8 items from 2015
There are few more evocative first lines in 20th-century American literature than that of James M. Cain's 1934 novel, The Postman Always Rings Twice. "They threw me off the hay truck about noon," begins the book's narrator, an amoral drifter named Frank Chambers. He soon finds himself near a roadside sandwich joint called the Twin Oaks Tavern, a spot that, Chambers says, is "like a million others in California." But bad things happen at this rural little diner — things like adultery, kinky sex and first-degree murder. The book's sinister series »
The German actress sang at Glastonbury and acted alongside Philip Seymour Hoffman in his final film. It seems America may soon decide Hoss is boss…
Nina Hoss is at that juncture where years of acclaim could tip her over into outright fame. She is two months off 40 and can bank on the admiration of international arthouse audiences, who have seen her in a run of disquieting thrillers by Christian Petzold. These include Yella, for which she won the best actress prize at the Berlin film festival in 2007; Jerichow (2008), a German take on The Postman Always Rings Twice; and Barbara (2012), an enigmatic portrait of life under the Gdr. She also collaborated last year with Manic Street Preachers on the song “Europa Geht Durch Mich”, produced by her partner, Alex Silva. She even went on the road with the band, performing at Glastonbury. “I had my wellies,” she tells me.
She recently »
- Ryan Gilbey
Let's hope Jack Nicholson has a pleasant birthday on Wednesday, or at least a less disturbing one than the birthday when pal Hunter S. Thompson showed up outside his house, turned on a spotlight, blasted a recording of a pig being eaten alive by bears, fired several rounds from his 9mm pistol, and (when the terrified actor and his kids refused to open the door) left an elk's heart on the doorstep.
Nicholson turns 78 on April 22, and even though he hasn't been in a movie for five years, he still looms large in our collective imaginations. Younger viewers know him from his flamboyant performances in "The Departed," "The Bucket List," "Something's Gotta Give," and "Anger Management," but his older films remain ubiquitous on TV as well, including "As Good as It Gets," "A Few Good Men," "Batman," "The Witches of Eastwick," "Terms of Endearment," "The Shining," and "Chinatown." A late bloomer, »
- Gary Susman
Here’s another movie review for the The Hollywood News. It’s a very loosely adapted remake of the 1974 James Caan (The Godfather’s Sonny Corleone) vehicle of the same name about an English literature professor with a compulsive gambling problem, this time starring Mark Wahlberg (The Departed, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch), Michael Kenneth Williams (Omar from The Wire), Brie Larsen (Rachel from Community), as well as veterans Jessica Lange (The postman always rings twice) and John Goodman (Barton Fink).
And this gambling problem becomes the driving force of the movie as Jim Bennett (Wahlberg) struggles between trying to achieve an iota of normalcy in his life and his overwhelming desire to have everything, visually represented by having Bennett place increasingly larger bets at casinos, doubling and tripling his winnings, »
- Paul Heath
Too Late For Tears: Shai Plumbs the Depths of B-Noir Devices for Punchy Debut
A brunette with bloody fingers shakily inhales the fumes of a cigarette in the opening sequences of Oren Shai’s directorial debut, The Frontier, a title that evokes the desolation of a vintage Western. But this musty, dusty period narrative concerning shady folks doing very bad things in an isolated outpost in the middle of nowhere is a snug throwback to the B film-noirs that used to be spackled into double feature zingers at the local matinee. Not one of Shai’s motley, if generally entertaining crew, qualifies as the proverbial ‘good person,’ but he manages to instill the same sense of investment in a beautiful but morally compromised femme fatale as those films from a bygone era. Though its production value sometimes belies a stingy budget with amateurish sting, Shai manages to distract from »
- Nicholas Bell
Oscar-nominated animation wizard Bill Plympton's drew his latest film "Cheatin'" entirely by hand in pencil sketches colored digitally to watercolor-like effect. Plympton's seventh animated feature, this cartoon film for adults was inspired by the work of noir fiction writer James M. Cain ("Double Indemnity," "The Postman Always Rings Twice"). Jake and Ella meet-cute after a bumper car collision, falling wildly in love until a scheming "other woman" drives a wedge of jealousy into their courtship. Aided by a magician and his mysterious and forbidden "soul machine," Ella exacts revenge by assuming the form of Jake's numerous lovers as they try to recapture what they lost. Considered to be the first person to hand draw a feature film, Plympton has worked with Madonna, Kanye West and Weird Al on music videos and book projects. »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Here’s a first look at the new trailer and poster for Cheatin,’ the award-winning, surreal animated adult tale of love, jealousy, revenge, and murder.
The film screened at the St. Louis International Film Festival in November 2014. In his Sliff review, Jim Batts called the film, “a wonderful, imaginative featuree animated film,” adding Plympton is, “at the zenith of his artistic powers here, with a long-form film that captures all of the charm of his quirky shorts.”
In a fateful bumper car collision, Jake and Ella meet and become the most loving couple in the long history of Romance.
But when a scheming “other” woman drives a wedge of jealousy into their perfect courtship, insecurity spells out an untimely fate.
With only the »
- Michelle McCue
Simone Simon in 'La Bête Humaine' 1938: Jean Renoir's film noir (photo: Jean Gabin and Simone Simon in 'La Bête Humaine') (See previous post: "'Cat People' 1942 Actress Simone Simon Remembered.") In the late 1930s, with her Hollywood career stalled while facing competition at 20th Century-Fox from another French import, Annabella (later Tyrone Power's wife), Simone Simon returned to France. Once there, she reestablished herself as an actress to be reckoned with in Jean Renoir's La Bête Humaine. An updated version of Émile Zola's 1890 novel, La Bête Humaine is enveloped in a dark, brooding atmosphere not uncommon in pre-World War II French films. Known for their "poetic realism," examples from that era include Renoir's own The Lower Depths (1936), Julien Duvivier's La Belle Équipe (1936) and Pépé le Moko (1937), and particularly Marcel Carné's Port of Shadows (1938) and Daybreak (1939). This thematic and »
- Andre Soares
8 items from 2015
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