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 →
The 16th annual Tribeca Film Festival is once again underway in New York City. Entries in this year’s festival include films from 28 countries, which are being shown from April 19th to April 30th. The festival has already seen a fair share of controversy this year. Photographers and reporters were incensed to find some lesser known actors walking on the red carpet wearing masks of James Franco, Shia LaBeouf, and Greta Gerwig instead of the actors themselves for the premiere of the film Flames. In addition, a commercial for United Airlines, which was originally scheduled to appear at the festival, was pulled from the line up after the controversy surrounding Dr. David Dao being violently dragged off one of their flights. Despite a fair share of controversy, which has always been typical of the Hollywood scene, there have been some impressive displays at this year’s festivities. Continue reading →
Last year’s Annual Academy Awards ceremony was less than glamorous. In fact, it was downright uncomfortable. You might remember Chris Rock being asked to host the #OscarsSoWhite last January, and although he made some good points and was able to put a good spin on it, the show was ultimately kind of a bust. The final announcement of Leonardo DiCaprio winning the Best Actor Oscar was just one more punch to the face of film-lovers before the ceremony was ended. Don’t get me wrong, Leonardo DiCaprio is definitely worthy of an Oscar, but like Denzel Washington and Al Pacino before him, he was given the award for the wrong role, and at a point way too far into his career. But hey, that’s Hollywood for you. Continue reading →
On December 1, 1983, director Brian de Palma (The Untouchables, Carlito’s Way) released his modernized version of Ben Hecht and Howard Hawks’ 1930s gangster drama, Scarface. While the original followed a charismatic Chicago mobster in the Prohibition era, de Palma’s version took the character to violent world of the 1980s drug trade in Miami, Florida. Fueled by Al Pacino‘s riveting performance and backed by an outstanding supporting cast that included Michelle Pfeiffer (What Lies Beneath, Batman Returns), Steven Bauer (Raising Cain, Primal Fear), Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (The Abyss, The Perfect Storm) and Robert Loggia (Big, Independence Day), Scarface ushered in a new era of gangster movies far darker than Francis Coppola’s The Godfather series just a decade before. One of the primary reasons is because of de Palma’s direction. Continue reading →
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 →
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 →
A new documentary titled De Palma is seeing release this week from directors Jake Paltrow (The Good Night, Boardwalk Empire) and Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale, Greenberg). The film is a chronicle of the life and work of acclaimed director Brian De Palma, whose major body of work has spanned from the 1970s to the present with films like Carrie (1976), a Stephen King novel, Scarface (1983) with Al Pacino (The Godfather, Scent of a Woman) and Michelle Pfeiffer (The Fabulous Baker Boys, Batman Returns), and The Untouchables (1987) with Kevin Costner (Waterworld, Dances with Wolves), Robert De Niro (Goodfellas, Casino), and Sean Connery (Diamonds are Forever, The Hunt for Red October). Despite all of the acclaim and success earned by these films, De Palma is one of the many artists who has never been recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Untouchables saw Sean Connery win his first Oscar in 1988, Continue reading →
Character actor Abe Vigoda passed away earlier this week at the age of 94. According to his daughter, Carol Vigoda Fuchs, the actor died peacefully and had not been suffering from any illnesses. Vigoda spent years working in the New York theater scene before he was cast as the mafia hitman Sal Tessio in Francis Ford Coppola‘s The Godfather. Following the huge success of The Godfather, and The Godfather Part II, Vigoda was cast as Detective Phil Fish in 1975 on the show Barney Miller, which ran until 1982 and earned Vigoda three Emmy Award nominations in 1976, 1977, and 1978 respectively. Ironically enough, the announcement of his death re-sparked an old controversy about whether or not the actor was still alive: a false report stating that Vigoda had died was published in 1986, igniting a controversy among movie-goers and fans as to whether or not the actor was really still alive or had actually died. A website dedicated to Google searches for ‘Is Abe Vigoda really dead?’ was updated this week to respond ‘Yes.’ Regardless of his questionable death status, Vigoda’s roles and contributions to film will be remembered by his co-stars like Al Pacino (Serpico, Heat), Robert Duvall (Apocalypse Now, The Judge), and Hal Linden (Barney Miller, Out To Sea). Abe, you will be missed!
A new comedy from Oscar-winning director Barry Levinson (Rain Man, Bandits) is opening in theaters this week. Titled Rock the Kabash, the film stars comedy veteran Bill Murray (Ghostbusters, Lost in Translation) as a music-industry manager who discovers the voice of a young talent while on tour in Afghanistan and accompanies her to Kabul to participate in Afghan Star, a popular talent-reality show in the Middle East. Screenwriter Mitch Glazer (Scrooged, The Recruit) is behind the script, which features Leem Lubany (Omar, From A to B), Zooey Deschanel (Elf, Yes Man), Bruce Willis (Die Hard, Pulp Fiction), Kate Hudson (Almost Famous, The Skeleton Key), and Danny McBride (Pineapple Express, This Is The End). This will be Levinson’s first directorial release since 2014’s The Humbling with Al Pacino (The Godfather, Scarface). The trailer is available here on MADE. Enjoy!
Al Pacino‘s new film Danny Collins is now expanding to theaters across the country. Scripted and directed by Dan Fogelman (Crazy Stupid Love, The Guilt Trip), the film finds Pacino (The Godfather, Scarface) portraying aging rock star Danny Collins, who, still enraptured in his younger rock-n-roll lifestyle, receives a never delivered letter from his manager, addressed to Collins from former Beatle John Lennon. Having read and been inspired by Lennon’s comments on life, family and friends, Collins sets out on a mission to rediscover his own family and make some long-delayed amends. Co-starring in the film is 4-time Oscar nominee Annette Bening (American Beauty, The Kids Are Alright), Golden Globe winner Jennifer Garner (Juno, Dallas Buyers Club), Bobby Cannavale (The Station Agent, Chef), and Oscar-winner Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music, A Beautiful Mind). Check out the trailer here on MADE, then be sure to see it on the big screen!