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The director tells how he transposed the violent spaghetti westerns of Sergio Corbucci to the antebellum south
Acclaimed in the United States and due for release here next month, Quentin Tarantino's western Django Unchained is the violent story of a slave on a mission to free his wife. Tarantino's biggest influences for the film, he says, were the spaghetti westerns of the Italian director Sergio Corbucci.
Any of the western directors who had something to say created their own version of the west: Anthony Mann created a west that had room for the characters played by Jimmy Stewart and Gary Cooper; Sam Peckinpah had his own west; so did Sergio Leone. Sergio Corbucci did, too, but his was the most violent, surreal and pitiless landscape of any director in the history of the genre. His characters roam a brutal, sadistic west.
Corbucci's heroes can't really be called heroes. »
As an action woman in a medium ruled by men, the Oscar-winning director has always bucked convention. But does her new film about the hunt for Bin Laden defend the use of torture?
Next month, the new Kathryn Bigelow movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden opens in British cinemas. It's called Zero Dark Thirty and it arrives in eye-catching style, trailing a great noisy convoy of criticism, praise and controversy.
When production was first announced, several Republican politicians and various rightwing groups accused the film of being a propaganda weapon for the re-election of Barack Obama; the idea was that a film about the apprehension and killing of Bin Laden would reflect well on the president.
The conservative watchdog Judicial Watch claimed that the Obama administration had unfairly and improperly given Bigelow and her writer-co-producer, Mark Boal, access to classified information. And a Republican-directed pressure group, involving former CIA officers, »
- Andrew Anthony
It's inevitable that as time goes by, we will lose some of our favorite stars. And yet, year after year, it never gets any easier to look back on the great entertainers who had died over the previous 12 months.
Still, it's important to remember the legacies of the people who enhanced our own lives over the years with their talent, style and love of cinema. Here's a look at some of the many wonderful Hollywood talents who passed away in 2012.
One of the most successful, beloved and influential pop stars of the last quarter century, Whitney Houston also became a Hollywood power in the '90s thanks to her roles in blockbusters like "The Bodyguard" and "The Preacher's Wife." Though she had her very public ups and downs over the past decade, Houston was in the process of making a career comeback on the big screen with the musical "Sparkle. »
- Scott Harris
Intrigued by the prospect of a romantic drama about future first lady Hillary Rodham as she vacillates between her career and the attentions of a charming young suitor from Arkansas? Prefer the sound of a period piece about the early artistic struggles of one Ted Geisel, Aka Dr Seuss? Maybe the stirring, gin-soaked tale of film-maker Sam Peckinpah's bid to revive a ruined big-screen career sounds more up your celluloid street? All of the above could find their way into cinemas in the coming years after they were included on the annual "Black List" of the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood.
This year's list was released by film executive Franklin Leonard, who has been compiling it since 2005. The 2012 edition consists of 78 screenplays that more than 290 film executives have voted their »
- Ben Child
"We are rough men and used to rough ways." — Bob Younger
Cowboys, stage coaches, gunfighters, saloons... it's hard to imagine anything more American than the trappings of Westerns, yet many of the most memorable movies of the genre were actually shot in Europe with mostly European casts and crews. In fact, the enduring popularity of Westerns owes a great deal to Italian director Sergio Leone, who not only introduced the world to a then-unknown squinty-eyed TV actor named Clint Eastwood, but started a craze with his "Spaghetti Westerns" that resulted in more than 600 Westerns being produced in Europe between 1960 and 1980 while American movie studios slowed down or stopped producing Westerns altogether.
Whatever the origin of the movie or the nationality of the director behind the camera, a good Western is one that transports us back to a wild, dangerous time, to a place where the people are nearly as harsh »
- BrentJS Sprecher
A lot of people die in Seven Psychopaths. It is brutal and it is bloody and it revels in its own excess: throats are slashed, people are burned alive, women are shot in the stomach, men get blown to pieces. CBS, which funded the film, was delighted when it read the screenplay, director Martin McDonagh's follow-up to the much-loved In Bruges. Delighted, except for the bit where someone kills a dog. Hollywood doesn't like dog-killing, and the studio suggested it would be prudent for him to remove that bit. Not a word about the women who die horribly and slowly, but a dog? You can't kill a dog. "Of course," says McDonagh. "It's rule number one."
Martin McDonagh is not in the business of taking notes from financiers. »
- Alex Godfrey
As he has before, Edgar Chaput has inspired me with one of his pieces, this one – part of Sos’s recent Bond Fest — concerning the loopy 1967 Casino Royale. As I commented on Edgar’s piece, I didn’t disagree that Royale was a royal mess after having passed through the hands of one director after another (and one screenwriter after another as well). Mess though it was, however, I found it – as I wrote – a “fascinating mess.” Maybe that’s just a holdover from seeing it as a 12-year-old when so much about the movie seemed so dizzyingly novel at the time: it’s casual sexuality, bawdy humor, wink-to-the-audience jokes, hallucinogenic visuals, Burt Bacharach’s poptastic score. In a way, the fact that the movie didn’t make much sense and caromed from one directorial style to another only added to the sensory overload it unloaded on a pre-adolescent.
- Bill Mesce
Review by Dane Marti
In recent years, there has been a new contingent of excellent Westerns that have been flying under the radar and this film; Yellow Rock is a nice addition.
Evocative music plays in the background of an opening scene in which a lone rider – shades of the marvelous, Clint Eastwood, rides his horse slowly down a rugged hill. The cinematography is appropriately dusty and dirty. The landscape is both beautiful and cruel.
He isn’t in the town very long before another group arrives. The first man is drunk in a church. Something happened in his life – something tragic. The new group’s leader, Max Dietrich, asks his old friend, Tom »
- Movie Geeks
After the immense success of John Carpenter’s Halloween, Jamie Lee Curtis was on the top of the list for horror movies that needed a plucky girl to fight evil in movies like Prom Night and 1980′s Terror Train.
The early 80’s were rife with slasher films, yet Terror Train rises above other genre copycats due to its interesting location, intriguing mystery, and some creepy visuals courtesy of some eerie masks. If the Groucho Marx getup doesn’t make you shudder, then I don’t know what will.
In the dead of winter, a group of medical students including Alana (Jamie Lee Curtis), her best friend Mitchy (Sandee Currie), and their boyfriends Mo and Doc (Timothy Webber and Hart Bochner) decide to take a private train trip and throw a costume party to celebrate their imminent graduation. However, this bash quickly goes off the rails when someone from their past »
- Derek Botelho
I haven't done a round-up of Oscar news in some time so let's clean up a few things. First, Marion Cotillard will be honored with a career tribute at the 22nd Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards on Monday, November 26. Cotillard stars in Rust and Bone, in which she is magnificent and will surely be competing for a spot in the Best Actress race. The film begins hitting theaters on November 23 and you can read my Cannes review here. There are a pair of interviews out there worth reading, first is Ben Affleck at Details who talks about his new movie Argo as well as the Bennifer days. Then, over at Interview Magazine, Guy Ritchie interviews Killing Them Softly star Brad Pitt where he says of the film: Well, what director Andrew Dominik wanted to do with this film was interesting: He wanted to talk about America--and America as a business--but »
- Brad Brevet
Warner Bros. announced today that the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz will be fully restored and converted into 3D, as a part of the studio's 90th Anniversary celebration next year. The film is currently being restored and will be released on Blu-ray 3D in either September or October of next year. The studio also announced a number of massive Blu-ray and DVD collections to celebrate their diverse catalog. Take a look at the studio's 90th Anniversary logo, and then read the full press release for more details.
One of the most respected, diversified and successful motion picture studios in the world, Warner Bros. began when the eponymous brothers - Harry, Albert, Sam, and Jack - incorporated on April 4, 1923. Four years later, the release of The Jazz Singer, the world's first "talkie," set a tone of innovation and influence that would forever become synonymous with the Warner Bros. brand. Soon to be 90, Warner Bros. »
When I was a kid in Newark, I could walk to the movies. On weekends, a bunch of us from the block would group up and caravan the three blocks or so to the Elwood Theater.
By my teens, we were living in the suburbs, but I could still hoof it to a flick. At one end of my town’s main drag was the Park Theater. Later, when the Park converted to a classics/art house, there was still the Cinema West at a new strip mall at the other end of the same avenue.
And if we couldn’t find something at either the Park or the Cinema West, a ten minute bus ride took us to the next town and the Verona, or another five minutes on the bus and we were at the Clairidge or the Wellmont. If it was a warm night, it wasn’t »
- Bill Mesce
At first glance, "Vegas" -- the heavily hyped CBS drama premiering Tuesday, Sept. 25 -- looks like a throwback to a TV drama from several decades ago. It stars Dennis Quaid in his network series debut as Ralph Lamb, a local cattle rancher pressed into service by the Las Vegas mayor (Michael O'Neill) when the town's sheriff goes Mia under mysterious circumstances.
The time is 1960, and Vegas is in an awkward transition from the bump-in-the-road casino town familiar from Warren Beatty's "Bugsy" into the glitz magnet that it would become. Certainly a financial boom is in the offing, however, and that has caught the attention of the Chicago mob, which has dispatched Vincent Savino (Michael Chiklis playing a composite character) to look after its interests -- which, from all appearances, are in direct conflict with the values and interests of Lamb and his fellow locals.
"Basically, 'Vegas' is about cowboys vs. »
The new series will follow Civil War hero 'Lucas McCain', a sharpshooter with a haunted past, who moves to the uncharted New Mexico territory to raise his son 'Mark'. There, he joins forces with the 'Sheriff' to protect his new town and become its unofficial guardian.
In the original series, Peckinpah wrote and directed many of the best episodes from the first season, basing characters and situations on real-life scenarios from his childhood growing up on a ranch. His insistence on violent realism and complex characterizations, as well as his refusal to sugarcoat the lessons he felt the Rifleman's son needed to learn about life, soon put him at odds with the show's producers at Four Star and he left the show, »
- M. Stevens
BearManor Media proudly announces the release of The Godfather of Gore Speaks: Hershell Gordon Lewis Discusses His Films.
Exploitation filmmaker Herschell Gordon Lewis is credited with single-handedly creating the gore genre with the 1963 release Blood Feast. This low-budget shocker would ultimately influence nearly every horror movie which has followed, as well as “high-brow” films as varied The Wild Bunch and Reservoir Dogs. Lewis, dubbed “The Godfather of Gore,” crafted more than thirty-five films in… More »
We’re back with another weekend edition of the Indie Spotlight. Today’s feature includes a new horror comic release from Monsterverse, a Cthulhu video game, a new Hershell Gordon Lewis book, and the latest indie horror movie news sent our way:
Flesh and Blood Volume 2: “Vampires! A Werewolf! And Baron Frankenstein collide in the second book of the award-winning graphic novel series from Monsterverse! Superbly written by Robert Tinnell. Illustrated with eerie elegance by Neil Vokes! Colored with a master’s passion by Matt Webb.
If you thought the first volume rocked the world of horror comic books and graphic novels, you will not be able to put down the second book which has more dark intrigue, heart-stopping action, epic adventure, sensual eroticism and shocking twists than ever before!
Plus two back-up features! Operation: Satan by Tinnell and artist Bob Hall and the new Frankenstein by Tinnell and Adrian Salmon. »
- Jonathan James
During the first week of August, Sight & Sound organized a poll that dethroned "Citizen Kane" as the best movie ever made. Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo" took the title as the Greatest Film ending "Citizen Kane's" long run. (See Dethroned! "Citizen Kane" No Longer Best Movie Ever! Critics, Directors Pick Top 10 Films of All Time!)
Academians, archivists, critics, directors, and distributors all over the world were among the ones invited to participate in the poll. Now, Sight & Sound has revealed the choices made by our favorite directors (via Collider). Here they are (it's interesting to note that among the list of directors below, only Martin Scorsese, David O'Russell, and Sam Mendes picked "Vertigo"):
Looking back on the life of the English director, it's easy to see that the world will be a much quieter place without him
In death Tony Scott seems so much more sad, human, and complicated than any of his films. His work was an explosion caught in the hubcaps of flipped Ferraris, finding little time for the darkness that took his life.
He come closest, perhaps, with the famous scene in True Romance, where a captive Dennis Hopper lights up a Chesterfield and calmly delivers, to the sound of The Flower Duet by Delibes, a long, languidly insulting riff about Sicilians and Moors to an incredulous Christopher Walken, prompting will-you-get-the-balls-on-this-guy laughter and a bullet to the head.
Then there was Scott's unwise plan to remake The Wild Bunch, Sam Peckinpah's blood-soaked, vainglorious epic – one of many projects cut short when Scott jumped off the Vincent Thomas bridge in San Pedro on Monday. »
- Tom Shone
Nick Cave, who wrote the script to Lawless, explains how the film brings the violence and lyricism of the book on which it was based to the screen and merges the genres of the urban gangster and rural western
Nick Cave is explaining why Lawless, a film punctuated by scenes of brutal violence, could have been even more visceral. "In my original draft of the script, the opening scene culminated with a pig having its throat cut," he says, chuckling. "It was bloody and shocking and it kind of signalled what was to come, but they discovered you just can't pull a pig's snout back without it going crazy. This," he says drily, "is the kind of stuff that film-making teaches you."
We are sitting, sipping tea, in the bright and spacious kitchen of the large Regency house in Brighton where Cave, 54, lives with his wife, former model Susie Bick, »
- Sean O'Hagan
Warner has rounded up a new gang for A Christmas Story 2.
Warner has produced a sequel to the now classic 1983 comedy A Christmas Story, which regularly makes the top or close to top spot on Best Christmas Movie lists. A Christmas Story 2 brings up only one thought:
Back when DVD was still relatively new and studios realized people didn’t mind buying movies they hadn’t heard of as long they were familiar and on DVD (which didn’t have the stink VHS had always carried), we got a slew of these films: numerous Bring It Ons,Â American Pies and others.
Warner even created a division solely to produce these low-budget straight-to-dvd sequels, called Warner Premiere (which made A Christmas Story 2). And the studio wasn’t alone.
At first, Hollywood stuck with sequels of new theatrical hits, but soon they started digging into older titles, like The Scorpion King »
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