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This important double-disc set contains two essential films. This is the first time Michael Cimino's epic 216-minute western has been available for domestic viewing in Britain. The second disc contains a shortened version of Michael Epstein's documentary feature Final Cut: The Making and Unmaking of Heaven's Gate. Beautifully restored on DVD and Blu-ray, Heaven's Gate is one of the finest westerns ever made. It's a measured, magisterial account of the Johnson County War in 1892 Wyoming, when the powerful stock growers' association brought in a vast posse of assassins to destroy the wave of European immigrants they saw as threatening their monopoly of grazing land.
The film is seen largely through the eyes of an alcoholic aristocrat belonging to the stock growers (John Hurt) and two class enemies: a Harvard-educated sheriff who sides with the settlers (Kris Kristofferson) and an immigrant hired gun working for »
- Philip French
43-year-old Scott Cooper didn’t direct his first feature film until he was 37. 2009′s Crazy Heart scored Jeff Bridges his first oscar, and it also made Cooper a director on the rise. The film cost only $7m and went on to earn more than $47m worldwide, making it both a critical and financial smash. That’s not a feat we see often, but for Cooper, he couldn’t have asked for a more welcoming result for his debut. His follow-up, Out of the Furnace, is an entirely different kind of film, featuring an ensemble cast, life and death stakes and suspense. Before it premiered at AFI Fest last month, one of the producers compared Out of the Furnace to The Deer Hunter, inferring that they didn’t set out to make a film that goes down easy. The talent in attendance clearly stated their intention: they wanted to make a movie about America. Not »
- Jack Giroux
Is anyone a better movie actor right now than Christian Bale? (Okay, I’ll give you Daniel Day-Lewis… but it’s close and getting closer.) The 39-year-old Welshman is fully in his prime, demonstrated most recently by two powerful performances landing in the heart of Oscar season. The flashier role might be in David O. Russell’s American Hustle, which doesn’t open until Dec. 20. In Scott Cooper’s Out of the Furnace, which opened Wednesday and expanded Friday, he plays the good-intentioned ex-con whose pursuit of justice — after his ne’er-do-well brother (Casey Affleck) goes missing — puts him on »
- Jeff Labrecque
Sometimes movies feel the need to present an overwhelmingly dour tone just because the people who make them think such a thing constitutes adequate drama. They figure if they make most of the characters depressed, despondent, and depraved and throw in the slightest of socio-economic detail then that should be sufficient for the movie to really say something. Unfortunately most of the time movies like that basically struggle to say anything at all, and wouldn’t you know it director Scott Cooper’s new film, Out of the Furnace, is one of those movies.
Set amongst the rough-and-tumble Pennsylvania/New Jersey rust belt, Out of the Furnace is about two suffering brothers who seem to be products of their own environment and nothing more. Christian Bale plays Russell Baze, a steel mill worker trying to make ends meet with his girlfriend (Zoe Saldana, totally miscast and utterly useless here) and »
- Sean Hutchinson
Time to retreat from the bright, twinkly lights and good cheer of the holiday season and fall into the grim world of film noir. But we’re not traveling back to the time of big sedans and even bigger fedoras. That’s the era that first inspired that phrase with classics like Detour, D.O.A., and Gun Crazy. They, in turn, inspired several modern-day full color tributes beginning in the 1980′s with Body Heat to One False Move. Out Of The Furnace is set over the last few years, but instead of a bustling metropolis its backdrop is a dying small Pennsylvania town. And the big scores aren’t jewelry stores and banks, it’s crack and meth. While the flick’s in color, the mood is just as dark as in those old black and whites. Very, very dark.
For most of film noir thrillers, the main hero is just an honest, »
- Jim Batts
War is an incredibly horrific thing to experience. It is tragically common how often soldiers head into battle and come out the other side a radically different person than they once were. We.ve seen it time and time again on the big screen, from The Deer Hunter to Born of the Fourth of July, and this weekend we.ll be able to see Casey Affleck confront those kinds of horrific demons in Scott Cooper.s Out of the Furnace. In the film Affleck stars as Rodney Baze Jr., a young man and soldier living in Pennsylvania with his ailing father and brother, Russell (Christian Bale). Over the course of the movie we see him get sent back into the Iraq War multiple times, causing a deep change in him mentally. His only outlet his competing in illegal underground boxing matches . a profession that leads him down a deep, dark »
Fire Walk: Cooper’s Sophomore Effort a Somber, Fatalistic Malaise
Director Scott Cooper returns with Out of the Furnace, his first film since his Oscar winning 2009 feature debut, Crazy Heart, working from a retooled script by Brad Ingelsby. Wearing us down with its man vs. fate inevitability, Cooper’s film is clearly not out to surprise or shock. As predictable as its outcome may be, which feels like watching a slow motion train wreck, even an oddly emotional distance from all its supporting characters can’t distract from Cooper’s adept execution, giving us familiar characters in familiar scenarios via subtlety effective bits and pieces rather than being inveigled by showy flairs or hysterical melodrama. It’s a film that’s hard to love, and a rather obvious homage to Cimino’s The Deer Hunter may distract more than enhance the narrative fabric. But regardless of all this, at its »
- Nicholas Bell
The rusted-out soul of steel-town America and the ghosts of the 1970s post-Vietnam Hollywood cinema haunt Scott Cooper’s “Out of the Furnace,” a starkly powerful drama that in some ways feels like an Iraq-era bookend to “The Deer Hunter,” with bare-knuckle boxing substituted for Russian roulette. A much darker and less audience-friendly package than Cooper’s Oscar-winning 2009 debut, “Crazy Heart,” but graced by the same lyrical sense of worn-down American lives, this slow-burning drama should earn deserved praise for the top-drawer performances of stars Christian Bale, Casey Affleck and a truly frightening Woody Harrelson, but will need a lot of TLC from distrib Relativity (which opens the pic wide on Dec. 6) to break out commercially in a very crowded holiday frame.
The furnace of the title is literally the Carrie Furnace of Braddock, Penn., the real Rust Belt town where Cooper’s pic is set. But it is also »
- Scott Foundas
Kino resurrects an odd curio with Shoot the Sun Down, a counter-culture Western from 1978, notable for headlining Christopher Walken just prior to his Oscar win for The Deer Hunter and Margot Kidder before she was that year’s Lois Lane in Superman. Of further note, director David Leeds, who financed with his own production company, would never again lend his name to another film in any capacity. The film, which is obviously modeled after Sergio Leone’s Man With No Name series, considering it’s mysterious protagonist, has all the makings of a subversive genre entry, it’s stance on violence guided by an incredibly idiosyncratic score (that’s not Ennio Morricone) and Michael Chapman’s beautifully photographed landscapes (with plenty shots of rising/setting suns for its grand motif). However, muddled plotting and a comatosely constructed climax peg the film as rather forgettable, which is unfortunate considering its strange ambience. »
- Nicholas Bell
Whether Christopher Walken is lighting up The Deer Hunter, dancing for Fatboy Slim or just prepping a chicken, you can pretty much count us in. His musical gifts are well-known and well-loved too, and lately they have parlayed more and more into big screen roles. He was terrific in Yaron Zilberman's A Late Quartet, has a part lined up in Clint Eastwood's take on the Jersey Boys musical and, reports Deadline, will be appearing next in Dan Algrant's jazz flick Little Rootie Tootie. Walken will take the role of jazz pianist Sonny in a film named after piano great Thelonius Monk's track. Mourning the death of his wife, his increasingly volatile behaviour prompts his son, another successful jazz man played by Lenny Kravitz, to fly back from Europe with his wife and head him off before he self-destructs altogether.According to Deadline: "The trio tries to present »
Apichatpong Weerasethakul has jazzed up the website for Kick the Machine, his production company. The home page includes the following text from the filmmaker himself:
"I was just talking to a friend that if there was no cinema what I would do or what I could do. I could probably try to enter a veterinarian school or open a small guest house or grow green peppers or learn Braille and compose a novel full of raised dots.
But until then.
Until we can train our mind to see other lives, past and present, with our eyes closed. Until we have a new heart devoid of ancient defects such as empathy. Until there’s a non-stop rain that causes more melancholia than the one in Tsai Ming Liang’s apartment. Until the movie screens sprout in the forest and the trees fill them with stories."
The Seventh Art's latest issue »
- Adam Cook
War is hell, for sure, but war can make for undeniably brilliant movie-making. Here, the Guardian and Observer's critics pick the ten best
• Top 10 action movies
• Top 10 comedy movies
• Top 10 horror movies
• Top 10 sci-fi movies
• Top 10 crime movies
• Top 10 arthouse movies
• Top 10 family movies
As the second world war thriller became bogged down during the mid-60s in plodding epics like Operation Crossbow and The Heroes of Telemark, someone was needed to reintroduce a little sang-froid, some post-Le Carré espionage, and for heaven's sake, some proper macho thrills into the genre. Alistair Maclean stepped up, writing the screenplay and the novel of Where Eagles Dare simultaneously, and Brian G Hutton summoned up a better than usual cast headed by Richard Burton (Major Jonathan Smith), a still fresh-faced Clint Eastwood (Lieutenant Morris Schaffer), and the late Mary Ure (Mary Elison).
Parachuted into the German Alps, they have one »
He's made five movies this year alone and they're all bad, but this Christmas might bring his Alien Vs Predator moment
So let's ask ourselves, since his supposed "return to form" a year ago in David O Russell's Silver Linings Playbook: how's Robert De Niro been doing? Was that movie the harbinger of some late-flowering, crepuscular blaze of glory, mirroring in old age the sunburst that was his rise to stardom in the 1970s? Or was it just another job for Bob that happened to find itself lodged, for once, within a pretty good movie?
It's not that De Niro doesn't deliver any more. He always delivers. He just does it in movies that don't deserve him, and he does it over and over again like a wall-eyed workaholic. Just this year, the man made five movies.
The reason everyone was so surprised by him in Slp? Well, look »
- John Patterson
We’ve received the details of The Horror Channel’s superb Autumn’s line-up. It’s a season celebrating the genre’s cult classics which includes Nic Roeg’s The Man Who Fell To Earth and Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom. However, we must make a shout out to Dominic Brunt’s intense and intimate zombie thriller Before Dawn and Padraig Reynolds’ head-twising harvest horror and festival fave, Rites Of Spring. Both indie offerings are well worth a watch and make their UK television premieres this November. You can also click on those two titles to read my reviews.
Horror Channel celebrates British horror classics with a Brit-cult season
November on Horror Channel sees network premieres for a memorable collection of strange cult oddities and forgotten British horror classics, kicking off with the network premiere of Nicolas Roeg »
- Craig Hunter
November on Horror Channel sees network premieres for a memorable collection of strange cult oddities and forgotten British horror classics, kicking off with the network premiere of Nicolas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell to Earth, starring David Bowie. Joining Bowie in the realm of the weird and wonderful is Roy Boulting’s psychological ground-breaker Twisted Nerve, Michael Powell’s controversial (and classic) Peeping Tom, Robert Fuest’s Hitchcockian And Soon the Darkness and Jimmy Sangster’s Hammer classic Fear in the Night.
Also, there are UK TV premieres for Emmerdale actor Dominic Brunt’s directorial feature film debut Before Dawn, Lulu Jarmen’s disturbing Bad Meat (review) and Padraig Reynold’s festival favourite Rites of Spring (review).
The line up in full:
Fri 1 Nov @ 22:55 – The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976)
Based on the 1963 novel of the same name by Walter Tevis, this cult classic stars David Bowies (in »
- Phil Wheat
Survivor did something a little weird this week. It staged an immunity challenge around what amounted to a game of Toss Across. Is this my high school graduation backyard party? Is the grand prize a Hallmark card and a check from my aunt? It didn’t make for riveting competition, but it did reverse one seriously bleak trend in the game. So that’s nice. Like a Hallmark card!
Here are my noteworthiest takes on Wednesday’s warfare.
1. Vytas’ vytal signs are looking goooood
Thank you, Survivor, for livening up a humdrum episode with… an evocative mood sequence featuring Vytas in shirtless yoga stances for what seemed like months. It was like the gay Portland version of Robert De Niro‘s long-ass hunting scene from The Deer Hunter. So pastoral and eerie and full of handstands and clenched biceps and half-naked bliss and mood. He even philosophized about Brad Culpepper. »
- Louis Virtel
Heritage festival spearheaded by Thierry Fremaux bumps up industry presence.
Thierry Fremaux’s cinema heritage-focused Lumière Film Festival in the French city of Lyon kicked off its inaugural Classic Films Market (Cfm) on Wednesday, dubbing it the first event of its kind in the world.
“When we started the festival five years ago we focused on the films, the artists and the public. Now that’s working well, we’re turning our attention to the professionals without which the increased interest in classic films would never have occurred,” Fremaux, who swaps his Cannes artistic director duties for the Lumiere festival in the autumn, told ScreenDaily.
The festival, running Oct 14-20, opened on Monday with a gala screening of the 1962 comedy A Monkey in Winter (Un singe en hiver) in honour of its now 80-year-old star Jean-Paul Belmondo, who was in the audience alongside festival guest of honour Quentin Tarantino and French actress Claudia Cardinale.
Fremaux hopes the »
No one ever said making movies was easy. Some people are better at it than others. But even being good at what you do is never a guarantee of success. Take Michael Cimino, for example. In 1978, he would release The Deer Hunter, a film that would be so highly regarded that over 30 years after its release, it would still be considered one of the greatest films of all time. Compare that just two years later with his follow-up Heaven’s Gate, a turn-of-the-century war epic that failed so miserably it would destroy an entire film studio in the process.
For many in the film industry, each film represents a certain ratio of risk versus reward. Each film is a risk to release. Some properties represent greater risk, that’s true, but even established properties run the risk of failure, either critically or financially (or both). Still, most of the most »
- Aaron J Marko
Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Nov. 19, 2013
Price: DVD $24.95, Blu-ray $29.95
Studio: Kino Lorber
The same year that Christopher Walken (Seven Psychopaths) won an Oscar for The Deer Hunter (1978) and Margot Kidder was whisked away in Superman (1978), they starred in of David Leeds’ counter-culture Western Shoot the Sun Down.
A stylized meditation on America’s history of violence, in the tradition of Sergio Leone (The Good, The Bad and the Ugly), the movie observes the intersection of a former Confederate soldier-turned-bounty hunter (Walken), a British maidservant desperate to escape indentured servitude (Kidder), and a vicious mercenary in search of Native American scalps and Montezuma’s gold (Geoffrey Lewis, Miss Nobody).
Kino’s restored director’s cut of Shoot the Sun Down, director/co-writer Leeds’ only feature, marks the film’s first-ever release on Blu-ray or DVD.
Bonus features on »
The films we designate as "Oscar bait" are often epics or costume dramas, sprawling historical tales, movies that tackle a large subject and feel important — which also usually means long. Comb through the Best Picture winners list and you can find plenty of three-hour films from all eras: The Deer Hunter (183 minutes), Ghandi (191 minutes), Schindler's List (195 minutes). There was a run from 1995 to 1997 when all the winners broke the 160-minute mark. Last year's winner, Argo, was only 130 minutes long, but it was below the 2012 Best Picture nominee average (138.2 minutes), and four out of the nine nominees (Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, Les Misérables, and Django Unchained) passed the two-and-a-half-hour mark. You get it: The Academy likes long movies.But if you do not — or if you, like I do, get exhausted watching your fourth three-hour movie in a row — then the »
- Amanda Dobbins
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