18 items from 2014
Oh my, how the mighty had fallen! I had vague memories of Monkey Shines when I watched it over twenty years ago and, after revisiting this, it all makes sense why this film doesn’t spring to mind when I think of Romero’s great early body of work. George A. Romero’s first studio film ideally should have been the perfect opportunity for him to showcase his talent in a direction that nobody would expect and on paper it would seem that was his intention.
The story itself isn’t exactly straight horror. In fact, the first hour of the film plays off of a tragedy and is meant to create empathy for Jason Beghe’s character in a way that Christy Brown earns empathy in My Left Foot, but Beghe’s character isn’t developed enough to forgive or understand his selfish demeanor. He’s portrayed as simply »
- Sean McClannahan
Chances are, if you’re an avid consumer of popular cinema from the last half-century—that is, if you regularly frequent this website—you’ve seen James Remar in something. The legendary character actor needs no introduction, but hell, we’re gonna give him one anyway. Remar has been an active bit player for over 30 years, with one of his first credits in Walter Hill’s legendary cult film “The Warriors” as Ajax. He followed this up with parts in “48 Hours” (also directed by Hill), William Friedkin’s “Cruising,” and Francis Ford Coppola’s ill-fated “The Cotton Club.” He’s also been an ubiquitous presence in his more seasoned years, dabbling in everything for voice work for “Ratatouille” and “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” while also finding time for small but juicy parts in “Pineapple Express” and “Django Unchained.” He’s a tactile, endlessly watchable actor who brings a lived-in »
- Nicholas Laskin
For the second week of September, horror fans have a ton of Blu-ray and DVD titles they can choose from, including Stan Winston’s Pumpkinhead (the latest from Scream Factory), Synapse Films’ brand new Blu-ray of the original Prom Night, and Bobcat Goldthwait’s sasquatch tale Willow Creek.
Scorpion Releasing is also giving fans their first chance to own Oliver Stone’s directorial debut, Seizure, in stunning HD and Graduation Day is also making its Blu-ray bow this week as well. And as if all that’s not enough, we’re also getting a few re-releases as well including The Amityville Horror, a groovy 4 pack of horror movies from Image and a double DVD of House and House II: The Second Story.
- Heather Wixson
But it’s doubtful whether he would have found much else to admire about “Pasolini,” Abel Ferrara’s confused collage of the poet-provocateur’s final days, despite Ferrara’s conceptually audacious intent to mirror the form of his unfinished, fragmented magnum opus, “Petrolio.” Even the stunt casting loses some of its sheen once the other actors open their mouths, since Ferrara surrounds Dafoe with a mostly Italian cast, relegating this fest-bait offering to ultra-niche status.
Though his influence on Hollywood was relatively negligible compared with that of his compatriots, Pier Paolo Pasolini remains the most important filmmaker Italy ever produced — a visionary who was only just beginning to test the boundaries of cinema when his life was brutally cut short. Debate still rages as to whether Pasolini, whose body was found crushed by the tires of his own car on a beach outside Rome in late 1975, was killed by a »
- Peter Debruge
Venice — Yesterday's Al Pacino vehicle here at Venice, "The Humbling," was a disappointment: this is not the Pacino you are looking for. Thank goodness, then, for "Manglehorn", where the sure directorial hands of David Gordon Green know exactly how to unlock latter day Pacino's strengths while reining in his worst excesses. Shot November 2013 in Austin over just 25 days, "Manglehorn" is an often impressionistic character study of a grumpy locksmith, A. J. Manglehorn, but before you run away screaming that you can only take so many impressionistic character studies in one year (off the top of my head, other recent examples include "The Goob," "Locke," "Boyhood," "Winter Sleep," Green's own "Joe"), I'll note that it is among the decent examples of the form. It's difficult to write characters studies about happy people with few obstacles (Mike Leigh's "Happy-Go-Lucky" is an unusual exception) so the usual form is to either put »
- Catherine Bray
There's an increasing trend with TV shows like "Fargo" and "Bates Motel" (and "Hannibal" to some extent) being based on existing cinematic works but using that fictional universe to explore their own original stories.
Now, "The Exorcist" and "The French Connection" director William Friedkin has revealed that two of his cinematic works are getting a similar treatment. It's not either of those two aforementioned works, nor the likes of "Cruising," "Sorcerer" or "Jade".
Rather it's two of his cult crime-noir films - 1985's "To Live and Die in L.A." and the more recent 2011 effort "Killer Joe". Speaking with Movies.com, Friedkin revealed his interest in working in long-form television and then revealed the dual-adaptation news.
Friedkin said: "MGM is trying to develop a television series on To Live and Die in La. It won't be that story at all, but it will be that vibe." He adds that he'll have approvals on where it goes, »
- Garth Franklin
William Friedkin began his directing career on television, where he helmed numerous documentaries and even an episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour in which, during filming, young Friedkin was reportedly chastised by the Master of Suspense for not wearing a tie. Friedkin is the blue-collar outsider of New Hollywood, the genuine article in an era during which everyone fashioned himself an outsider. The son of lower-middle class Ukranian immigrants, Friedkin worked his way from the mailroom of a local TV station to eventually directing some of the most beloved films of the 1970s like The French Connection and The Exorcist. In his approach to filmmaking and his biography, Friedkin has more in common with Lumet and Ford than his film-school-rank contemporaries Coppola and Scorsese. Yet there is still no director quite like Friedkin, who during the 1970s helmed the first major film with an all-gay cast, won an Oscar for a film that defined the heart-stopping car »
- Landon Palmer
Taking home the Queer Palm and the Un Certain Regard Directing Award after its 2013 Cannes premiere, (not to mention a Cesar for Pierre Deladonchamps for Most Promising Actor), the scintillating Stranger By the Lake makes its way to Blu-ray, where it will hopefully continue to transcend the norm of settling quietly into the niche of the gay ghetto. A scandalous outburst in conservative Versailles concerning a small detail in the background of the original French poster art notwithstanding, it’s enjoyed a delightful amount of critical acclaim.
Idiosyncratic filmmaker Alain Guiraudie took the art house by storm with his bold, unsettling, and provocative new film, Stranger By the Lake. Already infamous after its Cannes premiere for its graphic and blatantly nonchalant depictions of gay sex, Guiraudie may be one of the few voices to tread bravely in the footsteps of Derek Jarman with this latest film, transcending polite labels like homoeroticism for an honest, »
- Nicholas Bell
Friedkin will receive the Crystal Globe for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema, and present a restored version of one of the central films of his career, “Sorcerer,” at the festival. “Sorcerer” sparked controversy at the time, but is now hailed as a masterpiece.
Friedkin was a key figure in the New Hollywood era, helming such pics as “The French Connection” and “The Exorcist.” His controversial excursion into New York’s S&M subculture, “Cruising,” is considered one of the most original thrillers of the 1980s, while action drama “To Live and Die in L.A.” enjoyed critical acclaim.
Since its founding in 1999, Anonymous Content has focused on cultivating artistic freedom while maintaining commercial viability, said the fest. Its credits include not only hot pics »
- Leo Barraclough
Vimeo has scooped up two salacious documentaries to add to its On Demand library. Most notably, James Franco is one of two filmmakers behind Interior. Leather Bar., which imagines a graphic deleted scene from the 1980 Al Pacino movie Cruising. Franco teamed up with co-creator Travis Matthews for Interior. Leather Bar., which is inspired by a gay S&M scene ultimately cut out of Cruising. The trailer makes the film seem provocative, strange, and uncensored, making it exactly the sort of documentary one would expect to take advantage of the few restrictions of online distribution. Interior. Leather Bar. is joined on Vimeo by another sexy title: Bettie Page Reveals All, which stars famous pin-up model Bettie Page. Page, who died in 2008, made her mark through her photo shoots, which often included sexually deviant poses. The documentary looks at her life and career and even features some narration from the woman herself »
- Sam Gutelle
In the mid-1970s, there were few American filmmakers riding as high as William Friedkin. The French Connection swept the 1971 Academy Awards, nabbing Friedkin a Best Director statuette. The Exorcist, released two years later, broke box office records to become one of the top grossing films of all time. Boasting creative power and freedom that most directors could only dream about, Friedkin opted to film an updated version of French auteur Henri-Georges Clouzot’s classic The Wages of Fear (1953).
The result, 1977’s Sorcerer, became one of the most notorious box office bombs of the decade. Its dark, unrelenting tale of four desperate, disparate men (Roy Scheider, Bruno Cremer, Francisco Rabal, Amidou) who undertake a suicide mission by driving truckloads of nitroglycerine across the rugged South American jungle wasn’t what the changing tide of audience tastes were buying then, »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
Exterior. The Heternormative: Franco & Matthews’ Experimental Exercise Takes Temperatures
James Franco, already cementing a reputation as one of the most eclectic and noteworthy cinematic commodities as actor, writer and director, teams up with queer filmmaker Travis Matthews for what has to be one of the most excitingly experimental queer cinematic projects of recent memory, Interior. Leather Bar, a re-imagining of the lost 40 minutes from William Friedkin’s infamous and controversial 1980 film, Cruising. Franco, an oddity for his ability to use fame and notoriety as a way to produce and finance challenging projects and bring them to the befuddled mainstream, manages to make this concoction with Matthews intriguing, but it’s too bad that it ultimately feels like a footnote to a much greater discussion. Conversations and impressions reveal that while surface societal mores have undergone an inherent PC facelift, fear and discomfort with the queer community still runs deep.
- Nicholas Bell
Directed by Alain Guiraudie and photographed beautifully by Claire Mathon, Stranger by the Lake has drawn comparisons to the thrillers of Alfred Hitchcock, and rightly so. The atmosphere is one of chilling tension and highly controlled camera work, with point-of-view shots being used to draw attention to the role of both the cruising space and the cinematic space.
For the most part, cruising spots are associated with casual, no-strings-attached sex. They offer a space where the everyday repression of sexuality is ignored; a place where individuals can explore their sexuality without fear of being attacked or shamed by the conservative hetero-normative members of society. Within mainstream cinema, cruising has been vastly underrepresented, with the leather bars of William Friedkin’s Cruising and the problematic space in Shame being two of the better known examples. With Stranger, Guiraudie goes against the darkened interiors of these films, by using picturesque exteriors that display nature and beauty. »
- Griffin Bell
It marks the first time the influential band has played the score live, and the concert will also include 30 minutes of music that wasn’t included in the finished film. Tangerine Dream has never performed before in Scandinavia.
Friedkin’s 12-film retrospective at Cph Pix will also include The Exorcist, Cruising, The French Connection, To Life and Die In La, The Birthday Party, The People Vs. Paul Crump and The Night They Raided Minskys.
The restored Sorcerer premiered in Venice.
Cph Pix runs April 3-16 and will screen 150 features. »
- email@example.com (Wendy Mitchell)
Wet Hot French Summer: Guiraudie’s Bold, Scintillating New Film
Idiosyncratic filmmaker Alain Guiraudie is set to take the art house by storm with his bold, unsettling, and provocative new film, Stranger By the Lake. Already infamous after its Cannes premiere for its graphic and blatantly nonchalant depictions of gay sex, Guiraudie may be one of the few voices to tread bravely in the footsteps of Derek Jarman with this latest film, transcending polite labels like homoeroticism for an honest, introspective, and even morbid portrait of normative tendencies in the sexual lives of gay men. Perhaps most astoundingly, he manages to create a non-judgmental, even moving portrayal of the search for acceptance, love, and creature comfort over the course of one sun baked summer on the gay side of the beach—albeit it one darkly foreboding one.
We first see a handful of cars parked lazily within a secluded wooded area, »
- Nicholas Bell
In 1980, the MPAA forced William Friedkin to cut out forty minutes of his gay thriller, Cruising. They had deemed the footage pornographic and insisted he remove it if he wanted an R rating for the movie. The material was given to folks at United Talent Agency, who destroyed it, allegedly because it featured the film’s main character (played by Al Pacino) engaging in sexual activity with other men.Cruising was released over thirty years ago. »
So let's clear up a few misconceptions about this film—and of course there are misconceptions, it's a James Franco project. Firstly, "Interior. Leather Bar" is not a recreation/reimagining of the "censored," never-shown 40 minutes from William Friedkin's "Cruising," nor even footage inspired by that missing footage. Instead it's a semi-scripted, hour-long documentary about the production of that reimagined footage, in which much less of the actual recreated footage appears than the stories around its making, the concept behind it and the utterly self-conscious, self-referential approach. Hope you're still with us? Secondly, while Franco is credited throughout with being the guy who came up with the "Cruising" angle, it quickly becomes apparent that this film ends up being less an homage to an existing film than, like many other Franco projects, an examination of the creative act and a meditation on the nature of his own personal brand of celebrity, »
- Jessica Kiang
William Friedkin’s “Cruising” has invited scrutiny and speculation throughout its life: During the shooting of the thriller — which starred Al Pacino as a straight NYPD cop who goes undercover in the East Village S&M scene to find a killer in the gay community — gay activists loudly protested, taking to the streets for the first time to picket the limited images of the Lgbt community being offered in mainstream media. Once the movie came out, it stirred up a bit of controversy before disappointing at the box office; years later, gay academics, film critics and artists of various stripes. »
- Alonso Duralde
18 items from 2014
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