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Posts Tagged ‘Alfred Hitchcock’

Tuesday April 8th, 2014

Alfred Hitchcock and ‘The 39 Steps’


By Mark Pinkert
Contributor

Alfred Hitchcock‘s North by Northwest (1959) is his most famous rendering of the innocent-man-on-the-run thriller, but The 39 Steps (1935) is the original, and while the former is colored, cohesive, and so in a form for longevity, the latter is more eccentric, stylized, and perhaps more oddly compelling. But The 39 Steps hasn’t survived in popular memory because it is in black-and-white and is often difficult to understand (mumbling British accents and underdeveloped sound-mixing). Modern film viewers will have seen at least Psycho (1960),Vertigo (1958), and Rear Window (1954), or some combination of the Hitchcock essentials, but only the true enthusiasts–fewer and fewer they remain–will see The 39 Steps. My suggestion is to see it, regardless.

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Monday January 27th, 2014

American Stories Told By Foreign Directors


By Mark Pinkert
Contributor

There was an interesting phenomenon in film this year that deserves a second look: many of the most recognizably “American” films of 2013 were directed by foreigners and, of those films, two feature almost entirely foreign casts.

First, to be clear, when I say “American” films, I’m not referring to stories that simply take place here; rather, I’m looking at films that are germane to the American narrative, to our history and cultural zeitgeist–really, Americana as opposed to just American. Films like The Great Gatsby, 12 Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club and Captain Phillips–which bring to life classic American literature, histories, and recent events–are the best examples. (Gravity is a tough sell for this list, but does fit insofar as it deals with the space program, a prominent feature of 20th century, Cold War America.) The second criterion, then, is to have a foreign director, and all of the aforementioned films do: Baz Luhrmann (The Great Gatsbty) is Australian, Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) and Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips) are English, Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club) is French-Canadian, and Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity) is Mexican.

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Tuesday December 31st, 2013

David O. Russell’s Hot Streak

By Mark Pinkert
Contributor

If David O. Russell gets nominated for Best Director this year, he will have accomplished something that Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Alfred Hitchcock, Francis Ford Coppola and many other great directors have not–that is, to earn three Best Director nominations in the span of only four years. In fact, only eleven other directors have been on comparable hot streaks in Academy Award history, and only one of those streaks (by Clint Eastwood) has occurred after 1960. (See below for reference.)

This is not a comparison of overall quality or career prolificity (not many can bout with Scorsese, Allen, Hitchcock and Coppola in those categories), but merely a tribute to Russell’s ultra-concentrated efforts in the past four years and a recognition of the difficulty of this feat. It’s also a relevant because it might shed some light on previous Oscar trends and on what we can expect at the 86th Oscars.

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Sunday October 20th, 2013

On the War Between Movies and TV for the Soul of Horror

By Søren Hough
Contributor

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Few things have aided the rise of horror on television more than the decline of horror at the movies.

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Friday February 8th, 2013

The 10 Best Groups Of Films That Got Oscar Noms But No Wins

By Joey Magidson
Film Contributor

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Everyone knows the saying “it’s an honor just to be nominated,” right? Well, that’s certainly the case, but there are always times when it just doesn’t seem right for a film to leave Oscar night empty handed. Tons of worthy films aren’t even nominated each year, but there is also no shortage of flicks that receive a solid amount of nominations and wind up winning nothing.

A lot goes into actually winning an Academy Award. Quality, of course, comes into play, but a little less than I’d prefer. Politics has its place, too, both in terms of capturing the zeitgeist and also in campaigning for the win. Oscar voters love to be wooed. One can occasionally win without campaigning, but by and large the Academy wants you to want it.

While it’s not included below, Up in the Air is a great recent example of a film that went from looking like a possible Best Picture frontrunner to hanging its hat on an Adapted Screenplay win to winding up without any wins on Oscar night, despite six nominations overall. It’s a long road from nomination morning to the show itself, so many a high quality film has had its moment ruined by another worthy (or at least usually worthy) contender. This year, at least a few similar movies will have that same empty feeling, but I’ll get to them later on.

For this week’s Top 10 piece I opted to do things a little bit differently. Instead of limiting it to 10 films that had multiple Oscar nominations but won nothing, I’ll be looking at 10 groups of films that have that sad distinction. It allows more work to be discussed, a wider net to be cast for answers and a nice change of pace.

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Tuesday January 8th, 2013

Television Critics Association Winter 2013 Tour Developments: NBC/Cable

By Carson Blackwelder
Television Contributor

The Television Critics Association’s 2013 winter tour is now underway. Rachel and Carson will be providing you with the important takeaways from each network’s presentations all week!

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The 2013 Television Critics Association kicked off Jan. 1 and has already hosted both NBC and cable networks.

This is the first of two yearly tours that the TCA hosts, bringing network executives, showrunners and actors face-to-face with entertainment journalists. Essentially, this is the time to flaunt what you’ve got. Big news can come out of these events, so here are the details on the happenings so far:

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Monday January 7th, 2013

Keep Your Eye on … A&E’s ‘Bates Motel’

By Rachel Bennett
Television Editor & Columnist

Every Monday, Rachel will pick a TV show, actor/actress or storyline you need to watch out for that week.

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Even though it’s the first installment of this feature, I’m already going to bend the rules a bit.

A&E’s series Bates Motel doesn’t premiere until March 18, but a lot of exciting information about it was unveiled this weekend at the winter Television Critics Association press tour — so much so that I’m dying (pun intended) to tell you about it.

The drama, which is a prequel of sorts to Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film Psycho, stars Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air) and Freddie Highmore (Finding Neverland). It is executive produced by Carlton Cuse (ABC’s Lost) and Kerry Ehrin (NBC and DirecTV’s Friday Night Lights).

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Thursday November 29th, 2012

‘Hitchcock’ Heroine Helen Mirren Says Palm Reader Predicted Her Career Spot-On (Video)

By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

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Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down for an in-depth conversation with the great British actress Helen Mirren about her life and career. The radiant white-haired 67-year-old, a four-time Oscar nominee and the 2006 best actress Oscar winner, might well snag a fifth Oscar nom in January — which would be her third for best actress — for her portrayal of Alfred Hitchcock‘s wife and trusted advisor Alma Reville opposite Anthony Hopkins‘ Hitch in Sacha Gervasi‘s feature directorial debut Hitchcock, which is now in limited release. While the film has generated only mixed reviews, virtually everyone seems to agree that its shortcomings do not include Mirren, who is really the best thing about it.

Friday September 21st, 2012

Why Searchlight Slipped ‘Hitchcock’ Into This Year’s Oscar Race (Analysis)

By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

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Fox Searchlight just shook up this year’s awards race by announcing that Hitchcock, which had been looking like a 2013 release, will now open on Nov. 23.

First of all, the facts: Hitchcock is a dramedy about the relationship between kinky master filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock and his trusted wife, Alma Reville, during the making of his seminal 1960 film Psycho.

The film was adapted by Black Swan co-screenwriter John McLaughlin from film historian/Playboy contributing editor Stephen Rebello‘s book Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho. It marks the feature directorial debut of Sacha Gervasi, who is best known for his 2008 hit doc Anvil: The Story of Anvil, and was produced by Tom Pollock and Ivan Reitman‘s Montecito Picture Co., which also handled 2009 best picture Oscar nominee Up in the Air.

It features a large and formidable ensemble: Oscar winners Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren play Alfred and Alma; James D’Arcy, Scarlett Johansson and Jessica Biel portray Psycho stars Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh and Vera Miles, respectively; and Michael Stuhlbarg is super-agent Lew Wasserman. Also popping up are Oscar nominee Toni Collette as Hitchcock’s faithful assistant Peggy Robertson, Danny Huston as Alma’s friend Whitfield Cook, and Ralph Macchio, The Karate Kid himself, as Psycho screenwriter Joe Stefano.

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Sunday September 16th, 2012

‘Boardwalk Empire’ Premiere Reminds Of Shocking TV Deaths

By Rachel Bennett
Television Editor & Columnist

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After almost a year, HBO’s Boardwalk Empire returns tonight, and viewers will finally learn the aftermath of season’s two cliffhanger.

[If you haven't caught up on last season, be warned: spoilers ahead.]

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