Moviecrazed
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GUY'S BLOG

 

The spinning guy in the drawing above by Norah Lovell is me--Guy Flatley. If you want to know what's making me dizzy these days--sometimes with pleasure, sometimes not--browse below.

 

MEMORIES OF A DAY SPENT WITH MIKE NICHOLS

Thirty-eight years have passed since I was privileged to interview Mike Nichols at his Connecticut farmhouse. But the memory of my encounter with the sophisticated, soft-spoken, enigmatic artist who died earlier this week remains vividly up-close in my mind. He was definitely one of a kind, and will be vastly missed.

To read my interview with Nichols, click here

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 11/21/14

 

SHOULD WE LAUGH OR CRY WHEN WE SEE ALBEE'S PLAY?

Some members of the audience at the current revival of Edward Albee's "A Delicate Balance" are doing BOTH! The playwrighht does have a knack for causing some people to roar with joy and others to roar with rage. And there have been times when the entire mob hisses in unison—which is pretty much what happened at “All Over,” a play that opened a few days before I interviewed him in 1971 for The New York Times.

To read my Times interview (and see if Albee was feeling humbled by all those boos) click here.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 11/21/14

 

HE LIVED A WONDERFUL LIFE, EVEN WHEN THE STORY HE DECIDED TO TELL WAS A TEARJERKER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prepare yourself for a two-week binge of movies made the way they used to make them—or at least the way the sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking, always unforgettable Frank Capra made them.

Thanks to Capra (seen above in his prime) and the dedicated buffs down at Manhattan’s Film Forum, you can belly-laugh or sob your heart out on a daily basis from October 10 through October 23 in the classy company of James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Cary Grant, Barbara Stanwyck, Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Ronald Colman, Claudette Colbert, Gary Cooper, Myrna Loy, Lionel Stander and other Hollywood immortals. Click here for details on the films to be shown in the Forum’s rich “Capra" feast, as well as individual interviews I did with the director and a handful of his superstars.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 10/8/14

JOAN RIVERS COULD DO ANYTHING, AND I'LL NEVER FORGET THE DAY SHE TOLD ME HOW SHE GOT BILLY CRYSTAL PREGNANT.

To read my New York Times interview with the tell-all star, click here.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 9/5/14

 

WHAT I LEARNED GROWING UP IN FERGUSON, MO.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although I’m grateful for my nearly 2-decade stint as a writer and editor for The New York Times,  I admit that I felt a sickening shock on the morning of August 12 when I read the paper’s front-page story about the serene hometown of my youth, a suburb of St. Louis in which nothing newsworthy ever happened.

I’m talking about Ferguson, Missouri, the site of a lethal confrontation between a gun-wielding white policeman and an unarmed, 18-year-old black man.  The minor’s name was Michael Brown, and he was scheduled to begin his freshman year at college in less than a week. But that was before the policeman--whose identity was kept secret for nearly a week by local officials--fired several bullets into the teenager’s body. Since then, the town of Ferguson has been heavy with tear-gas, rubber bullets, looting, death threats and angry, frightened citizens.  And the family of Michael Brown is now passionately seeking justice for the unbearable loss of their gifted, seemingly blessed son.

Since I  am a former resident of what I always considered a tranquil, barely-on-the-map town, I was severely rattled by the apparent shift from calm to calamitous. But I guess the truth is that on my rare returns to St. Louis, I seldom checked out Ferguson, since my closest buddies had all moved on (some of them into the great hereafter).  Within the past few days, however, I’ve adjusted my focus (partly due to excellent reporting in The New York Times).  One of the things I had previously failed to note about 21st-century Ferguson is that while this once virtually whites-only community is now two-thirds black, the obsessive day-to-day surveillance of people viewed as dangerous second-class citizens is conducted by white militants. So much for burying the racial hatchet.

It’s true that I don’t know all of the facts behind Ferguson’s current fiasco. But I can fill you in on what it was like to live in this Midwest-going-on-Southern town many years ago. As a child,  I lived on Florissant Road--the street where this 21st century tragedy took place. And about four blocks up from my parents’ home, there was a serene, one-block side street called Eddy Avenue, a pleasant lane housing a few black families. For those nearby, in-the-know Fergusonians, Eddy Avenue afforded swift passage to the boisterous Wabash Club, where heavy drinks were prominent on the light menu,  and to Wabash Lake. (No  blacks, to my knowledge, were ever allowed to sip or swim at either of these Wabash wonders.) And at the top of the hill, just beyond Wabash, there were the tennis courts and football field of Ferguson High School. (Do I have to tell you that enrollment was open to white students only?)

Very few people in Ferguson had ever heard of Eddy Avenue. That’s because a secret “agreement” had apparently been worked out with the black residents on that block, one which provided private transportation to a public school in downtown Saint Louis that accepted black students. I still remember, during the summer vacations of my own grade-school years, walking down Eddy Avenue on my way to Wabash Lake for an afternoon swim and waving hello to friendly black children whose parents had gotten to know my shy but friendly father.  

I’d like to think my dad felt bad about those kids having to hop on a bus every school-day morning instead of walking through freshly mowed fields with me on the way to St. John and St. James School (an institution that finally closed shop and altar a decade or so ago). My guess is that the nuns I remember--especially Sister Saint Sulpice and Sister Frances Jane—would have given the kids from Eddy Avenue a warm, loving hug.  If they’d ever had the opportunity to meet them.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 8/16/14

 

BOY-OH-‘BOYHOOD’!—CHECK OUT THESE RAVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Boyhood,” Richard Linklater’s new film, has reaped reviews that virtually guarantee the writer-director an Oscar, as well as every other major award for which his groundbreaker qualifies. To see what I’m talking about, click here for the “Universal Acclaim” roundup on Metacritic.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 7/11/14

 

WHEN HOLLYWOOD'S DANGEROUS DAMES WERE READY FOR MUCH MORE THAN THEIR CLOSE-UPS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starting on July 18 and climaxing with a thunderous bang on August 7, the focus at Manhattan's Film Forum will be on the cinema's most lethally sinful women. They're truly hot, so you won't want to miss them! Click here for the sordid details on the Forum's FEMMES NOIRS.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 7/11/14

 

HERE'S WHAT'S NEW--AND POSSIBLY WORTH CATCHING--AT YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD CINEPLEX


TAMMY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once upon a virginal time in America, a petite, 100-percent-pure, Mississippi swampgirl named Tammy summoned the nerve to roll her baby-blues at a worldly hunk who’d presumably junked his celibacy ages ago, most likely in a burg far north of Mississippi. In 1957’s “Tammy and the Bachelor,” this novice flirt was played by Hollywood’s 100-pound reigning sweetheart Debbie Reynolds, and the dude who made her swoon was the macho, if loopy, Leslie Nielsen. Naturally, being Debbie Reynolds in real life, this Tammy finally roped her man.

Now we’ve got a twenty-first century Tammy to root for, an older, ludicrously married loser that merciless moviegoers may be tempted to dub Tummy, since she’s played right down to the last pound by Melissa McCarthy, the heavyweight box-office champ who seldom, if ever, badmouths her own meta-girth. (Melissa actually co-wrote this flick with her husband, Ben Falcone, who also makes his directorial debut here.)

Since this is a sex farce made to order for today's boisterously horny viewers, the contemporary Tammy does not smile demurely at her co-workers and customers in the fast-food emporium where she toils for peanuts and nibbles more fatty junk than she cooks or serves. At the same time, Tammy's never tempted to forget she's a respectable married woman. That is, until the day she gets canned from the job. Thank God, she thinks, that she still has the body-and-soul support of her meat-and-potatoes hubby. Or so she assumes until she opens the door to their nakedly downscale abode and discovers him coupled in a hot romp with a visiting tootsie.

Enough already! Tammy clearly has no choice but to scream no, no, no to this nonsense and make a fresh start in an exotic, romantic locale. But it won’t be easy, since, in her stressed state, she has also managed to demolish her car. Where to go and what to do without wheels? Actually, there's a simple solution: all she needs to do is persuade her crazed, boose-swilling, sex-craving, shot-gun toting grandma, played by Susan Sarandon, to chauffeur her to Niagara Falls. And remembering Sarandon’s behavior behind the wheel in “Thelma and Louise,” we know this could really be the start of something big and splashy. But on second thought--do you think they should have given the granny role to Debbie Reynolds?

To read Manohla Dargis's review in The New York Times, click here.

For Dave Itzkoff's lively interview with the constantly surprising Sarandon in The Times, click here; to read my 1978 Cosmopolitan Magazine interview with the never-hold-back actress, click here.

 

PREMATURE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It comes as no seismic shock to learn that Rob, the high school student played in Dan Beers' aggressively gross comedy by John Karna, can't get laid. Based very loosely on "Groundhog Day," Harold Ramis's revered seriocomic fantasy about a weather reporter (Bill Murray) who is doomed to repeat one single day over and over again, this jokey, arguably hokey teen saga explains, with perhaps more clinical detail than is necessary, why clueless Rob remains a virgin, despite numerous close encounters with two enticing classmates, one of whom seems more than a little in the mood for extracurricular activity.

Alas, this underaged, arguably imaginary vixen's insatiable appetite exists only in Rob's sleeping--and sometimes waking--dreams, which explains why he must conclude each noisy orgasmic explosion strictly on his own. But, you might well ask, what happens if Rob's snoopy mom bursts into her son's bedroom at the exact moment of his yelping climax? (As she in fact eventually does.) Well, just like everyone else on this planet, the lady must learn to knock before entering a gentleman's bedroom door. That's simply the way things are meant to work, especially in Rob's halucinatory sexual universe--at least until the climactic moment when he finally gets his act together and stops dreaming the same old wet dream night after night.

Apparently it's not like the good old days when Andy Hardy could sheepishly descend the stairs, pour a glass of milk, and settle in for a man-to-man talk with his dad.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 7/2/14

 

WERE YOU A JULY BABY?

If so, you have something in common with these movie personalities, each of whom was interviewed either by Guy Flatley or Diane Baroni. The complete interviews are available on moviecrazed.com.


BILLY CRUDUP (Born on 7/8/68)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"I recognize that the bones on the side of my face are really pronounced and high and that there’s symmetry in my face. Beyond that, the reasons one feels good about oneself rarely come from the way that one looks. I go through the same sort of sweeps in feeling good about myself and my own virility and sense of self-esteem as I would think anyone else does. It rarely has anything to do with how good I think I look." Click here for the complete interview.


WILLEM DAFOE (Born on 7/22/55)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The relationship between actor and director is a private relationship, and even in the best relationships, so much is left unspoken. Marty Scorsese and I haven't talked about how we feel about each other; we've just known each other intimately through the work. So to go public is a weird kind of kiss-and-tell.” Click here for the complete interview.


VITTORIO DE SICA (Born on 7/7/01)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Sometimes when an American tries to make a film about Italians, it turns out to be ridiculous. And maybe that was the same thing Americans felt about Antonioni’s ‘Zabriskie Point.’ I myself thought there were a number of striking things in it, cinematically. But it is probably also true that Antonioni was only dealing with exteriors, surfaces…that he did not really know enough about the relationship between those two young Americans in the film." Click here for the complete interview.


ANNA PAQUIN (Born on 7/24/82)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Before I got nominated for 'The Piano,' I didn’t really know what an Oscar was. So it wasn’t some huge thing I was aiming for. It just sort of happened. And if it happens again, that will be really good. Who wouldn’t want it to happen again? But it’s not like I’m dying for it to happen. I think I was very lucky that it happened even once. I mean, I was so young." Click here for the complete interview.


KEN RUSSELL (Born on 7/3/27)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I’m truly surprised that my films shock people, and I’m astonished that not everyone could see that ‘The Devils’ was a religious film. There aren’t many Catholics in England, but I’m sure that if a Catholic censor had been shown the scene of the nuns and the crucifix, he would have understood what was being said and he would have passed it.” Click here for the complete interview.


EVA MARIE SAINT (Born on 7/4/24)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I’ve worked with wonderful actors, but never with anyone as sensitive and vulnerable as Marlon Brando in ‘On the Waterfront.’ If you were doing a scene with him and you changed an inflection from the take before, he would always adjust to it. Nothing ever came out quite the same, and that kept you on your toes. My God, Marlon was a doll!” Click here for the complete interview.


SYLVESTER STALLONE (Born on 7/6/46)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“It took about three and a half days to write ‘Rocky.’ I’m astounded by people who take 18 months to write something. That’s how long it took that guy to write ‘Madame Bovary.’ And was that ever on a best-seller list? No. It was a lousy book and it made a lousy movie.” Click here for the complete interview.


NATALIE WOOD (Born on 7/20/38)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“It’s amazing, the fascination James Dean still holds for so many people. By the standards of that time, Jimmy seemed eccentric, but I didn’t find him strange at all. He was intense and introverted, but he wasn’t into drugs or anything like that. They say he was self-destructive, but I never thought so. We became very close while we were making ‘Rebel Without a Cause,’ and I spent a great deal of time with him. We used to go to lunch together on his motorcycle, and I never regarded that as destructive.” Click here for the complete interview.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 6/22/14

 

THIS JUNE, MOVIES WILL BE BUSTING OUT ALL OVER--OR AT LEAST THEY WILL BE IN NEW YORK, THANKS TO THE CITY'S SUPER LIBRARY SYSTEM. TO SEE WHAT I MEAN, bROWSE THE LIST OF COMING ATTRACTIONS PROVIDED BELOW BY THE LIBRARY'S PASSIONATE BUFFS. BEST OF ALL, MOST OF THESE FLICKS AND LIVE PERFORMANCES WILL BE SHOWN FREE OF CHARGE!

 

STELLA ADLER: MOTHER OF MODERN ACTING

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, June 4 @ 6:30pm
Mid-Manhattan Library
455 Fifth Avenue at 40th Street
FREE
http://on.nypl.org/1jN1m7m

Commemorating the 80th anniversary of Stella Adler’s teaching career, this illustrated lecture chronicles Adler's journey from the Yiddish Theatre on Manhattan’s Lower East Side to starring on Broadway and in Hollywood to helping revolutionize modern day acting. Although Adler appeared in far too few films, anyone lucky enough to have seen her sizzle as a blonde menace in "Shadow of the Thin Man" knows she just about stole the show from Powell and Loy.

 

LIVE FROM NYPL: JOHN WATERS/PAUL HOLDENGRABER

Wednesday, June 4 @ 7pm [SOLD OUT]
The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
5th Avenue and 42nd Street
TICKETS PRICED AT $25kets: $25 General Admission

Filmmaker John Waters returns to LIVE with tales from his latest book, Carsick, which chronicles his adventures hitchhiking across the U.S.

 

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (1940) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, June 5 @ 2pm
96th Street Library
112 East 96th Street (near Lexington Ave.)
FREE
http://on.nypl.org/1gTq6R1

Robert Z. Leonard's 1940 adaptation of the classic novel features Greer Garson, Laurence Olivier, Mary Boland, Edna May Oliver, Edmund Gwenn, Melville Cooper, Edward Ashley, Maureen O’Sullivan, Marsha Hunt, Karen Morley, Ann Rutherford, Heather Angel, Frieda Inescort, Bruce Lester, E. E. Clive.  118 min.

 

SHANGHAI SURPRISE (1986) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, June 5 @ 6pm
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
40 Lincoln Center Plaza
FREE
http://on.nypl.org/1hdYOz4

Boasting a cameo and songs by George Harrison, this film pairs Sean Penn and Madonna as a fortune hunter and missionary nurse who team up on a quest for stolen opium. The cast includes Richard Griffiths and Paul Freeman. Directed by Jim Goddard. 1986, 97 min.

 

WAIKIKI WEDDING (1937)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Thursday, June 12 @ 2pm
96th Street Library
112 East 96th Street (near Lexington Ave.)
FREE
http://on.nypl.org/1gTqxek

A press agent in Hawaii promotes a Pineapple Queen Contest in this  film directed by Frank Tuttle, starring Bing Crosby, Bob Burns, Martha Raye, Shirley Ross, George Barbier, Leif Erickson, Anthony Quinn and Grady Sutton. Among the songs crooned by Crosby and others: “Sweet Is the Word for You,” “Blue Hawaii,” “In a Little Hula Heaven” “Okolehau,” “Nani Ona Pua” and the Oscar-winning “Sweet Leilani.” (89 min.)
A short film will precede the feature.

 

SILENT CLOWNS FILM SERIES
AMARILLY OF CLOTHES-LINE ALLEY (1918)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, June 14 @ 2:30pm
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
40 Lincoln Center Plaza
FREE
http://on.nypl.org/1gTldr8

"Mary Pickford follows her remarkable Stella Maris with another character study scarcely less remarkable, reminding us once more that she is the greatest of all screen actresses," wrote Photoplay in their 1918 review of Amarilly of Clothes-Line Alley. In this charming romantic comedy co-starring William Scott and Kate Price and directed by Marshall Neilan, Pickford plays a spirited slum girl who falls for a wealthy boy, only to learn that it's best not to "mix ice cream and pickles." This screening also includes the newly discovered Their First Misunderstanding (1911), Imp (with a cameo by Ben Turpin) and Little Red Riding Hood (1911). Part of The Library for the Performing Arts' Silent Clowns series, featuring live piano accompaniment by Ben Model. All films will be shown on 35mm.

 

RHYTHM  ON THE RIVER (1940) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, June 19 @ 2pm
96th Street Library
112 East 96th Street (near Lexington Ave.)
FREE
http://on.nypl.org/1gTqOhb

Oliver Courtney (Basil Rathbone) has been using ghost-writers to pen his music and lyrics for years, but things get complicated when the writers (played by Bing Crosby and Mary Martin) meet in person and go into business for themselves. This 1940 film directed by Victor Schertzinger also features Oscar Levant, Oscar Shaw, Charley Grapewin, and Lillian Cornell. Also prominent in the cast are Oscar Levant, Charley Grapewin, Lillian Cornell, William Frawley, John Scott Trotter, Jeanne Cagney and Charles Lane. “Only Forever” was nominated for a best-song Oscar but did not win. Other numbers included “When the Moon Comes Over Madison Square,” “That’s for Me,” “What Would Shakespeare Have Said” and, of course, “Rhythm on the River.”  (92 min.)
A short film will precede the feature.

 

HIGHLIGHTS FROM TAIWAN’S WOMEN MAKE WAVES FILM FESTIVAL

RIPPLES OF DESIRE (2012)

 

Saturday, June 21 @ 2:30pm
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
40 Lincoln Center Plaza
FREE
http://on.nypl.org/1rPDFlO


In this tale of jealousy and passion, set in the 17th-century on a floating island populated by pirates, two sisters, Snow and Frost, train to become the island’s top courtesans. Virtuous and kind-hearted, Snow quickly falls in love with her teacher. Frost, on the other hand, believes that to survive she needs to learn the art of manipulation. Directed by Zero Chou (122 min.)

 

(I AM NOT A CHEESE; I DO NOT HAVE A PROCESS)
ALAN CUMMING ON ACTING

Monday, June 23 @ 6pm
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
40 Lincoln Center Plaza
FREE - Please note: a portion of the seats for this event will be available for advanced reservation online beginning Friday, May 23 at 3pm. The remaining seats will be available on a first come, first served basis the day of the program. Admission line forms one hour before the program in the lobby at 111 Amsterdam Ave. Visit http://on.nypl.org/1rPEpY1 for details.


Charming, thoughtful, and immutably good humored Tony award winning actor Alan Cumming hates talking about acting, but that is exactly what the Library for the Performing Arts has asked him to do. Having transformed himself into such varied characters as the Emcee in Cabaret, Dionysus in The Bacchae, Mac the Knife in Three Penny Opera, plus every role in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Cumming has learned with each new production. Through the display of personal photos, rehearsal notes, and other materials, Cumming will share the stories behind his most celebrated stage and film performances, providing rare insight into the craft of a master artist.

 

PURPLE RAIN 30TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, June 25 @ 6:30pm
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
515 Malcolm X Boulevard at 135th Street
FREE - Advance registration required. Visit http://bit.ly/1n5JY3y for details.

Celebrate the 30th anniversary of Prince’s Purple Rain LP with a conversation, a screening of the film, and special guests. A garden party will follow the panel discussion hosted by Burnt Sugar Arkestra.

 

THE BIG STEAL (1949)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, June 26 @ 2pm
96th Street Library
112 East 96th Street (near Lexington Ave.)
FREE
http://on.nypl.org/1gTsnvC

An army officer is framed for robbery and sets off across Mexico in hectic pursuit of the real culprit. Starring Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, William Bendix, Patric Knowles, Ramon Novarro, Don Alvarado, and John Qualen. Directed by Don Siegel. (71 min.)
A short film will precede the feature.

 

HIGHLIGHTS FROM TAIWAN’S WOMEN MAKE WAVES FILM FESTIVAL

THE GOLDEN CHILD (2012)

Thursday, June 26 @ 6pm
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
40 Lincoln Center Plaza
FREE
http://on.nypl.org/1rPFsas

In a small Taiwanese village, a traditional housewife arranges a marriage between her only son and a young Vietnamese woman. She wants her immigrant daughter-in-law to share domestic chores and bear a grandchild. However, such a simple plan leads to unexpected consequences. Directed by She-wei Chou (86 min.)

 

INVESTIGATION OF A CITIZEN ABOVE SUSPICION  (1970)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Friday, June 27 @ 2pm
58th Street Library
127 East 58th Street (between Park & Lexington Aves.)
FREE
http://on.nypl.org/1n5qn3l

In Elio Petri's acclaimed Oscar-winning 1970 thriller, the filmmaker maintains a tricky balance between absurdity and realism in telling the Kafkaesque tale of a Roman police inspector investigating a heinous crime--which he committed himself. Both a penetrating character study and a disturbing commentary on the draconian crackdowns by the Italian government in the late 1960s and early '70s, Petri's kinetic portrait of surreal bureaucracy is a perversely pleasurable rendering of controlled chaos. The cast is headed by Gian Maria Volonte and Florinda Bolkan, who are supported by Gianni Santuccio, Orazio Orlando and Sergio Tramonti. (Color, 115 min. In Italian, with English subtitles.)

 

HIGHLIGHTS FROM TAIWAN’S WOMEN MAKE WAVES FILM FESTIVAL

TRANSCENDING LOVE (2012)

Monday, June 30 @ 6pm
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
40 Lincoln Center Plaza
FREE
http://on.nypl.org/1rPFNKm
Taiwan's Modern Women's Foundation invited thirteen abused women to take on a nearly impossible challenge: climbing mountains across Taiwan. This documentary follows these survivors of domestic violence as they heal themselves through an adventurous journey that gradually builds trust between them, and starts them talking about their dire experiences. Directed by Hui-mei Chen (92 min.)

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 5/23/14

 

THE WAY THEY WERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mickey Rooney was brash but vulnerable, and Judy Garland was tender and every bit as vulnerable as her favorite movie beau. And now, with Rooney's death at the age of 93, the duo survives only as a memory of an era of magical make believe. But what a vibrant, energizing memory it is!

For an excellent reminder of how enormously talented--and psychologically complicated--Rooney was, click here and read Aljean Harmetz's obit in The New York Times.You might also want to click here to check out the Times interview I did with Rooney in 1977, during which he shared memories of Ava, Liz and Judy and also bragged about his latest non-showbiz project, one featuring a line of disposable paper jockey shorts called Rip Offs.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 4/7/14

 

IT'S APRIL--SHOULD YOU COLOR YOUR MOVIE SCHEDULE SCARLETT?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe you should. That would put you in sync with famously hard-to-please critic Anthony Lane, who recently rhapsodized in the pages of The New Yorker about the thespic subtlety and sexual dynamism of Scarlett Johansson, the former kid performer who vamps us shamelessly in two adult flicks opening on April 4. Click here for Lane's salute to the 29-year-old, going-on-Garboesque star.

 

THERE WAS A MAN AND HIS NAME WAS DUKE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Actually, his name was Marion Robert Morrison and moviegoers first knew him as John Wayne, but nothing truly pleased him more than to be addressed simply as Duke. There have been numerous books about the charismatic superstar, the latest being Scott Eyman's "John Wayne: The Life and Legend." Click here for Michiko Kakutani's New York Times review of the ambitious biography. To learn how Duke behaved when cursed with a really bad hangover, click here and read my 1973 Times interview.

 

THIS IS THE SEASON WHEN TURKEYS RUN WILD IN MOVIE HOUSES!

So should you stay home this month and cuddle up with timeless Turner Classics? Maybe so, but surely you'll want to catch "The Grand Budapest Hotel," pictured below, and perhaps a few more March releases. Click here for details.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 3/6/14

 

 

HITCHCOCK & TRUFFAUT—WHO COULD ASK FOR ANYONE MORE? NOT ME, AND CERTAINLY NOT THE PURISTS DOWN AT FILM FORUM!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manhattan’s justifiably celebrated custodians of movie masterpieces have plunged into their deep pool of golden oldies and surfaced with an irresistible back-to-back line-up of gems created by Alfred Hitchcock, the arguably Americanized British master of nerve-gnawing suspense, and Francois Truffaut, the tender but uncompromising French genius who died far too young, though not before giving movie lovers “The Four Hundred Blows,” “Jules and Jim,” “The Last Metro” and “Day for Night” to remember him by.

For a movie-by-movie report on this ambitious Film Forum salute to a pair of cinematic kindred spirits, go to...

http://www.filmforum.org/movies/more/the_complete_hitchcock#nowplaying

(A list of Truffaut films to be shown will soon follow.)

Hitch begins on February 21; Truffaut kicks off on March 28. To read my 1972 New York Times interview with Hitchcock, who was slyly pitching "Frenzy" (see the poster), click here; for my 1970 Times chat with Truffaut, who was in town promoting "The Wild Child" (that poster is also shown above), click here.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 2/20/14

 

PETER O'TOOLE IS DEAD, BUT WE KNOW HE'LL ALWAYS BE BIGGER THAN LIFE

Most moviegoers remember the audacious Irish rebel as the heroic, enigmatic Lawrence of Arabia. Yet the O'Toole I'll never forget is the maverick who gave me a wildly candid interview for The New York Times in 1972. (One of the casual confessions he made to me was that he very much enjoyed a love affair he once had with a relative of mine in Ireland. But that tidbit never appeared in print.) Click here for the complete Times interview.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 12/15/13

 

TODAY, AND EVERY SUNDAY THIS MONTH, I WANT TO KEEP YOU SCARED STIFF!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That's why I'm urging you to click on this schedule and join in the September 1 Alfred Hitchcock pig-out on Turner Classic Movies for a feast of fright flicks that includes "The Birds," "Shadow of a Doubt" and "Psycho." And you'll surely want to scroll through all of the TCM Sunday listings this month for additional Hitchcock gems. On September 8, for example, be on the look-out for "Saboteur," "Foreign Correspondent" and "North By Northwest." Finally, I hope you click here to read my New York Times interview with Hitchcock. Above, The Master himself in a photo shot by Jack Mitchell at the very moment the merciless mischief-maker was putting the fear of Hitch into me.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 9/1/13

 

THEY ALL CALLED THE SHOTS ON THE SET, AND SOME OF THEM ARE STILL DOING IT!

I’ve interviewed numerous gifted directors, ranging from Woody Allen to Martin Scorsese, Liv Ullmann, Mike Nichols, Jean-Luc Godard, Barbra Streisand and Lars Von Trier.  A few of them even attempted to direct me as I played the role of reporter. Click here for a total list of my adventures with the auteurs, plus my complete original interviews.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 8/30/13

 

YOU MAY NOT KNOW HIS NAME, BUT HE'S THE MAN FOR WHOM THE WHITE HOUSE WAS TRULY A HOME AWAY FROM HOME

 

Although audiences have warmly embraced "Lee Daniels' The Butler," not every critic has raved. Indeed, some have been conspicuously inhospitable. Click here to see who voted yes and who voted no.

 

AFTER THREE DECADES, PETER IS STILL PICKING THE WINNERS & LOSERS...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...And that's why Rainer, currently the reviewer for the Christian Science Monitor and the president of the National Society of Film Critics, continues to excel in an art that has enabled him to absorb and analyze the movies of auteurs ranging from Steven Spielberg to Woody Allen, David Lynch, Tim Burton, Robert Altman, Billy Wilder, Alfred Hitchcock, Ingmar Bergman, Jonathan Demme, Francis Ford Coppola and Sofia Coppola and then deliver persuasive, gracefully nuanced, unblinkingly honest verdicts on individual triumphs and failures. You'll understand my wholehearted salute to Peter's sturdy talent when you feast on the addictive pleasure of "Rainer on Film: Thirty Years of Film Writing in a Turbulent and Transformative Era," published by Santa Monica Press. (books@santamonicapress.com; Tel 858-777-0444) For sure, you will not be disappointed.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 8/15/13

 

I LOST IT AT THE SAVOY MOVIE PALACE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was delighted when Karen Cooper, the director of New York's Film Forum, asked me to contribute to "My First Time," a weekly feature of the Forum's newsletter in which movie addicts describe their initial encounter with the big screen. Below, an indelible memory of what turned out to be a monumental event for me.--GUY FLATLEY

My mother, a passionate moviegoer, had taken me to see what was to be my very first movie. It was SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, and it was playing at the Savoy Theater, the only movie house in our home town of Ferguson, Missouri. Mother was enormously excited, but not for long. That's because just as the opening credits started to roll, I fell fast asleep in her lap. Without seeing even one dwarf!

Which is why the first movie I can actually remember is THE PHILADELPHIA STORY, George Cukor's sophisticated, not exactly child-friendly comedy based on Philip Barry's sexy Broadway hit. I saw it with my father, in whose lap I was never encouraged to sit. As a result, I stayed awake and enjoyed every breathtaking moment of the movie.

I was pleasurably jolted by the black-and-white, full-length images of Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and James Stewart as they shouted insults at one another, each in a strikingly strange accent. Equally absorbing were the vivid close-ups of tender embraces and soulful sentiments. The motives and manners of these bigger-than-non-movie-characters were, of course, a total mystery to me. But I do know that their triumphantly eccentric misbehavior was a huge hit with my father and me. Even in the dark of the Savoy Theater, when I looked over at my father and his eyes met mine, we roared with mutual joy. Something we'd never done before.

Decades later, I flew from Manhattan to St. Louis for my last visit with my father, who was showing signs of Alzheimer's. One evening, risking a confused response, I asked Dad if he remembered an evening that changed my life. Initially, he looked at me and said nothing, so I quickly embarked on a description of the scene in which a gawky, tipsy reporter (played by Jimmy Stewart) maneuvered the elegantly accented but also tipsy socialite (played by Kate Hepburn) into taking a midnight splash in her stuffy parents' pool. My father closed his eyes at the end of my scrambled recollection of a classic screen moment. And then he opened those crystal-blue eyes and laughed and laughed. We both did.

Guy Flatley, formerly the editor of the movie section of The New York Times' Arts & Leisure section and the Managing Editor and Film Critic of Cosmopolitan magazine, has been the editor of moviecrazed.com since 2002.

To browse the Film Forum site for news of current and future attractions and other "First Time" entries, click here."

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 8/8/13

 

HOW TO KEEP THE JOY OF MOVIES SAFE AND SANE AND JUST A FEW FEET AWAY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You deserve to see treasures like "Notorious," "Love Affair" and "Meet Me in St. Louis" in pristine condition, far away from the noise, bedbugs and pricey watered-down coke that seem to be the main attractions at your local cineplex and as distant as you can get from the scandalous commercial-stuffed obscenities that have become commonplace on The Sudance Channel and the equally shameful IFC. Click here for the new Moviecrazed service that will help make you sure you're seeing the great screen gems the way they should be seen. And, yes, we'll also supply screening times of individual films, plus lots of background information and opinions. Click here for a look at our new feature.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 6/22/13

 

THE MAN WHO SHOLD HAVE BEEN CROWNED KING OF COMEDY

 

 

 

 

 

 

As evidenced in “Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic,” Marina Zenovich's documentary that recently left Tribeca Film Festival audiences laughing and longing for more, Richard Pryor, the iconoclastic, bawdy but soulful comic who died tragically in 2005, is the one man who could hilariously juggle his funky, down-and-out way of coping with outrageous circumstances in a gloriously liberating manner that would surely be alien to our current generation's spoiled, frat-boy, bare-butt, numb-brained wannabe practitioners of the art of comedy.

Be sure to catch "Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic." For my own two close encounters with Pryor, click here.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 6/15/13

 

HE HAD MUCHO MACHO APPEAL: WITHOUT FLAUNTING IT, BURT LANCASTER ALWAYS DELIVERED THE GOODS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Need proof? Hang out at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater (starting today and ending on May 23) and catch the charismatic actor at his gracefully virile best in a dozen dark gems, from “The Killers” to “From Here to Eternity” to “Sweet Smell of Success.”  Click here for Stephen Holden’s salute to Lancaster in The New York Times; for my 1977 Times interview with the surprisingly modest superstar, click here.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 5/17/13

 

WHO’S THE GREATEST STAR?


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you guessed yet? In all of the world so far, Barbra’s the greatest star! That’s why the Film Society of Lincoln Center is paying her lavish tribute tonight, April 22, at the annual Chaplin Award for lifetime achievement gala.

That’s also why The New York Times invited a number of just-plain-folks Barbra buffs to interview Streisand on line. Click here for the amusing, informative and somewhat surprising results.

If you’d like to know what the mega-legend was like back in 1973, click here for my New York Times interview.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 4/22/13

 

 

SAVE THE LAST TRANCE FOR ME!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Immediately after pulling off a brazen heist at a British auction house that had long been his dreary workplace, a low-level but furtively ambitious clerk (played by James McAvoy) gets conked on the noggin and comes down with an awesome case of amnesia. Needless to say, his piggish partners in crime are not buying his flimsy story about not remembering where he stashed the stolen treasure. That’s why they hire a seductive hypnotist to suck the information out of the poor doomed bloke.

Well, you never know quite what to expect from Danny Boyle, the shamelessly teasing director of “Shallow Grave,” “Trainspotting,” “28 Days Later...,” “Slumdog Millionaire” and “127 Hours.” It could be that “Trance,” also starring Vincent Cassel and Rosario Dawson, will turn out to be totally entrancing. We’ll find out when Fox Searchlight opens the flick on April 5.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 3/19/13

 

LOOK WHO’S TURNING 42

 

It’s hard to believe that the cinema addicts running wild at Manhattan’s Museum of Modern Art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center are still doing what they--or their pioneering predecessors--have done with such gutsy fervor for more than four decades. We’re talking about the super “New Directors, New Films” festival, of course, which will get underway gloriously on  March 20 with Alexandre Moors’s “Blue Caprice” and run through March 31. And, on a personal note, I strongly recommend Tobias Lindholm’s “A Highjacking” (shown above) and Rachid Djaidani’s “Rengaine.” Click here for full details, courtesy of MoMA  and FSLC.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 3/17/13



WERE YOU A MARCH BABY?

If so, you have something in common with these movie and theater personalities, each of whom was interviewed either by Guy Flatley or Diane Baroni. The complete interviews are available on moviecrazed.com.


EDWARD ALBEE (Born on 3/12/28)

 

 

 

 

 

 

"The truth is that in this country we just do not have a theater culture. Forget that crap that Maxwell Anderson and Robert Sherwood were writing. And forget Odets, who has dated so badly. Theater didn't get serious until around the end of the Second World War, with Tennessee Williams and late O'Neill. Richard Barr and I and Chuck Woodward down at The Playwrights Unit wonder if it's really possible to have a serious commercial theater. Especially when you consider the dross that's been put on over the past several years. Things like 'J.B.,' 'The Great White Hope,' 'A Man for All Seasons,' 'Rosencrantz and Guildenstern' and 'All the Way Home.'” Click here for the complete interview.


HARRY BELAFONTE (Born on 3/1/27)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“When I was approached by Sam Goldwyn to do ‘Porgy and Bess,’ I told him I had no interest in doing such a film. The leading man was a black man on his knees, the leading lady was a black whore, Crown was a sex maniac, Sporting Life a cocaine pusher. That was not where my head was at...I began to grapple with the whole Hollywood thing, and I had to conclude that it wasn’t just Hollywood that was at fault. Hollywood was just an extension of the United States of America, a country that had been ignoring the basic priorities and passions of a vast number of its own people. So I decided to reflect on those passions and priorities and see how they could best be recorded.” Click here for the complete interview.


RICHARD CHAMBERLAIN (Born on 3/31/34)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I’ve forgotten Dr. Kildare. Actually, I rather liked ‘Ben Casey’; it had a toughness about it. We may not want to admit it, but hospitals are more like the one on ‘Ben Casey’ than the one in which I worked on ‘Dr. Kildare.’ I did research for the show at General Hospital in Los Angeles, and once I saw a lady brought into a ward, shaking and weeping, frightened at finding herself in a strange place. Nobody came to hold her hand. They just left her sitting there, weeping. They didn’t have time. Doctors in the operating room don’t sweat, either. They’re just as likely to be discussing a baseball game. And the way they handle people’s insides! Yanking organs out, throwing them here and there.” Click here for the complete interview.

LIZA MINNELLI (Born on 3/12/46)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"I'm never sad when I remember Mom. My mother was not the tragic victim of fate that she presented to the world. That was something she planted there for the public to see. She let everyone else wallow in her misery, while she sailed on through life. Mom was exactly what she wanted to be, a brilliant, witty, optimistic lady. She was not self-pitying, either--except on rare occasions. We were having an argument once, and I turned to her and said, 'How can you be so self-pitying? Why are you so full of sympathy for yourself?' She looked me straight in the eye--I'll never forget it--and she said, 'Sympathy is my business!' You see, Mom always knew what she was doing.” Click here for the complete interview.

PIER PAOLA PASOLINI (Born on 3/5/22)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


"In general, I choose actors because of what they are as human beings, not because of what they can do. Terence Stamp was offended by this because I never asked him to demonstrate his acting ability in ‘Teorema.’ It was like stealing from him, using his reality. I had a similar experience with Anna Magnani on ‘Mama Roma.’ She also felt I was stealing from her." Click here for the complete interview.

VINCE VAUGHN (Born on 3/28/70)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



"I never got into drugs. I did get arrested for being drunk and for fighting and stealing street signs. But I was lucky, because I always knew I loved acting and that’s where my focus was. There was no way I was going to slip into the destructive world of drugs." Click here for the complete interview.

RAOUL WALSH (Born on 3/11/1887)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Wallace Reid was the Errol Flynn of his day. The director would say, 'O.K., you've had enough' at the end of a love scene, and Wally would go to the door, turn around, and come right back and start kissing the girl again. He and I were living at the same apartment, and he would get all dolled up and go out to some nightclub. Then he wanted to play his trombone when he came back. They kicked us out of the apartment for playing it at 2 A.M. Later, I tried to get Wally off cocaine, but I couldn't. There were fields and fields of marijuana on the back lot in those days, but just a few Mexicans smoked it.” Click here for the complete interview.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 3/15/13


COUNTDOWN TO OSCAR NIGHT

 

 

 

 

 

 

The suspense is building, and the nerves are swelling from rattle to roar. Twenty nominated stars are undoubtedly struggling to stay calm while hoping, perhaps even praying, that they will take home an Oscar on February 24.

But, as always, there can be only 4 winners in the Best Acting category. That leaves 16 losers sniffling in the cold. Oh, well, there’s always next year. Click here for complete details on the upcoming projects of all the potential winners and losers in this year’s race.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 2/17/13

 

IS IT A SIN TO TELL A LIE IN A FILM ABOUT REAL PEOPLE AND EVENTS?

Maybe it depends on who’s prevaricating, and what his or her motive might be. Click here to read “The Oscar for Best Fabrication,” Maureen Dowd’s solid report on the alleged twisting of truth in  “Argo,” “Lincoln” and “Zero Dark Thirty.”

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 2/17/13

 

WERE YOU A FEBRUARY BABY? 

If so, you have something in common with these movie personalities, each of whom was interviewed either by Guy Flatley or Diane Baroni. The complete interviews are available on moviecrazed.com.



COSTA-GAVRAS (Born on 2/12/33)

"The day America understands that the people of Greece must be free is the day there will be hope for Greece. Because on that day America will stop helping the military government--a government that could not stand for one week without her help. But Spiro Agnew has been saying that Greece has been saved by the military government, that he considers it the best government Greece could have. A strange concept of democracy." Click here for the complete interview.

NICK NOLTE (Born on 2/8/41)

"An actor's salary is in decent proportion to that of the executives--if he happens to be among the 10 or 15 elite actors, out of the 30,000 across the country, who've been declared bankable. But the average actor earns a ludicrous $1,500 a year, and if he's lucky enough to go out to Hollywood to read for a part, he's likely to wait for two weeks or more for the thrill of hearing the part went to somebody else. Naturally, he views his failure as a reflection on his talent, but the truth is that he might well have lost the part because of nepotism, or because of a blacklist.”  Click here for the complete interview.


BURT REYNOLDS (Born on 2/11/36)

"I made my own bed and now I have to lie in it. Unfortunately, ‘Deliverance,’ in which I gave my best performance, came out at the same time as that Cosmopolitan centerfold. And since I’m not one to hide out in the mountains of Utah or the flats of Greenwich Village between movies, I went on talk shows and became a personality. That hurt me, but it’s a little late to do anything about it. I did everything I could to blow this Mr. Macho thing to smithereens." Click here for the complete interview.


JOHN TRAVOLTA (Born on 2/18/54)

"I love being treated as a sex symbol, but I can’t take it too seriously... I could be a millionaire within the next couple of years. In the meantime, I love the publicity that makes me out to be one now...After that, I want to play an adult, with adult problems, not some kid going through an identity crisis. I want to graduate, to be a mature person–someone, say, in his mid-20s." Click here for the complete interview.



FRANCOIS TRUFFAUT (Born on 2/6/32)

"I liked Arthur Penn’s ‘Bonnie and Clyde,’ but I would have preferred another actor to Warren Beatty, because Beatty had no genuine innocence, no authenticity. He distorted the script, out of a fear of being ridiculed. Originally, Clyde was to have had a homosexual relationship with the other fellow, the one played by Michael Pollard. But Beatty wanted to be more important than Pollard and, after all, he was the producer of the film...Kubrick’s ‘2001’ I just didn’t understand. There was too much machinery; all those yellow and red buttons. I must admit that I have an anti-scientific mind. It bores me to look at rockets...Roger Vadim should be more gifted than he is in order to compensate for his self-indulgence. He is lazy, and he cannot afford to be lazy." Click here for the complete interview.


KING VIDOR (Born on 2/8/1894)

"The sight of a couple having sexual intercourse is not a good enough reason for people to spend money on babysitters. As Groucho Marx says, ‘I wouldn’t spend $10 to see a naked man, when I’ve been looking at myself in the mirror all my life for free.’ By the same token, I don’t think watching ‘Deep Throat’ all night makes you mature with a capital ‘M.’" Click here for the complete interview.

HASKELL WEXLER (Born on 2/6/26)

“I was under surveillance for the entire seven weeks that I was shooting ‘Medium Cool’ in Chicago. By the police, the Army, and the Secret Service. As we made the movie, they made movies of us. I would look up from my camera and see a guy in the back seat of a police car taking pictures of us. So many of the guys in my crew had long hair, the cops thought it was all a hippie plot to invade the amphitheater.” Click here for the complete interview.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 2/17/13

 

 

GUESS WHO WILL BE NOMINATED FOR AN OSCAR

 

 

 

 

 

 


I decided to play the guessing game myself this year. Click here for my list of films and filmmakers I think will be honored by the Academy on January 10 with nominations for the top cinematic achievements of 2012.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 1/7/13

 


WERE YOU A JANUARY BABY?


If so, you may have something in common with Cary Grant, Diane Keaton, Amanda Peet, Vinnie Jones, Butterfly McQueen, Balthazar Getty, Lionel Stander and a number of other movie personalities who were interviewed by either Guy Flatley or Diane Baroni. Click here for official birth dates, plus excerpts from the interviews. The complete interviews are available on moviecrazed.com.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 1/1/13

 

MoMA’S GRAND PASSION FOR PASOLINI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



If you’ve missed one or more of the powerful films of Pier Paola Pasolini, you’ll have a chance to catch up starting on December 13 and ending on January 5. That’s when New York’s Museum of Modern Art will present a complete retrospective of this uncompromising director’s films. Click here for details, courtesy of MoMA, and click here for my 1969 New York Times interview with Pasolini.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 12/3/12

 

AWARDS! AWARDS! AWARDS!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty” succeeded in being big, bigger, biggest on the New York Film Critics Circle’s list of 2012 winners. Bigelow, who triumphed in 2010 as the winner of the Critics Circle prize as Best Director for “The Hurt Locker," the Iraq War shocker which was named Best Picture and went on to win Best Picture and Best Director Oscars (guess who that is clutching twin statuettes in the photo above), could very well do an encore come Academy Award evening. This year’s harrowing drama about the search for and gunning down of Osama Bin Laden also won the Critics Circle prizes for Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography. Click here to read Anne Thompson and Sophia Savage’s Indiewire coverage of the awards, including a list of winners in all categories. And while you're at it, click here for Indiewire’s reporting on The European Film Academy’s competition, in which the four top prizes—Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress—all went to the same film.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 12/3/12

 

 

HITCHCOCK'S ADDICTIVE BLONDE BOND

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alfred Hitchcock’s obsession with enigmatic, sometimes dangerous blondes--from Grace Kelly to Kim Novak--is legendary. But what kind of chemistry would he have had with Hillary Clinton? Click here to read Maureen Dowd’s take on that intriguing subject in today’s New York Times.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 12/2/12

 


WERE YOU A DECEMBER BABY?

If so, you may have something in common with a number of movie personalities who were interviewed by either Guy Flatley or Diane Baroni. Click here for official birth dates, plus excerpts from the interviews. The complete interviews are available on moviecrazed.com.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 12/1/12

 

HITCH & ALMA KNEW PRECISELY HOW TO GIVE A SHOWER

 

 

 

 

 

Although she starred in three films directed by the cinema’s master of suspense—“Dial M for Murder,” “Rear Window” and “To Catch a Thief”—Grace Kelly, rumored to have been Hitch’s very favorite blonde, is not featured in the plot of “Hitchcock,” an adaptation of Stephen Rebello’s “Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho” that has been directed by Sacha Gervasi and will be released by Fox Searchlight on Friday, December 23.

Major emphasis has instead been placed on the rotund filmmaker’s favorite redhead, Alma Reville, his wife and seriously unsung cinematic collaborator. And there is no greater proof of their high-power teamwork than their successful scheme to sell Hollywood prudes on the artistic and commercial potential of the bizarre tale of a certifiable weirdo, his hideous mummy/mommy, and an on-the-run blonde embezzler who stops off at their gloomy motel for some shut-eye and a shower. 

Gervasi’s colorful cast, topped by Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren (shown above) as Hitch and Alma, also boasts Jessica Biel, Danny Huston and Toni Collette. England’s James D’Arcy plays Anthony Perkins, the actor who immortalized the creep responsible for keeping things running on an unsteady keel in the 1960 classic. The part of Janet Leigh, who played the beauty who learns the tragic truth about shower power, has been entrusted to  Scarlett Johansson.  I must admit that although I’m a fan of both Leigh and Johansson, I still can’t help imagining how Grace Kelly would have made this role her very own. Click here for my 1972 New York Times interview with Alfred Hitchcock.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 11/20/12

 

WHO’S AFRAID OF THE BROADWAY THEATER?

The best drama I’ve seen lately was not playing at my neighborhood cineplex on Manhattan’s rundown Upper West Side. No munching of popcorn, no splashing of soda, no pitches for tacky local emporiums or back-to-back, ear-blasting previews of violent attractions to come.  

All I got by subwaying to midtown was the excitement of a magnificently comic, sad, lacerating and vibrant work of art written by a great, triumphantly durable  American playwright and performed by a superb quartet of actors. I’m talking about the Broadway revival of Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” currently winning standing ovations at Manhattan’s Booth Theater. Click here for Charles Isherwood's review in The New York Times. To read my 1971 interview with Albee, click here.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 11/20/12



MARIEL'S LITTLE GIRL MAKES IT BIG

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mariel Hemingway, playing a dreamy, vulnerable high school student, captivated everyone, including director Woody Allen, who cast himself as her dirty-but-irresistible-old-man-lover in the 1979 delight, “Manhattan.”  In the following decades, however, Mariel suffered major career setbacks as well as the loss of her emotionally ravaged sister Margaux, who took her own life at the age of 42, one day after the 35th anniversary of the suicide of the girls' mythically macho grandfather Ernest Hemingway.

But now, 33 years after the festive “Manhattan,” Mariel, shown above right, has something truly new and pleasurable to smile about. Her daughter, superstar model Dree Hemingway (shown above hugging her proud mom and then savoring a solo moment) is winning raves for her knockout performance as an oddball free soul gliding and tumbling around  the fringes of tricky Hollywood terrain. In her New York Times review of “Starlet,” Manohla Dargis calls  the comedy-drama  “a thrillingly, unexpectedly good American movie about love and a moral awakening” and goes on to say “Ms. Hemingway is a spectacular find.”  Click here for the complete review, plus a tribute to Dree by Dennis Lim.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 11/19/12

 

WERE YOU A NOVEMBER BABY?

If so, you may have something in common with a number of movie personalities who were interviewed by either Guy Flatley or Diane Baroni. Click here for official birth dates, plus excerpts from the interviews. The complete interviews are available on moviecrazed.com.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 11/3/12

 

SUDDENLY EVERY DAY IS LADIES DAY BEHIND THE CAMERA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Everything may soon be coming up "Ginger & Rosa" if the buzz we're hearing about Sally Potter's new drama starring Elle Fanning, Alice Englert, Allesandro Nivola and Annette Bening is on the mark. Click here for details on Potter's "Ginger & Rosa," as well as many more current and upcoming films by women directors, including Kathryn Bigelow, Sofia Coppola, Nicole Holofcener, Sarah Polley, Lynne Ramsay and Julia Loktev.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 10/14/12

 

WERE YOU AN OCTOBER BABY?

If so, you may have something in common with a number of movie personalities who were interviewed by either Guy Flatley or Diane Baroni. Click here for official birth dates, plus excerpts from the interviews. The complete interviews are available on moviecrazed.com.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 10/14/12


REMEMBER WILLIAM WYLER'S CLASSY 1939 ADAPTATION OF 'WUTHERING HEIGHTS'?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, forget about it. Now's the time to focus on Andrea Arnold's bold new interpretation of Emily Bronte's dark, violent tale. Click here for Guy's review.

 

 

WILL THIS BE A SEPTEMBER TO REMEMBER, CINEMATICALLY SPEAKING?

Click here and check out a few possible contenders for filmdom's hall of fame, including “How to Survive a Plague,” a  documentary about the war on AIDS, and “The Master,” a film many early viewers have tagged a war on Scientology. And, oh yes, there's also a baseball flick called "Trouble With the Curve," in which Clint Eastwood stars (but presumably does not swap smutty jokes with an empty chair upon which he pretends the President of the United States is seated, as he did in a disastrous "comic" turn on the final night of the Republican Convention).

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 8/31/12

 

WERE YOU A SEPTEMBER BABY?

If so, you may have something in common with a number of movie personalities who were interviewed by either Guy Flatley or Diane Baroni. Click here for official birth dates, plus excerpts from the interviews. The complete interviews are available on moviecrazed.com

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 8/31/12

 

AN ENCORE FOR MOTHER AND DAUGHTER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having been so memorable in Arnaud Desplechin’s “A Christmas Tale,” Catherine Deneuve and her daughter Chiara Mastroianni naturally agreed to share scenes again in Christophe Honoré’s “Beloved.” How did things work out? Click here for my review.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 8/20/12


IT MAY SEEM LIKE ONLY YESTERDAY, BUT THIS FESTIVAL WAS BORN HALF A CENTURY AGO!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The New York Film Festival celebrates its 50th anniversary with an impressive list of 32 films screening in the Main Slate lineup. Some were warmly received earlier this year at the Cannes Festival. Indeed, Michael Haneke’s “Amour,”  starring Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva, shown above, received the Palme d’Or award. Click here for full details on the movies to be shown at Lincoln Center beginning on September 28 and ending on October 14. Click here for my 1970 interview with the great Trintignant.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 8/17/12

 

A TOAST TO THE OLD FRENCH WAVE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


As American director—and sometimes Parisian dweller--Preston Sturges said in the title of one of his comedies, “The French, They Are a Funny Race.” And though he may not have said so, he certainly also knew that the French, they are a movie-mad race (even though Sturges himself himself missed out on the birth of the sweepingly popular New Wave, which occurred shortly after his death in 1960).
 
Those were the days when not only the French but moviegoers all around the world rhapsodized over the vigor, discipline and audacity of such directors as Claude Chabrol, Louis Malle, Alain Resnais, Eric Rohmer, Agnes Varda, Jacques Demy, Jean-Pierre Melville, Jacques Rivette, Claude Lelouch, Andre Techine and of course that now-you love-me, now-you-hate-me duo of ex-critics Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard.

They were all great cinemagicians, but no greater than the brilliant pioneers of an earlier era,  the mysteriously neglected auteurs of what we now call the OLD FRENCH WAVE. I’m talking about mavericks like Jean Renoir (whose “The Rules of the Game” is pictured above), Rene Clair, Henri-George Clouzot, Jean Cocteau, Max Ophuls, Marcel Pagnol and many more giants of the screen whose movies will be paid tribute at New York’s Film Forum in a whopper of a retrospective that runs from August 17 through September 13. For complete details, click here.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 8/15/12

 

COULD THIS BE THE FINAL CURTAIN FOR JAY AND DAISY?

It seems like only yesterday that I was experiencing shock and awe over the fact that, starting on December 25, inexhaustible superstar Leonardo DiCaprio would be seen doing that special thing he does so well in not one but two new big-budget movies--Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby" and Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained." (Actually, I posted my coverage of DiCaprio's Christmas day double dip on June 1.)

But now the pros in charge of bringing in the box-office bucks at Warner Bros., those seasoned pragmatists who surely know something we don't know, have in their wisdom yanked Luhrmann's 3-D take on the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic from the December lineup of flicks seeking Oscar nominations and other honors and rescheduled the film's opening for the summer of 2013. Could it possibly be that Gatsby's bewitching Daisy Buchanan, played by Carey Mulligan, has morphed into a wallflower? Click here for a sharp, intriguing analysis of Warner's slick change of plan by Indiewire's Anne Thompson.

 

WERE YOU AN AUGUST BABY?

If so, you may have something in common with a number of movie personalities who were interviewed by either Guy Flatley or Diane Baroni. Click here for official birth dates, plus excerpts from the interviews. The complete interviews are available on moviecrazed.com.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 8/1/12


WHAT’S THIS? LEO DiCAPRIO AS THE BIG BAD WOLF OF WALL  STREET!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the tradition of “The Aviator” and “J. Edgar,” Leonardo DiCaprio is once again playing a real-life character you love to hate. Click here for the details.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 7/29/12

 

A CLOSE-UP VIEW OF A MOVIE STUDIO’S HISTORY OF VIOLENCE

 

 

 

 

 

 

The slaughter of innocents in a theater in Aurora, Colorado on July 20 during a screening of the exceedingly violent “The Dark Knight Rises” horrified millions of people, including the top executives at Warner Brothers, the studio that released the film. It is also the studio that swiftly shelved “Gangster Squad,” a tough, bloody drama that stars Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Emma Stone and Nick Nolte and includes a scene of  bad guys blasting their guns into a movie theater. No word yet on when the film, which was set for a September 7 release, will actually open, or if any reshooting is scheduled.

Warner Brothers is by no means the sole provider of cinematic bloodbaths. Yet, as Michael Cieply’s persuasive, sharply detailed news analysis in today’s New York Times makes clear, the company has definitely led the march to mayhem. Click here to read “A Studio With Violence in Its Bones: Warner Brothers and Its Decades of Violent Films.”

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 7/26/12

 

WHAT'S NEW AT LINCOLN CENTER? A WHOLE OTHER FILM FESTIVAL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the first time, the Film Society of Lincoln Center will play exclusive host to NewFest, the organization responsible for the annual New York Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Film Festival.

Opening on July 27  with Joshua Sanchez’s “Four,” starring Emory Cohen and Wendell Pierce (shown above), and running through July 31, the Film Society’s Walter Reade Theater will screen 16 narrative features and 4 documentaries. The festival's final attraction will be Chilean writer-director Marialy Rivas’ “Young and Wild,” which won the World Cinema Screenwriting Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Click here for complete NewFest details.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 7/15/12

 

OH NO, O’TOOLE—SAY IT ISN’T SO!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Peter O’Toole has just informed the world that he’s been there, done that, and can now afford to sit back, relax and watch other actors knock themselves out pretending to be someone they are not. So now you’ll never see him collect an Oscar, unless you count the consolation prize the Academy presented to him in 2003. (And there's certainly no awards buzz on three unreleased films in which O'Toole appears). Still, there's always a chance that we can rent DVDs of the eight films for which he was Oscar-nominated. For the record, they are: “Lawrence of Arabia,”  “Becket,” “The Lion in Winter,” “Goodbye, Mr. Chips,” “The Ruling Class,” “The Stunt Man,” “My Favorite Year” and “Venus.”

Let us hope Peter O’Toole decides that retirement is the pits and quickly returns to make a successful  bid for that slippery statuette. If you want to know some of the reasons I’ll miss him personally, click here to read my 1972  New York Times interview with him.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 7/10/12

 

SUDDENLY THIS SUMMER, MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY TURNS TOUGH

He’s got us covered. Everywhere we look these days we see former bland bombshell Matthew McConaughey popping up with a gun, or worse, in his hand and a menacing madness in his baby blues. How did this startling transformation come about, turning a chilled-out playboy into a red-hot and scary superstar in the making? Click here for Dennis Lim’s sharp, probing analysis/interview in The New York Times.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 7/10/12

 

HAPPY 100TH BIRTHDAY TO UNIVERSAL PICTURES!

The birthday present is actually being given to audiences at New York’s Film Forum, where 72 of the still-going-strong studio’s movies will be shown from July 13 through August 9. Below, a sampling of highlights.

Alfred Hitchcock’s “Shadow of a Doubt,” “Saboteur” and “The Birds”; Orson Welles’ “Touch of Evil”; Douglas Sirk’s  “Written on the Wind” and “All That Heaven Allows,” plus Sirk’s versions of “Magnificent Obsession” and “Imitation of Life”; John M. Stahl’s versions of “Magnificent Obsession” and “Imitation of Life”; Gregory La Cava’s “My Man Godfrey”; Tod Browning’s “Dracula”; James Whale’s “Frankenstein” and “Show Boat”; Fritz Lang’s “Scarlet Street”; Robert Siodmak’s “The Killers,” “Criss Cross,” “Phantom Lady,” “The Suspect,” “The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry,” “The Dark Mirror,” “Christmas Holiday,” “Cobra Woman” and “Son of Dracula”; Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing”; Clint Eastwood’s “Play Misty for Me”; The Coen Brothers’ “The Big Lebowski”; Robert Mulligan’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”; Steven Spielberg’s “The Sugarland Express” and, of course, “Jaws.”

Do you spot anything on this partial list that you simply MUST SEE? I certainly do. Click here for complete details on all of the films in this terrific retrospective.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 7/10/12


GUY'S TRAILER PARK--CHAPTER 2

Check out the fascinating details on a hot flick that may or may not prompt Tom Cruise, Mimi Rogers, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, John Travolta, Kelly Preston and other passionate Hollywood fans of scientology to strut their stuff on the red carpet come opening night. Click here for "The Master," plus text, posters and trailers on other new films starring Denzel Washington, Jessica Chastain, Ben Affleck, Keira Knightley, Bradley Cooper and Blake Lively.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 7/2/12

 

WERE YOU A JULY BABY?

If so, you have something in common with these movie personalities, each of whom was interviewed either by Guy Flatley or Diane Baroni. The complete interviews are available on moviecrazed.com.

BILLY CRUDUP  (Born on 7/8/68)

"I recognize that the bones on the side of my face are really pronounced and high and that there’s symmetry in my face. Beyond that, the reasons one feels good about oneself rarely come from the way that one looks. I go through the same sort of sweeps in feeling good about myself and my own virility and sense of self-esteem as I would think anyone else does. It rarely has anything to do with how good I think I look." Click here for the complete interview.

WILLEM DAFOE  (Born on 7/22/55)

“The relationship between actor and director is a private relationship, and even in the best relationships, so much is left unspoken. Marty Scorsese and I haven't talked about how we feel about each other; we've just known each other intimately through the work. So to go public is a weird kind of kiss-and-tell.” Click here for the complete interview.

VITTORIO DE SICA  (Born on 7/7/01)

"Sometimes when an American tries to make a film about Italians, it turns out to be ridiculous. And maybe that was the same thing Americans felt about Antonioni’s ‘Zabriskie Point.’ I myself thought there were a number of striking things in it, cinematically. But it is probably also true that Antonioni was only dealing with exteriors, surfaces…that he did not really know enough about the relationship between those two young Americans in the film." Click here for the complete interview.

ANNA PAQUIN  (Born on 7/24/82)

"Before I got nominated for 'The Piano,' I didn’t really know what an Oscar was. So it wasn’t some huge thing I was aiming for. It just sort of happened. And if it happens again, that will be really good. Who wouldn’t want it to happen again? But it’s not like I’m dying for it to happen. I think I was very lucky that it happened even once. I mean, I was so young." Click here for the complete interview.

KEN RUSSELL  (Born on 7/3/27)

“I’m truly surprised that my films shock people, and I’m astonished that not everyone could see that ‘The Devils’ was a religious film. There aren’t many Catholics in England, but I’m sure that if a Catholic censor had been shown the scene of the nuns and the crucifix, he would have understood what was being said and he would have passed it.” Click here for the complete interview.

EVA MARIE SAINT  (Born on 7/4/24)

“I’ve worked with wonderful actors, but never with anyone as sensitive and vulnerable as Marlon Brando in ‘On the Waterfront.’ If you were doing a scene with him and you changed an inflection from the take before, he would always adjust to it. Nothing ever came out quite the same, and that kept you on your toes. My God, Marlon was a doll!” Click here for the complete interview.

SYLVESTER STALLONE  (Born on 7/6/46)

“It took about three and a half days to write ‘Rocky.’ I’m astounded by people who take 18 months to write something. That’s how long it took that guy to write ‘Madame Bovary.’ And was that ever on a best-seller list? No. It was a lousy book and it made a lousy movie.” Click here for the complete interview.

NATALIE WOOD  (Born on 7/20/38)

“It’s amazing, the fascination James Dean still holds for so many people. By the standards of that time, Jimmy seemed eccentric, but I didn’t find him strange at all. He was intense and introverted, but he wasn’t into drugs or anything like that. They say he was self-destructive, but I never thought so. We became very close while we were making ‘Rebel Without a Cause,’ and I spent a great deal of time with him. We used to go to lunch together on his motorcycle, and I never regarded that as destructive.” Click here for the complete interview.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 7/2/12

 

WELCOME TO GUY'S TRAILER PARK--CHAPTER 1

We'll give you all you need to know about a colorful collection of upcoming releases--stars, directors, story lines, plus a poster and trailer for each film. Click here for a sneak preview of this brand new Moviecrazed feature.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 6/12/12

 

HOW CAN WE WAIT TILL CHRISTMAS COMES?

Starting on December 25, we'll be able to savor Leo DiCaprio doing F. Scott Fitzgerald and Leo DiCaprio doing Quentin Tarantino. And if you can bear the excitement, you might catch both movies on opening day. Click here for details.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 6/1/12


WERE YOU A JUNE BABY?

If so, you have something in common with these movie personalities, each of whom was interviewed either by Guy Flatley or Diane Baroni. The complete interviews are available on moviecrazed.com.

TONY CURTIS (Born on 6/3/25)

"The Oscars have been turned into a big business, and they can be bought. You tell me, what the hell was O.J. Simpson doing up there on that stage? Or Muhammad Ali? What do they have to do with movies? Where was Barbara Stanwyck, baby?" Click here for the complete interview.

GLENDA FARRELL (Born on 6/30/04)

“Warner Brothers never made you feel you were just a member of the cast. So you weren’t Kay Francis. You were still well paid, and you didn’t get a star complex. We were a very close group–James Cagney, Guy Kibbee, Hugh Herbert, Aline MacMahon, Dick Powell and Joan Blondell. Bette Davis was always an outsider.” Click here for the complete interview.

KRIS KRISTOFFERSON (Born on 6/22/36)

"Early on, when the anti-war movement first got going, I wasn’t part of it at all, because my friends were over in Vietnam. But now I respect what those people did--Joan Baez and the rest--because they were right. We didn’t belong there. And they weren’t protesting against the soldiers, they were protesting against the sons-of-bitches that sent them there." Click here for the complete interview.

SIDNEY LUMET (Born on 6/25/24)

"When I make a movie, I work fast. It’s funny, but when I look at the directors whose work I like, the careers I most admire are the careers of quantity. When I look at George Cukor’s work, I see 15 or 16 pieces of first-class stuff. Thirty pieces of John Ford’s work are the toppest drawer, but of course he made 170 movies!" Click here for the complete interview.

MALCOLM McDOWELL  (Born on 6/13/43)

"John Gielgud was the one that I just adored, and he had the sort of career that I always wanted. I want to be working when I'm 75. But John went on until he was 95. I heard a story that he called his agent when he was 95 and said, 'It's Johnny here, anything for me?'" Click here for the complete interview.

TERI POLO  (Born on 6/1/69)

"You know, the big breasts, hot car thing—the kind of thing I fondly refer to as Hootchieville. When I first got out to Hollywood, I tried dressing like a hootchie. I tried acting like a hootchie, but it didn’t work. I guess I’m just not a hootchie at heart." Click here for the complete interview.

JOAN RIVERS (Born on 6/8/33)

"We’re not making any points; we’re just having a good time, making a silly movie about a poor schlep who becomes pregnant. Gay lib is in favor of the man having the baby, but women’s lib is against him because they feel he’s taking away their one unique function." Click here for the complete interview.

ALEXIS SMITH (Born on 6/8/21)

“I’m totally disinterested in nostalgia. When my friends call and tell me one of my old movies is on TV, I don’t look at it. Those films weren’t very good at the time, and they haven’t improved with age.” Click here for the complete interview.

BILLY WILDER (Born on 6/22/06)

"What makes 'Fedora' very special among today’s movies is that it has no special effects, no stunts, no demonic possession, no nudity--frontal or otherwise--and a conspicuous absence of orgasms and Sensurround.” Click here for the complete interview.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 5/31/12

 

WHICH STARS CAME OUT AHEAD AT CANNES? WHO SHOULD HAVE STAYED HOME?

I strongly recommend Anne Thompson’s solid, razor-sharp report on the good, the bad, and the ugly luck of some of the major competing players at the Cannes Festival. Click here for Indiewire’s THOMPSON ON HOLLYWOOD.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 5/30/12

WHEN JEAN-LOUIS TRINTIGNANT WAS JUST GETTING STARTED

 

 

 

 

 



The brilliant actor now stunning critics with his brave portrait of a frail senior in "Amour," the Palme d'Or winner at the Cannes Festival, was best known for his performance as a sexy widower who woos a sexy widow in "A Man and a Woman" when I interviewed him for The New York Times in 1970. Click here to get a sense of what he was like as a rising star. And if you'd like to refresh your memory of precisely what it was that made him click with Anouk Aimee, tune in to "A Man and a Woman" when it's screened on TCM at 12:00 AM (EST) on 6/3/12.

 

MORE CANNES SUCCESS STORIES

"Amour" was not the only movie the Cannes jurors fell in love with. To read Manohla Dargis's comprehensive report on the winners in The New York Times, click here.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 5/27/12


WHAT ON EARTH WAS HITCH DOING WITH CAROLE LOMBARD?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





"I adored Carole Lombard–-so much, in fact, that she was able to persuade me to do something outside my type, a bedroom farce called ‘Mr. and Mrs. Smith.’ She had a tremendous sense of humor, but there was nothing for me to do with that film except to take the script and direct it."

That’s what Alfred Hitchcock told me during an interview I did for The New York Times in 1972. Click here to read the complete article, plus my one-on-one interviews with other major directors including Scorsese, Pasolini, Wilder, Nichols, Allen, Eastwood, Truffaut, Godard, Arzner, Capra, Walsh, Dwan, Bertolucci, Anderson, Perry, Losey, De Sica, Antonioni, De Palma, Lumet, Malle, Vidor, Sembene, Visconti, Hopper, Von Trier and Zinnemann.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 5/19/12

 

BRUNI GETS FRANK ABOUT BRISTOL AND HER MOM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I read Frank Bruni’s excellent column about Sarah Palin and her breezily ambitious daughter Bristol in this morning’s New York Times, I couldn’t help thinking of Mildred Pierce and her gutsy daughter Veda. To see if you share my view, click here.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 5/15/12

 

HELLO 'MARVEL'S THE AVENGERS'; GOODBYE 'HARRY POTTER'

 

It came as a shock to me, but every other man, woman and child on this planet seemed to know in advance that a movie version of a Marvel comic book would break all box office records by raking in more than $200 million on its opening weekend at the North American box office. And that means former champ "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" is now toast. Is nothing sacred? Click here to read what the critics had to say about the brazen, blazing "Avengers."

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 5/7/12


A TRIBUTE TO 'ALIEN' AND MANY MORE UNFORGETTABLY WEIRD FILMS BY RIDLEY SCOTT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From May 25 through June 3, The Film Society of Lincoln Center will honor versatile British director Ridley Scott with a robust salute to his impressive body of work, from his striking debut in 1977 with “The Duellists” through “Alien,” “Blade Runner,” “Thelma & Louise,” “Gladiator,” “Black Hawk Down” and beyond. All screenings will take place at The  Walter Reade Theater, located at 165 West 65th Street, between Amsterdam and Broadway. eroadway.

Below, courtesy of Lincoln Center, essential details about Scott and his achievements.

The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced today a complete retrospective of three-time Oscar-nominee Ridley Scott, whose career began in the 70’s and who has continued to excite and enchant audiences with his remarkable storytelling ability. The retrospective will include the Director’s cut of KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, a new 35mm print of THELMA & LOUISE and the chance for fans to catch all of their favorites on the big screen.

“With ALIEN and BLADE RUNNER, Ridley Scott has been responsible for two of the most lasting and visionary works of science-fiction cinema,” said Film Society Associate Director of Programming Scott Foundas. “But as a filmmaker, he has seemed just as compelled by stories set in the distant past and those set in the combat zones of the present, always finding the human dimension in the mythic and the mythic dimension in the seemingly everyday. As he makes his long-awaited return to sci-fi with this summer’s highly anticipated PROMETHEUS, we’re delighted to pay tribute to Scott and his extraordinary career.”

FILMS, DESCRIPTIONS & SCHEDULE


ALIEN

1979, USA, 35mm; 117m
In space, no one can hear you scream...except for the face-hugging, chest-exploding ETs at the center of Scott’s terrifying, hugely influential sci-fi classic.
*MAY 25, 9PM; MAY 28, 3:45PM

AMERICAN GANGSTER

2007, USA, 35mm; 157m
An honest cop (Russell Crowe) works to take down the thriving heroin empire of gangster Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) in Scott’s sprawling, African-American companion piece to The Godfather.
*MAY 25, 1PM; MAY 28, 6:15PM

BLACK HAWK DOWN

2001, USA, 35mm; 144m
This visceral, Oscar-winning account of the 1993 battle between U.S. Army Rangers and Somali insurgents in Mogadishu set a new standard for cinematic depictions of men in war.
*MAY 28, 1PM; JUNE 2, 6:15PM

BLACK RAIN

1989, USA, 35mm; 125m
Brash NYC cop Michael Douglas and partner Andy Garcia team with a veteran Japanese lawman (the great Ken Takakura) to track a missing Yakuza henchman in this sleek, suspenseful East-meets-West thriller.
*MAY 26, 1:30PM

BLADE RUNNER

1982, USA; 117m
Scott’s sci-fi masterpiece not only anticipated our future but designed it. With Harrison Ford as the grizzled gumshoe on the trail of renegade humanoid “replicants.”
*MAY 26, 4PM; JUNE 1, 9:15PM

BODY OF LIES

2008, USA, 35mm; 128m
Samarra-based CIA operative Leonardo DiCaprio trails an elusive, bin Laden–esque terrorist , while his Langley-based boss (Rusell Crowe) watches from a safe distance in Scott’s razor-sharp look at the War on Terror.
*JUNE 1, 3:45PM; JUNE 2, 3:30PM

THE DUELLISTS

1977, UK, HDCAM; 100m

Harvey Keitel and Keith Carradine are Napoleonic soldiers who allow a petty squabble to erupt into an absurd, lifelong feud in Scott’s dazzling debut feature, adapted from a Joseph Conrad novella.
**Screening with BOY AND BICYCLE
Ridley Scott, 1965, UK, Digital; 27m.
Scott’s abstract short, made while he was a photography student, stars his brother Tony as a truant schoolboy in an industrial British coastal town.
*MAY 25, 6:30PM; MAY 29, 3:30PM; MAY 31, 1PM

1492: CONQUEST OF PARADISE

1992, USA/UK/France/Spain, 35mm; 154m
Scott’s visually stunning, psychologically complex Christopher Columbus biopic views the Italian explorer (played by Gérard Depardieu) as a great but flawed man of his times.
*MAY 27, 3PM

G.I. JANE

1997, USA, 35mm; 125m
Pumped-up Demi Moore joins an elite Navy reconnaissance team under the watchful eye of Master Chief Viggo Mortensen in Scott’s high-octane women-in-the-military actioner.
*JUNE 2, 9:15PM

GLADIATOR

2000, USA, 35mm; 155m
In the first of his five collaborations with Scott, Russell Crowe stars as a betrayed Roman General who seeks his revenge through the gladiatorial arena. Winner of five Oscars including Best Picture and Best Actor.
*MAY 27, 6PM; JUNE 1, 12:45PM

A GOOD YEAR

2006, USA, 35mm; 118m
London investment banker Russell Crowe inherits a Provence vineyard and falls for the charms of a pre-La Vie en Rose Marion Cotillard in this charming, sun-drenched romantic fable.
*JUNE 2, 1PM

HANNIBAL

2001, USA, 35mm; 131m
Hannibal the Cannibal is back in Scott’s mordantly funny, darkly romantic Silence of the Lambs sequel. With Anthony Hopkins in top form, and Julianne Moore ably picking up where Jodie Foster left off.
*MAY 27, 9PM; MAY 29, 1PM

KINGDOM OF HEAVEN (Director’s Cut)

2005, UK/Spain/USA/Germany, 35mm; 192m
A village blacksmith (Orlando Bloom) becomes an unlikely hero in the Christian-Muslim religious wars of the 12th century in Scott’s masterful Crusades drama, presented here in the rarely screened director’s cut.
*JUNE 3, 4PM

LEGEND


Ridley Scott, 1985, UK, 35mm; 94m
Mythical hero Tom Cruise teams up with an assortment of elves, fairies and dwarves to vanquish the forces of darkness in this visually extravagant, cult-classic fantasy.
*MAY 25, 4:15PM; MAY 26, 9:15PM

MATCHSTICK MEN


Ridley Scott, 2003, USA, 35mm; 116m
A phobic con artist (Nicolas Cage), his protege (Sam Rockwell) and the teenage daughter (Alison Lohman) he never knew he had team up to pull the heist of a lifetime in this delightful caper comedy.
*MAY 28, 9:15PM

ROBIN HOOD

Ridley Scott, 2010, USA/UK, 35mm; 140m
Russell Crowe is an older, wizened Robin Hood and Cate Blanchett a hesitant, widowed Marian in Scott’s lyrical, revisionist take on the classic legend.
*JUNE 3, 1:15PM

SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME

Ridley Scott, 1987, USA, 35mm; 106m
One of Scott’s most underrated and surprising pictures, this elegant modern-day film noir stars Tom Berenger as a detective assigned to protect the wealthy Manhattan socialite (Mimi Rogers) who has witnessed a brutal murder.
*MAY 29, 6PM; MAY 30, 1PM

New 35mm print!
THELMA & LOUISE

Ridley Scott, 1991, USA, 35mm; 130m
Gal pals turned fugitives Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon go on the lam in Scott’s iconic feminist road movie, nominated for six Oscars and winner for Best Original Screenplay.
*MAY 26, 6:30PM

WHITE SQUALL

Ridley Scott, 1996, USA, 35mm; 129m
Jeff Bridges is superb as the disciplinarian headmaster of a youth sailing academy in this fact-based tale of the doomed final voyage of the brigantine Albatross.
*MAY 27, 12:30PM

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 5/1/12


WERE YOU A MAY BABY?

If so, you have something in common with these movie personalities, each of whom was interviewed either by Guy Flatley or Diane Baroni. The complete interviews are available on moviecrazed.com.

CANDICE BERGEN (Born on 5/9/46)

"I still talk to Charlie McCarthy on the phone every couple of weeks. He and Mortimer Snerd always had a kind of amorphous identity for me. They were not quite human, but they were certainly more than dolls. And the fact that my father’s radio program was called ‘The Charlie McCarthy Show, With Edgar Bergen’ must have meant something. Maybe Charlie was human. Who’s to say?" Click here for the complete interview.

PAUL BETTANY (Born on 5/27/71)

"I've got nothing against drugs--the Beatles were really, really high when they wrote great music. It's just that drugs had become a full-time job for me. The decision to really stop is everything. I failed so many times, and then I absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, knew that I wasn't going to fail anymore.” Click here for the complete interview.


CLARENCE BROWN (Born on 5/10/1890)

“Garbo and I were made for each other. Nobody around us on the set ever knew what we were talking about, because I spoke to her in a whisper. For her first talkie, we chose a story where the dialogue wouldn't hurt her--'Give me a visky, ginger ale on the side, and don't be stingy, baby.' Garbo is the greatest screen actress of all time.” Click here for the complete interview.

FRANK CAPRA (Born on 5/18/1897)

"Nobody knew if audiences would take to talking pictures. Men like L. B. Mayer didn't understand what the hell was going on, and so they lost control of the studio to the engineers. Soon the soundmen were telling everyone what to do. They talked Mayer into getting rid of his best-known, highest paid star, saying that his voice didn't sound good enough. They threw Jack Gilbert out, and he died of drink. It was ridiculous.” Click here for the complete interview.

CLINT EASTWOOD (Born on 5/31/30)

"I don’t think violence is the sole selling point of any film. If a story is tough and violent, it has to be told that way. The basis of any story is conflict, and a lot of conflict is violent. If we begin to censor violence, then we’d better take a serious look at the Old Testament, and then go on to the Greeks, with their gruesome disembowelments, and to Shakespeare." Click here for the complete interview.

ALICE FAYE (Born on 5/5/15)

“I wouldn’t want to resume my career at a heavy pace, but I do enjoy putting my foot in. It gets my adrenaline going and gives me a lift. It was hard work then, but it was class. Today, it's nothing. Oh, I guess you might say that what they’ve got now is progress, but I liked it the other way better.” Click here for the complete interview.

HENRY FONDA (Born on 5/16/05)

"I was on a long-distance call from Washington, talking with my...how should I say it?...with my erstwhile, with my alleged daughter. I’m afraid Jane got arrested again today. These kids are always getting arrested. They’re proud of it. This time she was handing out leaflets, urging people to write to their congressmen. But I don’t think Jane’s political activities will hurt her career. Unless she winds up doing 11 years in Leavenworth.” Click here for the complete interview.

DENNIS HOPPER (Born on 5/17/36)

“I moved to Taos because I don’t like the people in Los Angeles, even though they do have nice banks. Hollywood is a very cliquish place; you go to private clubs to see the private people. If you walk on the street at night, the police stop you and want to know what you’re up to. Hollywood is so smogged, so swamped, that it’s ready to fall into the sea.” Click here for the complete interview.

GLENDA JACKSON (Born on 5/9/36)

“I guess you have to be idiotic or arrogant to walk out there on stage and lay yourself bare in front of total strangers; I’ve never been able to decide which it is–an act of miraculous courage or inordinate stupidity. I do know, however, that it’s an incomparable thrill when the audience perceives what you want them to perceive, when they realize precisely what you are doing, and afterwards you can say, ‘It worked–-by God, it worked!’” Click here for the complete interview.

SONDRA LOCKE (Born on 5/28/44)

"God, is Clint Eastwood ever a fantastic director! Two words from him means more to me than 10 speeches from any other director. More than anyone I’ve ever met, Clint is a man of instinct. He can feel everything that is going on in everyone around him, and he makes acting so natural, so easy. Of course, I’ve always been impressed with him as a star; he may be the only one on the screen today who has that incredible magic the old stars had-- that bigger-than-life quality that goes beyond talent." Click here for the complete interview.

JAMES MASON (Born on 5/15/09)

“I was in Hollywood for 16 years and I had my ups and downs. It’s not that I’m trying to put myself down. I made several good films-- ‘Desert Fox,’ ‘Pandora and the Flying Dutchman' ‘5 Fingers’ – and then I made ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,’ which made a huge amount of money. So my agent said, ‘Now, just sit back and wait till the scripts come rolling in.’ Well, I sat back, and I waited, and do you know what happened? Not one bloody script rolled in. Not one." Click here for the complete interview.

SAMANTHA MORTON (Born on 5/13/77)

“I don’t think anyone should be pro-abortion or anti-abortion. Every case is different. People who have extremist views about abortion are very frightening to me. People say I’m too young to have a baby, that I should concentrate on my career. But I’m feeling very conceited about this. I say to my girlfriends, ‘Hey, I’m having a baby!’ It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. And, you know, it’s about ready to pop out.” Click here for the complete interview.

JAMES STEWART (Born on 5/20/08)

“I came out here as a contract player at M-G-M, and I went to work every day. It might be a big part in a little picture, or it might be a little part in a big picture, or maybe I’d be doing a test, taking voice lessons or working out in the gym. M-G-M had Crawford, Garbo, Shearer, Dressler, Harlow, Hepburn and so many others. Today’s actresses--talented performers like Barbra Streisand and Liza Minnelli and Candy Bergen--would have flourished even more in the day of the big studios. It was a tremendous time.” Click here for the complete interview.

JOHN WAYNE (Born on 5/26/07)

"John Ford was like a father to me, like a big brother. I got word that he wanted to see me at his home in Palm Springs, and when I got there, he said, ‘Hi Duke, down for the deathwatch?’ ‘Hell no,’ I said, ‘you’ll bury us all.’ But he looked so weak. We used to be a triumvirate-–Ford and me and a guy named Ward Bond. The day I went to Palm Springs, Ford said, ‘Duke, do you ever think of Ward?’ ‘All the time’ I said. ‘Well, let’s have a drink to Ward,’ he said. So I got out the brandy, gave him a sip and took one for myself. ‘All right, Duke,’ he said finally, ‘I think I’ll rest for a while.’ I went home, and that was Pappy Ford’s last day." Click here for the complete interview.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 4/29/12

 

HOW DO YOU TOP THE RECENT TRIBUTES TO MARGARET THATCHER, SIGMUND FREUD, J. EDGAR HOOVER AND MARILYN MONROE?

Presumably you do your cinematic best with salutes—or putdowns--that somehow manage to capture the heart and soul of such complex figures as Abraham Lincoln, Liberace, Steve Jobs, Princess Diana, Princess Grace and Alfred Hitchcock. Click here for details.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 4/26/12

 

ARE YOU PREPARED TO RISK THIS CINEMATIC BLOODBATH?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to read my review of "The Raid: Redemption" and then decide for yourself.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 4/20/12


COME BACK, ROBERT REDFORD, COME BACK...PLEASE COME BACK!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the awful truth: Over the past few years, the projects chosen by Robert Redford to revitalize his drooping reputation as a dynamic actor and polished director have been stupefyingly dull. Gone but not forgiven are “The Legend of Bagger Vance,” “Spy Game,” “The Clearing,” “An Unfinished Life” and “Lions for Lambs.” It’s hard to believe the man at the center of those synthetic duds is the same maverick whose imagination, sly humor and social awareness prompted us to stand up and cheer—or at least lean forward in our seats—while watching  “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “The Candidate,” “The Way We Were,” “The Sting,” “All the President’s Men,” “Ordinary People,” “The Natural,” “Out of Africa,” “A River Runs Through It” and “Quiz Show.”

But let’s do try to keep the faith; a classy comeback is not out of the question for Redford. Indeed, there’s reason to believe that he’s on the verge of ascending from the lower depths and  delivering a championship triple play.

The first of the cinematic trio to surface will be the recently completed “The Company You Keep,” an adaptation by Lem Dobbs of Neil Gordon’s best-selling thriller about an enigmatic Weather Underground militant whose alleged crimes during the turbulent, Vietnam War-ravaged  sixties included bank robbery, sabotage, terrorism and murder. When FBI agents got too close for comfort, the rebel—played by Redford, who is also the film’s director—disappears for a while and then emerges with a whole new, squeaky-clean identity and a determination to become America’s most  powerful crusading lawyer. Alas, decades after his initial overnight vanishing act, this born-again reformer may be forced to resume the life of an underground fugitive, thanks to a an incendiary report by a young and ambitious  journalist (Shia LaBeouf).

Anyone else of note in the cast? Well, for starters, there are Nick Nolte, Brendan Gleeson, Chris Cooper, Jackie Evancho, Richard Jenkins, Terrence Howard, Stanley Tucci and Anna Kendrick. And, oh yes, I almost forgot--playing staunch, sexy left-wingers who had once joined the passionate idealist in a bold bank robbery, we have Susan Sarandon and Julie Christie, who were struggling starlets when Robert Redford was Hollywood’s prince of hunks.

You needn’t ask if there’s anyone else of note in the cast of Redford's "All Is Lost.” That’s because the entire cast consists of Robert Redford, who plays a solitary man adrift at sea with very little reason to believe he will ever again make contact with a living creature unless it’s a shark or a whale. But like the Redford heroes of old, this loner has no intention of giving  up without a fight.

Who dreamed up this scenario? The good news is that J.C. Chandor is both screenwriter and director of “All Is Lost.” Chandor, you will recall, is the young hotshot whose first feature, “Margin Call,” won raves from Redford and others at Sundance and went on to win an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay of 2011. (He lost to senior hotshot Woody Allen for “Midnight in Paris.”)

In case you’re wondering if Redford is wise to gamble on a director with so limited captainship credentials, I suggest that you take another look at “Margin Call" and to delight in the superb performances the kid coaxed from veteran performers Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Paul Bettany, Stanley Tucci and, yes, Demi Moore.

Now, to read a New York Times report on “All the President’s Men Revisited,” a documentary produced and narrated by Robert Redford, click here.
 
POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 4/8/12


WERE YOU AN APRIL BABY?

If so, you have something in common with these movie personalities, each of whom was interviewed either by Guy Flatley or Diane Baroni. The complete interviews are available on moviecrazed.com.

LINDSAY ANDERSON (Born on 4/17/23)

“Pauline Kael is such a caricature of the journalistic bitch. Her reputation as a critic of intellectual distinction is totally unmerited, and I’m simply amazed that no one has taken her on in print.” Click here for the complete interview.

EVE ARDEN (Born on 4/30/08)

“It’s amazing to me that I just can’t get away from Miss Brooks. It did bother me to be so strongly pinned to one series, because the height of my ambition was always to create a role on Broadway, something that was all mine, the way Judy Holliday did in ‘Born Yesterday.’ But, gradually, I came to realize that Miss Brooks was it, so I might as well relax and enjoy it.” Click here for the complete interview.

CAROL BURNETT (Born on 4/26/33)

"I’m most comfortable when I’m playing to a live audience. We tape our television show that way, and I’m always so surprised when movie people come on the show and say they don’t think they can do it, because the audience scares them. With me, it’s just the opposite. I’m scared on a movie set, playing to that camera.” Click here for the complete interview.

ALLAN DWAN (Born on 4/3/1885)

“Gloria Swanson’s a great-great grandmother, and yet she looks like a blushing bride. She kills me. She's my outstanding star of stars. Gloria, Raoul Walsh and I had a reunion not long ago right here in this living room. I said, 'Come on, tell the truth now. What kind of affair did you two have?' They didn't confess a thing, but their faces were rosy red.” Click here for the complete interview.

WILLIAM HOLDEN (Born on 4/17/18)

"In general, I don’t care for scenes of copulation. Certain functions of the human body are bloody private. But that particular scene in ‘Network’ was a confirmation of the weirdness of Diana’s character, and it was sad, funny-sad. It was a valid scene and I think it is important that creative storytellers have the freedom to express themselves. When we made ‘The Moon Is Blue,’ we couldn’t get a seal of approval because we used the words ‘virgin’ and ‘seduced’.” Click here for the complete interview.

ANITA LOOS (Born on 4/26/1888)

"I was a stage child out in San Diego, and one day I went to the movies. Afterward, I climbed up in the projection room, got the address of D. W. Griffith's company in New York from a can of film and sent him a scenario. It was accepted at once. I got $25 and I said, 'This is where I quit acting.'” Click here for the complete interview.

SHIRLEY MacLAINE (Born on 4/24/34)

“A subject like women’s liberation is just too political for the Hollywoodians. And so women have fallen into the same vacuum as the Vietnam War, the C.I.A., the F.B.I. and corruption in high places. Except for ‘All the President’s Men,’ we’ve been ignoring social problems, and credit for getting that film made must go to Robert Redford, a man with extremely good values. And he’s charming and pretty enough to force things through.” Click here for the complete interview.

JACK NICHOLSON (Born on 4/22/37)

"I say Nixon is running for a third term. And I'm sad to say the reason he still has his job is that there is no one around who is willing to step up and say 'I'll do the job.' I mean, who's going to run against the man? All the politicians are too busy eating each other. I've hesitated saying these things about Nixon in the press because I've been so afraid he'd like my ideas and use them. Come to think of it, I may be the only man to fill his job. I'd better get on the phone--quick!" Click here for the complete interview.

RYAN O’NEAL (Born on 4/20/41)

“I worked harder with Barbra Streisand on ‘The Main Event’ than with Stanley Kubrick on ‘Barry Lyndon.’ She works 15 and 16 hours a day, checking to make sure we all do our jobs, but she does it in a feminine way. Yet that ruffles some men. I feel that people have been unfair to Barbra. She’s a delicately made creature, a great lady.” Click here for the complete interview.

AL PACINO (Born on 4/25/40)

”Just say that Tuesday Weld is my favorite drink. Sometimes when I walk into a bar, I really throw the bartender by ordering a Tuesday Weld. It’s something I invented–-a Brandy Alexander poured over an Oreo cookie. Tuesday and I used to laugh a lot about that." Click here for the complete interview.

ANTHONY PERKINS (Born on 4/4/32)

“Everyone told me that if I spent some time in Hollywood and talked with enough producers, an offer to direct some movie would inevitably come along. And, believe it or not, I think I’ve got something in the works for next summer. Of course, there are a hundred unfinished film projects for every broken light on Hollywood Boulevard.” Click here for the complete interview.

DEBBIE REYNOLDS (Born on 4/1/32)

“I felt at home at MGM. L.B. Mayer used to give a speech to the cast and crew every morning. ‘We’re just one big family here,’ he’d say, ‘All working together.’ He may have had his other side—you know, the monster, the tyrant—but if he did, I never saw it. He was the one who wanted me in ‘Singin’ in the Rain’; nobody else did. He was a great chief, and he knew how to build stars.” Click here for the complete interview.

BARBRA STREISAND (Born on 4/24/42)

"I’ve heard Truman Capote say all actors are dumb and that maybe Marlon Brando is the dumbest of all. Well, he’s dumb for saying that. He was being provocative, but he was doing it at somebody else’s expense. Any actor worth his salt is intelligent. As for Brando–-my God, he has genius! Brando is the only actor who ever really touched me." Click here for the complete interview.

LARS VON TRIER (Born on 4/30/56)

“For the penetration shots in ‘The Idiots,’ we had to use extras, but I am proud to say we do have some fully erect male actors in the orgy scene. I’m sure they wanted to participate more fully, but somehow...I don’t know how you feel about this yourself, but it’s not so easy to have sex with the camera on.” Click here for the complete interview.

FRED ZINNEMANN (Born on 4/29/07)

“I do not believe in selling any of my personal beliefs–political, religious or otherwise. That’s not what people come to the movies to see. As a director, my primary function is to entertain the public. If someone is going to pay three bucks for a ticket, he has a right to be entertained.” Click here for the complete interview.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 4/8/12

 

 

FROM NICHOLS & MAY TO WILLY & BIFF

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back in the sixties, when Mike Nichols and his brilliant, lethally funny sidekick Elaine May went into their act on Broadway, the crowds roared. This was a dynamite duo, and even after their professional split, Nichols and May remained close friends, individually crafting classy, sometimes uproarious, sometimes demanding, always engaging films.

Now director Nichols, who has every right to feel proud of  “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” “The Graduate,” “Catch 22,”  “Carnal Knowledge,” “Silkwood,” “Postcards from the Edge,” “Closer” and “Charlie Wilson’s War,” has returned triumphantly to Broadway with  a fresh interpretation of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman,” a production that accentuates the emotional battle between boastful, quick-to-blur-the-truth salesman Willy Loman and his disillusioned, self-pitying son Biff.

The question is, what would Nichols’ own father, a gifted, charismatic man who died at the age of 44, make of the achievements of Mike-the-man, who was only 11 at the time of his dad’s death?  As Maureen Dowd makes clear in her sharp New York Times interview with him, Nichols still suffers sweaty moments when he wonders if he has satisfied his father's great expectations.

And yes, Dowd does speculate on other intriguing father-and-son relationships, such as those experienced in the Kennedy, Bush, Romney, Clinton, McCain, Gingrich and Obama families. Click here to read Maureen’s “How Oedipus Wrecks.”  And click here to read my 1976 People magazine interview with Mike Nichols.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 3/25/12

 

MoMA & LINCOLN CENTER INTRODUCE US TO A BUNCH OF BUDDING FILMMAKERS

Those passionate cineastes at the Museum of  Modern Art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center are at it again. For the 41st consecutive year, the New Directors/New Films series will screen work by some of the world’s most talented, innovative—but not yet famous-- directors. From March 21 through April 1, 29 features and 12 short films will be shown. And though I have not yet seen all of this year’s entries, I can enthusiastically recommend “Oslo, August 31,” “Omar Killed Me,” "Twilight Portrait," "Hemel," "Breathing," "Teddy Bear" and “The Raid: Redemption.”

Click here for a detailed description of the films to be shown, courtesy of MoMA and Lincoln Center, plus a full time-and-place schedule.   

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 3/16/12

 

WOODY’S ROMAN HOLIDAY

This season, Woody Allen not only enjoyed the biggest commercial success of his entire career, but he also won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for his super  “Midnight in Paris.” So how does the writer-director-occasional actor attempt to top his Parisian  triumph? By traveling to Italy and shooting “To Rome With Love,” a four-vignette flick boasting a formidable cast that, happily, includes Woody Allen as a dutiful dad who travels with his wife to the Eternal City to meet the family of the Italian dude their daughter plans to marry.  Judy Davis plays Allen’s presumably long-suffering spouse, and other familiar faces—many of them Woodman staples—include Ellen Page, Jesse Eisenberg, Penelope Cruz, Alec Baldwin, Alison Pill, Roberto Benigni, Greta Gerwig and Ornella Muti.

As is his custom, Allen is closely guarding the story line of this broad comedy, which Sony Pictures Classics will open on 6/22/12. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Jesse Eisenberg emerges with a seductive Italian accent. Nor would it shock me to see Roberto Benigni bobbing off in all directions  as a manic native of Brooklyn. All I know for sure is that I pray Woody  continues his recent run of glorious, re-energized filmmaking. (Click here for my 1978 Los Angeles Times interview with auteur Allen.)

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 3/16/12


LET'S HEAR IT FOR CATHERINE, THE GREATEST OF THE GREAT

We all have our favorite Catherine Deneuve films, of course. Mine include “Belle de Jour,” “The Last Metro,” “Repulsion,” “Ma Saison Preferee,” “Indochine,” “Tristana,” “A Christmas Tale,” “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” “Potiche” and “8 Women.”

The members of The Film Society of Lincoln Center certainly have their favorite films that were graced by the presence of the stunningly beautiful, richly gifted French superstar. Which is why they have named her the recipient of The 39th Annual Chaplin Award, to be presented on Monday, April 2, at Manhattan’s Alice Tully Hall. (For Tickets: 212.875.5685 or filmlinc.com).

Who will be on hand to pay personal tribute to Deneuve on this major occasion? Directors Martin Scorsese and Arnaud Desplechin, for two. Desplechin did a superb job of directing the actress and her daughter, Chiara Mastroianni, in the magnificent “A Christmas Tale.” Chiara will also be in attendance, as will Susan Sarandon, who played one of Deneuve’s sexual targets in “The Hunger,” the impossible-to-forget vampire romp in which David Bowie was also vamped by the high-voltage Deneuve. The question is, will Bowie show up on this big night? And how about you? (Click here for my 2000 New York Daily News interview with Catherine Deneuve; click here for my 1978 Cosmopolitan magazine interview with Susan Sarandon; and click here for my 1973 New York Times interview with Martin Scorsese.)

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 3/16/12

HOW DID WE FARE ON OSCAR NIGHT? 

For Diane Baroni Flatley, my co-editor and wife, it was a night of triumph; for me, it was Amateur Night! Unfortunately, we had a deal whereby the loser would take the winner out to dinner. And Diane is not going to settle for Starbucks.

I'm beginning to wish I hadn't made such a big deal of making my Oscar predictions public (see my February 17 post below). How will I manage to explain the total absence in my picks of "The Help" and my belief that "Hugo" and "The Descendants" would edge "The Artist" out of the winners' circle? Oh, well...at least I thought "The Artist" was a terrific movie.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 2/27/12


WERE YOU A MARCH BABY?

If so, you have something in common with these film and stage personalities, each of whom was interviewed either by Guy Flatley or Diane Baroni. The complete interviews are available on moviecrazed.com.


EDWARD ALBEE (Born on 3/12/28)

“I'm told that when people take acid, things become infinitely more real. The knowledge that you are going to die should present this same intense awareness of life. I'm so much more aware of things around me now. I find that I make love more often, and much better than before. I'm more aware of colors, of seasons, of textures. Here I am, Edward Albee, entering into my middle age, and I think of it as a beginning. Life is absolutely super and wonderful. There shouldn't be any sadness in it. People should be aware of all things at all times, they should experience the extremities of life, fulfill themselves completely. Why does everyone want to go to sleep when the only thing left is to stay awake?" Click here for the complete interview.

HARRY BELAFONTE (Born on 3/1/27)

“When I was approached by Sam Goldwyn to do ‘Porgy and Bess,’ I told him I had no interest in doing such a film. The leading man was a black man on his knees, the leading lady was a black whore, Crown was a sex maniac, Sporting Life a cocaine pusher. That was not where my head was at...I began to grapple with the whole Hollywood thing, and I had to conclude that it wasn’t just Hollywood that was at fault. Hollywood was just an extension of the United States of America, a country that had been ignoring the basic priorities and passions of a vast number of its own people. So I decided to reflect on those passions and priorities and see how they could best be recorded.” Click here for the complete interview.

RICHARD CHAMBERLAIN (Born on 3/31/34)

“The preview audiences for ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ had come expecting a lighthearted musical, and what they got was a tragic story with a few songs. So they laughed us off the stage. Mary Tyler Moore gave a closing-night party at her place. We were all very manic-–laughing a lot, drinking a lot. After the party, I walked by the theater; I wanted to see my name on that marquee one more time before they took it down. When I saw it, I started to cry, and I wept most of the night. But then it was all over. I shake things off easily.” Click here for the complete interview.

LIZA MINNELLI (Born on 3/12/46)

“I'm certainly not a sipper. I can't drink anything without slugging it down. I must have had a nanny who hit me over the head with a milk bottle...Look, I'm terrified of any kind of drugs. I don't like anything that screws up my self-control, anything that dulls my senses. I think if God has given you a talent, you have a duty to develop that talent, that it's a crime to do anything which destroys it. You're not allowed to do that." Click here for the complete interview.

PIER PAOLA PASOLINI (Born on 3/5/22)

"A moviemaker should have the right to use nudity as a painter uses it. But as for sexual intercourse, well, I haven’t had the occasion to use that yet. The sexual theme in ‘Teorema’ is only metaphorical. That’s why the sex scenes between the visitor and the members of the family are not explicit. The love that is offered is spiritual. The mother and father have the illusion that it is physical and that they can replace it by having sexual relationships with pick-ups, boys who resemble the visitor physically. These relations are shown realistically because there is nothing else to show.” Click here for the complete interview.

VINCE VAUGHN (Born on 3/28/70)

"I was considered hyperactive in school; I had a real problem with authority figures. If I disagreed with something a teacher did, I would always vocalize my opinion. If a kid was called up to give a speech and he’d start to cry in front of the class, I would tell him to sit down. The teacher would say, ‘You stay up here and finish your speech,’ but the kid would listen to me and sit down.” Click here for the complete interview.

RAOUL WALSH (Born on 3/11/1887)

"When I came out to California to work for D. W. Griffith, they had just built an outdoor stage, quite some distance from town. We'd be doing a roughhouse drama, and another company would be doing a love scene nearby, with the violins playing so the man and woman could get in the mood. We only worked when the sun was out; when it went down, we got drunk. Our biggest problem was that we couldn't get any living quarters, because people just didn't want any part of the actors. The studio had only one car, and they sent it for the girls. We walked.” Click here for the complete interview.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 2/27/12


 

WHAT'S NEXT FOR THIS YEAR'S OSCAR CONTENDERS? MIGHT THERE BE ANOTHER NOMINATION IN 2013?

For full details on the upcoming films of Clooney, Streep, Pitt, Mara and the other Best Actor and Best Actress nominees, click here.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 2/22/12

 

ONCE THERE WAS A LUSCIOUS HOLLYWOOD STARLET...AND THEN THERE WAS NUN

Click here to read Maureen Dowd's New York Times interview with Dolores Hart, a cloistered nun who once cuddled on screen with Elvis Presley. "God Is the Bigger Elvis," a documentary short subject about this remarkable woman, has been nominated for an Academy Award. Will Sister Dolores be present at the Oscar bash? Read Maureen's column and find out.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 2/22/12


WHO WILL THE OSCAR WINNERS BE?


Click here for my predictions in all categories, plus a complete list of the nominees.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 2/17/12


WERE YOU A FEBRUARY BABY? 

If so, you have something in common with these movie personalities, each of whom was interviewed either by Guy Flatley or Diane Baroni. The complete interviews are available on moviecrazed.com.

 

COSTA-GAVRAS (Born on 2/12/33)

"Movies are passions, and just now my great passion happens to be politics. Tomorrow I may decide to do a musical." Click here for the complete interview.

NICK NOLTE (Born on 2/8/41)

"I was a narcissistic guy, bursting with power and rage, and full of screaming. I needed to work out the unresolved conflicts in my life, and like most struggling young actors, I was never subtle. The more explosive I could be, the better I liked it." Click here for the complete interview.

BURT REYNOLDS (Born on 2/11/36)

"There is just so long that I can go on jumping out of windows, off cliffs and over cars. I desperately wanted to do ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’ but they went with the guy who had been nominated for an Oscar the year before and had won the New York Critics Award. I think Jack Nicholson was brilliant in the movie; I just wish I had had the chance to be equally brilliant.” Click here for the complete interview.

JOHN TRAVOLTA (Born on 2/18/54)

"I quit school when I was 16 and moved into Manhattan when I was 17. My parents didn’t want me to do it, but I convinced them that I had a big career ahead of me.The three-picture deal I made with Stigwood exceeds a million dollars and includes percentages, so I could be a millionaire within the next couple of years. In the meantime, I love the publicity that makes me out to be one now...After that, I want to play an adult, with adult problems, not some kid going through an identity crisis. I want to graduate, to be a mature person–someone, say, in his mid-20s." Click here for the complete interview.

FRANCOIS TRUFFAUT (Born on 2/6/32)

"I liked Arthur Penn’s ‘Bonnie and Clyde,’ but I would have preferred another actor to Warren Beatty, because Beatty had no genuine innocence, no authenticity. He distorted the script, out of a fear of being ridiculed. Originally, Clyde was to have had a homosexual relationship with the other fellow, the one played by Michael Pollard. But Beatty wanted to be more important than Pollard and, after all, he was the producer of the film...Kubrick’s ‘2001’ I just didn’t understand. There was too much machinery; all those yellow and red buttons. I must admit that I have an anti-scientific mind. It bores me to look at rockets...Roger Vadim should be more gifted than he is in order to compensate for his self-indulgence. He is lazy, and he cannot afford to be lazy." Click here for the complete interview.

KING VIDOR (Born on 2/8/1894)

"The sight of a couple having sexual intercourse is not a good enough reason for people to spend money on babysitters. As Groucho Marx says, ‘I wouldn’t spend $10 to see a naked man, when I’ve been looking at myself in the mirror all my life for free.’ By the same token, I don’t think watching ‘Deep Throat’ all night makes you mature with a capital ‘M.’" Click here for the complete interview.

HASKELL WEXLER (Born on 2/6/26)

“I was under surveillance for the entire seven weeks that I was shooting ‘Medium Cool’ in Chicago. By the police, the Army, and the Secret Service. As we made the movie, they made movies of us. I would look up from my camera and see a guy in the back seat of a police car taking pictures of us. So many of the guys in my crew had long hair, the cops thought it was all a hippie plot to invade the amphitheater.” Click here for the complete interview.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 2/1/12

 

AND THE OSCAR NOMINEES ARE...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may be disappointed to find that certain names are absent from the Academy's list of potential Oscar winners, particularly if you share the belief of many moviegoers that some of the most stunning performances of 2011 were given by Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer and Judi Dench in "J. Edgar," Tilda Swinton in "We Need to Talk About Kevin," Ralph Fiennes and Vanessa Redgrave in "Coriolanus," Michael Shannon in "Take Shelter," Ryan Gosling in "The Ides of March," Charlize Theron in "Young Adult," Woody Harrelson in "Rampart," Michael Fassbender in "Shame," Kirsten Dunst in "Melancholia" and Kevin Spacey, Jerermy Irons, Paul Bettany and Stanley Tucci in "Margin Call." Click here for the complete list of nominations, plus my predicted winners.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 1/24/12


HOORAY! IT'S THE TIME OF NICK AGAIN

The folks at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences did do some things right--such as nominating Nick Nolte as Best Supporting Actor of 2011 for his knockout turn in "Warrior," in which he plays a growly reformed alcoholic who trains one of his two grown sons to clobber his own brother in a bloody mixed martial arts battle. You say you never heard of the flick? Click here to read A.O. Scott's review of this first-rate indie in The New York Times. And click here for an interview I did with Nolte long before the hugely underrated actor was labeled a has-been because of his seemingly losing battle with the bottle.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 1/24/12


A SUPER SEASON FOR UNSEASONED DIRECTORS

Three young helmers have made impressive debuts over the past few weeks. And another gifted newcomer (Jeff Nichols) had written and directed only one previous, rarely screened film before his extraordinary ”Take Shelter” opened to enthusiastic reviews. You can count on seeing and hearing a lot more from all four of these budding auteurs in the near future.


J.C. CHANDOR

Sharp enough to have made his mark on Wall Street, Chandor instead opted to direct his own script about the wave of greed and deceit that flamed through financial firms like Lehman Brothers. The result? "Margin Call," a riveting mindbender starring Kevin Spacey and Jeremy Irons. Click here for the Rolling Stone review of this sleeper, which has just received an Oscar nomination for best original screenplay of 2011.

DEE REESE

"Pariah," this writer-director's true tale of a young woman's decision to live an openly gay life, is one of the year's top in-depth indies. Click here for Entertainment Weekly's review.

JEFF NICHOLS

In 2007, Nichols intrigued festival audiences with "Shotgun Stories," but the film seldom surfaced in theaters. "Take Shelter," starring Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain as a possibly demented man and his wife facing what could be the end of the world, is a whole other story. We can't wait for the follow-up. Click here for the New York Times review.

 

 

 

ANGELINA JOLIE

Who knew that the decade's sexiest diva dreamed of being the next Steven Soderbergh? The answer is, never sell Angelina short. With "In the Land of Blood and Honey," a harrowing Bosnian war drama, she makes a commendable directorial debut. Click here for the New York Times review.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 1/20/12


THIS WOMAN WAS SHOCKPROOF

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




At the peak of the Jazz Age, she saw Clara Bow dance naked on a table, and she taught Joan Crawford, "a gum-chewing dame," how to dress and behave like a lady. What's more, she broke bread with Greta Garbo, the original I-want-to-be-alone superstar.

That was Frederica Sagor Maas, the spirited, tenacious screenwriter of the silent film era who died on January 5 at the age of 111. Click here to read the fascinating New York Times obit by Douglas Martin.

To read "The Sound That Shook Hollywood," my New York Times article about Hollywood's turbulent entry into the scary world of talkies, click here.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 1/15/12

 

HEY, LOOK WHO GOBBLED UP THOSE GOLDEN GLOBES (AND IF YOU'D LIKE TO SEE HOW CLOSE I CAME TO PREDICTING THE WINNERS, CHECK OUT MY 1/9/12 POST BELOW)

 

BEST PICTURE: DRAMA

The Descendants

BEST PICTURE: COMEDY OR MUSICAL

The Artist

BEST DIRECTOR

Martin Scorsese, Hugo

BEST ACTOR: DRAMA

George Clooney, The Descendants

BEST ACTRESS: DRAMA

Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

BEST ACTOR: COMEDY OR MUSICAL

Jean Dudardin, The Artist

BEST ACTRESS: COMEDY OR MUSICAL

Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Christopher Plummer, Beginners

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Octavia Spencer, The Help

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

A Separation (Iran)

BEST SCREENPLAY

Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

The Adventures of Tintin

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Ludovic Bource, The Artist

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

Hello Hello, Gnomeo & Juliet (Elton John)

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 1/15/12

 

WERE YOU A JANUARY BABY?

If so, you have something in common with these movie stars and directors, each of whom was interviewed either by Guy Flatley or Diane Baroni. The complete interviews are available on moviecrazed.com.

DOROTHY ARZNER (Born on 1/3/1897, and one of the few female movie directors working in Hollywood during the 1920s, 30s and 40s)

“Clara Bow was a darling child, and she was thrown to the wolves. She was a vivacious, hair-trigger silent actress, with a marvelous variety of expressions, but when the talkies came in, they just threw her right in, and the poor child stuttered all the way through ‘The Wild Party.’ Oh, you wouldn’t believe what the studios did to young people in those days.” Click here for the complete interview.

GEORGE BURNS (Born on 1/20/96)

“To be perfectly honest, I don’t think acting is very hard. They say the most important thing is to be able to laugh and cry. Well, if I have to cry, I think of my sex life, and if I have to laugh, I think of my sex life.” Click here for the complete interview.

BALTHAZAR GETTY (Born on 1/22/75)

“I’ve always been attracted to this sort of a lifestyle. Even as a young kid, I wanted to be with one person and have stability. Obviously, I played around and was crazy and did all that, but you know, the girl I moved in with at 15, I was with her for three years. So, sure, I fucked up here and there, but I love how right it feels—and comfortable—to know somebody’s going through it with you.” Click here for the complete interview.

CARY GRANT (Born on 1/18/04)

“What makes one word for something obscene, and another word for the very same act not obscene? As for nudity and the visual depiction of sex. . .well, that’s part of our anatomy, isn’t it? It’s the method by which we are born, so it should be thought beautiful. I just don’t know what to make of it all.” Click here for the complete interview.

VINNIE JONES (Born on 1/5/65)

He was notorious for being one of soccer's bad boys, a superstar player who made audacious moves on the field--he once "marked" an opponent during a match by grabbing his testicles. So I have to ask: What was that marking thing all about? “The guy behind me was mouthing off, so to shut him up, I just grabbed his balls and gave 'em a twist. I do things on impulse. A photographer took a picture of me doing it and it got the sports picture of the year award.” Click here for the complete interview

DIANE KEATON (Born on 1/5/46)

"I have a vivid memory of the day I auditioned for Woody Allen’s ‘Play It Again, Sam.’ Woody had to come up on the stage and walk round and round with me, since one of the major concerns was to see whether or not I would be too tall for him. I was absolutely astonished to find that Woody was more frightened of me than I was of him." Click here for the complete interview.

PIPER LAURIE (Born on 1/22/32)

“For a long time, I felt a real hostility about the things that happened to me in Hollywood, but now I look back on the person I was then with a kind of affection. I was inexperienced and lost, and I didn’t know if I wanted to be a movie star or a really good actress. I wouldn’t say that I had a breakdown; I just had disgust. But I survived.” Click here for the complete interview.

JOSEPH LOSEY (Born on 1/14/09)

"Charles Laughton turned my name in to the FBI. He went to them and denounced Bertolt Brecht and me. Why did anybody talk to the FBI? To save their own necks. Laughton was a naturalized American, so maybe they threatened to have his citizenship revoked. He never pretended to be a brave man, so we can’t condemn him for being a coward. But we can condemn him for being dishonest.” Click here for the complete interview.

BUTTERFLY McQUEEN (Born on 1/7/11)

“Everyone in ‘Gone With the Wind’ was wonderful. Olivia de Havilland made us laugh and laugh. There she’d be, lying on her bed in labor, screaming ‘Scarlett! Scarlett!’ and as soon as the scene was over, she’d jump up and start telling us all jokes. And Clark Gable was such a considerate gentleman. Did you know that he was a boy scout leader?" Click here for the complete interview.

AMANDA PEET (Born on 1/11/72)

"Paul Newman came to the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven to see ‘The Country Club,’ a play in which I was naked. So Paul Newman saw me naked—for four whole minutes! It felt very liberating to be nude on stage, except for the day my father came to see the play." Click here for the complete interview.

IRVING RAPPER (Born on 1/16/98)

“Bette Davis was a powerful actress, and a powerful dame. Bette is the first to admit that she is mercurial; I never knew from day to day what to expect. I remember escorting her to a concert where there were to be a number of the greatest Hollywood directors in attendance. I said, ‘Bette, I’m nervous about mixing with all those guys,’ and she said, ‘Irving Rapper, if I didn’t think you were better than every one of them, do you think I would be with you in this car right now?’ And then, the next day, she would say, ‘Irving? Irving who?’” Click here for the complete interview.

OUSMANE SEMBENE (Born on 1/1/23)

“Professional actors are simply not convincing as laborers, as ordinary human beings. Of course, if the story seems right, I might consider using a professional actor one day. They do make wonderful gangsters and dead kings.” Click here for the complete interview.

LIONEL STANDER (Born on 1/11/08)

"I nominate John Wayne for a special Academy Award for the best non-supporting performance in World War II. Wayne claims that he tried to serve as an officer and that when they wouldn't let him, he did not choose to serve as an enlisted man. Well, he was just an unimportant cowboy actor at Monogram who happened to hit it lucky when the big stars, like Robert Montgomery and Jimmy Stewart and Gable, were away at war. Wayne never served a day, and for him to pose as a super-patriot and attack the kids who go to Canada is as hypocritical as Ronald Reagan not paying taxes." Click here for the complete interview.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 1/9/12

WHO'S GOING TO TAKE HOME A GOLDEN GLOBE?

It's not easy to read the minds of those mischievous, sometimes prankish members of the Foreign Press Association. But that's not going to stop me from trying. Here's how I think the rascals will weigh in...

BEST PICTURE: DRAMA

THE DESCENDANTS

BEST PICTURE: COMEDY OR MUSICAL

THE ARTIST

BEST DIRECTOR

MARTIN SCORSESE, HUGO


BEST ACTOR: DRAMA

GEORGE CLOONEY, THE DESCENDANTS


BEST ACTRESS: DRAMA

MERYL STREEP: THE IRON LADY


BEST ACTOR: COMEDY OR MUSICAL

JEAN DUJARDIN, THE ARTIST


BEST ACTRESS: COMEDY OR MUSICAL

JODIE FOSTER, CARNAGE


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER, BEGINNERS


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

JANET McTEER, ALBERT NOBBS


BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

A SEPARATION (IRAN)


BEST SCREENPLAY

THE DESCENDANTS


BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN


BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

JOHN WILLIAMS, WAR HORSE


BEST ORIGINAL SONG

HELLO, HELLO, GNOMEO & JULIET (ELTON JOHN)


POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 1/9/12


ARE THESE KIDS ALL RIGHT?

Four young performers in new films are winning raves from critics and just plain moviegoers. Click here for details.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 1/7/12


THE 69TH ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS--MORE NOMINATIONS THAN THERE ARE STARS IN THE HEAVENS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nobody ever accused the hordes of international journalists who belong to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association of not taking themselves seriously. It’s obvious that they go far beyond the call of duty when struggling to nominate as many movie players, producers, directors and writers in as many Golden Globe categories as possible. And there’s no way not to love a category like Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical, especially when it raises the possibility of a globe for the astonishing Charlize Theron, who in “Young Adult” gives her scariest, most riveting performance since her Oscar (and Golden Globe) awarded turn in “Monster.” 

On the other hand, weren’t there enough laughs and tunes in “J. Edgar” for the Golden Globe folks to have nominated Armie Hammer as Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical? Apparently not, since the mega-talented actor did not make the cut. Below, the complete list of contenders for the Golden Globe movie awards, which will be presented on Sunday, January 15.

 

BEST PICTURE: DRAMA

THE DESCENDANTS
THE HELP
HUGO
THE IDES OF MARCH
MONEYBALL
WAR HORSE

 

BEST PICTURE: COMEDY OR MUSICAL

50/50
THE ARTIST
BRIDESMAIDS
MIDNIGHT IN PARIS
MY WEEK WITH MARILYN

BEST DIRECTOR

WOODY ALLEN, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS
GEORGE CLOONEY, THE IDES OF MARCH
MICHEL HAZANAVICIUS, THE ARTIST
ALEXANDER PAYNE, THE DESCENDANTS
MARTIN SCORSESE, HUGO

BEST ACTOR: DRAMA

GEORGE CLOONEY, THE DESCENDANTS
LEONARDO DiCAPRIO, J. EDGAR
MICHAEL FASSBENDER, SHAME
RYAN GOSLING, THE IDES OF MARCH
BRAD PITT, MONEYBALL

BEST ACTRESS: DRAMA

GLENN CLOSE, ALBERT NOBBS
VIOLA DAVIS, THE HELP
ROONEY MARA, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
MERYL STREEP, THE IRON LADY
TILDA SWINTON, WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN

BEST ACTOR: COMEDY OR MUSICAL

JEAN DUJARDIN, THE ARTIST
BRENDAN GLEESON, THE GUARD
JOSEPH GORDON LEVITT, 50/50
RYAN GOSLING, CRAZY STUPID LOVE
OWEN WILSON, MIDNIDGHT IN PARIS

BEST ACTRESS: COMEDY OR MUSICAL

JODIE FOSTER, CARNAGE
CHARLIZE THERON, YOUNG ADULT
KRISTIN WIIG, BRIDESMAIDS
MICHELLE WILLIAMS, MY WEEK WITH MARILYN
KATE WINSLET, CARNAGE

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

KENNETH BRANAGH, MY WEEK WITH MARILYN
ALBERT BROOKS, DRIVE
JONAH HILL, MONEYBALL
VIGGO MORTENSEN, A DANGEROUS METHOD
CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER, BEGINNERS

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

BERENICE BEJO, THE ARTIST
JESSICA CHASTAIN, THE HELP
JANET McTEER, ALBERT NOBBS
OCTAVIA SPENCER, THE HELP
SHAILENE WOODLEY, THE DESCENDANTS

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

A SEPARATION (IRAN)
THE FLOWERS OF WAR (CHINA)
THE KID WITH A BIKE (BELGIUM)
IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY (USA)
THE SKIN I LIVE IN (SPAIN)

BEST SCREENPLAY

THE ARTIST
THE DESCENDANTS
THE IDES OF MARCH
MIDNIGHT IN PARIS
MONEYBALL

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN
ARTHUR CHRISTMAS
CARS 2
PUSS IN BOOTS
RANGO

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

LUDOVIC BOURCE, THE ARTIST
ABEL KORZENIOWSKI, W.E.
TRENT REZNOR & ATTICUS ROSS, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
HOWARD SHORE, HUGO
JOHN WILLIAMS, WAR HORSE

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

HELLO HELLO, GNOMEO & JULIET (ELTON JOHN)
LAY YOUR HEAD DOWN, ALBERT NOBBS (SINEAD O’CONNOR)
THE LIVING PROOF, THE HELP (MARY J. BLIGE)
THE KEEPER, MACHINE GUN PREACHER (GERARD BUTLER)
MASTERPIECE, W.E. (MADONNA)

If you’re dying to know the names of the contenders in the various award categories for television shows, click here.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 12/15/11


SUDDENLY,  SILENCE IS PURE BLISS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A blast of boisterous cheers could be heard when The New York Film Critics Circle announced their choice of “The Artist” as Best Picture of 2011 and also selected Michel Hazanavicius, the French auteur of the film, as Best Director. As bizarre as it may sound, “The Artist” is literally a silent film depicting the astonishing, sometimes traumatic birth of the talkies, and its leading characters are a macho, egomaniacal superstar on the fast track to oblivion and a vivacious starlet on her way to the top of the Hollywood heap.

Not to be outdone by the professional reviewers, the fervent but virtually anonymous members of The National Board of Review managed to come up with their own way of honoring the spirit of the pioneers of the silent era by focusing on “Hugo,” a 3-D talkie in which director Martin Scorsese pays passionate tribute to silent filmmaker George Melies. The NBOR named “Hugo” Best Picture and Scorsese Best Director.

So naturally we’re all feeling in the mood to slip back into the quiet, comforting darkness of a true movie theater and fall under the spell of a genuine, honest-to-god silent film, preferably something with Lillian Gish, Greta Garbo or Buster Keaton (shown above in "The Cameraman"). Which is why you should check out a bountiful serving of silents now underway every Monday through February 6 at New York’s Film Forum. Click here for details. I also recommend that you click here to read "Silence Is Golden," Maureen Dowd’s graceful, perceptive appraisal of “The Artist” in The New York Times. To read "The Sound That Shook Hollywood," my New York Times magazine article about the transition from silents to talkies, click here.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 12/7/11


THE LEGACY OF LORETTA YOUNG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She seemed ethereal, especially when playing a dedicated nun in “Come to the Stable” or an inspirational soulmate in “The Bishop’s Wife.” There were those, however, who found her more intriguing, and downright seductive, in such racy Depression-era teasers as “Employees’ Entrance” and “Midnight Mary.”  

In real life, though, she may have been even more of an enigma, starting as a teen starlet who married Grant Withers, her boozy leading man and off-screen lover during the shooting of "The Second Floor Mystery.” The seemingly delicate Loretta eloped with the big lug in 1930, shortly after her 17th birthday, and dumped him a year later, thus freeing herself for a glamorous but illicit affair with Spencer Tracy, her thoroughly married co-star in “Man’s Castle.”  After the life-long Catholics sadly terminated their relationship, Loretta found ample consolation in the arms of the notably Protestant Clark Gable, her paramour in 1935’s “Call of the Wild.”

As the whole wide world now knows, the pregnant unwed actress tarried lengthily abroad and upon her return to Sunny Cal, managed, with the selfless support of Hollywood gossip queen Louella Parsons, to adopt her own extraordinarily large-eared daughter.

So did that mean the end of Clark Gable in Loretta’s life? Well, yes, of course. The fact that the striking couple played sweethearts again in 1950’s playful romance, “Key to the  City,” is sheer coincidence.

If you’d like to read more about Loretta Young's marriages and domestic travails, click here for The New York Times obituary on her endlessly tormented daughter, Judy Lewis.

 

 

WERE YOU BORN IN THE FINAL MONTH OF THE YEAR?

If so, you have something in common with these movie personalities, each of whom was interviewed either by Guy Flatley or Diane Baroni. The complete interviews are available on moviecrazed.com.

WOODY ALLEN (Born on 12/1/35)

“It’s too soon to know if ‘Interiors’ will be a commercial success—my pictures never do much business, you know. I’m told that 'Annie Hall’ was the lowest-earning Academy Award movie in history. The last thing I expected to do with ‘Interiors’ was business.” Click here for the complete interview.

 

GERARD DEPARDIEU (Born on 12/27/48)

"I think it’s only after 50 that a woman becomes truly passionate. At that point women abdicate certain aspects of their personalities, leave seduction behind. And when seduction is left behind, there is so much more energy, so much more passion." Click here for the complete interview.

 

JEAN-LUC GODARD (Born on 12/3/30)

"I respect the people in America who are dedicating their lives to changing things. I feel a comradeship for all the people who are jailed and shot by the FBI, whether white or black. What the United States is doing to the Black Panthers is what the Nazis were doing to the Jews and what the Israeli government is doing to the Palestinian people.” Click here for the complete interview.

 

JAKE GYLLENHAAL (Born on 12/19/80)

"There should be more movies that say, ‘So you’re going through some abnormal shit? Hey, it’s just a part of growing up. Feeling like an oddball is OK.’" Click here for the complete interview.

 

RICHARD PRYOR (Born on 12/1/40)

"I was brought up in a whorehouse in Peoria. My mother and father lived there and worked there. I guess it was a harsh life for a child. There was nothing left to the imagination, but I’m not sure it’s damaging to see life for real. And I don’t know anywhere else I could have gotten more love and attention than I got there." Click here for the complete interview.

 

DALTON TRUMBO (Born on 12/9/05)

“When 400,000 young people march peacefully in front of the White House, speaking the names of the dead men of their generation, men killed in war, and the President’s press relations man announces that the President will pay no attention to them because he is watching TV, and when the President later calls them bums, what are the students to do to gain attention?” Click here for the complete interview.

 

LIV ULLMANN (Born on 12/16/38)

“I have never been in therapy. Nor have I ever regarded acting as therapy. Acting is art, and it is also fun, one of the few things from childhood that you can take into the adult world with you. The people I know who are in analysis tend to think only of themselves. Before they are able to laugh, they must first know the meaning of the thing that is making them want to laugh.” Click here for the complete interview.

 

RICHARD WIDMARK (Born on 12/26/14)

“I liked Marilyn Monroe very much. She was a nice girl. But it was difficult working with her in ‘Don’t Bother to Knock.’ Darryl Zanuck wanted to make her a dramatic actress, even though acting scared her to death. So we had a lot of trouble just getting her out of her dressing room.” Click here for the complete interview.


NOW HEAR THIS! A SILENT MOVIE HAS WON THE NEW YORK FILM CRITICS CIRCLE’S TOP AWARD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Here's the list of winners. (And if you want to see what a clueless guesser I am, check out the list of predictions I posted yesterday.)

Best Film: THE ARTIST

Best Director: MICHEL HAZANAVICIUS, THE ARTIST

Best Screenplay: STEVEN ZAILLIAN and AARON SORKIN, MONEYBALL

Best Actress: MERYL STREEP, THE IRON LADY

Best Actor: BRAD PITT, MONEYBALL and THE TREE OF LIFE

Best Supporting Actress: JESSICA CHASTAIN, THE TREE OF LIFE and THE HELP and TAKE SHELTER

Best Supporting Actor: ALBERT BROOKS, DRIVE

Best Cinematography: EMMANUEL LUBEZKI, THE TREE OF LIFE

Best Non-fiction Film: CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS

Best Foreign Language Film: A SEPARATION

Best First Feature: MARGIN CALL

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 11/29/11

 

AND THE WINNERS ARE ?????


There’s maximum interest in the New York Film Critics Circle awards this year because of the Circle’s decision to be the very first group to make an announcement of their choices. They’re voting tomorrow; in the meantime, I've decided to post a list of what I think their choices will be. At one point on Tuesday, I’ll publish a list of the actual victors.


Best Film: THE DESCENDANTS


Best Director: MARTIN SCORSESE, HUGO


Best Screenplay: THE DESCENDANTS


Best Actress: TILDA SWINTON, WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN


Best Actor: GEORGE CLOONEY, THE DESCENDANTS


Best Supporting Actress: JESSICA CHASTAIN, THE TREE OF LIFE


Best Supporting Actor: JEREMY IRONS, MARGIN CALL


Best Cinematography: HUGO


Best Animated Film: HAPPY FEET TWO


Best Non-fiction Film: INTO THE ABYSS


Best Foreign Language Film: INCINDIES


Best First Feature: MARGIN CALL

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 11/28/11

KEN RUSSELL, A MAN IN LOVE WITH MOVIES, MUSIC, SHOCK FOR THE SAKE OF SHOCK, AND JOY FOR THE SAKE OF JOY

The gifted, rigorously outrageous director of such piercing assaults on our sanity and wobbly sense of decency as "Women in Love" "The Music Lovers," "The Devils" and "Tommy" is dead at the age of 84. Click here for my 1972 New York Times interview with the brazen, impishly good-natured Brit.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 11/28/11

 

THEN AGAIN AND AGAIN!

Diane Keaton, a constant marvel, is at it again, this time with "Thanksgiving With Grammy Hall." Click here for her celebration of her family's deliciously unique lifestyle in today's New York Times.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 11/27/11

 

SHE'S ALREADY WON AN OSCAR. WHAT'S NEXT--A PULITZER PRIZE?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'm talking about Diane Keaton. To read Janet Maslin's rave review of Keaton's unconventional memoir in The New York Times, click here. For my 1974 Los Angeles Times interview with the rising star, click here.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 11/21/11

 

FOUR NEW MOVIES THAT FOCUS ON WOMEN WHO'VE GOT A RIGHT TO SING THE BLUES

Click here for details on "We Need to Talk About Kevin," "Melancholia," "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" and "Albert Nobbs."

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 11/21/11

WHEN CLINT EASTWOOD ORDERED LEO AND ARMIE TO CONCLUDE THEIR FISTFIGHT WITH A KISS, THE LADS PUCKERED UP AND MADE CLINT'S DAY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the process of making their 81-year-old director’s day, the young and obliging Leonardo DiCaprio and Armie Hammer brought an impressive maturity and complexity to the story of soulmates and presumed bedmates J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson. In her terrific New York Times interview with Eastwood, Maureen Dowd asks the famously macho filmmaker what it was like to direct a scene with two men kissing. His answer to that and other provocative questions are sharp, thoughtful, funny and surprising. Click here for Dowd’s must-read article.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 11/13/11

 

WERE YOU BORN IN NOVEMBER?

Well, even if you weren’t, you might enjoy reading my interviews with these film and stage people who made their first appearance in this world during the month of November--in years ranging from 1893 to 1946. To read what they said to me, and how they said it, click here.

DOROTHY COLLINS (11/18/1926)

SALLY FIELD (11/6/1946)

LEATRICE JOY GILBERT (11/7/1893)

GOLDIE HAWN (11/21/1945)

BURT LANCASTER (11/2/1913)

TERRENCE McNALLY (11/3/1939)

MIKE NICHOLS (11/6/1931)

MARTIN SCORSESE (11/17/1942)

LUCHINO VISCONTI (11/2/1906)

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 11/13/11

 

IS THERE ROOM ON THE VAST CINEPLEX SCREEN FOR INTIMATE PEEPS AT THE PRIVATE LIVES OF PUBLIC FIGURES?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It depends on the skill and stamina of those who tackle the herculean task of pumping blood, guts and immediacy into the tales of heroes and villains from the past. Most of the passionate, driven individuals that today's filmmakers focus on for reappraisal were once respected for their fiery words and deeds, but today many of them are regarded as misguided or downright demented. So they've been downgraded to the category of Fallen Idol. Perhaps, with a shrewd sprinkle of movie magic, these idols will rise again.

Yet I can't help wondering how many of us are psyched to have our ids massaged and pummeled by Viggo Mortensen, who plays sexual pioneer Sigmund Freud in David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method.” Didn’t Montgomery Clift already do the job with an unbeatable blend of steely superego and shaky id in John Huston’s “Freud,” back in 1962?

But let’s be fair and concede that an intense, unsparing focus on the intellectual, emotional and carnal proclivities of a quixotic and still controversial rebel can lead to thrilling epiphanies, or at least to a fun night at the movies. Especially when the psychic probe is conducted by a pair of meticulous, unsparing pros like David Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen.

To get my drift, rent a couple of DVDs and revisit the disturbing insights that innovative director Cronenberg and mesmeric star Mortensen conveyed when they partnered in the past. Against all odds, they worked dark, mischievous miracles with such daunting, seemingly uncinematic vehicles as “A History of Violence” and “Eastern Promises,” two of my favorite films of this decade.

What’s more, the advance word on “A Dangerous Method,” which also stars Keira Knightley and Michael Fassbender as twisted participants in an erotic trio, is overwhelmingly positive. Could it be that we don’t yet know all we think we know about the incredible shrinking Doctor Freud? We’ll learn the answer to that puzzler when the film opens on 11/23.

While pondering whether “A Dangerous Method” is really the biopic you should place at the top of your must-see list, you might also consider the following  true-lifers...

Clint Eastwood’s “J. Edgar,” with Leo DiCaprio as FBI hotshot Hoover and Armie Hammer as the main man in his life; “The Iron Lady,” starring New Jersey’s own Meryl Streep as London’s own Margaret Thatcher; Brad Pitt as Billy Beane, the volatile, tenacious manager who turned the low-performing Oakland A’s into high-flying champs in “Moneyball”; Johnny Depp in “The Rum Diary,” Hunter Thompson’s story about a writer we all assume is the real Hunter Thompson; Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role of Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” with a supporting cast headed by Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader and—in the Oscar-tailored role of the fragile yet influential Mary Todd Lincoln—Sally Field.

And how can you resist a revisit with the world's favorite blonde in "My Week With Marilyn," an intimate report on the truly odd coupling of Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier on and off the set of "The Prince and the Showgirl" (Michelle Williams and Kenneth Branagh had the courage to play the leads.); "Anonymous," a somewhat tardy revelation that the plays and poems we believed were written by the ill-educated William Shakespeare were in fact penned by smug aristocrat Edward de Vere, who in his spare time tended to the bedroom whims of the not-so-virginal Queen Elizabeth; and Michael Douglas and Matt Damon in “Liberace,” Steven Soderbergh’s portrait of the fabled pianist and his problematic boyfriend.

And that’s not all, folks. As you may have heard, Sony, the company responsible for “The Social Network” and “Moneyball,”  is teching forward with a cinematized but not sanitized version of Walter Isaacson’s “Steve Jobs,” the let-it-all-hang-out biography of the recently departed but ever-with-us master of our digital universe. Presumably, Jobs is one idol who will not fall. (Though reading a recent column by Maureen Dowd in The New York Times does give one pause. Click here and see what you think.)

In any event, where will Sony ever find an actor who can capture the genius, charisma and weirdness of this all but canonized visionary? Could it be Christian Bale? Ryan Gosling? Leonardo DiCaprio? Johnny Depp? Michael Shannon? Tom Cruise? Justin Timberlake? Michael Fassbender? Tom Hardy? Joseph Gordon-Levitt? Ashton Kutcher? Stay tuned.

FOR COMPLETE DETAILS ON THE BIOPICS MENTIONED ABOVE--FROM FREUD TO LIBERACE--CLICK HERE.

POSTEDBY GUY FLATLEY ON 10/26/11

SHOULD OCCUPY WALL STREET PROTESTERS EMBRACE HOLLYWOOD'S GLITTERING DO-GOODERS?

Frank Bruni has serious doubts. Click here to read his sharp, provocative analysis in The New York Times.

POSTED BY BUY FLATLEY ON 10/26/11

 

TWO FILMS WE THOUGHT WOULD NEVER OPEN--NEXT STOP, OBLIVION?

FIREFLIES IN THE GARDEN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The filming of "Fireflies in the Garden" was completed, wrapped up and presumed ready for delivery to theaters approximately four years ago. And the final cinematic package--a semi-autobiographical tale of familial trauma concocted by writer-director Dennis Lee, auteur of the well-received short “Jesus Henry Christ”--has been fluttering around virtually invisible ever since. Obviously, this is not the customary path traveled by a vehicle starring Ms. Julia Roberts, especially when her co-stars include the likes of Ryan Reynolds, Willem Dafoe and Emily Watson. Nor was it expected to be the scenario when the man put in charge of supplying evocative imagery turned out to be largely untested cinematographer Danny Moder, sometimes referred to by impudent observers as Mister Julia Roberts.

So what’s this movie trying to show and tell us? Well the focus is strictly on the stumbling, accident-prone Taylor clan--headed by dictatorial professor/wannabe writer Charles (Willem Dafoe) and nobly sacrificing mom Lisa (Julia Roberts). This midwestern couple suffers  enormously, as does their misunderstood son (Ryan Reynolds), in the grim present, as well as in a string of calamitous incidents shown in flashback. Among the family’s favorite diversions: blissfully terminating the titular fireflies in the garden with badminton rackets and igniting defenseless fish with firecrackers on the Fourth of July. Who could ask for anything less?

Will this tragedy-blazing soap opera, set for a limited release starting today, fly with the public and the critics? Click here, take a look at the reviews, and make a guess. In the meantime, you may still be able to catch the apparently unsinkable Julia Roberts as she rapturously yet robotically hypes "Fireflies" on every gush-along TV puff show willing to deal with a toxic dose of hot air.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 10/14/11


MARGARET


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the funniest and most moving films of 2000 was “You Can Count on Me,” written and directed by playwright Kenneth Lonergan, making a sensational big-screen debut. We could hardly wait for his follow-up flick, but despite the fact that it went into production in 2005, we are just now getting the chance to see the strange, meandering “Margaret,” which even the most sympathetic critics seem to consider a major misfire (Time Out New York’s enthusiastic Keith Uhlich being a notable exception).

Basically, the problem seems to be that Lonergan, who eventually consented to accept a few suggested trims, could not bear to cut enough of this intriguing but conspicuously overstuffed  drama that stars an impressive Anna Paquin--as a New York high school student who has witnessed and perhaps caused a deadly traffic disaster--and features Mark Ruffalo, Matt Damon, Matthew Broderick and Jeannie Berlin in crucial supporting roles. The current bookings of “Margaret” are extremely limited and could spell the end of Lonergan’s film career and a permanent return to the worlds of On and Off Broadway. Which would be a sad loss for serious moviegoers. Click here for a selection of reviews.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 10/14/11

 

MY NON-DINNER WITH THE ONE AND ONLY RICHARD HARRIS

Among the many profiles I’ve done over the years for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Cosmopolitan and other publications, the most popular ones, now reprinted on Moviecrazed.com’s OUT OF THE PAST, include conversations with Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Edward Albee, Mike Nichols, Debbie Reynolds, Susan Sarandon, Barbra Streisand, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Jack Nicholson, Tuesday Weld, Frank Capra, Dennis Hopper, Peter O’Toole, Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Jean-Luc Godard, Jack Black, Lars von Trier and Amanda Peet.

But lately I find myself reliving what was possibly the most unexpected, borderline surreal encounter with a total stranger I've ever experienced. I’ve been remembering a lot, and I do mean a lot, about Richard Harris, an astonishing artist who was as funny, sad and impulsively irreverent as any Irish rogue ever to nightcrawl his way around Manhattan during a presumably serious New York Times interview and send a struggling Times staffer home in a state of total shock and awe. And I returned the next morning for a generous second helping. I shall never forget a single second of either dizzyingly informal interview.

For the record, Richard Harris was born in Limerick, Ireland, on October 1, 1930, and he died in London on October 25, 2002. Also, for the record, my own birthday falls on October 25.

Click here if you’d like to read my Times interview with Richard Harris, and click here for a complete listing of my interviews and those by Diane Baroni on Out of the Past.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 10/14/11

 

CLOONEY AND GOSLIN HAVE THEIR EYES ON THE WHITE HOUSE IN ‘THE IDES OF MARCH’


 

“He’s a politician,” says the jaded New York Times reporter. “He’ll let you down sooner or later.”  She’s chatting with the seemingly idealistic Stephen Myers (Ryan Goslin), about his boss, current Pennsylvania governor Mike Morris, the staunch liberal who is the Democratic candidate for the presidency of the United States. And since Morris, a shrewd politician who does not always mean what he says and is capable of making questionable compromises, is played by George Clooney at his most magnetic, we can assume we’re in for a tense, bumpy, illuminating, casualty-strewn ride.  May the best man—manipulative presidential wannabe or slippery second in command—win.

For the record, producer-director Clooney co-wrote this adaptation of “Farragut North,” a play by Beau Willimon, with the playwright and Grant Heslov. And mensch that he is, Clooney gave top billing to Goslin. Among the other actors following George’s direction on this occasion: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood, Marisa Tomei, Jeffrey Wright, Max Minghella and Jennifer Ehle. Opens 10/7

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 9/30/11

A HARROWING SEARCH FOR SHELTER

Michael Shannon, who was Oscar-nominated as Best Supporting Actor of 2008 for his astonishing performance in “Revolutionary Road,” could be nominated as Best Actor for his stunning turn as a man tormented by a recurring nightmare centering on a monstrous storm in “Take Shelter.” Click here for A.O. Scott’s enthusiastic review in The New York Times.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 9/30/11


BRAD PITT STEPS UP TO THE PLATE AND KNOCKS ONE OUT OF THE PARK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dating back to 1991’s  “Thelma & Louise,” in which he played a sticky-fingered charmer who steals Geena Davis’s heart and her cash, Brad Pitt has been a major cineplex heartthrob. But it didn’t take the critics and fans long to realize that he was also a mercurial, risk-taking performer capable of digging deep into complicated, occasionally sicko  characters. His unexpected versatility has been impressively on view in films ranging from “A River Runs Through It”  to “Kalifornia,” “True Romance,” “Interview With the Vampire,” “Seven,” “Sleepers,” “Fight Club,” “Snatch,” “The Mexican,” the “Ocean’s” trilogy, “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,”  “Babel,”  “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,” “Burn After Reading,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and “The Tree of Life.” You wouldn’t be far off the mark to think of Pitt as a not-so-distant descendant of James Dean, without the built-in self-destruct.

And now comes “Moneyball,” in which Pitt is  cast as Billy Beane, the maverick general manager of the Oakland A’s who made champs of a losing team by wedding the art of playing baseball to a miraculous computerized system called Sabermetrics.  With this sports flick that you don’t have to be a sports fiend to love, Brad trots to the top of the lineup of surefire Oscar nominees. On the other hand, he could get a nod from the Academy for his poignant and terrifying performance in “The Tree of Life.” Or he might even walk home with two Oscars if the rumor that Fox Searchlight plans to steer him into the Best Supporting Oscar category for his work in the latter film is true. Click here to read "Moneyball" reviews by 40 top critics on Metacritic.com.

I would never be so daring as to predict what lies ahead in Pitt’s private life—has there ever, in the history of showbiz, been such a complicated (not to mention crowded) non-marriage as the one known as Brangelina? But here’s what I can tell you about a couple of upcoming Pitt pix...

“Cogan’s Trade” offers Brad the juicy opportunity of playing a driven, merciless enforcer (as in assassin) employed by mobsters—some who pass as pillars of society—and his current assignment is to track down the perpetrators of an impudent heist that was carried out during a supposedly mob-protected poker game. This dark thriller was written and directed by Andrew Dominik, the tough Aussie responsible for the terrifying “Chopper” and “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.” The cast includes James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta, Richard Jenkins, Sam Shepard, Garret Dillahunt, Bella Heathcote and Ben Medelsohn. Although the scene of the crimes committed in George V. Higgins’ enthusiastically reviewed novel was Boston, the movie version was shot in New Orleans. Go figure.

“World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War,” a 2006 chiller written by Max Brooks, lived up to its title. And if this movie is true to the novel, Brad Pitt will portray a United Nations investigator who spookily fleshes out a previous, bone-dry U.N. report on a monstrous invasion. He accomplishes his humanistic goal by intimately probing the individual histories of various survivors. Supporting Brad in “World War Z,” which could be as heavy a trip as “Contagion,” are Bryan Cranston, Matthew Fox and Mireille Enos. The director is Marc Forster, the eclectic fellow who gave us “Monster’s  Ball,” “Finding Neverland,” “Quantum of Solace” and “Stranger Than Fiction.”

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 9/24/11

 

WHY SHOULD MOVIE LISTINGS LEAVE YOU IN THE DARK?

The movie coverage in The New York Times is first-rate, thanks largely to the probing, authoritative analysis of current and classic films by A.O. Scott, Manohla Dargis, Stephen Holden and Dave Kehr. Surely these critics must wince when browsing through the paper’s daily listings of movies scheduled to be shown on TV that evening. Limited space is really no excuse for withholding crucial information from your readership.

To find out what I’m kvetching about, read this sampling of listings from the September 14 edition of The Times. Each listing is complete; I have subtracted not one single word. But, in parentheses, I have added a gripe or two.

 

THE STORY OF TEMPLE DRAKE (1933). Oscar Aptel, Clem Beauchamp.

(Miriam Hopkins played the sexy heroine of this controversial adaptation of William Faulkner’s “Sanctuary,” but somebody at The Times apparently feels that Oscar Aptel and Clem Beauchamp were bigger stars.)

SYLVIA (2003).  Gwyneth Paltrow, Daniel Craig.

(Who is Sylvia? Don't expect The Times to answer that question. Could this be a biopic paying tribute to the late great jazz singer Sylvia Syms, and does Gwyneth Paltrow do her very own warbling? Nope. This "Sylvia" tells the harsh truth about Sylvia Plath, the tormented poet who took her own life.)

THE LOVELY BONES (2009). Mark Wahlberg. Murder victim watches over her family. Tries to cram in too much of book.

(Who could possibly have predicted that prankish Marky Mark would end up playing a dead girl floating around heaven all day? Probably teenager Saoirse Ronan was so busy making other movies that she had to turn director Peter Jackson down.)

ALICE IN WONDERLAND (2010). Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska.

(Anybody here ever hear of director Tim Burton and his partner and favorite actress Helena Bonham Carter? And speaking of talented folks linked in one way or another to this production, whatever happened to Lewis Carroll?)

THE MATING SEASON (1951). Rather dank-toned comedy of poor ma, climber son. Thelma Ritter, never better, should have won supporting Oscar.

(Poor Thelma. Life is so unfair, especially when you consider that the winner of the 1951 supporting Oscar was that no-account Kim Hunter for her performance as Stella in Elia Kazan’s “A Streetcar Named Desire.” And if Kim hadn’t stolen the Oscar from Thelma, no doubt one of the other nominees would have done the deed. Who were they? Merely Joan Blondell in “The Blue Veil,” Lee Grant in “Detective Story,” and Mildred Dunnock in   “Death of a Salesman.")

NOTES ON A SCANDAL (2006). Veteran teacher exploits new colleague’s affair with a student. Cheap goods.

(Really! A classy filmmaker directs two Oscar-winning actresses in a provocative drama and manages to come up with cheap goods? Oh well, at least there wasn’t room to squeeze in the names of Richard Eyre, Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench.)

THROW MOMMA FROM THE TRAIN  (1987).
Trading murders. Clever as it is original.


(Trading murders was precisely the plan Robert Walker, as a weirdo who wanted his dad dead, had in mind when he approached Farley Granger, as a tennis champ who seemingly wanted his wife terminated. That was the situation in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Strangers on a Train,” and damned if it didn’t seem as clever as it was original back in 1951. Although you wouldn’t know from reading The Times listing, “Throw Momma From the Train” was directed by Danny DeVito, who played the homicidally inclined momma’s boy. Billy Crystal was the man who bargained with Danny to do in his wife.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 9/20/11

AT LONG LAST, A TRIBUTE TO TUESDAY

 

 

 

 

 

 

With a dandy retrospective called AMERICAN GIRL: TUESDAY WELD, New York’s  Film Society of Lincoln Center is celebrating the career of an exceptionally gifted, beautiful and tantalizing actress. Click here for Lincoln Center's salute to Weld, plus a description of individual films in the series, and click here for my 1971 New York Times interview with the stunningly candid Tuesday.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 9/5/11

 

VINCENTE MINNELLI: A MAN OF MANY MOODS

What is your favorite Minnelli movie?  “Meet Me in St. Louis”? “The Clock?” “Madame Bovary”? “Father of the Bride”? “An American in Paris”? "Cabin in the Sky"? “The Bad and the Beautiful”? “The Band Wagon”? “Lust for Life”? “Gigi”?“Home From the Hill?" "Some Came Running”? Or maybe even “The Sandpiper”?  Personally, I’m torn between “Meet Me in St. Louis” and “The Band Wagon.”

How about you? I doubt you can narrow the choices down to just one. But if you can, I guarantee you’ll be able to view it, along with 34 more movies directed by this prolific Hollywood icon, when The Complete Vincente Minnelli plays the Brooklyn Academy of Music for 32 days, beginning on September 23.  Click here for details, courtesy of BAM.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 9/5/11

 

IN TELLURIDE, THE TOWN IS A BIG PART OF THE SHOW THAT MUST GO ON

The New York Times’ A.O. Scott spent an image-packed, invigorating four days at the Telluride Film Festival, surely the friendliest, most civilized movie event of the year, despite the fact that much of what is screened deals unblinkingly with brutal reality.  Click here to read Scott’s perceptive report on the movies, moviemakers, moviegoers and movie town that make this festival unique.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 9/5/11

 

IS THIS WOMANIZER SO ASHAMED THAT HE REFUSES TO SHOW HIS FACE?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Fassbender, who showed us what a  red hot and horny hombre he can be in “Fish Tank” and “Jane Eyre,” has evidently risen to a new, blatantly macho high in “Shame,” directed by Steve McQueen, the Brit who put Fassbender on the movie map with the powerful “Hunger” in 2008.

This time, Fassbender, who was born in Germany but grew up in Ireland, plays a testosterone-psyched weirdo named Brandon, and he has left his home in the UK to do a full-time sizzle in sinful New York City, where he can be not only sexually active, but downright sexually rabid. When he’s not maneuvering to make out on busses or subway trains or in taxis or bars, he’s apt to be playing erotic games with women he’s lured into his bachelor pad.

But, oddly enough, many of his most heated, long, long night encounters are in fact solo flights. That’s because Brandon is a natural-born prince of porn, and to play that game, all you really need is a home screen, tons of tapes and lots and lots of lust.

Where will it all end for this incorrigible satyr/voyeur? Can anyone put a stop to his ballsy behavior? Perhaps his little sister can lend a hand. That’s right, he has a flashy, maybe trashy, twenty-something sibling who’s decided to hop on a jet and come live with him, like it or not. And since Sis is played by the sultry, kittenish Carey Mulligan, you just know that we’re in for a bumpy ride on the wild side. So fasten your seat belt.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 8/22/11

 

WILL THE REAL JANE FONDA EVER SHOW UP? MAYBE SHE HAS.

Two new takes on the Oscar-winning survivor of fame, misfortune and Ted Turner have been published this month. One was written by Fonda herself; the other is by Patricia Bosworth, the widely acclaimed author of meticulously researched biographies of Montgomery Clift, Marlon Brando and Diane Arbus. Click here to read Janet Maslin's astute analysis of both books in The New York Times.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 8/22/11

THE DESCENDANTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

George Clooney, an actor who seldom fails to surprise us, is once again in an experimental mood, playing a part-Polynesian man named Matt King.  An influential, awesomely wealthy Honolulu lawyer whose family has for many generations wielded major power, King is downed by a knock-out punch unexpectedly delivered by his own wife, a daredevil named Joanie. While competing in a risky water race one day, Joanie swiftly splashes out of control, into a coma, and onto life support.

As if that catastrophe were not sufficiently heartbreaking, Matt’s two daughters—one a 17-year-old druggie, the other a profane, pre-pubic tyrant—are not big on playing the grief game. Nor, when it comes to mending their already broken lives, do they bother to seek Dad’s advice or consent. In fact, the only time they seem to want him around is when they're looking for a whipping boy. Meanwhile, getting back to Joanie, Matt is suddenly made painfully aware that she’d been sleeping with at least one secret lover for a shockingly large chunk of time.     

Does any of this sound laugh-out-loud funny? Maybe oddball tragicomic, along the lines of  “Sideways,” “Election” and “Citizen Ruth,” would be closer to the truth.  All three of those hard-to-categorize films were directed by Alexander Payne, the auteur behind this adaptation of Kaui Hart Hemmings’ 2007 debut novel. “Descendants,” which occupies the prestigious closing-night slot at the New York Film Festival, may also turn out to be the movie for which the strikingly versatile Clooney finally wins a Best Actor Academy Award for his performance as a far-from-coddled cuckold. The theatrical release date is 11/23/11

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 8/18/11

 

ALL COUGHING! ALL SNEEZING! ALL OVER!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the United States draws near, can you guess which movie will make its bow on the big 9/11 weekend? If you guessed an explosive thriller about evil invaders, you’re just a bit off target. The prestigious, star-studded fright flick that Warner Brothers will release on September 9 is called “Contagion,” and the merciless villains here are germs, millions of the little buggers heaping infection and grotesque death on panicked victims all over the globe.

Among those who expire in fits of coughing or sneezing--or somehow manage to survive the pandemic with the help of the folks at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention—are Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, Laurence Fishburne, Elliott Gould and Gwyneth Paltrow.  The film, which Warner Brothers presumably expects to be a real crowd-pleaser, was directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by Scott Z. Burns, a screenwriter who did splendidly by Matt Damon in “The Bourne Ultimatum” and “The Informant!”  

It should be noted that one of the promotional posters for “Contagion” slated to be slapped on the sides of busses has been reported by Michael Cieply in The New York Times  to feature “a gasping, bug-eyed Ms. Paltrow beneath a legend that warns potential moviegoers to steer clear of one another. ‘Don’t talk to anyone,’ the posters say. ‘Don’t touch anyone.’” Now that’s entertainment!

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 8/16/11

 

RYAN'S WAY: WHEN HE WAS BAD HE WAS VERY, VERY BAD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nobody was as venomous, sadistic and self-loathing as the loner carved in cinematic stone by Robert Ryan, who is now being paid tribute with a Film Forum retrospective. Click here for a sharp, illuminating take on the art of this intense, enigmatic actor by Imogen Smith, and click here for details on the Film Forum tribute.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 8/12/11


AT MoMA, THE BIGGEST ROMAN HOLIDAY EVER

If you just can’t get enough of Roman Polanski’s mesmerizing, suspenseful, terrifying wizardry, the place for you to hang out, beginning on  September 7 and ending on the 30th  of the month, is Manhattan’s Museum of Modern Art. That’s where pristine prints of every film he ever directed will be screened. Every film, that is, except the hotly anticipated “Carnage,” which will open the New York Film Festival just after the close of this retrospective on the evening of September 30. Click here for MoMA details.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 8/12/11


THE NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL PICKS A BUBBLY, CHEEKY CENTERPIECE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Yes, we're going to take a voyeuristic jog down memory lane with a classy, if incongruous, screen team in "My Week With Marilyn." Glamour goddess Monroe is the one-and-lonely Marilyn, and she is spending her working and playing and maneuvering hours with the magnicent but moody Laurence Olivier on and off the set of "The Prince and the Showgirl." The question is, can mere mortals Michelle Williams and Kenneth Branagh carry off this bold impersonation? Click here for details on what sounds like a "Week" to remember.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 8/4/11



THE DOCTOR IS iN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doctor Sigmund Freud, that is.  And in this scene from “Dangerous Method,” the sexual healer, played by Viggo Mortensen, is treating  top-priority patient and reputed paramour Sabina Spielrein, played by Keira Knightley. David Cronenberg’s inevitably steamy drama--also starring Michael Fassbender as Doctor Carl Jung, a protégé of Freud and a stealthy, id-crazed bedmate of Sabina Spielrein—will be shown in competition at the Venice Film Festival. Click here for more news about the festival, which will run from August 31 through September 10.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 8/2/11

 

HERE'S TO THE COUPLES WHO CRUNCH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roman Polanski's sharp, enigmatic "Knife in the Water" was unreeled at the very first New York Film Festival, back in 1963. Now the festival, an institution that never turns its back on an artist it has helped boost to the top, is honoring the controversial director and his latest film with its prestigious opening-night slot on September 30. (Polanski will not be on hand to take a bow, and surely you know why). His new movie is, for good reason, called "Carnage." Here's what it's all about.

“God of Carnage,” Yasmina Reza’s flamboyantly venomous comedy-drama, which deservedly won the Tony for best play of 2009, dealt with two upwardly climbing, superficially cordial couples who sit down one evening in a stylishly sterile Brooklyn apartment to chat, philosophize and perhaps make sense of a playground scuffle between their two sons that mushroomed into something bloody awful, ending in pain, humiliation and a conspicuous loss of teeth for one of the lads.
    

Does the parental powwow glow with mutual soul-searching, remorse, forgiveness and a firm resolve to toil side by side to heal spiritual and bodily wounds? Don’t be a ninny. By the time the night, soaked in booze and savaged by insult, roars and wobbles to an end, the quartet of parents have morphed into vengeful bullies capable of delivering devastating verbal and physical jolts, intellectually crunching their newfound friends and swallowing the bones. Nor, in the end, do the respective mates shower one another with respect.  So much for uplifting, making-a-difference civility among men and women in the 21st century.
 

The happy news for audiences is that 77-year-old master filmmaker Roman Polanski has  taken this disgrace-under-pressure lark and turned it into what is sure to be a cinematic highpoint of 2011. The movie  is simply called “Carnage,” which is probably a smart switch, since God is not all that big at the box office these days.

And how’s this for dream casting? As the host and hostess with the mostest hostility on the ball (played by Marcia Gay Harden and James Gandolfini on Broadway) we’ll have Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly in the film version penned by Polanski and original author Yazmina Reza.  In the roles of the battered and battering guests (played on stage by Hope Davis and Jeff Daniels) we’ll be treated to star turns by Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz. Theatrical release date to be announced

Click here to read Elaine Sciolino’s interview with Yazmina Reza in The New York Times. (Spoiler: Ms. Reza may be a genius when it comes to making barbarism hilarious, but she is not the world’s most gracious and giving celebrity.)

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 8/1/11

 

WHY IS FRANK BRUNI SMILING?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe it’s because the fearless New York Times writer refused to be bullied or shamed into sitting through “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” as he recently made clear in a lively Op Ed column.  Nor will he ever again be badgered to explain why he’s definitely not wild about Harry. That’s because this frenzy-inducing franchise is finished at last, even though  the current installment had the most lucrative opening day in film history. Click here to read about Bruni’s big trouble with Harry (as well as “Mad Men” and other sacred cows he’d like to put out to pasture).  

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 7/19/11


‘THE GUARD’ COULD BE BRENDAN AND DON’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE

They are an odd-going-on-bizarre couple. One, played by Brendan Gleeson, is a sloppy, alcoholic, obscenity-spewing, hooker-cuddling, bigoted Irish cop; the other, played by Don Cheadle, is a dapper, cerebral, disciplined, articulate, occasionally clueless African-American F.B.I. agent. Together—though seldom in harmony—they do their best to track down three sinister thugs who have smuggled a half-billion dollars worth of drugs into Ireland and murdered a rookie policeman in the process. The question is, can this not-quite-A-Team achieve  its goal, remain alive, and perhaps begin a beautiful friendship?

If film festival acclaim is a reliable barometer, this comic thriller could be a real crowd pleaser, since it was big at Sundance, Tribeca, Los Angeles and Berlin.  “The Guard,” which opens on July 29, was written and directed by John Michael McDonagh, the brother of playwright Martin McDonagh, who wrote “The Lieutenant of Inishmore” and “A Behanding in Spokane” and made his debut as a feature film screenwriter and director with “In Bruges,” starring Brendan Gleeson.  A special bonus: The incandescent Fionnula Flanagan plays Gleeson’s Irish-to-the-core old mum in “The Guard.” 

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 7/19/11

 

THEY WERE A MAGNIFICENT  COUPLE— STUNNING, TEMPESTUOUS, RAPTUROUSLY OVERSEXED AND A HELLUVA LOT OF  FUN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who could blame Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton for yearning to play house—especially bedroom—the second they met on the set of “Cleopatra”?  And who could blame the emotionally hyper superstars for actually getting married (and divorced) not once, but twice? The question now is, who could blame  Martin Scorsese for wanting to depict their bawdier-than-life romance on screen—which is what the director of “Taxi Driver,” “Raging Bull” and “Mean Streets” will be doing when he turns his camera on the screen adaptation of Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger’s 2010 book, “Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century.”

But does Scorsese realize what he’s getting himself into? That’s what The New York Times’ Maureen Dowd, who dubs the project “From Mean Streets to Mean Sheets,” is wondering.  Click here to read her sharp Times column about the Taylor-Burton lovathon, plus two new Marilyn Monroe biopics.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 7/10/11



9/16/11: A DATE YOU SHOULD MARK ON YOUR MOVIE CALENDAR

Why? Because that’s the day “Restless,” which opens the Un Certain Regard section of the upcoming Cannes Festival and is a strong bet for the Toronto and New York festivals in the fall, is scheduled for theatrical release by Sony Pictures Classics. As I indicated in a previous post, the couple in this comedy-drama is far from the maddening Apatow crowd of druggy, horny slobs and the docile but sporting young women who cater to their lewdest whims.

In this case, we have a whole other kind of odd couple. She’s a sweet teenager whose latest medical prognosis is “not long for this world,” and he’s a young eccentric who gets off on attending sumptuously staged, well-choreographed funerals. So they meet cute and presumably live—or die—happily ever after.

This tricky tale is apt to leave audiences both laughing and crying, partly because it has been directed by Gus Van Sant, who demonstrated his preternatural talent for mixing moods in “Drugstore Cowboy,” “My Own Private Idaho,” “To Die For,” “Good Will Hunting” and “Milk.” (Forget Van Sant’s sluggish salute to Hitchcock in the remake of “Psycho.” Nobody’s perfect.)

Two more reasons to have high hopes for “Restless”: Its seemingly doomed heroine is played by Mia Wasikowska, the young Australian actress who becomes more and more impressive with each new film, as she has demonstrated in “Alice in Wonderland,” “The Kids Are All Right” and “Jane Eyre," and Mia's leading man, Henry Hopper, is the son of the late Dennis Hopper. (If you’d like to know what the unforgettable Easy Rider himself was really like when he was young and eccentric, click here for my 1970 interview with him in The New York Times.)

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 7/10/11

HAVE YOU TRIED 92YTRIBECA? IF YOU’RE A MOVIE BUFF IT’S A MUST

Serious Manhattan venues have long catered to moviegoers desperately seeking  challenging, complex, even subversive anti-assembly-line fare. Think of The Film Society of Lincoln Center, MoMA, Film Forum, Anthology Film Archives, IFC,  Lincoln Plaza, Angelika Film Center and BAM, and then think of all the silent masterpieces, classic talkies, hard-hitting foreign-language dramas and bold indies screened in those cathedrals of cinematic worship. And think too of 92YTRIBECA, one of the classiest, relatively recent contributors to the movie magic coursing through the avenues of New York City.

Among the rarely revived films to be screened at 92YTRIBECA during July and August are Michael Ritchie’s “Prime Cut,” Carol Reed’s “Our Man in Havana,” Frank Tashlin’s “Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?,” Ridley Scott’s “Thelma and Louise” and Jean Renoir’s “The Southerner.”

In a series called “indieWIRE at 15,” tribute is being paid to that influential website with the screening of several noteworthy independent films, including “Tarnation.” Click here to read my review of that powerful, one-of-a-kind movie. To read more about various 92YTRIBECA projects, click here.   

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 7/10/11



WHEN VIRTUE WAS OUT AND SIN WAS IN...AND HOLLYWOOD WENT ALL THE WAY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m talking about that hot, horny, blasphemous stampede of Hollywood flicks--such as "Baby Face," with Barbara Stanwyck and John Wayne, shown above--that riveted thrill-seeking audiences in the early thirties. But these anything-goes movies enraged a multitude of prudes and aspiring censors, a situation that finally resulted in squeaky-clean reform under the heavy hand and snoring libido of Production Code chief Will Hays.

Thanks largely to Hays and to the Roman Catholic Church's Legion of Decency, an enormous chunk of impudent, rebellious, racy fun went missing from the American film scene for an achingly long stretch of time. Due to the tenacity and super taste of the folks down at Manhattan’s Film Forum, however, we can revisit those glory days during a four-week, 50-film festival, beginning July 15 and ending on August 11. Happily, the series, which is called “Essential Pre-Code,” lifts off with a seldom seen, totally uncensored version of the notorious but much-loved “Baby Face,” a 1933 pearl starring Barbara Stanwyck, supported by budding stud John Wayne as a stand-tall volunteer in her platoon of lovers.

Here’s what Dave Kehr had to say about “Baby Face” in The New York Times: “One of the most stunningly sordid films ever made, a standout even among the wave of risqué entertainments that filled American screens in the early years of the Depression. With its five full minutes of sleaze restored, it has to be seen to be not quite believed.”

Click here for full details on “Essential Pre-Code.”

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 7/3/11

ALL ABOUT CELESTE

Although she did not win an Oscar for her terrific supporting performance as Margo Channing’s best friend in 1950’s “All About Eve,” Celeste Holm was indeed nominated, just as she was in 1949 for “Come to the Stable.” And you don’t have to be a movie buff to know that she actually won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for “Gentleman’s Agreement” in 1947.

So how is the 94-year-old star doing today? You might not have the strength to bear hearing the answer to that question, but I nevertheless strongly recommend that you read John Leland’s fascinating, poignant New York Times article, “Love and Inheritance: A Family Feud.”  You will learn a lot, if not all, about Celeste, a truly extraordinary woman. And you may learn more than you really care to know about her two supposedly mature sons and their battle to snatch what remains of her fortune before it falls into the hands of her fourth husband, who recently turned 48. Click here for the Times story.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 7/3/11


HE'S STILL PRINCE OF THE CITY

A great filmmaker and passionate New Yorker will be honored by Manhattan’s Film Society of Lincoln Center with a retrospective aptly titled “Prince of the City: Remembering Sidney Lumet.”  The 16-film series, running from July 19 through July 25, will include such masterworks from the late director as “12 Angry Men,” “Network,” “Dog Day Afternoon,” “The Offence,” “The Verdict,” “Serpico,” “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” and, of course, “Prince of the City.” Click here for full details, and click here for my 1974 New York Times  interview with Lumet.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 6/29/11

 

REMEMBERING PETER FALK, A MAN OF STYLE, WARMTH AND HUMOR  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peter Falk, who died on Thursday at the age of 83,  was a magnetic performer and a decent, generous man of integrity, as he demonstrated to me a few days before the opening of Elaine May’s splendid 1976 film “Mikey and Nicky,” in which he starred alongside his good friend John Cassavetes.  Click here for my New York Times interview.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 6/25/11


DiCAPRIO: THE GREATEST GATSBY OF ALL?

First, in a 1926 silent film directed by Herbert Brenon, it was matinee idol Warner Baxter who brought  Jay Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s tragic self-made millionaire, to cinematic life. Next, in 1949, Alan Ladd took a break from his routine of playing hard-as-nails heroes by bringing us a jarringly  sensitive Gatsby under the direction of Elliott Nugent; and then, in 1974, a blond and bland Robert Redford moped his way through British director Jack Clayton’s disappointing stab at making a classic movie of the classic American novel. 

Isn’t it time for someone blessed with psychological complexity and genuine charisma to come along and deliver the definitive interpretation of Fitzgerald’s mega-mysterious protagonist? Actually, that’s where Leonardo DiCaprio enters the picture.  In an exceptionally promising film soon to go before the camera, DiCaprio will BE Gatsby, with the help of Baz Luhrmann, the Australian auteur who made Leo BE a serious heartthrob in “Romeo + Juliet.”  I think you can expect fireworks this time around.

Another piece of good news: Carey Mulligan, the compelling British star of “An Education” and “Never Let Me Go,” has been cast as Daisy, the spoiled, filthy-rich, jazz-happy wife of philandering Tom Buchanan. And, as we all know, Jay Gatsby is fixated on picking this Daisy. Also popping up will be the Aussie actor Joel Edgerton in the role of the aggressively American Buchanan, Isla Fisher as his coarse mistress, and Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway,  a close friend of the Buchanans who is tantalized by the riddle of their new neighbor, Jay Gatsby.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 6/25/11

  

THIS CHIMP IS A CHAMP! GUY’S REVIEW OF

PROJECT NIM ****



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Directed by James Marsh; BBC Films, Passion Pictures, Roadside Attractions


Why can’t we teach our chimpanzees how to speak? Well, that’s a no-brainer. The mastery of grammar and diction and the structuring of a fancy vocabulary are obviously beyond the reach of a chimp. Still, with intensive human help, couldn’t this primate charmer at least master sign language and eventually learn to ape the way human beings think and act and communicate with one another?

That was a possibility Herb Terrace, a Columbia University professor, set out to explore back in the early seventies. And for more than 25 years, Terrace--a natural-born hustler--and his revolving battery of pot-smoking, sexually adventurous female assistants toiled in and out of the lab to do a radical makeover on a spirited scamp named Nim Chimpsky. The results of the experiment, which turned out be both more and less than the self-promoting professor bargained for, are scrutinized here in astonishing depth by James Marsh, whose “Man on Wire” won the Oscar for best documentary of 2008.

I urge you to rush out and see this extraordinary film, but let me first caution you not to expect a comical, fuzzy-warm Disneyesque fable. Steel yourself instead for the obscenely inhumane treatment of a defenseless animal--a newborn chimp stolen from his shrieking mother by a wealthy New York airhead who had been sent to a remote region of Oklahoma on this mission by her occasional lover, Columbia University pseudo-science prof Herb Terrace. For a while, Nim is pampered like a prince in a Manhattan brownstone by Terrace's lady friend, her hippie-poet hubby and their children, as well as on the college campus (where the chimp is subjected to bogus sign-language lessons). He is also incited to extreme violence, a situation that results in a grotesque attack on one of his "teachers." It is at this point that Professor Terrace, fearing a major scandal and a likely loss of income, scraps Project Nim and unceremoniously dumps the chimp back in Oklahoma.

Before long, in a sequence of events so harrowing that you may feel compelled to close your eyes and press your fingers to your ears, Nim is seized and bound and electrically jolted into an experimental medical program, ostensibly for the purpose of controlling disease among the human population. It saddens me to say that this lengthy, brutal endeavor carried the seal of approval from New York University! So much for the connection between higher education and benevolent science.

And, yes, still more horrors are visited upon Nim, who should never, ever have been taken from his mother. But not all men are beasts; there was one true hero who managed to extend the gift of freedom to the chimp before his peaceful death at the age of 26. In a sense, Nim died a champ. Need I name the academic who is this story's biggest chump?

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 6/21/11


WOODY’S ALL SET TO BOP

As reported by Anne Thompson on her excellent indieWIRE blog, Woody Allen, whose “Midnight in Paris” is on track to becoming his biggest grossing movie ever, has completed casting on “The Bop Decameron.” Shooting begins in Rome on July 11, and Woody’s familiar and not-so-familiar players include Penelope Cruz, Alec Baldwin, Ellen Page, Woody Allen (!), Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig and Roberto Benigni.

Wait a second, did Woody say Roberto Benigni? Isn’t he the incorrigible buffoon who managed to nab an Oscar for his bad-taste, strictly unfunny take on the holocaust in “Life Is Beautiful”? Let’s hope the laugh this time is not on Woody.

Click here to read my Los Angeles Times interview with Woody Allen in 1978, the year that the great comic was hoping audiences would not consider his “Interiors” a laughing matter.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 6/21/11


SHE'S BEAUTIFUL, BUT IS SHE BAD?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Errol Morris’s “Tabloid” is a whopper of a tragicomedy—uproarious, raunchy, surreal, outrageous and, in the end, seriously heartbreaking. Not at all what you might  expect from the passionate documentarian responsible for “The Fog of War,” the 2003 Oscar winner in which he probed the heart and mind of Robert McNamara, the icily cerebral, lethally stubborn Secretary of Defense who put his personal stamp on American history by bringing us the Vietnam War.

Nor is “Tabloid” nearly as somber as Morris’s 2008 “Standard Operating Procedure,” with its up-close exposure of merciless male and female U.S. soldiers gleefully torturing and sexually humiliating captives at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Nobody could deny the validity of Morris’s images, since the photos which he puts to such powerful use in the film were in fact taken by U.S. military police.

But the director’s exploration of the Abu Ghraib nightmare extends beyond the guilt of the ill-educated, doped-up soldiers, some of whom landed in another, different kind of prison. Morris is clearly suggesting that somewhere, perhaps high up the chain of command, sinister brainwashing took place. In other words, who was really in charge, and where are they in charge now?

Nobody--or almost nobody--actually gets tortured in “Tabloid.” But somebody does get manacled and seduced. And you can be sure that the somebody is not Joyce McKinney, the baby-doll blonde Beauty Pageant queen from North Carolina who moved to Utah and instantly fell obsessively, incurably in love with Kirk Anderson, a tall, dark and virginal Mormon.

It is apparent in “Tabloid” that Joyce is now a senior. But, as illustrated in her intimate chats with Morris, she is still earthily articulate, laugh-out-loud funny and blessed (sometimes cursed) with total recall. And there is plenty to recall, most of it revolving around Kirk, the professional virgin.

According to Joyce, Kirk declared his love for her on their first date and proposed to her soon after. For a while, they shared a little dream house, but not a bed. Then, one day Joyce came home and found many of Kirk’s belongings, but she didn’t find Kirk. The slippery dodger had vanished without so much as a bye-bye, baby to the shattered but unswervingly infatuated Joyce.

What to do? For Joyce, the answer was easy. Hire a private detective and a bodyguard to help her catch Kirk. (The sequence showing hunks-in-briefs auditioning for the bodyguard gig are enough to make Anthony Weiner throw in the towel.)  Eventually, Joyce hires a pilot to fly her and other wannabe Kirk catchers to East Ewell, Surrey, where her runaway, wrong-way paramour is about to become a bona fide Mormon missionary.  How, you may wonder, does born-poor Joyce finance her little game of search and deflower? Don’t bother to ask unless you are eager to rummage through nasty rumors about call girls, paid escorts, and bondage models.

Kidnapping Kirk in East Ewell proved to be a breeze, and Joyce and her cohorts whisked him off to a swell cottage in Devon, where Joyce cuffed poor, pure Kirk to a king-sized bed and robbed the rogue of his precious virginity. Joyce has always claimed that for Kirk, the belated consummation was a case of goodbye chastity, hello lust. She says he even surrendered his sacred undies to her and looked on approvingly as she put a match to them (this is not a movie I’d recommend to Mitt Romney). So gung-ho was Kirk about his future with Joyce that he promised to buy a ring and finally make her an honest woman. 

Which is why she was startled a few days later when they arrived in London and she was arrested by the bobbies, hauled into court, accused of rape by the-once-again-unavailable Kirk, and sent to the slammer, whereby she became the hottest, most scandalous, most photographed and written about sex goddess of London’s swinging seventies. To this day, she still boils and bubbles and bellyaches about the manner in which she feels she was smeared by the bloody, lying, cheating, blistering, thieving, conniving, vicious British tabloid reporters, a couple of whom are interviewed to colorful effect in “Tabloid” about their coverage of Joyce’s brush with fame and misfortune, British style.

Oddly enough, Morris seems to admire these reporters and has in fact always been hooked on the tabloids. But probably not as hooked as he is currently on Joyce McKinney. Which makes me wonder: Could a performer win an Oscar for playing herself on film? If so, Joyce has my vote.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 6/15/11

THE THREE PHASES OF MARILYN 

Marilyn Monroe, who would have turned 85 on June 3, is still the blonde lots of gentlemen prefer. Her beauty and vivacious charm are now being celebrated by an exhibit of early, rare photos at New York's Washington Square Hotel. Click here for Terry Trucco's revealing interview with the photographer who shot those pictures and knew Marilyn very well. Terry was recently singled out as an official honoree at the 15th annual Webby Awards for her excellent website and blog, www.overnightnewyork.com.

Next up in the cycle of tributes to Monroe is a 14-movies series, starting with her stunning turn as the enticing object of "sugar daddy" Louis Calhern's affection in John Huston's "The Asphalt Jungle" and ending with her sensitive, mature performance as the fragile survivor of a sad marriage in "The Misfits," directed by Huston and written by Arthur Miller, whose real-life marriage to Marilyn turned famously sad. Click here for details on the BAM series. And for an exhibit at the Posteritati Gallery of posters from the films Marilyn made between the two Huston triumphs, click here . (If you'd like to view ALL of the Marilyn posters in the gallery's collection, click here.)

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 6/15/11

 

EVERYTHING'S COMING UP BARBRA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The year was 1968, and a brash girl from Brooklyn with the power to wring laughter and tears from an audience was making her screen debut as real-life singer-comedienne Fanny Brice, a role she had created on Broadway. No one  was surprised months later when Barbra Streisand took home an Oscar for her terrific performance in "Funny Girl."

And if things turn out the way they should, no one will be surprised when Streisand hugs an Oscar for her next blockbuster musical—an adaptation of the incomparable “Gypsy.” I’m talking, of course, about the 1959 stage masterpiece by Arthur Laurents, with sublime music by Jule Styne and unforgettable lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. As all the world knows, Ethel Merman was the first powerhouse performer to play Momma Rose, the ballsy, bellowing, intensely frustrated mother of the initially reluctant stripper Gypsy Rose Lee. And the role of Momma Rose is sufficiently complex and wrenching to have inspired riveting interpretations from a wide range of actresses, including Angela Lansbury, Tyne Daly,  Bette Midler, Bernadette Peters and Patti LuPone.

For a while, the movie--to be produced for Universal Pictures by Joel Silver, who is now in final negotiations with Streisand—was an iffy proposition. Shortly before Laurents’ death on May 5, Stephen Sondheim reportedly urged the 93-year-old author to cancel plans for the production,  perhaps fearing that it would turn out as execrable as the 1962 film of “Gypsy” starring Rosalind Russell.  But Laurents, who helped Streisand conquer Broadway by casting her  in “I Can Get It For You Wholesale” and later wrote a wonderful role for her to play in “The Way We Were,” was evidently keen to reteam with his discovery.  And it now appears that Sondheim may be experiencing mixed emotions, since producer Silver told New York Times reporter Patrick Healy that “Stephen Sondheim remains a part of the film development discussions.” 

Which is a good thing, since the brilliant composer will undoubtedly come up with super suggestions for a screenwriter and director,  as well as actors to play Herbie (Momma Rose's beau) and Louise (the timid kid who became the bold, grown-up Gypsy). Could that be Dustin Hoffman we hear testing his pipes on the tricky music and lyrics of “Together, Wherever We Go”? And who knew that Hailee Steinfeld could purr a sultry “Let Me  Entertain You”?  As for “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” “Some People” and “Rose’s Turn”—we KNEW Streisand would belt them clear out of the cineplex and into the stratosphere. But please, Mr. Sondheim and Mr. Silver, do not allow Rob Marshall, the directorial bulldozer of “Chicago” and “Nine,” to come anywhere near “Gypsy.”

If you'd like to know how I fared during my New York Times interview with Barbra Streisand, click here.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 6/2/11

 

CAN YOU IMAGINE WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE CRUISED BY TCM?

Don’t laugh. It could happen to YOU, provided you can fork over a minimum of $795 for a star-studded celluloid pig-out (Robert Osborne! Ben Mankiewicz!! And More!!!). For five dizzy-making days, from December 8 to December 12, you will be luxuriously transported from trendy Miami to even trendier Key West and Cozumel. But you better hurry and make reservations because, as the Turner Classic Movies email pitch puts it, “PREMIUM CABINS ARE GOING FAST!” The price of a premium cabin is not mentioned, but even the $795 you are required to shell out for a run-of-the-mill double must be matched by $795 from your roommate. But bear in mind that you will also be fed, as will your roomie—and we’re not just talking popcorn here.

Below are a few more subtle teasers and enticements from the folks at TCM about their first-ever cinematic (possibly sybaritic) cruise. SHIP AHOY, MATEY!

“Immerse yourself in classic film while you relax in the sun, enjoy great live entertainment, and experience all that the Celebrity Millennium has to offer—including delicious food, a luxurious spa, a full-service casino, and more!”

I don’t know about you, but I am especially intrigued by the bait of a full-service casino. I’ve never even had the pleasure of a partial-service casino. Although I am now a fanatical New Yorker, I was born in Missouri, so they’ve got to show me!

And, speaking of show-me, I’m dying to know which flicks TCM has lined up for viewing. Surely there will be nothing New Wave about this particular voyage. Presumably the cruisers would enjoy “Follow the Fleet,” the 1936 top-deck charmer with Fred and Ginger; “Titanic”—the 1953 version starring Clifton Webb and Barbara Stanwyck as a courageous, stiff-upper-lipped married couple and Thelma Ritter as a wealthy wisecracker every bit as unsinkable as Molly Brown; and “The Poseidon Adventure,” a 1972 marvel spotlighting Shelley Winters as the heroine on an upside-down ocean liner who fancy-swims herself to death in the process of saving many, many lives, including that of her astonished husband Jack Albertson. And, of course, anything with Esther Williams would be more than welcome. Hitchcock's "Lifeboat" would be a good fit, too. But I'm not sure about the sternly Germanic "Das Boot," which may be too much of a downer for what promises to be a relentlessly festive festival.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 6/2/11

 

FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELTS, IT'S GOING TO BE A BUMPY NIGHT OF CARNAGE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


“God of Carnage,” Yasmina Reza’s flamboyantly venomous comedy-drama, which deservedly won the Tony for best play of 2009,  dealt with two upwardly climbing, superficially cordial couples who sit down one evening in a stylishly sterile Brooklyn apartment to chat, philosophize and perhaps make sense of a playground scuffle between their two sons that mushroomed into something bloody awful, ending in pain, humiliation and a conspicuous loss of teeth for one of the lads.    

Does the parental powwow glow with mutual soul-searching, remorse, forgiveness and a firm resolve to toil side by side to heal spiritual and bodily wounds? Don’t be a ninny. By the time the night, soaked in booze and savaged by insult, roars and wobbles to an end, the quartet of parents have morphed into vengeful bullies capable of delivering devastating verbal and physical jolts. Nor, in the end, do the respective mates show much in the way of respect for one another.  So much for cozily inspirational--making-a-difference--good will in the 21st century.  

The happy news for audiences is that 77-year-old master filmmaker Roman Polanski has  taken this disgrace-under-pressure lark and turned it into what is sure to be a cinematic highpoint of 2011. The movie  is simply called “Carnage,” which is probably a smart switch, since God is not all that big at the box office these days.

And how’s this for dream casting? As the host and hostess with the mostest hostility on the ball (played by Marcia Gay Harden and James Gandolfini on Broadway) we’ll have Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly in the film version penned by Polanski and original author Yazmina Reza.  In the roles of the battered and battering guests (played on stage by Hope Davis and Jeff Daniels) we’ll be treated to star turns by Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz.  Opening date to be announced

Click here to read Elaine Sciolino's interview with Yazmina Reza in The New York Times. (Spoiler: Ms. Reza may be a genius when it comes to making barbarism hilarious, but she is not the world’s most open, giving and just plain polite writer.)

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 5/31/11

 

READY TO SEE BRAD PITT PLAY SEAN PENN'S OLD MAN?

If so, join the moviegoers lining up for "The Tree of Life," Terrence Malick's mystical, generation-spanning drama that is causing critics to get an early start on their Best Films of 2011 lists. Click here for A. O. Scott's review.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 5/31/11

 

WHEN DEBBIE DID WATERGATE

I sat down to talk with Debbie Reynolds for The New York Times one late night in the winter of 1973 during the out-of-town tryout for the movie star’s Broadway debut in “Irene.”  The setting for our chat was The Watergate, the Washington hotel famed for playing unwitting host to Nixonian thugs, thieves, spies and conspirators. It was clear from the start that Debbie, who feared there was a spy on the loose backstage, was not quite her usual perky self. But her tale of woe was a lot more entertaining than most of the junk she did for MGM.

Click here to read The Times interview, and click here for a complete list of Guy Flatley and Diane Baroni (aka Mrs. Guy Flatley) interviews now on moviecrazed.com.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 5/31/11

 

THE PUBLIC SAYS THIS, THE CRITICS SAY THAT...SO WHO'S RIGHT, AND WHO'S WRONG?

The top five Memorial Day Weekend movies did sensational box-office business. "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," "The Hangover Part II," and "Thor" were huge, despite some of the most scathing reviews on record. "Kung Fu Panda 2" drew mixed criticism, and the only film in the triumphant quintet to win an abundance of raves was "Bridesmaids." Go figure. In the end, it's a matter of personal taste. But just let me say this: Hollywood will not stop delivering formulaic gross-out flicks so long as they continue to out-gross classy fare like "Jane Eyre," "Midnight in Paris" and "Win Win." Oh, well--there's always HBO.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 5/31/11

 

CAN THIS MOVIE POSSIBLY BE AS NUTTY AS IT SOUNDS?

We’ll find out when it opens The Los Angeles Film Festival on June 16. Nutty is always good, so here’s hoping.

BERNIE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey (Written and directed by Richard Linklater; Castle Rock and Mandalay Pictures)

“Midnight in the Garden of East Texas” is what Skip Hollandsworth called his true-crime story published in Texas Monthly in 1998. And now Richard Linklater, the constantly surprising director of “Slacker,” “Dazed and Confused,” “Before Sunset,” “School of Rock,” “Fast Food Nation,” “A Scanner Darkly” and “Me and Orson Welles,” will bring his boldly sensitive touch to the off-center tale of Bernie Tiede, the happy-go-deadly Carthage, Texas undertaker who courted and, many say, murdered Marjorie Nugent, the town’s leading, drippingly wealthy citizen.

Bernie and Marjorie will undoubtedly make a smashing screen twosome, seeing as how they are being played by Jack Black and Shirley MacLaine. Black, of course, rolled into the positively big time with his mercurial, crazed performance as a musical guru to disadvantaged yet gifted kids in Linklater’s “School of Rock” (2003). As for MacLaine, she has been spotlighted as a flirty but soul-deep superstar under the direction of such Hollywood masters as Billy Wilder, Vincente Minnelli, Alfred Hitchcock, William Wyler, Hal Ashby, Bob Fosse, Mike Nichols, James L. Brooks, Don Siegel, Robert Wise and George Marshall. So how could "Bernie" possibly bomb, even if Matthew McConaughey, playing a character known as Danny Buck Davidson, proves as muggingly narcissistic as usual?

Opening date in theaters to be announced. Click here for my 2003 interview with Jack Black; click here for my 1977 interview with Shirley MacLaine.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 5/24/11


LARS LOST IT AT CANNES



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Director Lars Von Trier got the boot at the Cannes Festival when he claimed to be a Nazi who empathized with Hitler. Click here for Dennis Lim's report in The New York Times. If you want to know if Von Trier was always a wacko, click here for my 2000 interview with the Danish auteuer.

P.S. Nobody expected the festival jurors to honor the soiled director with an award, but Kirsten Dunst, an actress many moviegoers considered faded before her time, won the Palm d'or Best Actress award for her performance in Von Trier's "Melancholia."

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 5/21/11

CANNES STILL THINKS WOODY CERTAINLY CAN CANNES-CANNES


The folks who matter most at Cannes have never concealed their passion for Woody Allen, falling just short of awarding him French citizenship. For A. O. Scott's review of "Midnight in Paris," Woody's comedy that opened the Cannes Festival, click here; click here for my 1978 interview with Allen.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 5/21/11

 

THIS BOOK SCREAMS OUT: QUICK--TURN ME INTO A MOVIE!

I haven't read Pete Hamill's "Tabloid City" yet, but it's clear to me after reading John Darnton's review in today's New York Times that this dark drama of sex, violence and murder in a scarily contemporary Manhattan is made for the big screen. And let me say right now that Al Pacino is the man to play the weary but resilient Hamill-like journalist who is determined to solve the murky mystery, partly because the socialite who's been brutally murdered in her posh Greenwich Village apartment was his long-time mistress. Click here for the Times review.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 5/21/11

 

TOM & JULIA, TOGETHER AGAIN...BUT WILL THEY BE TERRIFIC AGAIN?

LARRY CROWNE

 

Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Cedric the Entertainer, Pam Grier, Jon Seda, Nia Vardalos, Ian Gomez (Directed by Tom Hanks; Written by Tom Hanks and Nia Vardalos; Universal Pictures)

Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts clicked as a team in “Charlie Wilson’s War.” Sharp, earthy and intimately in sync, they were strictly star stuff. Of course, it didn’t hurt to have Mike Nichols on the scene working his directorial wizardry on Aaron Sorkin’s artfully textured screenplay.

Will history repeat itself in “Larry Crowne,” the new Tom & Julia pairing scheduled for release on the first of July? Maybe, but it doesn’t sound like a slam-dunk to me. This time, in place of Mike Nichols and Aaron Sorkin, we’re getting Tom Hanks and Tom Hanks. That’s right, the Oscar-winning actor will be directing his own big-screen scenario for the first time since “That Thing You Do!,” a feeble, out-of-tune 1996 flick in which he played the manager of a band of post-juvenile musicians.

So who is this Larry Crowne and what does he want? He’s a middle-aged victim of the epidemic known as downsizing, and what he wants is a job. Three things stand in Larry’s way to prosperous employment: the trend in his godforsaken community is firing, not hiring; he’s middle-aged, going on senior citizenship; and he has no special skills. Yet he is not a total loser, as evidenced by his shrewd decision to enroll in a local college, where he plans to soak up the smarts that will morph him into a Very Employable Person.

Naturally, he becomes a big man on campus, especially with the lunatic fringe, and he even manages to snuggle up and do some A+  homework with his public-speaking prof. Happily, she’s the brilliant, ravishing Julia Roberts, the teacher who has everything. Including a husband! Don’t be surprised, however, if her hubby flunks out.

Did I forget to mention that Tom Hanks did not concoct this daring, social-notworking tale all by himself? He got by with the help of an old friend—writer/actress Nia Vardalos. You may recall that Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, served as producers on “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” Vardalos’  wildly popular, screamingly unfunny 2002 comedy. (I still think of it as a Greek tragedy.) For the record, Nia’s husband, Ian Gomez, is also in “Larry Crowne.” What role does he play? I don’t know, but I’d be willing to bet that he has at least one scene with Nia.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 5/10/11


BAM IS BEING THERE FOR HAL ASHBY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If he had directed nothing other than “Being There,” the extraordinary, mind-bending 1979 classic starring Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine and Melvyn Douglas, Hal Ashby would be justly hailed as a major filmmaker. Fortunately for us, Ashby created at least half a dozen powerful, certifiable originals during his relatively brief career.

Yet this cerebral, tender-hearted rebel, who died in 1988 at the age of 59, is inexplicably underrated, if not entirely ignored, by today’s audiences and the current league of critics. Thanks to the movie lovers who toil at The Brooklyn Academy of Music, however, that situation is about to change. Starting on May 6 and running through May 24, BAMcinematek will present an ambitious Ashby retrospective that includes "Shampoo," "Harold and Maude," "Coming Home" and "The Last Detail." And, of course, “Being There.”

Click here for complete details on the series.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 4/25/11

 

Who will be nominated for Best Actor and Best Actress of 2011 by the voters of the various film groups—from the Oscars to the Globes, from the New York film critics to the Los Angeles film critics’? 

Maybe it’s too early to play this guessing game, since we all know that the first quarter of every year basically serves as a burial ground for cinematic turkeys. I’m talking, of course, about militantly mindless fluff like Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson in “Water for Elephants,” Matthew McConaughey and Ryan Phillippe in “The Lincoln Lawyer,”  David Arquette and Courteney Cox Arquette in “Scream 4,” Russell Brand and Helen Mirren in “Arthur,” James Franco and Natalie Portman in “Your Highness,” Seth Rogen and Cameron Diaz in “The Green Hornet,” Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston in “Just Go With It,” and Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman in “Season of the Witch.” There are many more wastes of time and money I could mention, but I’m sure you get the point.

Yet, based upon what I have been seeing over the past four months, it’s strikingly clear that there are still bold, frequently daring performers who seek out challenging, provocative projects, ambitious actors and actresses who work hard at expanding their skills and polishing their techniques in order to fully illuminate the intellectual and emotional intricacies of the material they’ve chosen to explore. And that is why they have valid cause to believe there’s a strong chance they will be asked to stand up and take a bow when the awards season finally rolls around.

Close to the top of my list are the riveting trio of players in Cary Fukunaga's robust, visually stunning, hypnotic-going–on-psychotic spin on Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre.” As the cruelly manipulated and otherwise abused orphan too proud to accept even a crust of bread unless she has somehow earned it, Mia Wasikowska is a minor—make that major—miracle every melodramatic step of the way, from harshly abused student at a Dickensian boarding school to governess of a lonely child in a scary mansion, and beyond. She’s not a conventional beauty, and she seldom laughs and certainly never resorts to tears, no matter how abruptly the moods of Rochester, her aristocratic employer, shift—from bad to worse to, well, horny. It is a tribute to Wasikowska’s subtle talent that at all times, occasionally without benefit of dialogue, we know precisely what this humble but stubborn Jane is thinking. Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie, take a close look!

As for Michael Fassbender, who has been roundly praised for his uncompromising turns in ”Inglourious Basterds” and “Fish Tank,” his Rochester is altogether persuasive as both a snarler and a sobber, a communicator and a deceiver and, eventually, a contrite and passionate lover. He may remind you at times of the young Richard Burton, or even Daniel Day-Lewis. But in truth, Fassbender is an original.

So is Judi Dench, who plays Rochester’s housekeeper, a fluttery woman capable of fierce concentration when necessary, a tough survivor whose heart nevertheless has been broken. Perhaps it is time for another Oscar for Dame Judi.
 

AND DON’T MISS THIS PERFORMANCE

It is virtually impossible to believe Belgian actress Lubna Azabal is not the character she plays in Denis Villeneuve’s “Incindies.” The film, some of which should not be viewed by moviegoers who suffer from a weak stomach, travels back and forth in time and place, from a monstrous, blazing religion-based civil war fought in an unnamed country similar to Lebanon to a quiet Quebec community. Nawal Marnan (Azabal) falls in love with a young man of the “wrong” faith, and when he is killed by members of her own faith, she seeks and gradually achieves a bloody revenge, for which she pays an obscene price in a Middle East prison.

Late in her life, as an old woman on the verge of death in Canada, she leaves a puzzling will, instructing her college-aged son and daughter to travel to the land of her birth to find their brother, a brother of whom they were totally unaware until the reading of the will.  A neo-realistic, nearly operatic attack on war as a way of living and dying, “Incindies” is a shocking, inevitably  graphic film. In the end,  the haunting image of Lubna Azabal, with her amazing strength and grace, is truly indelible.


WAIT A SECOND--YOU'VE GOT TO SEE THIS, TOO!

Gorgeous, mysterious, tragic or mischievous—and sometimes a combination of all the above—Juliette Binoche has beguiled us in movie after movie. To name just a few: “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” “Damage,” “Blue,” “The English Patient,” “The Widow of Saint-Pierre,” “Chocolat,” “Cache” and “Summer Hours.” To read my review of her latest film, “Certified Copy,” click here.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 4/25/11

 

FEVER--A FLOCK OF FLICKS ABOUT PEOPLE WHO SURELY NEVER THOUGHT THEY OUGHT TO BE IN PICTURES

A DANGEROUS METHOD

 

Viggo Mortensen, Keira Knightley, Michael Fassbender, Vincent Cassel, Sarah Gadon, Andre Hennicke, Arndt Schwerinng-Sohnrey (Directed by David Cronenberg; Written by Christopher Hampton)

Keira Knightley, a visual knockout blessed with genuine talent, has yet to be hailed as a cinematic heavyweight. Maybe her failure to get the respect she deserves can be blamed on her frivolous participation in the slapstick drivel whipped up by the “Pirates of the Caribbean” mercenaries.

But advance reports suggest Keira may finally make the leap to celluloid aristocracy in director David Cronenberg and screenwriter Christopher Hampton’s adaptation of John Kerr’s “A Most Dangerous Method,” the solemn but provocative 1993 non-fiction book about Sabina Spielrein, a mentally disturbed 18-year-old Russian beauty who journeyed to Vienna in search of healing from Carl Jung, a popular disciple of trailblazing shrink Sigmund Freud.

Chief among Sabina’s problems in need of tending by Jung was her seemingly unbreakable habit of mentally coupling her food—be it breakfast, lunch, dinner or merely a snack—with repulsive images of her own feces and her own inappropriately horny father. Jung, played by swiftly rising star Michael Fassbender (“Inglourious Basterds,” “Fish Tank” and "Jane Eyre"), works some manly psychological miracles on Sabina and before long her sexual hang-ups have (mostly) flown away, as evidenced by the fact that she responds favorably to the notion of a full-throttle relationship with the romantic rogue—an arrangement that doesn’t sit too well with Carl’s wife and three kids.

But perhaps the biggest roadblock to a full carnal breakthrough is erected by Dr. Freud (played by Viggo Mortensen, who triumphed as a walking, talking, slashing, shooting lethal weapon in helmer Cronenberg’s “A History of Violence” and “Eastern Promises”). Spoilsport Sigmund, having soured on his former protégé for a variety of reasons, engaged in an obsessive campaign to destroy Jung's reputation as an honorable man of science. And, yes, Freud even enlisted the support of poor jilted Sabina—a woman he himself fancied—in his crazed scheming.

So, was Sig a prig or was Sig a pig? See “A Dangerous Method” and decide for yourself. Opening date to be announced

THE IRON LADY

Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Anthony Head, Richard E. Grant, Roger Allam, Olivia Colman, Alexandra Roach, Harry Lloyd (Directed by Phyllida Lloyd; Written by Abi Morgan; 20th Century Fox)

Meryl Streep was delicious as mega-chef Julia Child in Nora Ephron’s “Julie & Julia.” Ditto for Streep as a cheated-upon wife in “Heartburn,” Mike Nichols’ comedy-drama mirroring Nora Ephron’s betrayal by philandering husband Carl Bernstein. The actress who is unfailingly persuasive in any role—in any language—was also laudable as real-life heroines Isak Dinesen/Karen Blixen in Sydney Pollack’s “Out of Africa,” murdered whistleblower Karen Silkwood in Mike Nichols’ “Silkwood,” and flashily conflicted Suzanne Vale, in Nichols’ “Postcards From the Edge,” based on flashily conflicted Carrie Fisher’s arguably autobiographical tale. And, of course, we all loved Meryl as the triumphantly autocratic queen of fashion who bore more than a passing resemblance to Anna Wintour in David Frankel’s “The Devil Wears Prada.”

So why shouldn’t the family of Margaret Thatcher, the one and—thus far--only female British prime minister, be tickled to see the 85-year-old Prime Minister Thatcher—now Baroness Thatcher--played by the magical, 61-year-old Meryl in “Iron Lady,” the warts-and-all biopic lensed under the direction of Phyllida Lloyd, who previously escorted Streep through the song-and-dance minefield known as “Mamma Mia!”? Well, according to press reports, the clan finds the film’s script, by Abi Morgan, appalling because they feel it depicts the legendarily forceful, uncompromising Thatcher chatting with the ghost of her husband, Sir Denis Thatcher, about some of the most controversial decisions she made during her lengthy career. (Dead and alive, the P.M.’s loyal mate is being played by the they-don’t-come-any-better Jim Broadbent.) In London, an incensed family friend confided to the Telegraph that the Thatchers feel strongly about this potential blockbuster, “but will not speak publicly for fear of giving it more publicity.”

In which case, New Jersey’s own Meryl Streep will have the last British-accented word on the subject. Opening date to be announced

J. EDGAR

Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts, Judi Dench, Josh Lucas, Ken Howard (Directed by Clint Eastwood; Written by Dustin Lance Black; Warner Bros.)

J. Edgar Hoover, the much loved, much loathed co-founder and boss of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is played by Leonardo DiCaprio in this let-it-all-hang-out biopic. Under the direction of the preternaturally prolific Clint Eastwood, the film, which was written by Dustin Lance Black, the author of "Milk," will span many decades--from 1895 to 1972, the year Hoover died at the age of 77.

As a result, we will have the pleasure of seeing Dame Judi Dench play the youthful Hoover’s American-as-apple-pie mom, as well as Naomi Watts in the role of the aging Hoover's fiercely loyal secretary and Josh Lucas as Charles Lindbergh. The most daring casting is perhaps that of Armie Hammer (the 24-year-old wonder who played both of the snooty, filthy-rich Winklevoss twins in “The Social Network”) in the part of Clyde Tolson, the FBI Associate Director who became Hoover's constant companion and sole heir. And, according to various sources, he was the true love of bachelor Hoover’s life. There have indeed been rumors that Eastwood plans to shoot at least one close-up showing Hammer and DiCaprio enjoying a tender kiss. That should make their day. Opening date to be announced

GOTTI: THREE GENERATIONS

John Travolta, Lindsay Lohan, Joe Pesci, Ella Bleu Travolta (Directed by Nick Cassavetes; Written by Leo Rossi)

Who says you can’t come up for fresh air after having spent quite a bit of time down the tubes? Lindsay Lohan, a first-rate actress whose off-screen histrionics have threatened to write THE END to her career, is Victoria Gotti’s personal choice to play the strong-willed daughter of John Gotti Sr., the fabled, charismatic don of the brutally powerful Gambino (mafia) family in “Gotti: Three Generations.” If the volatile, headline-grabbing star can manage to walk the straight and narrow and bypass jail for her alleged theft of a pricey necklace, she’s home free.

If the kid does stay in the picture, however, she will not be top-billed. That honor goes to John Travolta, who has expressed enormous joy over having been cast as the senior Gotti, who spent his final years in a federal prison after having been convicted of five murders, among other crimes. Joe Pesci is set to play a major Gotti loyalist and—get this!—Ella Bleu Travolta, John’s 11-year-old daughter, has also been cast in the film. What’s next? "Travolta: Three Generations"? Opening date to be announced

THE CONSPIRATOR

James McAvoy, Robin Wright, Justin Long, Tom Wilkinson, Evan Rachel Wood, Kevin Kline, Alexis Bledel, Danny Huston, Stephen Root (Directed by Robert Redford; Written by Stephen Root; Roadside Attractions)

Quick! Who was Mary Surratt? If you said she was the 42-year-old widow who was put to death for her alleged role in the conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln, his Vice President and Secretary of State, you may go to the head of the class.

But was Mary, who played hostess to John Wilkes Booth and his fanatical friends at her Washington boarding house, truly guilty? Or was she merely punished for withholding information about the whereabouts of her son, a far-from-innocent fellow traveler? Under the direction of Robert Redford, Robin Wright plays the doomed mom and James McAvoy is the lawyer who does his best to save her from the hangman. Now Playing

P.S. The assumption is that we won’t be seeing much of Abe Lincoln in action in “The Conspirator." For that experience, we’ll have to wait for Steven Spielberg’s biopic starring Daniel Day-Lewis, which is tentatively scheduled to open late in 2012.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 4/13/11

THE MAN WHO LOVED MOVIES

Filmmaker Sidney Lumet died last week at the age of 86. I wrote about Lumet's legendary lust for the movie life in a 1974 New York Times article. Click here for my interview, and click here for Robert Berkvist's Times obit on Lumet.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 4/13/11


WHAT DO THEY SEE IN EACH OTHER?

 

RESTLESS

Mia Wasikowska, Henry Hopper, Ryo Kase, Schuyler Fisk, Jane Adams, Lusia Strus, Chin Han (Directed by Gus Van Sant; Written by Jason Lew; Sony Pictures Classics)

How’s this for meeting cute? A lovely teenager is so ill that her latest prognosis is “not long for this world.” And that’s when she encounters—and totally flips for—a jolly lad whose greatest thrill in life is attending a well-done funeral. Sounds like there’s a  happy ending round the bend for this love-crazed couple, especially if they can shake the ghost of a World War II kamikaze pilot who makes it his business to haunt them night and day (You probably think I’m making this up, but I’m not.)

Written by actor Jason Lew (“All God’s Children Can Dance”), this tricky tale is apt to leave audiences both laughing and crying, partly because it has been directed by Gus Van Sant, who demonstrated his exceptional flair for mixing moods in “Drugstore Cowboy,” “My Own Private Idaho,” “To Die For,” “Good Will Hunting” and “Milk.” (Forget Van Sant’s sluggish salute to Hitchcock in the remake of “Psycho.” Nobody’s perfect.)
 
Two more reasons to have high hopes for “Restless”: Its seemingly doomed heroine is played by Mia Wasikowska, the young Australian actress who becomes more and more impressive with each new film, as she has recently demonstrated in “Alice in Wonderland,” “The Kids Are All Right” and “Jane Eyre," and Mia's leading man, Henry Hopper, is the son of the late Dennis Hopper. Opening date to be announced

 --POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 4/2/11

 

ALL THE NAMES FIT TO PRINT?

The New York Times is a great newspaper, and I couldn’t get through the day without it. I very much enjoyed being a member of The Times team for 17 years and had mixed feelings about making an exit when Helen Gurley Brown made me an offer I could not refuse. (Proof that I also enjoyed Helen is the fact that I stayed at Cosmo for 18 years as managing editor, entertainment editor and film critic.)

Still, there is one musty Times tradition that continues to baffle me and my moviecrazed friends. I’m referring to the paper’s daily TV listings, and my complaint has to do with naming names. Or, rather, not naming names. To understand exactly what I’m talking about, you need only read these (complete) Times descriptions of films recently shown on the home screen.

JOURNEY FOR MARGARET (1942) Robert Young.
Published on 3/21/11

No, Robert did not play Margaret, the adorable child who traveled from war-torn England to America. That role went to Margaret O’Brien, and even though The Times evidently does not feel she’s worth a mention, the movie made little Margaret a big, big star.

WIFE  VS. SECRETARY (1936) Clark Gable,  Myrna Loy. Loy’s the wife. Good star chemistry.
Published on 3/22/11

Too bad Jean Harlow, who played the secretary and was billed over Loy, lacked sufficient chemistry with Gable to meet the Times standard.

LITTLE MISS MARKER (1934) Tot leads a bunch of Runyon knockabouts. Raffish and flavorsome.
Published on 3/23/11

Millions of moviegoers thought that Shirley Temple, who became a superstar thanks to this sentimental comedy, was pretty flavorsome herself.

CLEOPATRA (1963) Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton. The original energy crisis. Big, not nearly as bad as everyone had hoped, and Rex supplies the current.
Published on 3/27/11

You may think that Rex was Anthony and Cleopatra’s frisky pet poodle, but he was actually an apparently unmemorable performer named Rex Harrison.
   

CHARADE  (1963) Classy suspense, grand Paris and Mancini music.
Published on 3/27/11 

Guess there wasn’t space to squeeze in the names of director Stanley Donen or stars Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn and Walter Matthau.

POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 4/2/11

HOW SWEET SHE WAS


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More than anyone else, she embodied the spirit of the glittering, sexually liberated, zanily tragic, intensely mocked and applauded figures played on and off screen by the Warhol Factory superstars. It seemed as if she'd been on that scene forever, but the sad fact is that Candy Darling died a few months short of her 30th birthday in 1974.

Born in Forest Hills, Queens, James Lawrence Slattery, the boy who eventually called himself Candy, fervently dreamed of becoming a screen goddess and was crushed by Hollywood's decision not to cast him/her as the gender-switching heroine of Gore Vidal's "Myra Breckinridge." In truth, she would have made a perfect Marilyn Monroe.

In the end, we must settle for Candy's indelible performances in Andy Warhol's "Flesh" and "Women in Revolt." Except, thanks to filmmaker James Rasin, we now have "Beautiful Darling," a documentary that has created a stir at the Berlin Festival and New York's New Directors/ New Film series, sponsored by The Museum of Modern Art and The Film Society of Lincoln Center. "Beautiful Darling's" release is scheduled for 4/22/11. I suggest you check it out.

--POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 3/25/11


REMEMBERING ELIZABETH TAYLOR

The rapturously beautiful star of "A Place in the Sun," shown above, and many more movie classics, is dead at the age of 79. Click here for the richly detailed New York Times obituary. To read Manohla Dargis' sharp, lively tribute to Taylor, click here.

--POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 3/23/11

DEPP IN DEPTH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



The critical and box-office triumph of “Rango,” top-billing Johnny Depp, helps erase “The Tourist,” the actor’s slum-binge with Angelina Jolie, from our collective movie memory. But it only helps a little. After all, "Rango" is a feature-length cartoon, so we don’t really get to see our superstar hero in action; we only get to hear him in action.

Below, the details on “Rango"...plus the scoop on a trio of upcoming flicks offering the 100% all-talkie, all live-action Depp, including "Dark Shadows," in which he is once again teamed with Helena Bonham Carter, his "Sweeney Todd" playmate (shown at top).


RANGO

The voices of Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Alfred Molina, Bill Nighy, Stephen Root, Harry Dean Stanton, Ray Winstone, Ned Beatty, Timothy Olyphant (Directed by Gore Verbinski; Written by John Logan; Animation by Industrial Light and Magic; Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies)

Welcome to the newly fashionable Old (True-Gritty) West. This is where you can view the wacky entry of a crazed but lovable lizard into a tattered town named Dirt. (Yes, we did say lizard and we did say Dirt.) As any experienced moviegoer can tell the second this grungy, animated creature delivers his first line of dialogue, he is being played by the inimitably goofy Johnny Depp. And, assuming you were knocked silly by this super-prankster’s over-the-top emoting in director Gore Verbinski’s trio of “Pirates of the Caribbean” flicks, you are apt to enjoy watching him stumble here into the job of sheriff and boldly rise to the challenge of cleaning up all that Dirt.

Why is that? Because Verbinski is also the auteur behind this sagebrush cartoon. But sometimes, even in Hollywood, enough is truly enough, so it may be worth noting that the fourth installment of the astonishingly lucrative “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise—“On Stranger Tides,” opening on May 20 and teaming Depp with Penelope Cruz—has been directed not by Verbinski but by Rob Marshall, who last served up the tepid, under-stuffed musical turkey known as “Nine.”
As for Gore Verbinski’s cinematic future, he might want to consider revisiting his past by doing a sequel to his underrated “The Mexican,” a blood-drenched comic thriller starring James Gandolfini as a robust, gay, exceedingly skilled hit man who hooks up with Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts as a fumbling wannabe crook and his despairing girlfriend. It’s just a thought.

On the other hand, given the fact that “Rango” opened with a huge box-office bang, Verbinski’s “Rango 2” may be just around the multiplex corner. Now Playing

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES

Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush, Ian McShane, Judi Dench, Stephen Graham, Gemma Ward, Richard Griffiths, Oscar Jaenada, Sam Claflin, Keith Richards (Directed by Rob Marshall; Written by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio; Walt Disney Pictures)

Usually, Captain Jack Sparrow, as played by Johnny Depp with slapsticky bravado, does not have to look far to find trouble. But in this fourth installment of the apparently unstoppable franchise, he travels all the way back to his footloose youth and reignites a torrid relationship with Angelica, a red-hot heartbreaker played by Penelope Cruz. This take-charge babe, who may or may not be the daughter of the villainous pirate named Blackbeard (Ian McShane), not-so-gently persuades Sparrow to set sail with her in search of the Fountain of Youth.

Just remember, if they succeed in their mission, we moviegoers will be stuck with them forever and ever and ever. Opens 5/20/11

DARK SHADOWS

Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jackie Earle Haley, Bella Heathcote (Directed by Tim Burton; Written by Seth Grahame-Smith; Columbia Pictures)

Remember that incorrigible, insatiable Barnabas Collins, the drooling, eye-rolling, scheming vampire who tended to make the other fruitcake members of the Collins clan look nearly sane by comparison? If you do remember Barnabas, it’s probably because, like a lot of children in the rebellious sixties, you played hooky to stay home and watch him misbehave in “Dark Shadows,” one of the highest of high-camp gothic soaps ever to play on daytime TV.

Well, Barnabas and the whole bloody Collins brood will be back playing the sucking game in this makeover from Tim Burton, who will once again guide his favorite actor and actress, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, through excruciatingly tough turf. Bonham Carter, who is director Burton’s real-life soulmate, is cast as Dr. Julia Hoffman, a femme fatale undoubtedly capable of keeping Barnabas’s blood pressure up to snuff. Let’s hope that all three parties have as much fun here as they did in “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” Opening date to be announced

THE RUM DIARY

Johnny Depp, Amber Heard, Aaron Eckhart, Giovanni Ribisi, Amaury Nolasco, Richard Jenkins, Michael Rispoli (Written and directed by Bruce Robinson; Warner Independent Pictures)

It’s been 13 years since Johnny Depp played Raoul Duke, a hell-raising journalist, in the film version of Hunter S. Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” Nobody, including the author, believed that Duke was anyone other than Thompson himself. Now Depp is playing Paul Kemp, an eccentric reporter in “The Rum Diary,” the autobiographical novel the late Hunter published when he was 22.

Set in San Juan, Puerto Rico, during the fifties, “Diary” depicts the chaotic, booze-and-drugs fueled adventures of a brawling Hunteresque freelancer from New York who tries to twist himself into a latter-day Hemingway. Ever wonder how Thompson would have fared if he’d decided to become a latter-day Henry James? Opens 10/28/11

--POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 3/20/11

WHEN DOWD MEETS DODD

New York Times Op-Ed columnist Maureen Dowd, justifiably acclaimed for her sharp political analysis, pristine prose and wicked humor, seldom takes a close-up view of the movie world. But when she does, the results are invariably first-rate. Click here to read Dowd's take on Chris Dodd, the newly appointed head of the Motion Picture Association of America.

--POSTED BY GUY FLATLEY ON 3/20/11

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