1-20 of 35 items from 2011 « Prev | Next »
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it's safe to say that Steve Buscemi is one of the most universally liked actors of this generation. He vivified Fargo, gave Ghost World a soul, lent Big Fish some quirky sincerity, ruled on 30 Rock (and Boardwalk Empire, I suppose), and even proved himself a viable proxy for Paul Lynde as the voice of Templeton in the Charlotte's Web remake. That's not an easy sneer to fill. But today we're talking about Buscemi's underrated work, the stuff that doesn't percolate with the grim vigor of a Coen Brothers classic. What's your pick? »
Investor fund claims it plunged $375m into 29 films including Transformers and Mission Impossible 3 – and seen no returns
An investment fund that claims to have put up more than $375m to pay for blockbuster films including the Transformers series, Misson Impossible 3 and Dreamgirls is suing studio Paramount for profits it says it is owed but has not received.
The investor group Melrose 2 was led by investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort in 2006 as a vehicle for private backers to finance Paramount productions. All in all, 29 films have benefited from its support: other recipients include the children's film Charlotte's Web, Clint Eastwood second-world-war drama Flags of Our Fathers and Will Ferrell comedy Blades of Glory. The problem, according to fund managers, is that Paramount has refused to pay a penny in profits despite the movies having grossed more than $7bn combined at the worldwide box office.
In a written statement, Melrose 2's lawyer, Mark Holscher, »
- Ben Child
Now that I've written that headline, I'm remembering a number of sad-as-hell children's books: Babar, Charlotte's Web, The Giving Tree... although that last is more disturbing than sad, maybe. Anyway, illustrator Andrew Kolb has definitely given us a contender in the form of Space Oddity, which repurposes the lyrics of Bowie's 1969 breakthrough single as a retro-styled children's book. Spoiler alert: the astronaut dies. Just like in the song. This is just a concept at the moment — the book has no publisher, and Kolb has yet to hear from Bowie, though I can't imagine the rock icon will be anything but chuffed about it. It's a really beautiful piece of work that (if published) will almost certainly traumatize generations of children to [...] »
They were once cutting-edge comics with talent to burn; now they're sharing screen time with CGI co-stars and corny critters. Ellen E Jones reports on the family comedy club
For musicians, it's 27; the mystical age at which the unlucky succumb to the consequences of their career-dictated lifestyle. For movie stars, it's more like 49. And for them, it's not heroin, or booze, or depression; it's family comedies. You want proof? This weekend you can witness Jim Carrey, esteemed star of The Truman Show and Dumb & Dumber, and six CGI penguins breakdancing all over the grave of his serious acting ambitions in Mr Popper's Penguins. Carrey turned 49 in January, and the film marks his ascension into a not-so-exclusive fellowship of once-intriguing actors who now make family comedies.
Animals: They're a good source of protein. The cowboy's slaves. Furry, stupid people. By whatever name you choose to call them, there's no doubting that animals are both funny and delicious.
But what have they ever accomplished on their own? Nothing! If it weren't for us humans dressing them up in funny hats and putting them on greeting cards, there wouldn't be a single gainfully employed animal.
Fortunately, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" might be the wake-up call our cuddly companions need to start cleaning their own litter boxes, if not take over the world. But if ape-ageddon isn't the right route for your pet, here are some other examples of impressive animals that might light a fire under their furry butts.
9. Scooby-Doo in 'Scooby-Doo' (2002)
Accomplishment: Sort of talking and sort of standing
What's most impressive about this canine sleuth aren't his questionable powers of deduction, so much »
- Ben Freiburger
When we last left off with my visit to Sony Pictures Animation, our assembled press corps had just finished speaking with The Smurfs cast members Hank Azaria and Jayma Mays. After they left, we were greeted by director Raja Gosnell and producer Jordan Kerner to discuss all things Smurfs. Take a look at our full interview with the director and producer below, and be sure to keep reading below the interview for a very special Smurf-related surprise, featuring yours truly.
Is there a special place you go to when you're working on material for children? How do you access that, creatively?
Raja Gosnell: Part of it is experience. I've been in family movies going way back to the Popeye movie with Robert Altman, some 30 years ago. I spent a good deal of my career editing for Chris Columbus, the Home Alone movies, »
You know a day is off to quite a cute/interesting start when you hop in the car and think to yourself "I'm going to be surrounded by all things Smurfs for most of the day." That's how one morning started for me as I sped down a wretched Los Angeles freeway over to the friendly-looking Sony Pictures Animation headquarters. The minute you stepped on their lot you were practically surrounded by Smurfs in the forms of balloons, little cardboard cut outs and tiny figurines who were happily eyeing you as you swooped in to grab the magical elixir of the caffeine gods, better known as coffee.Next thing you know, a large group of now-awake reporters were brought into a screening room. Producer Jordan Kerner went to the front of the room, explaining in detail about how they carefully put together "The Smurfs" movie in honor of its creator Peyo. »
The Thomas the Tank Engine movie is moving along the track with 9 director Shane Acker signing on to helm. Unlike the PBS TV show, Thomas the Tank Engine will be a live-action film driven by Weta Workshop, the special effect company behind Lord of the Rings and the effects in Avatar. The film has lots of credibility behind it. The script comes from Alvin and the Chipmunks writers Chris Viscardi and Will McRobb and Shrek the Third writer Josh Klausner. Charlotte's Web's Julia Pistor will produce. Currently, the film doesn't have a studio home other than the folks who make the TV show, Hit Entertainment. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Tara the Mom)
Looking for a mood enhancer? A way to unleash your tears? Need help falling asleep? Or just a cure for a really bad day? Here's what Dr Birch has been prescribing...
It's a rough life, isnt it? Even with all the technology and aids to daily living (and in some cases, because of them), the majority of us lead quite stressful, rushed lives, with tons of responsibilities heaped on shoulders that haven't evolved fast enough to handle the load.
We may not have to pursue our own meals any more, but chasing trains, hunting for jobs and battling bills and budgets are just as taxing on the wellbeing of the modern man and woman, and takes its toll on minds and bodies.
The medical profession and proper care has its place, but what about the more now age (not to be confused with new age) resources we have available to »
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Topsy-Turvy (Criterion Collection) I have not yet had the time to dive into Criterion's Blu-ray release for Mike Leigh's Topsy-Turvy, a film I only saw for the first time last December when I mentioned it in my What I Watched column. I am leading off with it, however, just to make sure I put it on your radar before I write up my review. This is a great film and one that deviates from what you may expect from a Leigh film in terms of story, but when you see how it all comes together it's most certainly recognizable as definitive Leigh. Tangled I just posted my review of this one, and it's a short one because there isn't much to talk about. While I love this movie and after watching it again don't regret including it in »
- Brad Brevet
"The Resident" (2011)
Directed by Antti Jokinen
Released by Image Entertainment
This actually isn't the first time Hilary Swank has seen one of her films go direct to DVD after the films "Red Dust" and "Birds of America" suffered the same fate, but surely there was more riding on this horror film from the resurgent Hammer Films about a recently separated doctor who learns her Brooklyn loft isn't quite as wonderful as she thought it would be. "Secretary" screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson co-wrote this film, which co-stars Christopher Lee, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Lee Pace.
"The Mikado" (1939)
Directed by Victor Schertzinger
Released by Criterion Collection
Directed by Mike Leigh
Released by Criterion Collection
Sold separately, Criterion is making no secret of trying to appeal to Gilbert and Sullivan fanatics with special editions of "The Mikado," a straight-up adaptation of the musical duo's most famous opera, and Mike Leigh's "Topsy-Turvy, »
- Stephen Saito
Eb White's classic is a fine example of literature helping children deal with death. So why couldn't I use it in my new play?
There's a heart-wrenching scene in Eb White's much-loved book, Charlotte's Web, where Charlotte (a spider) tells Wilbur (a pig) that she's going to die. I wish I could quote it. But, after having the fear of God struck into me by the American lawyers who control the rights to the book, I daren't even paraphrase it.
When I started writing my new play, Notes to Future Self, I had no idea what a sticky, tangled web I'd find myself in.
The play was a commission by Birmingham Rep which would, under the auspices of the Barry Jackson Trust, tour schools and community centres as well as theatres. I knew from the start that I wanted to try to write something similar to the books and films I'd loved when growing up. »
In the week the film industry celebrated with its new crop of Oscar winners it also lost a couple of its brightest stars
The unconfined gaiety of Oscar night, when inhabitants of the world of film realised that the Hathaway-Franco funnies were finally over, swiftly gave way to grief. There had scarcely been time to digest The King's Speech's storming Academy Award performance when the news emerged that Jane Russell, screen siren of the 40s and 50s, had died. Russell, best known either for her role alongside Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes or her controversial promotional work for the earlier Howard Hughes film The Outlaw, died aged 89 of respiratory illness at her home in Santa Maria, California. It appears to have been difficult for journalists to write about Russell without reference to the physical attributes of which the publicity for The Outlaw had made such a big deal. »
Visionary film-maker at the forefront of American cinema's digital revolution
The director and producer Gary Winick, who has died of brain cancer aged 49, was at the forefront of American cinema's adoption of digital video (Dv), along with more high-profile names such as Steven Soderbergh and David Fincher. Winick believed that the discreet, lightweight equipment involved, and the flexibility it afforded film-makers, could lead to more direct and emotionally authentic movies, citing "the intimacy that occurs with the actors because of the small cameras". His own work, notably the 2002 coming-of-age story Tadpole, provided some persuasive evidence. His Dv-oriented production company, InDigEnt (Indpendent Digital Entertainment), gave others the funds and encouragement to experiment for themselves. While he insisted on preparation and professionalism ("Don't think that going digital means you can just 'wing it'," he advised newcomers), spontaneity lay at the heart of his approach: "One of the things I always say is: »
- Ryan Gilbey
The Us director Gary Winick, a pioneer in the field of digital film-making who found commercial success with movies such as 13 Going on 30, Charlotte's Web and last year's Letters to Juliet, has died of a brain tumour. He was 49.
Winick's Hollywood calling card was the 2002 Sundance film festival hit Tadpole, a $150,000 film shot entirely using digital video cameras that won him the event's directing award. A subsequent career directing more mainstream movies left him with less time to pursue his work with InDigEnt – or Independent Digital Entertainment – a company he founded in 1999 to help independent film-makers use the new technology.
Winick always insisted that digital cameras helped bring the best out of actors. "You really don't feel the presence of that big mechanism of film," he told the Washington Post in 2002. "Instead, »
- Ben Child
Gary Winick, director of "Letters to Juliet," "Bride Wars" and the 2002 Sundance director's award winner "Tadpole," died Sunday in New York, during the biggest night in Hollywood - The Academy Awards. Winick was 49 and had been battling brain cancer. Additional directing credits included the live-action "Charlotte's Web" with Dakota Fanning, "13 Going on 30" and episodes of "Ugly Betty" and "Lipstick Jungle." The $13 million "Juliet" was something of a minor breakout, making $53 million at the domestic box office this past summer after a surprisingly strong $30 million opening weekend. »
Director, producer and entrepreneur Gary Winick passed away yesterday at the age of 49. Winick is best known to mainstream audiences for directing "13 Going on 30," "Charlotte's Web," "Letters to Juliet" and "Bride Wars." He died after a long battle with brain cancer and his passing is seen as a major loss in the New York independent film community. Besides his directorial efforts, Winick was also the co-founder of InDigEnt. The pioneering digital video company was launched in 1999 and produced notable films such as "Pieces of April," "Personal Velocity" and "Tadpole," which Winick also helmed and was his launching »
- HitFix Staff
Despite his commercial success, the Canadian Winick was also a big champion of independent films. He directed Tadpole and produced the low-budget Katie Holmes vehicle Pieces Of April (for which actress Patricia Clarkson received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nod) as well as Personal Velocity, for which Winick won the 2003 Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award.
Rest in peace, Gary Winick. »
- Anna Breslaw
We are saddened to report that filmmaker Gary Winick died Sunday at age 49. Winick died after a long battle with brain cancer. While he has transitioned to such studio films as Letters to Juliet, 13 Going On 30, Bride Wars and Charlotte's Web, Winick has long led the charge for independent films. He directed Tadpole and was also the founder of indie company InDigEnt. Winick received his B.A. degree at Tufts University and his Mfa degree from the University of Texas and the American Film Institute. He taught at Nyu's Tisch School of the Arts for seven years, and in 1999 teamed up with John Sloss and IFC Productions to create Independent Digital Entertainment (InDigEnt) to produce digital video feature films for theatrical release. Said his longtime manager Rosalie Swedlin: Many people will write about Gary Winick’s extraordinary talents as a mentor, a director, a producer, and a pioneer in the independent cinema world, »
- MIKE FLEMING
A spokesman for the director reveals many friends and colleagues felt he had beaten his cancer, stating, "It was a battle that we thought he had won."
Winick died on Sunday. »
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