17 items from 2011
Michael C here to introduce my new column: Burning Questions. Every week I will tackle an issue of pressing importance to film lovers the world over - or I'll just let fly with whatevers on my mind when I sit down at the laptop. Either way, I'm jazzed to get started. First up, the question of the "career honors" Oscar win.
One of my most vivid memories as a young Oscar viewer is the '97 race when Juliette Binoche beat out Lauren Bacall’s heavily-favored performance in The Mirror Has Two Faces. The press had declared Bacall a mortal lock. Not only was she Hollywood royalty, she was overdue Hollywood royalty. Should've been nominated for To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep and a half dozen others, so forget everything else and bet the farm on the former Mrs. Bogart. The unmistakable shock on both her and Juliette’s »
- Michael C.
Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Feb. 21, 2012
Price: DVD $29.95, Blu-ray $39.95
It’s great to see Criterion give its stunning treatment to a classic James Stewart (It’s a Wonderful Life) murder mystery. Although 1959′s Anatomy of a Murder didn’t win any Academy Awards, it was nominated for seven: Best Picture, cinematography, adapted screenplay, editing, Best Actor for Stewart and two Best Supporting Actor awards for Arthur O’Connell (The Poseidon Adventure) and George C. Scott (Patton).
In the movie, Stewart plays a small-town lawyer who takes on the case of a young Army lieutenant (Ben Gazzara, The Thomas Crown Affair) accused of killing the local tavern owner, who he believes raped his wife (Lee Remick, The Omen).
Gilbert Cates Obit Pt.1: Oscar Ceremony Most Frequent Producer In fact, Gilbert Cates' best film-related work took place far from the Academy Awards ceremonies. Two of his '70s movies in particular, the family dramas I Never Sang for My Father (1970) and Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams (1973), are notable both for Cates' quiet, subtle handling of the dramatic situations and for the generally masterful performances: I Never Sang for My Father featured Melvyn Douglas, Gene Hackman, and Estelle Parsons; Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams featured Joanne Woodward, Martin Balsam, and Sylvia Sidney (photo). Douglas and Woodward were nominated for Oscars, and so were Hackman and Sidney in the supporting categories (even though Hackman was as much a lead as Douglas). Douglas, Woodward, and the veteran Sidney, a first-time nominee after more than four decades in films, should have won. They lost to, respectively, George C. Scott in Patton; Glenda Jackson »
- Andre Soares
(Francis Ford Coppola, 1974, Studiocanal, 12)
In an amazing creative outburst between 1970 and 1979, Francis Ford Coppola scripted Patton and The Great Gatsby, produced George Lucas's Thx-1138 and American Graffiti, and directed the first two Godfather pictures and this masterly chamber film, which brought him his first Palme d'Or (then called the Grand Prix du Festival) at Cannes. The Conversation is an immaculate thriller, a study in paranoia and loneliness, long in gestation, partly inspired by Antonioni's Blow-Up, and released as the Watergate scandal was unfolding. It features one of Gene Hackman's greatest performances as Harry Caul, a San Francisco surveillance expert, a guilt-ridden, intensely private man devoted to anonymity and ethical neutrality. Harry's drawn into the devious lives of those he eavesdrops on and faces moral decisions about his work. The supporting cast includes such key Coppola performers as Frederic Forrest, Harrison Ford and an uncredited Robert Duvall. The numerous »
- Philip French
George Clooney has given a list of his Top 100 films from 1964 to 1976, which he feels was “the greatest era in filmmaking by far." It's hard to argue with that, many of my favorite movies come out of that era. In an interview with Parade Magazine the actor and movie geek explained his list saying...
There were great filmmakers—Mike Nichols, Hal Ashby, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese—you go down the list of these insanely talented filmmakers all working at the top of their game and kind of competing with each other. Pakula, Sidney Lumet—I mean, you can just keep going down the list of these guys. And they were all doing really interesting films… That era [1964 to 1976] was a reflection of the antiwar movement, the civil rights movement, the women’s rights movement, the sexual revolution, the drug counterculture. All those things were exploding at the same time. And »
 George Clooney may be among the most prominent of celebrities, a fabulously wealthy, incredibly successful man at the very top of the A-list. But it seems there's a side of him that isn't so very different from film geeks like us who watch his movies. (Yes, all of that was a long-winded way of saying "Clooney: He's just like us!") For a recent interview about his upcoming Ides of March, which Clooney directed, produced, and starred in, Clooney revealed his top 100 films from 1964 to 1976, which he believes to be "the greatest era in filmmaking by far." The list is definitely cinephile-friendly, if not especially surprising: it includes tons of major classics and a handful of somewhat lesser known gems, all across a very wide variety of genres. Read the top 100 after the jump. Clooney told Parade  magazine that of that 100, his top five favorites are All the President's Men, Network, »
- Angie Han
On Tuesday evening, the motion picture academy board voted to bestow honorary Oscars to actor James Earl Jones and makeup pioneer Dick Smith. In addition, it was decided to give the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to television star Oprah Winfrey. While Smith is a movie veteran with more than 40 credits spanning half a century, both Jones and Winfrey have enjoyed their greatest success in other mediums -- he on stage and primetime TV and she in daytime TV for 25 years. Jones contended for his only Oscar back in 1970 for reprising his Tony-winning performance in "The Great White Hope." He lost Best Actor to George C. Scott ("Patton) who declined the prize. Jones had received his first Emmy bid for a guest spot on Scott's TV series "East Side West Side" back in 1964. He has contended for TV's top honor seven more times, winning two in 1991 for Drama Actor ("Gabriel's Fire »
What is the most significant and watched footage of actual/unstaged events ever recorded? Among the obvious candidates: Abraham Zapruder’s film of John F. Kennedy’s assassination on November 23, 1963; Nasa’s footage of Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon on July 21, 1969; and the live TV news footage of the second plane crashing into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Long before those events took place, though, another one of at least as much historical importance as any of them — and, in my humble opinion, of even greater importance — was also visually recorded, seen by the vast majority of Americans alive at the time, and, yes, questioned by conspiracy theorists: the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps. The biggest difference between this footage and the rest? The story behind it has been largely forgotten. I think it’s worth retelling.
The extent to which Allied leaders were aware »
- Scott Feinberg
It sounds like Clash of the Titans 2 director Jonathan Liebesman isn.t ready to walk away from the realm of swords and sandals once he puts the finishing touches on his mystical sequel. He and screenwriter Chris Boal -- brother of The Hurt Locker scribe Mark Boal -- just pitched Warner Bros. on an epic telling of the rise of Roman leader Julius Caesar which could set up a potential sequel and, if all goes well, a multi-picture franchise. Deadline reports that Liebesman and Boal.s pitch eschews the traditional biopic and takes an approach to Caesar.s history that would mirror Franklin J. Schaffner.s Oscar-winning Patton, which didn.t span a lifetime but instead focused on specific battle victories in the iconic general.s long military career. Boal.s idea would be to start with Caesar in Spain, where he assembled the 10th Legion that eventually marched »
Maybe you've seen the new trailer for Adam Sandler's new comedy Jack and Jill where he plays the role of both the male and the female characters of identical twins. If you haven't, I don't think that it will lessen your enjoyment of this mash-up video showing Mr. Patton himself, George C. Scott, sitting down to view the trailer for Jack and Jill. What happens can only be described using one word: emotional.
The clips featuring Scott is from a 1979 drama called Hardcore. In it he plays a father that discovers his missing daughter is making hardcore pornography films, and the scene that YouTube user pbonanno used for their mash-up is the scene from Hardcore when Scott's character has to sit through and watch a scene to confirm the identify of his daughter. Not the kind of scene to be played for laughs...unless that is you're making George C. Scott »
- Patrick Sauriol
We have six months to go and a lot of movies left to watch, and as was evidenced by the six films I included in my "Top Ten of the Year Contenders" on yesterday's The Best and Worst Movies of 2011... So Far post, there haven't been a ton of excellent films in theaters just yet. Three of those six films I saw at the Cannes Film Festival and only one of them has hit theaters so far (Midnight in Paris). This means we have to wash away the taste of the last six months. Sure, there were some good films and films we will all likely revisit over the years, but I think we can all generally agree 2011 hasn't exactly been a stellar year for movies.
So what's coming up? Well, I was able to compile a list of the top 21 (plus three) films I'm personally looking forward to seeing. »
- Brad Brevet
They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
One nation shall not raise the sword against another,
neither shall they learn war any more.
War is a nation’s ultimate commitment of blood and treasure. As such, the stories a people tells about its wars – and don’t tell – and the ways it remembers its wars – or chooses to forget them – tells us much about the kind of people they consider themselves to be at different times in their history, as well as the kind of people they really were…and are.
For most of the 20th century, the war film was a Hollywood staple. From one era to the next, war movies documented the nation’s conflicts, reflected the national consciousness on particular combats as well as on thinking going far beyond any one, particular war. They’ve been propagandistic and revisionist, »
- Bill Mesce
The 1981 military drama movie Taps starring Timothy Hutton (The Ghost Writer), George C. Scott (Patton) and hot-young-actors-on-the-scene Sean Penn (Fair Game) and Tom Cruise (Knight and Day) will make its Blu-ray debut on May 3 from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.
Directed by Harold Becker (The Boost) and based on the 1979 novel Father Sky by Devery Freeman, the film tells the story of cadets at a military academy who take extreme measures to insure the future of their institution when its existence is threatened by local condo developers. Said “extreme measures” translate into the kind of military resistance the cadets have been trained for.
The Blu-ray disc will carry a list price of $24.95.
No official announcements have been made regarding bonus features, but here’s a list of what appeared on Fox’s standard DVD from 2006 (which »
One of the true giants passed away this week: filmmaker Sidney Lumet, dead at 86 of lymphoma.
He was one of an incredibly talented class of directors who graduated from the early days of TV; a group which included such august talents as Arthur Penn (Bonnie and Clyde, 1967), George Roy Hill (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1969), John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate, 1962), Arthur Hiller (The Hospital, 1971), Franklin J. Schaffner (Patton, 1970), Norman Jewison (In the Heat of the Night, 1967), Robert Mulligan (To Kill a Mockingbird, 1962), Martin Ritt (Hud, 1963), and Sam Peckinpah (The Wild Bunch, 1969). Only Jewison is left, now, and as each has passed, mainstream American moviemaking has gotten a little louder, a little emptier, and a little dumber.
TV drama in the early days was almost like good theater: it was usually live, smart, provocative, rich with real-world character and sharp dialogue. Very early on, Lumet was considered one of the »
- Bill Mesce
Trevor Hogg chats to three-time Academy Award-winning film editor Michael Kahn...
While in California producing some commercials for a New York ad agency, Michael Kahn was offered a job at Desilu, the production company owned and run by television stars Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball. “I was the male secretary for a fellow named Dann Cahn,” comments the three-time Academy Award-winning film editor who assisted the editorial supervisor responsible for the celebrated comedy TV series I Love Lucy (CBS, 1951 to 1957). “Eventually, he said, ‘If you want to get ahead in this town you’ve got to get into the union.’ He got me into the union and then I started assisting a fellow by the name of John Woodcock.” The assignment with Woodcock saw Kahn working on his first television series The Adventures of Jim Bowie (ABC, 1956 to 1958). “It was a wonderful time to be in the editing business because »
Cinema Retro has received the following press release:
The Sammy Awards (or Sammys) are named after movie lyricist Sammy Cahn (1913-1993), who received 4 Oscars for his songs, and was nominated more than any other songwriter, 26 times in all. Cahn said he was “flattered and honored” to have these movie music awards named after him. His Oscar-winning songs are: “Three Coins in the Fountain”; “All the Way”; “High Hopes”; and “Call Me Irresponsible.” All four songs were recorded by Frank Sinatra, a big fan of Sammy’s lyrics. Now in their twenty-third (23rd) year, the Sammys are the longest running awards for film music recordings.
The Sammys are chosen each year by Roger Hall, a film music historian, member of the International Film Music Critics Association, author of the book, A Guide to Film Music – Songs and Scores, and editor of the long-running online magazine, Film Music Review – www.americanmusicpreservation.com/fmr. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
Following up on Cynthia’s post below I wanted to put in my two cents in two words. Who Cares? Are they really such a big deal anymore? I can’t even remember who won last year or the year before that r the year before that. (Oh wait Slumdog Millionaire did win right?)
They don’t mean anything anymore and haven’t for a long time now. And keep in mind that actors and films win Oscars for other reasons (like because you’ve been around long enough and haven’t won anything yet or the “compensation” Oscar to make up for the fact that you’re not going to have leading man or lady career i.e. Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Forest Whitaker and Mo’Nique) and not necessarily because it was the best performance or best film for that year. George C. Scott had it right all those »
17 items from 2011
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