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This month's classic film book is William Goldman's entertaining screenwriting memoir, offering untold insight into the movie business...
You get the feeling, when you read Adventures In The Screen Trade, that the author (and the incredibly successful screenwriter) William Goldman is all about structure.
He has brought clarity and meaning to films such as All The President's Men, A Bridge Too Far, Marathon Man, and Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid. In life, he has approached these projects with a well-planned method, and the determination to see them through to completion. And in writing this book about those screenplays he has given us one of the most ordered and understandable books ever written about how screenplays work. He claims structure is everything; well, he proves it here.
It's a beautifully laid out book that is arranged into three equally enjoyable sections. Section One gives you an »
Being a successful gambler, especially in poker, requires a certain amount of acting skill. Maintaining a calm and rational demeanor no matter if you are on a hot streak or a dry spell (and, of course maintaining a stonewall poker face) is key to making the hobby a lucrative one.
As hard as that is to do in real life, we admire those talented actors that are able to do it in front of a camera and film crew. Below is our list of the best casino, poker, and gambling movie actors.
While Matt Damon has appeared in a few gambling-related movies, and John Malkovich’s role as Teddy Kgb makes Rounders the most quoted gambling movie out there, for us it’s Edward Norton’s role in the 1998 poker drama that carries the film for us.
The cocky and slick Worm introduced the ‘mechanic’s grip’ and »
- Kyle Reese
Directed by Ridley Scott
Written by Dan O’Bannon
UK / USA, 1979
Genre: Sci-Fi Horror
Boasting one of the greatest taglines of all time – “In space, no one can hear you scream” – Alien blends science fiction, horror, and bleak poetry into what could have easily turned into a simple B-monster movie. In fact, the movie was originally pitched to producers as “Jaws in space,” but thankfully Ridley Scott, who was stepping behind the camera for only the second time, took the film far more seriously. Like Steven Spielberg’s great thriller, most of the running time relies on the viewer’s imagination since Scott carefully restricts how little we see of the creature. Alien can certainly test a viewer’s patience. This is an extremely slow burn (something unusual for the genre) and despite the budget, stellar effects, and ambitious set design, Alien in a sense is a minimalist film »
- Ricky Fernandes
This year, the Oscars are almost as confusing as the 2016 presidential race. While many candidates have thrown their hats in the ring—from “Brooklyn” to “Carol,” “Room” and “The Martian”—there’s yet a frontrunner in the best picture race. And the acting categories are even harder to handicap. Will Johnny Depp manage to keep the momentum going, despite mixed reviews for “Black Mass”? Or will the soft box office for “Steve Jobs” hurt Michael Fassbender’s chances? Every year, the Academy throws some curveballs into the mix. Here are 11 performances that haven’t been buzzed about enough, but deserve Oscars consideration.
Best Supporting Actor, “The Intern”
De Niro could lock up a nomination for his supporting role in “Joy,” David O. Russell’s upcoming drama that hasn’t screened yet. But his strongest performance in years—even better than the last time he was invited to the Oscars, »
- Ramin Setoodeh
When you think of Rob Reiner.s 1990 adaptation of Stephen King.s horror novel Misery, what.s the first thing that comes to mind? It.s that brutal "hobbling" scene, right? A moment so vicious it.s become synonymous with the film. In the book, however, it plays out very differently, but the producers had to make a change because no one wanted to work on their movie. In the novel, Annie (Kathy Bates in the movie), doesn.t bash Paul (James Caan) with a sledgehammer, she straight up cuts off his foot with an axe and cauterizes the wound with a propane torch. However, according to Yahoo, who recently dug into what has become an iconic moment in movie history, actors and directors who were interested in working on Misery kept bailing because of the brutality of this particular moment. George Roy Hill (The Sting was attached to direct, »
Machiavelli is supposed to have said that gambling is something to encourage in your enemy’s country but suppress in your own. It’s hard to know how or if to apply that pessimistic maxim to Mississippi Grind, a melancholy, earnest road movie about a couple of poker players played by Ben Mendelsohn and Ryan Reynolds; the writer-directors are Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, best known for Half Nelson in 2006, their co-written debut (directed by Fleck solo) starring Ryan Gosling as a troubled schoolteacher.
It is a watchable if faintly baffling movie, never anything other than well acted, conspicuously without allegiance to any conventional three-act screenplay structure. Like the river in the title, it just keeps rolling along, long after you have given up waiting for the big »
- Peter Bradshaw
Despite headlining such iconic films as “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969), “The Way We Were” (1973) and “All the President’s Men” (1976), Robert Redford has been nominated just once at the Oscars for acting with his starring role as a conman in the 1973 Best Picture winner "The Sting"; he lost to Jack Lemmon ("Save the Tiger"). He could right that Oscar wrong this year with his portrayal of Dan Rather in "Truth," a look inside the controversial “60 Minutes” segment that eventually led to the resignation of the CBS news anchor. -Break- Dish the Oscars with Hollywood insiders in our red-hot forums Redford did win an Oscar for directing the 1980 Best Picture champ "Ordinary People." That domestic drama also won Supporting Actor (Timothy Hutton), and Adapted Screenplay (Alvin Sargent). And he picked up two bids in 1994 for directing and produ »
Based on a novel published in 1978, "The World According To Garp" was released in 1982, and yet watching the film on the recently-released Blu-ray from Warner Archive, I was struck by how timely and even urgent the material felt, and how much more adult and daring it is than most of the movies released by studios today. Not only do they not make them like this anymore, but I'd offer the opinion that they never really did. How can a film from 1978 have a better handle on the times we're living in right now than most of the films coming out this year? After all, much of John Irving's novel is a direct reaction to the late '70s and what Irving thought of the social landscape at that particular moment. How relevant could it be today, since we've obviously progressed so much since then? You'd be surprised. For those »
- Drew McWeeny
Filmmaker Ken Kwapis has revealed that the upcoming Robert Redford and Nick Nolte drama "A Walk In The Woods" was originally going to feature an on-screen reunion between "Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid" and "The Sting" stars Redford and Paul Newman.
Redford has been planning this adaptation of the 1998 for a decade, but Newman's death in 2008 led Robert Redford to shelve the project for sometime. Four years later, Redford cast Nick Nolte in "The Company You Keep" and the pair finally got to work together for an extended period of time.
They clicked, and as a result Redford decided to proceed with "A Walk In The Woods" again. Kwapis tells Cinema Blend:
"They had never worked together before. And although their paths probably crossed over the years they didn't really know each other. So they worked on that film. They only had a few scenes together but they got on splendidly. »
- Garth Franklin
Paul Newman and Robert Redford on-screen efforts in Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid and The Sting are rightfully regarded as two of the best dual leading performances in the history of cinema. And it turns out that we almost got a third film with the pair of acting titans, because Robert Redford originally planned for Paul Newman to star opposite him in A Walk In The Woods. While recently talking with director Ken Kwapis ahead of A Walk In The Woods. theatrical release this Wednesday, the filmmaker revealed that the death of Paul Newman in September 2008, at the age of 83, led Robert Redford to "shelve the project for a while." Kwapis explained, He couldn.t imagine doing it with anyone else. He.d developed it as a vehicle for Paul and himself. But Redford.s interest in the adaptation of A Walk In The Woods was soon rejuvenated when »
After having two smash hits together — Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid (1968) and The Sting (1973) — Robert Redford and Paul Newman had often talked about reteaming but waited decades to finally find the right property. Redford, with his producer’s hat on, thought he had found it in the 1998 Bill Bryson book A Walk In The Woods, which chronicles the late-in-life hike Bryson took on with a friend named Stephen Katz along the 2200-mile Appalachian Trail. Unfortunately… »
Twenty years ago today, Bryan Singer, the director of the “good X-Men movies” (read: all of them except X3), and writer Christopher McQuarrie (Mission: Impossible – Rogue One) rounded up five thieves for the heist of the 90’s. It all starts out with a seemingly harmless lineup, but Keyser Söze – bogeyman of the criminal underworld – has very specific (and sinister) plans for The Usual Suspects’ Dean Keaton (Gabriel Byrne), McManus (Stephen Baldwin), Fenster (Benicio del Toro), Hockney (Kevin Pollak), and Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey). Bonus points to Singer for casting Giancarlo Esposito (“Breaking Bad”’s Gus Fring), who looks ridiculously young as one of the FBI agents after Keyser Söze.
From pool sharks and grifters to tricksters, card cheats and American hustlers, here’s our rundown of the most memorable con artists in movie history.
Warning: Spoilers ahead.
One of the finest fraudster films to ever »
- Daniel Bettridge
Welcome to today's edition of Nerd Alert, where we have all the quirky, nerdy news that you crave in one convenient spot. What do we have in store for you on this manic Monday? We have a letter written by a young Tom Hanks that proved he would be a star, a guide to the most incredible movie and TV weapons and Kyle Chandler returns as Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights for a new PSA. But first, Simon Pegg ranks all of the Star Wars movies. So, sit back, relax and check out all that today's Nerd Alert has to offer.
Simon Pegg Ranks Every Star Wars Movie In One Minute
During LucasFilm's Hall H panel at Comic-Con last month, a behind-the-scenes video from Star Wars: The Force Awakens confirmed that Simon Pegg has some sort of role in the film. While promoting Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation, the »
A 1974 letter from a pre-fame, teenage Tom Hanks asking the Oscar-winning director of The Sting, George Roy Hill, to “discover” him has been unveiled by Hollywood archivists. In it, the high school student describes a number of scenarios via which he can achieve stardom, despite admitting that his “looks are not stunning” and he “cannot even grow a mustache”.
Two-time Oscar-winner Hanks wrote the letter as an 18-year-old at Skyline high school in Oakland, California. Hill, whose 1973 con artist caper starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman won seven Oscars, kept the letter and it was recently unveiled by the Margaret Herrick Library of the Motion Picture Academy in Beverly Hills.
Continue reading »
- Ben Child
Some of us dream of fame, some of us go after fame, and then there are those of us, like Tom Hanks, who know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they will become famous. From the age of 18, Hanks knew he was going to make it Big, and we have physical evidence to prove it. Before he became an A-lister, Hanks wrote a letter to George Roy Hill, director of such classics as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting, and in this letter he predicted his worldwide success. As noted in a report by NPR, the Library of the Motion Picture Academy in Beverly Hills, California, features a letter Hanks wrote to the illustrious filmmaker in response to watching The Sting. While he praises Hills.s work, the purpose of this letter is to give him a heads up that he.s going to be a »
This week marks the 10th anniversary of the release of "Crash" (on May 6, 2005), an all-star movie whose controversy came not from its provocative treatment of racial issues but from its Best Picture Oscar victory a few months later, against what many critics felt was a much more deserving movie, "Brokeback Mountain."
The "Crash" vs. "Brokeback" battle is one of those lingering disputes that makes the Academy Awards so fascinating, year after year. Moviegoers and critics who revisit older movies are constantly judging the Academy's judgment. Even decades of hindsight may not always be enough to tell whether the Oscar voters of a particular year got it right or wrong. Whether it's "Birdman" vs. "Boyhood," "The King's Speech" vs. "The Social Network," "Saving Private Ryan" vs. "Shakespeare in Love" or even "An American in Paris" vs. "A Streetcar Named Desire," we're still confirming the Academy's taste or dismissing it as hopelessly off-base years later. »
- Gary Susman
This review contains spoilers.
6.9 Grifting 101
Full-on parodies have been in short supply this season and it's with some gusto that the latest episode lampoons 1973's Best Picture winner The Sting. Like the movie and the episode itself, this review will be about 20% hand-drawn. You should also probably play this in the background as you read...
Grifting 101 is the first episode of the season to find the students among our group - Abed, Annie, Britta, Chang and Elroy - actually going to class. Specifically, they're wound up about the titular class, where they expect to become master con-artists. Jeff is sceptical (and maybe a little jealous) which only spurs the group on further.
But when their double-dealing professor (played by the one and only Matt Berry) charges them $150 for »
Has any contemporary movie star more intriguingly chafed at the gilded prison of stardom than Robert Redford? Certainly, he was not the first — or the last — matinee idol who endeavored to show us there was more to him than just a pretty face (or, in Redford’s particular case, that California tan, those blazing baby blues, and that wonderfully, ridiculously tousled hair).
Some actors, so inclined, stretch themselves in their choice of material; others add producing, directing, and even political activism to the mix. But “Bob” did all that and still felt somehow unfulfilled. So, rather like a fussy housewife forever rearranging the living room furniture, he gazed out at a sizable property he owned in the mountains of Utah and thought that an institute devoted to the cultivation and support of American independent filmmakers might look awfully nice over there.
If Sundance now seems nearly as iconic as Redford himself, »
- Scott Foundas
In Focus, Will Smith's first film since 2013, the superstar plays Nicky, a long-time conman who is planning his last big score, but ends up reuniting with a con woman who he trained years before.
The film, which performed mildly at the box office in its debut this weekend, joins the ranks of Hollywood's long love affair with the art of the con.
In celebration of this newest entry in the grifter genre, here are nine of the best conman movies ever made.
(Note: This list doesn't include movies about heists that happen to involve conmen -- i.e. Ocean's Eleven or The Heist -- just films that celebrate the age of tradition of swindling.)
9. Matchstick Men (2003): Nicholas Cage and Sam Rockwell play con artists who are planning one of the biggest scams of their careers. Things get complicated when Cage's teenage daughter shows up and »
★★☆☆☆ Heist movies are meant to be sexy and slick, where the underdog comes out on top thanks to their cunning and skill. Immediately we think of the sparkling smile of Robert Redford in 1973's The Sting, the undeniable charm of Clooney's Danny Ocean or the tenacity of De Niro's Neil McCauley. However, with Glenn Ficarra and John Requa's Focus (2015), starring Will Smith as cock-sure conman, feels like a limp imitation. Focus glides along too comfortably, far more interested in the authenticity of the terminology and on the practicalities of street level swindles. It might be accurate, but it's at the expensive of structure and is too wrapped up in the idea of conning the audience, culminating in underwhelming grand reveal.
- CineVue UK
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