Tag Archives: duvall

Tribeca Film Festival Closes With ‘Reservoir Dogs’ and ‘The Godfather’ Cast Reunion

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This year’s Tribeca Film Festival will not only be remembered for its impressive array of films, but also for a number of controversial firsts. An airline commercial was pulled from showing, reporters were infuriated to find James Franco and Shai LaBeouf absent from a red carpet premiere, and the new Immersive Storyscapes feature allowed audiences to experience virtual reality in an all new way. As if all that wasn’t enough, the 2017 celebration wrapped with special showings and cast reunions for two of the biggest films in history: Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs and Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather. Continue reading

This Week In Movie History…

August 15th is a very significant date in the history of film…for two reasons. We’ll cover them here in order by date, but both are, no doubt, some of the most memorable advances in movies and storytelling.

On August 15, 1934, director Christy Cabanne (The Mummy’s Hand, Scared to Death) released the first audio-visual film adaptation of Charlotte Bronte‘s famous novel Jane Eyre. Excluding the popularity of the novel, the film was part of a series of classic-literary adaptations produced by Monogram Pictures between 1933-1934. Four classic 19th-century novels were all made into big-screen adaptations that featured sound, a new technology for the era. The novels were Oliver Twist, Black Beauty, Jane Eyre, and The Moonstone. Cabanne was well-known at the time as a silent film director, but was also beginning to indulge in sound-projects. For the movie, which only runs a total of 62 minutes, the studio recruited actors Colin Clive, best known for the role of Dr. Frankenstein in the original 1931 James Whales’ classic, and newcomer Virginia Bruce (Born to Dance, The Invisible Woman) to star as Jane Eyre. Oscar-nominated screenwriter Adele Comandini (Beyond Tomorrow, Three Smart Girls) to adapt Bronte’s novel for the film (which admittedly must have been a challenge considering Jane Eyre runs for a total of 38 chapters with 400+ pages in most publications).

Also on August 15th, but in 1979, Oscar-winning director Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather, The Conversation) released his world-renowned masterpiece, Apocalypse Now. The film is famous not only for its cinematic brilliance, but also for its whirlwind of a production Continue reading

Memorable Movie Moments…

This week’s Memorable Movie Moment takes us back to 1962 and director Robert Mulligan‘s big screen adaptation of author Harper Lee‘s To Kill a Mockingbird. The story of Mockingbird goes even further back to the Depression-era South, and finds white attorney Atticus Finch defending a black man accused of beating a white woman. Atticus Finch has become a name synonymous with racial justice in twentieth-century America. The book was published in 1960 and became an instant best-seller, earning author Lee a Pulitzer Prize. It is regularly read among high school literature classes and has become one of the most famous and successful novels ever written. After publishing Mockingbird, Lee never wrote another book. She did assist author Truman Capote with research for his famous novel In Cold Blood, and the character of Dill is said to be based on Capote, who was a childhood friend of the authors. Lee’s estate also published the original manuscript for Mockingbird titled Go Set a Watchman earlier this year, but the release remains somewhat controversial as Lee’s health was deteriorating and questions arose regarding whether it was her idea to publish the novel or not. Continue reading

This Week Marks 36th Anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’

May 23rd, 1980 saw the release of one of director Stanley Kubrick‘s most iconic films, The Shining. Initially a commercial flop, the film has gone down as an iconic Hollywood masterpiece, and one of Kubrick’s most celebrated films. Based on a novel by author Stephen King (Carrie, Salem’s Lot), who admittedly is not a big fan of Kubrick’s adaptation, The Shining combines a a series of bizarre elements with Kubrick’s carefully crafted filmmaking, exploring the darker side of the human subconscious. Kubrick was a popular director at the time the film came up for production. He had previously released such renowned films as 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and A Clockwork Orange (1971), which had earned him a great amount of control when it came to making his films. The production on The Shining, however, was not what anyone had expected, taking more than a year to film at a budget that ended up at $18 million. What’s more, critical reception was incredibly harsh against Kubrick and lead actors Jack Nicholson (Chinatown, The Departed) and Shelley DuVall (Annie Hall, The Portrait of a Lady), even though the film did end up grossing $44 million. Continue reading

Character Actor Abe Vigoda Passes At The Age of 94

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Character actor Abe Vigoda passed away earlier this week at the age of 94. According to his daughter, Carol Vigoda Fuchs, the actor died peacefully and had not been suffering from any illnesses. Vigoda spent years working in the New York theater scene before he was cast as the mafia hitman Sal Tessio in Francis Ford Coppola‘s The Godfather. Following the huge success of The Godfather, and The Godfather Part II, Vigoda was cast as Detective Phil Fish in 1975 on the show Barney Miller, which ran until 1982 and earned Vigoda three Emmy Award nominations in 1976, 1977, and 1978 respectively. Ironically enough, the announcement of his death re-sparked an old controversy about whether or not the actor was still alive: a false report stating that Vigoda had died was published in 1986, igniting a controversy among movie-goers and fans as to whether or not the actor was really still alive or had actually died. A website dedicated to Google searches for ‘Is Abe Vigoda really dead?’ was updated this week to respond ‘Yes.’ Regardless of his questionable death status, Vigoda’s roles and contributions to film will be remembered by his co-stars like Al Pacino (Serpico, Heat), Robert Duvall (Apocalypse Now, The Judge), and Hal Linden (Barney Miller, Out To Sea). Abe, you will be missed!

Kevin Costner Aims To Direct Western Trilogy

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Actor Kevin Costner has a decent amount of experience in the western genre. His breakthrough directorial project, Dances With Wolves, earned him an Oscar for Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Actor in a Lead Role in 1991. Costner also teamed up with veteran actor Robert Duvall for Open Range (2003), which was a fairly popular movie among modern westerns but failed to reach the acclaim Costner had received for Wolves a decade earlier. Since Open Range, movies in the western genre have been few and far between. Re-makes like 3:10 To Yuma and True Grit have really dominated the scene for the last few years, with a few exceptions like Django Unchained, The Missing, and No Country For Old Men keeping western films credible as important reflections on American history. Costner is now preparing to revisit the western genre with a trilogy of films that he hopes to release within a 12 month timeframe. There is no news thus far on what the films would be about or who would star in them along Costner, but we’ll first have to find out if any of the production companies will agree to budget a modern western trilogy, especially after the failure that was The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp. Modern sagas like Star Wars, Spider-Man, and Pirates of the Caribbean not only have the star power to make money for the film industry, they also have special effects and 3D appeal for audiences, as opposed to the low-budget stories laid out in western films. That being said, it would be cool to see a new western epic hit the big screen, especially since Quentin Tarantino backed out of his latest western after it was leaked on the internet. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.