Tag Archives: supporting

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

Iconic Actor Gene Wilder Has Passed Away at the Age of 83

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Legendary comedic actor Gene Wilder, best known for his roles in films like Young Frankenstein, The Producers, Blazing Saddles, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, passed away Monday after a struggle with Alzheimer’s Disease. The actor was twice nominated for an Academy Award, one for his role in The Producers and the other as co-writer with Mel Brooks for Young Frankenstein. Wilder first gained attention in a production of Off Broadway’s Roots in 1961. He then continued working in television and on Broadway for a number of years, where he first caught the eye of filmmaker Mel Brooks. The actor starred in a production of Bonnie and Clyde in 1967 before teaming up with Brooks for his breakout role in The Producers, which earned him his first nomination for Best Supporting Actor. 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

Memorable Movie Monologues…

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

Oscar Winners Who Boycotted The Oscars

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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.

MADE Review: The Revenant

Oscar-winning writer/director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel, Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is following up his fantastic work on Birdman with a new dramatic western of love, survival, and revenge titled The Revenant. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio (The Departed, The Wolf of Wall Street), Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises, Lawless), Domhnall Gleeson (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Star Wars: The Force Awakens), Will Poulter (We’re The Millers, The Maze Runner), and Forrest Goodluck (Gaming), the film follows a frontiersman who is brutally attacked by a grizzly bear while on an expedition in the 1820s Rockies, and is left for dead by members of his team. Against all odds, he survives the attack and sets out for revenge against the men who killed his son. The story is inspired by true events that appear in the book by author Michael Punke. Inarritu and Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (Children of Men, Gravity) again deliver excellent camera work on the film, and the cinematography and the scale of the film are truly epic. Leonardo DiCaprio (as usual) delivers an outstanding performance, and equally impressive is that of Tom Hardy, who could easily get an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance. In showing the hardship and the struggle that DiCaprio’s character encounters in the wilderness, Inarritu also delivers an impressive display of graphic effects, including an insane mauling by a grizzly bear and a night spent in the innards of a dead horse. The only complaint I can find with the film is that it could have been 15-20 minutes shorter: the middle section of the film, while vividly entertaining, begins to feel a little long. The ending, however, is excellent, leaving the audience with a sense of closure for the story, combined with a sense of wonder surrounding the final fate of the character, a stylistic approach that is all Inarritu. I would definitely recommend seeing The Revenant when it opens in theaters this Friday, January 8, 2016.

This Friday Marks 30th Anniversary Of ‘Back To The Future’

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This Friday, July 3rd, will mark the 30th anniversary of Back to the Future, the time-traveling hit from director Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump, Flight) that made Michael J. Fox (Family Ties, Casualties of War) an instant superstar and became an instant classic in American cinema. Co-written by Zemeckis and screenwriter Bob Gale (1941, Used Cars), Back to the Future was a huge hit among fans and critics alike, receiving an Academy Award for Best Sound Editing/Effects and another 3 nominations for Best Screenplay, Best Sound, and Best Music (Original Song); Huey Lewis even received a Grammy in 1986 for The Power of Love, which he wrote specifically for the film’s soundtrack. I think many fans would agree that Christopher Lloyd (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Angels in the Outfield) deserved a nomination for Best Supporting Actor, but that aside Back to the Future proved a great success. Since 1985 the film has been followed by two sequels, and although Zemeckis has said that a remake is definitely not happening, he is currently working to adapt the movie into a new musical due out in the next year or two. Either way, I’m sure there will be no shortage of marathons on TV this weekend, but if you happen to have your own copy be sure to watch Back to the Future this weekend to celebrate the anniversary…and Independence Day too!!

Tribeca Film Festival Closes 2015 Celebration With ‘Goodfellas’ Showing And Cast Reunion

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Actors Robert DeNiro (Left), Ray Liotta (Center), and Paul Sorvino (Right) were all present to celebrate the Goodfellas anniversary.

This year the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City closed it’s curtains with a special showing of Martin Scorsese‘s 1990 mobster classic, Goodfellas. The film was shown in a new remastered 4K print, and to celebrate the 25th Anniversary, members of the cast, including Tribeca Film Festival co-founder Robert DeNiro (The Godfather Part II, Casino), Ray Liotta (Hannibal, Identity), Lorraine Bracco (The Basketball Diaries, The Sopranos), Paul Sorvino (The Gambler, Romeo + Juliet), and Debi Mazar (Batman Forever, Entourage) reunited at the Beacon Theatre for the special showing. Robert DeNiro introduced the film with a brief speech, noting that Joe Pesci (Home Alone, My Cousin Vinny), who won the 1990 Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Tommy, could not be in attendance. Director Martin Scorsese (The Departed, The Wolf of Wall Street) and producer Irwin Winkler (Rocky, Raging Bull) were also absent, but the audience was able to view special video messages they had sent, as well as a live conversation (hosted by The Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart) with the present cast members, who discussed their personal memories of the film. But the anniversary of the film is only part of the celebration; Goodfellas was filmed (and takes place) in and around New York City, complimenting Robert DeNiro’s goal of celebrating the film heritage of New York City by founding the Tribeca Film Festival. Needless to say I think he’ll have a hard time topping himself next year!

MADE Review: ‘Birdman (Or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)’

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Birdman (Or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance) saw a limited theatrical release back in November 2014, but now you can catch it on the big screen once again as the film is experiencing a special re-release having received 9 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Michael Keaton), Best Supporting Actor (Edward Norton), Best Supporting Actress (Emma Stone), and Best Director (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu). Actors Michael Keaton and Edward Norton both deliver excellent performances, but Emma Stone really deserves a lot of credit for this one; her performance as Keaton’s attention-depraved daughter recovering from time in rehab is easily her best yet, and she definitely makes the jump from pretty-face roles to serious and talented actress, much like Jennifer Lawrence’s performance in American Hustle last year. Director Inarritu’s stylistic approach to the storytelling is also incredibly unique. Rather than cutting from scene to scene to show story progression and time-lapse, he transitions one scene to the next by having characters walk into the current scene or camera view, and then follow that new character into the next scene using the same single camera view, giving the film a sort of real-time flow while covering the course of several days. Birdman has also earned Inarritu and co-writers Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, and Armando Bo an Academy Award-nomination for Best Screenplay and Emmanuel Lubezki a nomination for Best Cinematographer. So if you get a chance try to see this one before it leaves theaters again. It’s definitely worth your time.

MGM And Paramount Pictures Preparing Remake Of 1959 Epic ‘Ben-Hur’

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A remake of director William Wyler‘s 1959 epic Ben-Hur is currently in the works at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Paramount Pictures, and the producer’s and director Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) are working hard getting the pre-production check list in order. Thus far the cast includes actors Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire, American Hustle), Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption, The Dark Knight), Toby Kebbell (Wrath of the Titans, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), and Nezanin Boniadi (Iron Man, The Next Three Days), with Rodrigo Santoro (Love Actually, 300: Rise of an Empire) making an appearance in the role of Jesus Christ. The story of Ben-Hur comes from the 19th-century book by Lew Wallace titled Ben Hur: A Tale of Christ, which tells the story of a Jewish prince who is betrayed by his Roman friend and sent into years of enslavement, only to regain his freedom and return to seek his vengeance. The original movie starred Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, and Stephen Boyd and won 11 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor (Heston), Best Director (Wyler), Best Cinematographer (Robert Surtees), and Best Supporting Actor (Hugh Griffith). The new movie is expected to be in theaters sometime in 2016, so we’ll be following it for a while; in the meantime you should definitely check out the original; you can find it available on both DVD and Blu-Ray disc.