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Our critic has been awarded an OBE for services to film. Here he reflects on a life of cinema and chooses extracts from five of his movie reviews
Casting my mind back to my Observer debut, it occurred to me that, had I been celebrating half a century of writing on films for the paper in 1963, I would have been reflecting on a career begun by reviewing the arrival of Charlie Chaplin and going on to Dw Griffith's Birth of a Nation. But the Observer didn't have a movie critic until the mid-1920s, when the Honourable Ivor Montagu (a peer's son, table tennis champion, lifelong communist, the man who saved Hitchcock's bacon by re-editing The Lodger) joined the paper. He was succeeded in 1928 by the Manchester Guardian's critic, CA Lejeune, who helped create the view widely held in Fleet Street that reviewing films was women's work. Indeed, her first »
- Philip French
Our friend and great actor, Robert De Niro, will probably be nominated for the 7th time and may win his 3 Oscar. We hope that the Academy includes Robert De Niro in the “Best Supporting Actor” category for his great performance in “Silver Linings Playbook.” Robert De Niro launched his prolific motion picture career in Brian De Palma’s “The Wedding Party” in 1969. By 1974 he had won the New York Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor in recognition of his critically acclaimed performance in “Bang the Drum Slowly” and from the National Society of Film Critics for Martin Scorsese’s “Mean Streets.” In 1974 De Niro won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of the young Vito Corleone in “The Godfather, Part II.” In 1980 he won his second Oscar, as Best Actor, for his extraordinary portrayal of Jake La Motta in Scorsese’s “Raging Bull.” De Niro »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Josh Abraham)
Remember when Jessica Chastain brought her grandma Marilyn to the Oscars in February?
What a sweet moment that was. Do you think she'll take her again this year?
What a difference a year makes, huh? Just last year we were wondering who she was and how she'd arrived to us so fully formed as an actress, and I had the pleasure of asking her just that shortly before she won her first nomination (Best Supporting Actress, The Help). This year she'll be fighting it out for the actual Best Actress trophy for Zero Dark Thirty.
Should Jessica be nominated in January (very very likely), one might even be tempted to think of her as Streep: The Next Generation. Meryl Streep is a tough act to be compared to but consider the similarities. Meryl Streep was a late arrival to the cinema (as actresses go) making her first motion picture in »
- NATHANIEL R
If you missed out on the ultra-violent hilarity that is Seven Psychopaths during its theatrical run, here's your chance to right that wrong! We've got the artwork and all the details you need to prepare you for the lunacy to come.
From the Press Release
Golden Globe® winner Colin Farrell (2009, Best Actor – Comedy, In Bruges) leads an all-star cast in the comedy Seven Psychopaths, available January 29th on Blu-ray™ and DVD with UltraViolet™ from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and CBS Films. Directed by Academy Award®-winning writer/director Martin McDonagh (2009, Best Writing - Original Screenplay, In Bruges), the film follows a Hollywood screenwriter and his oddball friends, who all end up embroiled in an outrageous kidnapping scheme gone wrong. The acclaimed cast includes Sam Rockwell (Iron Man 2), Woody Harrelson (The Hunger Games), Academy Award® winner Christopher Walken (1978, The Deer Hunter, Best Actor in a Supporting Role), Tom Waits (The Book of Eli »
- Uncle Creepy
As the Academy celebrates 85 years of great films at the Oscars on February 24th, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is set to take movie fans on the ultimate studio tour with the 2013 edition of 31 Days Of Oscar®. Under the theme Oscar by Studio, the network will present a slate of more than 350 movies grouped according to the studios that produced or released them. And as always, every film presented during 31 Days Of Oscar is an Academy Award® nominee or winner, making this annual event one of the most anticipated on any movie lover’s calendar.
As part of the network’s month-long celebration, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has graciously provided the original Academy Awards® radio broadcasts from 1930-1952. Specially chosen clips from the radio archives will be featured throughout TCM’s 31 Days Of Oscar website.
Hollywood was built upon the studio system, which saw nearly ever aspect »
- Michelle McCue
Chicago – Michael Cimino’s “Heaven’s Gate” remains one of the most controversial films of the modern age. Some would go as far as to say that the film’s financial failure in 1980 ushered in an era of studio control in that decade that killed the American auteur movement of the ’60s and ’70s that so redefined the form. It’s not much of a stretch given the historical reputation of a movie that got out of control in the hands of a director who couldn’t manage his own vision. Or is history wrong? Is it an underappreciated classic? Check out the gorgeous new Criterion Blu-ray and decide for yourself.
The truth is that “Heaven’s Gate” is nowhere near the disaster that the history books would have you believe. It’s also not exactly the artistic success that its studio wanted in 1980 from the director of the Oscar-winning “The Deer Hunter. »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
Chicago – It’s that wonderful time of year when we look back on the 11 months that just sped by and try to capture what was best, worst, overlooked, and more. While most of these pieces will just make people disagree, our annual cavalcade of year-end features starts with a piece that you can use to do your holiday shopping! These were the best Blu-ray releases of 2012, a year that saw a bit of a plateau in the technology but still produced enough quality to make a top 20 easy to produce.
First, a few notes.
Considering how easy it would be simply to make a top ten list that was comprised entirely of Criterion Collection Blu-rays, the tough decision was made to eliminate them entirely from contention. While it would be unfair to include them as they’d probably take up at least half the list, it seems just as unfair to ignore them entirely. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
Christopher Walken’s place in film history is secure, having appeared in Oscar-winning classics such as Annie Hall, The Deer Hunter, and Pulp Fiction, and blockbusters including Batman Returns, Catch Me If You Can, »
- Jackson Truax
Well, it’s all coming out now on the Star Wars front. Recently we heard the bizarre report that body horror aficionado David Cronenberg was once considered to take the reins for The Return of the Jedi, and now The Deer Hunter‘s Michael Cimino has come right out and said that he made a pitch to direct The Empire Strikes Back back in 1978/79, a pitch that went obviously unheard because that’s crazy talk, Michael Cimino.
Yes, Cimino has been granted a little spotlight recently since his western flop Heaven’s Gate has been issued a fancy Criterion Collection edition. Responding to a Twitter joke in which somebody asked Cimino if he planned on directing an all singin’ 3.5 hour cut of Star Wars: Episode VII, the director responded with: “Unfair & unfunny. I made a unique pitch for the 2nd film in 1978/9,” a pitch that presumably involved lots of expensive-looking shots, »
- T.J. Barnard
He has spent his life creating memorable and menacing characters. The actor tells Sean O'Hagan why he hates horses, loves Hollywood's honesty and won't leave his hotel in London
It was Mickey Rourke who came closest to capturing Christopher Walken's singular aura. "You were always like this strange being from another place," Rourke told Walken when the two came together recently for a feature in Interview magazine. "There was something 'outer space' about you."
Though Walken, now 69, has mellowed somewhat since he first crossed paths with Rourke on Michael Cimino's ill-fated epic, Heaven's Gate, in 1980, that description still seems apt. It's to do with his sense of detachment: the odd mix of preternatural calm and underlying menace that he exudes onscreen. Like the late Dennis Hopper, but in a more understated way, Walken has spent the best part of his career playing extreme characters of one kind or another, »
- Sean O'Hagan
After watching Robert Altman's McCabe & Mrs. Miller I quickly rushed back to the beginning and started watching it with Altman and producer David Foster's audio commentary, and the first thing that struck me was when Altman refers to the story as simple and how he doesn't care much for story, but looks at movies more as paintings. I found the comment fascinating, largely because many times people question my focus on narrative and how important I believe story to be for a film. There are certainly exceptions where a film can exist without a traditional narrative and perhaps manage to excite audiences despite never really telling a story at all, but those examples are few and far between, especially if we were to discuss films of a certain quality. To that end, on many levels I found McCabe & Mrs. Miller to be quite exceptional, but I hope people »
- Brad Brevet
A possibly counterfeit Oscars trophy for the 1978 film has sparked a very real lawsuit. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has filed suit in U.S. District Court in Washington state over an Oscar statuette that "was either a genuine statuette or a very convincing counterfeit." If it's real, the trophy was the one awarded to Aaron Rochin for his sound work on the 1978 film "The Deer Hunter." Also read: Why Oscar's "Simple" Date Change Is a Ticking Time Bomb The Academy is suing Washington resident James Dunne, who sold the »
- Tim Kenneally
20 November 2012 7:34 AM, PST | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »
On the night of the Academy Awards, all the nominees want to go home with an Oscar statuette. But what happens when the statuette is damaged? That's what happened in 1979 to Aaron Rochin, who won an Oscar for his sound work on the Robert De Niro classic The Deer Hunter. Unfortunately, Rochin's statuette was "blemished," so the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences replaced it and took back the original for repairs. But at the statuette facility, Rochin's original blemished Oscar was then stolen and never found. Flash forward more than 30 years to last September, when
- Eriq Gardner
Awakened stars Julianne Michelle, Steven Bauer, John Savage (The Deer Hunter), Stelio Savante, Edward Furlong (T2), Sally Kirkland, and Bryan Dechart. The film is slated for a 2013 release, and when we know more, we’ll let you know.
Samantha Winston (Julianne Michelle) returns home after 14 years to unravel the truth about her mother’s death. She suspects her father (John Savage) and seeks guidance and answers from her mother’s close friend Lucas Drake (Steven Bauer), Harriet Bendi (Sally Kirkland), her newly discovered uncle Thomas (Edward Furlong), and befriends Liam Dawson (Bryan Dechart). Drake’s business partner (Stelio Savante) is more than displeased and seeks to destroy Samantha’s plans before the entire town is awakened. The Awakened is written and produced by Joycelyn Engle. The Awakened is a Supernova Media production. »
- Andy Greene
Awakened is an independent thriller staring stunning starlet Julianne Michelle as a troubled young women returning to her childhood home after 14 years, who in attempting to solve the mystery of her mothers recent death, uncovers something sinister. The film features a solid supporting cast including Scarface’s Steven Bauer, The Deer Hunter actor John Savage and Edward Furlong as we all know from the likes of T2 and American History X.
We have a brand new, disturbing, trailer as well as a few new images from the psychological, suspense-thriller that’s slated for later next year. The film is directed by debutant Arno Malarone and co-stars Bryan Dechart, Joycelyn Engle, Stelio Savante and Sally Kirkland. You can also check images we posted from a couple of months ago, here.
- Craig Hunter
Directed by: Dan Bradley
Warning: This review contains massive spoilers. Seriously. It will tell you that key characters in the film die (although the author doesn’t really remember their names).
That’s not entirely true. In all honesty, he didn’t catch all the names because the names were apparently not as important as throwing multiple characters at the audience at once. Clearly, the best way for any audience to determine a character’s name is to have other characters yell their name multiple times while they’re in danger. Then you know that character is important. Or about to die.
I barely remember seeing Red Dawn as a kid in the '80s. With the release of the remake on the horizon, I watched the first one again prior to seeing the new version. Although the original’s Soviets, »
- James Morgart
Now playing in theaters everywhere is the new film, A Late Quartet, directed by Yaron Zilberman, which stars Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master; Synechdoche, New York), Catherine Keener (Being John Malkovich; Synechdoche, New York), Christopher Walken (The Deer Hunter, Annie Hall), and Mark Ivanir (Schindler’s List, The Good Shepard). When the beloved cellist of a world-renowned string quartet receives a life changing diagnosis, the group’s future suddenly hangs in the balance: suppressed emotions, competing egos, and uncontrollable passions threaten to derail years of friendship and collaboration. As they are about to play their 25th anniversary concert, quite possibly their last, only their intimate bond and the power of music can preserve their legacy. Inspired by, and srtuctured around, Beethoven’s Opus 131 in C# minor, A Late Quartet pays homage to chamber music and the cultural world of New York.
- Dana Gardner
Last week we asked Film Junk readers to put aside their Christopher Walken impressions to take a serious look at the man's filmography and pick his finest moment on screen. Although most of the options got a decent number of votes (leading to our first ever three-way tie for fifth place), there was definitely a clear winner here. Michael Cimino's The Deer Hunter topped the poll with 38% of the votes, proving that if you can hold your own with Robert DeNiro you will impress a lot of people. It also happens to be the same movie that earned Christopher Walken his only Oscar to date... I'm just sayin'. Coming in at #2 was Tony Scott's True Romance, followed by The Dead Zone and Catch Me If You Can. Meanwhile The King of New York, Batman Returns and A View to a Kill were all deadlocked for the final spot »
Christopher Walken has admitted that his odd movie characters often lead people to believe he is a "strange" person. Walken, who has starred in The Deer Hunter and Batman Returns among other classic films, told The Chicago Sun Times that he can understand why people are confused about his real-life personality. "The public perception has a lot to do with knowing me from the movies. It's understandable," the Oscar winner explained. He continued: "I've played a lot of strange people and I think it bleeds over. Of course, what is strange? I've also played nice, normal guys who are normal until things happen and they change. That's true of everybody." Walken also opened up about what led him to become a child actor in the early 1950s. "TV started in New York, and it was live and (more) »
- By Justin Harp
We scour the interwebs for the coolest movie news and more so you don't have to ...
Does "Beautiful Creatures" have what it takes to be the next "Harry Potter" kind of franchise? MTV heads south for an exclusive behind-the-scenes featurette on the gothic supernatural romance.
In a twisted world where Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman have split, which famous pair is poised to take the reigns and hold on for dear life? The Frisky anoints the new guard of up-and-coming Hollywood super-couples, celebs who are great alone but even stronger together.
Well, now we want to go back in time to the '80s and blow a roll of quarters at an arcade. Because they can, »
- Bryan Enk
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