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Look For New George Lazenby Documentary ‘Becoming Bond’ On Hulu This May

A new documentary centered around the youngest actor to portray British agent James Bond 007 (and for only one film) is coming to Hulu this May 20th. George Lazenby, a car salesman from Australia, famously conned his way into the role by going to meet with producer Albert R. Broccoli, securing an audition by claiming he had acting experience in his native Australia, which wasn’t true. He was, however, able to pull off an audition that was good enough to convince fellow producer Harry Saltzman of his worthiness for the part, and thus On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) became the first Bond film without original actor Sean Connery appearing in the title role. Although audiences and critics had mixed reviews upon its release, OHMSS has, over the years, became one of the more favored entries in the Bond franchise. Incidentally, Lazenby is also the only actor to have received major recognition for his portrayal of the character, earning a Golden Globe nomination in 1970 for Most Promising Newcomer/Best New Star. Continue reading

Noteworthy Entries From This Year’s Berlin Film Festival

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The 67th Berlin Film Festival, better known as Berlinale, kicks off each year shortly after the Sundance Film Festival ends, and continues with an impressive line-up of independent films, ranging from comedy to drama and even science fiction. This year the festival closed with the premiere of James Mangold‘s R-rated comic entry Logan, which will see the last outing of Hugh Jackman as the immortal and tormented Wolverine, opposite Patrick Stewart reprising the role of Professor Charles Xavier. In addition, director Danny Boyle‘s long-anticipated follow-up to Trainspotting also debuted at the festival, and saw the original cast return for a look at how the characters are dealing with the realities of life 20-years after the drug-induced original. The festival also played host to a solid line-up of independent films. Unfortunately we’re not able to afford the trip (or take the time off) to make it to Berlin for the 10-day celebration, so this all based on reviews and speculation, but here are just a few noteworthy entries we figured were worth mentioning… Continue reading

Watch The Full-Length Trailer For ‘Life’ With Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds

There were a lot of raise-your-eyebrow commercials at this year’s Super Bowl, and sadly they were much more memorable than any of the traditional, so-called “hilarious” Super Bowl entries. The most controversial entries was the lengthy 84 Lumber commercial where mother and daughter encounter a giant concrete wall on the US border, and the American Petroleum Institutes praise-spot for Big Oil. In addition to the barrage of propagandized TV spots and beer commercials were a number of upcoming blockbuster movie trailers. Among them were those for The Fate of the Furious, Baywatch, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, John Wick: Chapter 2, and Transformers: The Last Knight. The most impressive movie trailer, however, came from up-and-coming director Daniel Espinosa‘s Life with Jake Gyllenhaal (Prisoners, Nightcrawler), Rebecca Ferguson (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, The Girl on the Train), and Ryan Reynolds (Waiting, Safe House). Continue reading

The Legacy of James Baldwin Lives in New Documentary ‘I Am Not Your Negro’

James Baldwin‘s (1924-1987) life and legacy can now speak to modern audiences in a new documentary called I Am Not Your Negro. The film is finally getting a long overdue theatrical release from Magnolia Pictures this February 3rd after wowing audiences at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival. I Am Not Your Negro is a film from Haitian director Raoul Peck that envisions Baldwin’s final, albeit incomplete novel Remember This House as an uncompromising and complete narrative of race in America. The unfinished memoir focuses on the authors personal memories and relationships with three enduring Civil Rights leaders: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers, and Malcolm X. Peck was allowed access to the entire Baldwin archives and composed the film over a period of 10 years, drawing from the incomplete manuscript and Baldwin’s own personal notes. It won the People’s Choice Documentary Award and, like Baldwin himself, is sure to stand as a vital testament to race in America today. Continue reading

October’s Long History of Historical Film Releases

Happy Halloween! October is traditionally known for the fall season and for hosting Halloween on the last day of the month. Likewise film distributors tend to look at October as a good time to release horror and slasher films for Halloween on fight-seeking audiences across the country, and around the world. October, however, has a long history of major motion picture releases that is not strictly limited to the horror genre. Read on to see our list of impressive October releases, and enjoy your Halloween Weekend! Continue reading

This Week in Movie History…

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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

This Week In Movie History…

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On September 20, 1956, director William Wyler‘s Friendly Persuasion was released in theaters in the United States. Based on the book by Jessamyn West, the story revolves around a Quaker family in 1862, whose faith and belief in non-violence is tested when Confederate troops come sweeping through their land and the family must decide whether to fight or to remain complacent. The film was written by screenwriter Michael Wilson (A Place in the Sun, Planet of the Apes), and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Screenwriting. It wasn’t until 2002, however, that Wilson would receive legitimate recognition for his work on the film. Continue reading

This Week In Movie History….

Director Wes Craven went down in cinematic history for his iconic career in the horror film industry. Craven is behind such famous franchises as A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th, which of course brought the unforgettable characters of Freddy Kruger and Jason Voorhees to movie-goers worldwide. This was not, however, the reaction upon the release of a much earlier and grittier horror film Craven got behind in the early ’70s. The Last House on the Left was released on August 30, 1972. It was one of Craven’s first pairings with horror producer Sean S. Cunningham, and serves as a staple of cult horror films typical of the era. The film’s harshly realistic and graphic subject matter surrounds a pair of teenage girls who are abducted by a gang of escaped convicts and are subjected to rape, disembowelment, castration, and much more. 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

Today In Movie History…

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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