January 24, 2017

Tag Archives: Stanley Kubrick

Spotlight on the Stars: Tom Cruise

For this week’s spotlight piece, I wanted to take a look at a real A-lister, and that happens to be Tom Cruise. For some, he’s become just an aging action hero, while others long for the days when he still did drama. Personally, I’m still enamored with the star power of Cruise in anything he does. He also happens to be an underrated actor, which you wouldn’t have believed just a decade ago when he seemed poised to finally win an Oscar. Yes, he does seem mostly geared towards action these days, but Cruise built his career working with A-list filmmakers. He got to the top by acting in the movies of the best in the business.
Cruise has worked with a lot of top notch directors over his career. Names like J.J. Abrams, Paul Thomas Anderson, Brad Bird, Cameron Crowe, Brian De Palma, Stanley Kubrick, Michael Mann, Robert Redford, Rob Reiner, Martin Scorsese, Tony Scott, Steven Spielberg, Oliver Stone, John Woo, and Edward Zwick litter his resume, and they’re not the only ones. This weekend’s Edge of Tomorrow adds Doug Liman to that list as well. If you look at his best performances, they often come from real auteurs like Anderson, Crowe, Kubrick, and Spielberg. I’d argue that the man has never given a bad performance, but those top tier ones have come from the biggest names in Hollywood.
If you look at his work, he’s shown an ability to do just about everything. He’s obviously become a tremendous movie star, and it was partially because he wasn’t pigeonholed. He was an action star in films like the Mission: Impossible franchise and something like Top Gun, a romantic lead in comedy/dramedy work like Jerry Maguire and Risky Business, a dramatic lead in awards bait like Born on the Fourth of July and Rain Man, and even could completely disappear into a supporting role in films like Magnolia and Tropic Thunder (where he demonstrated real comedy chops too). I’d argue there’s nothing that the man can’t do. He just needs to mix it up more. I’m fully confident that if he committed himself to doing a drama or an indie film every other year or so, he’d have another Oscar nomination before long and he’d probably be on pace to eventually win himself an Academy Award.
Overall, Cruise is an incredibly talented actor who still has a ton of miles still to […]

Does Tom Hooper nearly ruin Les Miserables with constant close ups?

When actors study their craft, be it the method, the Miesner technique, Adler, or any other of the many forms taught around the globe, they are taught to use their entire body. Movement, often dance is taught to the students so they will understand how important the use of their entire being is in any performance.
When Hannibal Lector makes his first appearance in The Silence of the Lambs (1991) he is standing erect in the middle of his cell, as if at attention, his entire body taut, ready for the meeting he already knows is going to happen, like a predator patiently waiting for its prey. That was a decision made by actor and director, knowing already that the audience had heard so much about the character, they decided how best to allow that first visual. There are close ups in the film, several of Lector’s face, up close and personal, but the director, Jonathan Demme also knew when to pull back, when not to move in so tight.
In Stanley Kubrick’s mesmerizing A Clockwork Orange (1971) so much of Malcolm MacDowell’s character, of what we think of him, is decided upon how he moves. The actor moves throughout the film with a jaunty step, almost cocky, until beaten down at the end only to rise again at the end, going back to his violent ways. Sure we see him close up as he relishes the idea of going back to his life of crime, but Kubrick had the wisdom to allow the actor to create so much of his character with his body, therefore shot at a distance. Edwin S. Porter began moving the camera in 1902 with a simple pan, something DW Griffith built upon when he and cameraman Billy Blitzer created many of the shots that are used to this day. Though it might seem primitive to us today, they were actually creating a cinematic language way back in 1908-1915, culminating in Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation (1915).
The template they created for shots is the same used today with some small variations, and only the iris shot rarely used, though it is present in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights (1997) and Martin Scorsese’s Hugo (2011).
Tom Hooper can direct. To read more about “Tom Hooper nearly ruin Les Miserables with constant close ups?” go to AWARDSCIRCUIT.COM

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Paul Thomas Anderson surprises California audience with “The Master” screening

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: The Venice and Toronto film festivals put feathers in their caps by being able to program Paul Thomas Anderson’s highly-anticipated “The Master” into their fall events. But knowing PTA – and his adoration for true cinema fans – he had something special up his sleeve, which was revealed Friday night in Santa Monica.
Anderson screened his film, in full, following a retrospective screening of Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” at the American Cinematheque in Southern California. Patrons attending the screening were told that there would be a second movie screening after the Kubrick classic, according to HitFix, but they had no idea it would be PTA’s drama until it screened.
The AC screening allowed Anderson (who attended with his wife, Maya Rudolph) to screen “The Master” in his preferred format, 70mm. This near-insistence is causing headaches with exhibitors as the film prepares its fall theatrical release. But the film will be opening in limited release on Sept. 14, with a strong push from The Weinstein Company, before it continues to expand.
You have to love PT Anderson for surprising fans at a legitimate cinematic event, taking a little wind out of the sails of the prestigious film festivals but paying tribute to the people he makes movies for … the audience.
It’s not going to stop us from covering the daylights out of “The Master” when it screens in Toronto in September. Stay tuned for our reports on Anderson’s movie, and its trot through the Oscar marathon.
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Oscars: Bennett Miller talks Brad Pitt, Kubrick’s influence, and the beauty of “Moneyball” – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell
hollywoodnews.com: Bennett Miller’s “Moneyball” was the best movie I saw in 2011.
Granted, it didn’t register as my favorite movie immediately after a pre-Toronto screening. But I found myself thinking about Miller’s adaptation for weeks. I went out of my way to see it again. Then one more time. By year’s end, no other film stuck to the ribs in quite the same way, resonating on multiple levels as it recounted the maverick story of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt, at his finest) and his against-the-grain plan to get his undervalued team back in contention.
I’m not alone in recognizing Miller’s efforts. The Broadcast Film Critics Association have nominated “Moneyball” in three Critics’ Choice Movie Awards categories including Best Picture, Actor (for Pitt), and Screenplay (for Stan Chervin, Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin). The film earned four Golden Globe noms, and the New York Film Critics Circle recognized Pitt and the “Moneyball” script late last year.
It was an honor to sit down with Miller to discuss “Moneyball,” the impact of certain movies, having a partner like Pitt and the beauty of baseball. Here’s Bennett Miller.
HollywoodNews.com: I found that I got more out of “Moneyball” on a second viewing than I did the first time through. Do you hear that often, and do you think about how many times an audience might be able to see your film while you are making it?
Bennett Miller: I do think about the shelf life of the film, and if it’s going to survive the ages. As I’m making it, I am interested in making something that holds up over time. I just think that the nature of the work that I’m interested in doing does have some complexity to it, and there are layers and subtlety, and it communicates on different frequencies. I think it’s natural that one might not get everything if you put a lot in there, you know? I’m very glad that you had that reaction, and I heard that before from Capote and The Cruise, also. But it’s not a question of not thinking about who’s going to get it enough. I don’t consciously concern myself with worrying about that. But I am trying to make something that has a lot to appreciate.
One of my favorite films is Stanley Kubrick’s “Barry Lyndon.” I’ve been watching that film for years. Most recently, I […]

Review: ‘Tree of Life’ creates a compelling portrait of transcendence – in cinema and in life

HollywoodNews.com: It seems fitting that just four days before the release of a new Blu-ray box set featuring ten of Stanley Kubrick’s movies, Terrence Malick’s fifth film, ‘Tree of Life,’ opens in theaters: notwithstanding both directors’ tendency to take on new projects with decidedly glacial deliberation, Kubrick and Malick are two of a very few filmmakers in Hollywood history to use the big canvas of the silver screen to ask some even bigger questions. And it’s not unfairly that ‘Tree of Life’ will inevitably be compared to ‘2001: A Space Odyssey,’ because both films use the backdrop of the history of our universe in order to find answers about ourselves – and vice versa. But in terms of technical execution, intelligence and sheer ambition, ‘Tree of Life’ outpaces other films by such a wide margin that it feels almost like the only one worthy of succeeding the grandiosity of ‘2001,’ even if its existential aspirations eventually overwhelm its emotional impact.
At its most practical, the film is about a man coming to terms with the death of his brother, filtered through the literal creation of the cosmos from its most elemental to its most ethereal. Sean Penn plays Jack as an adult, and his reflections on the troubled childhood he and his siblings endured form the centerpiece of a stunningly gorgeous chronicle of the entirety of our universe’s history. Much as the blackness of space heaves and tumbles as it creates solar systems and planets and life itself, Jack’s father (Brad Pitt) calcifies his children’s personalities battling their mother’s (Jessica Chastain) unconditional love with his own gruff, patronizing affection, and both the heavens and their human progeny fumble through this cycle of building, destroying and building again in desperate search for some sense of purpose – or in lieu of that, meaning.
The first image Malick presents us with is a divine, womblike flame that flickers dimly in absolute darkness; depending on your spiritual proclivities, the flame might be God, the original spark that caused the “big bang,” or the human spirit itself. (Or any number of other entities, for that matter.) But the first voice that speaks is Jack’s brother R.L., addressing him and their mother, suggesting that he has gone on to a better place. As the story turns to a fully-grown Jack, he wanders aimlessly through the glossy, confining angularity of a modern life, pausing briefly to offer […]

Brad Pitt, Terrence Malick’s “Tree of Life” booed in Cannes

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life,” one of the most anticipated films of the Cannes festival (if not of the entire year), finally screened for critics in France this morning and the reaction has been … well, mixed.
“Scattered audience members at its first screening in Cannes needed only one syllable: boo,” Anthony Breznican writes in EW.com. “The many supporters of the movie pushed back with counter-applause, but it was a shocking way for the movie to debut.”
Why shocking? Malick’s film has been set up to fail by uber-passionate bloggers like Jeff Wells, who practically demanded the film be excellent, sight unseen. How could anything but an instant masterpiece be deemed a success?
Maybe it’s not as bad as the boos make it seem.
Justin Chang references Stanley Kubrick’s “2001” in Variety as he writes that “Tree” is “something extraordinary,” and that the result “is pure-grade art cinema destined primarily for the delectation of Malick partisans and adventurous arthouse-goers, but with its cast names and see-it-to-believe-it stature, this inescapably divisive picture could captivate the zeitgeist for a spell.
Malick’s films divide audiences. Why would “Tree” be any different. Thankfully, you’ll be able to decide for yourself if his rumination on life an creation is art or navel gazing. “Tree of Life” opens everywhere on May 27.
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Kubrick’s “Clockwork Orange” getting anniversary Blu-ray

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Stanley Kubrick’s seminal 1971 film “A Clockwork Orange” turns 40 this year and will commemorate the anniversary with a Blu-ray edition loaded with behind-the-scenes clips and extensive “Making of” features.
Warner Home Video’s two-disc set, due out on May 31, includes “two newly-produced bonus features: ‘Turning Like Clockwork.’ a 25-minute documentary about the film’s “ultra-violence” and its cultural impact, and a short documentary where Malcolm McDowell reminiscences on working closely with the legendary director,” according to a release. This two-disc edition “will also contain the feature-length documentaries, ‘Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures’ and ‘O Lucky Malcolm,’” as well as a 40-page Blu-ray book with rare photos and production notes.
That’s the tip of the iceberg, though, for McDowell and “Clockwork Orange” fans.
From the release:
The prestigious Cannes Film Festival will launch the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the release of Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece with a special screening of a digitally restored copy of the film, joined by McDowell, Kubrick’s widow Christiane and brother-in-law Jan Harlan, executive producer on several of Kubrick’s films.
Anniversary screenings will continue with a special event May 25 at New York’s The Museum of Modern Art with McDowell participating in a panel discussion. In the early fall, Malcolm McDowell will be feted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences which will include a screening of A Clockwork Orange at AMPAS, Los Angeles.
Continuing the celebration, WHV will also release the Stanley Kubrick: Limited Edition Collection on Blu-ray ($148.95 SRP ) May 31 — an unprecedented 9-film, 10-disc collection, which contains every film the director made since1960. The collection features the film and bonus content from A Clockwork Orange 40th Anniversary Edition, the Blu-ray debuts of Lolita and Barry Lyndon, as well as the feature films Spartacus, Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and Eyes Wide Shut.
To continue teasing the “Clockwork” release, Warner has provided us with this exclusive trailer:
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Spielberg, Streep and Grant top Zagat survey, which holds interesting stats on 3-D, home video

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: All lists are subjective, and most movie lists are flawed. But if there’s a constant when it comes to compilations, it’s that they always stimulate great debate.
I’m loving the results of a Zagat survey released this morning in support of a new guide titled “The World’s Best Movies.” The guide, according to a release, is based on the input of 20,773 moviegoers who voted on ZAGAT.com and selected the top actors, actresses, directors and their films.
“This new survey puts the ratings and reviews of over 20,000 avid moviegoers at your fingertips so that no matter what your age, sex or preference, there’s an easy way to find the perfect film for every occasion,” said Tim Zagat, CEO and co-founder of Zagat Survey.
So what did we learn?
The top 20 films of all time, based on overall quality, are:
The Godfather (1972)
The Godfather Part II (1974)
Casablanca (1942)
Schindler’s List (1993)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Star Wars (1977)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Lady Eve (1941)
Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Rear Window (1954)
It Happened One Night (1934)
Citizen Kane (1941)
Shawshank Redemption (1994)
All About Eve (1950)
The Pianist (2002)
African Queen (1951)
Third Man (1949)
Finding Nemo (2003)
Dr. Strangelove (1964)
See any surprises? I’d say naming Andrew Stanton’s “Finding Nemo” as the only animated film on that list is a bit of a surprise (and I’m deeply in love with that film, but don’t think I’d put it ahead of “Pinocchio,” “Beauty and the Beast” or even “Toy Story”). And how about Polanski’s “The Pianist?” That shocked me.
Zagat went to break it down by director, saying Frank Capra’s best film was “It Happened One Night,” John Ford’s greatest was “Grapes of Wrath,” Alfred Hitchcock’s best is “Rear Window,” Stanley Kubrick’s finest is “Dr. Strangelove,” and Steven Spielberg’s greatest is “Schindler’s List.”
Speaking of Spielberg, he was named the all-time favorite director according to the survey, while favorite actor titles went to Cary Grant and Meryl Streep. Analyzing top films by decade, Zagats came up with the following list.
1920s: The General
1930s: Wizard of Oz
1940s: Casablanca
1950s: Singin’ in the Rain
1960s: Lawrence of Arabia
1970s: The Godfather
1980s: Raiders of the Lost Ark
1990s: Schindler’s List
2000s: The Pianist
And while lists are fun for discussion, there were telling figures buried in the survey that should catch the eye of industry insiders. According to the survey, 37 percent of film fans who watch movies at home say they watch movies on a portable device such […]

‘True Blood’s’ Klaveno on abusive sex scene with Moyer: ‘The water cooler scene of the season’

Hollywoodnews.com: Anyone catching last night’s episode’s of “True Blood” would have to be living in a cave if they didn’t notice the abusive sex scene between Stephen Moyer’s vampire Bill Compton and his creator Lorena played by Marina Klaveno.
In the scene, Bill forces himself so violently on to Lorena, that he twists her neck (Bill hates Lorena for destroying his life).
“I think it’ll be the water cooler scene, perhaps, of the whole season,” Klaveno told the New York Post. “I’m a little scared to find out how it’s received because it was really hard to film… for all of us.
“We kept looking at the director and writer saying, ‘Really? Really? Are we really doing this?’ But that’s the great thing about this show – it pushes the envelope and surprises you. As soon as you think you’ve seen it all, we pull something else out of the hat.
“We added the blood, which wasn’t in the script, and it became far more violent. More like a rape scene, actually. Which of course makes it all the more disturbing when you hear Lorena’s line [‘I love you’].”
Klaveno revealed that this is just the beginning – expect even more violent scenes in the future. Take that Kubrick’s “Clockwork Orange”!
“She’s allowing everything to happen to her, which makes it even more disturbing,” the actress continues “There’s a choice there on Lorena’s part, so there’s a power there in allowing him to throw her on the bed and inflict the violence on her. She’s complicit in all of it.
“The darker he turns, the more she feels like he’s coming back to her, so as messed up as it is for me as an actor – getting violated and brutalized – there’s actually a lot of power in that for her.”
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10 Best Comedy Lines from Classic Movies

HollywoodNews.com: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) today unveiled the network’s list of 10 Best Comedy Lines from Classic Movies, timed to coincide with the buildup to sister network TBS and Just For Laughs’ second annual comedy festival in Chicago, which begins tomorrow. The list includes lines from a number of memorable comedies, spoken by such notables as Groucho Marx, Mel Brooks, Ginger Rogers, Peter Sellers, John Belushi and Rob Reiner’s mother.
With this latest authoritative list, TCM set out to find lines that leave audiences in stitches. Many of the lines are repeated by even the most casual movie fans, demonstrating their strong foothold in pop culture.
“Great movie quotes frequently make their way into everyday conversation, and that is especially true for lines that make us laugh out loud,” said TCM host and film historian Robert Osborne.
Here are the lines included on TCM’s list of 10 Best Comedy Lines from Classic Movies, listed in chronological order:
“It must have been hard on your mother, not having any children.” – Ginger Rogers, 42nd Street (1933)
Warner Bros.’ Busby Berkeley musicals may be best remembered for his kaleidoscopic choreography, but they were also a treasure trove of wise cracks and put downs, delivered by some of the best “dames” on screen, including Joan Blondell, Una Merkel, Glenda Farrell and Rogers. Even though the films’ plot contrivances and grandiose musical stagings may seem dated today, the zingers that kept audiences laughing remain as fresh as ever.
“You can’t fool me! There ain’t no sanity clause!” – Chico Marx, A Night at the Opera (1935)
No nose was spared tweaking when the Marx Bros. hit the screen, whether their targets were dignified matrons, bombastic villains or such institutions as college sports, big business and, in this case, grand opera. Not even the English language was safe as Groucho and Chico subjected audiences to some of the funniest pun-ishment they’d ever heard.
“What do they think I am? Dumb or something? Why, I make more money than – than – than Calvin Coolidge! Put together!” – Jean Hagen, Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
The dumb blonde is one of comedy’s most reliable archetypes, and few were dumber than Lina Lamont, the silent love goddess whose screechy voice and dim wits threaten her career when sound arrives. Conceived for Judy Holliday and considered for Lana Turner, the role ultimately went to Hagen, one of the most […]

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