Tag Archives: english

New World War II Drama ‘Darkest Hour’ Brings Churchill’s Perseverance and Leadership To Modern Audiences

Despite the new World War II drama Darkest Hour now playing in theaters nationwide, “Who was Winston Churchill?” still sounds like a question you’re likely to find on one of those ‘the dumbing down of America has happened’ videos. While Churchill may not have been American, himself, his influence and importance in the events of the mid-20th Century cannot be overstated. Winston Churchill was elected Britain’s Prime Minister in 1940, a position he held throughout the remainder of World War II and again from 1951 to 1955. Before his career in politics he had worked as a writer and served as a member of the British Army. His election in 1940 came at a time when Britain’s, and indeed the future of the whole of Western Europe was uncertain. Hitler had been elected Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and, by the time of Churchill’s election, was already marching across France, pushing British forces to the shores of the English Channel, where the famous evacuation at Dunkirk took place (if you haven’t seen Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, I highly recommend it!).

With the United States still hesitant to enter the war effort in either Europe or the Pacific, the newly appointed Prime Minister was faced with the choice of either regrouping and rallying national support to continue the war effort against Nazi Germany, or agreeing to sign a peace accord with Hitler and the Axis Powers. As the United Kingdom stood at the brink of invasion, it was up to Churchill to persuade Parliament, King George VI, and the people of Britain that the war could be won and that it was worth fighting, an extremely difficult prospect considering the ever-growing influence of Nazi Germany and the reluctance of the United States to enter the war. Continue reading

Memorable Movie Moments…

Today’s Memorable Movie Moment takes us back to 1978, for the excellent cinematography in a film called Days of Heaven. Written and directed by 3x Oscar nominee Terrence Malick (The Thin Red Line, The Tree of Life), Days of Heaven is an American epic that follows a young couple, Bill and Abby, during the Expansionist era in 1916. Moving from Chicago to Texas in search of work, the two become involved in a scheme to have Abby marry a wealthy farmer who is close to death in order to gain his fortune. This, of course doesn’t go according to plan and so a dramatic conflict of jealousy and deceit ensues, loosely based on a backstory that first appeared in Alexander DumasThe Three Musketeers.

Starring Richard Gere (An Officer and a Gentlemen, Pretty Woman), Brooke Adams (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Dead Zone), and Sam Shepard (Swordfish, Black Hawk Down), the film received Oscar nominations for Best Costume Design, Best Sound, and Best Music – Original Score. Although it failed to win any of these awards, Days of Heaven did receive the Oscar for Best Cinematography for Nestor Almendros. Continue reading

Independent Film Highlights…

This week will see a number of indie projects open in select theaters across the country. The 9th Life of Louis Drax is a mystery thriller from horror director Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes, Piranha 3D) surrounding a psychologist working with a boy young boy who suffers after a near-fatal fall. The film was penned by actor Max Minghella (The Social Network, The Ides of March), whose late father Anthony was an Oscar-winning screenwriter responsible for such gems as The English Patient and The Talented Mr. Ripley. Jamie Dornan (Marie Antionette, Fifty Shades of Grey), Aiden Longworth (Cut Bank, Hector and the Search for Happiness), Sarah Gadon (The Amazing Spider-Man, Enemy), and Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad, Exodus: Gods and Kings) star in the film, which is based on a novel by Liz Jensen. Continue reading

Today In Movie History…

murch

Today in movie history, revered editor and sound engineer Walter Murch was born in New York City in 1943. Murch first gained momentum in the film industry working with Oscar-winner Francis Ford Coppola on his film The Rain People (1969) before going on to work with George Lucas on THX1138 (1971) and American Graffiti (1973). He then furthered his professional relationship with Coppola working on films like The Godfather Part II (1974) and The Conversation (1974), the latter which earned him his first Academy Award nomination. His first major contribution to film came on Coppola’s iconic Vietnam drama, Apocalypse Now (1979), for which he won his first Oscar. Murch used a multi-track recording system to create new sounds that invoked both physical tension and psychological drama against the back-drop of Coppola’s war epic. Murch went on to serve as both sound and picture editor for numerous films, winning double Oscars for The English Patient in 1996 for Best Editor and Best Sound Editor. His work with Coppola continued throughout his career, working on films like The Godfather Part III (1990) and Tetro (2009); he also received a double Oscar-nomination in 1990 for The Godfather Part III and Ghost with Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, and Whoopi Goldberg. Continue reading

Check Your Local Listings For This Week’s Limited Releases

Along with Papa Hemingway in Cuba, there are some great limited releases hitting theaters this weekend. First off is a new drama from actor-turned-director Jason Bateman (Arrested Development, Horrible Bosses), Nicole Kidman (Eyes Wide Shut, The Interpreter), Christopher Walken (Pulp Fiction, Catch Me If You Can), and Catherine Hahn (Step Brothers, Parks and Recreation) titled The Family Fang, which is based on the book by Kevin Wilson. The film follows a brother and sister as they return home in search of their famous parents, who have gone missing. Seems fairly promising, but you can be the judge.

Next up is an Italian film titled The Wait (L’attesa) from director Piero Messina (La Porta, Terra) and starring internationally known actress Juliette Binoche (The English Patient, Godzilla) about a mother who unexpectedly meets her future daughter-in-law at a villa in Sicily and waits with her for her son to arrive, concealing some dark secret the entire time. Continue reading

New Biographical Drama ‘The 33’ Opening In Theaters This Friday

A new biographical drama titled The 33, based on the book Deep Down Dark by Hector Tobar, is opening in theaters this Friday. The book and film chronicle the Chilean mining accident in 2010, in which 33 miners were trapped underground and survived together for a total of 69 days. Starring in the film are actors Antonio Banderas (The Mask of Zorro, Once Upon A Time in Mexico), Rodrigo Santoro (300, Focus), Juliette Binoche (The English Patient, Godzilla), James Brolin (Traffic, Catch Me If You Can), Jacob Vargas (Get Shorty, Jarhead), and Oscar Nunez (The Office, The Italian Job). Patricia Riggen (Under the Same Moon, Girl in Progress), who received top remarks at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival for her film Family Portrait, directed the project from a screen story by Jose Rivera (Trade, Letters to Juliet). You can see the trailer here on MADE. The movie opens in theaters this Friday.

24th James Bond Film ‘Spectre’ Now Playing In Theaters Nationwide

Fans of the James Bond film franchise will once again get to see Daniel Craig (Casino Royale, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) grace the screen as the infamous British Secret Service agent. Spectre is the first release in the series since 2012’s Skyfall, and is once again being directed by Oscar-winning Skyfall and American Beauty director Sam Mendes. Spectre will see the character of Bond return to his roots, as he embarks on a mission to uncover the top secret criminal organization known as SPECTRE, while M fights struggles to keep the British government from dismantling the Secret Service. This is the same criminal organization that the character faced in the Sean Connery films, and first appeared in the Bond novels by author Ian Fleming. Skyfall writers John Logan, Neal Purvis, and Robert Wade penned the script for the new film with screenwriter Jez Butterworth (Get On Up, Edge of Tomorrow). Continue reading