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[VIDEO] REWIND: Jerry Lewis on Film Criticism; Pauline Kael

JERRY LEWIS: “Pauline Kael. She’s never said a good thing about me yet. That dirty old broad. But she’s probably the most qualified critic in the world. Cause she cares about film and those who are involved in it. I wish I could really rap her. But I can’t. Cause she’s very very competent. She’s knows what she’s talking about.”

editor-commen-deskEditor’s note: I stumbled upon this at Roger Ebert’s site while searching in vain for Pauline Kael’s 1974 New Yorker review of Roman Polanski’s “Chinatown” – often referred to in lists of Kael’s most notorious “got it wrong” reviews. Because Chinatown (along with the Godfather series) sparked my interest in the 1970s  renaissance in American filmmaking, I watched and studied Chinatown endlessly, I’m particularly interested in Kael’s contrarian view of it. I haven’t found yet, it may not be online. So unless I track it down in one of Kael’s books – or a reader is kind enough to point me to it – I’ll have to simply enjoy the things I found instead of what I was originally looking for.

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Primarily, things other critics have said about Kael, and her book “I Lost it at the Movies”. In particular, this interview. On Ebert’s site I found this Jerry Lewis appearance on the Dick Caveat Show, and it’s marvelous! An unexpected show of admiration for film reviewers.

What impressed me is Jerry’s acceptance of even the harshest criticism of his movies, as long as the critic actually took the time to examine the work, and wrote a serious analysis of the movie he made. Otherwise, he had no patience for it. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Batman v Superman’ Reviews: Uh Oh

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is facing a rocky start ahead of its Friday release. It holds a bleak Rotten Tomatoes percentage.

Maria Cavassuto writes: “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is facing a rocky start ahead of its Friday release. The tentpole has met with lukewarm reviews and holds a bleak Rotten Tomatoes percentage (which continues to change as more reviews roll in). The last installments fared far better for these caped crusaders, with “Man of ben-affleck-batmanSteel” holding a 56% Fresh rating and “The Dark Knight Rises” holding a Fresh 87%.

“I am gobsmacked by just how dull this movie turned out to be.”

— Mike Ryan of Uproxx

Although there are a few positive reviews for Zack Snyder’s film, most are calling out the film for its messy, less-than-spectacular promised clash of comic-book titans.

Variety‘s Andrew Barker says this epic standoff never develops fully, and instead “the life-or-death battle between the two icons ultimately comes down to a series of misunderstandings.” Barker also believes Henry Cavill’s Superman pales in comparison to “the winningly cranky, charismatic presence even when out of costume” of Ben Affleck’s Batman. Visually, the film is a win. For Variety’s full review, click here.

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Eric Kohn of Indiewire echoes some of Barker’s points by calling this messy and “cacophonous” showdown “basically one long teaser for the next installment.” Kohn also pointed out that while the film “doesn’t lack for inspired visuals” because “it’s filled with motion-heavy sequences rich in light and color,” a good deal of the story “reeks of the usual routine.”

[Read the full story here, at Variety]

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone thought this was a step up from “Man of Steel” but nowhere near Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” franchise. However, even though “Batman v Superman” is probably a dream for most comic-book fans, the “kick-ass revelation” is the “wowza of a Wonder Woman,” played by Gal Gadot.

But Todd McCarthy of the Hollywood Reporter believes the writers threw in the towel on how to integrate Wonder Woman. Read the rest of this entry »


Abe Vigoda, Dead at 94

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Character actor Abe Vigoda, whose leathery, sunken-eyed face made him ideal for playing the over-the-hill detective Phil Fish in the 1970s TV series “Barney Miller” and the doomed Mafia soldier in “The Godfather,” died Tuesday at age 94.

Vigoda’s daughter, Carol Vigoda Fuchs, told The Associated Press that Vigoda died Tuesday morning in his sleep at Fuchs’ home in Woodland Park, New Jersey. The cause of death was old age. “This man was never sick,” Fuchs said.

Vigoda worked in relative obscurity as a supporting actor in the New York theater and in television until Francis Ford Coppola cast him in the 1972 Oscar-winning “The Godfather.” Vigoda played Sal Tessio, an old friend of Vito Corleone‘s (Marlon Brando) who hopes to take over the family after Vito’s death by killing his son Michael Corleone (Al Pacino). But Michael anticipates that Sal’s suggestion for a “peace summit” among crime families is a setup and the escorts Sal thought were taking him to the meeting turn out to be his executioners.

“Tell Mike it was only business,” Sal mutters to consigliere Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall) as he’s led away.

The great success of the film and “The Godfather Part II” made his face and voice, if not his name, recognizable to the general public and led to numerous roles, often as hoodlums. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Still Un-American After All These Years’: Benjamin Welton on Dalton Trumbo

…Based on the Bruce Alexander Cook’s biography of the same name, Trumbo tells a well-worn tale about the moment when Hollywood woke up to the fact that Tinseltown was underwater. Most of the sea was rosewater, with a vast assortment of pink “co-travellers,” but as Allan Ryskind shows in Hollywood Traitors, there were plenty of hardline Stalinists and admirers of Adolf Hitler working to undermine American culture from within the studio system, as well. And like a lot of the mythologized “Hollywood Ten,” Trumbo was in fact a Soviet lackey who followed the Comintern’s lines like a sacred screenplay.

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Of course, this history makes for poor copy in today’s Hollywood, which has increasingly become dependent upon those denizens of the Internet who see politics and entertainment as two sides of the same cudgel. The better story, for their purposes, is that Trumbo was a victim of political bigotry. Like Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Trumbo was a freethinker who did not fall into the atavistic mindset that demanded a puritanical allegiance to God, country, and American capitalism, you see. Trumbo names and shames the protagonist’s “oppressors,” from the fiercely anti-communist gossip columnist Hedda Hopper (played by Helen Mirren) to the ardent American nationalist John Wayne (played by David James Elliott). In other words, the enemies were Republicans—much like today.

[Read the full story here, at the WeeklyStandard]

Although thoroughly red, Trumbo still has to contend with green. Enter Bryan Cranston, the film’s talented leading man. Until recently, Cranston was not well-known for professing political views in public. But as the release date for Trumbo crept closer, Cranston, like a lot of actors, began to believe that his cinematic performance was enough to justify his own “expert” opinions. As such, Cranston has appealed to the left by calling Obamacare “fantastic,” while at the same time he has (begrudgingly) sung the praises of Donald Trump. By doing all this, Cranston has toyed with the milquetoast middle in order to deflect any potential blowback from conservatives on the lookout for liberal bias. Read the rest of this entry »


Hong Kong’s Memory Hole

The right to privacy is usurping the public right to know in Asia’s financial hub.

Financial hubs depend on the free flow of information, and nowhere more so than in Hong Kong, gateway to the opaque China market. So a recent case in which an appeals board upheld the censorship of a court judgment to protect the supposed privacy rights of the litigants sets a bad precedent. The territory is following Europe’s lead toward extreme privacy protection at the expense of access to information.

“The right to be forgotten affects more than media freedom. It prevents investors and entrepreneurs from conducting due diligence and managing business risks, and helps people hide from public scrutiny. That may be good for the reputations of the rich and powerful, but it will hurt Hong Kong’s reputation for transparency.”

Luciana Wong Wai-lan, who now serves on several government advisory panels, participated in a matrimonial case in the early 2000s. In 2010 Ms. Wong requested that the court remove the judgments from its online reference system. The court made them anonymous, but hyperlinks to the judgments placed on the website of local shareholder activist David Webb still revealed her name.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

Ms. Wong wrote to Hong Kong’s privacy commissioner for personal data in 2013, and the commissioner ordered Mr. Webb to remove the links pursuant to Data Protection Principle 3 (DPP3) of the Personal Data Privacy Ordinance. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Hou Hsiao-Hsien: ‘The Assassin

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Sheila O’Malley writes:The visuals are, quite literally, overwhelming. There were shots that were so beautiful I practically could not take it in, in one glance: it’s like trying to “take in” the Grand Canyon. Thankfully, Hou’s camera is not of the quick-cut variety. He lets scenes breathe, and the shots are very long. I had time to settle in, to look up at the misty ranks of mountains in the background, the vast space in the foreground, the line of trees reflected perfectly in the dawn-blue water, the row of fog breaking up a vertical cliff of green trees. Nature photography? Well, yes, kind of. But it’s part of the story and the atmosphere. This is one of the most beautiful looking films this year, or any year.

Hou Hsiao-Hsien is such a world-class visionary filmmaker (the hyperbole fits) and yet it’s been relatively rare that his stuff makes it to our shores. The Assassin won him the Best Director award at Cannes, thrilling news for those of us who love his work and were already eagerly anticipating The Assassin….(read more)

The Sheila Variations


Asia’s Largest Film Festival Closes with Record Visitors

The annual Busan International Film Festival drew to a close on Saturday with a record number of visitors and many new Asian movies for the world to enjoy.

The start of the 20th edition seemed doomed by a cut in the South Korean government’s budget for the event and typhoon-triggered strong winds that grounded red carpet guests.

But the festival overcame those obstacles, as companies based in Busan, other corporate sponsors and South Korean film professionals stepped up to help fund the festival. Organizers also arranged bullet trains or drivers to whisk many of the A-list guests stranded at a Seoul airport, including German actress Nastassja Kinski, to Busan in time for the opening ceremony.

The event drew a record number of 227,000 visitors over 10 days, a slight increase from last year. Legendary filmmakers such as Hou Hsiao Hsien and Leos Carax, American actor Harvey Keitel, French actress Sophie Marceau and Korean heartthrob Yoo A-in were among the top stars who met audiences at a movie screening or at an open air talk on the beach. Read the rest of this entry »


Alfred Hitchcock: ‘The Birds’, 1963

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editor-commen-deskA few nights ago, I watched Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds‘, for the first time in decades. I wonder why? I’ve seen restored versions of Psycho, Read Window, and Vertigo multiple times, but for some reason I’d missed re-watching this one. It was a pleasure to see again. And to see Tippi Hedren with fresh eyes.

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I was surprised to discover a curious resemblance between actress Tippi Hedren, at age 33, and Paris Hilton, now 34. The resemblance is minor, but notable.

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And I’m not the first to notice it. A brief Google search shows seekers asking if Tippi and Paris are related. (they are not) In the course of this, I also rediscovered that Tippi Hedren is the mother of actress Melanie Griffith. Born in 1957, Melanie Griffith recalls visiting the set during the filming of The Birds, in 1962, when she was a little girl.

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I was also pleased to find that the earthy and vivacious brunette female co-star is Suzanne Pleshette, another detail I’d forgotten. She has features similar to Elizabeth Taylor, or a young Stockard Channing.

Notice, in the photo below, how the 33 year-old Hedren has similar features, or facial expression, to the 34-year old Paris Hilton. See a similarity? I think it’s there.

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Since we all know the story, and suspense isn’t a factor, I was free to pay closer attention to Tippi Hedren‘s performance, and to the interpersonal drama between the main characters, played by Rod Taylor, Jessica Tandy, and Suzanne Pleshette.

What a strange, dark, pensive, Freudian, romantic-erotic narrative! Where much is left unsaid, but implied. Jealousy, loneliness, abandonment, flirtation, hostility, attraction, are all explored, but not resolved. I’ve always thought of Vertigo as being the most neurotic, sexually obsessed, repressed, fixated story in Hitchock’s canon, but I had underestimated the peculiar storyline of The Birds. Before the actual birds take over the story, there’s a lot of familial and romantic turbulence. And the cast is wonderful.

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Tippi Hedren looks so elegant, mischievous, and glamorous, one can see why Hitchcock selected the untrained model, fixated on her, and elevated her to movie star. Much is written about Hitchock’s abusive, controlling personality, and troubles with female leads, no need to cover that here, Hedren was no exception. Leaving all that aside, it was a pleasure to simply marvel at how lovingly photographed the neophyte actress is, and how well-crafted the film is. The moody San Francisco and northern California seaside locations, the special effects, the sound design (no music, only bird sounds make up the film’s score) the cinematography…besides being one of the most famous horror movies of all time, it’s also a terrific early 1960s time-capsule. Next time you watch it? Forget about the birds, and follow the other elements of the story. Perhaps you’ll find it as rewarding as I did.

Las_5_mejores_pel_culas_de_Alfred_Hitchcock_V_rtigo_La_ventana_indiscreta_Los_p_jaros_Psicosis_Atrapa_un_ladr_n_1_birds04birds10 TheBirds1thelovebirds1pdvd_030 Read the rest of this entry »


Aaron Sorkin Apologizes to Apple’s Tim Cook Over Steve Jobs Biopic

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 reports: Aaron Sorkin has apologised for mounting a scathing attack on the Apple chief executive Tim Cook after the pair clashed over the forthcoming Oscar-tipped biopic Steve Jobs.

Sorkin, who wrote the screenplay for Danny Boyle’s film about Cook’s predecessor as head of the technology firm, told E! News: “You know what, I think that Tim Cook and I probably both went a little too far. And I apologise to Tim Cook. I hope when he sees the movie, he enjoys it as much as I enjoy his products.”

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[FLASHBACK: Aaron Sorkin Arrested in Drug Case – cocaine, hallucinogenic mushrooms]

The Social Network and West Wing screenwriter’s apology came after he was drawn into a war of words with Cook following the latter’s appearance on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert earlier this month. During his appearance, the Apple boss described recent attempts to immortalise Jobs on the big screen – he was referring to both Steve Jobs and the current Alex Gibney documentary Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine – as “opportunistic”, adding: “I hate that, it’s not a great part of our world.”

Sorkin hit back at a roundtable junket interview in London last week, suggesting that the film-makers took pay cuts to get Steve Jobs made, and blasting Apple’s own record. Read the rest of this entry »


Art & Film: Christopher Nolan and Tacita Dean to Headline LFF Connects Event Series 

Nolan and artist Tacita Dean, renowned for her art work in film, will launch LFF Connects, a new series of high-profile talks, with an in-depth conversation at London’s BFI Southbank on Friday Oct. 9. The conversation will be moderated by BFI Creative Director Heather Stewart.

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“Film has characteristics integral to its chemistry and internal discipline that form my work and I cannot be asked to separate the work from the medium that I used to make it.”

— Artist Tacita Dean

LFF Connects is a brand new series of high-profile talks intended to stimulate new collaborations and ideas within the film industry by exploring both the future of film and how film engages with other creative industries, including television, music, art, games and creative technology. The series will be launched in partnership with American Express at the 59th BFI London Film Festival. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTO] Boris Karloff Life-Size Sculpture

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Boris Karloff Life-Size Sculpture by Mike Hill – often mistaken for a real photo of Boris Karloff behind the scenes of Frankenstein (1931)

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Best Anti-Communist Movies

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Ron Capshaw writes:

“…What is striking about these films is that, murder aside, they are very close to the mark in depicting American Communists. As Jim McClain suspected, for example, screenwriters such as John Howard Lawson and Dalton Trumbo, while publicly defending the Bill of Rights, privately amended it. Behind closed doors, Lawson declared that “fascists” (a term defined rather broadly in his lexicon) were ineligible for free-speech protections. Trumbo would later brag to comrades of how he kept anti-Communist films from being made and of how he suppressed anti-Communist submissions to a Hollywood journal he edited during the war. Far from supporting free speech as editor, he told an anti-Communist writer that “free speech” was what had led to the gas chamber in Germany…”

Read more…

National Review Online


[VIDEO] First Full ‘Spectre’ Trailer HD

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007 Spectre Trailer 2 (2015) Daniel Craig James Bond Movie HD [Official Trailer]

 

 


[VIDEO] First trailer for Former Gawker COO’s ‘Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine’ Documentary Released

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Magnolia Pictures and CNN Films today debuted the first trailer for the upcoming biographical film centered around Steve Jobs. “Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine” was originally premiered earlier this year at SXSW and is spearheaded by director Alex Gibney and executive producer Gaby Darbyshire, who is the former Chief Operating Officer of Gawker Media.

Darbyshire headed up Gawker legal when the media company’s subsidiary Gizmodo bought the iPhone 4 that was “left at the bar” and would have been at the center of the controversy that surrounded the subsequent firestorm with Apple and then CEO Steve Jobs. Read the rest of this entry »


TRENDING! Licking Other People’s Stuff

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On Thursday, actress Susan Sarandon, most famous for citrusing her breasts in Atlantic City and driving off a cliff in Thelma and Louise, came out in support of pop brat doughnut-licker Ariana Grande

Grande was caught on tape badmouthing America after spreading her saliva on doughnuts on display; she justified that action the next day, claiming she had to fight childhood obesity by surreptitiously tonguing the sugary products. Now, Sarandon has tweeted:

Never mind the illogic of Grande’s contention that she secretly licked doughnuts to discourage others from eating them – if she truly wanted to discourage others, she could have stomped on them publicly, or called for a nationwide boycott of doughnuts, or cut a new version of “Problem” in which Iggy Azalea raps about moving beyond doughy joy. Focus instead on the nihilism of defacing someone else’s property without their knowledge. It takes a special kind of emptiness to do something like that.

[Read the full text here, at Breitbart]

But the left is fine with that sort of behavior so long as the target is someone who hasn’t bought into leftist thought. That’s undoubtedly why Grande wrote that her doughnut-licking represented a crusade against big, bad American fatties:

As an advocate for healthy eating, food is very important to me and I sometimes get upset by how freely we as Americans eat and consume things without giving any thought to the consequences that it has on our health and society as a whole. The fact that the United States has the highest child obesity rate in the world frustrates me.
Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Yankee Doodle Dandy Trailer (1942)

A musical portrait of composer/singer/dancer George M. Cohan. From his early days as a child-star in his family’s vaudeville show up to the time of his comeback at which he received a medal from the president for his special contributions to the US, this is the life- story of George M. Cohan, who produced, directed, wrote and starred in his own musical shows for which he composed his famous songs.

 


[VIDEO] 25-Minute Documentary on The Making Of ‘The Age Of Innocence’

  

Kevin Jagernauth writes:

…Running 25 minutes long, it’s a nice look into the making of the Edith Wharton adaptation. Scorsese and his lead actor Daniel Day-Lewis frame the featurette with conversation regarding its production, including anecdotes from cinematographer Michael Ballhaus, screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi (who details Scorsese’s process, though Jay Cocks penned the script), production designer Dante Feretti, editor Thelma Schoonmaker, and stars Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder. Set aside some time, and give it a spin….(read more)

The Playlist

 

 


Behind The Lace Of Martin Scorsese’s 1993 Masterpiece ‘The Age Of Innocence’

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Still no Blu-ray release of ‘The Age of Innocence

Cain Rodriguez writes: This year marks the 25th anniversary of Martin Scorsese’s transcendent gangster classic “Goodfellas,” and while the director’s grand stature in cinematic history is in no doubt, that doesn’t mean there are no under-appreciated gems hiding in his filmography.

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[WATCH: Milad Tangshir‘s documentary ‘Hidden Behind Lacehere, at Vimeo]

Point of fact, this year also marks the 22nd anniversary of the little discussed adaptation of Edith Wharton’s novel, “The Age of Innocence.” To convince you of the sensual beauty and magnificence of the period piece, Milad Tangshir has crafted a nearly 20-minute-long video essay on the virtues of the 1993 film.

“I don’t particularly say ‘Oh this is a wonderful story for today’s audience.’ I have no idea what a good story for today’s audience is. I really don’t know. I just hope that if it’s honest enough and emotionally compelling, there might be some people out there that it will address.”

— Martin Scorsese

Titled “Hidden Behind Lace,” Tangshir’s video essay not only breaks down Scorsese’s visual style and offers analysis, but also includes clips from interviews given by editor Thelma Schoonmaker, Age of Innocencecinematographer Michael Ballhaus, co-screenwriter Jay Cocks, production designer Dante Ferretti, and Scorsese himself.

[Check out Edith Wharton’s classic book “The Age of Innocence” at Amazon.com]

It’s a loving tribute to a film that’s been unfairly overlooked since it was released in between the much more commercial “Cape Fear” remake and “Casino.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Memorial Day Movies: TMC Marathon

Robert Rorke has a short list of best-of movies, from TMC’s marathon, here’s a few of them:

From Here to Eternity” James Jones’ World War II novel was immortalized in this terrific adaptation. Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed and Frank Sinatra star. Winner of eight Oscars.

The Dirty Dozen” Twelve convicted GIs parachute into Nazi-occupied France to scale a chateau housing top-ranking German officers. Starring Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine.

Patton” The justifiably famous and controversial biopic about Gen. George S. Patton Jr. driving the Germans from North Africa in World War II. Star George C. Scott won the Best Actor Oscar and turned it down. “Patton” also won Best Picture and six more Academy Awards.

The Sand Pebbles” which aired earlier this morning. Steve McQueen stars as a naval engineer stationed in China who rescues a group of missionaries in 1926….(read more)

New York Post


[VIDEO] Official Trailer: ‘The Intern’ [HD]

From writer and director Nancy Meyers, Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway star in THE INTERN, in theaters September 25, 2015. theinternmovie


Christopher Nolan’s First Feature: ‘Following’

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editor-commen-deskI saw this film about a year ago, and was impressed in a way I didn’t expect. Christopher Nolan‘s mega-budget films are legendary for their unlikely balance of collaborative Hollywood grandeur and singular creative vision — “Inception“, the Dark Knight Trilogy, to name a few — I was curious what his first feature, a modest, low-budget production, would look like. Because his movies are such precise, analytical, clockwork inventions, I admit, I hoped to see a rough, sketchy, incomplete hint of Nolan’s potential. I was wrong. Even on a shoestring budget, with a tiny cast, on his first outing, Nolan created a work that’s as complex and realized as anything that followed. It’s as though he emerged as a fully developed storyteller, focused, economical, and confident. It’s not a spectacular movie, but it’s original, well-crafted, and successfully maximizes its modest resources, to produce a film several steps ahead of the work of most first-time feature directors. Enjoy this review from FilmMunch.

FilmMunch writes: So I finally got the chance to watch Christopher Nolan’s first feature length film, and it’s undeniably fresh and what I would consider a must see!

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It’s amazing that he’s able to generate such an intriguing story in only 70mins, which is by far, his shortest film, considering some of his films are just shy of 3 hours. Short and sweet, but what on earth is going on!?

[Read the full text here, at FilmMunch]

Films that rattle your brain and chose to only show you the necessary bits are fascinating, because you want to keep watching and find out more. This story is no less fascinating than Memento, and if you’ve seen Memento, then you know what I’m talking about! Memento and Following, must be seen, at least once! The innovative story telling technique used in Following is something I want to see more, it’s basically a triple layered telling of events, very fascinating!

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This film was extremely low budget, with film stock being the most expensive expense for the film, there wasn’t much room for error. Nolan would rehearse with his cast on the weekends, since all the cast had other full-time jobs. Only one or two takes were possible, considering Nolan was paying for the film himself! He also had to use natural light, since he didn’t have access to professional lighting equipment. Inspiration indeed, and what drive and motivation from this modern thinker!

The result is something akin to a Hitchcockian noir thriller, nothing short of slick and sophisticated. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Fellini’s 8 1/2 Gets a New Trailer

Considered by lily-livered wags, art-film know-alls and self-describing cinephiles as one of the greatest movies ever made, Federico Fellini’s 8 ½ is getting another run-out on the UK’s big screens, an opportunity which has been afforded by those kind folks over at BFI. It’s now a matter of course that repertory films which get re-released are given the brand new trailer treatment, and this one is no exception. Read the rest of this entry »


Inside the Black Hole: This Is How Jonathan Nolan Originally Wanted ‘Interstellar’ to End

INTERSTELLAR, Matthew McConaughey, 2014. ph: Melinda Sue Gordon/©Paramount/courtesy Everett

Nolan’s early take on the ending, however, essentially cuts Cooper off inside the black hole…

Entertainment Weekly‘s Jonathon Dornbush writes: If Interstellar’s ending didn’t quite sit right with you, co-writer Jonathan Nolan may be able to help. As he recently revealed, the film’s original conclusion would have been much simpler—albeit way more depressing as well.

Nolan detailed the screenplay’s first ending at an event ahead of the film’s Blu-ray release in Pasadena, California, alongside scientist Kip Thorne, who served as a producer and science adviser for the film. As Nerdist reports, Nolan told a crowd at the Caltech Jet Propulsion Lab that he originally planned a much different conclusion for Matthew McConaughey’s Cooper.

“Instead of this bleak finish, Interstellar ends on a much more hopeful note—even if many have taken issue with how Nolan sacrifices scientific accuracy for a more emotional conclusion.”

In the final film, Cooper travels through the black hole Gargantua, surviving the trip and ending up in a “tesseract” space where he’s able to see—and in some bizarre ways, interact with—his past. This revelation allows him to send a Morse code message to his daughter Murph, which sets the film’s final events into motion.

Nolan’s early take on the ending, however, essentially cuts Cooper off inside the black hole. His script “had the Einstien-Rosen bridge [wormhole] collapse when Cooper tries to send the data back.”

The wormhole falling apart would have prevented Cooper from returning home or interacting with the tesseract, which, according to Nerdist, was director Christopher Nolan’s idea. Instead, his journey would have ended there, with Cooper sacrificing himself in the name of his cause. This also would have prevented much of the finished film’s concluding events—Cooper’s return trip, rediscovering his daughter, and stealing a ship to search for Anne Hathaway’s Amelia Brand would never have happened. Nolan does not mention, however, whether in that original ending, the data Cooper is collecting to send back to Earth would have made it out before the collapse. Read the rest of this entry »


Investigation: Possible Clue, Motive? ‘My wife is a Cheater’ Seen Spray Painted on Colorado Home after Early Morning Explosion, Fire

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ARVADA, Colorado — The words ‘my wife is a cheater’ were clearly visible in spray paint on the outside wall of a home that exploded in a fireball early Tuesday outside Denver Colorado.

Investigators told KDVR-TV they were looking for a man in connection with the fire, but declined to comment further on who he is or whether the graffiti was connected to the explosion.

Officially the cause of the fire is under investigation. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Dating Naked’ Contestant’s Lawsuit: ‘Signed Agreements Aren’t Trumped by Oral Promises’

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In reaction to the lawsuit, the defendants said that the former stripper was once comfortable with the show’s premise

…Nizewitz, 28, filed the complaint in New York Supreme Court last August, alleging she “suffered and continues to suffer severe extreme emotional distress, mental anguish, humiliation and embarrassment” from having her private parts broadcast to a national audience.

“At a hearing last week, New York Supreme Court justice Anil Singh agreed with the defendants that Nizewitz had consented to be on Dating Naked with knowledge of what it would entail. The signed agreements aren’t trumped by the supposed oral promises. Singh read her ruling from the bench.”

In reaction to the lawsuit, the defendants including Lighthearted Entertainment and Firelight Entertainment said that the former stripper was once comfortable with the show’s premise. Before casting her, producers made her consent to being filmed in the nude and allow the footage to be telecast without restriction. “Unfettered nudity,” said the producers, “was a crucial aspect of the program.”

The plaintiff argued in turn that while she may have signed away consent, she also had an oral agreement with producers promising a blurring. She also contended that gross negligence couldn’t prospectively be waived. Read the rest of this entry »


Washington Post: 50 Years Ago, March 8, 1965

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ccording the wire reports carried by the paper, more than 600 marchers had been walking across the bridge. Some were singing songs. Others were praying. Then officers on horseback descended on them. Almost 100 people were hospitalized with serious injuries.

[Fifty years after ‘Bloody Sunday’ march, struggles endure in Selma]

On page A3, the articles continued, and included a photo of a young civil rights leader named John Lewis being beaten by an Alabama State Trooper. (Lewis, now a Democratic congressman from Georgia, recently reminisced about Selma.)

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The following day, the story pressed on. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had called for clergy to join the marches — prompting ministers from around the nation, many of them white, to travel to Alabama. Meanwhile, protests began here in D.C.

According to a March 9, 1965 piece by Post staffer Richard L. Lyons, 175 people picketed at the Department of Justice. Three of them attempted to enter the Attorney General’s office, and one had to be physically dragged away. Later in the day, another 25 people staged a sit-in at AG Nicholas Katzenbach’s office, and several Democratic members of Congress issued statements of outrage. Rep. James O’Hara, a Democrat from Michigan, declared that the beatings of the marchers were a “storm trooper action taken a the direction of a ruthless demagogue,” referring to Alabama Gov. George Wallace.

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By now, hundreds more demonstrators had begun arriving in Selma at King’s request. A second march was planned. State officials instructed King and the others not to go on with the march. Federal officials declined to directly intervene. Read the rest of this entry »


Katherine Timpf: Actually, Red-Carpet Reporters Should Ask What You’re Wearing

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Katherine Timpfpage_2014_200_timpf writes: According to the people behind the #AskHerMore social-media campaign, the red carpet is sexist because reporters ask women about their clothing and appearance more often than they ask men.

“There’s an element of being an actress in Hollywood, it’s like worsening a product,” Jennifer Siebel Newsom, founder and CEO of the Representation Project that started the campaign, told The Hollywood Reporter.

“People actually do care about what these actresses are wearing. A lot of people get their fashion and beauty tips from celebrities — the amount of television programs, websites, and magazine articles about this very subject proves that.”

“It’s like you’re a prostitute,” she continued. “It’s like you owe someone something and you don’t.”

The Official Fainting Couch

The Official Fainting Couch

[Read the full text of Katherine Timpf‘s article here, at National Review]

The idiocy of her notion that having to deal with someone asking you where you got your bajillion dollar gown is like working in the sex industry is asinine  — and so is the idea that these celebrities don’t owe anyone anything in this situation, especially considering how many of them get their gowns for free or even have the designers paying them to wear their clothes.

“The idiocy of her notion that having to deal with someone asking you where you got your bajillion dollar gown is like working in the sex industry is asinine…”

As New York Times fashion director and critic Vanessa Friedman Tweeted: “Sorry #AskHerMore, but the red carpet is a prison of actresses’ own making. They profited, literally, from it for a long time. #Oscars2015”

And as Washington Post fashion critic Robin Givhan tweeted, even if they aren’t getting the gown free, the people who made it still deserve some credit: “#askhermore frankly, I’d like to know who’s responsible for the incredible gowns that a village of artisans worked on for 100s of hours.” Read the rest of this entry »


Oscars: Ambiguous Headline of the Night

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 NY Daily News


The Academy Flips America The Bird

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Birdman is an incredible movie. If you haven’t seen it, see it. The script, acting, storytelling style, cinematography, and directing, risky, exciting, innovative, ingenious stuff. I admire it, a lot, though it’s not the kind of movie that lends itself to repeated viewings. The extended, impossibly long single-camera takes (only 16 shots in the entire movie) is reason enough alone to not miss this film.

I was, however, disheartened that the members of the Academy chose to give its top award to a movie that can fairly be described as an “insider” movie. A theatrical confection. An elite industry celebrating itself, rewarding an inward-looking movie within a movie, about movies. One that will never reach a wide audience. Many viewers will understandably feel that the Academy passed over movies with more heart and soul.

The predictable self-congratulating sanctimony of the 2015 Academy awards made it almost unwatchable, though it did have some good moments.


[VIDEO] How Television Changed the Oscars

It was, as TIME put it in 1953, a bit of a shotgun wedding: old-time Hollywood and his “child bride” television, as Bob Hope phrased it, had already effectively gotten together, and it was too late to go back… 524 more words

British-born American entertainer Bob Hope (1903 - 2003) speaks from behind a podium at the RKO Pantages theater as he hosts the 25th Annual Academy Awards, the first televised presentation of the annual award ceremony, Hollywood, California, March 19, 1953. (Photo by J. R. Eyerman/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

British-born American entertainer Bob Hope (1903 – 2003) speaks from behind a podium at the RKO Pantages theater as he hosts the 25th Annual Academy Awards, the first televised presentation of the annual award ceremony, Hollywood, California, March 19, 1953. (Photo by J. R. Eyerman/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)


What’s Your Pick for #Oscars Best Picture?


[VIDEO] Apple’s New Oscars iPad Ad

Five years after Apple’s first iPad ad debuted during the Academy Awards in 2010, its new iPad Air promo will again screen during the Oscars on Sunday and tout its filmmaking abilities…100 more words 


Dark Horse Contender: 6 Reasons American Sniper Could Upset to Win Best Picture

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Three days from now, the Academy Awards will give its top prize to one of eight nominees, with Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood and Alejandro González Iñárritu‘s Birdman currently leading the pack as favorites to take home Best Picture. But there’s a Not-So-Little Engine That Might in this illustrious group, a dark horse that could sneak across the finish line in first before the night is done, decimating scores of pundit predictions in the process. Clint Eastwood’s Chris Kyle biopic American Sniper remains a long shot to pull it off, and yet as Sunday approaches, there are many reasons to believe that the Iraq War drama has a chance at pulling off a stunning upset. We’re not saying it willwin, but given the reasons below, it now definitely has a shot at Oscar’s most coveted statuette.

1. It’s the Popular Choice

At $309 million strong just in the U.S., American Sniper is already the second-highest-grossing R-rated film in movie history,and its $16.4 million haul last weekend means that it isn’t ready to slow down just yet—and, in fact, it may benefit from a post-Oscar telecast boost. Primed to be one of 2014’s most lucrative films, it exists in a different stratosphere than the rest of the Best Picture nominees, and its A+ CinemaScore rating means that audiences actively love it. While the Oscars rarely award films simply because they’ve made boatloads of cash, American Sniper is the one contender that boasts both a resounding critical and commercial endorsement. It’s the people’s choice.

2. The Indie Split

Further helping American Sniper’s odds is the fact that, while it stands as the natural mainstream choice for Oscar voters, its two main competitors both occupy a quirky-arty-indie space. Consequently, Boyhood and Birdman (and even, to a lesser extent, The Grand Budapest Hotel) may find themselves directly battling each other for votes, rather than American Sniper. If those two smaller-scale efforts split the “indie” vote just enough, it may allow American Sniper to surpass them both in the final tally.

3. Old Hollywood Eastwood

As usual, much has been made this awards season about the demographics of the Academy, which is heavily skewed toward older, white members. That may also wind up aiding American Sniper, considering the film’s pedigree as the latest work from 84-year-old Clint Eastwood. One of Hollywood’s old guards, Eastwood has a living-legend aura about him that could very well prove endearing to Academy voters disinclined to bet on younger auteurs with long careers still in front of them. True, Eastwood has already helmed two Best Pictures (1992’s Unforgiven, 2004’s Million Dollar Baby), but it’s not a crazy stretch to imagine some voters trying to further augment his legacy with a third winner. Read the rest of this entry »


Humphrey Bogart: Swedish Poster for Dead Reckoning, John Cromwell, USA, 1947

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Swedish poster for “Dead Reckoning” (John Cromwell, USA, 1947) [see also]

Designer: Eric Rohman (1891-1949) [see also]

Poster source: Heritage Auctions


The Truth About American Sniper

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‘I lost track of how many soldiers and Marines told me of their frustration with an American media that so often describes them as either nuts or victims’

Michael J. Totten writes: Clint Eastwood’s new film, American Sniper, is a blisteringly accurate portrayal of the American war in Iraq. Unlike most films in the genre, it sidesteps the politics and focuses on an individual: the late, small-town Texan, Chris Kyle, who joined thekyle-tall Navy SEALs after 9/11 and did four tours of duty in Fallujah, Ramadi, and Baghdad. He is formally recognized as the deadliest sniper in American history, and the film, based on his bestselling memoir, dramatizes the war he felt duty-bound to fight and his emotionally wrenching return home, with post-traumatic stress.

“All psychologically normal people feel at least some hatred for the enemy in a war zone. It’s not humanly possible to like or feel neutral toward people who are trying to kill you. Race hasn’t the faintest thing to do with it.”

The movie has become a flashpoint for liberal critics. Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore dismissed the film out-of-hand because snipers, he says, are “cowards.” “American Sniper kind of reminds me of the movie that’s showing in the third act of Inglorious Basterds,” comic actor Seth Rogen tweeted, referring to a fake Hitler propaganda film about a Nazi sniper, though he backtracked and said he actually liked the film, that it only reminded him of Nazi propaganda. Writing for the Guardian, Lindy West is fair to Eastwood and the film but cruel to its subject. Kyle, she says, was “a hate-filled killer” and “a racist who took pleasure in dehumanizing and killing brown people.”51yLU7NDvOL._SL250_

[Order Michael J. Totten’s book “Tower of the Sun: Stories from the Middle East and North Africa from Amazon]

The Navy confirms that Kyle shot and killed 160 combatants, most of whom indeed had brown skin. While he was alive, he said that he enjoyed his job. In one scene in the movie, Kyle, played by a bulked-up Bradley Cooper, refers to “savages,” and it’s not clear if he means Iraqis in general or just the enemies he’s fighting.

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“What would you think of a man who kills a kid with a power drill right in front of you? Would you moderate your language so that no one at a Manhattan dinner party would gasp? Maybe you would, but Kyle wasn’t at a Manhattan dinner party.”

But let’s take a step back and leave the politics aside. All psychologically normal people feel at least some hatred for the enemy in a war zone. This is true whether they’re on the “right” side or the “wrong” side. It’s not humanly possible to like or feel neutral toward people who are trying to kill you. Race hasn’t the faintest thing to do with it.

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“Here’s a medical fact: psychopaths don’t suffer from post-traumatic stress or any other kind of anxiety disorder. And cowards don’t volunteer for four tours of duty in war-torn Iraq.”

Does anyone seriously believe Kyle would have felt differently if white Russians or Serbs, rather than “brown” Arabs, were shooting at him? How many residents of New York’s Upper West Side had a sympathetic or nuanced view of al-Qaida on September 11, 2001? Some did—inappropriately, in my view—but how many would have been able to keep it up if bombs exploded in New York City every day, year after year?

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Kyle had other reasons to hate his enemies, aside from their desire to kill him. In American Sniper, we see him in Fallujah and Ramadi fighting Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s Al Qaeda in Iraq, the bloody precursor to ISIS. Read the rest of this entry »


Matthew Braun: ‘Unlike the War Films of Generations Past, ‘American Sniper’ Actually Has to Explain Onscreen That al Qaeda Insurgents Were (and Still Are) Bad’

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What ‘American Sniper’ Tells You About Its Critics

A veteran reviews ‘American Sniper

 writes:  I am not at all surprised that Michael Moore and Seth Rogen don’t like American Sniper . For them, the idea of military sacrifice is absurd. We get an idea of how badly they understand the motivation of the modern American fighting man and woman when they can’t tell the difference between someone like me, with 15 years of experience in law enforcement, military intelligence, and counterterrorism, and a Nazi. No. Seriously.

That movie is “Nation’s Pride,” the faux Nazi propaganda film-within-a-film directed by Eli Roth that plays during the film’s climactic theater scene. Moore, for his part, offered these thoughts:

“The American Left has never been able to find the line between patriotism and jingoism.”

He later said, implausibly, he just happened to tweet this while “American Sniper ” was pulling in a massive $105 million opening weekend box-office haul and wasn’t talking at all about “American Sniper .”

An Oscar statuette earned by Frank Capra's 1942 documentary "Prelude to War," the first film in the United States Army Special Services' seven-picture "Why We Fight" series, has been removed from the auction block and was returned to the care of the U.S. Army.  Pictured: Frank Capra and John Ford during World War  Two

An Oscar statuette earned by Frank Capra’s 1942 documentary “Prelude to War,” the first film in the United States Army Special Services’ seven-picture “Why We Fight” series, has been removed from the auction block and was returned to the care of the U.S. Army.  Pictured: Frank Capra and John Ford

“Where John Ford and Frank Capra once did propaganda films during World War II, Hollywood today is irredeemably corrupted by a worldview that blames America for all the ills of the world.”

Moore’s experience with martial matters is exactly zero, and his understanding of snipers is based on a tragic anecdote from World War II. Moore never allows for the possibility that Nazi snipers might have been cowards, and that American snipers might be saving lives.

Newsflash: Like the Nazis, Al Qaeda Is Bad

War movies have changed a lot since the 1940s. War movies in the 1940s didn’t have to explain that the Nazis were bad. We take Nazis as evil for granted now; with 65 years of hindsight there are far more people around now who were never alive for Hitler’s Reich, but all of us understand that Nazis are bad.

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“The American Left can’t imagine a person who actually fights to protect other Americans, who actually believes America is the greatest country on Earth, and who does it all with a Bible in his pocket. That’s a farce to them.”

Film has been, perhaps, the best teacher of this simple truth. Nazis were just Nazis in movies, even when their evil was supernatural or no longer based in reality.

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“…It’s too far off from the people they have known and deal with every day to be real, so they think it’s propaganda for the Right, for America, for war.”

Unlike the war films of generations past, ‘American Sniper’ actually has to explain onscreen that al Qaeda insurgents were (and still are) bad.

The Left continues to think of the American military and foreign illegal fighters as basically being two sides of the same coin. Worse, they can’t seem to tell the difference between American service members and al Qaeda. Unlike the war films of generations past, “American Sniper” actually has to explain onscreen that al Qaeda insurgents were (and still are) bad. In explaining, and in depicting, Kyle’s firm and unflinching lack of remorse or understanding for the plight of the torturing, ambushing, child-murdering insurgent, we see a fun word on Twitter: Jingoistic.

The American Left has never been able to find the line between patriotism and jingoism. Read the rest of this entry »


Rorke Denver: ‘Liberals’ Criticism of My SEAL Teammate Chris Kyle Has Had the Ironic Effect of Honoring Him’

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The United States of ‘American Sniper

Rorke Denver writes: ‘American Sniper,” the new movie about Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, has opened to staggering box-office success and garnered multiple Academy Award nominations. But not all the attention has been positive. The most vocal criticism came in the form of disparaging quotes and tweets from actor-director Seth Rogen and documentary-maker Michael Moore . Both have since attempted to qualify their ugly comments, but similarly nasty observations continue to emanate from the left.

“The very term ‘sniper’ seems to stir passionate reactions on the left. The criticism misses the fundamental value that snipers add to the battlefield. Snipers engage individual threats. Rarely, if ever, do their actions cause collateral damage.”

The bulk of Chris Kyle’s remarkable exploits took place in the Al Anbar province of Iraq in the summer of 2006. He and I were teammates at SEAL Team Three. Chris had always been a 51hQkHyqjDL._SL250_large figure in the SEAL teams. He became a legend before our eyes in Ramadi.

[Check out Rorke Denver’s book “Damn Few: Making the Modern SEAL Warrior” at Amazon]

My fellow special-operations brothers might be shocked, but I think the comments by Messrs. Rogen and Moore have had the ironic effect of honoring Chris Kyle’s memory. They inadvertently paid Chris a tribute that joins the Texas funeral procession and “American Sniper” book sales and box office in testifying to the power of his story. I’ll get to the punch line shortly, but first please let me lay the groundwork.

“Snipers may be the most humane of weapons in the military arsenal. The job also takes a huge emotional toll on the man behind the scope. The intimate connection between the shooter and the target can be hard to overcome for even the most emotionally mature warrior. The value of a sniper in warfare is beyond calculation.”

The very term “sniper” seems to stir passionate reactions on the left. The criticism misses the fundamental value that snipers add to the battlefield. Snipers engage individual threats. Rarely, if ever, do their actions cause collateral damage. Snipers may be the most humane of weapons in the military arsenal. The job also takes a huge emotional toll on the man behind the scope. The intimate connection between the shooter and the target can be hard to overcome for even the most emotionally mature warrior. The value of a sniper in warfare is beyond calculation.

“My fellow special-operations brothers might be shocked, but I think the comments by Messrs. Rogen and Moore have had the ironic effect of honoring Chris Kyle’s memory. “

I witnessed the exceptional performance of SEAL, Army and Marine snipers on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. They struck psychological fear in our enemies and protected countless lives. Chris Kyle and the sniper teams I led made a habit of infiltrating dangerous areas of enemy-controlled ground, established shooting positions and coordinated security for large conventional-unit movement. Read the rest of this entry »


American Sniper’ is the Most Widely Screened R-Rated Movie in History

Carlo Allegri/Reuters

American Sniper’ is the most widely screened R-rated movie in history

Demand to see American Sniper is so great that it will expand to 3,705 screens this weekend, making it the most widely screened R-rated movie in history. The controversial war movie starring Bradley Cooper as a Navy SEAL made $105 million over the four-day weekend instead of the expected $50 million…(read more)


‘Seeing ‘American Sniper‘ Made the State of the Union Speech Pretty Unbearable’

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Obama’s American Sniper

Dan Henninger writes: Barack Obama was 15 minutes into his State of the Union speech when I arrived home to watch it, having just walked back from seeing “American Sniper.”

“Watching a movie about a Navy SEAL who served four tours fighting in Iraq was not the best way to enhance the experience of a Barack Obama speech. As a matter of fact, it was pretty unbearable.”

Because Clint Eastwood directed “American Sniper” the movie is about more than the story of Chris Kyle, the highly skilled rifle marksman from Texas. In 2006, Mr. Eastwood presented two movies about the famous World War II battle of Iwo Jima. “Letters from Iwo Jima” told the story from the perspective of Japanese soldiers, and “Flags of Our Fathers” from the Americans’ side.

“Watching “American Sniper,” it is impossible to separate these catastrophes from seeing what the Marines did and endured to secure northern Iraq. Again, anyone is entitled to hate the Iraq war…”

So “American Sniper” is not a crude paean to “our boys” in the Iraq war. What it does is convey the extraordinary personal, psychological and physical sacrifice of the U.S. Marines who fought al Qaeda i”n Fallujah, Ramadi and the other towns of Iraq’s Anbar province beginning in 2003 and through the period of the Anbar Awakening, which ended with the Marines pacifying the province.

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“…But no serious person would want a president to make a decision that would allow so much personal sacrifice to simply evaporate…”

It’s just a movie, so even “American Sniper’s” small slice only hints at the price America paid—some 3,500 combat deaths and another 32,000 wounded—to bring Iraq to a point of relative, if fragile, stability in 2011.

“…Which, in his serene self-confidence, is what Barack Obama did. That absolute drawdown was a decision of fantastic foolishness.”

Opinions will differ, often bitterly, on the war in Iraq and the reasons for it. In the movie, a painful funeral scene captures that ambivalence. But what is just not possible to choke down is President Obama’s decision in 2011 to reduce the U.S.’s residual military presence to virtually zero. It was a decision to waste what the Marines and Army had done. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTO] Chris Kyle: Straight Shooter