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It’s easy to complain about how mainstream cinema is dominated by sequels, but at least they tend to be good (or are trying to be). In days gone by sequels were desperate cash-ins made on the cheap that never purported to have any worth. The conventional trajectory for a series was always downhill (see the Christopher Reeve Superman), which is the reason films like The Godfather: Part II and The Empire Strikes Back were such a big deal; sequels had never been this impressive before.
One area where the old idea that sequels mark a decrease in quality still holds is in animated movies. While this year has seen a eighth Planet Of The Apes, seventh X-Men and tenth Marvel that are not only awesome movies, but box office hits, to find an animated sequel that actually betters the first is hard to come by.
Due to »
- Alex Leadbeater
Honorary Oscars have traditionally bypassed women: Mary Pickford, Lauren Bacall, Greta Garbo among rare exceptions (photo: 1976 Honorary Oscar winner Mary Pickford) September 4, 2014 Introduction: This four-part article on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Honorary Awards and the dearth of female Honorary Oscar winners was originally posted in February 2007. The article was updated in February 2012 and fully revised before its republication today. All outdated figures regarding the Honorary Oscars and the Academy’s other Special Awards have been "scratched out," with the updated numbers and related information inserted below each affected paragraph or text section. See also "Honorary Oscars 2014 addendum" at the bottom of this particular post. At the 1936 Academy Awards ceremony, groundbreaking film pioneer D.W. Griffith, by then a veteran with more than 500 shorts and features to his credit — among them the epoch-making The Birth of a Nation and Intolerance — became the first individual to receive the Academy »
- Andre Soares
August is upon us, which invariably means withering heat and a hell of a lot of bad cinema. Worn out by the time the dog days hit, the studios enter hibernation mode, concerned mostly with counting their early summer blockbuster returns (or licking their wounds). There's hope around the corner — the fall festivals loom — but that moment isn't here yet. The last month of summer is usually barren.
Except when it isn't.
It certainly wasn't 35 years ago — August 15, 1979, to be exact, when Francis Ford Coppola »
In 1995 and 1997, Robert Anthony De Niro Jr. had Heat and Jackie Brown released into cinemas. Not his best films or his best performances, perhaps, but mesmerising work in excellent pictures directed by master filmmakers: the former saw him convince for Michael Mann as the cool, meticulous leader of a gang of career criminals; the latter had Quentin Tarantino give viewers a dim crim whose uncontrollable anger contributes to the unravelling of a heist.
For a whole generation of moviegoers who have grown up since, however, the adulation that's universally showered upon De Niro must be perplexing. Occasionally he summons up a portion of his old intensity – his turns in What Just Happened, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle are the (slim) picks of the last 15 years – but for anyone who got into movies from the late '90s on, he's the funny guy in Analyze This and Meet The Parents, »
Legendary Hollywood makeup artist Dick Smith has died at the age of 92. Smith's protege, Rick Baker, tweeted the news this morning saying: "The master is gone. My friend and mentor Dick Smith is no longer with us. The world will not be the same."
Smith’s iconic work appeared in films like "The Godfather," "The Godfather: Part II," "Taxi Driver," "The Exorcist," "The Deer Hunter," "Altered States," "Little Big Man," "Death Becomes Her," "The Hunger," "Starman" and "Amadeus" for which he won the Oscar.
Smith began his makeup career in television in the 1940s before later expanding to the world of film. He pioneered the method of applying prosthetics made from foam latex in small pieces, making the makeup appear more natural, as opposed to the previous standard of applying a latex mask as one solid piece. He was also one of the early pioneers of combining make-up with on-set special effects. »
- Garth Franklin
The master is gone. My friend and mentor Dick Smith is no longer with us. The world will not be the same.
— Rick Baker (@TheRickBaker) July 31, 2014
The legendary makeup artist was renowned for his realistic transformations in films like “The Godfather” and “Amadeus” — aging Marlon Brando into Don Corleone and F. Murray Abraham into a wizened Antonio Salieri — garnering an Academy Award for his work in the latter alongside Paul LeBlanc. In 2012, Smith was given an honorary Governor’s Academy Award for his contribution to the field, which was presented by Baker. Earlier this year, Smith received the Makeup Artists Lifetime Achievement Award at the Makeup Artists and Hair Stylist Guild Awards. He also won a Primetime Emmy in 1967 for his work on Hal Holbrook’s “Mark Twain Tonight! »
- Variety Staff
Our weekly round up of all the latest stories from the world of screen superheroes, including Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Carter, Daredevil, Big Hero 6, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Arrow, The Flash, Constantine, Gotham, Batman: Assault on Arkham, Powers, Hellboy 3 and more…
As you’d expect with less than three weeks to go until its release, Marvel Studios has really ramped up the promotion for Guardians of the Galaxy this week, dropping a rather impressive extended look trailer [see here], as well as a featurette focussing on Gamora (Zoe Saldana) [see here], seven TV spots [see here, here and here], some first look images of Michael Rooker’s (The Walking Dead) Yondu [see here], and a batch of images featuring Gamora, Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Drax (Dave Bautista) and Ronan (Lee Pace) [see here]. Meanwhile, director James Gunn has announced that he »
- Gary Collinson
We take a light-hearted look at a few of the more strange coincidences and quirks of fate in recent cinema history...
Stories are often built on coincidences and happenstance. Chance encounters at railway stations. Bruce Willis bumping into Ving Rhames while he's out and about in his Honda in Pulp Fiction. But what about those weird patterns we see in our everyday reality, or, more to the point, in cinema history?
When Batman Begins came out, it was widely noted that Christian Bale had already played an unfathomably rich man with a secret double life before, in Mary Harron's adaptation of American Psycho. Bale's character, Patrick Bateman, even has a surname that's basically Batman with an 'e' added to it.
Those are the kinds of strange quirks of fate we're looking at here. If you have any of your own, do share them in the comments section.
10. Instruments »
Joss Whedon is currently up to his eye balls in evil robots, playboy billionaires and big green rage machines. However he did take the time to talk to Total Film about the Avengers Age Of Ultron which is currently shooting the in UK. Whedon is taking some influence from one of the greatest sequels of all time, The Godfather Part II.“The model I’m always trying to build from is The Godfather: Part II, where a ton has happened in between and it’s a very different movie, but you don’t need any information. You’re in the vernacular of the first movie and you’re ready to just pick up in this new place. It’s got a sci-fi element to it that’s stronger than the other film. And it’s a little bit darker. Getting the team together was so rousing, but keeping the team »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Vic Barry)
With production on the Marvel sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron currently taking place in the UK, Total Film managed to catch up with director Joss Whedon who shared a few comments on the sequel to 2012′s mega-blockbuster The Avengers.
“The model I’m always trying to build from is The Godfather: Part II, where a ton has happened in between and it’s a very different movie, but you don’t need any information. You’re in the vernacular of the first movie and you’re ready to just pick up in this new place. It’s got a sci-fi element to it that’s stronger than the other film. And it’s a little bit darker. Getting the team together was so rousing, but keeping the team together is a completely different problem.”
- Gary Collinson
It was 1973 when I arrived in Hollywood with all the usual hopes, dreams, and expectations. I was producing TV commercials and taking Film Production classes at Nyu Extension at night. I just assumed that I would come to La and jump directly into producing feature films at the studios. As soon as I arrived, though, it became clear that women did Not produce films nor did they hold any executive positions in the business. Secretaries, Script Supervisors, Associate Producers, low to mid-range talent or literary agents, yes, but as the French say, c'est tout! What was a young girl to do? I applied to the secretarial pool at Paramount studios even though I had not the slightest clue how to type. And shockingly enough, a few weeks later, I was sent to the production offices of "The Godfather: Part II," which filmed on the Melrose lot for a month before »
- Tova Laiter
Nattily dressed in a white suit and red socks brighter than any wine from his Napa vineyard, an avuncular writer-director-producer-executive and, yes, vintner Francis Ford Coppola entered the auditorium to a standing ovation and held forth in a "Conversation With" in the closing hours of the 2014 Produced By conference. Asked by interlocutor Hawk Koch to describe how he juggled his many roles, immediate past president of the conference presenter, the Producers Guild of America, Coppola offered an anecdote: He had set up a scene to be shot on a Monday for The Godfather: Part II that involved a
- Jonathan Handel
Six years after their last attempt, Empire Magazine has conducted a poll of over 250,000 film fans to come up with a list of the 301 greatest movies ever made. It's the 1980 classic "The Empire Strikes Back" which took the top spot, beating out the 2008 winner "The Godfather" which slipped down to second place. The Top 50 of the list are:
The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
2001: A Space Odyssey
Terminator 2: Judgement Day
- Garth Franklin
Empire Magazine has polled over 250,000 obsessive movie fans to come up with the 301 greatest movies ever made, a list that is led by the 1980 classic Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back. This same poll was conducted back in 2008, which, at the time, found The Godfather taking top honors. It has now slipped into second place.
Here is a list of the top 20 movies to make the list in 2015.
2. The Godfather
5. Pulp Fiction
6. Star Wars
7. Fellowship of the Ring
11. Blade Runner
14. Fight Club
18. Jurassic Park
20. Apocalypse Now
To see the full list of 301 movies: clickHere
It's hard to believe Angelina Jolie has been a fixture of Hollywood for almost 20 years now.
Ever since breaking out in the late '90s with a string of critically-acclaimed performances, the actress quickly established herself as an international star. Between headlining hits like "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" and directing passion projects like "In the Land of Blood and Honey," Jolie is perhaps the biggest Hollywood spokesperson of humanitarian efforts worldwide. This summer, however, Jolie can be seen taking a wicked turn in Disney's "Maleficent" -- a re-imagining of "Sleeping Beauty" from the villain's point-of-view.
From her Oscar-winning godfather to her curiosity with blood, here are 33 things you probably don't know about Angelina Jolie.
2. The actress was born Angelina Jolie Voight, but she legally dropped her surname "Voight" in 2002.
- Jonny Black
In an industry that more often than not celebrates mediocrity over true genius, Gordon Willis occupies a category separate from and above all others. It’s common knowledge among the informed that he stands beside D. W. Griffith, “Billy” Bitzer, John Ford, Orson Welles, and maybe a few others as one of the industry’s great originators. Just as those legendary figures did before him, he not only changed the way movies look, he changed the way we look at movies.
Though Gordon made his place in history with what are probably his best known films, “The Godfather” and “The Godfather: Part II,” the pattern for what he would achieve had been put to effect in a number of smaller, less heralded movies he shot during the previous couple of years. To look closely at any of them is to witness the evolution of a tremendously gifted artist: “End of the Road, »
- Richard Crudo, ASC
Here we go again folks with another Top 25. Today I’ll be knocking off another one of the technical categories, with this one being the always elaborate Best Production Design field. The category is usually a feast for the eyes, but there’s plenty more to it than that. The sets and the environment on the whole are put on display here in an often magical way. I have a few specific titles I’ll be citing below, but I know the game here. You all mostly just want to see the lists anyway, so I have no problem obliging you there in that particular regard. All you have to do is just be patient over the next few paragraphs once again… This time around, I’m once again going the overview route, since as mentioned above the look of these winners is really what matters here. Also, it really »
- Joey Magidson
Often called “The Prince of Darkness” for his tendency to artfully cloak onscreen characters in ominous shadows, cinematographer Gordon Willis was the closest thing Hollywood had to a Rembrandt. His playful visual style, daring use of chiaroscuro, and seemingly effortless ability to conjure a mood of unsettling paranoia made him the ideal Director of Photography for the 1970s — a glorious filmmaking decade when Technicolor artifice was swept aside for New Hollywood naturalism.
- Chris Nashawaty
When you think of Gordon Willis you think of his work on Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather trilogy, his lensing of All the President's Men, his work on The Parallax View and Klute for Alan J. Pakula and, of course, Annie Hall and the beautiful black-and-white photography of Manhattan for Woody Allen. He's an icon in the realm of cinema and cinematographers and over the weekend he passed away at the age of 82. Willis was nominated for only two Oscars (The Godfather: Part III and Zelig) if you can believe it and was awarded an Honorary Oscar in 2009 for "unsurpassed mastery of light, shadow, color and motion." At least they got that right. Below I've included a two-part interview with Willis from 2013 along with the iconic opening to Allen's Manhattan, though that entire film could serve as a sizzle reel for his career. Also, click here for a great »
- Brad Brevet
Legendary cinematographer Gordon Willis, the "Prince of Darkness" who was responsible for the look of such era-defining films of the Seventies as the first two Godfather films, All the President's Men, Annie Hall and Manhattan, died Sunday at the age of 82, according to Variety. His cause of death was not listed.
A native of Queens, New York, Willis cultivated an early interest in photography and, while serving in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War, joined the motion-picture unit. After the war, »
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