As someone who—swimming against the tide—didn’t care for Bridesmaids, imagine my surprise to find another female-driven, female-written R-rated comedy so entertaining. What’s Your Number? stars the likable Anna Faris as a woman who discovers that she’s slept with more men than anyone in her circle—in fact, far more than—
How you go create a movie about one young man’s battle with cancer that manages to respect its subject and still be funny is a mystery to me—even though the screenwriter, Will Reiser, is essentially telling his own story. Still, it’s a pretty neat trick to blend comedy with a story that’s moving and relevant; it helps to have a smart screenplay, a strong cast, and an overall good vibe. Those qualities make 50/50 one of the bright—
Take Shelter is a provocative original from writer-director Jeff Nichols, built on the foundation of a searing performance by Michael Shannon. It’s a film I respect, even though I found it very tough to sit through. That’s because Nichols creates a palpable sense of unease—which is exactly what he sets out to do.
Shannon, who’s so good playing creepy characters like the wacko in Revolutionary Road (which earned him an Oscar nomination), and the uptight Federal agent in Boardwalk Empire, is completely convincing here as an—
It isn’t often that I designate myself a movie’s advocate, but that’s how strongly I feel about an underdog release called Tucker and Dale vs Evil, which begins a limited theatrical engagement on Friday. (It’s already available On Demand, so check your local cable provider.) A film that played to cheering crowds at Sundance and South by Southwest over a year ago shouldn’t have had to wait this long to reach the public, but that’s the bittersweet story I just learned from its co-writer and director, Eli Craig.
An alumni of USC’s graduate cinema program, Eli brought his movie to my USC class last February, fresh from Sundance. My class, which numbers 360 students from all areas of the university, is the natural demographic for a film like this that pokes fun of—
It’s my pleasure to be filling in for Robert Osborne this week on Turner Classic Movies, but the highlight for me is Wednesday’s tribute to films restored by the Library of Congress. My guest for the evening portion of the salute is Dr. Patrick Loughney, chief of the Library’s Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpepper, Virginia. We have a chance to discuss four movies playing tomorrow night: the long-unseen The Constant Nymph (1943), the uncensored Baby Face (1932), an oddity from 1934 called Two Heads on a Pillow, and a most unusual version of the 1930 Academy Award-winning classic All Quiet on the Western Front.
Bruce Goldstein debuted the so-called silent version of this famous early talkie at Film Forum in New York a year ago, but until I started working on this TCM gig I didn’t have a chance to see it for myself.
In a word, wow!
Veteran film buffs have seen silent versions of early talkies which were prepared for theaters that weren’t yet wired for sound. These often contain long—
The unveiling last week of a nearly nearly ninety-year-old British film on which Alfred Hitchcock served as assistant director, art director, and co-scenarist was another exciting event in the recent parade of major archival discoveries. On Thursday night, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences held the premiere screening of The White Shadow (1924)—or at least, the first half of the feature, which is all that survives. This is just the latest archeological “find” to emerge from a partnership of the New Zealand Film Archive, the American archival community, and the National Film Preservation Foundation that, most notably, unearthed—
Not all family films are created equal. This one was inspired by the remarkable real-life story of a dolphin named Winter who washed ashore in Florida, had to have its tail amputated, and taught itself to swim even without the appendage. As it turns out, that wasn’t the end of Winter’s challenges.
Karen Janszen and Noam Dromi have built a screenplay around that true story that draws on familiar Hollywood-movie tropes, but plays well just the same. A likable young actor named Nathan Gamble plays a lonely boy, being raised by single mom Ashley Judd, who helps rescue Winter and develops a special—
Moneyball is easy to admire, a bit more difficult to love. That’s because the film, like its central character (well played by Brad Pitt), keeps its emotions in check so much of the time. It should be no shock that the film is intelligent and well-made, considering the source material (a book by financial writer Michael Lewis, who also authored The Blind Side), the screenwriters (Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin), and the director (stage veteran Bennett Miller, whose first film was Capote). What’s somewhat surprising is how engrossing a story about—
Would you like to see one of Charlie Chaplin’s motion picture cameras preserved? How about the cameras that filmed Gone With The Wind, Lawrence of Arabia, Star Wars, and Planet of the Apes? They are the property of lifelong collector Martin Hill, of Midland, North Carolina, and they are in jeopardy.
Not long ago I received an e-mail from Alex Buchhorn of Emulsion Arts, a small, independent production company based in Charlotte, North Carolina, telling me about an effort to complete a documentary about Hill and his unique collection. The purpose is to draw attention to—
Restless is likeliest to appeal to young people who relate to the heightened emotions of its leading characters, a teenage girl and boy who share a budding relationship—and a fascination with death. That they are played by the wonderful Mia Wasikowska, looking like a young Mia Farrow or Jean Seberg, and promising newcomer Henry Hopper (Dennis Hopper’s son, in his film debut) helps a great deal.
I found most of Justin Lew’s screenplay to be an exercise in forced whimsy. We meet the young protagonists at a series of—
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