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Everybody is kung-fu fighting for sure, but it takes more than that to make a great martial arts movie. The Guardian and Observer critics pick the 10 finest ever made
• Top 10 movie adaptations
• Top 10 animated movies
• Top 10 silent movies
• Top 10 sports movies
• Top 10 film noir
• Top 10 musicals
• More Guardian and Observer critics' top 10s
The film that kick-started Hong Kong cinema's kung-fu renaissance and launched Jet Li towards a future of substandard western action movies. Its subject was already well known to local audiences: Wong Fei-hung was a real person: a turn-of-the-century martial arts master and healer who's become something of a folk hero. Like Sherlock Holmes or Robin Hood, he'd been portrayed many times before. Jackie Chan played him in Drunken Master, and a long-running Wong Fei-hung film series during the 1950s and 60s gave roles to the fathers of Bruce Lee and Yuen Wo-ping, »
HBO has put in development Club Life: Miami, a drama written and directed by filmmaker John Singleton (Boyz N The Hood, Shaft) who is executive producing with Russell Simmons. Set against the South Beach club scene, the project follows a reformed criminal who moves to Miami and gains a new lease on life as he embraces the vibrant, youthful and transgressive world. Simmons has a first-look deal with HBO where he also is executive producing a high-profile drama project from 12 Years A Slave director Steve McQueen. Singleton is repped by Wme and Underground’s Trevor Engelson; Simmons is with Wme. »
- NELLIE ANDREEVA
Kevin Willmott is a professor of film at the University of Kansas and a filmmaker known for work focusing on black issues including writing and directing Ninth Street, C.S.A.: The Confederate States Of America and The Only Good Indian. His newest film, in which he costars, is called Destination Planet Negro.
Destination Planet Negro made its premiere last winter, and is continuing to travel the film festival circuit, including a screening this Saturday as part of the St. Louis International Film Festival (Sliff). Wamg contributing writer Sam Moffitt describes Destination Planet Negro as “that rare comedy that actually gets funnier as it goes along. The rocket ship and especially the hardware inside are spot on, beautifully done. Obviously done on a low budget, this is great stuff” (look for Sam’s complete review here at Wamg on Friday)
Destination Planet Negro deftly mimics low-budget 1950s sci-fi to make some comically »
- Tom Stockman
Watching Steve McQueen’s widely acclaimed 12 Years a Slave, you may find yourself wondering why it took so long for someone to film Solomon Northup’s remarkable life story. After all, the dramatic story is based on a memoir that was published way back in 1853. Then you find out that it has been filmed before, by one of America’s most legendary multi-hyphenate artists, the photographer-writer-director-musician Gordon Parks (Shaft, Leadbelly). Produced for public television, Solomon Northup’s Odyssey was broadcast on American Playhouse. (Out-of-print videos of it sell for a lot of money nowadays, but you can stream it on Amazon Instant, under a different title.) As a made-for-tv movie from the mid-eighties, it had a very modest budget and could never come close to the brutality of McQueen’s film. Yet Parks’s film is beautiful in its own right, lacking the ferocious immediacy of McQueen’s work, but »
- Bilge Ebiri
Oscar nominee Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction) and two-time Oscar winner Michael Caine (The Cider House Rules, Hannah And Her Sisters) will star in the heartwarming drama, Harry And The Butler, to be directed by George C. Wolfe, winner of the Directors Guild Award for “Lackawanna Blues,” it was announced today by producers Philippe Rivier of Spirit Films and Colin Callender of Playground Entertainment.
The film, written by Damian F. Slattery, will start shooting on location in Louisiana in spring 2014.
Harry And The Butler is the story of Harry (Sam Jackson), a one-time jazz virtuoso living in New Orleans who has given up on his dreams and now spends his days as the mechanic for a derelict rollercoaster and his nights in his makeshift home – a converted train caboose. When his former mentor bequeaths him a large sum of money, Harry – in a drunken celebration –decides to hire himself an aging, »
- Michelle McCue
This weekend, the exceptional 12 Years a Slave began its initial expansion into wider release. Currently, the Steve McQueen film is playing in 123 theaters around the country, so a lot of people are just getting the chance to enjoy its brilliant performances and to be horrified by its most powerful scenes. When they exit the cinema, while wiping the tears from their eyes and attempting to rid their throats of the lump that’s been lodged there for at least half an hour, audiences are going to be curious about who Lupita Nyong’o is and where they’ve seen Chiwetel Ejiofor before. They’ll also be interested to know that they’ve just watched a remake, of sorts. 12 Years a Slave still has a ways to go before it reaches the mainstream, Middle America mall crowds. But when it does end up on a few thousand screens and watched by millions more, this »
- Christopher Campbell
Before it became an acclaimed feature film from Steve McQueen, the autobiography "Twelve Years a Slave" was the basis for an "American Playhouse" television movie for PBS directed by famed director Gordon Parks ("Shaft"). Based on the same source material as the McQueen feature, the TV version, which aired in 1984, was known as "Solomon Northup's Odyssey." Avery Brooks plays the leading role of Northup, a free black man who was kidnapped in 1841 and sold into slavery. After first airing on PBS, the film was later released on video under the title "Half Slave, Half Free." You can see a clip of the movie below or watch the whole thing by subscribing to Fandor. »
- Paula Bernstein
Stephen Lang will return as musclebound villain Colonel Quaritch in all three forthcoming Avatar sequels, despite having been apparently killed off at the end of the first movie, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Quaritch was the no-nonsense head of security for the human organisation plundering Pandora's natural resources in James Cameron's 2009 blockbuster megalith. The Canadian film-maker is bringing Avatar 2,3 and 4 to cinemas between December 2016 and December 2018. Star Sam Worthington, who plays disabled soldier turned swashbuckling Na'avi rebel Jake Sully, revealed this week that the first instalment will begin shooting in October 2014.
Quaritch ended Avatar with two Na'avi arrows through the chest. But he is not the only character returning despite having apparently departed this mortal coil last time out. »
- Ben Child
To slightly alter one of the greatest cinematic phrases of all time, Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherf—ing kids watching these motherf—ing Samuel L. Jackson movies!
Children all over the United States are engaging in dangerous behaviors, from giving their school superiors sass, to smoking, to spontaneously developing peanut allergies, and, god forbid, believing in themselves — and it’s all Samuel L. Jackson’s fault.
Or at least that’s what the latest Funny or Die skit (made with CommonSense.org) will have you believe.
In the video, we see Mr. L. Jackson (as »
- Jennifer Arellano
On Jan. 25, 2010, Shane Salerno walked out of Technicolor Hollywood, a nearly finished cut of his long-gestating documentary, Salinger, in hand. Seven years after he first began to research the life of the reclusive novelist, Salerno -- the writer of Shaft and Savages -- was ready to unveil his passion project. Two days later, J.D. Salinger died. It would take Salerno another three years before he finally finished his film and an accompanying 700-page book co-written by David Shields. The book, published by Simon & Schuster, went on sale on Sept. 3 and the film opens in
- Mark Miller
Today may not be a massive day for home video for some people, but most people have not been introduced to the insane fun of I Come In Peace (or Dark Angel, whichever floats your Lundgren boat). It’s something of a miracle that Scream Factory’s brought it to Blu-ray, and a testament to how incredible they are. Also out from Scream & Shout Factory are Larry Cohen’s Q: The Winged Serpent on Blu-ray, Charles Bronson & Lee Marvin’s western team-up Death Hunt, an action-packed double feature of The Barbarians and The Norseman, and last but not least Season 3 of The Walking Dead from Anchor Bay.
I’ve attached artwork and links below to purchase if you so desire!
Fright At Home: August 27th’s DVD & Blu-ray Releases
- Justin Edwards
Home Invasion is a weekly post every Tuesday which shows you what is being released on Blu-Ray & DVD today! We scoured through Amazon to bring you everything you might be interested in. Our Picks of the Week are releases that we are looking forward to checking out, have reviewed and/or were are Picks of the Week on the Dtb Podcast. All descriptions are courtesy of Amazon.com unless noted otherwise. If you are thinking about purchasing any of these items, by clicking via the links provided, you are supporting Dtb. Thank you!
Click Here to buy the Blu-ray
Ten people, strangers to each other, are invited to a lavish estate on an island. Through a recording, their mysterious host accuses each of his guests of murder and proceeds to exact justice. The tension mounts as, one by one, the number of people are reduced through the ingenious plotting of the unseen killer. »
- Andy Triefenbach
All you jiveass cornpone peckerwoods head down to the Way Out Club on Tuesday September 3rd for Super-8 Movie Madness featuring the Blaxploitation Triple Feature! The Blaxploitation film era has had an enormous impact on American cinema and culture and its influence can still be seen today. If you dig black culture, music, and lingo from the 70′s you’ll have a chance to take in a triple threat of urban cinema presented on Super-8 sound film projected on a big screen with condensed (average length: 17 minutes) versions of three iconic Blaxploitation classics: Pam Grier in Coffy, Richard Roundtree in Shaft, and Fred ‘The Hammer’ Williamson in That Man Bolt!
The non- Blaxploitation films we’re showing on September 3rd are: John Carpenter’s Dark Star, Gil Lamb in the comedy short Baby Makes Two, the sexy caveman spoof When Women Had Tails, Abbott and Costello in Midget Car Maniacs, »
- Tom Stockman
Had enough of Pandora yet? I sure hope not. If you thought that an Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 were too much, then you may want to back out of this article as Fox has just announced that we’ll be receiving a trio of Avatar sequels. Yes, that’s right, not only are we getting Avatar 2 and 3, but also an Avatar 4.
The three films will shoot simultaneously starting next year, with Christmas release dates penciled in for each, starting in 2016. To help bring his vision to the screen, Cameron has hired an army of writers. We heard earlier that Josh Friedman, who penned War of the Worlds, will write Avatar 2. Scripting Avatar 3 will be Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, who were behind Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Finally, Avatar 4 will fall into the hands of Shane Salerno, who wrote Armageddon and Shaft. »
- Matt Joseph
The Avatar universe just got a bit bigger. Fox has announced that James Cameron’s Avatar movie series will now be a tetralogy instead of a trilogy, with the number of sequels growing from two to three. Photos: 30 Groundbreaking Sci-Fi Films With that, Cameron has hired several writers to help pen the sequels. Josh Friedman (who ironically wrote TV's Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), Rise of the Planet of the Apes duo Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, and Shane Salerno (Shaft, Savages) will collaborate with him on the screenplays for the three films. According to Fox, the new movies will
- Borys Kit
Let’s face it, we’re all excited about the new Robocop remake. Adding to the excitement, director José Padilha, along with Samuel L. Jackson, Joel Kinnaman, Michael Keaton and Abbie Cornish sat down with press at Comic-Con 2013 to talk a bit about the film. Check it out below!
In RoboCop, the year is 2029 and multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the center of robot technology. Their drones are winning American wars around the globe and now they want to bring this technology to the home front. Alex Murphy is a loving husband, father and good cop doing his best to stem the tide of crime and corruption in Detroit. After he is critically injured in the line of duty, OmniCorp utilizes their remarkable science of robotics to save Alex’s life. He returns to the streets of his beloved city with amazing new abilities, but with issues a regular man »
- Melissa Howland
Codeblack Films, a Lionsgate company, has hired Paul Hall [pictured] as head of development and production.
The film and television producer’s credits include Tyler Perry’s Temptation, Madea’s Witness Protection and Shaft, and he has recently wrapped production on Addicted, based on Zane’s book, for Lionsgate.
Clanagan commented: “Paul has a superb track record as a creative force in our industry, and his addition to our team broadens Codeblack’s influence, expands our capabilities and advances our mission to serve the African-American market with a diverse range of branded quality content.”
“I was attracted to Codeblack by their unique understanding of the evolving African-American market and their commitment to serve this market with films »
- email@example.com (Ian Sandwell)
From the press release...Codeblack Films, a Lionsgate company, has hired veteran film and television producer Paul Hall as Head of Development and Production, the Company announced today.Hall’s 20+ years of credits include films such as Tyler Perry’s Temptation, For Colored Girls, Madea’s Witness Protection, Good Deeds, Shaft and Higher Learning, among others. In his new position, Hall will work closely with Codeblack Films’ President Jeff Clanagan and General Manager Quincy Newell to expedite the development of key properties for production and theatrical release for the studio. He has recently wrapped production on Addicted based on the popular book by Zane for »
- Tambay A. Obenson
Exclusive: Codeblack Films, a division launched by Lionsgate to produce, acquire and distribute urban-themed films, has hired veteran film and television producer Paul Hall to head Development and Production. Hall’s previous credits span more than two decades of the African-American film experience, including Tyler Perry’s Temptation, For Colored Girls, Madea’s Witness Protection, Good Deeds, Shaft and Higher Learning. Hall will work closely with Codeblack Films’ President Jeff Clanagan and General Manager Quincy Newell to hatch original properties that will be made in-house. So far, Codeblack has made its mark by acquiring distribution rights on finished films that have included the Sundance pic The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister And Pete, the romantic drama Things Never Said, the docu Free Angela Davis And All Political Prisoners, and Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, which is being released by Summit on July 3. Hall’s job will be to start cranking out films from within. »
- MIKE FLEMING JR
A superstar author who goes into hiding, a vault of unpublished work, a military past filled with haunting images. This is the suspense thriller of Shane Salerno‘s J.D. Salinger documentary. Making his directorial debut, the writer with credits on (no kidding) Savages and Shaft (2000) has conducted interviews with hundreds of people — including those who knew the iconic writer of “Catcher in the Rye” and creative minds like Edward Norton and Philip Seymour Hoffman who were influenced by his work. There’s no doubt that the author left behind plenty of mysteries, and Salinger purports to solve (or at least explore) them. At the very least, it should provide a well-anticipated look into the life and career of a man who was responsible for millions of worn out paperbacks. Check out the trailer for yourself: As someone who personally wore out several of those paperbacks, this looks incredibly captivating. Salinger hits theaters September 6th. »
- Scott Beggs
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