8 items from 2013
What an unadulterated joy it is to see Bruce Dern leading a movie for a change – and a good movie, at that. Alexander Payne's Nebraska may come to be seen as his swansong, but I hope it leads to a final decade of great performances from one of my all-time favourite actors, now 77 years old.
Dern has played a lot of disagreeable cranks in his time, but Woody Grant, the semi-senile retiree who keeps trying to walk from Montana to Lincoln, Nebraska, to pick up a supposed million-dollar prize, is an almost opaque figure. Dern seems to have subtracted half of his own mind and awareness for the part, and this draws the audience toward him to find out, or guess at, the things his old age incites. Finally, »
- John Patterson
The veteran actor may not be sure where Bristol is, but he does recall racing a shepherd through the Lake District and being Alfred Hitchcock's 'golden calf'
Bruce Dern was the wayward dreamer of American movies, wild and restless, not built to last. He took a fatal bullet in The King of Marvin Gardens, laid down his life in Silent Running and swam into oblivion at the end of Coming Home. Dern played heroes and villains alike. But he was invariably geared towards the bittersweet send-off or the gaudy comeuppance. To all intents and purposes, he never got out of the 70s alive.
Now, incredibly, the man is back with his best role in decades, possibly his best one ever. The Alexander Payne drama Nebraska casts him as another hopeless dreamer, destined for the rocks, but the performance itself marks a redemption of sorts. At the Cannes film festival, »
- Xan Brooks
With Nebraska, director Alexander Payne returns to his home state of Nebraska to gracefully examine the lives of aging Midwesterners. Lensed in nostalgic black-and-white, Payne’s new film is anchored by an epic, awards-worthy performance by 7-year old Bruce Dern (crowned Best Actor at Cannes), but it’s not the unstable crazed Dern that made the actor a star in the ‘70s with films like Black Sunday, Tattoo and Coming Home. Dern’s Woody Grant (a role offered to Gene Hackman to unsuccessfully lure him out of retirement) doesn’t say a lot in Nebraska nor does his expression change much. It’s a role that forces him to skate by on a Hollywood veteran’s charisma and gravity and presence, something tough for any actor to do, but Dern pulls it off in spectacular form, turning this deceptively slight film into one of the year’s best.
Alcoholic Woody »
- Tom Stockman
Bruce Dern’s phone hasn’t stopped ringing since he returned home to Pasadena from the Cannes Film Festival in May.
The first call, which abruptly woke him, turned out to be his daughter Laura. She’d heard from director Alexander Payne that good news was on its way. “I said, ‘Laura, don’t shit me,’ ” Dern recalls, with his typical histrionic flair. Twenty minutes later, she called back to tell him he was the festival’s best actor winner.
At 77, Dern delivers a career-best performance in Payne’s “Nebraska,” a story about a confused old man on a road trip with his son (played by Will Forte). Dern says it’s the first time in his long career he’s had the chance to fully display his chops, which he fine-tuned at the Actors Studio in New York, working with Elia Kazan.
Film Review: ‘Nebraska’
“I guess I felt »
- Ramin Setoodeh
Bruce Dern in ‘Nebraska’: AFI Fest 2013 highlight The Los Angeles-based AFI Fest, which kicked off last Thursday, November 7, 2013, continues until next Thursday. On Monday, November 11, the highlight of AFI Fest 2013 is Alexander Payne’s Nebraska (7:00 p.m. at Tcl Chinese Theatre), likely to earn a Best Actor Academy Award nomination for veteran Bruce Dern, who earlier this year took home the Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival. (Photo: Bruce Dern, Will Forte in Nebraska.) Set in Kentucky (kidding), Nebraska accompanies an elderly man (Dern) and his son (Will Forte) as they travel from Billings, Montana, to Lincoln, Nebraska, so he can collect sweepstakes prize money he believes he has won. In sum, Nebraska is what’s called a Road Movie, in which the Road is a metaphor for Life. Shades of brothers Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise getting to know one another in Barry Levinson’s Rain Man, »
- Andre Soares
With the release of Alexander Payne’s “Nebraska” imminent, along with what will undoubtedly be a full-frontal campaign to get Bruce Dern an Oscar nomination, Dern has been trudging – more gracefully than his character, Woody Grant, perhaps – down Memory Lane. The result has been gold for connoisseurs of film lore. Like his recollection that “The Wild Angels” – the original outlaw biker movie and ancestor of “Easy Rider” -- was created by the student body of the University of Corman. “We didn’t realize then what it meant, but we were there,” Dern said, referring, of course, to the school of director/producer Roger Coman. “On the set of “Wild Angels’ we had Francis Coppola, Peter Bogdanovich, Jonathan Demme and Henry Jaglom. As crew.” One of the things about “Nebraska” that’s obviously tickled Dern, the totemic figure among indie character actors, is working with a studio, in this case Paramount »
- John Anderson
Cinema is a kind of uber-art form that’s made up of a multitude of other forms of art including writing, directing, acting, drawing, design, photography and fashion. As such, film is, as all cinema aficionados know, a highly collaborative venture.
One of the most consistently fascinating collaborations in cinema is that of the director and actor.
This article will examine some of the great director & actor teams. It’s important to note that this piece is not intended as a film history survey detailing all the generally revered collaborations.
There is a wealth of information and study available on such duos as John Ford & John Wayne, Howard Hawks & John Wayne, Elia Kazan & Marlon Brando, Akira Kurosawa & Toshiro Mifune, Alfred Hitchcock & James Stewart, Ingmar Bergman & Max Von Sydow, Federico Fellini & Giulietta Masina/Marcello Mastroianni, Billy Wilder & Jack Lemmon, Francis Ford Coppola & Al Pacino, Woody Allen & Diane Keaton, Martin Scorsese & Robert DeNiro »
- Terek Puckett
Recent hot cinema topics such as the portrayal of the Mandarin character in Shane Black’s Iron Man 3 and speculations about what classic Star Trek villain Benedict Cumberbatch’s character in J.J Abrams’ Star Trek: Into Darkness was modeled after leading up to the film’s release, among others, underline the importance of great villains in genre cinema.
Creating a great cinematic villain is a difficult goal that makes for an incredibly rewarding and memorable viewer experience when it is achieved.
We’ll now take a look at the greatest film villains. Other writing on this subject tends to be a bit unfocused, as “greatest villain” articles tend to mix live-action human villains with animated characters and even animals. Many of these articles also lack a cohesive quality as they attempt to cover too much ground at once by spanning all of film history.
This article focuses on the 1970’s, »
- Terek Puckett
8 items from 2013
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