Oscar History

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a look back atKing Kong(1976)

"Worth every dollar spent to mount it on Broadway."-Romy

"It looks fabulous but a love story musical does need two lead that have chemistry or no matter how dazzling the show will not work"-Jaragon

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Entries in The Birds (13)

Mar 18 2014

Linkomaniac Pt. 1

The Daily Beasttalks to Uma Thurman about Lars von Trier and gender politics
Five Thirty Eightparses Shakespeare and finds thatRomeo & Juliethave a relationship that's not totally based on getting to know one another.Duh!
The WirereviewsDoll & Em,a new miniseries starring Emily Mortimer

PlaybillKatharine McPhee has landed a series lead gig in a CBS show calledScorpion.(I guess they never sawSmash?)
Salonon the eve of the release ofDivergent,a reminder that not every YA best-seller aiming forHunger Gamesphenom status succeeds:Beautiful Creatures,City of Ember,The Hostand more...
The GuardianBrittany Murphy's final film,Something Wicked,is completed four years after her death
Vulture294 "issues"Glee has addressed in its first 99 episodes
Varietythey went really young casting Peter Pan for that self proclaimed "international"and "diverse"Panfilm which keeps casting white people in all the roles (so I guess what they mean by diverse is international and all ages).The boy's name isLevi Miller

Today's Long Read
The complete short story"The Birds"which inspired Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 classic and will inspire the remake (argh) which might star Naomi Watts and be directed by Diederik Van Rooijen-- which I keep hoping will be cancelled -- is available online if you've never read it.It's from Daphne du Maurier who Hitchcock obviously liked as she also wroteRebecca.(Thanks to Sashafor pointing it out.)

Oct 15 2013

Team Top 10: Horror Films Before "The Exorcist"

It'sAmirhere,brining you this month's poll. It's October so we're obligated to take you to the dark depths of cinematic greatness with a list of horror goodies.We're looking at the best horror films of all time,with a twist.We choseThe Exorcist(1973) as our milestone since it's the first horror film nominated for the best picture Oscar and about to celebrate its 40th anniversary.So we've split the Best list in half,withThe Exorcistas cleaver.Part two comes next Tuesday,but for now

The Top Ten Best
Pre-ExorcistHorror Films

There really isn't much I can add by way of introduction,aside from pointing out that the boundaries of what is or isn't within the limits of this particular genre are blurry.CanFreaksstill be considered a horror film today,removed from the initial shock of seeing circus performers with deformities on the screen in 1932?Cruel and unreasonable as it is,the appearance of the protagonists is the chief reason why such a passionately human piece of film history is considered scary at all - though as you will see below,one of our contributors has other ideas.No such questions would apply toNight of the Living Deadbut what aboutNight of the Hunter?Hour of the Wolf?So on and so forth.The point is,take the genre categorizations with a grain of salt,but the suggestions to watch them very seriously.If you haven't seen any of these eleven films -- why is there always a tie?-- here's hoping this list persuades you to do so this October.

10.= Vampyr (1932,Carl Theodor Dryer)
There's never been a horror movie with stronger art film credentials than this one,made according to the then in-vogue Surrealist style by a director who'd already createdThe Passion of Joan of Arcand hadOrdetyet to come.But just because Carl Theodor Dreyer was a proper "artist"doesn't mean thatVampyr's pleasures are exclusively aesthetic.In fact,the same dictatorial control over image and space that makesOrdeta spiritual masterpiece makes this familiar story of one man's journey through a creepy rural town living in fear of a bloodsucking old woman one of the most thoroughly unsettling things you will ever experience.It's more of a walking tour through a nightmare than a clear-cut narrative,with eerie shadows and shapes every which way and a profoundly moody score by Wolfgang Zeller that jangles one's very last nerves.
-Tim Brayton

ten more spooky films after the jump

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Oct 04 2013

I, Linkenstein

Big Screen
ArtsbeatAlfonso Cuaron talks us through a dizzy-making scene inGravity
Flick Filosopher"Hollywood,you are 300 movies away from making me want to marry you"The manic pixie dreamguybit is fab.It's so hard to imagine...which is the point.
GuardianOlivier Hirschbiegel reacts to the terrible reviews to hisDianabiopic

David Poland22 weeks to Oscar.He correctly sees that there are very few locks but bizarrely thinks Forrest Whitaker is a lock for Best Actor forThe Butler
BuzzFeedlive action footage (and actors) that helped createdThe Little Mermaid
i09thinksI,Frankensteinmight be the most insane movie of 2014
Movie City Newsasks a great question about Amy Adams inAmerican Hustle

Small Screen
Saloninterviews Adam Scott on his television breakthroughs and his new filmA.C.O.D.
i09Honestly I did not see this coming.Halle Berry,whose big screen career is still going well (consider how much her ermegency call center movie made),will headline the tv seriesExtantabout an astronaut whose baby might be half alien

Look!A new Halloween opening for The Simpsons courtesy of Guillermo del Toro so naturally there's a fair amount ofPan's Labyrinthup in there.Lots of movie referencing but the funniest bit I think is that misanthrope naughtiness of the Alfred Hitchcock cameo viaThe Birds.

Finally,can I just say "amen"to this Vulture piece requestinga moratorium on anti-heroesas the leads of television series?I mean you're not going to top Don Draper,Tony Soprano,Walter White,Carrie Bradshaw (yeah,she was with it) and Nurse let it die a natural death now instead of death from ubiquity.Mark Harris has also wisely noticed that this trend has nowpoisoned the broadcast networks without the antidote of the artistrythat made this type of protagonist so popular on cable television in the first place.

Oct 25 2012

It's Hitchcock's World...

Yesterday I received my invitation toHitchcockand I nearly let out a scream of delight.Not thatthe trailerconvinced me a masterpiece awaited me or that I've rushed to read "Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho"in preparation but I do tend to get excited for most things Hitchcock.The power of branding!I still remember the day I received the Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection box set (a gift from a generous reader some years ago) which felt like 15 Christmases at once.

Wouldn't it be neat if more Golden Age era directors had the sort of modern profile that The Master of Suspense still enjoys?Wouldn't it be neat if baby cineastes pored over every page of "William Wyler and the Making ofJezebel"(not a real book) or if the film version of "Billy Wilder and the Making ofSome Like It Hot"(not a real book)  retitled simplyWilder(not a real film) was a sudden hot Oscar buzz prospect for 2013 or if you could say "George Cukor"to anyone and they wouldn't think you were referring to a coworker or neighbor they didn't know.Wouldn't it be great if "King Vidor"didn't sound more fictional to people thanPrincess Mia Thermopolis of Genova?

But I digress.

My mind suddenly jolted to Hitchcock and his immense fame a record six times already this week: when Manuel Muñoz's (author of thePsycho-adjacent novel "What You See in the Dark") wrote upHush Hush Sweet Charlottefor the blog;when I readInteriors Film Journal's look at the motel room inPsycho(What an interesting choice as I've never much considered it as aspacebefore...just as a violent eruption of glass shard like images if you will,and again when I was );whenVanity Fair posted those photos of young prankster Mitt Romneyand the one of him with the etch-a-sketch totally had me shivering from its Norman Bates like quality only scarier because I can escape Bates' knife if I don't stay in his motel but how to escape Mitt's destructive capabality if he becomes President?;when Beau sent me a text saying "The Girl"(that other Hitchcock making-of bio) sucked;when the invite arrive and;first and foremost when I my friends covered me in seed and pidgeons landed all over me in Puerto Rico's Old San Juan (I'm just back from a week in the sun!) which made me want to watch THE BIRDS again immediately...

me in Old San Juan earlier this week.Amor a Puerto Rico

Well...immediately after a shower.They're so dirty!

P.S.This image doesn't even hint at how many of those birds land on you when you're holding bags of seed.They peck so furiously that your arms have polka dot imprints afterwards but the sound of theirbeggingcooingright in your earsis remarkably endearing/freaky/surreal.

TALK TO ME...Which classic movie director outside of Hitchcock do you most wish had a higher profile these days?How high would you rate your anticipation of "Hitchcock"on the coming soon meter?Have you seenThe Girl?

On an off-cinema note,have you ever been to Puerto Rico?

May 13 2012

Mad Men @ The Movies: Megan,The Actress

In Mad Men @ The Movies we talk about the show's movie references.Mad Men happens to love the movies and we happen to love Mad Men.

Megan Draper:My father won't care if he finds out you read James Bond.
Don Draper:You know what?It's a good book.You should read it.

Eyebrows were raised recently when it was announced that Jessica Paré would be submitting herself in the lead actress category at the Emmys for this season ofMad Men.Over the show's interminably long hiatus she graduated from guest star to...well,the new Mrs.Don Draper fits the "Lead"description in every way. Not only does Megan gets key storylines in every episode but her energy,impulsiveness,and partial foreignness is something like a youthquake for the show,especially since all the other characters are aging quicker than they'd like to.

In"At the Codfish Ball"and"Lady Lazarus"Megan's decisions continue to cause aftershocks with Don,Peggy,Roger and more who all seem to interpret Megan's decisions through their own narcissistic lens.Her parents visit,she saves a major account (Heinz Baked Beans) proving her natural aptitude at advertising but instead of celebrating she announces her resignation.She secretly still wants to be an actress and has been attending auditions on the sly.

Movie grammar and a pinch of Hitchcock after the jump...

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