Taking a moment to appreciate the artistry behind acting, I’d like to highlight some of the most memorable, if not noteworthy monologues ever seen on the big screen. Traditionally, a monologue is a long speech delivered by an actor of the stage or screen, during which either a climactic realization is reached or a larger audience is being addressed. I’ll begin with what I consider to be one of the greatest (if not the greatest) films ever made, Francis Ford Coppola‘s The Godfather Part II. The Godfather Part II is known as the most successful movie sequel of all time, earning a total of 11 Academy Award nominations and winning 6. Among the nominees was method-actor Lee Strasberg, who co-founded the Group Theatre in 1931 and became director of the Actors Studio in 1950. Strasberg influenced a new generation of stage actors, including up-and-coming Broadway actor Al Pacino. When Pacino broke into film with The Godfather and was brought back for Part II, he asked Coppola to cast his mentor Strasberg in the supporting cast. Strasberg took the role of mob-boss Hyman Roth, and earned one of the film’s Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actor. Continue reading →
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 →
A new drama starring Oscar-winner Michael Keaton (Batman, Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) titled The Founder is coming to theaters this August, which follows the life of Ray Kroc, the entrepreneurial salesman who took the McDonald brother’s small-time burger shack and turned it into the international conglomerate known today as McDonalds. The movie comes from director John Lee Hancock (The Alamo, Saving Mr. Banks) and screenwriter Robert D. Siegel (The Wrestler, Turbo), and co-stars actors Linda Cardellini (Grandma’s Boy, Avengers: Age of Ultron), Patrick Wilson (Watchman, The Conjuring), Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation, 21 Jump Street), and Laura Dern (Jurassic Park, October Sky). Check out the new trailer here on MADE. The movie will be out in theaters this summer.
A new trailer is available for Disney’s first installment in their Star Wars spoof series Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which is expected in theaters December 2016. Directed by Gareth Edwards (In The Shadow of the Moon, Godzilla) and written by Chris Weitz (About A Boy, The Golden Compass), John Knoll (Avatar, Star Wars: Episode 6 – Return of the Jedi), and Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli, After Earth), the film follows members of the Rebel Alliance in an isolated attempt to steal the plans to the Death Star. Starring in the film are actors Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything, The Amazing Spider-Man 2), Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale, The Hunt), Alan Tudyk (Tucker and Dale Vs Evil, Transformers: Dark of the Moon), Donnie Yen (Blade 2, Ip Man), Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises, The Place Beyond the Pines), and Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland, Lee Daniels’ The Butler). Also in theaters this weekend is the new first-person action-flick Hardcore Henry. Enjoy your weekend!
Acclaimed director Ava Duvernay (The Middle of Nowhere, Selma) has just been hired by Disney Motion Pictures to helm a new adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s 1963 Newbery Medal-winning novel, A Wrinkle In Time. The book will be adapted by Oscar-winning screenwriter Jennifer Lee (Frozen, Zootopia). Chances are you read this one in elementary school, about a young girl who travels to a 5th dimension in order to find her scientist father, who disappeared while working on a mysterious government project called a tesseract. The film is still very early in production, and DuVernay also has another script on her plate from DreamWorks and screenwriters Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly (Safety Not Guaranteed, Jurassic World) titled Intelligent Life. This one is about a UN worker in a department dedicated to representing humanity in the event of contact with alien life, who falls for a woman who turns out to be a real alien. No word yet as to which film will end up being made first, but both definitely sound pretty interesting, although A Wrinkle In Time is definitely long overdue for a quality film adaptation. Either way, we’ll let you know about upcoming schedule announcements.
With the biggest night in Hollywood quickly approaching, and all the controversy surrounding this year’s nominee selections, we thought it would be appropriate to look at some historical actors that have either boycotted the Oscar ceremonies, or blatantly returned the award to the Academy. The first incident that comes to mind is Marlon Brando‘s famous refusal to accept the Best Actor Oscar for The Godfather in 1973. He completely skipped the ceremony and had a woman named Sacheen Littlefeather refuse the award on his behalf in the name of Native American rights. George C. Scott also famously boycotted the Oscars when he won for Patton, even returning the award the next day when it was presented to him after the ceremony. Although it’s never really a surprise, Woody Allen has rarely ever attended an Academy Award ceremony, even though he has won numerous times for films like Annie Hall, Midnight in Paris, and Hannah and Her Sisters. Paul Newman also refused to attend the Oscar ceremony when he finally won after six previous nominations and two honorary awards. And finally, John Gieglud was also absent to accept the Supporting Actor award for Arthur in 1982, later writing that, “I really detest all that mutual congratulation baloney and the invidious comparisons which they invoke.” As for this year, director Spike Lee and acting couple Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith already said they would boycott the ceremony, owing to the lack of ethnic diversity amongst this year’s nominees, but they have since rescinded following the Academy’s pledge to diversify its membership by 2020. Hopefully we’ll see some drastic improvements in the upcoming years, as it’s definitely been long overdue in Hollywood. Stay tuned.
Sunday night saw a decent amount of new movie trailers played during the 50th celebration of America’s favorite athletic pastime, the Super Bowl. One of these new trailers was a new preview for the upcoming Jason Bourne installment that will reunite director Paul Greengrass (United 93, Captain Phillips) with original actor Matt Damon (The Departed, The Martian) in what will simply be titled Jason Bourne. The two will share writing credits with screenwriter Christopher Rouse (The Italian Job, Greenzone), who has also worked on The Bourne Supremacy (2004) and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007). Also returning from the original film series is actress Julia Stiles (The Omen, Silver Linings Playbook), who is joined by newcomers Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, The Man from UNCLE), Tommy Lee Jones (No Country For Old Men, Lincoln), Vincent Cassel (Ocean’s Twelve, Black Swan), Riz Ahmed (Nightcrawler, Star Wars: Rogue One), and Ato Essandoh (Blood Diamond, Django Unchained). No details are yet available on the plot, except that Tommy Lee Jones plays the new CIA station chief attempting to track down Jason Bourne, who disappeared at the conclusion of The Bourne Ultimatum. The movie is expected in theaters on July 29th. Check out the new trailer here on MADE.
Golden Globe winning actor Alan Rickman has died after a fight with cancer at the age of 69. The British actor was famous around the globe for his roles as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise, and as villain Hans Gruber in the original Die Hard, opposite Bruce Willis. Having worked as an actor, writer, and director, Rickman was a veteran of both the stage and screen, appearing in such Broadway productions as Private Lives in the West End and in films including Galaxy Quest, Love Actually, Sweeney Todd, Alice in Wonderland, Lee Daniel’s The Butler, Dogma, Sense and Sensibility, and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. His absence from the world of acting and filmmaking will sorely be missed in the years to come.
Netflix has slowly been upping its game in the home entertainment circuit ever since House of Cards became nearly as popular as HBO’s Game of Thrones. Now they are stepping up once again, this time with a sequel to 2000’s four-time Oscar winning epic Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, expected to be available on Netflix this February. The new film is subtitled The Green Legend and, like the original, is based on an original novel by author Du Lu Wang. Returning from the original film is actress Michelle Yeoh (Tomorrow Never Dies, Memoirs of a Geisha), who leads a whole new cast that features Donnie Yen (Blade 2, Hero), Harry Shum Jr. (Glee, White Frog), Jason Scott Lee (The Jungle Book, Balls of Fury), Eugenia Yuan (The Drummer, Shanghai Hotel), and Juju Chan (Unconditional Love, Fist of the Dragon) in a screenplay by John Fusco (Young Guns, Hidalgo). The first trailer, which is featured above, was just released this week. I’m not really sure what they had in mind with the techno version of CCR’s Bad Moon Rising playing in the back drop, but the visual effects and fight-scene choreography look pretty awesome. We’ll keep you posted on upcoming details.
Director Spike Lee‘s update of Aristophanes’ play Lysistrata set in the violent streets of modern-day Chicago titled Chi-Raq is opening in theaters today. Set primarily in Chicago’s Southside, the film utilizes modern gang violence to tell Aristophanes’ tale of a group of women who decide to keep sex from their male counterparts in order to encourage them to stop the street violence that is destroying their homes and families. Lee adapted the screenplay with writer Kevin Willmott (The Battle for Bunker Hill, Jayhawkers), which features actors Nick Cannon (Bobby, Day of the Dead), Teyonah Parris (How Do You Know, They Came Together), Wesley Snipes (Blade, Demolition Man), Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers, Unbreakable), John Cusack (The Raven, Hot Tub Time Machine), and Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls, Lullaby). For Hudson, the film carries a unique weight: she has lost three family members to the gun-violence dividing the streets of Chicago. Comedy veteran Dave Chappelle (The Chappelle Show, The Nutty Professor) is also expected to make an appearance. The trailer is here on MADE; check it out in theaters today.