The new drama from director Simon Curtis (Five Days, My Week With Marilyn), Woman in Gold, is now playing in theaters. Starring Academy Award-winner Helen Mirren (The Queen, Hitchcock) and Ryan Reynolds (Waiting, Safe House), the film follows the story of Maria Altman (Mirren), a Jewish woman who seeks to regain her family’s lost artwork that was stolen by the Nazi party in World War II with the help of her lawyer Randol Schoenberg (Reynolds). The film is based on the memoirs of Altman and Schoenberg and was adapted for film by screenwriter Alexi Kaye Campbell (Possession, Planespotting). Included in the supporting cast are actors Daniel Bruhl (The Bourne Ultimatum, Inglorious Bastards), Katie Holmes (Phone Booth, Batman Begins), Tatiana Maslany (Eastern Promises, Heartland), Max Irons (Being Julia, Red Riding Hood), and Jonathan Pryce (Tomorrow Never Dies, Pirates of the Caribbean). The announcement for the film came around the same time as The Monuments Men was released in theaters in February 2014, so I’m sure there will be comparisons made between the two, but definitely give it a chance nonetheless.
If you are a fan of the original Halloween series from writer/director John Carpenter, this should be some exciting news. The entire series, beginning with the original in 1978 that featured Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasence, and ending with the most recent reboot sequel from director Rob Zombie, will be available as part of a Blu-Ray box set this September. The set features all of the films in a re-mastered format and is composite of 15 discs that include bonus materials with never-before-seen interviews and documentary footage, as well as the infamous Producer’s Cut of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. Curse was the sixth film in the series and the last to star veteran actor Donald Pleasence in the role of Dr. Sam Loomis. Although Pleasence completed the film, many of his scenes ended up being replaced by last-minute re-shoots in the editing room, and much to the disappointment from the cast and crew, director Joe Chappelle’s final product was almost completely different from the original script that Pleasence agreed to make. The alternate (original) version of the film was never released to the public and has only been available over the years via online bootlegs and poor quality video streaming, even though many fans who have come across it consider it to be the superior version to its theatrical counterpart. But now, despite the near 20-year wait that fans have endured, the Producer’s Cut will finally be available in proper format. So fans, rejoice! You can expect to find the box set in stores September 23rd.
George Clooney and Matt Damon’s latest project, The Monuments Men, which hit theaters back in February, followed a group of soldiers during WW2 that were commissioned to steal priceless works of art to protect them from Hitler and the Nazi regime. The film received mixed reviews but it was interesting to see Clooney and Damon on the other side of a heist movie since their work together in the Ocean’s 11 trilogy. Now Ryan Reynolds (Safe House, Green Lantern) will be joining Academy Award winner Helen Mirren (The Queen, Hitchcock) and Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man, The Social Network) in a new film that revolves around an extremely similar plot as Monuments Men. Unlike Monuments Men, however, this new project, entitled Woman In Gold (or The Golden Lady), will be a bit more on the legal side, as it follows Maria Altmann and attorney Randol Schoenberg in a courtroom battle to recover stolen art works from Altmann’s family from Nazi Germany. Simon Curtis (My Week With Marilyn) will be directing the project, which will be released by The Weinstein Company and will also costar Daniel Bruhl as Reynold’s opposing attorney. I’m not really sure what the obsession is with WW2 art all of a sudden, but if it makes a good movie then what the hell right? Stay tuned.
The Boston Strangler, aka Albert DeSalvo, already inspired a film by the same title in 1968 starring Tony Curtis and Henry Fonda. DeSalvo is famous for confessing to a string of murders that took place near Boston between 1962 and 1964, but authorities later suggested that, due to DNA and evidence in other cases, the murders were actually committed by multiple people. Director Mark Romanek is at the head of the project, which is being produced by Warner Bros., and has Casey Affleck set for the lead role. The movie is still in very early production, and director Romanek may also be set to direct The Last Symbol, another installment in Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code series. The original Strangler film focused on a detective who was working the case, but there is no news as to whether or not the new film will go in that direction or focus on the killer himself. We’ll have to wait for more details on this one.
It’s that time of year again when the leaves turn gold, the air gets cold, and the candy companies flood every corner and grocery store across America. Halloween comes back around every Autumn, coinciding with the start of the NFL, NBA and NHL seasons, which makes it one of the best times of the year! To capture the true feeling of this fun and historical holiday (Halloween is based on an ancient festival known as Samhain, celebrating the end of summer and those who have passed from the Earth), be sure to check out some classic horror movies that have made Halloween so enjoyable throughout the years.
1. Halloween, Halloween II (1978, 1981)
John Carpenter and Debra Hill made horror movie history when their low-budget horror film, simply entitled Halloween, broke box office records and made newcomer Jamie Lee Curtis an instant star. Donald Pleasance (1919-1995) starred in the lead role as psychiatrist Sam Loomis (taking the name from the characgter Sam Loomis in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, which also starred Jamie Lee Curtis’s mother Janet Leigh!), who pursues his escaped mental patient to his hometown in order to prevent a massive killing spree on Halloween night, only to find himself and the Haddonfield Police unable to cope with the evil that is Michael Myers. The film has gone on to have seven sequels and most recently a “revision” of the original films by director Rob Zombie, but none have ever been able to top the movie that’s become known as the first of the “slasher-movie genre.”
2. The Exorcist (1973)
Known as the scariest movie of all time, The Exorcist set a new standard for the horror movie genre when it won four Golden Globe Awards for Best Picture, Best Director (William Friedkin), Best Supporting Actress (Linda Blair), and Best Screenplay (William Peter Blatty). Based on the novel by William Blatty, who would return in 1990 to write and direct Exorcist 3 based on his novel Legion, The Exorcist frightened audiences with its revolutionary sound effects, makeup art, and cinematography. Sound editors Robert Knudson and Christopher Newman also won the Academy Award for Best Sound, and the film has gone down in history as the definitive horror film, praying on the audiences’ inner demons and fear of the unknown. A definite must see if you never have before!
3. Frankenstein (1931)
Whether you’re a fan of scary movies or not, chances are you’ve seen some variation of Frankenstein. Boris Karloff, however, has always maintained the definitive look that everyone associates with the creature created by a mad scientist for his own ambitions. Although the story has gone on to have countless sequels and remakes, director James Whales’ original set a horror standard for its time, and helped Boris Karloff become one of the most famous faces the horror genre ever saw. After you watch the classic, check out Mel Brooks’ hilarious spin on the story, Young Frankenstein (1974).
4. The Amityville Horror (1979, 2005)
Based on the book The Amityville Horror: A True Story by author Jay Anson, The Amityville Horror is one of the iconic haunted house stories. Playing with both psychological thrill and jump-from-the-screen screams, Amityville has maintained a reputation as one of the most famous horror movies, partly in fact because it is based on actual events. Having more than four sequels, and a re-make staring Ryan Reynolds in 2005, Amityville definitely makes the list of classics!
5. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974, 2003)
Another movie that has been revamped for new generations, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a great watch for the Halloween spirit. Based in part on the crimes of actual murderer Ed Gein, Chainsaw follows a group of friends as they travel through Texas and experience horrors beyond nightmares when they come across Leatherface and his family of cannibals and deep-country incest. The film has also had several sequels and a successful re-make in 2003 starring Jessica Biel. The story is pretty entertaining whether you watch the original or the new one, so knock yourself out.
Other honorable mentions you should definitely check out include:
6. The Shining (1980)
7. Friday The 13th, Part I and II (1980, 1981)
8. Dracula (1931)
9. Sleepy Hollow (1999)
10. Psycho (1960)