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Celebrating the Films of Military Actor R. Lee Ermey (1944-2018) Who Passed Away This Week

r lee ermey

Die-hard drill instructors, jailbreaking football coaches, and corrupt backwoods sheriffs. It was all just another day of work for former Marine Corp. drill instructor-turned-actor R. Lee Ermey, who died earlier this week. Ermey was an incredibly dynamic character-actor with an instantly recognizable face and rambunctious personality. The Kansas native joined the Marine Corp. in lieu of jail time after he’d been arrested twice by the age of 17. He began his career serving as a drill instructor in San Diego during the early 1960s before eventually being sent on a 14-month deployment in Vietnam. He was injured during his tour in 1969 and was sent to work as a staff sergeant in Okinawa before being medically discharged in 1972, ending his hopes of a long military career. After moving to the Philippines to attend college, Ermey married and began taking odd jobs in television commercials before landing his first film role as Sgt. Loyce in a movie called The Boys in Company C, which followed five young Marine Corp. recruits from their bootcamp training to their deployment in Vietnam. Continue reading

Ryan Coogler’s ‘Black Panther’ Is A Cultural Phenomenon Because We Made It So

A week after its release in theaters across America, director Ryan Coogler’s new Marvel comic-adaptation, Black Panther, is still setting box office records. The film is the 5th highest domestic debut of all time, and the highest grossing February release in history, with a staggering $202,003,951. It earned more in just 3-days in theaters than any other film featuring a black director and predominantly black cast with an impressive worldwide opening weekend gross of $350 million. The success of the film has not only shattered age-old myths surrounding the “unpopularity” of all-black ensemble movies in Hollywood. It is also changing the way Hollywood, and America at large, view films that deal primarily with black and African American culture. But why is Black Panther such a big deal for America and not simply just another superhero movie with a hero who happens to be black? Continue reading

Will Disney’s Bid For Fox Properties Mean Another Monopoly For The Cable Industry?

disney fox merger

Walt Disney Pictures has come a long way from making full-length animated features like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, and Peter Pan. In the 21st century, the company has reinvented itself with live-action blockbusters like Pirates of the Caribbean, state-of-the-art computer animated films like Cars and Frozen, and adaptations of children’s literary classics like Roald Dahl’s The BFG and Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time (out in theaters this March). In recent years, Disney has expanded into more lucrative markets like comic book blockbusters (ie. Marvel comics) and, of course, the Star Wars franchise. The latest Star Wars entry, The Last Jedi, hit the $1 billion mark in worldwide box office sales barely three weeks after its US theatrical release. With a plethora of material to work with, and plenty of money coming in, one would think Disney is far passed its tipping point, but that might not be the case at all. Continue reading

Christopher Plummer Receives Golden Globe Nomination For Last Minute Role In ‘All The Money In The World’

The Last Jedi may be doing well at the box office, but it’s not doing much to impress fans and critics. One holiday release that’s been impressing everyone, however, is director Ridley Scott’s adaptation of author John Pearson’s All the Money in the World. The film follows the 1973 kidnapping of Jean Paul Getty III, aka Paul Getty, the grandson of oil tycoon Jean Paul Getty. The latter famously refused to pay his grandson’s ransom, despite his vast fortune in the oil industry, leaving the former’s mother, Gail Harris, in the position of having to convince her billionaire in-law to put family ahead of wealth. All the Money in the World has already received three Golden Globe nominations, including one for Best Supporting Actor, Christopher Plummer. Although his nomination is certainly deserving, it almost didn’t happen. Continue reading

Harry Dean Stanton Gives His Last Great Performance In New Drama ‘Lucky’

Harry Dean Stanton, the legendary character-actor who’s appeared in countless Hollywood productions, passed away on September 15th at the age of 91. Stanton got his start taking small roles in television productions like Bonanza, Rawhide, The Fugitive, and Gunsmoke in the 1950s and ’60s. He has since appeared in more than 100 films, including Cool Hand Luke, Kelly’s Heros, The Godfather Part II, Alien, Escape From New York, Repo Man, Pretty in Pink, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and The Green Mile. Now fans will have one more chance to see him in his first (and last) leading role since 1984’s Paris, Texas in what should prove to be a touching tribute.

Lucky is a drama from actor-turned-director John Carrol Lynch (Gran Torino, The Founder) that follows Lucky, a chain-smoking atheist and World War II veteran who must come to grips with his own mortality. The script comes from screenwriters Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja, and reunites Stanton with Twin Peaks creator David Lynch. Also appearing in the film are actors Ron Livingston (Office Space, Band of Brothers), Tom Skerritt (Top Gun, Steel Magnolias), James Darren (Gidget, The Guns of Navarone), and Yvonne Huff. Check your local listings for showings in your area, and if you’re not in the mood for killer clowns or Tom Cruise, make this one your go-to for the weekend. And of course, rest in peace Mr. Stanton!

Indie Project ‘Rebel in the Rye’ Now Showing In Limited Theaters

A new biographical film titled Rebel in the Rye is seeing a limited release in theaters this weekend. The film follows the life of famed author J.D. Salinger as he achieves worldwide fame for his novel The Catcher in the Rye. Writer/director Danny Strong (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, Empire) penned the film from the book “J.D. Salinger: A Life” by Kenneth Slawenski. Salinger was born in New York, and attended several universities before he was drafted into the army to serve in World War II. He participated in both the D-Day Invasion at Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge. During this period he continued to write, developing the story for what would become The Catcher in the Rye. Continue reading

Sofia Coppola And Others Win Top Prizes As 70th Cannes Film Festival Wraps

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The 70th Cannes Film Festival wrapped up this year with several big surprises. The Killing of a Sacred Deer and You Were Never Really Here both tied for the best screenplay award. Sofia Coppola became the first female director to win the Best Director award at Cannes in 56 years for The Beguiled, an adaptation of Thomas Cullinan’s Civil War novel about a wounded soldier who takes refuge among the inhabitants of a girls’ school in Virginia. Joaquin Phoenix and Diane Kruger were awarded best actor awards for their respective roles in You Were Never Really Here and In The Fade, the latter of which featured Kruger speaking in her native German. Additionally, Nicole Kidman received a special award for her appearances in four of this year’s festival entries, including The Beguiled, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, How to Talk to Girls at Parties, and Top of the Lake. Other noteworthy entries include BPM (Beats Per Minute), a drama focused around the French gay-rights movement in the early 90s that earned this year’s Grand Prix, and Ruben Östlund’s The Square, about a high-class museum curator who is forced to mingle with lower class members when he is pick-pocketed on the street. A full list of this year’s winners is provided below…. Continue reading

Today Marks 50th Anniversary of Beatle’s ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’

sgt peppers lonely hearts club band

Today (May 26th) marks the 50th anniversary celebration of The Beatle’s revolutionary album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The LP was the first released by the band following their retirement from touring after their final performance at Candlestick Park in 1966. Although The Beatles had already begun a steady transition from being a more traditional pop-rock group with albums like Rubber Soul and Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s has been hailed as their ultimate creative masterpiece, followed closely perhaps by 1969’s Abbey Road. Released at the beginning of the Summer of Love, it set a new precedent for what a rock and roll record could be. The concept behind the album began following the exhaustion the group experienced after the whirlwind of Beatlemania. Paul McCartney came to Lennon, Starr, and Harrison with an idea that they would record an all new album under an alternative persona, which would free them from the weight of being the Beatles and usher in a fresh wave of musical creativity. Sgt. Pepper’s not only ushered in a new era for the Beatles; it also marked the beginning of the psychedelic rock movement that would see new groups like The Doors, Pink Floyd, and Jefferson Airplane begin to climb the pop music charts. Now, 50 years later, Sgt. Pepper’s is known not only for its conception and importance to 60s rock (and music in general), but also for the history of its production. Continue reading

Stephen King Adaptation ‘The Dark Tower’ Opening In Theaters This August

Author Stephen King is making a big cinematic comeback in 2017. A new adaptation of his 1986 horror-classic It is opening in theaters this September, and is expected to be a two-part installation with the second film following soon after. Before It hits theaters, however, another Stephen King adaptation will see a nationwide release in the form of The Dark Tower. Based on the final novel in his eight-part series, The Dark Tower, the film follows a man named Roland Deschain, the Last Gunslinger, who faces off with the Man in Black, Walter O’Dim, in an effort to stop him from destroying the Dark Tower, a mystical building that serves as the center of all universes. In writing the series, King drew inspiration from several sources, including the Arthurian Legend, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, and the American West. Continue reading

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

reservoir dogs 25th reunion

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