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When a big milestone approaches it’s common for most of us to look back and reflect on our lives and career. With the big 5-0 looming, Chris Rock, one of the smartest and funniest stand-up comedians, has done just that with Top Five (not a reference to the B-day, but a quick listing of favorite music artists used as an ‘ice breaker’, like “Where’d you go to school?” here in St. Louis). Oh, and this is the third feature film he’s directed (he wrote this one, too). Mr. Rock has been part of the national comedy scene for nearly 25 years since he was one of the cast members of TV’s “Saturday Night Live”, with a few movie bit roles under his belt (Beverly Hills Cop 2). He’s gone from cocky kid with a mike to screen veteran, so now what does he want to say about »
- Jim Batts
Nightcrawler opened last week to strong admiration from critics (like this), but there was an unsettling note of uniformity in their praise. Most of the acclaim heaped on the film, as well as its lead performance by Jake Gyllenhaal, focused on a single point of reference: the 1970s. Critics favorably compared the film’s critique of the media to Network, while some described its lead character Lou Bloom as a prototypical New Hollywood anti-hero, some amalgam of Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver) and Rupert Pupkin (The King of Comedy). Preston Jones of the Fort-Worth Star Telegram called the film a “Taxi Driver for the TMZ age,” while Peter Howell of the Toronto Star suggested that director Dan Gilroy was “out for the contact high of that Mean Streets vibe,” and those are only two on a large pile of comparisons. But Nightcrawler isn’t alone in age-evoking responses. These days, simply referencing the ‘70s in a review is »
- Noah Gittell
Nightcrawler review: A black-hearted thriller
Jake Gyllenhaal returns to the big screen this week in the brilliant Nightcrawler, an La-set thriller about a cameraman who films grisly crime scenes and traffic accidents to make a fast buck from sensationalist TV news stations.
Nightcrawler's Lou Bloom is the latest in a long line of movie characters you love to hate, antiheroes infused with a near-sociopathic drive to succeed and make their mark. Here are 5 movies you need to see to get yourself ready for Nightcrawler's plummet into the moral abyss.
Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro's jet-black comedy is one of the pair's overlooked collaborations, but in our humble opinion it's one of their best. Exploring similar territory to the duo's masterpiece Taxi Driver, this film casts De Niro as Rupert Pupkin, a terrible stand-up comic with an intense desire to become famous. »
Written and Directed by Dan Gilroy.
A young man stumbles upon the underground world of L.A. freelance crime journalism.
“I have a saying; if you’re seeing me then you’re probably having the worst day of your life”
How do you know you are really good at something until you’ve tried it or at least been given the chance? Louis Bloom (a bug-eyed Jake Gyllenhaal) is asking that very same question, a young man in search of some kind of job, some purpose. We’re introduced to him trying to force his way into employment at a scrap yard by selling stolen metal, negotiating like a business man and trying to manufacture a position which isn’t available. “We don’t hire thieves” he’s bluntly told after polite conversation doesn’t work. The theft »
- Gary Collinson
Make people laugh and they won't even realize you're making them think. Over the past 50 years, women have broken through the glass ceiling time after time, shattering stereotypes and thumbing their noses at the old chestnut that "Women aren't funny." Fact: Anybody who says women aren't funny doesn't want them to be funny. We're looking back on the 50 funniest women of the past 50 years, their contributions to comedy, and their enduring legacies that inspire men and women alike. These are the 50 women who have helped (and are helping) to introduce the next class of hilarious women, which will inevitably include Amy Schumer, Lena Dunham, Mindy Kaling, Tig Notaro, Chelsea Handler, Maria Bamford, Aubrey Plaza, and Kate McKinnon. Keep in mind this list only includes women who are primarily performers in movies, television, and standup comedy. That's why you don't see legends like Nora Ephron, Anne Beatts, and Elaine May here. »
- Louis Virtel, Chris Eggertsen, Donna Dickens
Reverse Shot's Martin Scorsese symposium rolls on, with Nick Pinkerton on The King of Comedy and Michael Koresky on After Hours and Mirror, Mirror. Also in today's roundup of news and views: Interviews with the makers of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, forty years on; Tony Zhou's video essay on David Fincher; James Quandt on the late work of Jean-Luc Godard; Joseph Cotten's story about Orson Welles and Winston Churchill; a Nagisa Oshima retrospective in Chicago; and more. » - David Hudson »
One of the major movie star clichés, right along with “What I really want to do is direct” is the wail of the comedy star, “I want to show that I’m a serious actor”. Through the years many actors first known for generating laughs have attempted to stretch, to show another facet, by taking dramatic roles, often with mixed results. For every Jerry Lewis in The King Of Comedy, there’s an Adam Sandler in Reign Over Me. But sometimes the gamble really pays off with gold…Oscar gold. One of the biggest surprises in Academy history was the Best Actor win by Art Carney (then best known as one of the greatest sidekicks in sitcom history as Ed Norton in “The Honeymooners”) way back in 1974 for Harry And Tonto which may have paved the way for the Best Supporting Actor win by Robin Williams for 1997′s Good Will Hunting. »
- Jim Batts
Throughout the summer, an admin on the r/movies subreddit has been leading Reddit users in a poll of the best movies from every year for the last 100 years called 100 Years of Yearly Cinema. The poll concluded three days ago, and the list of every movie from 1914 to 2013 has been published today.
Users were asked to nominate films from a given year and up-vote their favorite nominees. The full list includes the outright winner along with the first two runners-up from each year. The list is mostly a predictable assortment of IMDb favorites and certified classics, but a few surprise gems have also risen to the top of the crust, including the early experimental documentary Man With a Movie Camera in 1929, Abel Gance’s J’Accuse! in 1919, the Fred Astaire film Top Hat over Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps in 1935, and Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing over John Ford’s »
- Brian Welk
Bill Hader has come a long way since his stint on Saturday Night Live, creating many popular characters and impersonations such as Stefon, Vincent Price and CNN’s Jack Cafferty. He is one of the highlights in such films as Adventureland, Knocked Up, Superbad and Pineapple Express, and so it is easy to see why author Mike Sacks interviewed him for his new book Poking A Dead Frog. In it, Hader talks about his career and he also lists 200 essential movies every comedy writer should see. Xo Jane recently published the list for those of us who haven’t had a chance to read the book yet. There are a ton of great recommendations and plenty I haven’t yet seen, but sadly my favourite comedy of all time isn’t mentioned. That would be Some Like It Hot. Still, it really is a great list with a mix of old and new. »
In 1995 and 1997, Robert Anthony De Niro Jr. had Heat and Jackie Brown released into cinemas. Not his best films or his best performances, perhaps, but mesmerising work in excellent pictures directed by master filmmakers: the former saw him convince for Michael Mann as the cool, meticulous leader of a gang of career criminals; the latter had Quentin Tarantino give viewers a dim crim whose uncontrollable anger contributes to the unravelling of a heist.
For a whole generation of moviegoers who have grown up since, however, the adulation that's universally showered upon De Niro must be perplexing. Occasionally he summons up a portion of his old intensity – his turns in What Just Happened, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle are the (slim) picks of the last 15 years – but for anyone who got into movies from the late '90s on, he's the funny guy in Analyze This and Meet The Parents, »
Check them out!
A roller-coaster ride filled with laughter, comedy and even more laughter for the entire family, Entertainment is releasing on 8th August. The King of Comedy, Akshay Kumar is matched against the ultimate bad guys of Bollywood, Sonu Sood and Prakash Raj. What follows is the deadliest comedy ever – “Entertainment”. Perfectly supporting the belly-aching comedy moments is an ensemble cast featuring Mithun Chakraborty, Johnny Lever and Krushna and the sexy love interest beautifully placed by Tamannaah Bhatia.
This comedy bonanza is helmed by sought after writer-duo-turned-filmmakers, Farhad-Sajid. The genius pair created a record of sorts when, within a span of 18 months, they were credited with five, back to back smash hits that crossed the 100 crore mark, having previously penned the scripts for screen gems such as Bol Bachchan, »
- Stacey Yount
Judd Apatow is releasing a new book of his interviews with comedic greats — from Mel Brooks and Jerry Seinfeld to Lena Dunham. Photos This Is Judd Apatow: The King of Comedy's Life in Pictures The compilation, Sick in the Head, will be published by Random House in 2015, reports The New York Times. A Random House spokesperson confirmed the deal to The Hollywood Reporter. The proceeds will go to 826La, a charitable organization founded by author and screenwriter Dave Eggers to promote literacy and creativity for children. This is the second book Apatow has compiled to benefit 826. In 2010, he released I Found
- Austin Siegemund-Broka
Fans of cult British comedy troupe Monty Python are being offered the opportunity to ask the founding members questions ahead of their final reunion tour show via the first official Python fan club — Monty Python's Spam Club. Proudly touted as "what may be the worst run fan club in the world," the web-based group will offer a place on the site for fans to write messages on its virtual "spamvelope." Photos The King of Comedy: 15 of Rodney Dangerfield's Never-Before-Seen Photos Organizers said: "The Pythons will endeavor to answer the odd question. No replies guaranteed.
- Stuart Kemp
This story first appeared in the May 23 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. "Better to be king for a night than schmuck for a lifetime," said Robert De Niro in The King of Comedy. Now anyone with a king's ransom to spare -- $15,000 a night -- can check into the newly opened penthouse atop De Niro's Greenwich Hotel in Tribeca. The aerie has many of the supersized amenities one would expect from one of New York's priciest luxury suites: a 2,800-square-foot, three-bedroom apartment, a loftlike living room and a 4,000-square-foot terrace
- Ingrid Abramovich
If you don’t want to know the nitty-gritty plot details from The Amazing Spider-Man 2, close this tab now because this article is chock full of spoilers, but if you’ve seen the movie and want a spot to discuss the good and the bad and the weirdly campy, this is the place for you. Let’s get down to it.
I generally liked the movie, but there was a Lot going on in this sequel, and the movie suffered for it. The overabundance of villains was a problem, and they ended up detracting from the narrative. It ultimately felt like the movie existed solely to put the pieces in place for Sinister Six, and that really annoys me. Jamie Foxx’s Electro had a promising start, but was dispatched with pretty quickly and shunted off to the horrible Ravencroft Institute, which was the worst. (What movie did Martin Csokas, »
- Mily Dunbar
With The Amazing Spider-Man 2, one of comic-books’ most popular and cinematically reliable heroes is back in action. Perhaps a little cynicism has seeped into the franchise, what with it being rebooted so soon after Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire’s perfectly acceptable trilogy, but Marc Webb and Andrew Garfield have maintained the spirit of the character and instilled his universe with intense stakes and emotion. And lots and lots of backstory. And lots and lots of character seeds for future sequels and sidequels. But I digress.
- Jeff Labrecque
Directed by Marc Webb
The distinct whiff of chaos pervades The Amazing Spider-Man 2 from its first scene, both narratively and visually. Because its director and writers aren’t likely intending on this sequel to a reboot to feel persistently, unavoidably messy and chaotic, it also winds up being about as mediocre despite having a handful of charming moments as its predecessor. The ensemble cast is full of charismatic performers, but only a few are allowed to utilize their inherent charm while others are shoved into comic-book character tropes awkwardly, as if they’re being forced to wear tight-fitting clothing for a family portrait. Even though Spider-Man and his world is as bright and colorful as that of The Avengers, the other big Marvel property these days, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 leans too hard on the »
- Josh Spiegel
In Martin Scorsese’s exceptional The King of Comedy, we explore one man’s lust for fame and desperation to be given his full 15 minutes of the stuff. Had the fictional Rupert Pupkin been around today, achieving celebrity status is more attainable given the rise in social media and sites such as YouTube. So this is where Hits comes in, as director David Cross presents a contemporary, satirical comedy about a group of people, each with deep-rooted Rupert Pupkin ambitions, yet with far more simplistic (and somewhat dangerous) means of achieving them.
Set in upstate New York, we follow a group of youngsters who crave fame, from reality TV hopeful Katelyn (Meredith Hagner), to aspiring rapper Cory (Jake Cherry) to hipster political activist Donovan (James Adomian). However it seems the one person who is achieving the fame they all desire, is Kate’s beleaguered father Dave (Matt Walsh), who has »
- Stefan Pape
A Couple of Heirs of Travis Bickle:
“A 34-year-old messenger still living at home, Rupert Pupkin (Robert De Niro) dreams of becoming a stand-up comedy star. To force fate’s hand, he stalks and kidnaps his idol, the TV talk show host Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis). Martin Scorsese’s 1983 movie “The King of Comedy” not only told a story but identified a malaise. Call it Pupkinitis.”
The Future of Film and Why Story Still Matters:
“The Tribeca Film Festival is underway, running from April 21-26. You can visit its website here. If you are in the New York area this week, check it out. Indiewire ran a recent interview with Jane Rosenthal, Tff Co-Founder and CEO, and she touches on two subjects of specific interest to screenwriters.”
Austrian director Michael Glawogger has tragically died at the age of 54 while shooting in Africa. For more on this brilliant director and his working method read Daniel Kasman's interview from Venice about Glawogger's last film, Whores' Glory (2011). Mubi Us is in the middle of a 30-day run of the director's Workingman's Death (2005).
"Offering streaming links to almost their entire programme, the festival can be consumed from a couch, in sporadic order and with no regard for curatorial intent, which beggars the question: Is a collection of Vimeo links really a film festival? Should this sound like an ontological foray into digital existence, apologies, but the issue is not going away; Hot Docs likewise offers a multitude of link-based screeners to accredited journalists. It is a less than »
- Adam Cook
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