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Warner Bros.’ Archive Collection has been doing quite the job giving genre and non-genre fans an extensive amount of DVD and Bluray releases of classic horror, crime noir and comedy films, some of which are available for the first time. Sure there are Quite a lot of new genre films to keep us busy for ages, but it does feel good to sit back and watch classic films that not only inspired today’s film-making, but paved the way for a lot of recent films.
We thought it would be nice to write a bit about some of our favorite releases from WB’s Archive Collection, thanks to the gang over there for sending a few titles my way to check out. Read on!
The story of a series of murders being investigated by a detective and his new partner (Albert Finney and the absolutely gorgeous Diane Venora), Wolfen suffered, »
- Jerry Smith
I will say this upfront, I love this kind of humor. I cut my teeth on the likes of Mel Brooks, who made irreverent movies in the '70s and '80s that could not even be attempted today. Seth MacFarlane comes from that school of comedy. In fact, it would not be a stretch to call MacFarlane this generation's Mel Brooks. In defense of this statement, Brooks' comedy -- in his time -- was often hated on, as he skewered race, sex, religion, politics, and whatever else he could to find laughs. Brooks understood that we laugh hardest when we laugh at the hard truths of the world and when we laugh at ourselves. And it was hilarious each time. Don't believe me, re-watch Blazing Saddles or History of the World Part 1 some time. The "PC Police" would have had that films out of theaters after opening day.
Ted and it's sequel, »
He was one of the youngest TV executive producers in the medium's history, created not one but two successful animated programs, hosted the Oscars and had a blockbuster comedy bring in beaucoup box office receipts. He has contributed $1 million to the Reading Rainbow kickstarter fund and produced the recent reboot of the classic science series Cosmos; Harvard named him their 2011 Humanist of the Year. Yet Seth MacFarlane has managed to inspire an intense, rabid hatred of his raunchy comedy and retro-dude attitudes that's been as fervent as the fanbase that »
When Spaceballs premiered in 1987, four years after Return of the Jedi and with no other Star Wars films on the horizon, critics said director-writer-star Mel Brooks had waited too long to make it and that Lucas's trilogy was too easy a target. Audiences seemed to agree - the film only did moderate box office, taking just $38m on its Us run (with a reported budget of $22m) and finishing 31st in the list of hits for that year. However, it subsequently became a cult favourite on video, Laserdisc and DVD, and was popular enough to receive the full-blown 25th Anniversary treatment (complete with Mel Brooks commentary) on Blu-Ray in 2012.
Needless to say, Spaceballs wasn't Mel Brooks's first foray into parody - he had enjoyed enormous success with his previous films and had already targeted Westerns (Blazing Saddles), horror movies (Young Frankenstein), silent movies (Silent Movie), Hitchcock thrillers (High Anxiety »
It's fitting that Clint Eastwood and John Wayne both have the same birthday week. (Wayne, who died in 1979, was born May 26, 1907, while Eastwood turns 85 on May 31). After all, these two all-American actors' careers span the history of that most American of movie genres, the western.
Both iconic actors were top box office draws for decades, both seldom stretched from their familiar personas, and both played macho, conservative cowboy heroes who let their firearms do most of the talking. Each represented one of two very different strains of western, the traditional and the revisionist.
As a birthday present to Hollywood's biggest heroes of the Wild West, here are the top 57 westerns you need to see.
57. 'Meek's Cutoff' (2010)
Indie filmmaker Kelly Reichardt and her frequent leading lady, Michelle Williams, are the talents behind this sparse, docudrama about an 1845 wagon train whose Oregon Trail journey goes horribly awry. It's an intense »
- Gary Susman
All week long our writers will debate: Which was the greatest film year of the past half century. Click here for a complete list of our essays. I was one of the first to select years for this particular exercise, which probably allowed me to select the correct year. The answer is, of course, 1974 and all other answers are wrong. No matter what your criteria happens to be, 1974 is going to come out on top. Again, this is not ambiguous or open to debate. We have to start, of course, with the best of the best. "Chinatown" is one of the greatest movies ever made. You can't structure a thriller better than Robert Towne and Roman Polanski do, nor shoot a Los Angeles movie better than John Alonzo has done. Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway give the best performances of their careers, which is no small achievement. If you ask »
- Daniel Fienberg
All week long our writers will debate: Which was the greatest film year of the past half century. Check here for a complete list of our essays. Just one glance at the Oscar nominees for 1998 might make it seem less a questionable choice for “best year in film” — and more an insane one. Instead of a 1974 – The Godfather II, The Conversation, Chinatown, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, etc – or even a 1994, where Shawshank, Quiz Show, and Pulp Fiction lost to Gump – you choose a year where the Oscars would allow Roberto Benigni to climb atop both the figurative and literal chairs of the Shrine? Fine, step away from the Oscars. Would you still celebrate a year that saw not one, but two movies about asteroids threatening the Earth? A year that saw such scars carved across cinematic history as Patch Adams, My Giant, Stepmom, and Krippendorf’s Tribe? It bears repeating: Krippendorf’S Tribe? »
- Michael Oates Palmer
All week long our writers will debate: Which was the greatest film year of the past half century. Click here for a complete list of our essays. How to decide in the grand scheme of things which film year stands above all others? History gives us no clear methodology to unravel this thorny but extremely important question. Is it the year with the highest average score of movies? So a year that averages out to a B + might be the winner over a field strewn with B’s, despite a few A +’s. Or do a few masterpieces lift up a year so far that whatever else happened beyond those three or four films is of no consequence? Both measures are worthy, and the winner by either of those would certainly be a year not to be sneezed at. But I contend the only true measure of a year’s »
- Richard Rushfield
Nearly Blazing Saddles without the jokes: all genre conventions with none of the fun, just your inescapable expectations met around every sun-blighted corner. I’m “biast” (pro): love Mads Mikkelsen and Eva Green
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
There’s clichés in them thar hills. A motherlode, even. Danish filmmaker Kristian Levring’s (The Intended) Western is so unabashedly crammed with stereotypes and contrivances that it’s hard to see how anyone involved kept a straight face while shooting. (The character who is both preacher and sheriff is a particular unintended hoot.) The Salvation is nearly Blazing Saddles without the jokes: it’s all genre conventions with none of the fun, just your inescapable expectations confirmed around every sun-blighted corner. It’s 1870, and cartoon villain Delarue (Jeffrey Dean Morgan: They Came Together) is running a protection racket in a »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Raunchy comedies. Scary movies. Songs with explicit lyrics. Space, the final frontier. When we're kids, we're frequently banned from checking out films, TV, music or other entertainment before we're "ready." Whatever that means. At HitFix, we discovered there's a range of what was banned in our households when we were children. Some folks like lucky-duck Gregory Ellwood had no bans at all. Some bans didn't hold. Some bans were so intense, they blanketed all corners of media. Below are some of our staffers sounding off on what wasn't allowed in their household. Share with us in the comments what stuff you couldn't watch or hear. Chris Eggertsen - "Married...With Children" "Married...With Children" was like the Devil in our house, and here's the kicker: I'm almost positive my mother never watched it before banning it. It was enough that a random Christian woman living halfway across the country whom »
- Katie Hasty, HitFix Staff
The comedy great received the honour in person in London.
Us comedy writer, actor and director Mel Brooks has been awarded the highest honour of the British Film Institute (BFI), the BFI Fellowship, at a private dinner in London tonight (March 20).
Previous recipients include Sir Christopher Lee, Ralph Fiennes, David Cronenberg, Dame Judi Dench, Isabelle Huppert, Tim Burton, Martin Scorsese and Orson Welles. The honour is awarded by the BFI Board of Governors and is presented for outstanding achievement in film and television
Ahead of the presentation, Brooks said: “I am deeply honoured to be the recipient of the BFI Fellowship and to be inducted into such distinguished company.
“When I was informed that I had been chosen, I was surprised and delighted. Not many Americans have been offered this prestigious award…and for good reason.”
BFI chair Greg Dyke, who hosted the event, said of Brooks: “His brilliant wit and satire have continued to surprise and delight »
- email@example.com (Michael Rosser)
Austin - It will come as no surprise to anyone who reads me on a regular basis that I am a Will Ferrell fan. Even before he made the jump to leading man in the world of features, I was already fully onboard. There's just something about the particular brand of lunacy that so many of his characters embody that entertains me completely. There are few things I enjoy more than seeing what happens when Ferrell and Adam McKay are turned loose on something together, two halves of one mutant brain, the combination of the two resulting in something remarkable. Etan Cohen, you are no Adam McKay. I actually do like some of Cohen's work. "Idiocracy," for example, is a script I adore, co-written by Cohen and Mike Judge, and "Tropic Thunder" is tremendous. But "Get Hard" is impossible to defend thanks to a disastrous choice made early on in the development process. »
- Drew McWeeny
Cinema Retro has received the following press release:
Revisit 1939, Hollywood’s Greatest Year, with 4 New Blu-ray™ Debuts
The Golden Year Collection June 9
Features Newly Restored Blu-ray Debut of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Starring Charles Laughton, and Blu-ray Debuts of – Bette Davis’ Dark Victory, Errol Flynn’s Dodge City and Greta Garbo’s Ninotchka. Collection also includes Gone With the Wind.
Burbank, Calif. March 10, 2015 – On June 9, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will celebrate one of the most prolific twelve months in Hollywood’s history with the 6-disc The Golden Year Collection. Leading the five-film set will be the Blu-ray debut of
The Hunchback of Notre Dame, in a new restoration which will have its world premiere at TCM’s Classic Film Festival beginning March 26 in Los Angeles. Charles Laughton and Maureen O’Hara star in Victor Hugo’s tragic tale which William Dieterle directed.
The other films featured in the Wbhe »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
Mel Brooks has made a career out of spoofing films. From Blazing Saddles to Young Frankenstein and Spaceballs, Brooks has flipped every genre over and given it a nice humorous spanking. So, what better way to pay homage to the Hollywood icon than make porn versions of his movies? Nsfw porn site Wood Rocket has been working on a porn version of Brooks' films called Debbie Does Mel Brooks. In conjunction with Heeb Magazine, a Sfw behind the scenes video has been posted showing »
- Alex Maidy
What is it about "Clue"? Thirty years after the kooky non-hit murder mystery left theaters (along with its three original endings), it's become as much of a cult phenomenon as "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," Tim Curry's other mansion romp with a delirious lineup of characters. Don't believe me? Until Paramount stepped in to protest, La's NuArt Theatre conducted "shadow cast" screenings of "Clue" featuring costumed cast imitators who mimed the movie in front of the projection. That's a next-level tribute. Based on the Parker Brothers board game, "Clue" is a whodunit in a very traditional sense. It is literally a dark and stormy night, there is literally a butler who might've done it, and there are Agatha Christie-type explanations for the homicides at the end of the movie. So why is it beloved? That answer, unlike the culprit of the movie's seven murders, reveals itself quickly: "Clue »
- Louis Virtel
Throughout the vast history of cinema the profession of law enforcement has been portrayed heavily and made its mark on the big screen in both dramatic and comical fodder. Whether it be straight up cops and robbers or crooked officers on the take in gangster flicks or ant-hero gun-slinging loners trying to buck the system the presence of crime-busting cads never fail to add compelling, if not at times over-exaggerated, insight into the world of law-enforcing personalities.
The one element of the law-enforcing community that seems somewhat limited but still registers mightily in some cinematic arenas is the concept of the sheriff. Sheriffs do cast a prominent shadow in all sorts of fields in the movies: westerns, medieval times, contemporary country car-chasing farces and even some urban melodramas.
In Arresting Developments: Top Ten Sheriffs in the Movies we will take a look at some of the notable on-screen sheriffs in »
- Frank Ochieng
Scott Foundas: Well, Peter, another Berlin Film Festival has come to a close, ending on a high note with the awarding of its top prize, the Golden Bear, to Jafar Panahi’s “Taxi.” Panahi’s film screened right at the start of the festival and emerged as an early consensus favorite among critics here. As it turns out, the Darren Aronofsky-led jury felt the same way, and I’d like to think their decision was based solely on the movie’s artistic merits, rather than the unfortunate position in which its director finds himself in his native Iran, where he’s been under house arrest for the last four years. It’s impossible, of course, to watch “Taxi” without thinking about the unusual circumstances under which it was made — something this highly self-reflexive film very much invites you to do. But what makes “Taxi” a great movie, I think, »
- Peter Debruge and Scott Foundas
Giving genre fans a hefty amount of vampiric love for 2015’s upcoming Valentine’s Day, Scream Factory has done a great job deciding on a couple of double features that not only go for the neck (literally), but also leave you with a bunch of haunted fun. The newly released double features of Love At First Bite/Once Bitten and Vampire’S Kiss/High Spirits are both a couple of releases that prove to be not only great and somewhat forgotten films, but also ones that showcase the talent of performers that would eventually go on to be huge A-list stars.
With the Love At First Bite/Once Bitten double feature, we’re given not only an early performance in Once Bitten from future megastar Jim Carrey, but in the case of Love At The First Bite, a satirical look at the vampire subgenre, »
- Jerry Smith
For the week of February 10th, your horror and sci-fi home entertainment choices are practically boundless, as we’ve got a bevy of great films being released (something that might be helpful for those of you still in search for a gift for your Valentine). Scream Factory is pulling double-duty with both of their dual Blu-ray releases, Love at First Bite/Once Bitten and Vampire’s Kiss/High Spirits, and the cult classic Nekromantik 2 is getting a high def upgrade as well.
- Heather Wixson
Mel Brooks directed such films as "The Producers," "Blazing Saddles," and "Young Frankenstein," but hasn't stepped behind the camera for twenty years. But during a recent interview, Brooks revealed that he may be interested in developing a sequel to his "Spaceballs" comedy. "Maybe I could do another musical, maybe I could do another movie. I was thinking about 'Spaceballs' the other day," he said. "In 'Spaceballs,' in the movie, Bill Pullman says to me, Yogurt, just plain Yogurt, he says 'Do you think we'll ever meet again?' and I say 'Well, I don't know... maybe in Spaceballs 2: The Search for More Money.' And I'm thinking now, if I did a movie that came out right after 'Star Wars' comes out . maybe a couple of months later . I'd have a big weekend, you know? No matter what, even if it fell on »
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