I have always been interested in how those on-line personality quizzes work. I have wanted to set one up here, but unfortunately WordPress.com doesn’t support that sort of thing. Despite the fact I can’t properly embed the quiz here, I went ahead and designed a 70’s themed game readers can play by following the link.
Throughout the seventies, America was grappling with the ghosts of the Vietnam conflict. In the decades that followed, those demons would be exorcised in action movies in which one lone American soldier single-handedly wins the war. But three years after the evacuation of Saigon, movies about the war were more thoughtful and grounded in reality. In 1978, two Vietnam films would dominate the Academy Awards. Which of these prestigious pictures do you prefer?
Our two headliners were both among the long guest list on an episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live from a few years back, when Matt Damon “hijacked” the show. That’s Nicole Kidman on the left above, with Amy Adams between Oldman and Witherspoon.
English actor Gary Oldman celebrated his 60th birthday yesterday. After graduating from Rose Bruford College in London, he first made his reputation as a stage actor, starring in productions of Edward Bond’s Saved and The Pope’s Wedding, and in several productions by the Royal Court Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company. His film debut was in the 1982 ensemble film Remembrance, but his first starring role came as Sid Vicious in Sid & Nancy. He then received a BAFTA nomination for Prick Up Your Ears and starred with Tim Roth as the title characters of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead.
In the 1990s, Oldman became famous for playing screen villains. Two of his most famous roles were in films from recent headliner Luc Besson—he was Norman Stansfield in Léon: The Professional and Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg in The Fifth Element. He also played villains in films like True Romance and Air Force One, as well as the non-villainous role of Ludwig van Beethoven in Immortal Beloved. In 1998, Oldman made his writing and directing debuts with Nil by Mouth, and won BAFTA Awards for writing and producing.
More recently, Oldman has played more heroic roles in a pair of high-profile franchises, as Sirius Black in the Harry Potter films, and James Gordon in the Dark Knight trilogy. He was nominated for an Oscar for starring as George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and then, just a few weeks ago, won his first Oscar, for Best Actor as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.
On the eve of the release of Sherlock Gnomes, Kevthewriter looks back at the original animated gnome movie.
I don’t know about you, but it’s just about lunch time and I’m getting hungry. With our Movies of 1978 Bracket Game underway, it seems like as good a time as any to enjoy some of the fabulous foods of the 1970’s. Enjoy a bowl of Quisp, a Funburger from Burger Chef or a hot Mug-O-Lunch. Just don’t mix Pop Rocks and Coke or you could turn out like poor Mikey!
It’s the end of the world as we know it. Or it was. Forty years ago, audiences were treated to the two post-apocalyptic tales competing in today’s bracket as the pod people take on George Romero’s zombie mallrats. These movies serve up scares with a side order of social commentary. One is a sequel that has been remade and the other is a remake that has had a sequel. Will readers prefer Dawn of the Dead or Invasion of the Body Snatchers?
These days, Mandy Moore is part of the ensemble on the hit TV show, This is Us, and kids know her as the voice of Disney’s Rapunzel. It’s easy to forget that fifteen years ago, she was known primarily as a pop star in the mold of Britney, Christina and Jessica. All of those singers attempted to make the transition to acting but only Moore pulled it off. Movieline spotted Moore’s potential early on and featured her in the 2003 Young Hollywood issue. She was also honored in the magazine’s annual awards ceremony. I’ll include a list of all the winners below the interview.
They don’t make them like they used to. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Back in the seventies, theaters were filled with modestly budgeted movies about tough guys doing tough guy things. These blue collar movies were proudly politically incorrect long before that phrase had entered the lexicon. In the modern tent-pole driven environment, none of the major studios would ever greenlight movies in which A-list actors play truckers who hang out with primates or drug-addled stuntmen. But forty years ago, Hooper and Every Which Way But Loose were big box office hits.
Oscar winner Holly Hunter celebrates her 60th today. She had her first break when, as a young actress living in New York, she had a random meeting with playwright Beth Henley. She soon was cast as a replacement in the Broadway production of Henley’s Crimes of the Heart, and then starred in the Off-Broadway premiere of Henley’s The Miss Firecracker Contest; she later reprised the role of Carnelle Scott in the film adaptation in 1989. By that time, film audiences had gotten to know Hunter from her Oscar-nominated performance in Broadcast News, and her starring role in the Coen Brothers’ Raising Arizona.
We’re having a bonus bracket game this year! Regular readers know that the first month of the new year usually includes a look back at the movies of the 80’s and 90’s. By reader request, we’re going to spend a couple weeks going even further back to the late 1970’s. Whether or not you are old enough to have seen any of these movies in theaters (I wasn’t) you have probably caught up with a lot of them in the intervening four decades. Get ready to go back to the national malaise of the Carter administration as the movies of 1978 compete for dominance!
Ursula Andress is turning 82 today. The Swiss actress learned several languages while growing up, and her first film roles were in some Italian productions. Ironically, when she came to Hollywood, she had difficulty learning English, which delayed her career for a while. By the mid-1960s, however, she was appearing in starring roles in films like Fun in Acapulco (with Elvis Presley), 4 for Texas, The Blue Max, and the 1967 non-canonical James Bond film Casino Royale (as Vesper Lynd). She made a lot of European films during the 1970s, appeared as Aphrodite in the 1981 version of Clash of the Titans, and then did some American TV work in the 1980s.
Joaquin Phoenix is anything but conventional. I suppose he’s a leading man. He has certainly played lead roles. He’s famous, but is he a movie star? Twenty years ago, Phoenix was still making a name for himself in indie movies like Return to Paradise and Clay Pigeons. He was still in the shadow of his late older brother, River. His star-making role, the villain in Gladiator, was only a couple years away. In this profile from the March ’98 issue of Movieline magazine, Phoenix rambles about life in Hollywood and life in the universe while smoking in his yellow car.
Black Panther continues to dominate at the box office with its fifth consecutive weekend in the top spot. That means Lara Croft had to settle for second place with the new Tomb Raider reboot starring Alicia Vikander as the video game heroine. As with Angelina Jolie before her, Vikander was coming off an Oscar win when she was cast as Lara Croft. The hope was that history would repeat itself and Tomb Raider would reignite the franchise but tepid reviews and mediocre word of mouth may have ended Lara’s adventures prematurely. That’s a shame because the world could really use another action heroine.
Last Sunday, I took the weekend off from recapping. So today’s recap is a double-sized edition. Did you miss any of the March madness? Worry not. It’s all right here in your mostly weekly (but sometimes now) recap!