11 items from 2015
All week our writers will debate: Which was the greatest film year of the past half century. Click here for a complete list of our essays. When I picked this year, it was under the mistaken assumption that we were writing on the best film of a year, and not the best film year in general. But having realized the mistake, I stand by my choice. 1995 is still the best! Straight up: 1995 wins, because Todd Haynes’s “[Safe]" is still my favorite film to have come out since, Idk, I’ve been alive. It’s deeply self-conscious about genre, while still managing to not really resemble anything I’ve ever seen. It’s the perfect film about L.A.; about how space is mobilized in cinema; about the environment; about Gothic horror; about white femininity; about film bodies; about falling in love in the movies. It’s Todd Motherf*#@$^ Haynes’s best film. »
- Jane Hu
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 »
Edward Aiona, the prop master for 31 feature films, including three that won Academy Awards for best picture, “Ordinary People” (1980), “Rain Man” (1988) and “Unforgiven” (1992), as well as 28 episodes of network series television, died March 31 at Tarzana Hospital of lung cancer compounded by chronic heart trouble. He was 83.
Aiona was closely associated with Clint Eastwood: Aiona made his debut as property master on Dirty Harry film “Magnum Force” in 1973 and then worked on every Eastwood film until Aiona’s retirement in 1996.
Between films with Eastwood, Aiona also collaborated as prop master with directors including Martin Scorsese (“Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”), John Milius (“Big Wednesday”), Sydney Pollack (“The Electric Horseman” and “Absence of Malice”), Barry Levinson (“Rain Man”) and John Carpenter (“Memoirs of an Invisible Man”).
“He was extreme in getting what was required for the screenplay,” said Mike Sexton, Aiona’s assistant before becoming prop master at Eastwood’s »
- Variety Staff
Eddie Aiona, a property master on more than 20 Clint Eastwood films — from Magnum Force to The Bridges of Madison County — during a stretch of more than two decades, has died. He was 83. Aiona, who worked on three Oscar winners for best picture, died March 31 of lung cancer at Providence Tarzana Medical Center, his friend, Ric Gentry, told The Hollywood Reporter. Aiona also worked for such esteemed directors as Martin Scorsese on Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974); for Sydney Pollack on The Electric Horseman (1979) and Absence of Malice (1981); for Paul Schrader on Hardcore
- Mike Barnes
Despite getting many positive reviews, "Honeymoon in Vegas" is an even bigger long shot for a Best Musical nomination at the Tony Awards now that producers announced plans yesterday to shutter the under-attended show after this Sunday’s performance. It’s the fourth straight flop for composer Jason Robert Brown (who nonetheless picked up a Tony last year for his score to another movie-based musical, "The Bridges of Madison County"). -Break- In the last decade, only three new musicals that closed before nominations day have picked up nods in the top category. Two years ago, "Bring It On" and "Christmas Story" both earned recognition over less-acclaimed late-season openers like "Motown." And in 2011, "The Scottsboro Boys," a tragically short-lived collaboration between John Kander and Fred Ebb, made the cut in a remarkably weak field. In a year with a small number of new musical cont »
"It's important to think. It's what separates us from lentils." --Richard Lagravanese, The Fisher King
He did it the hard way, like David battling Goliath this past Valentine's Day. Yes, Richard Lagravanese's latest effort, The Last Five Years, a romantic musical of sorts with next to no spoken dialogue, opened against the whip-wielding Fifty Shades of Grey, a syrupy soft core melodrama with perhaps too much dialogue.
The battle's result so far, at least as of this past Monday: $137,945 versus a worldwide take of $485,791,785. Well, at least David got the better reviews.
Yes, Richard Lagravanese, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of such acclaimed titles as The Fisher King, Behind the Candelabra, The Bridges of Madison County, and Unbroken, which he co-wrote with the Coen Brothers, and the intermittent director of such fare as Living Out Loud and Freedom Writers, is a survivor of numerous Hollywood battles, many won, some lost. Beloved, for example, »
- Brandon Judell
Chicago – The movie musical seems to revive every year, and writer/director Richard Lagravenese puts his spin on the genre with a modern touch. A couple, portrayed by Jeremy Jordan and Anna Kendrick, goes through the ups and downs of a relationship while belting out appropriate tunes in “The Last Five Years.”
The film is based on the stage play by Jason Robert Brown, and is the type of musical that is entirely sung. The songs are sad (“Still Hurting”), hilarious (“Summer in Ohio”) and poignant (“If I Didn’t Believe in You”) and are rendered by the couple in a direct and modern approach through Lagravenese’s direction.
Photo credit: Radius-twc
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
Our Oscar coverage continues. Here we overview the best acting and best directing award nominees.
The Best Actor Nominees
Previously Best Known For:
Previous Oscar Nominations/Wins:
Interesting Fact: Owns and operates the Marshfield Hills General Store in Marshfield, Massachusetts where he has a summer home.
Previously Best Known For:
Previous Oscar Nominations/Wins:
Nomination - Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role 2013- as Richie Dimaso in American Hustle
Nomination - Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role 2012 - as Pat in Silver Linings Playbook
Interesting Fact: Had to miss his graduation commencement at Georgetown University because he was filming Wet Hot American Summer.
- email@example.com (G.S. Perno)
Oscar® nominees Marion Cotillard, Benedict Cumberbatch, Meryl Streep, Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon will be presenters at this year’s Oscars®, show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today. The Oscars, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, will air on Sunday, February 22, live on ABC. Cotillard is nominated for Actress in a Leading Role for “Two Days, One Night.” She previously won an Oscar in this category for the 2007 film “La Vie en Rose.” Cumberbatch is nominated for Actor in a Leading Role for “The Imitation Game.” Streep earned a record 19th acting nomination this year for her supporting role in “Into the Woods.” She previously took home Oscars for her lead performances in “Sophie’s Choice” (1982) and “The Iron Lady” (2011), and her supporting performance in “Kramer vs. Kramer” (1979). Streep’s previous Best Actress nominations were for “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” (1981), “Silkwood” (1983), “Out of Africa” (1985), “Ironweed” (1987), “A Cry in the Dark »
- Josh Abraham
Goodbye South, Goodbye
Directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien
Written by Chu T’ien-wen
Up until now, I’d never seen a film by Hou Hsiao-hsien, who is considered a true master of the cinematic arts. Despite his critical notoriety, Hou is not well-known in the United States where he has received frustratingly little distribution. Jonathan Rosenbaum, one of Hou’s most ardent supporters, wrote about this in a recent issue of Cinema Scope, lamenting that some of Hou’s best films are not available on DVD at all and the ones that are have abysmal transfers. The Puppetmaster(1993), which I planned on watching for this project, is only available in a pan-and-scan edition. I couldn’t bring myself to view it under such conditions, especially for my very first exposure to him. Instead, I opted for the film Cahiers du Cinema called one of the three best of the 90’s: Goodbye South, »
- Jae K. Renfrow
There’s an old Hollywood truism that good movies are made from second-rate books, not the classics. On Broadway, the new musical “Honeymoon in Vegas,” which opened Thursday at the Nederlander Theatre in New York, uses a second-rate movie from 1992 for its source material. Have its makers been able to turn it into a good musical? Or is this one effort that should have stayed in Vegas?
- Robert Hofler
11 items from 2015
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