17 items from 2009
News that "Poltergeist" actress Zelda Rubinstein has been taken off of life support didn't go unnoticed by horror movie fans in the Twitter-Wood community this week. The sad revelation caught the attention of both Richard Kelly and Jeff Katz (on his birthday, nonetheless), and I definitely echo those sentiments to her family.
In other posts, attempted underwear bomb from last week is still a trending topic among tweeters. Kevin Nealon was among those contemplating the ongoing investigation yesterday. Catch those thoughts after the jump along with Brian Lynch on Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner, Christina Applegate and Emmy Rossum on James Cameron's work in "Avatar" and more in the Twitter-Wood report for December 30, 2009.
Twitter Pic of the Day:
@pennjillette http://twitpic.com/vwdsh - We posed for a picture with Corey from Slipknot. We had to tell him to put his thumb In for heavy Metal.
-Penn Jillette, »
- Brian Warmoth
Writer Matt Zoller Seitz writes an informative article in the New York Times extolling the virtues of Bob Fosse's autobiographical 1979 film All That Jazz. The movie was highly acclaimed at the time of its release, 30 years ago this month. However, in recent years, it has fallen under the radar screen and is rarely shown on the art house circuit. Seitz points out the many daring techniques Fosse employed on the film, which starred Roy Scheider in an Oscar-nominated performance. If the film remains under-valued, so does Scheider, who- with the exception of this movie- was pigeon-holed as an action star. Consequently, as he became too old for that genre, the best films and roles dried up and this superb thespian often ended up in little-seen movies that went straight to video. To read click here »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
In lieu of a traditional review of Rob Marshall's Nine, which opens Friday in limited release and then expands a week later for the Christmas box office rush, I've opted for random thoughts, nine of them, strung together. This is a survival tactic. I've spent so long obsessing on the movie prior to its release (prior to even its casting given my enthusiasm for the mid-Aughts Broadway revival) that a review proper couldn't contain me. It would kill me. I got no choreography, I'll just have to spit out my words however they come out. Picture them flying from the blog like sand from Fergie's fingers
Beeeeeeeeee Italian. Beee Italian....
Story. The plot of Nine, as you may know, is about a film director Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis) suffering an artistic crisis: His production team is ready to shoot, his costume designer (Judi Dench) is ready to stitch, his »
- NATHANIEL R
With La dolce vita in 1960, Federico Fellini created a new kind of personal fantastical movie to deal with the corrupt, newly affluent Italy. It replaced the neorealism that had dominated Italian cinema for 15 years. Three years later, in the even more phantasmagoric, semi-autobiographical Otto e mezzo (aka 8½), Marcello Mastroianni, who'd become Fellini's alter ego in La dolce vita, played Guido Anselmi, a director at the end of his tether while in pre-production on his latest expensive movie at Rome's Cinecittà.He has magnificent sets and costumes, but no script, and as he's badgered by producers, wives, mistresses, journalists and assorted hangers-on, he fantasises about his life and loves and revisits his past.
It is a dazzling film, funny, moving and deeply serious. One of the most influential pictures ever made, it contributed to the myth of the film director as supreme auteur, encouraged a movie critic to publish a »
- Philip French
One wonders whether Federico Fellini knew in 1963 that in solving his own director's block by making 8 1/2 he would also provide fertile ground within which so many other film-makers might sew the seeds of their own creativity.
The film in many ways opened the door for a new kind of self-reflexive cinema by insisting that the doubts, dreams and travails of film-makers might be just as interesting as the movies themselves.
Woody Allen's Stardust Memories (1980) sees the director himself as Sandy Bates, a film-maker plagued by fans who prefer his "earlier, funnier movies", echoing the struggles of Fellini's Guido Anselmi to produce his next big hit in the midst of intense public scrutiny.
The film bows with this homage »
- Ben Child
by Erik Childress
Once considered the biggest precursor to predicting the behavior of Academy voters, the Golden Globes (see this year's nominations here) have had to face changing times. With the Oscars moved up in the schedule, ballots are sent in before the 80-some members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association can announce their final selections. The Broadcast Film Critics Association have been trying to nudge them out with their own television party and giving their members as much face time as the celebrities they invite. The Hfpa deserves the edge this year in the hosting department when Ricky Gervais takes the stage, but how do they really measure up in terms of the Oscars over the last decade?
Long before the Bfca were utilizing ten nominees to boost their Best Picture prediction status, the Globes traditionally divided their top prize alongside Actor and Actress into separate Drama and Comedy/Musical categories. »
- Erik Childress
Scheider was twice nominated for an Academy Award during his life, and Newton is determined to do what he can to make sure his late star lands a third nod.
The director must screen his unfinished movie at least once before Christmas for it to meet consideration deadlines.
Newton tells the Los Angeles Times he has turned his Beverly Hills home into a 24/7 production house with teams of editors and sound mixers working in shifts to complete the drama, in which Scheider plays a Holocaust survivor and retired cop who travels to Nuremberg to reconcile with his son, and unexpectedly encounters a man he suspects is the the Nazi commander responsible for his family's deaths during World War Two.
The director says, "This is what Roy would have wanted. Battling with cancer, Roy put every ounce of effort into his performance. His performance is magnificent, but obviously it's up to other people to decide that. We are honouring Roy Scheider by putting this up for the academy." »
I am surely in a friend & food coma while you're reading this. Happily so! This Thanksgiving I'm grateful for all of you. You keep coming back daily to read the latest cinematic musings here at The Film Experience. Obsessing on the movies is really meant to be a team sport so I appreciate the fine company. They don't make movie theaters with one seat in them.
So thank you for being here daily from all over the world -- not just the States -- with an especially amorphous shout out to readers in Canada, the UK, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Spain, France, Mexico and The Philippines. You've always been supportive. And a big hug to my magical elves contributors who've really helped keep the blog going during a difficult year.
Normal programming resumes tomorrow but I must give thanks to the following sources of cinematic happiness at the moment: ambiguous endings, »
- NATHANIEL R
Now, we're not suggesting for one moment that we're fit to criticise the prolific talents of Tony and Oscar nominated director Rob Marshall, but it seems to us that he's trying as best he can to ape the screen achievements of the great Bob Fosse with his new film Nine - out later this year.
Having directed the screen adaptation of the 1974 musical Chicago back in 2002(music by the same guys who wrote 1966 hit Cabaret which was famously filmed by Fosse in a never-bettered 1972 adaptation), he's now collected an array of acting talent (Daniel Day-Lewis, Nicole Kidman, Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz, Sophia Loren, Judi Dench etc. etc. etc.) to fix for the screen an adaptation of the 1982 Broadway hit based on Federico Fellini's artist-on-the-verge-of-a-nervous-breakdown masterpiece 8 1/2.
Of course, it should be mentioned that Fosse also made an artist-on-the-verge-of-a-nervous-breakdown masterpiece in the form of 1979's Palme d'Or winner All That Jazz »
Producer and former MGM chief Daniel Melnick died Tuesday at age 77. His credits are as diversified as they are impressive. Among the films and TV series he oversaw, produced or developed: Get Smart, Network, Straw Dogs, All That Jazz, That's Entertainment, Midnight Express, The Goodbye Girl, The Sunshine Boys, Kramer Vs. Kramer, Footloose and Altered States. For more click here »
- email@example.com (Cinema Retro)
Emmy Award-winning movie maverick Daniel Melnick has died after battling lung cancer. He was 77.
The former head of production at MGM and Columbia studios made his name by signing off on bold and often controversial films like Straw Dogs, Network and Making Love.
Paying tribute to the mogul, his protege Sherry Lansing tells the Los Angeles Times newspaper, "He was an extraordinary producer and an extraordinary executive. He always thought out of the box and was never afraid to take a risk."
Melnick was also the brains behind cult TV show Get Smart.
Testosterone was in the air for the premiere of "Dancing with the Stars" season 9! The male contestants kicked off the first of the three-night premiere event. The eight stars performed two times, including a relay dance.
Pop star Aaron Carter and partner Karina Smirnoff led the pack of performers with a total score of 22 out of 30 points for their Cha Cha Cha. Judges Len Goodman and Carrie Ann Inaba said the 21-year-old is full of »
For those of you who weren't transfixed by the clueless auditioning on last night's So You Think You Can Dance, you might have tuned in for a little thing called President Obama's Health Care speech. Sure, Obama and Vice President Biden did not enter the joint session of Congress with a Mia Michaels choreographed routine set to Chicago's "All That Jazz," but they did have another kind of show stopper: a heckler. »
I have found few fantasy films that appeal both the children and adults as intelligently and successfully, with such creativity and flair as ‘The Adventures of Baron Munchausen’. It is true, I am a devout follower of the cinematic God known as Terry Gilliam, but there’s a reason for that… he’s freaking brilliant. I have my own personal pantheon of filmmakers that I admire to the point of being borderline obsessive… Coen Brothers, Darren Aronofsky, Zhang Yimou and (of course) Terry Gilliam, to name a few.
But I digress. On with the show, a marvelous array of whimsical theatrics known as ‘The Adventures of Baron Munchausen’. The film opens with an immediate dose of Gilliam’s own unique style and flair for the ironic and absurd. As the score by Eric idle and Michael Kamen throws us directly into the time and place of the film, white titles »
An open discussion thread for each of Streep's nominations. The nominees for 1979 were...
Jane Alexander, Kramer vs. KramerBarbara Barrie, Breaking AwayCandice Bergen, Starting Over
Mariel Hemingway, Manhattan
Meryl Streep, Kramer vs. Kramer...and Meryl won. The first of her two (only two. sigh) Oscar wins. As a little kid I was really into Breaking Away because my sister was in love with it... and I worshipped everything my big sister loved. Barrie was quite an endearing presence as the cycling nut's mom. Hemingway and Streep are my favorite among the nominees these days. The Golden Globe lineup went 3/5 with Oscar, trading out Mariel and Barbara for Valerie Harper in Chapter Two and Kathleen Beller in Promises in the Dark... yes that Kathleen Beller, "Kirby Colby" from Dynasty for your 80s nostalgia freaks! I personally still wonder if Oscar ought to have thrown a nomination towards crazy-eyed, long-legged, codependent dancing freak »
- NATHANIEL R
Angels & Demons, director Ron Howard's sequel/prequel to The Da Vinci Code, is less about actual angels than it's about Action Tom Hanks running, jumping, and climbing trees to solve a city-wide Sudoku puzzle and save the world from the Illuminati. At least that's what I think it's about from watching the trailer, and from the five pages of Dan Brown's book that I read before I gave up and threw it across the room.
But it did get me thinking about angels in movies, and what a fascinating subject they are -- even when they're mishandled. Here's a few favorite movie seraphim:
1. All That Jazz - Bob Fosse's wickedly raw, musical autobio offered a luminous Jessica Lange, who appears to Roy Scheider's Fosse as a sexy angel of death, flirting and cajoling him into finally going towards the light. As the embodiment of all that »
- Dawn Taylor
Beatrice Arthur, the larger-than-life actress who scored on Broadway as the original matchmaker in Fiddler on the Roof and the hard-drinking actress in Mame before she went on to star in the groundbreaking '70s TV series Maude and, in the '80s, the beloved sitcom The Golden Girls, died early Saturday morning. She was 86. Dan Watt, a spokesman for Arthur's family, told the Associated Press that the star had been suffering with cancer, though he did not specify what kind. She died peacefully at her Los Angeles home with her family by her side, said Watt, who remembered Arthur as "a brilliant and witty woman." Maude, which debuted on CBS in 1972 (and ran until 1978) was a spin-off of the hit All in the Family. As the liberal cousin of archconservative Archie Bunker's wife Edith, the much-married Maude wasn't afraid to broach such controversial (especially for TV at the time) topics as abortion and civil rights.
Golden Girls, a popular NBC Saturday-night staple from 1985 to 1992, featured Arthur as the outspoken Dorothy Zbornak, who shared a Florida home with three other retired women, including her mother, played by Estelle Getty - who died last July, at 84. The other stars were Rue McClanahan and Betty White.
Born Bernice Frankel in New York City but raised in Maryland, where her parents ran a women's clothing store, Arthur debuted on the Off Broadway stage in New York in the 1940s, with her Broadway musical triumphs - though her singing voice was deep and scratchy - in the mid-'60s.
Married and divorced twice, Arthur took her stage name (in part) from her first husband, the screenwriter, director and producer Robert Alan Aurthur, whose credits include the Bob Fosse film All That Jazz. With second husband, Mame director Gene Saks, she adopted two sons, Matthew, 47, and Daniel, 44. They survive her.
Of her powerful stage and TV persona, which often found her cast in the same sort of role, Arthur once said, "Look - I'm 5-feet-9, I have a deep voice and I have a way with a line. What can I do about it? I can't stay home waiting for something different. I think it's a total waste of energy worrying about typecasting." »
- Stephen M. Silverman
17 items from 2009
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