20 items from 2015
Theodore Bikel. Theodore Bikel dead at 91: Oscar-nominated actor and folk singer best known for stage musicals 'The Sound of Music,' 'Fiddler on the Roof' Folk singer, social and union activist, and stage, film, and television actor Theodore Bikel, best remembered for starring in the Broadway musical The Sound of Music and, throughout the U.S., in Fiddler on the Roof, died Monday morning (July 20, '15) of "natural causes" at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. The Austrian-born Bikel – as Theodore Meir Bikel on May 2, 1924, in Vienna, to Yiddish-speaking Eastern European parents – was 91. Fled Hitler Thanks to his well-connected Zionist father, six months after the German annexation of Austria in March 1938 ("they were greeted with jubilation by the local populace," he would recall in 2012), the 14-year-old Bikel and his family fled to Palestine, at the time a British protectorate. While there, the teenager began acting on stage, »
- Andre Soares
The life rights of Jim Obergefell have been acquired by Fox 2000, in a swift move to bring the story of his fight for marriage equality to the screen. The studio also snapped up the rights to the book Obergefell has written with journalist Debbie Cenziper, titled 21 Years To Midnight, which has yet to hit bookshops. It was the case brought by Obergefell (Obergefell v Hodges) which led to the historic ruling by the U.S Supreme Court, legalizing same-sex marriage throughout America and, by extension, finally making the matrimonial qualifier ‘same-sex’ obsolete.
James Obergefell and his partner, John Arthur, married in Maryland in June 2013, after the U.S Supreme Court declared the Defence Of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional due to its determination that the term ‘spouse’ only applied to unions between a man and a woman.
Obergefell and Arthur resided in Ohio, however, and found that their home state »
- Sarah Myles
(Orson Welles, 1965; Mr Bongo Films, PG)
Throughout his life, Orson Welles was fascinated by Shakespeare – studying and editing the texts (usually pretty drastically), directing them and performing them on the stage and in the cinema. His third and final Shakespeare film, Chimes at Midnight, was the completion of a project first embarked on when a schoolboy in 1930 as Five Kings, a conflation of plays about the Wars of the Roses. It was eventually shot over a year in Spain with money conned out of a Spanish producer, who believed that Welles was simultaneously directing on the same sets and location the Shakespearean Chimes at Midnight (a potentially unprofitable venture) and a new version of Stevenson’s Treasure Island (a far more commercial prospect) with himself as Long John Silver. In fact, not a foot of the adventure movie was made, though Welles did play Long John in 1972 in a rarely seen Spanish-Italian production. »
- Philip French
Film composer Patrick Doyle, best known for his work with the actor/filmmaker Kenneth Branagh, as well as his recent scores for Disney’s “Cinderella” and Pixar’s “Brave,” will be presented with the World Soundtrack Lifetime Achievement Award at the 15th annual World Soundtrack Awards in Ghent, Belgium.
The World Soundtrack Awards, taking place this year on Oct. 24, is the culminating event of Film Fest Ghent.
“Anyone who can still recount hearing Doyle’s score for Kenneth Branagh’s debut film ‘Henry V’ in 1989 for the first time, knows that back then a great composer was born,” said Patrick Duynslaegher, artistic director of Film Fest Ghent, in a statement. “The immensely versatile Doyle enriched the films by Robert Altman, Ang Lee, Chen Kaige, Alfonso Cuarón and Brian DePalma with his alternating tragic, »
- Steve Chagollan
For anyone who says Orson Welles made one good movie and never did again, you are a horribly misinformed person. Welles was a genius, pushing what the medium could do with nearly every film he made. One of these gems has been criminally under seen, mainly due to the fact it is extremely difficult to find. This is his ode to one of William Shakespeare's greatest creations, Falstaff. The film: Chimes at Midnight. It will be screening across the world throughout the month of May in theaters. You can look here to see if it is playing near you. Thankfully, it is playing here in Austin. Following those screenings, Chimes at Midnight will hit DVD and Blu-ray on June 29. I, for one, am extremely excited about this, though, the home release seems to be only for the UK... for now... Hopefully Kino, Olive, Cohen or Criterion will pick it up for a U. »
- Mike Shutt
This month Alan Rickman's A Little Chaos, Ryan Gosling's Lost River and Russell Crowe's The Water Diviner see these performers make the dizzying leap from actor to director. But in which of their colleagues' footsteps might they follow?
We take a look at six different categories of actor-turned-directors.
Too handsome to be a supporting actor, and lacking the gravitas of a major star, Ben Affleck looked to be heading towards Kilmer-ville before he released Gone Baby Gone, a dark Dennis Lehane thriller he co-wrote and directed, with brother Casey taking the lead. Follow-up The Town proved solid, but his next effort, Argo, was a surprise Best Picture winner. The fact Affleck didn't receive a Director nomination suggests he's not yet been forgiven for the likes of Gigli, but the forthcoming Lehane adaptation Live By Night should fix that.
As an actor, Clint Eastwood's flinty »
William Shakespeare’s works have, over the years, been a rich source of cinematic adaptations, whether they’re direct works such as 1989’s Henry V, loose interpretations such as 1999’s 10 Things I Hate About You, or somewhere in between, such as 2012’s Much Ado About Nothing.
One of the more popular of Shakespeare’s plays is Hamlet, which itself has seen numerous onscreen incarnations. Among the most recognisable soliloquies in the play is the “To Be Or Not To Be” speech, delivered by the titular character as he considers whether his life is worth living. Now, JoBlo has made a supercut of the numerous times the soliloquy has been delivered, putting together the whole speech by interspersing the numerous performers and contexts in which it has been said. The resulting video, which includes everyone from Charlie Chaplin to David Tennant, can be seen below, along with the monologue in its text form. »
- Deepayan Sengupta
Director Kenneth Branagh has already brought several of William Shakespeare's classic plays, such as Hamlet, Henry V and Much Ado About Nothing, to the big screen. But now it looks like he's going to let a cinema master turn one of his own stage productions of another Shakespeare tragedy into a film instead. Branagh recently appeared on BBC Radio's Kermode and Mayo's Film Review (via The Playlist) and revealed that his stage production of Macbeth is being developed to become a feature film directed by none other than Martin Scorsese. It doesn't sound like it's a done deal yet, but there's definitely been talks. Read on! Branagh said, "Fingers are hovering above pieces of paper. Everybody wants to do it, it's just a question of schedules. I'm very very hopeful it's going to happen." Right now Scorsese is busy directing his long-gestating adaptation of Silence, so he's certainly got his hands full for now. »
- Ethan Anderton
I've always found Kenneth Branagh's directorial career to be one of the most wildly unpredictable and diverse of any filmmaker around. Each project he takes on yields impressive and fascinating results. Who else could successfully pull off the Shakespearean power of Henry V (1989), the heart and terror of Frankenstein (1994), the comedic charm of A Midwinter's Tale (1995) ... and the operatic comic-book action of Thor (2011)?
This week, Branagh adds yet another footnote to an already remarkable directing career with his live-action feature adaptation of the classic fairytale Cinderella (2015), starring Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham Carter. Knowing Branagh's respectful approach to well-known material, not to mention a collection of positive reviews and solid audience interest, Cinderella will no doubt turn into another cinematic victory for the actor/director.
- Frank Calvillo
Kenneth Branagh's directorial career began with a lauded adaptation of "Henry V" in 1989. Twenty-five years later, he gives us another high-profile classic brimming with preeminent thespians in "Cinderella." The new live-action retelling of the tale serves as a starring vehicle for "Downton Abbey" vet Lily James, but it also features grand performances by Cate Blanchett as her wicked stepmother and Helena Bonham Carter as her fairy godmother. We interviewed Branagh and asked him about the appeal of classic fairytales, the female Shakespeare roles he'd like to play, and what it was like giving Helena Bonham Carter such an un-gothic role. »
- Louis Virtel
The original animated movie opened on February 15, 1950 to universal acclaim and 65 years later, Cinderella has become one of studio’s most treasured titles.
Branagh has once again turned to the Scottish composer Patrick Doyle for the score. The album features original music by Doyle marking the eleventh time he has teamed with Branagh.
In 1989, the director commissioned Doyle to compose the score for Henry V and they have subsequently collaborated on numerous pictures, including Dead Again, Mary Shelley’S Frankenstein, Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, As You Like It and Thor, and most recently Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.
From the worlds »
- Michelle McCue
Over the past half decade Walt Disney Studios has spent a great deal of time and money to create live action versions of some of their own animated classics. While these films have performed at the box office, creatively they were often lacking. The studio may have finally found its own fairy godmother in the form of director Kenneth Branagh and his new adaptation of “Cinderella.” The Oscar nominated filmmaker is best known for shepherding new versions of "Hamlet" and "Henry V" to the big screen. The former was released almost 20 years ago, but Branagh earned a reputation for bringing a modern sense of realism to Shakespeare's creations even if the stories were still set in the distant past. This talent made him a smart choice to direct the underrated "Thor" and an even better hire for a movie that could have been just another shell for Disney’s consumer product division. »
- Gregory Ellwood
The album features original music by Patrick Doyle (“Brave,” “Thor”) marking the eleventh time Doyle has teamed with director Kenneth Branagh. The score was recorded at Air Lyndhurst Studio in London, and was performed by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by James Shearman and produced by Maggie Rodford. The film arrives in theaters on March 13, 2015.
Patrick Doyle’s long-time creative collaboration with Branagh began in 1989 with “Henry V.” The film’s song ‘Non Nobis Domine’ was awarded the 1989 Ivor Novello Award for Best Film Theme. In 1991, they re-teamed for “Dead Again,” which earned Doyle a Golden Globe-nomination. Subsequent collaborations include “Frankenstein,” “Much Ado About Nothing,” “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” “As You Like It,” “Hamlet” (for which Doyle received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Score), “Sleuth,” and “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.”
- Michelle McCue
In Disney’s new live-action “Cinderella,” four mice are ballooned into elegant white horses, two lizards are forced to serve as makeshift footmen, and an oblivious old goose gets zapped into driving a pumpkin carriage. But as the American Humane Assn. can attest, no animals were harmed in the making of this delightful if overly safe update of the gold-standard toon classic. More importantly, the underlying property emerges untarnished, as director Kenneth Branagh reverently reimagines Charles Perrault’s classic fairy tale for a new generation the world over, spelling countless opportunities to exploit fresh interest in the story throughout the Disney universe.
The latest in a trend to rework the most precious treasures in the Mouse House vault, “Cinderella” is by far the studio’s most calculated retelling yet, to the extent that those who know the toon by heart may find Chris Weitz’s serviceable script a wee bit dull. »
- Peter Debruge
WWE and 2K Sports are not hanging around as they have already announced the release date for the second downloadable showcase mode.
Hall Of Pain, which depicts all of Mark Henry’s biggest matches, will be released for all platforms on February 17.
Hop pays homage to the World’s Strongest Man, who has been in the WWE since 1996, as it allows you to play some of his most memorable matches against the likes of: The Big Show, Kane, Jey Uso, Jimmy Uso, Sheamus, The Great Khali, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan and Ryback.
Most of these matches took place on SmackDown but 2K have really spoilt us by charging us more money for the privilege to play Henry v Ryback at WrestleMania Xxix.
We are not worthy.
Even though they arguably should considering the price of the game itself, 2K sports doesn’t give such additional content away for free. »
- Ross Tweddell
She died on Jan. 30 following a stroke in late October, her family said.
McEwan won the BAFTA TV award in 1991 for best actress for her role in “Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.” She also won awards for her theater work, taking Evening Standard best actress awards for “The Rivals” in 1983 and for “The Way of the World” in 1995.
She was nominated for a Tony Award for the 1998 production of Ionesco’s “The Chairs.”
- Leo Barraclough
Geraldine McEwan, best known for playing Agatha Christie's Miss Marple in a long-running television series, has died at the age of 82. In her 57 year career the much-admired character actress also appeared in films as diverse as Henry V, The Magdalene Sisters and Vanity Fair. She provided the voice of Miss Thipp in Wallace and Grommit film The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit and also appeared alongside Kevin Costner and Sean Conner in Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves.
An awkward child who found refuge in the theatre and quickly made an impression with her acting talents, the versatile McEwan had no formal training but soon progressed through Stratford and Broadway before finding her way into film. She was an avowed left-winger and was rumoured to have turned down the offer of being made a dame. She died peacefully following a stroke and is survived by her two. »
- Jennie Kermode
His dad was one of Hollywood’s founding fathers. If there is something that Samuel Goldwyn Jr should be remembered for following his death on Friday night, it’s this, according to Tom Rothman: “For the 20 or so years before Disney put money in Miramax or we started Fox Searchlight with NewsCorp money and other studios got in the game, the independent film business really began with Sam in the late 70s.” Rothman, a lawyer in New York who repped Jim Jarmusch when he made the deal with Goldwyn Jr for Stranger Than Paradise, was hired by Goldwyn Jr to become president of The Goldwyn Company before moving on to Fox where he became the first president of Fox Searchlight.
“People forget what a seminal figure Sam was, and how many filmmakers broke through because of him,” Rothman said. “There was Kenneth Branagh, Anthony Minghella, Ang Lee, David Lynch and John Sayles. »
- Mike Fleming Jr
Producer Samuel Goldwyn Jr. died Friday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center of congestive heart failure in Los Angeles. He was 88.
Born Sept. 7, 1926, Goldwyn was the son of actress Frances Howard and the Hollywood Golden Age movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn, a founder of Paramount Pictures. Goldwyn Jr. followed in his father’s footsteps and founded the independent film companies The Samuel Goldwyn Company and Samuel Goldwyn Films.
Also Read: Hollywood’s Notable Deaths of 2015 (Photos)
- Deborah Day
Awards season contender “The Imitation Game” is the latest opportunity for esteemed stage, TV and film thesp Charles Dance to make malevolence look utterly polished and tasteful. The Brit made his proper stage debut 40 years ago with the Royal Shakespeare Company, after sharing music hall stages with several English vaudeville greats.
In 1976, you were touring America with the Royal Shakespeare Company and went on for Alan Howard in Brooklyn.
I was doing supporting roles in productions such as “Henry IV” and “Henry V” and Ben Kingsley’s “Hamlet” and was the understudy for Alan. I got the call at 4 in the afternoon that Alan had taken ill and I’d be performing (in “Henry V”) in his place. It scared the shit out of me.
How’d that turn out?
I got into the “Once more unto the breach” speech — the one everyone knows — and I went stone dead in the middle of it. »
- Steven Gaydos
20 items from 2015
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