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No matter what variety of cinephile you might be, it’s pretty damn hard to settle on a favorite Jack Nicholson performance from his golden run in the late '60s to the early '70s. Some swear by his crazed, magnificent turn as mental patient Randall P. McMurphy in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Next,” while others may be partial to his reefer-mad, conspiracy-spouting lawyer in the seminal outlaw flick “Easy Rider.” My personal pick would have to be Nicholson’s pitch-perfect turn as private dick Jake Gittes in Roman Polanski’s immortal “Chinatown,” but there’s no denying the power and magnetism that he exhibited in “Five Easy Pieces,” the 1970 film for which Nicholson was deservedly nominated for his first Oscar (he lost, but ended up taking one home five years later for his stellar work in 'Cuckoo’s Next'). Bob Rafelson’s drama, about a hard-living »
- Nicholas Laskin
Every now and again a movie trailer comes along that is all kinds of wrong for the movie it is trying to promote. This is a list of some of the worst head scratchers.
Just because a movie is good doesn’t necessarily mean that its trailer is as well. Many times the filmmakers responsible for the film itself don’t have much input (if any) into the trailer. When that happens, the trailer can end up misinterpreting the intent of the film. At other times, the trailer may try too hard to get audiences interested in the film, going so far as to show all the best parts from the film. This includes giving away the twists or the ending, such that people who may have watched the trailer before seeing the film already know how it ends. This is a look at some of the worst offenders, those »
- email@example.com (G.S. Perno)
“Nantucket has been a creative refuge for decades,” multihyphenate Ben Stiller says. “The festival has coalesced the film-writing community and celebrated individuality — in a way that is part of being on the island: independent, isolated (so as to) foster risk-taking.”
A Nantucket Film Festival board member, Stiller often attends the fest, which turns 20 this year. He regularly hosts a lively, Sro All-Star Comedy Roundtable that has welcomed Mike Myers, Seth Meyers, Bill Hader, Chris Rock, Sarah Silverman and Brian Williams, among others.
The event will kick off June 24 with A24’s David Foster Wallace drama “The End of the Tour,” starring Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg. Documentary “The Best of Enemies” about the televised debates between William F. Buckley Jr. and Gore Vidal during the 1968 presidential election, »
- Thelma Adams
Let’s just face it: Scream Factory’s insane amount of releases aren’t about to slow down anytime soon, and well, I think I speak for most horror fans when I say that that’s something to celebrate. Not only are they continually putting out great Bluray releases of older and almost forgotten titles like their Tentacles/Reptilicus, but the Collector’s Editions like the recently announced People Under The Stairs and I, Madman releases are definitely ones to celebrate.
In case you fright fanatics haven’t been paying attention or just haven’t gotten around to checking out some of the oncoming onslaught of titles, here are a few that are quite exciting for us at Icons of Fright. Read on!
It’s angry. It’s hungry. It’s extremely well-armed and it’s descending on a small seaside town to sample the local cuisine! »
- Jerry Smith
This summer, Scream Factory will take viewers to a ghost town that's a lot more sinister than the one the Brady family was trapped in on The Brady Bunch. Slated for a July 28th release, the western horror film Ghost Town hits Blu-ray on July 28th:
Press Release -- "The good. The bad. The Satanic. Scream Factory proudly presents the Empire Pictures classic Ghost Town on July 28, 2015 in its Blu-ray debut.
A dusty ghost town, seemingly abandoned, holds the lives of its original inhabitants in an animated netherworld for 100 years…
When a modern-day sheriff’s deputy is lured to a desolate, spooky ghost town in search of a missing woman, he comes face-to-face with a malevolent spirit from the town’s past. The spell of death and suffering over the undead townspeople must end to set them free from eternal pain. The horrors of a possessed outlaw, in a time-suspended »
- Derek Anderson
“The Good, The Bad, The Satanic.” When reading those words at the top of Ghost Town‘s VHS box as a kid, that line was all that it took for me to beg my father to let me rent it. Being the upstanding religious person he was, he said yes, and there I went, further down the Empire Pictures rabbit hole. Empire Pictures was such a huge part of my childhood (see Issues #4 and 7 of Delirium Magazine for proof of that), and writing this up right, I can’t help but to think of maybe some horror fans who didn’t get a chance to witness this Satanic cowboy tale as a kid/teenager, finally getting the chance to do so, with Scream Factory’s upcoming July 28th Bluray debut of the 1988 film.
A dusty ghost town, seemingly abandoned, holds the lives of its original inhabitants in an animated netherworld for 100 years… »
- Jerry Smith
Read More: 'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,' 'The End of the Tour' and More Make Nantucket Film Festival Lineup The 20th Annual Nantucket Film Festival has announced Golden Globe-winning actress Robin Wright and Emmy-Award nominated "House of Cards" creator Beau Willimon will participate in an "In Their Shoes…" conversation moderated by Chris Matthews at the Nantucket High School on Sunday, June 28. Matthews will also sit down with Academy Award and Golden Globe-winning screenwriter Robert Towne ("Chinatown") on Friday, June 26 at the Dreamland Theater. The "In Their Shoes…" conversation series is presented at the festival by Final Draft. Wright will pull double duty and award Variety's Creative Impact in Television Writing Award to Willimon during the festival's Screenwriters Tribute on Saturday, June 27. Female directors Leslye Headland and Liz Garbus will be honorees at this year's event as well. Headland's raunchy romantic-comedy, »
- Kaeli Van Cott
Paul Feig will always, always, always have a special place in our heart for creating the immortal TV series Freaks & Geeks. Now, however, he's given Jason Statham his straight comedy debut in Spy, which arrives in cinemas this coming Friday.
Ahead of the film's release, he spared us some time for a chat. It didn't take long for Statham's name to crop up either...
I was watching Tom Hanks' That Thing You Do the other day, oddly enough. It's you in that, isn't it?
[Laughs] Yes! The DJ!
I finally watched the extended cut. Have you seen that version?
I've always liked the movie. And Tom Hanks, of course, directed the film, having come from an acting background like yourself. What kind of tips do you pick up from someone like him? »
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
This article contains a big spoiler for Chinatown.
Ah, the mighty Brad Bird. If he'd downed tools after he made the peerless The Iron Giant and never made another film again, we'd still be sending him Christmas cards every year. But then he went and made The Incredibles, Ratatouille and Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol as well. Gah. Now we have to send chocolates as well.
Bird's latest film, Tomorrowland, arrives in cinemas this week, and we caught up with him to find out more about it. Here's how the chat went...
If we boil down the movies that many of us grew up loving in the 1980s, there's relatable stakes at the heart of them. So, for instance, Back To The Future is at its centre someone trying to get his parents back together. »
Ever since Joe Mantell uttered the immortal words, “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown” to Jack Nicholson at the end of that Roman Polanski movie in 1972, that line has been a touchstone for summing up how some situations are just too corrupt, too screwed up to comprehend, much less remedy. A variation on the line popped up in Pete Docter’s great animated film “Inside Out” at the Cannes Film Festival this weekend, and now Canadian director Denis Villeneuve has made a feature-length exploration of the drug trade, in which the entire movie pretty much says to Emily Blunt‘s character, »
- Steve Pond
Read More: Attention, Filmmakers: Nantucket Film Festival Screenplay Competition Final Deadlines Closing In The Nantucket Film Festival has announced screenwriter Robert Towne as the recipient of the 2015 Screenwriters' Tribute. Town is best known for the Academy Award-winning script for "Chinatown," as well as "Shampoo," "Mission: Impossible" and uncredited work on "The Godfather" and "Bonnie and Clyde." "In our 20th anniversary year we could not be more thrilled to honor the incomparable Robert Towne, said Mystelle Brabbée, Executive Director of the Nantucket Film Festival. "As a festival that recognizes achievements in screenwriting, Towne's body of work has truly changed the landscape of American cinema." The festival will also honor Liz Garbus, director of "What Happened, Miss Simone?" with the Special Achievement in Documentary Storytelling Award, and Leslye Headland, writer-director of »
- Casey Cipriani
Screenwriter Robert Towne will be honored at the Nantucket Film Festival’s 2015 Screenwriters Tribute, the festival announced Thursday.
Best known for “Chinatown,” Towne also penned “Shampoo,” “The Last Detail” and “Mission: Impossible.” Past honorees of the tribute include Aaron Sorkin, Nancy Meyers, Charlie Kaufman and Alexander Payne.
“In our 20th anniversary year we could not be more thrilled to honor the incomparable Robert Towne,” Nff executive director Mystelle Brabbee said in a statement. “As a festival that recognizes achievements in screenwriting, Towne’s body of work has truly changed the landscape of American cinema.”
Towne will also engage in an public conversation with Chris Matthews (MSNBC’s “Hardball”) as part of the festival’s “In Their Shoes…” series. The festivities will be hosted by comedian David Steinberg. Epix will present the event.
- Marianne Zumberge
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
There was a brief stir in January when composer Harry Gregson-Williams publicly expressed, via Facebook, his surprise at hearing music he didn’t recognize at the premiere of Michael Mann’s thriller “Blackhat” — and at not hearing a lot of score he did write.
The composer says his Facebook post has been blown out of proportion, but admits it was disappointing to see music he toiled over dropped (or replaced) in the final cut. But, he stresses, that’s just part of the game.
“You win some, you lose some,” he says, relaying his early mentor Hans Zimmer’s comment that you haven’t made it as a film composer until you’ve had a score rejected.
Gregson-Williams is simply the latest in a long line of composers who’ve watched scores tossed out and replaced whole-cloth, partially substituted by pre-existing tracks, or mangled beyond recognition. Mann is notorious for »
- Tim Greiving
Ah, the 1990s. The decade that brought us The Lion King. Titanic. Quentin Tarantino. That wordless bathroom scene in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet. Angelo Badalamenti's Twin Peaks. Duel of the Fates from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. In the Mood for Love.
It was a good 10 years for film music, no doubt.
But scratch the surface of 1991 through 1999 and there are tons of good scores ready to spring a surprise on your ears. Some were attached to sorely underrated movies, others were overshadowed by wildly successful ones, and some have simply been forgotten in the passage of time.
Here, in no particular order, are the top 25 underappreciated film soundtracks from the 1990s.
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
Let's hope Jack Nicholson has a pleasant birthday on Wednesday, or at least a less disturbing one than the birthday when pal Hunter S. Thompson showed up outside his house, turned on a spotlight, blasted a recording of a pig being eaten alive by bears, fired several rounds from his 9mm pistol, and (when the terrified actor and his kids refused to open the door) left an elk's heart on the doorstep.
Nicholson turns 78 on April 22, and even though he hasn't been in a movie for five years, he still looms large in our collective imaginations. Younger viewers know him from his flamboyant performances in "The Departed," "The Bucket List," "Something's Gotta Give," and "Anger Management," but his older films remain ubiquitous on TV as well, including "As Good as It Gets," "A Few Good Men," "Batman," "The Witches of Eastwick," "Terms of Endearment," "The Shining," and "Chinatown." A late bloomer, »
- Gary Susman
Hollywood is not exactly a warm and fuzzy place where everyone gets along like best friends. That’s why so many film sets are hotbeds for drama. But no drama is more intense than the art-infused feuds between actor and director, because Art!
Here are some of the biggest and best actor-director fights in film history.
Let’s start with the most recent. After Mo’Nique won an Oscar for her role in Precious, she says Daniels told her she was blackballed for not playing the Hollywood game. Then recently she announced that she’d been offered roles in both The Butler and Empire, but never heard anything more until she learned Oprah and Taraji P. Henson were respectively playing what she’d been led to believe were her roles. Despite the struggles, Mo’Nique says she “could work with Lee Daniels tomorrow.”
- Courtney Enlow
Character actor Richard (Dick) Bakalyan, who famously appeared in “Chinatown” as Loach, the partner of Jake Gittes’ former partner, who plays a key role in the movie’s climax, among many other films and TV shows, died in his sleep in Elmira, N.Y. on February 27 of a cerebral hemorrhage. He was 84.
Bakalyan was known for his broken nose and a streetwise twist of a phrase. Some fans might not remember the name, but everyone knew the face; they’d wave and call to him from cars or on the street. He said, “You have to the ride the horse you’re given” — a dedication to authenticity and subtlety that ensured his portrayal was always appropriate to the role and the scene.
- Variety Staff
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