Character actor Rex Reason passed away last week at the age of 86. Reason primarily worked in television, with appearances on several shows in the fifties and sixties such as “Man Without a Gun” and “The Roaring 20’s,” but he made movies, too, and his two most memorable roles happened to be in science fiction/horror movies. One was in the final installment of Universal’s Creature from the Black Lagoon franchise, The Creature Walks Among Us. The other, his most recognizable performance, was in This Island Earth.
It’s always fun to look back at an important and influential filmmaker’s early work. Whether it’s revisiting the old films of Hollywood royalty, such as George Lucas’ THX 1138 or Steven Spielberg’s Duel, or checking out the initial projects of genre icons, like John Carpenter’s Dark Star or Wes Craven’s The Last House on the Left, seeing the visions of developing artists never disappoints. One of these early pictures that set the stage for a successful film career is the first film by horror legend David Cronenberg, an artsy little science fiction shocker made in 1969 called Stereo.
The horror world lost another one of its icons this past weekend when Gunnar Hansen passed away at the age of 68 from pancreatic cancer. Hansen is, of course, best known for playing the cannibalistic killer Leatherface in Tobe Hooper’s original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre in 1974. After that, he made one more movie, 1977’s The Demon Lover, then backed away from acting for about a decade. His return to the screen came in 1988 when he took a role in the campily, yet appropriately, named Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers.
When most people think of National Lampoon, the first thing that comes to mind is movies, specifically Animal House and Vacation, but there's much more to it than that. The entire sordid history is recounted in Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon.
There’s little doubt that Alfred Hitchcock is one of the biggest (if not THE biggest) influences in the world of cinema. Many successful directors owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Master of Suspense, everyone from Robert Zemeckis (What Lies Beneath) to David Fincher (Se7en, Panic Room), from Steven Spielberg (Jaws, Duel) to David Lynch (just about every Lynch film). The supreme Hitchcock worshipper, however, is Brian De Palma, whose entire early career, a resume which includes movies like The Fury, Body Double, and Blow Out, seems to pay tribute to the big guy. Case in point; De Palma’s 1980 Psycho homage Dressed to Kill.
It seems as if hardly a week goes by when there isn’t a news story about some sort of alleged police misconduct. Unfortunately, much of it ends up with civilians being killed. That’s why Peace Officer is such a timely film.
One of the most fun parts of Halloween is seeing all the cool stuff that the holiday brings to television. Annual Halloween programming floods the airwaves each year, from “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” to “Garfield’s Halloween Adventure.” Regular series broadcast their own Halloween specials as well, from the “Treehouse of Terror” episodes of “The Simpsons” to reruns of the spooky “Roseanne” Halloween shows. And then, there are the made-for-TV movies, awesomely fun and family friendly gems like Halloweentown and The Worst Witch. One of these cool Halloween television movies is the 1985 musical horror comedy mashup The Midnight Hour.
A couple of years ago, Cinema Fearité made the observation that the monsters that were made famous by the Toho Co. Ltd. Kaiju movies were like The Avengers, even venturing so far as to say that the mighty Godzilla would be Toho’s Iron Man, and Rodan is like their Captain America. If all of that is true, then the star of 1962’s Varan the Unbelievable would be one of the less appreciated heroes, someone like Hawkeye or Quicksilver.
Often seen as the godfather of the Italian giallo movie and a pioneer of the modern slasher film, Mario Bava has made movies that deal with both the supernatural (Black Sunday, Kill Baby, Kill) and the evils of humanity (A Bay of Blood, Hatchet for the Honeymoon). And sometimes, he mixed the two with horrifying results. A perfect example of this kind of subgenre mashup is his surreal 1973 movie Lisa and the Devil.
The trials and tribulations of Roman Polanski’s personal life often overshadow his body of work; in the midst of having his wife killed by the Mason family and his underage sex scandal, it’s easy to forget that the man knows how to make movies. From the cinematic classics of Rosemary’s Baby and Chinatown to his later personal projects Carnage and Venus in Fur, Polanski’s filmic style is inimitable. Although he could never be pinned down to one particular genre, his early movies were mostly horror, and in 1965, Polanski’s second feature Repulsion proved that he could scare with the best of them.
During his woefully short six-year career, William Girdler made truly memorable films. A renaissance man who wrote, directed, scored, and produced, Girdler made nine films in the seventies, including the schlock classics Asylum of Satan and Three on a Meathook, his The Exorcist ripoff Abby, and his beasts-gone-wild movies Grizzly and Day of the Animals. His final film, released in 1978, was the strangest of them all: The Manitou.
In the early eighties, legendary actor Marlon Brando had the features of his head scanned and digitized by a special effects house, thinking that someday in the near future, actors would be replaced by computer generated images of themselves, therefore rendering themselves obsolete. It is both fun and fitting that director Stevan Riley (Fire in Babylon, Blue Blood) uses these cleaned-up hologram-like Brando head images to narrate Listen to Me Marlon.
To the uninitiated, it would seem as if the LEGO toy brand was thrust into the limelight by last year’s The LEGO Movie, but truthfully, the beloved construction toy was always there. Now, A LEGO Brickumentary tells curious viewers everything they ever wanted to know about one of the world’s most popular toy companies.
A couple of years ago, filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer made The Act of Killing, a disturbing look at the attitudes of former Indonesian death squad leaders towards their past crimes during their country’s genocidal communist cleansing of the mid-sixties. Now, Oppenheimer tells the other side of the story in the companion piece The Look of Silence.
It’s been over ten years since Morgan Spurlock’s eye-opening sensational documentary Super Size Me showed people the evils of dining on a diet consisting of McDonald’s food and nothing else. That’s just enough time for a new generation of activists to latch onto That Sugar Film, a movie in which Australian actor Damon Gameau (“Raw”) does basically the same thing.
Italian Director/Screenwriter Lorenzo Sportiello has a very unique vision of the future, as seen in his debut feature film Index Zero. It is the year 2035, and gone are the European Countries we know so well; in their place is the United States of Europe. How this came to be we shall never know. It is accepted, as is the fact that the powers that be are not open and inviting to others. Nor is freedom an option any longer, or the ability to live your life as you wish. The new world order is bleak.
If you have ever wanted to see Richard Gere (Pretty Woman, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) at his eccentric best, watch Franny. Gere stars as the title character Franny, a wealthy philanthropist who has always been a tad outlandish. His behavior becomes altogether erratic after he loses his best friends in a car crash and he is left ultimately alone. Five years later and a call from their daughter Olivia (Dakota Fanning from The Runaways), who Franny always referred to as Poodles, and he is suddenly drawn out of his reclusive state and hell-bent on helping her and her new husband build a life. The catch is of course that Franny has deep psychological wounds following the accident that claimed Olivia’s parents life but spared his and he does not exactly know how to acclimate himself into the young couple’s life.
Simplicity. There a few films made today that act upon the word. They instead feel the need to fill space with the unnecessary, oftentimes to mask the problems that lie within the story being told. Mexican Director Gabriel Ripstein’s 600 Millas (600 Miles) takes the simplistic route to produce a film worthy of the art form. 600 Miles makes simplicity look like the best choice for a filmmaker, and viewers are sure to agree.
A mere 13 minutes would have changed the world forever, and one of the greatest atrocities in history could have been avoided. In German director Oliver Hirschbiegel’s (Downfall, Das Experiment) newest film, the WWII-centered thriller 13 Minutes (Elser), he tells the true story of how one man, working alone, tried to change the world in 1939 by assassinating Adolf Hitler. The film is by far one of the best tellings of real life heroics enacted during the time period, and it is done so as an homage to a man who went unrecognized for his valiant actions for decades.
If you took Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson, Kristen Wiig, and Jason Sudeikis and put them in a movie the last thing you would think to call it is Masterminds. Unless it is a comedy, of course. Director Jared Hess’ (Napolean Dynamite, Gentlemen Broncos—one of my favorite comedies, ever) newest film is Masterminds, and it features all of the aforementioned A-list comedy talent. Are you interested? You should be.
Everyone loves dinosaurs. Everyone especially loves movies that feature dinosaurs. If you don’t believe me, let the numbers speak for themselves.
Jurassic World has set a new record for biggest global opening in history.
Jurassic World is a movie that features dinosaurs…lots of dinosaurs.
With an opening line to the trailer that screams drama—”Our bodies will be literally dying”—Everest is painting a very vivid picture of what is in store for the characters, and us as viewers, during the film. To watch the trailer is to marvel at the environment that is Mount Everest, to establish the connections between characters and their lives, but most of all it is to witness how control is something one loses when you decide to go where your own body has no right being, naturally.
The last Mission: Impossible franchise film, Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, was released in December 2011. A popular time of year for big movie releases, but not ideal for action-packed offerings. That all changes with Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation because it is getting a summer release right smack in the middle of the season, July 31.
Ten years ago, Fantastic Four debuted in cinemas when superhero movies were few and far between. That was 2005, it is now 2015, and the superhero subgenre dominates the box office each and every year thanks to the large stable of Marvel characters, and the occasional other. There is no set amount of time for when a franchise may be rebooted, and Fantastic Four is the newest in a long line that has been given such treatment.
Four character posters have been released for the film, just in case you have forgotten who the "Fantastic Four" are in the Marvel universe.
Once upon a time, a hot new director/writer named M. Night Shyamalan came on the Hollywood scene, stumping audiences worldwide with The Sixth Sense and brandishing a name for himself as one who would challenge moviegoers. Then he made another film, called Signs, and then Unbreakable, The Village, and before long each and every film created by M. Night Shyamalan fared worse than the last. It wasn't just bad luck, it was horrific moviemaking.
Hollywood should have given up completely on him by now. But they have not.
There is no denying that the Mad Max trilogy of films is iconic. To say they have created a legacy that stands to continue is perfectly acceptable, especially when it involves filling Mel Gibson's shoes with Tom Hardy in the titular role of Max Rckatansky, akaMad Max. It has been 30 years since audiences were engulfed in the post-apocalyptic wasteland that is the backdrop for the Mad Max series of films. The time has surely come to revisit it, and Mad Max: Fury Road will do just that when it hits theatres May 15.
Summer would not be complete without at least one horror movie on the schedule. Blumhouse Productions, who is responsible for scaring audiences with such films as Oculus and Insidious: Chapter 2, has big plans for the 2015 summer season. Insidious: Chapter 3 hits theatres June 5, but another movie on their roster wants to scare the living daylights out of you in July--The Gallows.
If you're pursuing a career in the entertainment industry or simply like to know what's going on in Hollywood, you're likely interested in keeping up with the latest news and offerings in the industry as-they-happen. Because the television and movie industries move forward and evolve so quickly, it can oftentimes be challenging to stay current--it doesn't have to be.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has released the list of nominees for the 87th Academy Awards, with the ceremony scheduled to take place on February 22, 2015. As usual, there are safe bets and snubs, but the quality of the cinematic output for the year was high enough to make some of this year’s decisions pretty tough. Here’s a look at the nominees – and potential winners – in some of the major categories.
The moment has arrived, Universal unleashed the first trailer for Jurassic World. Call it a re-boot, a re-make, a complete waste of time, or the best thing to come in 2015. Whatever you do, don't ever tell this movie lover that you don't care about Jurassic World; my bite is ferocious.
From the trailer, there are questions that will surely be raised. My biggest one is whether or not there will be a reference to the prior three films, or whether Jurassic World is poised to stand on its own and in fact be a new telling of the famous story about the dinos we love ever so much on screen. The trailer makes me think that it is an entirely new story, with the park being created anew and any signs of the past washed away by Hollywood's ever-present eraser.
You knew it was bound to happen, and it has officially. The character posters for the Rebel Warriors of The Hunger Games; Mockingjay Part 1 have been released. You've got Gale, Pollux, Messalla, Cressida, Boggs, and Castor all looking very serious, and very ready to battle.
Are you ready for your daily dose of adorableness? Disney's "Feast" is here to help you on your way with brand-new images from the upcoming short film. Who knew an animated puppy could bring so much joy, and such a big smile to one's face.
"Feast" will release in theatres November 7, 2014, playing with Big Hero 6. Until then, go ahead and fall in love with the adorable puppy, Winston.
I will admit, the trailer for Annabelle may not be terrifying to you. For me, it is, thanks to a debilitating fear of creepy dolls. Annabelle is one of the scariest dolls I have ever seen on film--I have The Conjuring to thank--and I have seen an incredible amount of movies. Regardless, the trailer for Annabelle will get your senses going, and your anticipation peaked for this sort-of prequel to The Conjuring.
Everyone who enjoys viewing the 'Sad Keanu' picture that is plastered all over the internet--you know the one, don't deny it--well, it is time to play homage to a new Keanu Reeves photo...that of him looking bad ass in the upcoming John Wick.
Reeves plays ex-hitman John Wick who must come out of retirement in order to battle gangsters. Yes, you read that correctly...gangsters vs. Keanu Reeves. Amazing.
It is a special treat when a movie like Chef is created. A film full of heart that brings out your emotions organically, without the need for gimmicks or special circumstance. Jon Favreau's Chef deserves the accolades it has received thus far since release in May and those that are sure to follow come awards season (fingers crossed). Chef is being re-released in theatres for a special engagement begininning August 29, 2014. If you did not have a chance to catch this gem of a film before in theatres now is your chance--and do not pass it up.
It has taken years for a movie version of Marvel's Ant-Man character to the screen. Some may say it is unnecessary; others are full of joy and anticipation. Either way, the Ant-Man movie has started production in San Francisco, CA and a first-look photo of Paul Rudd as Ant-Man has been released.
Here he is, Paul Rudd as Ant-Man.
Jason Reitman had a rough time of it last year when Labor Day did not sit well with audiences or critics. A far cry from his previous works that received rave reviews and awards aplenty, such as Up In The Air. It is a new year and with that comes a new movie for Reitman to deliver to the masses--and hope that this time goes better than the last. Reitman's latest is Men, Women & Children, yet another dramedy set around familial life, this time with the internet age taking center stage.
She may not exactly be a punk rocker any longer, but being a mother post-punk is tough for Juliette Lewis' Kelly in the trailer debut for Kelly & Cal from IFC Films. Cal, 17, is having a tough time at life as well. Enter the unlikely friendship of these two different people and the way they will each make everything just a little easier to manage for one another.