IRON MAN 3 ... THE GREAT GATSBY ... PEEPLES ...
AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR SPONSORS ...
STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS ... STATE 194 ...
THE ENGLISH TEACHER ... HATING BRIETBART ...
EPIC ... FAST & FURIOUS 6 ... A GREEN STORY ...
THE HANGOVER PT. III ... THE EAST
FREE SAMPLES ... THE KINGS OF SUMMER ... and more ...
The Morning After
(Daily updates with
Haley Mancini & Damian Fahey)
ABRAMS, KIRK AND CREW "TREK" TO #1;
"IRON MAN 3" STILL STEELY IN THE #2 SLOT;
"THE GREAT GATSBY", "PAIN & GAIN" AND "THE CROODS"
ROUND OUT THE TOP FIVE
1) STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS - $70.56 2) IRON MAN 3 - $35.18 3) THE GREAT GATSBY - $23.42
4) PAIN & GAIN - $3.1 5) THE CROODS - $2.75 (more at BoxOffice Mojo)
IRON MAN 3 is a worldwide box office sensation. Opening overseas with $200 million a week
prior to it’s U.S. debut,
the latest installment in Marvel's saga of arms manufacturer-turned-avenging-angel
hero Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) walloped domestic box office with $175 million in ticket sales (the second highest opening ever behind it’s
immediate predecessor, THE AVENGERS) for a $700 million week globally. But does it live up
to the hype? A helluva cinematic ride, it scratches the action movie itch. But in the wake of superlative comics adaptations like THE DARK KNIGHT trilogy, THE AVENGERS and the original IRON MAN, "a great ride" no longer necessarily makes for a great film - action, comic book or otherwise.
* Includes audio and video / film material
SPOTLIGHT - MUSINGS AND RAMBLINGS:
"ARE THERE ANY N**GERS HERE TONIGHT?"
QUENTIN, SPIKE, "DJANGO", AND THE CINEMATIC HISTORY OF THE ALMIGHTY "N" WORD - PT. 1
The most successful film of Quentin Tarantino's career, DJANGO UNCHAINED has taken a slew of international awards (including two Oscars) and worldwide box office in excess of $400 million. It's also managed to be the most polarizing entry in the catalog of an already controversial director known for paying homage to his beloved 70s era blaxploitation films with liberal sprinklings of the "N" word throughout his scripts. Coupled with the subject of America's slavery past, the Caucasian film maker has found himself the object of criticism (and physical threats) by some members of the black community while being praised by others.
The first half of our in-depth two-part examination of DJANGO UNCHAINED not only delves into the film's cinematic roots and inspiration (everything from "Spaghetti" Westerns to 70s era black sagebrush actioners like SOUL SOLDIER and BOSS NIGGER), but also takes a retrospective look at the history of controversial ethnic humor as social weapon (via Richard Pryor and Lenny Bruce), and the history of the black cinema movement, from groundbreaking silents of Oscar Micheaux to the classics of Gordon Parks and Melvin Van Peebles, up to the modern films of Spike Lee, Antoine Fuqua and more.
* This article contains language, film and audio which some may find objectionable
* Includes audio and video / film material
SPOTLIGHT - ARTICLES ARCHIVE: 20/20 FUTURE VISION: THE 20 BEST SCIENCE FICTION FILMS OF THE PAST 20 YEARS
have the audacity to proclaim “The 20 Best Science Fiction Films Of The
Past 20 Years” is a rather sweeping statement, we agree. But hey,
someone’s gotta do it. It’s also a very subjective hedge of prickly
thorns as, a) everyone has a varying opinion as to what defines “good” science fiction, and b)
many amongst that same group of debaters have just as many passionate views as to what constitutes “science fiction” in the first place. Nevertheless we submit
for your approval this (hopefully) entertaining list. We know everyone won’t be
pleased with all our selections. But we figure if you concur with half, then we’re doin' okay.
SHORT TERM MEMORY or "WHY THE WORLD'S BIGGEST BOND FAN WAS WASN'T AS THRILLED AS HE
SHOULD HAVE BEEN BY 'SKYFALL''S FIVE OSCAR NOMINATIONS"
Unanimously praised around the world as one of the best entries in the 50 year history of the Bond film franchise (and we agree!), SKYFALL also managed to become the all time highest grossing 007 epic ever, as well as the most critically acclaimed; making off with a panoply of international filmic awards, including five nominations (and two wins) from the Motion Picture Academy. So just why then are we bothered by all that awards attention?
Perhaps the awards acknowledgement is indicative of a current industry trend wherein certain films - large or small / studio or independent / deserving or not - only receive that attention after having already achieved a degree of critical, financial and / or public awareness. As such many well deserving films of high technical and artistic merit (including previous Bonds along with smaller fare such as BOYZ 'N THE HOOD) fall between the cracks and are shut out by incorrectly preconceived notions ... as well as a little old fashioned cinema snobbery. Take a look; you just may find yourself agreeing with our little theory.
* Includes audio and video / film material
SPOTLIGHT - ON THE DOWNBEAT:
JERRY GOLDSMITH & MICHAEL CRICHTON:
A MATCH FROM THE GODS IN CINEMA HEAVEN
Film is replete with artistic “marriages” - among them, composer / director
collaborationssuch as Bernard Herrmann / Alfred Hitchcock (PSYCHO,
NORTH BY NORTHWEST) and John Williams / Steven Spielberg. Odd though
among film and music aficionados, one of the most prolific of pairings is one of the least lauded - the seven time "hook up" of
legendary composer Jerry Goldsmith (CHINATOWN, THE OMEN) with equally
legendary novelist / director MICHAEL CRICHTON on films as
diverse as COMA, THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY, RUNAWAY and CONGO. We seek to
right that with a detailed retrospective (including music and
film clips) of their numerous creative "mash-ups" beginning with 1972's
TV movie PURSUIT and concluding with the ill fated TIMELINE (2003) -
their final collaboration shortly before the passing of both men.
in the film business aren't rich superstars like those of "MTV Cribs",
but rather electricians, set builders, etc. raising families, paying
mortgages, and working hellishly long hard hours to do so.
A long proponent of fair on-set working conditions, Oscar winning
cinematographer / documentarian Haskell Wexler (MEDIUM COOL, ONE FLEW
OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST) was spurred to greater action upon the death of
cameraman Brent Herschmann, who fell asleep at the wheel trying to make
it home to his children after a 19 hr. shift on the film
PLEASANTVILLE. Wexler's 2006 WHO NEEDS SLEEP? features interviews with
cinematographer / directors (incl. FIELD OF DREAMS' John Lindley and
LETHAL WEAPON's Richard Donner) as well as commentary by Billy Crystal,
Julia Roberts and others on the (still controversial) subject of safe industry conditions. Watch it then ask, "When does the drive to be #1 become counterproductive?".
many years the much lauded "wunderkind" of the movies, in recent days
director / writer / producer / one-man-cinema-tech-industry-guru George
Lucas (the STAR WARS and INDIANA JONES films, AMERICAN GRAFFITTI) has
found himself the whipping boy of both a disgruntled fan base and film
pundits for everything from the re-jiggering of the STAR WARS franchise,
to harsh comments he's shot back at disapproving fans (who's own
comments were perhaps a bit too harsh to begin with). While perhaps
deserving some of the flack for a certain degree of creative "playing it
safe", we feel Lucas' record of "hits and misses" (and even lapses into
"creative laziness") is no better or worse than other one-man-genres
such as Oliver Stone, Spike Lee, or even Hitchcock or Preminger. While
his recent RED TAILS (a fictitious WW2 action/drama based on the true
life story of America's first black fighter pilots) wasn't well
received, we feel it signals a desire to shift gears into a more
personal brand of film making. You may agree or disagree. But at the
very least we find it only fair to add a few more bricks to the other
side of the "Lucas bashing scale" to even things out a bit. Includes
interview footage / TV appearances.
Film critic, journalist, cinema historian & documentarian Richard
Schickel queries four of the most successful genre film makers in history
(Steven Spielberg - E.T., JURASSIC PARK; Ridley Scott - ALIEN, BLADE
RUNNER; George Lucas - the STAR WARS sextet; and James Cameron - THE
TERMINATOR, AVATAR) as to how a handful of classic science fiction films
influenced them from childhood into their present day work. And not high
brow epics like 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, mind you, but rather humble
1950s-era Saturday matinee / drive-in movie fodder such as THEM!,
FORBIDDEN PLANET, THE INCREDIBLESHRINKING MAN, INVADERS FROM MARS,
DESTINATION MOON, ROCKETSHIP X-M and more. Fire up the popcorn, kick back for an hour and enjoy a grand ride through film
history for fanboys and general buffs alike.
JAZZ IN FILM - STANLEY CLARKE AND "PASSENGER 57":
FULL THROTTLE FUNK FLIGHT
Jazz in film is nothing new. When
Alex North first incorporated “America’s musical
art form” into the fabric of 1951’s A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE it was the “shot heard ‘round the world” lifting
the movie score out of European classicism into
the contemporary, blue collar (and to some) “profane” hands of that
distinct improv medium with roots in southern blues/folk.
The 1960s - 70S would be the heyday of "jazz film scores" (MAN WITH
THE GOLDEN ARM, MISSION: IMPOSSIBE, DIRTY HARRY, 3 DAYS OF THE
CONDOR). Then in the 2000s many would pay homage (the Soderberg OCEAN'S film series). But few bonafied Jazz Masters would
continue to regularly leap from film to jazz and back - composer/bassist
Stanley Clarke at the forefront.
A child prodigy who'd bring a new-agedurban groove to the musical genre - performing with groups such as Chick Corea's Return to Forever, and with a series of Clarke / Duke Project
lps, throughout the 1970s - 80s, Clarke would impressively invade the
film world with his hybrid orchestra and/or jazz-funk fusion sound on
projects as varied as TV's Pee Wee's Playhouse, Murder She Wrote, and
Everybody Hates Chris, to big screen efforts such as BOYZ 'N THE HOOD,
LITTLE BIG LEAGUE, THE TRANSPORTER, and our personal favorite of his -
PASSENGER 57. Take a "flight on the wild side" with a 20 min. suite of
orchestral/funk grooves from PASSENGER, followed by other Jazz/Film
scores such as Dave Grusin's THE FIRM (1993) and James Newton Howard's
GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS (1992).
*Includes audio material
MORPHEUS INCOGNITO: ARTIST WAYNE BARLOWE
AND HIS INFLUENCE ON THE MODERN FILM
"Really good drugs or a really bad childhood?". Any
individual who’s produced but one thing remotely construed as “dark”,
has heard it; ... and few more than Wayne Barlowe. World renowned for
his elegant, lush (and yes! disturbing) series of "Hell World"
paintings, Barlowe's imagination has not only for the past 20 years
seized the imaginations of the art world, but that of film. He's
directly contributed to the concept designs of hits such as HELLBOY 2,
BLADE 2, TITAN A.E., the HARRY POTTER series, and AVATAR. But the
"Barlowe aesthetic" has also been of great influence on PAN'S LABYRINTH,
THE LORD OF THE RINGS, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN and many more. Join us
on a fascinatingone of a kind trip through "Barlowe's Inferno" - a
gallery collection of over two dozen of his most acclaimed original
paintings and just as many film images inspired by them.
Also enjoy the mini-doc presentation "AN INTERVIEW WITH WAYNE BARLOWE"
THE REPORT :
JOURNALISTIC OPINIONS ON
THE CURRENT INDUSTRY STATE OF THE ART
* ANNE MARGARET DANIEL'S
DOUBLE TAKE ON FITZGERALD, HOLLYWOOD, AND "GATSBY"
THEN & NOW:
Baz Luhrmann's period fusion rendition of Fitzgerald's THE GREAT GATSBY has those who've never read it
flocking to bookstores and libraries (remember those?), and purist fans holding bated breath.Fitzgerald
biographer Anne Margaret Daniel offers TWO in depth examinations of
Fitzgerald's love / hate relationship with Hollywood: "Writing For The
Movies" - which delves into the author's brief career flirtation as a
screenwriter, and "What
Did Fitzgerald Think of THE GREAT GATSBY Movie of 1926?"
* ZACH BRAFF'S "KICKSTARTER" CONTROVERSY RAGES ON:
In the wake of both VERONICA MARS: THE MOVIE and Zach Braff's WISH I WAS HERE securing record budgetary pledges via Kickstarter, many Independent film makers and struggling artists who rely upon the "crowd funding" website are crying "Foul!".
* LEONARD MALTIN'S "OFF HOLLYWOOD" :
The respected film critic offers opinions on 5 indie films - not only the best of May, but of 2013 thus far.
BY THE BOOK! / BUY THE BOOK? - REVIEWS: "OLD WORLD POLITICS, NEW WORLD PROPHECY -
UNDERSTANDING DAVID LYNCH’S INLAND EMPIRE" Books
(as well as documentaries or features) purporting to “reveal”,
“explain” or “decipher” the meaning of another, engage in tricky
business, as often a “nebulus” narrative (in film for example) will be
intentionally so, deliberately leaving “space” wherein each member of
the audience can “fill in the blanks” with material from the stewing
soup of their own subconscious. Then ... there are the later day "non-linear narrative" films of David Lynch - LOST
HIGHWAY (1997), MULHOLLAND DRIVE (2001) and INLAND EMPIRE (2006).
Deliberately cryptic and symbolic, cineastes have debated their meaning
inaugurate our "BUY THE BOOK! BUY THE BOOK?" review section with a look
at Michael T. Lidstone's 2010 e-book OLD WORLD POLITICS, NEW WORLD
PROPHECY - UNDERSTANDING DAVID LYNCH'S INLAND EMPIRE. As a bonus
afterward we present the author's personal comments regarding our
review. Check it out then inaugurate your own discussion on our
For film students and casual buffs alike, check out our growing
catalog of cinema-centric TV / web interview series streamed to your laptop,
desktop or portable device. Enjoy Bravo's ever popular INSIDE THE ACTORS
STUDIO (now entering it's 18th year!), Fox Movie Channel's wonderfully candid
LIFE AFTER FILM SCHOOL (wherein current film school students query working
directors, writers, producers, and actors on the "realities of the film industry
vs. textbook expectations), and POST MORTEM WITH MICK GARRIS - with
screenwriter/director/ producer/TV show runner Mick Garris (THE STAND, MASTERS
OF HORROR) sitting down to "chit chat" with contemporary legends of the horror
genre including Wes Craven, Robert Englund, Frank Darabont, Rob Zombie and
others. New episodes added regularly.
"AND THE BAND PLAYED ON": BABY BOOMER ANGST, THE 1970s, AND THE GOLDEN AGE OF THE GENRE FILM
If the 1960s was the adolescence of America's short history, then the 1970s surely saw it's maturation. The Baby Boomers had come of age, had children of their own, and evolved into the family heads and political and corporate leadership they'd protested the previous decade. Filled with guilt over a youth filled with excess and a fear over the present state of government and the eroding environment, their collective subconscious (abetted by the crash of the film industry "studio system" and the rise of a new breed of gritty New Age filmmaker) would find ventilation in a series of gritty horror classics concerning the internal dysfunction of the American family (ROSEMARY'S BABY, THE EXORCIST, CARRIE) and an equally stark and harrowing run of dystopian sci fiers (ROLLERBALL, LOGAN'S RUN, SOYLENT GREEN) asking not only whether this was a world in which one would want to bring a child, but rather within a few years "Would there even be a world to bring that child into?".
*Includes music selections, video interview footage,
While the phrase "like a bat outta hell!" was coined over one hundred years
ago, one suspects it was done so by a shaman or soothsayer who'd glanced into
the future and caught a "sneak peek advanced screening" of an experimental 1981
low budget horror "opus" called THE EVIL DEAD. Produced and filmed by a neophyte Michigan film maker - aided and abetted by a group of friends on (and
with) an almost literal shoestring, the "little movie that could" (about a of
group of Spring breakers who unwittingly unleash a cabal of demons into the
secluded woods) would go on to make it's debut at the Cannes Film Festival where
it would manage to impress and scare the livin' hell out of horror legend
Stephen King. It would become a worldwide financial success as well as the
first "multi-platform" film release. It would evolve into a bonafied franchise,
spawning two popular and critically acclaimed sequels, a line of video games, a
series of comic books, and a much anticipated 2013 remake. It would go down in
history as one of the most popular cult films of all time ... . And oh yes, it
would also launch the careers of writer / director Sam Raimi (DARKMAN, the original SPIDER-MAN
trilogy, OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL), actor Bruce Campbell (THE ADVENTURES OF
BRISCO COUNTRY JR., BUBBA HO-TEP, CARS 2), and even those ever ubiquitous Coen
Bros. - Joel & Ethan.
Before you head out to see the remake / reboot by Fede Alvarez - which was produced by Raimi and Campbell, by the way! - check out (or reacquaint yourself with) the original 1981 classic: a living cinematic fever dream if there ever was one!
BURIED TREASURES: "WOLFEN": LEADING THE PACK AS
THE FIRST, BEST, AND ONLY TRUE POLITICAL THRILLER
The only narrative fiction film from documentary
director Michael Wadleigh (WOODSTOCK), WOLFEN roared from cinema screens in the summer of
1981, seized the jugular of a nation in the midst of a conservative
political turn, and reminded it that, even as the economy appeared to
be in an upswing, there were still many falling through the cracks and now being used as stepping
stones for a smaller percentage of the privileged.
clever "mash-up" of CSI police procedural and "jump out of your seat" horror,
WOLFEN follows the investigation of NYPD Homicide Detective Dewey
Wilson (Albert Finney) as he attempts to unravel the mystery behind the slasher murder (perpetrated by man or supernatural animal / man being?) of a Donald
Trump-esque real estate magnate - a killing with terrorist ramifications for the
entire (pre 9/11) city of New York. Couchingit's treatise
in an historical
reminiscence of controversial U.S. / Native American relations,
Wadleigh's film would find itself at the center of a media debate
concerning it's "leftist" message as well as end up a chess piece in the
immediate financial future of the recently minted (and in need of a
hit) Orion Pictures film studio.
"A PRAYER FOR THE DYING" -
TROUBLE DEPICTING "THE TROUBLES"
darling or box office bomb? To which category a film finds itself
relegated over the years can often be less a matter of it’s quality as
much as timing. 2001: A SPACE ODYESSY, Disney’s FANTASIA, and BLADE
RUNNER (all financial and critical failures during their initial runs)
are proof. Such was (is)
the case with Mike Hodges’ 1987 thriller A PRAYER FOR THE DYING. While perhaps not in the same “classics” category as “2001 /
FANTASIA”, it’s cinematic cred has increased over the last 25
years, going from a film so under-appreciated it was originally disowned
by it’s director and star, to a gem now seen as a fulcrum
shift point which would make it acceptable for future films to address
controversial political ideas within the context of a rip-roaring pulp
Later smashes such as the Tom Clancy adaptations (PATRIOT GAMES, etc.)
are in it’s debt.
starred the trio of Mickey Rourke (at the apex of his
Bob Hoskins, and the legendary Alan Bates in the story of an IRA hit man
fed up with “the life of violence” and seeking to quit - the
ramifications of which affect many including a reform minded parish
priest at odds with the local mob boss. Join us as we take an
intriguing journey into the making of this one-of-a-kind film which to
this day still raises heated debate among it's fans and just as many
*Includes audio and video/film material
Spring / 2013
MORE INTERACTIVE ARTICLES, DOWNLOADABLE VIDEO/AUDIO PROFILES, INTERVIEWS AND LINKS, INCL ...
* THE ACTORS TALK: In a series of roundtable-style discussion / interviews, the most acclaimed performers of the day candidly "drop dime" on the ups, downs, demands and craft of their profession. Incl. THR's 2011 Awards Season Roundtable. New material added regularly ... (go)
* In THE DOWNBEAT IN CONCERT,Nic Raine and The City of Prague Philharmonic present a new rendition of Poledouris' CONAN THE DESTROYER; Mark Snow leads a tribute performance of Goldsmith's STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE; Morricone conducts orchestra & choir:THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY ... (go)
* Costume Designer Leesa Evans (STIR OF ECHOES, GET HIM TO THE GREEK) discusses dressing six very different characters for humor in BRIDESMAIDS (2011)... (go)
* New screenplay downloads available - pdf format:
TRUE GRIT (2010), TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY (2011), JANE EYRE (2011), PUBLIC ENEMIES (2009), ALICE IN WONDERLAND (2010), more ... (go)
* "TIMEWASTERS" - FESTIVAL OF SHORT FILMS: ON THE FUNNY - humorous shorts incl. "100 GREATEST MOVIE INSULTS OF ALL TIME" compilation, and more ... ON THE FRINGE - important shorts from influential filmmakers incl. Andrew Thomas Huang's 2012 SlamdanceAward Winner, SOLIPSIST... (go)
And much more ...
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