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Alexander Payne on Tackling His Biggest Themes in ‘Downsizing’ and Why We ‘Need’ Horror Movies Today

Alexander Payne on Tackling His Biggest Themes in ‘Downsizing’ and Why We ‘Need’ Horror Movies Today
Alexander Payne recently had a business lunch with Jason Blum.

It may seem like an odd pairing. Payne is an Oscar-winning auteur known for such salt-of-the-earth comedies as “About Schmidt” and “Nebraska,” films where moments of levity emerge from a kind of hardscrabble realism. Blum, the hugely successful producer behind “The Purge” and “Insidious,” is a mogul of the macabre. But Payne, after seven movies that largely center on middle-aged schnooks, says he’s done with dramatizing the foibles of the pocket-protector set. He’s ready to shake things up.

“I want to do something different,” Payne tells Variety during a recent interview at Viacom’s Times Square headquarters. “How fun would it be to do a horror movie? They’re all the rage right now, and they make a lot of money.”

Before Payne can team up with Blum, however, he’s got a film to release. That’s why he’s flown to New York
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Blood Alley

Now a successful producer, John Wayne tries a big budget action picture with an anti-Communist theme. It’s The Alamo on a ferryboat, set in the far East where the locals are a hungerin’ for Freedom. Wayne is an apolitical adventurer who just feels like savin’ Chinese and kissin’ Lauren Bacall. Ace director William Wellman holds it together — barely.

Blood Alley

Blu-ray

Warner Archive Collection

1955 / Color / 2:55 widescreen / 115 min. / Street Date July 18, 2017 / available through the WBshop / 21.99

Starring: John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, Paul Fix, Joy Kim, Berry Kroeger, Mike Mazurki, Wei Ling, Henry Nakamura.

Cinematography: William H. Clothier

Film Editor: Fred McDowell

Original Music: Roy Webb

Written by A.S. Fleischman, from his novel.

Produced by John Wayne

Directed by William Wellman

John Wayne was extremely busy in 1955, starring in movies for big studios as well as for his own company Batjac. He was rated the most popular Hollywood star and was making constant public appearances,
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Battleground

Battleground

Blu-ray

Warner Archive Collection

1949 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 118 min. / Street Date January 10, 2017 / available through the WBshop / 21.99

Starring: Van Johnson, John Hodiak, Ricardo Montalban, George Murphy, Marshall Thompson, Don Taylor, James Whitmore, Douglas Fowley, Leon Ames, Guy Anderson, Denise Darcel, Richard Jaeckel, James Arness

Cinematography: Paul Vogel

Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons, Hans Peters

Film Editor: John D. Dunning

Original Music: Lennie Hayton

Written by: Robert Pirosh

Produced by: Dore Schary

Directed by William A. Wellman

“The Guts, Gags and Glory of a Lot of Wonderful Guys!”

— say, what kind of movie is this, anyway?

Action movies about combat are now mostly about soldiers that fight like killing machines, or stories of battle with a strong political axe to grind. WW2 changed perceptions completely, when a mostly civilian army did the fighting. With the cessation of hostilities combat pictures tapered off quickly, and Hollywood gave the subject a break for several years.
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Il Cinema Ritrovato 2014

  • MUBI
"Nobody's really captured the quality of a film festival," observed musician/composer Neil Brand, "You're doing something that's pleasurable, but then the fatigue sets in..." It's true—a celluloid feast like Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna is a particular case, too, since so many of the films are rarities. It's like being a cake specialist and suddenly somebody offers you fifty magnificent cakes of unique recipe but says "You have to eat them all in an hour or I'll take them away and you'll never see them again." You plunge in, and even when nausea starts to replace pleasure you can't bring yourself to stop...

Cinephiles like to grumble, and the venues of Bologna attract a certain amount of criticism (one has a bar which runs between the front row and the screen, cutting the subtitles in half; air conditioning is switched on and off at random; and then there's
See full article at MUBI »

Cannes Diary Day ???: "The Homesman," Or How Tommy Lee Jones Failed at Feminist Storytelling

Diana Drumm is reporting from Cannes for the The Film Experience.

Based on the award-winning novel (that Paul Newman was attached to for years) by Glendon Swarthout (“The Shootist”), The Homesman is a bizarre, unwieldy Western about 31 year-old spinster Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank) and questionable character Briggs (Tommy Lee Jones) who are driving three insane women (Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, Sonja Richter) back East for treatment, or at least respite from their literally-maddening frontier lives.

Or for a convoluted, reference-laden way to generalize it all, think of The Homesman as an inverse of the Robert Taylor-starring not-quite-classic Westward The Women (1951) meets the Glenn Close-starring made-for-tv movie Sarah, Plain and Tall (1991) with the madness and mismatches of Quills (2000, Briggs being the less couth, toned down subversive Marquis) divided by the stunning Western cinematography of Brokeback Mountain (2005, via Oscar nominee Rodrigo Prieto). Apologies, my brain is flooded with movies.
See full article at FilmExperience »

Alamo Spotlights Women in Westerns

Alamo Drafthouse Ritz will showcase kick-ass women in Westerns in August, under the theme "She Died with Her Boots On: Women and the West." While my favorite female-led Western Cat Ballou didn't make the cut, the four films chosen look like a good blend of the slightly unusual, the bizarre and the more traditional, all featuring tough broads.

The movies will screen at Alamo Ritz at 7 pm on Wednesday nights:

Westward the Women (1951) -- Wednesday, August 14

Robert Taylor leads a large group of women from Chicago to meet their new husbands in California. The typical trail problems (rivers to cross, illness) beset them, along with other difficulties they must face as women (such as having a baby during the journey or being sexually assaulted).

read more
See full article at Slackerwood »

Denise Darcel obituary

Actor who cheerfully exploited Hollywood's conception of French glamour

In the 1950s, Denise Darcel, who has died aged 87, profited from Hollywood's "ooh-la-la" conception of young, shapely French womanhood, generally inviting the adjective "sultry" and playing characters called Fifi, Gigi and Lola. In fact, her entire acting career was spent in America, cheerfully exploiting that image.

She was born Denise Billecard in Paris, one of five daughters of a baker and his wife. After studying at the University of Dijon, she returned to Paris, where she won the title of "most beautiful girl in France". Making the most of the publicity, she built up a nightclub act as a dancer and singer.

In 1947, in Paris, she met and married an American army captain, who returned to the Us with her. The marriage lasted for less than a year. With her name changed to the easier-to-pronounce Darcel, she landed an uncredited spot
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Daily Briefing. Film Comment, Jan/Feb 2012

  • MUBI
"Terra Incognita: 22 Unknown Pleasures from Around the World." That's the title that drew my first click of all the selections from the new issue of Film Comment now up on the site, plus the "Online Exclusives," of which this is one: a list expanded from the 15 in the print edition, with recommendations from the likes of Kent Jones, Olaf Möller, Shigehiko Hasumi, Thom Andersen and more. More than a few of the films written up here are new to me.

We already know the results of year-end poll of critics, of course, but here are Godfrey Cheshire on Asghar Farhadi's A Separation, Nicholas Rapold on Nadav Lapid's Policeman, Gianfranco Rosi's El Sicario, Room 164 and Stephen Daldry's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, José Teodoro on Gerardo Naranjo's Miss Bala, Jesse P Finnegan on Tank.tv, Graham Fuller on Phyllida Lloyd's The Iron Lady, Margaret Barton-Fumo's interview with Alejandro Jodorowsky,
See full article at MUBI »

French Actress Dies At 87

French Actress Dies At 87
Los Angeles — Denise Darcel, the French-born actress known for vampy roles in such films as "Vera Cruz" and "Thunder in the Pines," has died. She was 87.

Darcel's son, Craig, said Monday that she died Dec. 23 at a Los Angeles hospital from complications from an emergency surgery to repair a ruptured aneurysm.

After coming to the U.S. in 1947, Darcel starred opposite several leading men in a string of films in the '50s, including "Battleground" with Van Johnson, "Tarzan and the Slave Girl" with Lex Barker, "Westward the Women" with Robert Taylor and "Young Man with Ideas" with Glenn Ford.

She most famously played a vivacious double-crossing countess in 1954's "Vera Cruz" opposite Burt Lancaster and Gary Cooper.

Darcel is also survived by another son, Chris.
See full article at Huffington Post »

Bertrand Tavernier: The Hollywood Interview

Filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier.

Bertrand Tavernier: Taking Rabbits Out Of Hats

By Alex Simon

Bertrand Tavernier was bitten by the cinema bug at a tender age, falling in love with a diverse slate of films and filmmakers like Jean Renoir, Fritz Lang and Buster Keaton. Born in Lyon in 1941, Tavernier abandoned his law studies to write for the now-legendary French cinema magazine Cahiers du Cinema, which also launched auteurs like Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard. Making his directing debut with The Clockmaker of Saint-Paul in 1974, Tavernier’s career has been a prolific one, with 35 films to his credit, and dozens of awards, including the Best Director prize at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival for A Sunday in the Country.

Tavernier’s latest film is the sweeping epic The Princess of Montpensier, an adaptation of a 1662 novel which was published anonymously, but later credited to French noblewoman Madame de La Fayette. Set
See full article at The Hollywood Interview »

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