With The Hangover Pt. II in the lead, the American box-office reached an all-time high for the crucial Memorial Day holiday weekend. Also scoring well: Pirates 4, Kung Fu Panda 2 and Bridesmaids. The sad news: there isn't an original idea in any of them, with three of the top four films being sequels. For more click here
The film won't be released until December but the teaser trailer for the highly-anticipated thriller The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo has been leaked on line. Click here to view the preview of the film starring Daniel Craig.
John Berge, Norwegian singer and self-described James Bond expert, has released a lively and ambitious music video that derives its title from author Sebastian Faulks' 2008 007 novel Devil May Care. Although there is nothing official about the video, it boasts impressive sets, stunts and production values. The song itself may not be a chart-topper, but it's a credible effort and is still superior to that dreadful title song from Quantum Of Solace. To view the video click here
The notorious pirate Blackbeard has been portrayed as both hero and villain in countless films over the decades, right up to today's Pirates of the Caribbean films. Now there has been an interesting historical find concerning the real-life 18th century scoundral. The anchor from his shipwrecked vessel The Queen Anne's Revenge has been retrieved and salvaged off the North Carolina coast. The ship is believed to have sank in 1717. Blackbeard survived the sinking and returned to Bath, England under a full pardon from the governor, but was murdered several months later. There will be a major display of artifacts from the wreck, which was discovered in 1996, in North Carolina commencing in June. For more click here
Johnny Depp and director Rob Marshall will team for a remake of the classic mystery film The Thin Man. The original 1934 film starred William Powell and Myrna Loy as a married couple who dabble in solving murders and mysteries. The witty byplay between the two stars proved to be a sensation with audiences and spawned several sequels. It is not known who will be cast in the role of Nora Charles in the remake.
If you think there is an over-abundance of 3-D movies in release, you ain't seen nothing yet. Disney is now going into their library to convert existing blockbusters to 3-D format, despite evidence that audiences are quickly tiring of the hype. The studio will re-issue The Lion King as a 3-D theatrical title in September. The web site The Playlist also reports that Disney has made the bizarre decision to alter the title of their Edgar Rice Burroughs sci-fi flick John Carter of Mars to simply John Carter. Some industry analysts say the decision is strange, since the revised, bland title doesn't give any indication what the movie is about. Film titles based on character names are a decided gamble for studios. For every Annie Hall, there is a Michael Clayton, an outstanding movie that did disappointing business at the box-office largely because the title and poster campaign (the usual bland head shot of the star) didn't excite anyone. For more click here
The Players, the legendary private club for the arts located at Gramercy Park in Manhattan, recently held their 2011 Hall of Fame ceremony. The annual event inducts members into the Hall who have made outstanding contributions to the arts. The roster of this year's ceremony was particularly impressive, including many familiar names who were inducted posthumously along with current club members. Among them: Humphrey Bogart, Dick Cavett, Mary Tyler Moore, Sir John Gielgud, Jerry Stiller, Lauren Bacall, Hume Cronyn, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Carol Burnett, Walt Disney, Jimmy Fallon, Arthur Miller, Gregory Peck, Tony Randall, Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson, Morgan Freeman, Katharine Hepburn, John Carradine, Harry Belafonte, Charles Laughton, Sir John Gielgud and others. Also inducted were two prominent names from American politics: President Dwight D. Eisenhower and former New York City Mayor David Dinkins.
Mayor David Dinkins with Claire Gozzo and actor and Cinema Retro contributor Joe Sirola.
Thumbs up from Tuco: Eli Wallach chats with Cinema Retro editor-in-chief Lee Pfeiffer.
The evening began with a cocktail hour in the club's famed Great Hall, where honorees mixed and mingled with other club members. A gourmet dinner followed, with club Executive Director John Martello screening a wonderful film clip compilation of the honorees' achievements. In addition to the actors and writers inducted, there were also other inductees who had distinguished themselves by their support of the club and the arts. Each inductee was honored with the unveiling of their portrait, painted by one of twenty-six esteemed artists. Among them was the famed Everett Raymond Kinstler, whose portraits of legendary members adorn the club's walls. Appropriately, Kinstler himself was inducted on the evening. Fittingly, he provided a self-portrait for the occasion.
Elaine will ABC radio film critic Bill Diehl. Click here to read Bill's tribute to Elaine.
It is quite an anomaly in the business world: a restaurant closing, despite the fact that it was doing turn-away business. However, Elaine's, the legendary Manhattan eatery that drew the rich and famous, has closed this week for good. The venue was so identified with the larger-than-life personality of its famed founder, Elaine Kaufman, that it could not survive her death last December. Kaufman was a constant presence at the place, jealously guarding the privacy of her famous diners, while simultaneously introducing them to each other. Woody Allen dined there every night for decades despite what he calls "the unrelentingly bad food". For more click here
Richard Johnson with spy girls Carol Lynley, Barbara Bouchet and Diana Dors in Danger Route. (Photo: Cinebeats)
Kimberly Lindbergs' addictive retro movie blog Cinebeats takes a look at another cult film yet to be released on DVD: the 1967 thriller Danger Route. The Amicus production stars Richard Johnson along with a bevy of outrageously sexy spy girls. The film is now streaming on Netflix in the USA. For more click here
Facing bad publicity and complaints from the U.S. Navy, Disney has dropped its plans to copyright the name SEAL Team 6, the military unit credited with killing Osama Bin Laden. Seems the Mouse House wanted to exploit the fighting men and turn their exploits into yet another cheesy action TV series. Almost immediately after the Bin Laden raid, the company filed paperwork trying to copyright the SEAL team name. That plan is now dead, but it's due to public criticism, not any sign of moral conscience on the part of Disney. Click here for more
BFI Flipside range have brought some interesting and occasionally downright
bizarre lost British films to a wider public audience since it's inception in
2009. Private Road is a followup, and in some sense a spiritual sequel,
to a previous Flipside relase, Bronco Bullfrog. That film was
Platts-Mills' debut as a feature director, and was notable for its performances
from non-professional actors. Private Road follows some of the themes
first explored in that film, and the naturalistic story-tellingl also comes
through, although Private Road is clearly more tightly constructed and
story follows Bruce Robinson (best known for writing and directing Withnail
and I) as a “gifted” young writer who seems to enjoy the boho lifestyle of
a London in the last thralls of the Swinging Sixties. We're told he's
brilliant, although he very rarely touches his typewriter. He gets together
with a young secretary played by Susan Penhaligon. They fall in love and start
a life together, but his old life can't quite let him go. Private Road
tackles the problems of growing up, of responsibility, of the divide between
generations. The drug-fueled hippy of the decade may have some of the answers,
but not all of them.
film seems both dated and totally fresh at the same time. It feels like a late
1960s piece, with its references to Vietnam and Maoist revolution. Bruce
Robinson is a dead ringer for Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett and the soundtrack
consists mainly of Nick Drake-style whimsical acoustic guitar numbers. Yet the
film deals very frankly with issues such as heroin, abortion and relationships.
Susan Penhaligon is a revelation in this film. Her character is sometimes
naïve, sometimes outspoken and adult. Her performance feels truthful, in part
because of the improvised feel of the dialogue.
Private Road is a terrific film
which sheds further light on Barney Platts-Mills, a director whose work is all but
forgotten. The BFI have put together another great package. Alongside the film
itself are two short films. One is a moving documentary by Platts-Mills on a
school for children with special needs. The second is The Last Chapter,
a short film starring Susan Penhaligon alongside that stalwart British
character actor, Denholm Elliott, based on a story by the novelist John Fowles.
He plays a successful author of badly-written but popular thrillers (he appears
to be a spoof of Ian Fleming), who is interrupted in his work by a young
schoolgirl who claims to want an interview for her school magazine. Initially
reluctant, Elliott eventually agrees, but things take an interesting and uneasy
turn when her motivations begin to seem suspect. Does she want to seduce him or
ruin him? It's a great little film and a superb extra to be included here.
BFI Flipside range are available in a dual-format package, meaning you can have
it on DVD and if you upgrade to Blu-ray later, you'll already have one to put
in your new machine. This is a great idea and should help encourage people to
try it out. The extras are the same on both discs.
Click here to order from Amazon UK (This is a Region 2 disc)
Plans are going forward to bring The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein to the screen with a screenplay by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright David Auburn. The spin this time is that the story will incorporate Mary Shelley, the author of the legendary novel Frankenstein, as a character, along with certain other real-life figures from history. For more click here
Okay, this has gone far enough. The craze of adapting board games into major films might have hit its most absurd premise with the news that the evergreen game for pre-schoolers, Candy Land, is being made into an action film similar to The Lord of the Rings. Can a blood-and-guts film called Go Fish! be too far behind? For more click here
MGM and Screen Gems have announced they will team to remake Brian De Palma's 1976 horror film Carrie, based on the Stephen King best-seller. The original was hardly a classic, but did earn a lot of money and scored Best Actress and Supporting Actress Oscar nominations for Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie. The film is about a troubled, outcast high school student who possesses extraordinary powers to wreak destruction through telekinetic powers. The film also provided an early big screen role for John Travolta. The bad news is that the movie is being scripted by Robert Aguirre-Sacasa, who has earned critical scorn for writing the Broadway Spiderman special effects-laden production that has seemed cursed since the day it opened. Click here for more
Undaunted by the problems old Spiderman has encountered with his Broadway rock-themed show, Warner Brothers is launching a spectacular of their own starring the Caped Crusader himself. The tepidly-titled Batman Live (couldn't they have at least put in an exclamation point?) will combine action spectacle with rock 'n roll music in a concert arena setting. We're not sure what rock 'n roll has to do with the super hero genre but it's all the rage. The show will launch this July in Manchester, England with plans to tour with the production, if it proves successful. The shows pits Batman and Robin against an all-star cast of villains. What's next? Thor on Ice? Click here for more
A sequel to J.J. Abrams' highly successful relaunch of the Star Trek franchise is in the works. The script work has been moving at a glacial pace because Abrams has been preoccupied with Super 8. However, he has been contributing ideas and hopes to possibly direct the film as well. Paramount plans to have the movie in theaters next June. For more click here
Pundits and film critics always question why there are so many remakes of good movies. They generally ask the rhetorical question, "Why not remake bad movies?" The answer may be found in the fact that many bad movies have been remade into even worse productions. Case in point: the 1978 schlock scarefest The Amityville Horror was derided by all but made a ton money largely because naive members of the public actually believed the bestselling book that recounted "factual" hauntings in the New York home. The fact that there is more evidence of the Loch Ness Monster than these reputed happenings didn't deter Hollywood from churning out a seemingly endless string of Amity sequels and prequels. Now Miramax is getting on board with their own project. That's right, the prestigious company behind The King's Speech will be trawling for dollars by exhuming the oft-told tale. At least by this point, no one is pretending its based on fact. Not to be outdone, company called Hannibal Classics is launching their own Amityville pic. Is there an audience for this sludge? You bet. In fact, as I write this, there are thousands of Americans preparing for the end of the world, which apparently will come later today. They have based their actions on the divine word of a talk show host and religious zealot, so how could they possibly go wrong? With so many dummies running about, there is plenty of room for Amityville fllicks, many of whom believe they are watching documentaries. If I'm wrong and the world does end tonight, don't worry about hurrying up with your subscription renewals for Cinema Retro. For more click here
In 1970, sisters Mary and Madeleine Collinson made history by both posing as Miss October.
Playboy, now back in control of founder Hugh Hefner, has created a new on-line service where readers can access every single issue of the iconic magazine for $8 per month or $60 a year. Every word (and those all-important photos) will be accessible for viewing. In days of old, kids would have to secretly read the issue with a flashlight under their blankets. Today, we suppose they do the same but use a Kindle. For more click here
Joseph Brooks, the Oscar and Grammy winning producer, director, screenwriter and composer, was found dead today of an apparent suicide. Brooks was in poor health and about to stand trial on charges that he lured women for acting auditions, drugged them and then raped them. Brooks had plead innocent to the charges. In 1977, Brooks was the creative force behind You Light Up My Life, a low-budget romance that was cleverly marketed around a title song that won him and Oscar and a Grammy. The film was also a major hit, but Brooks' follow-up efforts never repeated the success. Ironically, Brooks son Nicholas is also in legal trouble, charged with murdering his girlfriend. For more click here
As 94 year-old Zsa Zsa Gabor lies slowly dying in a Los Angeles Hospital, her 9th husband and her only daughter are locked in a spiteful battle over who should have access to oversee Zsa Zsa in her final days. Her husband has the law on his side, as the famed actress signed over all legal guardianship to him years ago - and he refuses to let her daughter visit her mother on her death bed. Click here for more
Cinema Retro has received the following press release from Twentieth Century Fox:
PARAMOUNT PICTURES, TWENTIETHCENTURY FOX AND LIGHTSTORM
ENTERTAINMENT TO SET SAIL AGAIN WITH JAMES CAMERON’S OSCARÒ-WINNING
“TITANIC” WITH A WORLDWIDE 3D RE-RELEASE ON APRIL 6, 2012
Movie’s Re-Release to Coincide
With the Centennial of the Ship’s Sailing
HOLLYWOOD, CA (May 19, 2011) - Paramount Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox and Lightstorm
Entertainment jointly announced today that James Cameron’s
“TITANIC” will be re-released worldwide on April 6, 2012.
The release, which marks the 100th anniversary of the Titanic setting sail
(April 10th), will present the film in 3D for the first time ever.
Written, directed and produced by Cameron, “TITANIC” is the second
highest grossing movie of all time. It is one of only three films to have
received a record 11 Academy AwardsÒincluding Best Picture and Best Director; and launched
the careers of stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.
Called “A spectacular demonstration of what modern technology can
contribute to dramatic storytelling” by Variety upon its release
in 1997, the long in the works 3D conversion is being overseen by Cameron and
his Lightstorm producing partner Jon Landau who produced the hit movie.
Said Cameron, "There's a whole generation that's never seen
‘TITANIC’ as it was meant to be seen, on the big screen. And
this will be ‘TITANIC’ as you've never seen it before, digitally
re-mastered at 4K and painstakingly converted to 3D. With the emotional
power intact and the images more powerful than ever, this will be an epic
experience for fans and newcomers alike."
“This new presentation of Paramount’s top-grossing film is
particularly special because 2012 is the 100th anniversary of our studio.
Paramount has had the pleasure of introducing audiences to some of the all-time
classics of cinema during that century of moviemaking and we cannot think of a
better way to mark the occasion than with this re-release of ‘Titanic’,” said Brad Grey,
Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures.
Commented Fox Filmed Entertainment Chairmen and CEOs, Jim Gianopulos and Tom
Rothman: “Our 30-plus year relationship with Jim Cameron and Lightstorm
has been enormously rewarding, from ‘Aliens’ to
‘Avatar’, and the global phenomenon of ‘Titanic’ remains one of the
greatest sources of pride in our history. We are pleased to allow a new
generation of audiences to experience the film in its brilliant digital
restoration in 3D.”
Connors is on a real life case to track down his missing royalties.
Another icon of 1960s TV claims he was snookered out of merchandising and video royalties. Mike Connors, who starred in the popular private eye series Mannix, claims that Hollywood accounting practices manage to show that his hit series that ran for years is still technically in the loss column, thus CBS and Paramount are denying him royalties. Connors says the more the show grosses, the greater the losses. This is due to notorious accounting practices that artificially inflate a show's production costs and overheads. Actors and actresses have been taking studios to court for decades over this method of denying royalties to talent. For more click here
Corman photographed in London by Cinema Retro's Mark Mawston. (All rights reserved)
Ageless B movie producer Roger Corman is the subject of a new documentary. In Cannes, he gave a Master Class on how to ensure films make a profit saying, "I never had a failure. All my films were successes." However, he does make one exception: his only film to win critical acclaim was the only one to under-perform at the box-office. Click here to read Corman's comments on mentoring Ron Howard, Jack Nicholson, Francis Ford Coppola and many other Hollywood icons. (For Ian Brown's exclusive interview with Roger Corman, see Cinema Retro issue #18 in which he discusses his adaptations of the works of Edgar Allan Poe for American International)
The Running Man: Arnold continues to avoid the press since details of his sex scandal broke.
By Lee Pfeiffer
Arnold Schwarzenegger has announced that his return to the big screen in Cry Macho has been indefinitely postponed while he deals with the fallout of the sex scandal that has cost him his marriage - and his reputation as a devoted family man. It was also announced by his producing partners, including comic book titan Stan Lee, that his much-publicized forthcoming animated TV series The Governator has been put on ice before it even aired. It isn't known whether the show will be permanently canceled. However, as Schwarzenegger was represented as a superhero who fights crime with the aid of his wife and kids, it seems dubious the series will debut any time soon. Schwarzenegger's scandals with women date back years, but he deftly removed himself from being scrutinized too closely fodder by cleverly signing a business deal with the company that owns most of the major American tabloids. As a business partner with the company, the tabloids had an incentive to paint him in a favorable light. Click here for more.
Winston Churchill once observed that capitalism is the worst form of government - except for all the others. One wonders if the great man might have second thoughts about that caveat if he were around to see the shameful actions of the Disney organization, which just filed copyright claims on the name 'Seal Team 6'. President Obama had barely announced the daring raid by these top secret military men that resulted in the killing of Bin Laden, when some "go-getters" at Disney jumped in and filed to copyright the name. Granted, Hollywood studios across the board are looking to bring the raid to the screen, but only Disney had the audacity to try to control the actual name of the team. Disney is seeking to bring out a line of merchandise tied in to Navy Seal Team 6. Even better for the company, they won't have to share one penny in royalties with the anonymous team members who put their lives on the line. For more click here
Thor is the latest Marvel Comics hero to make the transition to the big screen, even though the cinematic version bares virtually no resemblance to the comic character.
Using the example of Thor, critic John Farr speculates that some movie critics often say kind things about bad films in order to appease studios whose advertisements help provide them job security. Farr says there is no other explanation for the kind words some critics have been heaping on mediocre films. He makes a glaring exception for New York Times reviewer A.O. Scott, who also uses Thor to exemplify everything that is wrong with today's action movies. For more click here
Artist Al Hirschfeld's depiction of Sean Connery and Ursula Andress in Dr. No
By Lee Pfeiffer
Joe Dante sent us the head's up that he's just posted the original American trailer for the first James Bond movie, Dr. No on his Trailers From Hell web site as week long tribute to Connery's films. The trailer features an intro and narration by director Brian Trenchard-Smith, who remembers visiting Pinewood Studios as a child and being mesmerized by observing the movie being filmed. There are countless tales of exactly how Sean Connery got the part of Bond. Trenchard-Smith goes with the story, oft-told by long time Bond editor and director Peter Hunt, that it was he who brought the young Scot to the attention of producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. The film's director, Terence Young, also used to take credit for bringing Connery to the role. For the record, Broccoli told me that the first time Connery was suggested for the role of Bond occurred when he and his wife Dana attended a screening of Disney's Darby O'Gill and the Little People. Cubby admitted to me that he didn't initially see any potential in Connery as Bond until Dana convinced him that he had raw sex appeal that could translate to the role of 007. What is the actual truth behind all of these stories? There is probably truth in all of them, although Cubby always insisted that when he told Terence Young that they had cast Connery, with whom he had worked previously in the 1950s, the director simply put his head in his hands and said, "Disaster! Disaster!".
This much is indisputable: Connery himself says that without Young's mentoring, he would not have succeeded in the role. The young actor was a diamond in the rough and the erudite Young gave him a crash course in manners, dress and proper dining habits. In essence, he taught Connery the snobbier aspects of Bond's personality. It's doubtful all of these people would have been debating who got the credit for casting Connery as Bond if the film had not been a smash hit. As John F. Kennedy once observed, "Victory has a thousand fathers but defeat is an orphan." Click here to view
Actress Mary Tyler Moore has decided to proceed with an operation to remove a benign tumor from her brain. The 73 year-old actress's physicians call the surgery "routine". Meanwhile, Moore made a surprise appearance on a taping of the Rachel Ray Show to join her former co-star Dick Van Dyke, who is promoting his new memoir. Click here for more
Director Terrence Malick has made only a handful of films in a career that has spanned decades. Thus, any work by him generates immediate interest among critics and film fans who remain divided about whether he is an eccentric genius or a pretentious pseudo-intellectual. Malick's films are generally long on exquisite production values and short on human emotions. His latest movie, The Tree of Life, is no exception. It debuted at Cannes several days ago amidst boos from audience members and a fiercely divided critical establishment. The film stars Brad Pitt and Sean Penn and seeks to examine the origins of the universe through the eyes of a family in the 1950s. Malick certainly can't be accused of aiming low in terms of cinematic ambition. Critics agree the film looks gorgeous but evaluations of the end result ranged from being acclaimed as a bold success to being a pretentious bore. Click here for more
The generation of subversive filmmakers who emerged out of
the rubble of Manhattan’s Lower East Side in the 1970s, who wrote, cast,
produced and directed their own punk riffs on narrative feature films long
before the digital revolution made it easy, has long gone without a proper
documentary that chronicles their fascinating emergence during this era. Well,
no more. Blank City, directed by French newcomer Celine Danhier, was one
of the most talked about docs at festivals worldwide in 2010, and recently started
its theatrical engagement at the IFC Center in Manhattan and across the USA at
major indie-cinema venues.
Packed with film clips, period footage and insightful
interviews with key players from the scene, such as Debbie Harry, John Waters,
Ann Magnuson, Amos Poe, Eric Mitchell, Patti Astor and Jim Jarmusch, Blank
City is a fascinating and inspiring documentary that unspools like a
long-overdue oral history, both of Manhattan’s Alphabet City and of the “No
Wave” film movement that exploded there in the mid-to-late ‘70s. Its bombed-out
streets of vacant lots and nearly uninhabitable tenements provided the stage
for the first generation of DIY filmmakers -- nearly 30 years before YouTube --
who picked up Super-8 cameras and cast their friends and themselves in hastily
written films with names like Blank Generation, Rome ‘78, Permanent
Vacation and Empty Suitcases. If the titles sound like punk album
titles, they essentially were. The same ethos that informed the short, jagged,
minimalist music of bands like Television, the Voidoids, The Contortions and
Teenage Jesus -- then rocking CBGB’s on the Bowery -- was also the philosophy
behind these no-budget mini-masterpieces.
“It felt like our lives were movies,” says Blondie’s Debbie
Harry, who, like many in the downtown scene, was both in a band and in her
friends’ films, such as Amos Poe’s The Foreigner (1978).
When former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife Maria Shriver announced the end of their 25 year marriage last week, many people were left scratching their heads. The odd couple of American politics had seemed to enjoy a storybook romance despite the fact that is a Republican and Shriver comes from the arch-liberal Kennedy clan. Now the couple has acknowledged as fact a report in the Los Angeles Times that puts the split-up into context: Schwarzenegger had fathered a child with a long time member of the household staff a decade ago. This means that he was fully aware of the potential for scandal when he ran for governor in 2003. The one-time screen icon was elected and served two full terms as governor. Shriver only recently learned about the scandal and moved out of the house prior to the couple announcing their split. Shriver has had no comment on the situation and Schwarzenegger has made a statement acknowledging full responsibility for his actions and asked the press to respect the privacy of Shriver and their children. The woman who bore his child has not been identified except as a person who recently left the couple's employ after twenty years of service. Adding to the salacious aspects of the scandal, the woman was also married when she conceived the child and she identified her husband as the father.
This is but the latest in a seemingly endless series of bipartisan sex scandals that have plagued American politics in recent years. It specifically calls to mind the situation of one-time Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards, whose career was derailed when he fathered a child with a staffer. Schwarzenegger has only one aspect in his favor: unlike most of the politicians who are caught up in sex scandals, he never adopted a "holier-than-thou" family values persona. His long-time womanizing posed a problem during his first campaign for governor, but Shriver was crucial in convincing the public he was now a changed man. Click here for more
Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft: was the success of Tomb Raider just a fluke?
There is a long-standing "conventional wisdom" in the film industry and among movie fans that, in general, audiences are reluctant to patronize action movies in which female characters have the lead. With few exceptions, the box-office seems to bare this out. However, writer Robert J. Elisberg begs to differ, using the recent failure of the female-themed action movie Sucker Punch as Exhibit A. Elisberg says that the film's flop is being pointed to as futher evidence that audiences don't want to see women in action movies. He says all it proves is that audiences don't want to see women in bad action movies. He supplies plenty of evidence that male stars have been allowed to keep their reputations as box-office kings despite strings of bad action movies that were also rejected by audiences. Click here to read
by Patrick Lussier, whose previous directorial outing was 2009’s entertaining 3D
film My Bloody Valentine, Drive Angry is a wild, extravagant and
farfetched ride about deep, meaningful subjects such as love and loss, and
takes the audience through various locations in Louisiana. Nicolas Cage stars
as Milton, a convicted felon who
makes his way out of Hell to stop Jonah King (Billy Burke), the head of a Satanic
cult, from sacrificing Milton’s infant granddaughter to the Prince of Darkness on
the night of the full moon, thus becoming the most powerful human alive. The
cult killed Milton’s daughter and he will stop at nothing to kill as many of
the cult members as possible with his trusty “GodKiller” gun.Unfortunately, Milton is without a vehicle,
but a fortuitous stop at a roadside diner puts him into a partnership with Piper
(Amber Heard of The Joneses and the
upcoming The Rum Diary), a waitress who
bolts from her lecherous boss (Jack McGee) and cheating boyfriend Frank (Todd
Farmer, who co-wrote the script with the director) in the latter’s 1969 Dodge
Charger. Together, Milton and Piper seek to stop the cult and save Milton’s
granddaughter and humanity from the dark forces of evil.With the police hot on Milton and Piper’s
trail, one of the Devil’s minions, known as The Accountant (William Fitchner), inexorably
chases Milton in an effort to take him back to Hell.
Plans to bring a musical version of the hit 1982 screen comedy Tootsie to Broadway have hit a snag. The composer and lyricist originally contracted to work on the show are suing producers after they were summarily fired. They claim they were unfairly treated and are entitled to the money they could have made from royalties the show can potentially generate. Click here for more
Criterion Collection has upgraded and re-released their excellent edition of
Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Diabolique
(officially titled Les Diaboliques—The Devils—but it’s been known simply as
Diabolique in America since it’s 1955 release), issuing the film with a new digitally
restored edition on DVD and for the first time on Blu-ray. Based on a novel by
Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac, the pair of mystery/thriller writers who
provided Alfred Hitchcock with the basis for Vertigo,Diabolique was a
project that the master of suspense almost filmed himself. In fact, Hitchcock
had bought the rights, but Clouzot snatched them immediately after making The Wages of Fear in 1953. Needless to
say, Diabolique is just the sort of
thing Hitchcock would have done well—but Clouzot did it exceptionally well.
a truly suspenseful chiller that takes place at a children’s boarding school in
France. The place is run by a strict, mean headmaster and his timid, fragile
wife (with a heart problem, and she’s wonderfully played by the director’s
wife, Vera Clouzot). Added in the mix is a forceful teacher, played by Simone
Signoret, who conspires with the wife to kill off the headmaster so that they
can inherit the school and run it together.
don’t go as they plan.
masterfully sucks the viewer in to an intricate plot in which nothing is really
as it seems. And, yes, there is a surprise ending. In fact, Diabolique was the first movie to warn
viewers not to reveal the ending, several years before Hitchcock stole the
marketing concept for Psycho.
new Criterion edition contains selected scene commentary by French film scholar
Kelley Conway. Extras include an excellent new video interview and analysis by
film critic and novelist Kim Newman, and a new video introduction by Serge
Bromberg, director of a Clouzot documentary (Inferno). While the Bromberg introduction suffers from, perhaps,
being lost in translation—nothing Bromberg says makes any sense (“Clouzot
places his film in a box and invites the audience to join him in that
box…”)—the Newman video is insightful and explores the many layers of the film.
Bromberg also makes the claim that Clouzot is one of the top ten directors in
the history of cinema. While Clouzot was certainly a master of his craft and a
great storyteller, that claim is, well, a stretch. The enclosed booklet, always
a Criterion showpiece, features an essay by film critic Terrence Rafferty. The
black and white photography by Armand Thirard is more akin to the Universal
horror films of the 30s and the German expressionists of the 20s. Since the
transfer is absolutely gorgeous and crystal sharp, the picture is visually
turn out the lights, sit back, huddle with your loved one, and watch this
wonderfully frightening crime thriller—told by a master.
Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris screened in Cannes a couple of days ago and the general consensus is that it returns the complex director to his finest form in years. We saw the trailer and were hooked immediately by the glorious cinematography and typically convoluted Allenesque love story. Not only that, the film boasts that rarest of oddities in today's motion picture industry: a creative movie poster that doesn't look like it was thrown together on a scanner in five minutes. Click here for more
Jerry Seinfeld has launched a web site where he selects a trio of bits from his comedy routines and presents them on a daily basis. Curiously, the clips are not cached, so if you don't catch them on the day they are posted, you won't have an opportunity to see them. Click here to visit site
Quentin Tarantino has let it be known that he wants Will Smith to star in his forthcoming Western Django Unchained, as a former slave who hunts down an evil plantation owner in order to save his family. Smith has not been seen onscreen since Seven Pounds in 2008. Sources say Tarantino has sent him the script but there has been no official comment from Smith. Click here for more
Screenwriter Paul Thomas Anderson's battles with Scientology filled gossip columns a couple of years ago when he claimed he became disenchanted with the movement. Anderson had once been a convert to Scientology, but later made disparaging remarks about how the the movement operated and their strong-arm tactics to interfere in member's lives, particularly if it was suspected that a celebrity might denigrate Scientology in public. Scientology spokespeople fought back hard and said that Anderson's claims were false. However, the disgruntled screenwriter is taking his revenge- through the form of a feature film to star Philip Seymour Hoffman, who will play a thinly-veiled version of L. Ron Hubbard, the science fiction writer who created Scientology in the 1950s. Hubbard had long been a lightning rod for controversy, with converts looking upon him as a modern wise man who could unravel the secrets of the universe. Those more critical claim he was a certified crackpot who set up Scientology as a means to manipulate weak-willed individuals. The film will use fictitious situations to represent the movement and Hubbard, but there will be no doubt as to the real targets of Anderson's wrath. Click here for more.
Britain's BBC One network confirmed that the hit show Hustle is in its seventh and final season. The bizarre decision to cancel the program is leaving fans scratching their heads, especially since the series remains a major ratings hit, attracting almost seven million viewers in the UK with each episode. The network said the series might be revived in the future with a new cast (translation: replacing popular "older" cast members with younger faces). Robert Vaughn and Adrian Lester top-line the show. For more click here
Faye Dunaway has every reason to look on top of the
world. Not only is it her face gracing this year’s Cannes Film Festival
poster-- taken from 1970’s Puzzle of a Downfall Child-- but the film has recently been completely
restored by Universal Pictures. To mark the occasion, her director from the
film and ex- fiancé, Jerry Schatzberg, were reunited on the red carpet at
Cannes on May 11th for a press photocall.
Faye and Jerry then...
The restored print is being screened at Cannes and will
be distributed for the first time in France this fall.
It must have been something of a homecoming for the
onetime couple. Forty-plus years ago, they were photographed arm-in-arm,
dashing from photographers around Paris.
The 64th Festival de Cannes runs through May
Not too many years ago, Jim Caviezel was regarded as one of Hollywood's hot, rising new stars. After playing the lead role in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, however, Caviezel's career dried up. He says Gibson warned him this would be the inevtiable consequence of starring in the film but the actor's strong religious convictions persuaded him to accept the part of Jesus Christ. Gibson's film was a surprise box-office blockbuster, thanks mostly to his perceptive marketing campaign that targeted the Evangelical community who made it a virtual political statement to come out and support the movie to counter perceived anti-Christian bias in Hollywood. However, there may be more to it than that. Gibson has been embroiled in some unseemly high-profile scandals in recent years, at least one of which was tinged by anti-Semitic statements. His actions played into criticism of the film in some quarters that the movie was a thinly-disguised vehicle for anti-Jewish sentiment. Gibson has always denied this was the case. However, it may be that Caviezel is taking some of the heat from the backlash that Gibson has suffered. Click here for more.
Joe Dante's Trailers From Hell site presents the original trailer for Foxes, a 1980 coming-of-age movie starring young Jodie Foster and Scott Baio. The trailer features commentary by Girlfight director Karyn Kusama. Click here to view. Click here to read Cinema Retro columnist David Savage's analysis of the film from 2009.
a London-based publisher, has recently released Dark Stars Rising: Conversations from the Outer Realm, a series of
interviews by author and interviewer Shade Rupe.This 550-plus page paperback tome, laid out
and designed by David Kerekes and featuring artwork by Howard Forbes, consists
of discussions culled from nearly twenty-five years of interviews with artists
and reviewers such as the late Divine, Richard Kern, Jim Vanbebber, Johannes Schönherr, Zamora, the Torture King, the
late Chas. Balun, Peter Sotos, Dennis Paoli, Buddy Giovinazzo, Brother
Theodore, Teller (of Penn and Teller), William Lustig, Hermann Nitsch, Genesis
Breyer P-orridge, Udo Kier, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Floria Sigismondi, Dennis
Cooper, Andre Lassen, Tura Satana, Gaspar Noé, Arnold Drake, Richard Stanley, Dame
Darcy, Stephen O’Malley, Joanna Went and last but not least, the brainchild
behind the It trilogy, Crispin Glover.Granted, the majority of these names are not
on the tip of the tongue of the average person on the street when asked about
entertainment personalities, but I’m sure that the subjects would not want it
any other way.For the most part, these
personalities fall further outside of the mainstream than Pluto is from Earth; for
the most part, they defy being labeled.Trying
to describe these people is the equivalent of attempting to discuss David
Lynch’s Eraserhead with a group of soccer moms.
This book is not for the faint-of-heart.Lavishly illustrated with personal
photographs, some of them of a truly violent and bizarre sexual nature
featuring both male and female genitalia, the book also features behind-the-scenes
shots on film sets.
Being a horror film fan, I loved the interview with the late Chas.
Balun, the man behind the Deep Red magazine of the late 1980’s and early
1990’s, whom I met in 1990 at a Dario Argento signing in Albany, NY.Deep Red, named after Argento’s best film, was
my introduction to scholarly views of my favorite horror films.
The book also features newspaper clippings of the original ad
artwork for movies and ad slicks for personal appearances.Some shots include Jim Vanbebber in front of the Cinema
Village in Greenwich Village and Dennis Paoli with behind-the-scenes shots of Re-Animator.I am a sucker for images of movie theaters with
films from the past: Buddy
Giovinazzo’s Combat Shock on the marquee at the Deuce on 42nd Street
in New York; William Lustig’s Maniac at Century’s Green Acre Theatre in Valley
Stream, NY; and a few others.
final thirty pages or so consist of some very entertaining book and film
you’ve got the twenty-eight bucks and a strong stomach, Dark Stars Rising: Conversations from the Outer Realm is a great
way to spend an afternoon seeing what the wilder side of life has to
Tony Dalton (left) and the legendary Ray Harryhausen with their Rondo Awards. (Photo: Mark Mawston. All rights reserved)
writer and photographer Mark Mawston met with Ray Harryhausen and Tony Dalton
this week to hand them their Rondo Award (named after legendary character actor Rondo Hatton) for Best DVD commentary for Jason And
The Argonauts (These prestigious awards also saw a nomination for Cinema
Retro). Ray and Tony were very pleased with the award which will sit nicely
alongside Ray’s many other awards including his Oscar and recent Bafta. On
receiving the news that they had won Ray said “We
always tried to make sure the films weren’t too HORRIFIC as we didn’t want to
get an X rating and stop the kids seeing the films. I specifically wanted to
use “clean” skeletons in Jason so they weren’t too frightening as in the
original story they were rotten cadavers, which really WOULD have been
horrific!! Thanks to whoever voted for us. What a good looking chap to have in
Mawston also dropped in some rare trailers from his
collection to be used in the forthcoming release Ray Harryhausen: Effects
Titan, which is in the final stages of post-production. Full details of future
screenings and release details will be given to Retro once everyone is happy
with the final cut.
Flipside was launched in May 2009 with a mission to expose the hidden history of British cinema by releasing
restored prints on DVD and Blu-ray of British
films that have slipped through the cracks of time. Now on its 17th release the
label has released everything from exploitation documentaries about the seedy
sixties (London In The Raw) to
B-movies featuring Oliver Reed (The
Party's Over), Shirley Anne Field (Lunch
Hour), Klaus Kinski (The Pleasure
Girls) and Withnail & I
director Bruce Robinson (Private Road).
If it's weird, British and forgotten, then it's Flipside.
Developed from its popular monthly screening
slot at BFI Southbank, the Flipside titles are newly mastered to High
Definition from original film elements, and are presented with rare and
fascinating special features - including previously unavailable short films,
documentaries and archival interviews, many of which are preserved in the BFI
National Archive.Each title comes in
collectable numbered packaging and is accompanied by an extensive illustrated
booklet with insightful contributions from special guest writers, often
including the filmmakers themselves.
Over the coming months Cinema Retro will be
taking a look at each of these entries - embarking on an alternative journey
into the wonderful world of 60s and 70s British cinema. The latest release is Joanna
– the 1968 feature film debut of pop singer turned fashion photographer -
This modish sixties drama tracks the story of
seventeen-year-old Joanna - a cool, stylish, and determined young woman who is
just beginning a new life as an art student in swinging London. Played with
gusto by Genevieve Waite, Joanna indulges
in the pleasures of casual sexual encounters, colourful daydreams, and an
impromptu trip to Morocco with the wise and debonair Lord Peter Sanderson
(wonderfully played by Donald Sutherland). But when Joanna falls in love with
Gordon, from Sierra Leone, her life begins to get complicated.
Director Michael Sarne is best remembered in
the UK for his No 1 single Come Outside
but history has forgotten his feature film debut which ended up competing for
the Palme d’Or in Cannes. Sarne pitched the film as the female Alfie and secured financing from Fox
after they released his short - a travelogue titled The Road To St Tropez - as a B picture to James Coburn’s spy
thriller In Like Flint. His companion
on the trip was Joanne Roncarelli - a carefree girl from Frome in Somerset,
England. In the accompanying DVD booklet Sarne reveals to Chris Campion how
Roncarelli became his inspiration for Joanna. “[Joanne] had been a waitress in
the Saint-Tropez. She was art student and she’d nick clothes from shops. You
don’t often lie in bed with a girl who will tell you about her affairs in this
completely personal sort of way. I thought it was fascinating because I don’t
usually get that sort of dialogue from girls. This girl had 57 different lovers
she was telling me about in the morning!”
Sarne had wanted to cast his then girlfriend
Gabriella Licudi in the lead but was vetoed by producer Michael Laughlin. Sarne
subsequently cast the unknown 19 year old South African model Genevieve Waite who
he discovered on a Knightsbridge catwalk. “Genevieve had big, deep circles
under her eyes and obviously couldn’t act. All she had going for her was that
she had a figure like Twiggy.”
Although the film may look dated today, Sarne
bottled the youthful free-spirit attitude and Carnaby Street style fashion
perfectly. It’s the ultimate swinging London film – it’s colourful and it makes
the city look fantastic. He also interweaves darker shades into the film with
pregnancies, abortions and beatings. Sarne was an avid Fellini fan and aimed to
make Joanna the London Dolce Vita – by creating surreal dream
sequences and bold set pieces to convey a world-within-a-world inhabited by the
Sarne told Bob Stranley in the Guardian
recently “For all Joanna’s faults, it
does reflect the dizziness and silliness of 60s London. And the happiness –
people really did dress up and show off. Some people like to look back and
think it was all Ken Loach and Mike Leigh, but we had fast cars, Brigitte
Bardot was in town, and we all had affairs in Rome and Paris. It didn’t just
happen to the Beatles.”
This new BFI release comes with a plethora of
extras. As well as Sarne’s 1966 short which resulted in him making Joanna – The Road To Saint Tropez, the BFI have also included an unusual
short Death Maybe Your Santa Claus –
an experimental examination of an interracial relationship in 1960s London. The
disc also features an on-stage interview with Sarne at the BFI Southbank, and a
downloadable PDF of his novel based on the film.
(Flipside 0016) RRP £19.99 Cat no: BFIB1062 / UK, US / 1968 / Cert 18 / colour
/ English language / 113 mins / original aspect ratio 2.35:1 / Region 2 // Disc
1: BD50 / 1080p / 24fps / PCM mono audio (48k/24bit) // Disc 2: DVD9 / PAL /
Dolby Digital mono audio (320 kbps)
The buzz had been building for months that Mel Gibson was set to make a comeback through an unlikely vehicle: director Jodie Foster's The Beaver, in which Gibson plays a psychologically disturbed executive who finds solace in life through a beaver puppet. The flick had been getting good pre-release buzz, but it has bombed at the box-office. The web site The Wrap says the grosses are embarrassing, even for a low-budget indie movie, and that Gibson "is no longer a viable movie star" thanks to his string of scandals. For more click here
Dana Wynter, the stunning beauty who played the female lead in the 1956 science fiction classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers has died from congestive heart failure. She was 79 years-old. Wynter's career escalated after appearing the film, which was directed by Don Siegel. She routinely dismissed theories that the movie was a criticism of McCarthyism, saying they only wanted to tell a good yarn. Wynter's other major films include Sink the Bismarck, D-Day: The Sixth of June, The List of Adrian Messenger and Airport. After the release of the latter film in 1970, Wynter concentrated on raising a family, though she did appear as a guest star in many TV series during the 1980s and 1990s. For more click here