Recently I read an article in The New Yorker, written by Oliver Sacks, about the troubled last years of actor/monologist Spalding Gray (Swimming to Cambodia). Sacks noted that, on January 11, 2004, Gray saw the Tim Burton movie Big Fish a few hours before drowning himself in New York's East River. I was reminded of the Heaven's Gate suicide cult, and how,… read more!
Lists of Nine with Keyword "movies" (most recent at top)
Every once in a while, a documentary filmmaker will make something notable – notable enough to make some money, secure an Oscar nomination or a win, and make said filmmaker the toast of the town. Then comes the inevitable Hollywood offer: "How about directing a real movie with real actors!" Few can resist the temptation, and while sometimes it works out – e.g., Bennett… read more!
Now that I am in the throes of funding my short film 20 Matches on Indiegogo – and for those just tuning in, yes, I was the first-ever filmmaker to employ crowdfunding, back in 1998 (read more about it here) – this is a relevant list. The heyday of famous filmmakers raising money on Kickstarter and Indiegogo may be over, but crowdfunding is still a thing, and… read more!
Production designers are the unsung heroes of showbiz. If you really want to know about all the thought and care that goes into a film, then talk to these folks. They are the true "artistes" on a crew. They can tell you more about a film's characters, themes, and intentions than anyone else – even directors. Of all the crew… read more!
This was the original concept for an earlier list, which evolved into Nine Famous Authors Who Only Wrote One Screenplay. Nevertheless, this is an equally interesting group of people, who embody the idea that we all have at least one screenplay in us. In these cases, exactly one. ANTHONY PERKINS, The Last of Sheila (1973). Yes, Norman Bates wrote a screenplay. What's surprising is that this murder mystery, packed with… read more!
Comedian/TV show host Jon Stewart recently made his directorial debut with Rosewater, based on the memoir by Maziar Bahari. So who did he cast to play the two main Iranian players in this Tehran-set drama? Non-Iranians. He's not alone: although there are a few Iran-born actors working in Hollywood – House of Sand and Fog's Shohreh Aghdashloo and Iron Man's Shaun Toub… read more!
The recently-released Gone Girl, as you may know, has a screenplay written by Gillian Flynn, author of the novel on which the film is based. It is Flynn's first produced screenplay; time will tell if it is her last. If so, she will join the illustrious ranks of these other great writers who each wrote exactly one script that became… read more!
It's been a recent fad for Hollywood actors to publicly declare that they're going to retire: Shia LaBeouf, Alec Baldwin, Brad Pitt and Jessica Lange have all made such threats in recent years. But to actually engineer a proper last film? Well, it's harder than it looks. After all, so much can go wrong between start and finish – how… read more!
Ever since the mid-'90s, I've kept tabs on the number of new releases that I catch in movie theaters. Between 1999 and 2004, I saw an average of 70-80 each year. Recently, however, that number has dwindled to about 40, sometimes less. What happened? I found at least nine reasons for the change. Although this list is based on my… read more!
I have to confess something. The Internet has, relatively recently, seen an explosion of "professional" list makers, because pop culture lists generate lots of page views and thus lots of ad views. As a result, it's becoming increasingly difficult for me to write about something that hasn't already been covered by someone else. Take this particular subject: there are at… read more!
There are not many Hollywood actresses who became bona fide stars just by playing, well, plain and/or obnoxious characters. Two-time Oscar winner Shelley Winters was one of them. (Oh, go ahead and say "she was beautiful in her own way", but let's cut through the B.S.) Unfortunately, being a plain and/or obnoxious female character often gets you killed, as far… read more!
In less than a week, I shall turn 44. Funny, I don't feel that old. In fact, it always seems as though I am just at the beginning of my career. But as I'm sure everybody half my age will happily remind me, 44 is getting up there. There are people my age who are grandparents. Teddy Roosevelt was President… read more!
Why try to handicap the 2013 Academy Awards as early as June, when most of the likely Oscar hopefuls haven't even been completed, much less seen? Because predicting things is fun! And because I thought it would be interesting to keep a record of how expectations for cinema's highest honor can change over time, based on hype, critical reactions, and… read more!
The Academy Awards are just around the corner, and once again they are being held in Hollywood, in what is now known as the Dolby Theatre. But the Oscars have hopped around all of Los Angeles since the first ceremony in 1929. In chronological order: The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Just across the street (and down a block) from the Dolby… read more!
I've seen a few lists like this one, but their obvious choices left me wanting more. After all, just because you call your film Escape from New York or Saving Private Ryan doesn't necessarily mean the characters will escape from New York or save Private Ryan (even though they do); the titles are meant as commands or mission statements. The… read more!
Behold: The Prestige Picture. Take an A-list director, cast A-list stars in challenging roles, center your story around a serious topic, and bring on the Academy Awards! But what happens when critical acclaim, audience adoration, and "Oscar buzz" fail to materialize? Ask these nine films from 2013, all of which must have sounded like frontrunners during production, but lost the… read more!
The 1930s were a sort of Golden Age of weird, spooky, offbeat Hollywood productions. But it's hard to call these "horror flicks"; while they may have elicited a few screams from grandma, their actual content was obviously far less gory or terrifying than horror films today. Thus I'll call them "chillers" instead. Note that most were made after the concept… read more!
Surprisingly, not many people know much about milestones in the evolution of cinema. Sure, you could probably name 1927's The Jazz Singer as the world's first "talkie" (meaning the first feature film with synchronized sound taken from live recorded audio). And if you're a real movie trivia buff, you might remember that 1952's Bwana Devil was the first color 3-D… read more!
Sorry for the mouthful that is this list's title. I was originally going to isolate this group to '70s films, but there were a couple of humdingers from 1981 that I couldn't neglect. In any event, I've been in a nostalgic mood since my previous list of nine "Le" brands, many of which were introduced when I was a kid,… read more!
For the purposes of this list, I'll define a "mockumentary" simply as a fiction film that is made to look like non-fiction. It could be a parody, it could be a pastiche, it could be a put-on. And like it or not, we seem to be stuck with it. Though the approach has settled in over the past decade, with… read more!