17 items from 2015
Home of the Brave: Duran’s Debut a Neutered Examination of Grief During Wartime
There’s a war going on, though not one specifically referenced, mentioned or discussed. But then Daniel Duran’s directorial debut, Bravetown, seems happy examining exactly that, the ways in which people are unable to communicate clearly their emotions relating to the traumas that war has inflicted on them. Perhaps in an effort to elevate the material to a timeless realm, screenwriter Oscar Orlando Torres (Instructions Not Included) remains curiously vague on details, the only definitive reference pertaining to the Gulf War.
Josh Harvest (Josh Till) is a moderately troubled teen living with his single mother (Maria Bello) in New York. A rising DJ, a mistaken overdose lands him in court with a mandated sentence of twelve months rehabilitation. His overworked mother is done worrying about him and sends him off to live with his »
- Nicholas Bell
Our look at underappreciated films of the 80s continues, as we head back to 1988...
Either in terms of ticket sales or critical acclaim, 1988 was dominated by the likes of Rain Man, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Coming To America. It was the year Bruce Willis made the jump from TV to action star with Die Hard, and became a star in the process.
It was the year Leslie Nielsen made his own jump from the small to silver screen with Police Squad spin-off The Naked Gun, which sparked a hugely popular franchise of its own. Elsewhere, the eccentric Tim Burton scored one of the biggest hits of the year with Beetlejuice, the success of which would result in the birth of Batman a year later. And then there was Tom Cruise, who managed to make a drama about a student-turned-barman into a $170m hit, back when $170m was still an »
This week marks the 10th anniversary of the release of "Crash" (on May 6, 2005), an all-star movie whose controversy came not from its provocative treatment of racial issues but from its Best Picture Oscar victory a few months later, against what many critics felt was a much more deserving movie, "Brokeback Mountain."
The "Crash" vs. "Brokeback" battle is one of those lingering disputes that makes the Academy Awards so fascinating, year after year. Moviegoers and critics who revisit older movies are constantly judging the Academy's judgment. Even decades of hindsight may not always be enough to tell whether the Oscar voters of a particular year got it right or wrong. Whether it's "Birdman" vs. "Boyhood," "The King's Speech" vs. "The Social Network," "Saving Private Ryan" vs. "Shakespeare in Love" or even "An American in Paris" vs. "A Streetcar Named Desire," we're still confirming the Academy's taste or dismissing it as hopelessly off-base years later. »
- Gary Susman
Over the course of film history, we've seen plenty of long-time actors step behind the camera to take up their directorial ambitions. Clint Eastwood did it. Mel Gibson did it. George Clooney did it. What do these three have in commonc Well, for starters, they are all men, so there's that. Further, they are all white, but more on that later. More to the point of the article, these men all eased into their directorial careers by starring in their respective debuts, using their presence on screen to help market their talents off it. And with his feature directorial effort The Water Diviner, which hits limited theaters this week, Russell Crowe is just the most recent addition to a growing list of actors who have decided to try their hand behind the camera. Like Eastwood, Gibson, and Clooney before him, the Best Actor winner stars in his first feature as director, »
- Jordan Benesh
The Conversation is a feature at Sound on Sight bringing together Drew Morton and Landon Palmer in a passionate debate about cinema new and old. For their fourth piece, they will discuss David Lynch’s film The Straight Story (1999).
I am in the midst of my 1999 class and I assigned two films I had yet to see from the acclaimed year – the year that Entertainment Weekly claimed to “change movies” – Kimberly Pierce’s Boys Don’t Cry and David Lynch’s The Straight Story. I like doing this as a Professor, because it varies the class and keeps me from getting too settled into a comfort zone. It challenges me to be more spontaneous and in the moment, a zone I typically find stimulating and energizing. Needless to say, the sixteen year old legacy of Lynch’s The Straight Story created a certain predisposition. Having seen all of Lynch’s other films, »
- Landon Palmer
The downfall that faced Tobe Hooper's creative relationship with The Cannon Group in the eighties wasn't much different than the fate of George A. Romero's collaboration with Orion Pictures. After leaving an iconic legacy for horror in the previous decade, Hooper had a reputation to live up to when he made a three picture deal with Golan and Globus that resulted in the ambitious, but entertaining failure Lifeforce, the misunderstood parody The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, and the family friendly remake of Invaders From Mars that helped sink Cannon out of Hollywood forever.
When considering the talent involved in this production that included screenwriting duties from Dan O' Bannon and special effects from legends like Stan Winston (who was simultaneously working on James Cameron's Aliens), John Dykstra (Star Wars) and Alec Gillis, this quite frankly should have been an exhilarating fantasy spectacle at the very least. Ironically, »
- Sean McClannahan
When James Cameron’s Aliens stalked into cinemas in 1986, it was at a time when videogame adaptations of major films and TV shows were really beginning to take off. Sylvester Stallone’s shoulder-padded Dirty Harry clone Cobra was turned into a surprisingly decent run-and-gun courtesy of Ocean in 1986. Things like Airwolf, Miami Vice and even Oliver Stone’s anti-war film Platoon were all shrunk down to fit the computers of the day. Many were terrible, but a few, like Ocean’s other licensed titles (RoboCop, The Untouchables and the like) were perfectly decent.
Aliens certainly seemed to be a better candidate for a game tie-in than most movies. This was, after all, about a group of heavily-armed, complacent Marines led by Ripley, the survivor of Alien, as they’re assaulted on all sides by acid-spitting, »
When Platoon won four Oscars in 1987, it marked not only a new chapter in Oliver Stone's career as a filmmaker, but also the end of a decade-long battle. Since the 1970s, Stone had been struggling to make his harrowing account of the horrors he'd seen firsthand as a soldier in the Vietnam conflict, but was famously turned down by every major studio in Hollywood.
Platoon, and Stone, finally found sanctuary at a small independent studio with a grand-sounding name: the Hemdale Film Corporation. It was Hemdale, and its co-founder John Daly, that had taken a chance on Stone, and when Platoon came out in 1986, the gamble proved to be a shrewd one: its $6m investment was covered by the first month's ticket sales, and the film »
Tom Berenger and Greyston Holt break down the the story of Lonesome Dove Church in our exclusive preview. Inspired by real events surrounding the founding of the church, the film, Lonesome Dove Church arrives on DVD (plus Digital), Digital HD and On Demand March 24 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Awarded the "Faith-Based" Dove Seal of Approval, the stirring western stars Oscar nominated actor Tom Berenger (Best Supporting Actor, Platoon, 1986) as a preacher delivering frontier justice on his journey to find and save his outlaw son.
Lonesome Dove Church will be available on DVD for the suggested retail price of $26.98. John Shepherd (Tom Berenger) is an itinerant preacher with dreams of building his own church. When his estranged son Isaac is accused of robbery and murder, John puts his faith and future on the line by coming to Isaac's defense, facing off against a cold-blooded killer in a guns-blazing stand for redemption. »
Welcome to the March 19, 2015 edition of Outrage Watch, HitFix's (almost) daily rundown of all the things folks are peeved about in entertainment. Today's top story: you're all just jealous of Zayn Malik. The One Direction heartthrob, who just pulled out of the boy band's tour of Asia due to "stress," has slammed rumors that he cheated on fiancee Perrie Edwards with a "mystery blonde," writing on Twitter: I'm 22 years old... I love a girl named Perrie Edwards. And there's a lot of jealous fucks in this world I'm sorry for what it looks like x — zaynmalik1D (@zaynmalik) March 18, 2015 Sounds guilty to me. [Daily Mail] Want more? There's plenty of indignation to go around. See below for a full roundup of today's kerfuffles. Outraged: Black scholar Dr. Boyce D. Watkins Target: Fox's "Empire" Why: After slamming the blockbuster Fox series set at a hip-hop entertainment company as "ghettofied hood drama" and "coonery" in a January column, »
- Chris Eggertsen
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is playing two real-life people in 2015 - Philippe Petit in The Walk, and then political whistle-blower Edward Snowden in Oliver Stone's biopic, Snowden. We have the first look at Gordon-Levitt as Snowden shooting one of the first scenes, when the man was serving the Us. The studio-released shot is also accompanied by Gordon-Levitt's Facebook post this week, in which the actor shows off an additional picture and shares his thoughts about Snowden and filming. Choice Jgl musing about director Stone? "F*ck, this guy directed Platoon!" Snowden comes out on Christmas Day 2015. »
With filming underway on what is surely expected by many to be an Oscar contender over the coming months the first pictures of Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Oliver Stone's Snowden have been released. Written and directed by Stone, Snowden is based on the books "The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man" by Luke Harding and "Time of the Octopus" by Anatoly Kucherena. Gordon-Levitt stars as Edward Snowden and on his Facebook page he released the following note, which explains the pictures you're seeing here: I was surprised when I first learned this about Snowden--that he enlisted in the Us Army in 2004. He wanted to go fight in Iraq, but during basic training at Fort Benning, he broke both of his legs and received an administrative discharge. After that, he was still determined to serve his country (love him or hate him, you gotta admit »
- Brad Brevet
Today, in an effort to combine the past and the present, I wanted to take a look at how the winners in the big eight categories of this most recent Academy Awards ceremony compare to the all time best. To try and figure this out, I’m actually going with the lists of the top 25 in each category that I put out last year. It’s an interesting exercise, since it’s impossible to know which will and which won’t stand the test of time, but there’s a few educated guesses that can be made. For my money, a few of the performances will certainly be remembered for years to come. I don’t think it’s impossible for you to have forgotten already, but here are the big eight winners: Best Picture went to Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, Best Director went to Alejandro González Iñárritu »
- Joey Magidson
Exclusive Q&A: It arrived too late to factor in guild and critics awards, but the Clint Eastwood-directed American Sniper has established such a connection with American movie audiences that its dark horse chances of upsetting the Oscar status quo cannot be ignored. It passed Saving Private Ryan to become the highest domestic grossing war movie ever; it even shot past the U.S. gross of Bradley Cooper’s previous biggest hit, The Hangover, and trails only The Passion Of The Christ for biggest-ever R-rated domestic grosser. This, for a hard R film about the wartime exploits and horrors faced by the most dangerous sniper in U.S. military history, and the price paid by Chris Kyle, wife Taya, and his fellow soldiers tasked with door to door searches in Sadr City when it was the most dangerous place in Iraq.
Nominated for Best Actor for his spare portrayal of the Navy Seal sharpshooter, »
- Mike Fleming Jr
Turner nominated artists The Wilson sisters, Louise Wilson and Jane Wilson, have been in Rotterdam this weekend for the international premiere of their new piece Undead Sun, originally presented in London’s Imperial War Museum last year.
Undead Sun sees the Newcastle-born sisters investigating the uses of disguise and camouflage in war. They regard the film as a natural successor to their 2011 work, Face Scripting: What Did the Building See. This was about the assassination of Hamas commander Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh by Mossad agents in a Dubai hotel.
“It was looking at CCTV and looking at covert imagery,” Jane Wilson says of a film which explores how contemporary warfare has moved from old fashioned battlefields into the luxurious confines of a modern, upmarket hotel. “What we were thinking about was how technology has developed through facial recognition and through use of CCTV.”
When the First World War started, the sisters note, there were still »
- email@example.com (Geoffrey Macnab)
Before he was a 3-time Oscar nominee or People's "Sexiest Man Alive," Johnny Depp was a young teen idol trying to navigate his newfound fame. Et first met Depp in 1988, just a year after he debuted his smoldering looks as Office Tom Hanson in 21 Jump Street, as screaming girls lined up to meet the star.
"It's very exciting. It's also very strange because you don't expect that kind of response," the then 24-year-old told Et. "It's very new to me."
Photos: Johnny Depp’s 10 Greatest Roles
"I'm dealing with it the best way I know how which is I try to meet as many people as I can," he said. "I try to sign as many things as I can. I dont want to hurt anybody's feelings or make them feel like I dont have time."
Johnny Depp has had a remarkable career. After debuting – and dying – in A Nightmare on Elm Street back in 1984, he was just one of the guys in the ensemble Platoon, the rockabilly heartthrob in Cry-Baby, and the star undercover cop in TV’s “21 Jump Street.” With Edward Scissorhands came his career-changing role, blossoming him to the top of the A-list where he’s remained as a bonafide movie star ever since.
This week he’s back on the big screen in Mortdecai (and surprise! Tim Burton is nowhere to be found). As moustachioed art dealer Charles Mortdecai, Depp is searching for a stolen painting that’s been linked to a stolen bank account of Nazi gold.
- Rachel West
17 items from 2015
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