9 items from 2014
Becoming a man of "true grit" earned John Wayne his only Oscar back in 1970. Could the same broken heroism push Tommy Lee Jones into the Oscar conversation? Adapted from Glendon Swarthout's novel and directed by the actor-turned-filmmaker, "The Homesman" pairs Jones with two-time Oscar-winner Hilary Swank for a dangerous western mission with a layer of gender politics. Shacked up with three mentally unstable women, Mary Bee Cuddy (Swank) employs George Briggs (Jones), a claim jumper she finds dangling from a tree in a noose, to escort the band of lone ladies from the Nebraska Territories to a new home in Iowa. In 1854, it's a mission only a fool would take. Our first official look at "The Homesman" has the makings of a solid western, gruff dialogue and deadly circumstances turned mesmerizing by "Argo" and "Babel" cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto's lush vistas. Jones and Swank have that Rooster Cogburn/Mattie Ross appeal, »
- Matt Patches
For how many years has Hollywood endured the Ya novel onslaught? Five? Ten? When was Twilight? It’s strange to think of The Giver as merely the latest in a string of adapted young adult fiction given that its source material, Lois Lowry’s 1993 bestseller, precedes the publication dates of Divergent, City of Bones, and the Twilight saga. Like most of its cinematic contemporaries, The Giver squeezes its story into an angsty, dull, and poorly acted template, sapping any chance of inspiration out of its low-key science fiction concept.
Having not read Lowry’s novel, I can only presume she uses her social structure — a utopian future in which emotions are outlawed — to latch “forbidden” teen angst and romance onto the awkward feelings puberty brings with it. On the verge of graduation, three teenagers join the adult ranks of The Community, envisioned here as a Levittown straight out of Starship Troopers, »
- David Klein
The knock on the Academy Awards throughout the years always seem to be how certain actors, directors and films are snubbed in favor of other chosen nominations. Sometimes the justification for these overlooked selections in performances and motion pictures are warranted. Many will agree that a lot of injustices have been committed based on how some Oscar-worthy selections were slighted.
Has anyone ever considered the equal possibilities of omission when one Oscar nominee wins the golden statuette over another nominee that one thought was more deserving for the victory? There have been numerous instances when observers who have witnessed an Oscar win thought that their competitor should have received it instead. It is only human nature to have an opinion as to feel who should have claimed Oscar gold as opposed to the fellow nominee that actually accomplished the goal.
Let us look at the top ten instances where it »
- Frank Ochieng
The Duke. There was only one man like him. The craggy face and squinted baby-blue eyes, with that drawling, patient voice that commanded authority with every “Pilgrim.” Those who knew him on set said that he was a true “presence,” and not that many stars were or are. He was a cinematic titan; still holding the record for the most leads roles (142) and a timeless icon of a certain man in a certain era. With a career of mostly dramas, Wayne discovered a funny bone with 1960’s North to Alaska, directed by Henry Hathaway, who would later get the actor his first and only Oscar for the one-eyed Rooster Cogburn in True Grit. With two ensemble epics just under his belt, The Longest Day and How The West Was Won, Wayne moved handedly back into the spotlight with McLintock!, a western slapstick riff with good values and men being men. »
- Kyle North
Today marks the 45th anniversary of True Grit. But just because the original is the one regarded most fondly doesn’t mean there aren’t other True Grits out there. The franchise is actually bigger than you’d think — with a novel and four films, True Grit has as much franchise moxie as Jaws does (sadly, what True Grit lacks is a theme park ride where an animatronic John Wayne heaves himself against your boat, causing a Universal Studios tour guide to blast him with a grenade launcher). Yes, once you include the sequel Rooster Cogburn, the Coen Brothers‘ remake, and the forgotten-by-society TV movie True Grit: A Further Adventure, we’ve got four True Grit movies on our hands. And with so many, we’ve also got numerous Rooster Cogburns: John Wayne in the original ’69 True Grit and its ’75 follow-up Warren Oates in A Further Adventure Jeff Bridges in the only 21st Century True Grit. But »
- Adam Bellotto
Cannes - Charged with devising a character name that immediately conveys staunch feminine pluck and perseverance, I'm not sure any writer could do much better than Mary Bee Cuddy -- the disarming heroine of Tommy Lee Jones' handsome, elegiac neo-western "The Homesman," until she rather unsettlingly isn't. Just listen to the way those pithy syllables roll (or march, rather) off the tongue: a Mary Bee Cuddy can only be as square and grounded and business-meaning as a pair of sensible shoes. As played by the eternally purposeful Hilary Swank, moreover, she's an anchor of sincerity in a film in a film that needs one, shifting as it often does from loutish comedy to sticky sentimentality in the turn of a wagon-wheel. Only superficially, then, is "The Homesman" the directorial follow-up you'd expect to Jones's debut feature "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada," a similarly handsome, burnished and serious-minded western »
- Guy Lodge
The 1969 film version of True Grit will be shown on the big screen this Friday and Saturday, January 31 and February 1, at the historic Redford Theatre in Detroit. John Wayne won the Best Actor Oscar for his immortal performance as Marshall Rooster Cogburn. The film co-stars Glen Campbell, Kim Darby and Robert Duvall. A 30 minute old time organ concerts precedes the screening. For more click here »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
In his 30-year career as a composer, Carter Burwell’s film scores have run the veritable cinematic gamut. From composing for Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation., Where the Wild Things Are) to his work being the best parts of the Twilight saga, Burwell’s résumé is sporadic and unconventional, even for a man who makes film music for a living — it’s fitting, given his less-than-conventional roots as a cartoonist for The Harvard Lampoon and later as a vagrant New York punk rocker. Undoubtedly, Burwell’s become best known for the his collaborations with Joel and Ethan Coen. Last week, Sound on Sight ranked the films of the Coen Brothers, so what better way to take over The Big Score than with a similarly themed meditation on their work with Burwell? As much as the Coens’ filmography is defined by their trademark cynicism and wit, Burwell’s compositions are »
- David Klein
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Mary-Louise Parker, Kevin Bacon, Stephanie Szostak, James Hong, Marisa Miller, Robert Knepper, Mike O’Malley, Devin Ratray | Written by Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi | Directed by Robert Schwentke
Essentially a mashing together of Men In Black, Ghostbusters and Hellboy, R.I.P.D doesn’t do itself any favours in just how derivative and indistinct the premise is. Dead police officers recruited to protect the world of the living from the dead, the film sounds like a comic book and indeed is based on one and on this kind of a level, the film for the most part works.
A vibe of “fun” is introduced early on and maintains itself for much of the runtime as Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges team up in the 80′s buddy cop-comedy kind of way and go through the film running, jumping and making things explode with giant revolvers. This »
- Ian Loring
9 items from 2014
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