13 items from 2016
One of the best films of 2016 begins streaming this week, as Oliver Stone’s Snowden drops on iTunes and Amazon. Stone has long been one of our most versatile directors, having made horror flicks (Seizure, The Hand), a Vietnam trilogy (Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, Heaven & Earth), a musical (The Doors), historical epics (Alexander, Nixon), a sports film (Any Given Sunday), a love story (World Trade Center), business movies (the two Wall Street movies), and three audacious and darkly funny crime pictures (Natural Born Killers, U-Turn, Savages). With Snowden, Stone synthesizes all of his strengths in one […] »
- Jim Hemphill
One week a month, Watch This offers movie recommendations inspired by the week’s new releases or premieres. This week: In honor of Kenneth Lonergan’s magnificent Manchester By The Sea, we’re giving a standing ovation to other movies written and/or directed by playwrights.
Any Given Sunday (1999)
Oliver Stone employs his hyper-stylized aesthetics for a titanic, from-all-angles portrait of professional football in Any Given Sunday, an all-star 1999 film that brazenly strives for Shakespearean grandeur, thanks in part to the scripting of playwright-turned-screenwriter John Logan. At the center of this gladiatorial gridiron epic is Tony D’Amato (Al Pacino), wearied championship coach of the Miami Sharks, who’s grappling with numerous dilemmas, from the disloyalty of owner Christina Pagniacci (Cameron Diaz) to his lovelorn loneliness to—most crucially of all—a severe injury to his veteran quarterback Cap Rooney (Dennis Quaid). The last of those problems manifests ...
- Nick Schager
52 Pick-Up, 1986.
Directed by John Frankenheimer.
A cheating husband is blackmailed by a gang who threaten to publicly reveal his affair, thwarting his politically ambitious wife’s plans and forcing him to take matters into his own hands.
In 52 Pick-Up, Roy Scheider (Jaws/The French Connection) plays Harry ‘Mitch’ Mitchell, a successful businessman with a nice house, an immaculate Jaguar Xk-e that he has lovingly restored and a politically ambitious wife about to make a big splash campaigning with the local governor candidate. Everything seems rosy for Mitch until one day when he is shown a video of himself and his mistress during private time by three masked men who blackmail him for the sum of $105,000. Fearing the repercussions, Mitch confesses the affair to his wife Barbara (Ann-Margret – Any Given Sunday) and »
- Amie Cranswick
Welcome to “Playback,” a Variety podcast.
On today’s episode Jenelle Riley and I discuss this year’s crop of 10 Actors to Watch, being honored at the Hamptons International Film Festival. Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation” is also opening this weekend, amid a torrent of controversy and a 60 Minutes special that appeared to just make things worse. And Mel Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge” is around the corner, its formerly embattled director looking to find purchase within the industry after his own highly publicized controversies.
Later on I’m talking to Aaron Eckhart, who has a pair of films in theaters this fall: Clint Eastwood’s “Sully” and Ben Younger’s “Bleed For This.” Both movies saw their world premieres at the Telluride Film Festival, which Eckhart attended and adored, and both projects see him taking on real-life characters. In “Sully” he stars as Chesley Sullenberger’s unsung co-pilot Jeff Skiles, »
- Kristopher Tapley
It’s safe to say Oliver Stone isn’t exactly fashionable these days, a matter apparent in how the trailer for Snowden instantly became a punching bag on this writer’s Twitter feed. Yet film critic Matt Zoller Seitz’s behemoth of a book, The Oliver Stone Experience, should, with any luck, shift the conversation. Framed as a series of interviews with Stone conducted over the past half-decade or so and interspersed with everything from personal photos to studio-executive notes to archival reviews, this feels like the definitive text on someone once at the center of American cinema. It might not change anyone’s mind on Stone’s films, but with the man being such a raconteur, you’ll still find yourself tearing through it.
We were lucky enough to chat with Seitz over the phone about his undertaking, as well as some thoughts on American politics and cinema in general. »
- Ethan Vestby
Next month brings an avalanche of original series to Amazon Prime. Should you be so inclined you can watch new offerings from Tig Notaro, whose One Mississippi debuts September 9, or (sigh) Woody Allen, whose Crisis In Six Scenes emerges on September 30. There’s also Fleabag, an acidic comedy imported from Britain, as well as new episodes of the streaming service’s beloved Transparent. And if that doesn’t keep you busy enough, there’s a plethora of movies popping up, as well. Those include Todd Solondz’s Wiener-Dog, an Amazon Original that debuted at Sundance earlier this year, and Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario. Meanwhile, you can also pay tribute to Michael Cimino by taking in Heaven’s Gate or spend some time with classics like Roman Holiday and Full Metal Jacket. The full list is below.
Any Given Sunday (1999)
Apollo 13 ...
- Esther Zuckerman
The Notebook, Knocked Up and Magic Mike will never be the same again. Moviegoers might be shocked to learn that some of their favorite films have almost been overshadowed by on-set drama between cast and crew members - but the reality of it is: it's more common than one would think. Here are some of the most memorable moments in movie history. 1. Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Called Out Less-than-stellar Fast 8 Co-stars A photo posted by therock (@therock) on Aug 5, 2016 at 6:37am Pdt As is the norm in Hollywood, Johnson took to social media - specifically Instagram »
- Julia Emmanuele & Grace Gavilanes
A Scott Berg, Michael Grandage, Nicole Kidman, Laura Linney, John Logan and Jude Law Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions hosted a Museum of Modern Art premiere for Michael Grandage's Genius with Colin Firth, Jude Law, Nicole Kidman and Laura Linney, written by John Logan (Martin Scorsese's The Aviator, Oliver Stone's Any Given Sunday, Sam Mendes' Spectre and Skyfall), based on Max Perkins: Editor of Genius, by A Scott Berg. Dominic West as Ernest Hemingway, Guy Pearce as F Scott Fitzgerald and Vanessa Kirby as Zelda Fitzgerald round out their literary world.
John Logan on Scott Berg's Katharine Hepburn for Cate Blanchett: 'He absolutely offered some insight' Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze Angela Ashton, Joel Grey, Martha Plimpton, Oren Moverman, Kathleen Turner, Keith Urban, Spotlight screenwriter Josh Singer, Tom Wolfe, Zach Grenier, Elena Kampouris, Lilly Englert, Elena Rusconi, Laura Michelle Kelly, Tommy Tonge, Nan and Gay Talese, »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
Taking up classroom duties from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “I’m a cop, you idiot!” John Kimble, Expendables co-star Dolph Lundgren struggles to get a handle on the situation in the first trailer for Kindergarten Cop 2.
Yes, the long-rumored comedy sequel to Schwarzenegger’s 1990 cult favorite is finally closing in on its direct-to-dvd launch, with Entertainment Weekly debuting the clip along with a new synopsis to introduce Lundgren’s Agent Reed.
In Kindergarten Cop 2, Lundgren plays Agent Reed, who goes undercover as a kindergarten teacher, this time to recover a flash drive with sensitive information that was stolen from the Witness Protection Program. However, in addition to dealing with a handful of students, Reed also faces problems with the school’s “politically correct environment.
- Michael Briers
Twenty years ago this week - Feb. 9, 1996 - the romcom-dramedy Beautiful Girls first opened in theaters. The film centers around Willie (Timothy Hutton), who returns home for his high school reunion in a small Massachusetts town. It's funny, it's heartwarming, and it features one of the better ensemble casts of the 1990s. In honor of the film's 20th anniversary, we're pulling out the yearbook and looking up the film's cast to what they've been up to over the past 20 years. Timothy HuttonHutton won Best Supporting Actor in 1981 for Ordinary People when he was only 20. To this day he's the youngest-ever »
- Drew Mackie, @drewgmackie
Who needs the Super Bowl when you can watch every sports movie ever made in seven minutes? Zac Efron, Anna Kendrick and Adam DeVine stopped by The Late Late Show on Sunday night to help host James Corden reenact scenes from beloved sports movies in under seven minutes - and it was glorious, to say the least. The crew took the stage in front of a green screen to act out some of the greatest moments in sports movies, complete with outfit changes, various accents and of course, a ton of chaos. Getting ready for @latelateshow with @zacefron and @andybovine »
- Jodi Guglielmi, @JodiGug3
If you've ever fantasized about James Corden wearing nothing but a whipped cream bikini, you're in luck. For the Late Late Show's post-Super Bowl episode Sunday night, the host got actors Zac Efron, Anna Kendrick and Adam DeVine to help him recreate the best cinematic tributes to athleticism in a skit called "History of Sports Movies in 7 Minutes" - including Ali Larter's sweet seduction scene from 1999's Varsity Blues. "Uh ... we cut this bit," Efron, 28, said as Corden, 37, sauntered in front of the green screen in a blonde wig (and not much else). "Right. It's still a treat for the ladies, »
- Michele Corriston, @mcorriston
For three of the four big kudocasts, every year prompts a fresh round of speculation as to who will host the next installment, followed by intense scrutiny of the host’s various failings. For the past few Grammys, however, the hosting dilemma has been resolved: LL Cool J, who has been tapped for the Feb. 15 kudofest.
How did LL manage to succeed where so many other comedians, actors, and media personalities have failed? Per the rapper, being aware of his limited role in proceedings has proven to be the key.
“I’m not delusional,” he says. “I don’t think I’m Billy Crystal. I don’t think I’m Ellen (DeGeneres) or Whoopi (Goldberg). So I approach it with a place of humility, where I know the show isn’t about me, it’s about the artists and them having a great moment, and I’m there as a fan enjoying the ride. »
- Andrew Barker
13 items from 2016
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