Acclaimed filmmaker Jonathan Demme, know to most for directing The Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia, passed away last week at the age of 73. Known for his personal approach to filmmaking, Demme left behind an extensive portfolio of work, ranging from documentaries, independent films, cult remakes, and blockbuster dramas. His early work dates back to 1970s satire films like Fighting Mad and Handle with Care. Melvin and Howard made the director a household name in 1980, and Mr. Demme went on to direct a number of films and documentaries before making history in the early 1990s with Silence and Philadelphia. Both were box-office successes and culturally significant films that touched on a number of highly debated issues. 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 →
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 →
Director Thomas McCarthy is currently working on his upcoming church-sex-scandal drama Spotlight, which follows the story of the Boston Globe reporters who uncovered the case of child molestation reports in the Catholic Church that had been covered up for decades in Boston, Massachusetts. The team won a Pulitzer-Prize for their work in uncovering the state-wide conspiracy that has since left the Catholic Church in increasingly lacking popularity. McCarthy already has an impressive line-up of actors set to portray the real life reporters and others involved in the case, including Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Liev Schreiber, and Rachel McAdams, but now a new cast member has been added to the line up. Almost Famous and Big Fish star Billy Crudup is now set to take the role of Eric MacLeish, a high ranking lawyer in Boston. Other real-life individuals surrounding the case that will be depicted in the film are Boston Globe editor Marty Baron, Spotlight Team editor Walter Robinson, projects editor Ben Bradlee Jr., and investigators Michael Rezendes, Sacha Pfeiffer, and Matt Carroll. McCarthy is co-writing the script with Josh Singer, but there is still no word on a release date and some of the major roles still have to be filled by the production team, so we’ll look for more news as it comes along.
Tim Burton is once again working with Michael Keaton to on the long awaited sequel to Beetlejuice. While the movie is still very early in production, Burton and Keaton will also be celebrating one of their other collaborations. The two worked together with Jack Nicholson in 1989 on Batman, the first modern take on the comic book series since Adam West in the 1960s. The two also went on to make a sequel two years later which also starred Danny Devito and Michelle Pfeiffer. Also celebrating their 25 years this year are The Abyss, Field of Dreams, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Major League, Glory, and Born on the Fourth of July. If you get any free time be sure to check some of these out, and stay tuned for more news on Burton’s Beetlejuice sequel.
Tommy Lee Jones has always been well known in Hollywood, but in recent years the actor has been taking his talents to new heights, stepping into the writer’s, producer’s, and director’s chairs for a number of projects. The actor is now slated to begin working with Warner Bros. to bring back a John Wayne western entitled The Cowboys, which follows the story of a rancher who finds himself without a crew to man his cattle ranch and so must hire the local schoolboys to avoid bankruptcy. Jones will be writing the script and directing the film, but there has been no word as to whether or not he will be doing any acting himself.
The original film was released in 1972, becoming one of Wayne’s last major pictures. He would go on to star in another 6 films before his death in 1979. The Cowboys will joining a growing list of John Wayne remakes. Joel and Ethan Coen did a remake of True Grit back in 2010 with Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon, and director John Singleton gave The Sons of Katie Elder a modernized revamp back in 2005 with Mark Wahlberg and Tyrese Gibson in Four Brothers. Whether or not Jones will be in front of the camera or not, his presence in the project should be enough to make a promising movie. His last film, The Sunset Limited, in which he directed and co-starred with Samuel L. Jackson, is now available on HBO. Jones next acting/directing project, The Homesman, is currently in post-production, but has not yet been given a release date. The Family, which stars Robert De Niro, Jones, and Michelle Pfeiffer will be hitting theaters this Friday (the 13th!!).