Tag Archives: Los

This Week in Film History….

serpico

Director Sydney Lumet‘s 1973 undercover police drama Serpico earned Al Pacino his second Oscar nomination for Best Actor. While it was another in a long-running streak of Oscar nominations for Pacino that resulted in no wins until 1992’s Scent of a Woman, Serpico‘s other Oscar nomination was for Best Adapted Screenplay for screenwriters Waldo Salt (Midnight Cowboy, The Day of the Locust) and Norman Wexler (Saturday Night Fever, Staying Alive). Although Serpico proved to be the last Oscar-worthy project of Wexler’s, Waldo Salt had a much longer, and much darker story in Hollywood screenwriting history.

Waldo Salt was born on October 18, 1914 and grew up in Chicago an accomplished academic. He was so accomplished, in fact, that he graduated from Stanford University at the same time his friends were graduating from high school. Shortly thereafter, Salt was in Hollywood working as a screenwriter for MGM. There he worked on and assisted with various writing projects, but his first solo writing adaptation was with a 1937 film called The Bride Wore Red. The next year, Salt joined the American Communist Party, putting himself on the radar for the House Un-American Activities Committee during the Red Scare/McCarthy era 12 years later. Continue reading

Parker’s ‘The Birth of a Nation’ Stirring Just As Much Controversy as the 1915 Original

Writer, director, and lead actor Nate Parker (The Great Debaters, Red Tails)’s The Birth of a Nation is now playing in theaters across the country, but not in the light the young filmmaker was hoping for. The film struggled to reach $7 million in domestic box office sales in its opening weekend. Several factors could have contributed to the surprising low, but the most likely cause of the low turn out is Parker’s 1999 rape allegations during his time at Penn State. Although Parker was exonerated, news that his alleged victim committed suicide in 2012 and his handling of the case back in 1999 have caused a great controversy that has women’s rights and sexual assault advocate groups shouting boycott all across the country.

While Parker’s film may be controversial in its own right, the original Birth of a Nation, which was a silent movie released in 1915, was just as controversial, if not more so. The original Birth of a Nation is remembered for its blatantly racial undertones and simultaneous impressive contributions to filmmaking. Continue reading

This Week in Movie History…

robert-mitchum

On September 30, 1948, actor Robert Mitchum (Story of G.I. Joe, Cape Fear) was released from prison following his charge of marijuana possession. Mitchum was an up-and-coming star in Hollywood. He had received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor two years earlier for his role in Story of G.I. Joe, and appeared in four feature films in 1947, including Pursued, Crossfire, Desire Me, and Out of the Past. He also worked with director Robert Wise (The Day the Earth Stood Still, West Side Story) in a western film earlier in 1948 called Blood on the Moon. His recent string of success, however, only made his bust on September 1st that much worse.

Mitchum was found with actress Lila Leeds (Lady in the Lake, Wild Weed) and dancer Vicki Evans. With the 60s still more than a decade out, and public opinion towards marijuana still very much in the light of propaganda films like Reefer Madness (1936), the young actor feared the very public arrest would effectively end his acting career. It didn’t help that industry names like Howard Hughes (Scarface, The Outlaw), David O. Selznick (King Kong, Gone with the Wind), and the press constantly berated him during this period. But his famous bust that could have completely ended his career ended up doing just the opposite. Continue reading

Upcoming ‘Blade Runner’ Sequel Gets Release Date From Warner Bros.

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Oscar-winner Ridley Scott (Alien, Gladiator) is currently serving as producer for the upcoming sequel to his critically-acclaimed 1982 sci-fi thriller Blade Runner. The new film will be directed by Dennis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Sicario) and will feature original star Harrison Ford (The Fugitive, Star Wars: The Force Awakens), reprising his role as Rick Deckard, alongside newcomer Ryan Gosling (Drive, The Big Short). The original Blade Runner took place in 2019 Los Angeles, a now dark and desperate metropolis that’s overrun with crime and urban decay. The Blade Runners are responsible for assassinating ‘replicants,’ androids made to look like humans but displaying no sign of human emotion. Rick Deckard comes in when he is assigned to track down four replicants responsible for a mutiny on the Off World colony, but as he tracks them down, he encounters another replicant, Rachel, that displays human emotion, and throws Deckard into a spiral of uncertainty as he continues to pursue the leader of the replicant mutineers. The original film was based on the novel by Philip K. Dick and was adapted for the screen by Scott and Hampton Fancher (The Mighty Quinn, The Minus Man). So far it looks Fancher will return to co-write the new film with Scott and screenwriter Michael Green (Green Lantern, Gotham). Warner Bros. just announced this week that the film will be scheduled for release on January 12th, 2018. Stay tuned for more updates.

New Adventure/Comedy ‘Band of Brothers’ Seeing Limited Release This January 15th

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Writing/directing brothers Adam and Aaron Nee.

A new adventure/comedy titled Band of Brothers from writing/directing brothers Aaron and Adam Nee (The Last Romantic, The Geniuses) will be seeing a limited release this Friday, January 15th. Featuring brother Adam and lead actor Kyle Gallner (A Haunting in Connecticut, American Sniper) in the lead roles of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, respectively, the film finds the childhood friends as delinquent grown-ups, who, following Finn’s recent prison stint, forms the ‘band of brothers’ with their friends Joe Harper and Ben Rogers in order to finally find the treasure that has eluded them since their youth. Co-starring in the film are actors Matthew Gray Gubler (Criminal Minds, The Life Aquatic w/ Steve Zissou), Hannibal Buress (Neighbors, Daddy’s Home), Melissa Benoist (Whiplash, Supergirl), and Stephen Lang (The Men Who Stare At Goats, Avatar). The film is scheduled to officially premier at this year’s Los Angeles Film Festival on June 13th, and then again in October at the Tallgrass Film Festival, New Hampshire Film Festival, and St. Lawrence International Film Festival. Keep an eye out for a trailer.

New Dramatic Comedy ‘Burnt’ Opening In Theaters In New York and Los Angeles Today

A new “dramedy” titled Burnt from director John Wells (August: Osage County, Shameless) is opening for audiences in New York City and Los Angeles today, with a nationwide expansion expected in the next few weeks. The film comes from a film adaptation of a story by Michael Kalesniko (Private Parts, Iron Sky) by screenwriter Steven Knight (Eastern Promises, Locke), centering around a chef who, after ruining his career with drugs and eccentric behavior, returns to London in an attempt to make a comeback by opening a restaurant capable of receiving three Michelin stars. Actor Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle) stars as chef Adam Jones, with actors Sienna Miller (American Sniper, Foxcatcher), Daniel Bruhl (Inglorious Basterds, Rush), Ricardo Scamarcio (My Brother is an Only Child, Loose Cannons), Omar Sy (X-Men: Days of Future Past, Jurassic World), Emma Thompson (Love Actually, Saving Mr. Banks), Uma Thurman (Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill Vol. 1), and Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, The Man From UNCLE). The film is expected to be a semi-biographical story based around the life of Gordon Ramsey (Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen Knightmares). The trailer is available here on MADE. Look for the nationwide expansion to your area in the next couple of weeks. Enjoy the weekend!

Director Danny Boyle’s New Steve Jobs Biopic Opening In New York & LA This Week

Although a nationwide theatrical expansion is not expected until the end of October, the new biographical drama from Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire) titled Steve Jobs is opening to audiences in New York City and Los Angeles this week. The new film is based on the book of the same title by author Walter Isaacson, adapted for the screen by Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (Charlie Wilson’s War, The Social Network), focusing not only on three pivotal points in Jobs’ career as a modern technological entrepreneur, but also on the affects it had on his personal and family life, as well as his health. Leading the cast as Jobs and his Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak are actors Michael Fassbender (Inglorious Basterds, 12 Years A Slave) and Seth Rogen (The Interview, Neighbors), with Oscar-winner Kate Winslet (Titanic, The Reader), Jeff Daniels (Speed, The Newsroom), Katherine Waterston (Michael Clayton, Inherent Vice), and Michael Stuhlbarg (Boardwalk Empire, Trumbo) making up the supporting cast. From the looks of the trailer, it looks to be a more brutally honest depiction of Jobs’ life and work and hopefully will have more success than the 2013 flop Jobs with Ashton Kutcher and Josh Gad as Jobs and Wazniak, but we’ll have to wait and see how audiences respond. Look for the movie in a theater near you this October 23rd.

Director Adam McKay’s Next Film ‘The Big Short’ Set For December Release

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From left to right: actors Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, and Ryan Gosling will co-star in The Big Short.

Writer/director Adam McKay just released news that his upcoming project, The Big Short, has been given a release date for Christmas Day 2015. The release is expected to be held at the conclusion of the Los Angeles AFI Film Festival, but I’m pretty sure a nationwide release will be happening later on in 2016. The film is based on Michael Lewis’ novel of the same name, which focuses on a group of guys who made millions when they bet against the collateralized debt obligation bubble after predicting the economic crash of 2008. Making up the all-star cast are actors Brad Pitt (Inglorious Basterds, Fury), Christian Bale (The Dark Knight, Out of the Furnace), Karen Gillan (Doctor Who, Guardians of the Galaxy), Ryan Gosling (Drive, The Place Beyond the Pines), Steve Carell (The 40-Year Old Virgin, Little Miss Sunshine), Marisa Tomei (My Cousin Vinny, The Lincoln Lawyer), and Melissa Leo (The Fighter, Prisoners). Selena Gomez will also be appearing in the movie as one of the supporting characters. Director McKay co-wrote the script with screenwriter Charles Randolph (The Life of David Gale, The Interpreter). We’ll keep an eye out for a new trailer, which should be coming soon.

Catch This Week’s Limited Releases Opening In Theaters This Weekend

she's that kind of funny

Indie films hardly get the public recognition they deserve outside of the circle of internationally known film festivals, or national premieres outside of New York City or Los Angeles (the recently released Mr. Holmes with Sir Ian McKellen and Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence serve as perfect examples). But that’s not to say I wouldn’t recommend seeing any of these. This week several such projects will be seeing limited releases on big screens across the country. First on the list is Grandma from writer/director Paul Weitz (About A Boy, In Good Company), which follows a young teenager, Sage, as she goes to her grandmother, Elle Reid, for help when finding herself in a tight spot. The two embark on a day-long journey of self discovery and life reflection that brings both a sense of comfort and motivation to the audience. Actresses Lily Tomlin (Nine to Five, I Heart Huckabees), Julia Garner (Martha Marcy May Marlene, The Perks of Being a Wallflower), and Oscar-winner Marcia Gay Harden (Mystic River, Into The Wild) will be leading the cast on this one. Next on the list is The Last Picture Show director Peter Bogdanovich‘s She’s Funny That Way, starring Imogen Poots (28 Weeks Later, Filth), Owen Wilson (Wedding Crashers, Midnight in Paris), Jennifer Aniston (Horrible Bosses, We’re The Millers), and Kathryn Hahn (Step Brothers, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty). Given the plot of this one revolves around a love-triangle on the set of a Broadway production in New York, I would recommend this one as a good date-night movie. Last, but not least, is another romantic comedy (you would think it’s Valentine’s Day weekend!) called Some Kind of Beautiful from director Tom Vaughn (What Happens in Vegas, Extraordinary Measures). Pierce Brosnan (GoldenEye, The Thomas Crown Affair), Salma Hayek (From Dusk Til Dawn, Desperado), Jessica Alba (Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Awake), and Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange, The Artist) lead the cast in this tale of a Cambridge poetry professor who comes to a type of midlife crises when he begins to reevaluate his life. All three selections are rated R due to some pretty heavy content, but I think they are all definitely worth seeing, so be sure to check your local theater listings for showtimes in your area, and as always…Enjoy!!

‘The Wolfpack’ and ‘Set Fire To The Stars’ See Limited Releases This Week


Movie-goers in cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles and few other stranglers will be able to see the limited release of two new films this week. The Wolfpack is a biographical documentary from director Crystal Moselle (Frida, Excavating Taylor Mead) about a family of brothers who spend their childhood sheltered from society in an apartment in Manhattan and learning about the outside world by watching films and reenacting their favorite scenes with props and costumes; but when one of the brothers escapes to the outside, their world is quickly shaken. Making up the cast are the Angulo brothers Bhagavan, Govinda, Jagadisa, Krsna, Mukunda, Narayana. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for three others at the Seattle, San Francisco, and Edinburgh International Film festivals. The trailer is available here on MADE. Also being released this week is the new biographical drama Set Fire To The Stars about Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. The film comes from director and co-writer Andy Goddard (Stacey Stone, Downton Abbey) and co-writer Celyn Jones (who portrays Dylan Thomas in the film) about author John Brinnin’s journey to New York City to find and meet his poet-hero Thomas before his death. Brinnin is portrayed by Elijah Wood (Deep Impact, The Lord of the Rings), with Kelly Reilly (Sherlock Holmes, Flight), Steven Mackintosh (Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Underworld: Evolution), and Shirley Henderson (Trainspotting, Marie Antoinette) making up the rest of the cast. Be sure to check your local theater listings for showtimes in your area. Enjoy!