a handful of movie star names have been splashed onto a poster.
To be 'top of the bill' originally meant, literally, that your name is at the top of the bill – i.e. the poster. In variety theatre or music hall terms, this implies that you would take the stage last of all, the big attraction that the »
This past weekend, the American Society of Cinematographers awarded Greig Fraser for his contribution to Lion as last year’s greatest accomplishment in the field. Of course, his achievement was just a small sampling of the fantastic work from directors of photography, but it did give us a stronger hint at what may be the winner on Oscar night. Ahead of the ceremony, we have a new video compilation that honors all the past winners in the category at the Academy Awards
Created by Burger Fiction, it spans the stunning silent landmark Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans all the way up to the end of Emmanuel Lubezki‘s three-peat win for The Revenant. Aside from the advancements in color and aspect ration, it’s a thrill to see some of cinema’s most iconic shots side-by-side. However, the best way to experience the evolution of the craft is by »
- Jordan Raup
Whether it’s the golden era of spaghetti westerns or the more blood soaked appeal of the Tarantino films, there’s no denying that Hollywood loves the appeal of the old west. From books, to video games, and even casino slots, the world loves a good western. We take a look at some of the greatest films in history!
Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid
Without a doubt, one of the most popular westerns in cinematic history, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was released in 1969. Directed by George Roy Hill and written by William Goldman the film is loosely based on a true story. It tells the story of the outlaws Robert LeRoy Parker, known as Butch Cassidy and his partner Harry Longabaugh, the Sundance Kid, who are on the run after a string of train robberies. The pair, along with Longabaugh ‘s lover Etta Place flee to Bolivia in »
- The Hollywood News
If a 60-foot saguaro cactus could talk, it would almost certainly sound like Sam Elliott. At 72 years old, the lanky character actor has played his share of bikers, hippies, and cowboys, but never the hero — at least, never on the level of Lee Hayden, the faded-glory Western star he portrays in Brett Haley’s “The Hero.” This affectionately crafted project offers Elliott the most substantial big-screen role of his career, though sadly, that’s not saying an awful lot for an actor who was passed over to play Indiana Jones, and is instead best known for drawling such catchphrases as “The Dude abides” and “Beef: It’s what for dinner.”
Fortunately for Elliott, “The Hero” targets those old enough to remember his early roles (like the clean-shaven card sharp in the opening scene of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,”) and particularly memorable later ones (the silver-‘stashed seducer in »
- Peter Debruge
“Po” is about a single father raising a child with autism. Bacharach’s daughter Nikki, born in 1966, was not diagnosed until late in life with Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism. She committed suicide in 2007.
“I loved this kid from the time she was born,” Bacharach told Variety.”We thought we were dealing with adolescent behavioral problems. Had I understood what it was, and what she was dealing with, if somebody had told me, I wish it could have been better,” he said.
- Jon Burlingame
19 items from 2017
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