11 items from 2009
There have been some absolutely amazing years in the race for the Best Actress Oscar. Take 1988 when Jodie Foster's performance in "The Accused" edged out what may have been career turns by Glenn Close in "Dangerous Laisons" and Sigourney Weaver in "Gorillas in the Mist." And you can't overlook one of Meryl Streep's all-time top five with "A Cry in the Dark" that year either. Or, 2002 where Nicole Kidman won for "The Hours," but faced heavy competition from Julianne Moore in "Far From Heaven," Salma Hayek in "Frida," Diane Lane in "Unfaithful" and Renee Zellweger in "Chicago." You »
I was blissfully oblivious to the media sensation that Fatal Attraction sparked upon release in 1987. I did see the movie, on a date in fact, while in high school and enjoyed it for what it was worth but did not think much about it afterwards. Beyond that I have been marginally aware of its existence (it has become so culturally iconic, it would be hard not to be) and figured I must have caught it on cable or a rental. However after racking my brain, I realized that my recent viewing of Paramount's new Blu-ray release is the first time I have seen the thriller in 22 years. Of course this begs the question "how does it hold up?" I would say pretty well though I have some reservations. I am definitely better suited to appreciate the adult nature of the film. My recollections of Fatal Attraction were mostly vague impressions of sex scenes, »
Adrian Lyne is arguably the king of modern day dysfunctional marriage movies. Even though I haven't seen 9 1/2 Weeks or Lolita -- in which a man marries his landlady so he can take advantage of her daughter -- I know from Unfaithful, Indecent Proposal and Fatal Attraction he has the genre nailed. Of course Flashdance and Jacob's Ladder are a couple of sidesteps, but you can't expect a guy to always delve into the darkness of matrimony... but it sure seems like he tries. Paramount is releasing both Indecent Proposal and Fatal Attraction on Blu-ray on June 9 bringing two more of Lyne's notable features to high-definition following Fox's release of Unfaithful back in January. Neither of these two releases comes with any supplemental material you haven't seen before. Indecent Proposal coming with a lone commentary track by Lyne and Fatal Attraction includes all the features that were released on the 2007 Collector's »
- Brad Brevet
I've never been a big fan of Mother's Day only because my birthday is May 9th and it sometimes falls either on Mom's Day or the day before (like this year). And since I'm an egotistical bastard who likes to have an entire day dedicated to me and my awesomeness, having to share that day with someone else is a total drag. But we love our moms, and without them none of us would have ever been born. So, as is customary with this time of year, we're beginning to see movie-related mom lists pop up online -- and over at Fandango they asked 3,500 readers to cast their votes for both the sexiest movie mom and scariest movie mom in contemporary cinema (meaning within the past 30 years).
Yes, it freaks me out that thirty years back brings us only to 1979, but the sad fact remains that a lot of today's »
- Erik Davis
[This article is part of our Radiohead Fanatic Fortnight -- check out our box set giveaway here.]
As this week's earlier list illustrates, Radiohead's music has inspired a number of videos shot with the artistry of a short film. Something about the band's dramatic, intensely emotional sound calls out to the screen, and a number of both film and commercial directors have responded. Below are some of the best and most notable uses of Radiohead's music in films and ads. (The band, big fans of Naomi Klein's "No Logo," don't license their music to big corporations, but they have donated songs to ads for non-profits, as well as the NBA.)
1. The image of Claire Danes holding a gun to her own head at the end of Baz Luhrmann's "Romeo + Juliet" inspired "Exit Music (for a film)," the song that plays over the credits of the film. Another Radiohead song, "Talk Show Host," figures in the film; the former was not allowed onto the soundtrack though the latter was. »
- Michelle Orange
Adrian Lyne is one of those directors best known for his soft core approach to many projects. Raised in the British commercial school, he emerged, like Ridley Scott, Hugh Hudson and Alan Parker as one of the proto-mtv voices that created a sub-genre unto itself. Lyne directed some huge hits, many of which were dismissed for their content, films like Flashdance, 9 ½ Weeks and Fatal Attraction. Some saw art in Jacob’s Ladder, but most saw Demi Moore rolling in a pile of money for Indecent Proposal. It’s hard to say if he matured, or that Lolita changed him. His 1997 film attempted to best Kubrick (arguably he didn’t), but he got something of the Nabakov book that didn’t interest Stanley’s vision. Lyne may be at his best when he has sympathy for those who may not deserve it, those with bad and forbidden longings in their heart. »
Blu-Ray Rating: 2.0/5.0 Chicago – I have a very high threshold for melodramatic romance. I was raised on cheesy musicals and will admit to pausing on the underrated “The Notebook” more than once when I pass it on cable. Having said that, I hated “Nights in Rodanthe,” a film that mines rarely seen lows in manipulative soap opera dreck and washes away the screen presence of two of the genre’s most physically blessed stars in a sea of fake tears and ridiculous plot twists.
The script for “Nights in Rodanthe” by Ann Peacock and John Romano from a best-selling book by Nicholas Sparks would get most writers laughed out of a pitch meeting for an episode of “Days of Our Lives”. I am easily moved and will admit to openly crying at films more often than a grown man should, but rarely have I seen a melodramatic script rendered more ineffective »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
Pictured above (clockwise from upper left): Nights in Rodanthe, W., Frozen River, Chocolate.
Nights in Rodanthe
I'll quote our own Jeffrey M. Anderson: "If you're the type that likes crying at the movies, you'll love it. If you loved Richard Gere and Diane Lane together in a thriller like Unfaithful (2002) but you don't like to cry, you probably won't like it. Me, I found a few things to like and much to loathe." The DVD includes two mini-features, alternate scenes, and a music video. Also on Blu-ray. Skip it.
Add to Netflix queue. | Buy at Amazon. | Read Jeff's review.
Oliver Stone's biopic is more bromide than probing drama, but as a comedy it's pretty entertaining, and Josh Brolin is superb as the confoundingly charming George W. Bush. DVD includes an audio commentary by Stone and the featurette "Dangerous Dynasty: The Bush Presidency." Also on Blu-ray. Rent it. »
- Peter Martin
North Carolina’s beaches are considered to be some of the most beautiful stretches of land in the world. The cerulean blue water laps at the whitish sand and sprouts of reeds that seem to be sprung up all over the shore. It is beautiful, but unfortunately, it’s not quite enough to make a movie. Maybe a surf video. But not a Hollywood romance story starring two actors who can usually provide one on cue.
In the classic style of opening sequences of romance films, we meet both characters separately. Adrienne (Lane) is separated from her husband (Christopher Meloni) and is the mother of two, attempting to maintain a relationship with her scornful daughter since the split—while Gere plays Paul, »
- Erin Burris
Missed previous episodes? The Hollywood Historian in me was busy last year. See: 1995 , 1996, 1997, 1998 , 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003.
With the annual Vanity Fair "Hollywood" issue about to debut for 2009 -- I'm guessing we see the new cover in less than two weeks (Update: the new cover has been leaked and Vanity Fair has chucked their traditional photo shoot *sniffle* for the millionth magazine cover featuring President Obama), let's briefly return to our Vanity Fair retrospectives. "Send in the Gowns" was the title of 2004's photo shoot and they returned to the first year's game plan of glamour girls. The cover was more crowded though, bringing us an unlucky 13. But who was this cover unlucky for?
Maybe all of them, with the exception of Maggie Gyllenhaal (hurrah) and Hilary Swank (known affectionately around these parts as Beelzebub), who was just 11 months away from her second Oscar. Vanity Fair had gotten less daring in their cover »
- NATHANIEL R
Chicago – We’re back with our recurring feature, the Blu-Ray Round Up, a collection of HD releases that might have slipped through the cracks but that could grab your attention. With dozens of catalog titles and straight-to-video releases hitting the next-gen format every week, it’s easy to miss a movie that you’d love to add to your collection. The Blu-Ray Round Up is here for you.
This edition of the Round-Up focuses its laser gaze on six titles from two companies, a series of four catalog releases from Twentieth Century Fox and a pair of new titles from Lionsgate. “Antwone Fisher,” “Drumline,” “Hulk Vs.,” “Repo!: The Genetic Opera,” “Stargate: The Ark of Truth,” and “Unfaithful” - an Oscar nominee, Denzel Washington, Bruce Banner, and Paris Hilton. Where else would you find a line-up like that?
“Stargate: The Ark of Truth” was released on January 13th, 2009.
“Antwone Fisher, »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
11 items from 2009
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