11 items from 2016
“I’m Spartacus!” – “I’m Spartacus!” – “I’M Spartacus!” Every film buff knows that moment, every panel-show comedian riffs on it. A mob of defeated slave rebels in the pre-Christian Roman empire is told their wretched lives will be spared, but only if their ringleader, Spartacus (Kirk Douglas), comes out and gives himself up to be executed. Just as he is about to sacrifice himself, one slave, Antoninus (Tony Curtis) jumps up and claims to be Spartacus, then another, and another, then all of them, a magnificent display of solidarity, while the man himself allows a tear to fall in closeup.
- Peter Bradshaw
Kirk Douglas, who turns 100 on Dec. 9, claims he’s tired of talking about himself. Despite that, he recently spoke to Variety about his many impressive careers, as an actor (“I never wanted to be in movies”), a producer (including tales of “my peculiar friend Stanley Kubrick”), author (he’s working on his 12th book), and philanthropist (he’s given away more than $120 million).
As an actor, his classic films include “Champion,” “The Bad and the Beautiful,” “Lust for Life,” “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” “Gunfight at the Ok Corral” and “Seven Days in May.” He also starred in several he produced, such as “Paths of Glory,” “Spartacus,” and the 1962 western “Lonely Are the Brave.”
Douglas had formed Bryna Prods. in 1955, named after his mother. For the company’s second film, »
- Tim Gray
My guest for this month is West Anthony, and he’s joined me to discuss the film he chose for me, the 1976 comedy-drama film The Front. You can follow the show on Twitter @cinemagadfly.
Not sure what happened to the audio in the introduction, apologies! The Hollywood blacklist is a term for the treatment of people in the entertainment industry who refused to name names to the House Un-American Activities Committee from 1947 to 1960 For a more in depth take on the blacklist, check out the latest season of the phenomenal You Must Remember This podcast WonderCon is a comic book convention that was held annually in Sf until it was cruelly moved to the La area in 2012. Yes I’m still bitter about it. West also recommends the Gabrielle de Cuir directed Thirty Years of Treason by Eric Bentley Among the people famously blacklisted were Lillian Hellman, Lionel Stander, »
- Arik Devens
"This land is mine, God made this land for me." Those are just song lyrics, while Otto Preminger's politically daring 70mm mega-production is a lot more subtle in its presentation of the 'Palestinian problem' that led to the formation of the State of Israel. It's a bit ponderous, but Dalton Trumbo's screenplay avoids the pitfalls -- 56 years later, the story is still relevant. Exodus Blu-ray Twilight Time Limited Edition 1960 / Color / 2:35 widescreen / 208 min. / Ship Date March 15, 2016 / available through Twilight Time Movies / 29.95 Starring Paul Newman, Eva Marie Saint, Ralph Richardson, Peter Lawford, Lee J. Cobb, Sal Mineo, John Derek, David Opatoshu, Jill Haworth, Hugh Griffith, Gregory Ratoff, Felix Aylmer, Marius Goring, Alexandra Stewart, Martin Benson, Paul Stevens, George Maharis, John Crawford, Victor Maddern, Paul Stassino, John Van Eyssen Cinematography Sam Leavitt Art Direction Richard Day Film Editor Louis R. Loeffler Original Music Ernest Gold Written by Dalton Trumbo from »
- Glenn Erickson
Delmer Daves' easygoing cattle drive western can't make an action hero out of Jack Lemmon, but with fine work from co-star Glenn Ford it presents a thoughtful anti-myth: no glorious rescues or noble gunfights, and the demure maiden doesn't wait for the handsome cowboy hero. With Brian Donlevy (excellent) and Anna Kashf. Cowboy Blu-ray Twilight Time Limited Edition 1958 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 92 min. / Ship Date February 9, 2016 / available through Twilight Time Movies / 29.95 Starring Glenn Ford, Jack Lemmon, Anna Kashfi, Brian Donlevy, Strother Martin, Dick York, Victor Manuel Mendoza, Richard Jaeckel, King Donovan Cinematography Charles Lawton Jr. Production Designer Cary Odell Film Editor Al Clark, William A. Lyon Original Music George Duning Written by Edmund H. North and, originally uncredited Dalton Trumbo from a book by Frank Harris Produced by Julian Blaustein Directed by Delmer Daves
Reviewed by Glenn Erickson
- Glenn Erickson
We're just a week away from another gold-tinged year of speeches, upsets, and snubs. After all the hype, what ends up mattering about the Oscars? I'd argue it's the speeches, and that's why we're picking the 25 best acceptance speeches ever -- by actors only. Sorry, but glamor is a key element in any Oscar moment and I don't have time to remember if the guy who adapted The Last Emperor thanked his mom. 25. Dustin Hoffman, Kramer vs. Kramer Dustin Hoffman's seriousness initially seems worrisome, but his mix of sarcasm and sincerity is right for the ceremony. 24. Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose Cotillard's tearful speech makes you realize how rare it is than an Oscar recipient is surprised to win. As Cotillard scrambles to make sense of the honor, she comes up with an ebullient finale: "Thank you, life! Thank you, love! It is -- there are some angels in this city. »
- Louis Virtel
Putting memories of Walter White behind him, Cranston gets his teeth into the eloquent, dapper, chain-smoking screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who defied his Hollywood blacklisting by ghost-writing a string of 1950s hits, usually from his bathtub. There’s little curiosity about Trumbo’s communism here; it’s more of a self-congratulatory tribute to Tinseltown nobility, celebrity impersonations and all. But Cranston deserves his Oscar nod.
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- Steve Rose
Hollywood has had its fair share of ups and downs throughout its history, but it’s hard to argue that the darkest time in the history of American entertainment was quite possibly the era of the Hollywood Blacklist. Because of the Cold War and rampant hysteria by the American people, communism and otherwise socialistic talk had no place in the American population, and the House Un-American Activities Committee was determined to see to that, subpoenaing numerous individuals in the creative committee to testify about their alleged involvement in the Communist Party of the United States. Enter Dalton Trumbo (played by Academy
Oscars 2016: ‘Trumbo’ Film Review »
- Jasef Wisener
Julie Andrews, Max von Sydow and Richard Harris bring James Michener's true saga to life -- but it's the story of the destruction of paradise. A huge success just the same, producer Walter Mirisch's film testifies to the skill with which he brought together big talent for a show that doesn't compromise with a happy-happy historical revision. Hawaii Blu-ray Twilight Time Limited Edition 1966 / Color / 2:35 widescreen / 161 min. / Ship Date January 19, 2016 / available through Twilight Time Movies / 29.95 Starring Julie Andrews, Max von Sydow, Richard Harris, Gene Hackman, Carroll O'Connor, Jocelyne Lagarde, Manu Tupou, Ted Nobriga, Elizabeth Logue. Cinematography Russell Harlan Production Designer Cary Odell Art Direction James W. Sullivan Film Editor Stuart Gilmore Original Music Elmer Bernstein Written by Dalton Trumbo, Daniel Taradash from the novel by James Michener Produced by Walter Mirisch Directed by George Roy Hill
Reviewed by Glenn Erickson
Well, fans of James Michener that missed the »
- Glenn Erickson
From “Carol” to “Bridge of Spies,” here are the films and the actors who scored nominations this year! Watch the live broadcast of the ceremony on TNT and TBS Jan. 30! Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading RoleBRYAN Cranston, “Trumbo”Cranston is commandingly eccentric in this take on Hollywood’s blacklisting of suspected communists, capturing all of screenwriter Dalton Trumbo’s bravado and obstinance (even while naked in a bathtub), yet managing to rein in the quirks and outbursts that could have rendered him a caricature. Johnny Depp, “Black Mass”Never mind that Depp has said he never wants to win an Oscar—he may not have a choice. As real-life Boston mobster Whitey Bulger, Depp buries both his features and his humanity beneath an ice-cold veneer of venality and sociopathy. Even as he lulls both his victims and the audience into a sense of security, we understand »
This is definitely the time of year when film critic types (I’m sure you know who I mean) spend an inordinate amount of time leading up to awards season—and it all leads up to awards season, don’t it?—compiling lists and trying to convince anyone who will listen that it was a shitty year at the movies for anyone who liked something other than what they saw and liked. And ‘tis the season, or at least ‘thas (?) been in the recent past, for that most beloved of academic parlor games, bemoaning the death of cinema, which, if the sackcloth-and-ashes-clad among us are to be believed, is an increasingly detached and irrelevant art form in the process of being smothered under the wet, steaming blanket of American blockbuster-it is. And it’s going all malnourished from the siphoning off of all the talent back to TV, which, as everyone knows, »
- Dennis Cozzalio
11 items from 2016
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