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The drama, which comes from former Middle East correspondent for Time magazine Nick McDonell and former senior Afghanistan adviser to Richard C. Holbrooke John Dempsey, centers on Western diplomats and journalists living in Afghanistan. The lead character is Jon Liston, a war junkie who has spent the better part of the last decade in Kabul with a front-row seat to the carnage. In the pilot, Jon ignores the advice of everyone and overreaches in an attempt to talk with insurgent leaders. It does not go well.
McDonell and Dempsey are co-writers and co-executive producers. Executive producers are Chris Mundy, a long-time journalist for Rolling Stone and showrunner on “Criminal Minds” and “Low Winter Sun,” and Tom Freston, the former CEO of Viacom and a former resident of Afghanistan. »
- Whitney Friedlander
Even though scripts play an incredibly important part of the movie making process, sometimes a little improvisation is just what a movie scene needs to take it from good to great. CineFix has put together a fantastic video that highlights the 10 greatest improvised scenes in film history. I think they did a great job putting this together, and I can't think of anything that I would add to it. Check it out! I've included the list of films mentioned in the video below.
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Marlon Brando’s performance as Col Kurtz was largely made up on the spot. And while we don’t endorse actors not learning their lines, we can’t fault what came of it in this instance… »
- Joey Paur
Edited by Adam Cook
Above: a sneak peak of Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice, via our Tumblr. A wealth of content from the Melbourne International Film Festival's newly launched Critics Campus has been published here and here. For Rolling Stone, filmmaker James Gray writes on Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now on the occasion of its 35th anniversary:
"The film is indeed self-consciously mythic, and with its transcendent imagery, it enters the cosmic realm. Captain Willard is an enigmatic hero, and we need the narration (written by Dispatches author Michael Herr) to help us know him. Surely the man has his dark side: he kills a wounded Vietnamese woman and hacks Colonel Kurtz to death. But by the end, Willard retains enough of his soul to protect the innocent, childlike Lance (Sam Bottoms), and here we see that the human connection endures. The film's experience expands in this moment, »
Life is full of difficult choices: Soup or salad? Paper or plastic? Ice water or donation? But with only four days until True Blood‘s series finale, TVLine is asking you to make the hardest choice of all: Bill Compton or Eric Northman?
Though Sunday’s finale appears to be all about Bill, it’s entirely possible Sookie could end up with Eric — or no one at all — by the end of the hour. (Before you disagree, just remember: She suddenly got back together with Alcide at the end of the Season 6 finale. »
The Universal Soldier films are a strange case of life imitating art. Much like how series protagonist Luc Deveraux is killed in action then resurrected into something post-human, Universal was a pretty standard 90s action film which crashed and burned when it came to sequels, but became something unique and beautiful when it was reanimated for the straight to DVD market.
It’s a hushed secret among genre fans, but Universal Solder 3 and 4 (or possibly 5 and 6, it’s complicated) are some of the most remarkable action sci-fi films of the 21st century so far. Yes, really. I actually watched the series backwards when I first saw them, after being blown away by Universal Solder Day Of Reckoning and deciding to work my way back, and Roland Emmerich’s perfectly acceptable 1992 blockbuster »
Film is a collaborative medium, one wherein a vast and diverse group of people come together with a plan that must gel into a cohesive (and entertaining) whole. Screenwriters create a skeleton that a director and actors build upon, but sometimes the blueprint is merely a guide – and not an etched-in-stone plan to be followed to the letter. Improv plays a huge role in cinema, and the guys at Cinefix have crafted this video highlighting 10 of the greatest improvised scenes in movie history. From Apocalypse Now through to Bridesmaids, this 10-minute-long clip covers some great scenes that weren’t in the shooting script of their respective films. It’s a cool piece of movie history for fans who may not have realized that some of cinema’s most enduring...
- Mike Bracken
We write about the film business cynically as a business, but we’re a bunch of film geeks, really. I thought this when I experienced moments ago the closest thing a guy on his couch will face to a “Sophie’s Choice.” On Spike TV, there was the incomparable Roy Scheider slinging chum off the back of a boat, and a giant great white shark surfacing in Jaws, and Scheider telling Robert Shaw, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” And on AMC, at the same time, there’s Goodfellas, nearing its climax, when Karen Hill (Lorraine Bracco) is directed by Jimmy (Robert De Niro) to go in a storefront to pick out dresses. This after she sets up a meeting between Jimmy and her recently pinched husband Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), who’s about to go rat on his Lufthansa heist pal. What would have happened had Karen gone »
- Mike Fleming Jr
A dream, a spell, a Taylor Swift song on the radio — the residents of Bon Temps really will look for any excuse to get down and dirty. And for that, we’re saluting them.
Related True Blood‘s 10 Best Deaths: Russell’s Spine Snatch and More Fatal Faves
With only five days left until True Blood‘s series finale, TVLine is looking back at the steamy encounters that kept our ‘ships afloat for seven seasons. From Bill and Sookie’s too-real romp in the graveyard in Season 1 to Eric and Jason’s not-real-enough Season 7 encounter, we managed to narrow down »
The Toronto International Film Festival (Tiff) is coming up fast, but organizers are still putting final touches on the festival’s impressive lineup. Highlights of today’s newly announced titles include the world premiere of the anticipated Bill Murray starrer St. Vincent, for which the actor is tipped to garner awards buzz, and Palme D’Or winner Winter Sleep‘s North American debut.
Check out all the announcements below…
Denzel Washington is one of the film world’s most prominent leading men, known best for his galvanizing portrayals of both real-life figures (Malcolm X, The Hurricane, American Gangster) and fictional characters (Philadelphia, Devil in a Blue Dress, Flight). Washington returns to the Festival starring in The Equalizer, an intense thriller that reunites him with director Antoine Fuqua (Brooklyn’s Finest, Shooter, Olympus Has Fallen) for the first time since their Oscar-winning collaboration on Training Day. »
- Isaac Feldberg
With True Blood‘s series finale just six days away, TVLine is spending this week reflecting on the best of the HBO drama’s seven-season run — beginning with the whole Blood part.
From Sookie’s first kill to the spine-snatch seen ’round the world, we’ve crafted a gallery of the show’s 10 most unforgettable deaths.
Something to remember: These are the “best” or “biggest” deaths of the series, not necessarily the most meaningful (so don’t expect to see either Tara or Alcide »
To fully recognize the impact that Hearts And Minds had on the American populace when it was released in 1974, one has to recognize just how much hadn't been said about Vietnam, a context that the film itself is acutely aware. In between the grainy atrocities and the Presidential statements that later proved to be demonstrably false, there are clips of old war movies that Hollywood used to put out on a weekly basis, full of handsome, clean-shaven soldiers charging soundstage dunes to tune of mighty bugles. The contrast couldn't be more obvious (or heavy-handed), but it's helpful to modern viewers for whom the impact of Hearts has been dulled by years of imitation. There had not yet been an Apocalypse Now or a Platoon; there might not even have been a montage of helicopters taking off from rice paddies set to "All Along The Watchtower". With that in mind, Hearts »
- Anders Nelson
20th Century Fox
Outside of the independent circuit, it would be safe to say that cinema is no longer a director’s medium. The studio executives that bankroll these projects now have the power to overrule the director at almost every turn, which frequently leads to the filmmakers being forced to compromise their artistic and creative vision. In recent years, that problem has been somewhat remedied by the home video market and the advent of the Director’s Cut.
These versions, along with extended and/or unrated editions, are often a chance to see a markedly different version of the movie than the one that hit theaters, or in some cases just an opportunity to rake in a few extra bucks. While The Lord of the Rings extended editions expand upon already-great movies, three different cuts of Oliver Stone’s Alexander still failed to cover the movie’s basic shortcomings. »
- Scott Campbell
Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now turns 35 this month and James Gray (The Immigrant) has written an amazing appreciation for Rolling Stone. Also in today's roundup of news and views: Michael Ventura on John Cassavetes's Love Streams (1984), Luc Moullet on Luis Buñuel's Death in the Garden (1956), New York Times profiles of Sam Taylor-Johnson, Jennifer Yuh Nelson, Ava DuVernay, Sarah Polley, Lisa Cholodenko and Lana Wachowski, Grady Hendrix on Lee Myung-Se, Glenn Kenny and Ben Sachs on Richard Linklater, Sean Nortz on Michael Wadleigh's Wolfen (1981), Steven Shaviro on Bobcat Goldthwaite's Willow Creek (2013) and much, much more. » - David Hudson »
" 'Perfection' can be its own limitation, and sometimes a 'flaw' may contribute mightily to a work's ultimate power. (A work without flaws is a work without ambition).' The Roman poet Horace often inserted lines in his poetry that stuck out like sore thumbs, forcing the reader to confront the established pattern; Horace's aims were different, and more profound, than the reader initially thought they were. 'Apocalypse Now' functions in the same way, its makers committed to a rare and glorious vision," director James Gray writes in Rolling Stone, as part of a longer, must-read appreciation of Francis Ford Coppola's epic film. And Roger Ebert agreed with him. It was 35 years ago today that 'Apocalypse Now' —riding the bifurcated buzz of a Palme d'Or from Cannes and negative reaction with respect to the film's troubled production— hit cinemas. To this day, the film remains a powerful work of evocative imagery, »
- Kevin Jagernauth
August is upon us, which invariably means withering heat and a hell of a lot of bad cinema. Worn out by the time the dog days hit, the studios enter hibernation mode, concerned mostly with counting their early summer blockbuster returns (or licking their wounds). There's hope around the corner — the fall festivals loom — but that moment isn't here yet. The last month of summer is usually barren.
Except when it isn't.
It certainly wasn't 35 years ago — August 15, 1979, to be exact, when Francis Ford Coppola »
The new hit show The Last Ship follows a line of other television shows of late that have apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic themes. A deadly virus sweeps the world by storm and the only cure for humanity lies in Dr. Rachel Scott’s (played by Rhona Mitra from Doomsday, 2008) hands. She’s aboard the last functioning U.S. Naval Destroyer, whose Captain (played by Eric Dane from Grey’s Anatomy) must protect her and the knowledge she has at all costs as outlying dangers encroach and intend to do humanity even more harm. These interviews with actors Eric Dane, Rhona Mitra, Adam Baldwin, Travis Van Winkle, and executive producer Hank Steinberg shed some light on the show’s topical apocalyptic themes, some of »
- Gary Collinson
Josh Brolin is perfect casting for Thanos, and I'm so happy that Marvel was able to wrangle him into their cinematic universe. It didn't take much convincing, though. In a recent interview with IGN the actor spoke about playing Thanos and how he got the part. He also talked about story, "Death," and taking on Iron Man.
When asked what attracted him to the villain, he said,
"First and foremost, I have a really good friend who I've known for years who's the co-president of Marvel, Louis D'Esposito. I knew Louis as a first Ad, and he's the one who initially called me, and then [producer] Jeremy Latcham. Then I talked to Kevin Feige, ultimately. But there's something about them that's so insular and so geeky and so real. I loved it -- because I've turned down a lot of those types of movies. Not Marvel, but I've turned down a »
- Joey Paur
His hiring earlier this year was met with a very enthusiastic response, and now Josh Brolin has given IGN UK an extensive interview regarding his role as the Marvel villain Thanos in "Guardians of the Galaxy" and several other upcoming Marvel films.
Brolin says he doesn't know of Thanos' planned arc in its entirety, but he does have an idea: "I know what one appearance is going to be for sure. There's one or two that I don't know."
He says both the comics and Marlon Brando's performance in "Apocalypse Now" are big inspirations for him in the role. When he accepted the role, he was in the midst of filming a mountain climbing movie: "they sent me so much frickin’ research. I was in the middle of doing Everest, and I was focusing more on Thanos than I was on Everest. But it’s an exciting prospect, truly. »
- Garth Franklin
Although some might argue that Thanos kind of sucks at being a supervillain, I would counter that we've barely seen the big guy get going since he's had less than five minutes of total screen time over the course of ten movies. He's going to be the culmination of a massive balancing act, and while it may all fall apart, Marvel at least has a great actor playing the part. While doing press for Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Josh Brolin was asked about playing Marvel's Biggest Bad, and if it was similar to the Emperor from Star Wars. "That sounds awesome, I love that," said Brolin. "It's what he is." He also said that Apocalypse Now's Colonel Kurtz is also a source of inspiration, although Brolin noted he was drawing primarily from the comics. Hit the jump for Brolin talking about how he prepared for playing Thanos, »
- Matt Goldberg
"In the end, they would hose out the blood, slap on some paint, and grab some cooks and clerks to crew up the vehicle again," David Ayer tells Michael Cieply at the New York Times, referring to his new film Fury, which several Oscar pundits were much higher on than I was initially, but this new editorial has me singing a different tune. As much as I loved Ayer's End of Watch (it made my top ten in 2012), his films have never been Oscar fodder. Even Training Day, which AYer wrote and Antoine Fuqua directed, saw Denzel Washington win an Oscar and Ethan Hawke also nominated. It didn't, however, earn a Best Picture or screenplay nomination. Add to that the dismal reaction to Ayer's Sabotage earlier this year from critics and audiences alike (I've still yet to see it) and it just appears he's a filmmaker with a touch outside the Oscar realm. »
- Brad Brevet
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