Archive for film

Richard Attenborough Dies at 90

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Richard Attenborough

Image: BBC

Sir Richard Attenborough, British actor, director, and producer, has died at age 90, a few days after his birthday in August 1923. He is probably best known in the US for his roles in Gandhi and Jurassic Park.

From the IMDB entry:

In the 1960s, he expanded his range of character roles in films such as Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964) and Guns at Batasi (1964), for which he won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of the regimental Sergeant Major. He appeared in the ensemble cast of The Great Escape (1963), as Squadron Leader "Roger Bartlett" ("Big X"), the head of the escape committee.

In 1967 and 1968, he won back-to-back Golden Globe Awards in the category of Best Supporting Actor, the first time for The Sand Pebbles (1966), starring Steve McQueen, and the second time for Doctor Dolittle (1967), starring Rex Harrison. He would win another Golden Globe for Best Director, for Gandhi (1982), in 1983. Six years prior to "Gandhi", he played the ruthless "Gen. Outram" in Indian director Satyajit Ray's period piece, The Chess Players (1977). He has never been nominated for an Academy Award in an acting category.

From the Wiki on Sir Richard Attenborough:

Richard Samuel Attenborough, Baron Attenborough /ˈætənbərə/, CBE (29 August 1923[1] – 24 August 2014)[2] was an English actor, film director, producer and entrepreneur. He was the President of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).

As a film director and producer, he won two Academy Awards for Gandhi in 1983. He has also won four BAFTA Awards and four Golden Globe Awards. As an actor he is perhaps best known for his roles in Brighton Rock, The Great Escape, 10 Rillington Place, Miracle on 34th Street and Jurassic Park.[3]

From the BBC:

Oscar-winning British film director Richard Attenborough has died at the age of 90, his son has said.

Lord Attenborough was one of Britain's leading actors, before becoming a highly successful director.

In a career that spanned six decades, he appeared in films including Brighton Rock, World War Two prisoner of war thriller The Great Escape and later in dinosaur blockbuster Jurassic Park.

As a director he was perhaps best known for Gandhi, which won him two Oscars.

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Tea Party Kills Job Creation In North Carolina

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Film North Carolina

Image: North Carolina Film Office

Nice going, Tea Party! Looks like you - and hard right multimillionaire Art Pope, who has essentially bought the legislature and state house - have dealt another blow to state jobs by driving television and film production out of state! As California moves closer to quadrupling tax incentives for film production, North Carolina is moving in…

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Oscar-nominated Actor James Garner Dies at 86

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Image by the AP, via the Los Angeles Times

Image by the AP, via the Los Angeles Times

Everyone has a favorite era of James Garner, surely … whether it was from his origins in oldies like "Maverick" or more classic tv years like "The Rockford Files" and a late-life reemergence with comedy in the series that witnessed the loss of John Ritter, "Simple Rules …" .

From the Los Angeles Times.

Actor James Garner, whose whimsical style in the 1950s TV Western “Maverick” led to a stellar career in TV and films such as “The Rockford Files” and his Oscar-nominated “Murphy's Romance,” has died, police said. He was 86.

There was no immediate word on a more specific cause of death. Garner had suffered a stroke in May 2008, just weeks after his 80th birthday.

Image by the AP, via the Los Angeles Times

Image by the AP, via the Los Angeles Times

His quick-witted avoidance of conflict provided a refreshingly new take on the American hero, contrasting with the steely heroics of John Wayne and the fast trigger of Clint Eastwood.

Now this I remember as a terrific film, but wouldn't have thought most non-feminist or women's movement-ey folks would have nailed it right away as a James Garner role: the ultimate straight man in  Lillian Hellman's "The Children's Hour" - post film-writer.  {Would love to hear anyone else's take on the differences between Hellman's words and the screenwriter's message …  but would they have made the flick at all now? A bit hilarious that the L.A. Times stayed with 'lesbian drama', below. Like 'The L Word' but with Audrey Hepburn?}

Image by the AP, via the Los Angeles Times

Image by the AP, via the Los Angeles Times

His first film after “Maverick” established him as a movie actor. It was “The Children's Hour,” William Wyler's remake of Lillian Hellman's lesbian drama that co-starred Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine.

The Youtubes obliged, here he is with Miss Hepburn:

One of the most remarkable facts to be found in Garner's obit was near the end. He had married his wife, television actress Lois Clark,  in 1957, and despite stormy weather, they remained wed. That's 56 or 57 years, by my math.

A life well lived, and well loved.

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Overnight: Georges Méliès: The Oracle of Delphi (1903)

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Melies

Who was Georges Méliès?

From the Wiki:

(/mɛ.li.ˈəz/; French: [meljɛs]; 8 December 1861 – 21 January 1938), full name Marie-Georges-Jean Méliès, was a French illusionist and filmmaker famous for leading many technical and narrative developments in the earliest days of cinema. Méliès, a prolific innovator in the use of special effects, accidentally discovered the substitution stop trick in 1896, and was one of the first filmmakers to use multiple exposures, time-lapse photography, dissolves, and hand-painted color in his work.

More here.

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Overnight: Nanook of the North

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NanookImage: Robert Flaherty

I am often astonished and dismayed at what passes for a documentary these days.  With few exceptions, I far prefer older documentaries even now, decades after they were filmed.  One of these is Nanook of the North, by
Robert Flaherty [who]

was an American filmmaker who directed and produced the first commercially successful feature length  documentary film. The film made his reputation and nothing in his later life fully equaled its success, although he continued the development of this new genre of docufiction , e.g. with Moana (1926), set in the South Seas and Man of Aran (1934).  More at the Wiki here.

Flaherty seems to have been less than a model citizen. Read about the child he father with an Intuit woman then later refused to acknowledge.

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Let's annoy the hell out of right wing haters. "You've never laughed this hard at a Muslim."

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muslims are coming

Meet Dean Obeidellah. He is a Muslim progressive, and he writes for CNN.com and The Daily Beast for starters:

Dean ObeidallahMore about Dean Abeidallah here.

If you like funny, if you love poking fun at how so many on the right hate Muslims, then you'll like his film called "The Muslims Are Coming." Here is the film's official website:

The Muslims Are Coming! is an award winning comedy documentary which follows a band of Muslim-American comedians as they visit big cities, small towns, rural villages, and everything in between to combat Islamophobia! Throughout the film, comedy icons like The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart, David Cross, Janeane Garofalo, Colin Quinn, Lewis Black, Aasif Mandvi and media heavy weights like Rachel Maddow, Russell Simmons, Soledad O’Brien, Ali Velshi and Congressman Keith Ellison comment on the power of comedy and the political scope of bigotry. Rest assured, you’ve never laughed this hard at a Muslim!

You may well already be familiar with this doc, but now many of us on the left are pushing to get it to Number One on the iTunes doc chart. Today. We're doing that today.

Did I mention Rachel Maddow and Lewis Black are in this movie? Among others, I mean. As you can see, it's got an impressive cast list. Here are a few blurbettes that came their way:

USA Today called the film: "Thoughtful and funny"

Chicago Tribune said the film: “packs a funny but trenchant punch.”

The LA TImes called it: "Provocative...edgy."

Seattle's The Stranger raved that the film is, "Funny as poop!...makes its points with charm."

You know how it is, making fun of Fox for their Muslim Hatred is darned so time-consuming, so the film does it for us.

Speaking of hating, a site called Front Page Mag attacked the film because, well, they really don't like being laughed at. Their solution? Attacking Dean and Co.:

Obeidallah, who bills himself as the Dean of Comedy (Get it? His name is Dean) couldn’t or wouldn’t respond. Instead, he went off and wrote about my piece at the Daily Beast where he could dismiss me as a hater for his audience of smug leftist sheep, who either live in willful ignorance about Islam or happily support the agenda of Islamic fundamentalists to tear down western civilization from within and without.

I still haven’t seen Obeidallah’s documentary...

So let's put them at Number One today, if for no other reason than to annoy the hell out of the haters.

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Video Mid Day Distraction- Secret film made by French prisoners of war in WWII

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Grainy but fascinating. Via.

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