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1971 was an incredibly violent year for movies. That year saw, among others, Tom Laughlin’s Billy Jack, with its half-Indian hero karate-chopping rednecks; William Friedkin’s The French Connection, its dogged cops stymied by well-heeled drug runners; Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, banned for the copycat crimes it reportedly inspired; and Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs, featuring the most controversial rape in cinema history. Every bloody shooting, sexual assault and death by penis statue reflected a world gone mad.
It seemed a reaction to America’s skyrocketing crime. Between 1963 and 1975, violent crimes tripled; riots, robberies and assassinations racked major cities. The antiwar and Civil Rights movements generated violent offshoots like the Weathermen and Black Panthers. Citizens blamed politicians like New York Mayor John Lindsay (the original “limousine liberal”), who proclaimed “Peace cannot be imposed on our cities by force of arms,” and Earl Warren’s Supreme Court, »
- Christopher Saunders
Many a filmmaker shows up at the Sundance Film Festival dreaming of becoming the next Martin Scorsese. But only Alfonso Gomez-Rejon can claim to have crashed on the legendary director’s sofa, retyped his script pages and learned at his side.
Unsurprisingly, the “Taxi Driver” auteur is everywhere in Gomez-Rejon’s Sundance grand jury prize-winner “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” which Fox Searchlight opens in limited release June 12. Greg Gaines, the movie’s cinephile protagonist, has a “Mean Streets” poster tacked to his bedroom wall, a first-edition copy of “Scorsese on Scorsese” on his desk, and a photo of the filmmaker’s longtime editor Thelma Schoonmaker as his computer screensaver.
And those are just some of the homages that crop up throughout the second feature by Gomez-Rejon, who learned some of his craft at Scorsese’s elbow, as the director’s production assistant on the Las Vegas shoot of “Casino” in 1995. Now, »
- Scott Foundas
As Mad Max: Fury Road spews out thrills and soaks up acclaim in cinemas around the globe, now is a fitting time to revisit cinema's first encounter with the angst-ridden Antipodean way back in 1979. Set "a few years from now", it's an unsettling and unpredictable experience, full of creeping psychological tension and striking vehicular devastation. Both the dystopian world and the central character we initially see are different in many ways to what is currently wowing audiences, while being essentially the same in tone and spirit.
While Fury Road achieves that remarkable feat of being a faithful continuation of the character and original trilogy while working as a standalone entity too, knowing Max's background adds valuable insight. Is it any wonder why he is so resistant to forming any emotional bonds with characters like Charlize Theron's Furiosa given that he once had to scrape what was left of his »
There was a time when Malcolm McDowell’s status as a jobbing actor in numerous celluloid stinkers appeared to eclipse his defining roles in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange and Lindsay Anderson’s If.
However, good reviews for Amazon Studios’ Mozart In The Jungle brought him back to public attention in a way he maybe hadn’t experienced for a while. This success may be consolidated by his now taking the lead in a remake of Vincent Price comedy horror classic The Abominable Dr.Phibes.
The 1971 movie saw Price’s irrevocably-scarred academic seek revenge on the surgeons who he believed killed his wife following the devastating car crash that put her in hospital and destroyed his face. To make things more interesting he despatched each of them in the florid fashion of the Old Testament’s Ten Plagues Of Egypt. A sequel, Dr.Phibes Rises Again, followed and Price »
- Steve Palace
It was August, 2005. I knocked on the double door at the Four Seasons. It opened almost immediately. "Hi, I'm Nic," he said, hand outstretched. Nicolas Cage wasn't who I expected him to be. Like all actors, he was smaller and trimmer in person than he appeared on-screen. Neatly dressed in an Armani suit, Cage also displayed none of the manic fervor in real life as had become his signature on-screen. He was thoughtful, well-spoken and incredibly literate in all seven arts. It's an infrequent experience that you leave an interview feeling you've just met someone that you could hang out with regularly, but I got that with Nic Cage, in spades. He was endlessly fascinating, but also kind of a regular guy. Another of my favorite chats I count myself lucky to have been part of.
Nicolas Cage: Lord Of The Nerds
It’s an inevitable »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
HitFix's recent spate of "Best Year in Film History" pieces inevitably spurred some furious debate among our readers, with some making compelling arguments for years not included in our pieces (2007 and 1968 were particularly popular choices) and others openly expressing their bewilderment at the inclusion of others (let's just say 2012 took a beating). In the interest of giving voice to your comments, below we've rounded up a few of the most thoughtful, passionate, surprising and occasionally incendiary responses to our pieces, including my own (I advocated for The Year of Our Lynch 2001, which is obviously the best). Here we go... Superstar commenter "A History of Matt," making an argument for 1968: The Graduate. Bullit. The Odd Couple. The Lion in Winter. Planet of the Apes. The Thomas Crown Affair. Funny Girl. Rosemary's Baby. And of course, 2001, A Space Odyssey. And that's only a taste of the greatness of that year. "Lothar the Flatulant, »
- Chris Eggertsen
The beginning of May every year means one thing to me and thousands of other horror fanatics around the world. For the past ten years, it’s meant we’ve arrived at another annual Texas Frightmare Weekend. It’s the only event in the Lone Star State that brings together genre actors and artists that we not only grew up watching but are still enjoying on the silver screen and television. 2015’s convention lineup is no different as we welcome actors from Scream, The Craft, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, and Phantasm to name a few. The terrifying fun kicks off this coming Friday, May 1st at the Hyatt Regency located on the grounds of the Dfw Airport.
I’ve attended Texas Frightmare Weekend for the past few years and only regrettably missed it once. It’s one of the best conventions in the South. All the celebrity guests are »
- email@example.com (Eric Shirey)
Zachary Levi and guest on the Oscars' Red Carpet Zachary Levi at the Academy Awards Pictured above is Zachary Levi and a guest on the 83rd Academy Awards' Red Carpet this past Sunday, Feb. 27, just outside the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. At the Oscar ceremony, Zachary Levi and Mandy Moore performed "I See the Light," a Best Original Song nominee – music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Glenn Slater – from the animated feature Tangled. The 2011 Best Song winner turned out to be Randy Newman's "We Belong Together," from another animated feature, Toy Story 3 – last year's biggest domestic box office hit. Zachary Levi movies Below is a partial list of Zachary Levi films.* His movie debut took place in Mark Douglas Miller's comedy short Reel Guerrillas (2005), while his feature film debut was in a supporting role in John Whitesell's comedy Big Momma's House 2 (2006). Thor: The Dark World (2013). Director: Alan Taylor. »
- D. Zhea
The Simpsons has a long history of peppering its stories with pop culture references, and some of the show’s finest gags stem from the world of cinema. These have ranged from the briefest of quotes, to full on shot-for-shot parodies and extended episode-long homages.
Most striking in trying to put this list together was the sheer volume of movie references there are to choose from. In pretty much any given episode of The Simpsons, there are at least a couple, with nods to James Bond, 2001: A Space Odyssey and the work of Alfred Hitchcock proving three of the most regular candidates. The tributes to numerous great horror movies in the show’s Treehouse Of Horror episodes could have been used to fill this list all on their own. »
Around the time I brought this Vestron Video release home from my local video store, I had an adolescent fascination with how the punk rock subculture that influenced my development had been portrayed in the media. In everything from video games to television and films, punk rockers were mostly portrayed as villains. There was a mythological aura surrounding the way these rebellious thugs were portrayed and it's clear in Class of 1984 that filmmaker Mark L. Lester (Commando) had a similar fascination and knew that pushing the legend made for better cinema.
Lester proudly declares now that he was prophetically making a film that bares important social significance and considers it to be the best film he's ever made, but let's be honest and admit that this movie is pure sleazy exploitation. Don't get me wrong, I love some good fun exploitation and as far as that's concerned there's no »
- Sean McClannahan
We're one big step closer to entering Murder World, the main setting of Rob Zombie's upcoming horror film, 31, as the North American rights have been picked up for the Halloween-set movie in which five kidnapped people fight against the likes of Doom-Head, Death-Head, and many more demented denizens of a place that even the bravest of trick-or-treaters likely wouldn't visit.
According to Indiewire, Alchemy (formerly known as Millennium Entertainment), has acquired the North American rights for Rob Zombie's 31, which has been filming with the following impressive, eclectic cast in front of the camera:
Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange, 2007's Halloween) as Father Murder, "the owner of Murder World." Tracy Walter (Repo Man, The Silence of the Lambs) as Lucky Leo. Pancho Moler (2005's Bad News Bears, American Horror Story: Freak Show) as Sick-Head. Jeff Daniel Phillips (The Lords of Salem, Halloween 2) as Roscoe, "the »
- Derek Anderson
For the second week in a row, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s villains stole the episode right out from under its heroes. Last week, it was Kyle MacLachlan and his team of misfit supervillains; this week, it's Grant Ward and the face-changing Agent 33, banding together in a productive, often-homicidal union that begins with a thinly veiled riff on Pulp Fiction and ends with a thinly veiled riff on A Clockwork Orange.This week's episode is called "Love in the Time of Hydra" — but while Ward and Agent 33 make a pretty excellent team, I'm not yet convinced we're actually seeing the first stirrings of true romance between them. Grant Ward isn't exactly a sociopath, but he's somewhere in that spectrum, and his affection for Agent 33 is suspiciously coincident with her ability to help him in a series of high-risk missions. Whatever the future of their relationship, Ward and Agent 33 »
- Scott Meslow
Directed by Paul Tibbitt.
When a diabolical pirate above the sea steals the secret Krabby Patty formula, SpongeBob and his nemesis Plankton must team up in order to get it back.
“Sponge Out of Water”: a suitably teasing sub-titled for the second (and hugely overdue) sequel to 2004’s SpongeBob Squarepants Movie, which promises more nautical shenanigans in and around Bikini Bottom with the titular sponge and his marine friends. Why it took so long for a sequel to appear in the first place despite its $140 million worldwide gross is a mystery the size of SpongeBob’s crabby-patty recipe, but back into the ocean we go, though be sure to take some ibuprofen with you, as Sponge Out »
- Scott J. Davis
Sam Carey on Barry Lyndon and the Oscars…
March 1976 saw One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest fly in to the 48th Academy Awards and leave with statues for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture. It was only the second time a single film has walked away with awards in the ‘big five’ categories yet, it should never have happened. Instead, in its place should have stood Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon.
Following the media furore of 1971’s A Clockwork Orange – Kubrick withdrew the film from theatres after groups imitated the attacks of ultra-violent lead character Alex and his group – the director turned his attentions to the 18th century. On the surface a huge departure from his previous work the film, Barry Lyndon, is nevertheless quintessentially Kubrick.
What sets Kubrick’s tenth feature apart from every other film released in 1975 is its polish. Stanley Kubrick »
- Gary Collinson
Directed by Norman Jewison.
In the not-too-distant future the corporations control everything, and when they tell top sportsman James Caan he can’t play the game of rollerball anymore he decides to challenge the controlling bodies.
Do you remember the old Bitmap Brothers computer games Speedball and Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe? For those that don’t they were a pair of games where the idea was to get the ball in the opponent’s goal using a variety of throws, rolls and casual violence as you kick, punch and barge as many other players as you can. Great games and they would have made a great film, if only one hadn’t been made over a decade earlier in the shape of Rollerball, a dark sci-fi thriller that has loftier »
- Gary Collinson
Above: French poster by Boris Grinsson for You’ll Never Get Rich (Sidney Lanfield, USA, 1941).In the new edition of Film Comment, out this week, I write about British airbrush artist Philip Castle and his iconic poster for Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. The other man behind that poster, aside from Kubrick himself, was producer, director and writer Mike Kaplan who, at the time, was Kubrick’s marketing guru.Kaplan, who has been collecting movie posters, as well as art directing them, for 35 years, is a tireless proselytizer for the art form and his latest project is a labor of love and a pure delight. Gotta Dance! The Art of the Dance Movie Poster, a book he wrote and curated, was born out of a touring exhibition of his own personal collection that he has been exhibiting around the country for the past few years. Its latest stop is »
- Adrian Curry
Well timed in light of the unveiling of the Apple Watch, “Creative Control” reps a big step forward for its co-writer/director, Benjamin Dickinson, following his promising 2012 debut, “First Winter.” The story of an ad exec who finds his priorities rewired while testing a pair of eyeglasses that constitute “the first actually convincing augmented-reality system” doesn’t exactly have new things to say about technology and alienation. But a contemplative tone, a zigzagging narrative, superb widescreen black-and-white cinematography and an infusion of dry humor make it feel genuinely fresh. Critical nurturing could help this moody, offbeat indie find its audience.
Dickinson’s “First Winter,” set at a yoga farm, was a survivalist picture that hinged on a reversal of expectations; its characters approached the abyss and stared back. In some ways, “Creative Control” tells a similar tale in the tech realm. David (played by Dickinson) has taken charge of a dream account, »
- Ben Kenigsberg
Halloween may be over seven months away, but on the set of Rob Zombie's 31, the autumnal season is in full force and trick-or-treaters could pop up at any minute. Filming began yesterday on 31, Rob Zombie's Halloween-set horror film that takes place on the horror-soaked holiday at a place called Murder World. In recent weeks several key cast members have been added to the fright film and yesterday another big-name addition was announced: Malcolm McDowell.
In addition to playing Dr. Samuel Loomis in Rob Zombie's Halloweeen (2007) and Halloween II (2009), McDowell has played memorable characters aplenty in his legendary career and is perhaps best known for playing Alex in Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. Now he'll add the character of Father Murder to his résumé. Announced by Zombie on his Facebook page, Father Murder is the "owner of Murder World", the sinister setting of the film where five kidnapped »
- Derek Anderson
Premiering in the Midnight Madness section of the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, Hitoshi Matsumoto’s latest slice of insanity, R100, is his most perverse yet. If only there could have been more of a definable method to the madness. After a wide range of festival play, the title received a limited theatrical release at the end of 2014 and has gone on to acquire something of a cult following thanks to its generally amusing array of batshit crazy set pieces.
After his delightful if belabored 2007 debut Big Man Japan put him on the map, director Matsumoto returns with another slice of strangeness, with an S&M inspired fever dream of alternate realities that’s not quite as compelling as it is confounding. Drug fueled hallucinations, secret clubs and leather harnessed vixens abound, but this is more Rihanna’s style of S&M, teasingly vague rather than titillating or sinister. Fans of »
- Nicholas Bell
Before its demise in 1980, “Camera Three” was a show focused on different forms of art that aired on Sunday mornings on CBS. In 1972, they spend an episode examining Stanley Kubrick’s infamous adaptation of “A Clockwork Orange,” and thanks to the fine people of Dangerous Minds, you can stream the whole episode on the futuristic device of your choice. Running half-an-hour long and featuring the trio of cinema historian William Everson, 'Clockwork' author Anthony Burgess, and the film’s star Malcolm McDowell, the episode aired around the same time of the film’s U.S. release in February of 1972,, notably, before any of the controversy surrounding the film occurred in the U.K. It’s an extremely informative and entertaining discussion of the sort that’s sorely missed on American television these days, especially post-Roger Ebert. Watch Camera Three’s “Examination of Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange” below and »
- Cain Rodriguez
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