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Dustin Hoffman has taken 45 years as both one of our most acclaimed actors, and as a major box office draw, to step behind the camera. In fact, that's not strictly true; Hoffman was the original director of his terminally underrated 1978 crime picture "Straight Time," but struck by indecisiveness early in production, made way for Ulu Grosbard instead. But now, nearly 35 years on, the legendary star has finally completed his debut directorial effort, "Quartet," an adaptation of the play by Ronald Harwood ("The Pianist"). A modest little comedy about retired British opera singers, it's not immediately an intuitive choice for Hoffman, the man who starred in "The Graduate," "Midnight Cowboy" and "Straw Dogs," among others. But it's easy enough to see how it happened; the film's a love letter to retired performers of any kind, and particularly the British near-legends he's assembled for his cast, and the »
- Oliver Lyttelton
Dustin Hoffman, as an actor, has essayed some of the most iconic and edgy roles to hit the big screen: counterculture hero Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate, Ratso Rizzo in Midnight Cowboy, the nebbish turned avenger in Straw Dogs, Lenny Bruce, Marathon Man, Carl Bernstein, among many others. But for his first film as a director, he has chosen a subject matter and milieu far, far afield from this previous work: the genteel and very, very British comedy-drama Quartet, based on a 1999 play by Ronald Harwood, who also scripted. As a first-time filmmaker at the age of 75, Hoffman turns his camera lens on characters around his own age, who are similarly dealing with life in its latter stages, staring mortality squarely in the...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
Last night, the 35th annual Kennedy Center Honored Dustin Hoffman among others. We are very proud of Dustin Hoffman. His new film and directorial debut,”Quartet,” is doing very well and it has been recognized by many organizations. Dustin Hoffman has long harbored a desire to direct a film, and having only ever done so on stage, he can officially call himself a Director this year with the release of his first feature film “Quartet.” Debuting at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, “Quartet” stars Dame Maggie Smith, Sir Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins, Billy Connolly, and Sir Michael Gambon. Based on the play by Ronald Harwood, the film follows four retired opera singers as they attempt to put on a concert to save their beloved home — and celebrate Verdi’s birthday in the process. Of his experience with the first time director, Connolly explains, “Dustin’s a brilliant director because he’s such a brilliant actor, »
- email@example.com (Joseph Braverman)
They're legendary talents from different disciplines. and they're all ending the year with the same, very important date.
Musicians, a singular ballerina, an iconic actor, and an after-hours television fixture are in the presidential box for the 35th Annual Kennedy Center Honors. Taped at the start of the month in Washington, D.C., the ever-classy ceremony will have its yearly CBS telecast Wednesday, Dec. 26.
As she has since 2003, Caroline Kennedy presides over the event. Performers ranging from Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin to Bonnie Raitt, Kid Rock, Foo Fighters and Heart turn out to salute the honorees.
And just why are they the honorees this year? Here's our take on the reasons each is being presented with the medal generally considered the highest entertainment award America has to give.
The 73-year-old Academy Award winner was seen at a Toys 'R' Us in Century City, Calif, shutting down the store with just one other holiday shopper, the New York Post reported.
According to an eyewitness, Voight was the last customer, accompanied by a young woman, shopping for his grandchildren, as he was said to be ordering tons of gifts for Maddox, Pax, Zahara, Shiloh, Knox and Vivienne.
The 'Midnight Cowboy' star also made sure to buy tons of batteries to go with them, along with a foosball. »
- Lohit Reddy
Dustin Hoffman on being difficult, the movies he didn't make and why he's finally directing
Dustin Hoffman is on the phone to his wife. I know I shouldn't eavesdrop, but I can't help it. It's the voice. "Where's your meeting? Good luck. Bye-bye." So slow and deep and rich, like whipped cream mixed with gravel. Even when he started out 45 years ago in The Graduate, as virginal Benjamin Braddock about to be educated in the ways of love and lust, he had the voice. Hoffman is an extraordinarily convincing actor – when he sweats crazily in Straw Dogs, the sweat's for real; you can almost smell him as crippled hobo Ratso in Midnight Cowboy; and when he steps into a frock and heels for Tootsie, you know he's really learned to walk a lady's walk – but in the end it's down to the voice.
And to the choices he has made. »
- Simon Hattenstone
Every year the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announces its Golden Globe nominations, and every year we wonder why this rococo freakshow matters. In years past, clunkers like The Tourist and Burlesque have been nominated for Best Picture, and to the HFPA's credit, neither of those ridiculous movies ended up winning Best Picture. Unfortunately, the five I've listed below either won Best Comedy/Musical or Best Drama, and you'll likely agree that these embarrassments remain stinky all these years later.
Here they are, the five worst movies to win the biggest Golden Globe of the night.
I'm obviously an elite-level Madonna fan, but I'm also the first to admit that Evita is un-special. Madonna's performance is serviceable and Antonio Banderas' is a bit better, but to me Andrew Lloyd Webber's rather muted spectacle is the least interesting thing about Madonna in the '90s. And yes, I remember "Nothing Really Matters. »
The films of Jerry Schatzberg, particularly the key works he directed in the 1970s, have been undervalued in the eyes of many critics who, in their survey of American cinema have elevated other directors to iconic status. (He is not alone – Michael Ritchie is another director richly deserving of re-evaluation.) So this brief retrospective, which includes a masterclass with the filmmaker, is a very welcome addition to the third edition of the American Film Festival.
Although Schatzberg has not made a film for some years, his work continues with his photography. In these images one can still see what made his film work so compelling; like other great directors of the 1970s, Schatzberg's attention to faces and how they contrast with the world around them creates an intimacy between the image and spectator. One can see it in Morgan Freeman's face in the most recent film screening 1987's Street Smart (Schatzberg was one of the first directors to really utilise the actor's versatility and power). It is also present in Faye Dunaway's pained expressions in Schatzberg's devastating feature debut Puzzle of a Downfall Child (1970). Stripped of the glamour that most audiences came to expect from the star of Bonnie and Clyde (1968), Dunaway presents a compelling and convincing portrait of a model suffering from some kind of mental breakdown, detailing the minutiae of her illness, through which reality and the imaginary blur.
The remaining two films in the programme have come to define Schatzberg's film work. Panic in Needle Park (1971) is a searing portrait of drug addiction that introduced the world to Al Pacino. Scarecrow (1973), in stark contrast, is a road movie about two drifters. the film was made between Pacino's star-making appearances as Michael Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola's Godfather films, and also stars Gene Hackman, fresh from his Oscar-winning performance in The French Connection (1972).
Panic in Needle Park, whose title is taken from a square in uptown New York that was popular amongst drug addicts, is one of the most intense films made about drug addiction. It continues a trend that began with Otto Preminger's 1956 drama The Man with the Golden Arm, in its explicit detailing of the destructive impact of heroin addiction. In terms of its representation of New York life, it falls somewhere between John Schlesinger's Midnight Cowboy (1969) and the more corrosive Taxi Driver (1976) in recording the city's descent from purgatory to some kind of hell – on film, at least. Al Pacino, who plays Bobby, acts with a freshness that stands in stark contrast to his later, more mannered performances. In his first major role, he is surprisingly comfortable in front of the camera. Schatzberg allows him the space to explore Bobby's constantly changing personality, whilst never losing the intimacy he creates between the characters and audience.
Scarecrow is more lyrical, particularly in the interplay between character and landscape. Ostensibly a road movie, the film moves from jocular interplay between Pacino and Hackman's characters, before turning darker, as one of the men's mental instability consumes them. The film picked up the top prize, the Palme d'Or at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival, worthy recognition of the film's power and Schatzberg's place as the cinematic laureate of the downtrodden.
Ian Haydn Smith
Aff English Daily Editor
- Ian Haydn Smith
Chicago – Relate the now iconic term “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” and most likely a off-tune rendering of the famous rock song by U2 will follow. But the title was originally expressed in director John Schlesinger’s groundbreaking film of 1971, “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” recently released on Blu-ray through The Criterion Collection.
Blu-ray Rating: 4.5/5.0
The film has notoriety because it featured the first same-sex kiss between men in movie history (Peter Finch and Murray Head), but put aside that then-shocking expression and there is a psychologically complex film about unresolved relationship issues and identity. The drama is exquisitely cast, set against a post-Swingin’ 1960s London, when it seemed like the whole culture was waking up with a hangover from all that social change. Peter Finch, best known for his final role in 1976 of the mad news anchorman in “Network,” anchors this film with a passionate communication of middle age in both progress and regress. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
Review by Barbara Snitzer
Casting By is a surprisingly entertaining documentary. Its title is somewhat misleading as it’s doesn’t really explain the occupation of casting directors, rather it is a valentine to Marion Dougherty, the woman who coined the term as she carved out a unique role when she began working in the entertainment business. Ironically, she wanted to be an actress herself, but didn’t pursue a career, believing it would be too difficult. Fortunately, an entry level position at NBC producing live plays sponsored by Kraft proved a better fit for her theatrical instincts. As she was living in New York City, she had ample opportunity and desire to go to the theater where she discovered the talent whom she cast. The film has a treasure trove of footage of the first roles given to future stars, the most entertaining one is a 22 year-old Warren Beatty »
- Movie Geeks
Directed by: Marc Webb
Running Time: 2 hrs 16 mins
Due Out: November 9, 2012
The Amazing Spider-Man Second Screen App, available exclusively for the Sony Tablet™ S, Sony Xperia™ Tablet S and Apple iPad. The Second Screen App, which syncs only with the Blu-ray Disc™, transforms the movie-watching experience, giving users behind-the-scenes access into the amazing world of Spider-Man throughout the film. Additionally, the App will unlock new content each week with all content available by the November 9th release of The Amazing Spider-Man on Blu-ray.
Plot: Peter Parker (Garfield) tries to find out what happened to his parents, which leads him to Dr. Curt Connors (Ifans) and some mysterious genetic testing with other species.
Who’S It For? Superhero fans, and those who can still tap into some teenage angst. »
- Jeff Bayer
Forgive the self-promotion as we draw your attention to Clothes on Film’s essay in the book Hollywood Costume edited by Deborah Nadoolman Landis, published to accompany her exhibition at the V&A.
Even without the involvement of Clothes on Film editor Chris Laverty, we would still be recommending this publication wholeheartedly. Firstly, it is absolutely beautiful; the kind of text that university students will actually want to pore over for their coursework. That is not to say it is purely educational, but emphasis is strongly on the nitty-gritty use and conservation of costume. What gives the book a novel twist is Landis recruiting actual Hollywood costume designers to discuss their work, including Jeffrey Kurland (Inception), Kristin M. Burke (Seeking a Friend for the End of the World), Joanna Johnston (War Horse) and even a conversation with the legendary Ann Roth (Midnight Cowboy).
Hollywood Costume is available now in all »
- Chris Laverty
We love crime movies. We may go on and on about Scorsese’s ability to incorporate Italian neo-realism techniques into Mean Streets (1973), the place of John Huston’s The Asphalt Jungle (1950) in the canon of postwar noir, The Godfather (1972) as a socio-cultural commentary on the distortion of the ideals of the American dream blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda…but that ain’t it.
We love crime movies because we love watching a guy who doesn’t have to behave, who doesn’t have to – nor care to – put a choker on his id and can let his darkest, most visceral impulses run wild. Some smart-mouth gopher tells hood Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci), “Go fuck yourself,” in Scorsese’s Goodfellas (1990), and does Tommy roll with it? Does he spit back, “Fuck me? Nah, fuck you!” Does he go home and tell his mother?
He pulls a .45 cannon out from »
- Bill Mesce
It's important to not only view a film in the context of current societal norms, but when viewing older films it's just as important to think of them in the context of how it would have been perceived when it was originally released. This is easy enough when it comes to visual effects, but when it comes to societal norms and thematic material it's importance goes beyond what's visually believable. Released in 1971 on the heels of the unanticipated success of Midnight Cowboy, John Schlesinger's Sunday Bloody Sunday centers on a trio of Londoners. Daniel Hirsh (Peter Finch) is a middle-aged, Jewish doctor, Alex (Glenda Jackson) is a thirty-something divorcee and between the two is Bob (Murray Head), a young artist who is sleeping with both of them. Bob isn't keeping his love affair secret from either Daniel or Alex, both of which do their best to understand while craving his attention and affection. »
- Brad Brevet
This week on DVD/Blu-ray: Stanley Kubrick's oft-ignored feature debut, Kirby Dick's shocking expose on rape in the U.S. military, the latest from Danish troublemaker Mads Brügger, John Schlesinger's acclaimed follow-up to "Midnight Cowboy" and Steven Soderbergh's summer sleeper hit. #1. "Fear and Desire" (35Mm Archival Restoration) Chances are you've never laid eyes on Stanley Kubrick's feature debut "Fear and Desire," and we don't blame you. Since its original release in 1953, Kubrick's black-and-white war film has rarely screened in public, and it has never been given a proper video release in any format. That changes today with Kino Lorber Inc.'s Blu-ray release of the film -- brought back to glowing life via a stunning restoration by the Library of Congress. An existential war film that recalls Kubrick's own "Paths of Glory" and "Full Metal Jacket," "Fear »
- Nigel M Smith
This week offers a wide range of titles including Criterion's presentation of John Schlesinger's Sunday Bloody Sunday, a new anniversary edition of Ridley Scott's Blade Runner and then Steven Soderbergh's latest film Magic Mike. On top of that I have several new releases added to the calendar including The Bourne Legacy, Butter, The Paperboy and Criterion's upcoming release of Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby. But before we get to the upcoming releases, let's check out this week's new releases. Magic Mike I wonder, can Magic Mike make my top ten for the year? I haven't taken a look at it a second time yet, but I hope to before the year is up. I was looking through my reviews for the year so far and I have given out 11 B+ grades (which seems like a lot) already and Magic Mike was one of them and one of »
- Brad Brevet
The more time has passed since the release of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the more its reputation seems to have grown. It’s gone from being the black sheep of the Bond series – a misstep that Connery’s return to the role all but erased - to the instalment frequently cited as the best in the series. There’s a reason for this – it’s really very good, and it’s only taken until now for everyone to realise it.
No James Bond was ever put under the same level of scrutiny put on George Lazenby, and no other James Bond was ever made into a punch line like George Lazenby. When Sean Connery left the series after You Only Live Twice, »
From Dorothy's shoes to Christian Bale's batsuit, costume is a crucial, although often unnoticed, part of film. Bee Wilson takes a tour of Hollywood's wardrobe department at the V&A's starry new exhibition
Carole Lombard "was just a tootsie when she came to Paramount," a movie insider once remarked. What transformed Lombard into a 1930s screwball goddess, the most highly paid in Hollywood in her day, were her gorgeous costumes, flowing, ornate and bias-cut. Designer Travis Banton "saw things in her even she didn't know she had". It was said of Banton that he could take a girl to lunch and instantly see what qualities he needed to accentuate. In Lombard's case, he weighted the gowns to drag backwards, giving her the elongated stature of a star. One of Lombard's most dazzling Banton dresses can be seen in the forthcoming Hollywood Costume show at the V&A. It is »
- Bee Wilson
By Allen Gardner
Prometheus (20th Century Fox) Ridley Scott’s quasi-prequel to his 1979 classic “Alien” has an intergalactic exploratory team (Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba) arriving on a uncharted planet, where they discover what appears to be a dormant alien spacecraft and what might be the first discovery of intelligent life outside of Earth. Of course, everything goes straight to hell before you can scream “Don’t touch that egg!” Sumptuous visuals and strong performances from the cast (not to mention a nearly-perfect first half) can’t compensate for gaping plot and logic holes that nearly sink the proceedings in the film’s protracted second half. It feels as though some very crucial footage wound up on the cutting room floor. Perhaps, as with “Alien” and “Aliens” we’ll see a “Director’s Cut” of “Prometheus” arriving on DVD within the next year. In the meantime, »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
Every month cinephiles around the world rejoice with the release of a new set of classic and artistically important films on both DVD and Blu-ray by the Criterion Collection. Their limited editions often feature interviews with filmmakers, hard-to-find archival footage, and insight into the film's creation not found anywhere else. This month Criterion Collection has Roman Polanski's beloved Rosemary's Baby, Wong Kar-Wai's In the Mood for Love, Joshua Marston's tale of feuding families in The Forgiveness of Blood, John Schlesinger's follow-up to Midnight Cowboy, the bi-sexual love triangle of Sunday Bloody Sunday, and the next installment of the Eclipse Series featuring three films by Gainsborough Pictures.
For the full details on extras, aspect ratios, and more, read on.
- Lex Walker
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