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Once upon a time, Mel Brooks was a mighty force in comic cinema. Beginning with The Producers in 1967, he directed a string of very funny movies, reaching an early crescendo with Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, both released in 1974. The movies that followed -- Silent Movie, High Anxiety and History of the World: Part 1, may have been a step down in consistency and popularity, even though they were still hilarious. In 1987, he faced his toughest challenge yet, making fun of popular sci-fi movies (mostly the original Star Wars trilogy) in Spaceballs. The intentionally low-budget look and feel of the movie was, of course, part of the joke (watch the clip above), and Brooks was spot-on with much of the humor, which ridiculed the costumes, the portentous dialogue, silly...
- Peter Martin
Ever since Disney brought Star Wars back in 2012, rumors have popped up from time to time about a sequel to Mel Brooks’ classic Spaceballs. During a Q&A following a recent screening of Young Frankenstein, Mel Brooks spoke briefly about the possibility of a new Star Wars parody film:
“MGM is slightly interested in doing it.” Said Brooks, “So we’re talking. Who knows?”
While there is certainly nothing concrete there, Brooks did seem excited about the project and sounded optimistic about the film being made. Brooks also said the studio is looking at the success of the Star Wars movies as a factor in the decision whether or not to move forward. Considering the current state of Star Wars fandom, there probably isn’t a better time to bring back Spaceballs. The world also needs another Mel Brooks parody, the last film made that was written by Brooks was the 2005 remake of The Producers. »
- Seth McDonald
Actor, writer, director, producer, and all-round showman Mel Brooks is a bona fide icon of comedy and cinema – and with good reason. He has, over the course of his 68-year career, delivered such classics as The Producers, Blazing Saddles and High Anxiety. But it’s another two, very different films of his that have combined to bring us some welcome news today, as the filmmaker discussed Spaceballs 2 at a screening of Young Frankenstein.
The screening took place at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center on Sunday, May 21st, and Brooks was on hand for a Q & A session afterward. During this event, he was asked about the likelihood of a sequel to 1987’s Spaceballs, and Brooks confirmed that discussions are underway.
“Well, you know, I’m doing it. MGM is slightly interested in doing it because of the new Star Wars… They think maybe, so we’re talking.”
So… will »
- Sarah Myles
Of all of Mel Brooks’s hilarious spoof comedy movies many bring up Spaceballs as being one of his best. I happen to think that Blazing Saddles is his best work and it’s not even close. However, Spaceballs is certainly a fun movie that does a very solid job of poking fun at the Star Wars franchise. My only issue with Spaceballs is that I don’t feel it holds up quite as well as I’ve gotten older. I feel like the movie is better suited for kids than it is adults. Don’t get me wrong there’s plenty of adult humor in
- Nat Berman
Mel Brooks has confirmed that he is in the early stages of getting Spaceballs 2 off of the paper and into production. We've been teased more than once about the possibility of getting a sequel to one of the most legendary movie parodies of all time. Pranksters in New York City made up a bunch of fake Spaceballs 2 theatrical posters that went viral in minutes. The timing was perfect as The Force Awakens was still in theaters and the fake posters even had a brilliant title: Spaceballs 2: The Search for more Money and pictured a busted up Lord Dark Helmet head piece, much like teasers for The Force Awakes. Brooks went on to praise the posters and the title and even said that he was interested in getting the cast back together again for a possible sequel.
In the history of black filmmaking, “Stir Crazy” is rarely cited as a groundbreaker or an enduring high point. However, Sidney Poitier’s 1980 comedy sold more tickets in North America than “The Fate of the Furious,” or any other film by a black director.
Poitier’s career has included multiple breakout moments. He was the first black lead acting Oscar winner with “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner;” he starred in two blockbuster films in 1967 with “To Sir With Love” (over $300 million, adjusted gross) and “In the Heat of the Night” ($177 million, adjusted gross). He was, more than even Denzel Washington or any other black actor-turned-director, an icon of cinema when he made “Stir Crazy.” And it was this film, more than any other, that found access to all domestic audiences.
That said, it’s a film that doesn’t have the resonance of other historical blockbusters like “Gone With the Wind, »
- Tom Brueggemann
Welcome to “Playback,” a Variety podcast bringing you exclusive conversations with the talents behind many of today’s hottest films.
World Wrestling Entertainment superstar John Cena is on the show this week discussing his new film “The Wall,” from director Doug Liman (“The Bourne Identity,” “Edge of Tomorrow”). The 40-year-old sports entertainer is fresh from a very public proposal to his fiancee Stephanie Nicole Garcia-Colace (aka Nikki Bella) at WrestleMania last month, and of late, he’s been stepping up his Hollywood presence in films like “Sisters,” “Trainwreck” and the upcoming animated “Ferdinand.”
But he first waded into the industry a decade ago with films like “The Marine” and “12 Rounds.” He admits, however, that he was going through the motions at the time.
Listen to this week’s episode of “Playback” below. New episodes air every Thursday.
Click here for more episodes of “Playback.”
“Those were projects I was kind »
- Kristopher Tapley
Chicago – The 16th Tribeca Film Festival wrapped last Sunday (April 30, 2017) and the award-winning films of the festival have been named. Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com was there for the first week of Tribeca and files his personal best of the films he experienced.
This is Patrick switching to first person, and I was able to see 13 media and film works, and took a turn in the “Immersive” or Virtual Reality arcade (there will a separate article on that experience). I sampled TV, short films, documentaries and narrative films, and rank them from first preferred on down, but honestly I didn’t see anything that I didn’t like, which is a testament to the programmers of this iconic film festival.
The following are the prime 13, and an indication of when they are scheduled to release…
Photo credit: Tribeca Film Festival
What seems like a “Juno” rip-off, »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
I guess Marvel senior vice president David Gabriel has had a bad week.
In case you haven’t heard – perhaps you were in solitary confinement – at the Marvel Retailer Summit Gabriel said that some retailers have told him that they “did not want female superheroes out there.” I have no doubt this is true: every industry has its share of morons, and sometimes – the Trump election is a case in point – those morons can influence policy. Capitalism being what it is, if enough morons have their way something really good and necessary gets chopped. For example, our President’s recent budget eliminated the miniscule funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Social media is instant, uncensored, and vox populi on steroids, so Gabriel’s comment was the latest shot heard around the world and everybody jumped on the bandwagon, »
- Mike Gold
A few years ago, in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the death of influential film critic Pauline Kael, I wrote the following:
“I think (Kael) did a lot to expose the truth… that directors, writers and actors who often work awfully close to the surface may still have subterranean levels of achievement or purpose or commentary that they themselves may be least qualified to articulate. It’s what’s behind her disdain for Antonioni’s pontificating at the Cannes film festival; it’s what behind the high percentage of uselessness of proliferating DVD commentaries in which we get to hear every dull anecdote, redundant explication of plot development and any other inanity that strikes the director of the latest Jennifer Aniston rom-com to blurt out breathlessly; and it is what’s behind a director like Eli Roth, who tailors the subtext of something like Hostel Part II almost as »
- Dennis Cozzalio
With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit platforms. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.
Who knew that one of the year’s most potent representations of America’s addiction to abrasive conflict would be Anne Heche and Sandra Oh beating each other to a pulp? Onur Tukel’s Catfight is an unabashedly silly and political film, but it’s also a funny one, with its two lead actresses literally and figuratively hurling themselves into their roles. Heche and Oh play »
- The Film Stage
Even the most "serious" and "grounded" superhero movies ultimately offer a warm bath of escapism – but not the fatalistic new twilight-of-Wolverine movie Logan, which feels more like having three metal claws puncture your cranium. This film is many things: the most daring mainstream superhero movie ever; a sharp dystopian vision of a post-Trump future America; a showcase for many, many decapitations and impalements, some of them perpetrated by an 11-year-old girl with a metal skeleton; everything Zack Snyder's Watchmen could have been, had it not been directed by Zack Snyder. »
Sara Bareilles helped the Academy pay tribute to lives lost this year during the Oscarcast’s In Memoriam segment. The “Waitress” songstress sang Judy Collins’ “Both Sides Now” while the annual video honored Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, John Hurt, Mary Tyler Moore, Anton Yelchin, Prince, Garry Marshall, Ken Howard, and more.
The cutoff for including deaths in the segment is usually around Jan. 31. Therefore, David Bowie was included in last year’s Oscar ceremony. Bill Paxton, who died Saturday, was remembered by an emotional Jennifer Aniston before she introduced the segment.
The segment saluted the more recognizable names and faces in addition to below-the-line creatives and executives. As in years past, the Academy asked attendees to hold their applause until the end to avoid favoritism and any disrespect toward the lesser-known honorees.
Academy Award Winners 2017: Updated List
“Sara’s unique artistry will honor those we’ve lost in our community, »
- Dani Levy
2016 saw the unexpected and untimely deaths of a slew of beloved icons and screen legends, which means viewers can expect one monumental In Memoriam segment at the 89th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday.
It was announced on Thursday that Sara Bareilles will be performing during the emotional tribute. "Sara’s unique artistry will honor those we’ve lost in our community including familiar faces and those behind the scenes who have enriched the art of moviemaking," producers Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd said in a statement.
The tribute will no doubt have everyone in tears, especially when you consider just how many icons have passed away since last year's awards show.
Photos: Stars We've Lost In Recent Years
Looking back over the past year, here are just a few of the late stars who will likely be honored at this year's Oscars ceremony.
Comedian and actor Garry Shandling, who died on »
Netflix has announced the new titles arriving on the streaming platform next month, with five original films leading the pack: “Burning Sands” (3/10), “Deidra & Laney Rob a Train” (3/17), “Pandora” (3/17), “The Most Hated Woman in America” (3/24) and “The Discovery” (3/31). Three of these — “Burning Sands,” “Deidra & Laney,” “The Discovery” — are Netflix Origins that premiered during the Sundance Film Festival in January.
Also available to stream next month are “The Bfg,” “Pete’s Dragon,” “The Life Aquatic,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Chicago,” “Jurassic Park,” “Memento,” “Million Dollar Baby,” “Evolution,” “Fire at Sea” and “Welcome to New York,” among others, while the likes of “Jaws,” “Animal House,” “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey” and “Entertainment” are all expiring at the end of February. Find a full list of what’s coming in March below.
Read More: Why Martin Scorsese’s Netflix Deal Is »
- Michael Nordine
As March approaches, Netflix has unveiled its upcoming offerings that will once again overwhelm you with too many choices. Next month, you can watch a host of new series including the latest in superhero fare, Marvel’s Iron Fist; 13 Reasons Why, an adaptation of a Ya novel; and Julie’s Greenroom, which stars none other than Julie Andrews. There are also new seasons of Love and Grace And Frankie, as well as stand-up specials from Amy Schumer and Jim Norton. (Schumer’s is subtitled: The Leather Special.) Meanwhile, Sundance alums like Deidra & Laney Rob A Train and The Discovery are headed to the platform as original movies. And if that’s not enough, you can also revisit the likes of Blazing Saddles and Jurassic Park.
Available March 1
Angry Birds: Season 2 (2013)
Blazing Saddles (1974)
Deep Run (2015)
Dirt Every Day: Season 1 (2013)
- Esther Zuckerman
Andrew Blair Feb 15, 2017
Readers of this site may have read last week's news that there's to be a new Star Wars spoof. This film comes from the team who brought us Date Movie, Epic Movie, and apparently something called The Starving Games which blissfully passed me by. Jason Friedberg and Aaron Selzer make relatively cheap movies that, despite critical maulings, tend to make money at the box office. When I worked at a cinema, an eleven year old boy went to see Meet The Spartans three times, proclaiming it the best film he had ever seen.
Mel Brooks has revealed his greatest comedy secret – and it’s surprisingly royal.
“Comedy’s job is to say the truth in the king’s ear,” the 90-year-old comic told People at the BAFTA awards in London on Sunday. “I think comedy is too PC.”
Brooks made no mention about whether he did just that to real-life future king (and academy president) Prince William when collecting a BAFTA Fellowship from the royal dad, who attended the ceremony alongside wife Princess Kate.
Yet the experience of meeting the second-in-line still left something of a mark on the man behind such comedy classics as Blazing Saddles, »
- Phil Boucher
One of America’s great comics for the past 60 years, the maker of films Blazing Saddles and The Producers talks about why he can’t take the president seriously – and the White House sidekicks that are no laughing matter
Related: Mel Brooks to receive the 2017 Bafta fellowship
On Sunday night, the legendary director, producer, screenwriter, gag writer, standup comic, composer, impressionist and drummer Mel Brooks will be honoured for a lifetime of comedic excellence by Bafta. Noting that an awful lot of great British comics – Morecambe and Wise, the two Ronnies, even Rowan Atkinson – never made it big in the Us, Brooks says, “I was happy that they got my work in Britain. And I was surprised.”
Continue reading »
- Joe Queenan
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has announced that legendary actor and filmmaker Mel Brooks is set to be honoured with the BAFTA Fellowship at the Ee British Academy Film Awards this Sunday, February 12th.
Brooks, who began his career in the 1940s, is one of only twelve people to have won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony Award, and his C.V. includes the likes of The Producers, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Silent Movie, Spaceballs and Robin Hood: Men in Tights.
“I am not overwhelmed, but I am definitely whelmed by this singular honor,” said Brooks. “To be included among such iconic talents is absolutely humbling. In choosing me for the 2017 Fellowship I think that BAFTA has made a strangely surprising yet ultimately wise decision.”
“Mel Brooks is a truly unique and multi-talented filmmaker,” added Amanda Berry, Chief Executive of BAFTA. “We are absolutely thrilled to award him the Fellowship, »
- Gary Collinson
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