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Category Archives: Movies

Stephen Frears: An Englishman Abroad


Following back-to-back hits Dangerous Liaisons and The Grifters, director Stephen Frears was riding high in the early nineties.  His career trajectory was about to hit a speed bump.  His next movie, Hero, was a critical and commercial disappointment.  He would follow that movie up with the disastrous Mary Reilly.  But Frears weathered the storm and bounced back with movies like High Fidelity, Philomena and Florence Foster Jenkins.  At the time of this interview from the October 1992 issue of Movieline magazine, Freers was putting the finishing touches on Hero and recovering from a failed effort to make Donnie Brasco.

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Building My Movie Posters Puzzle: Vertigo


In late June of last year I took advantage of some free days to visit my Mother in Virginia for her birthday. It was a fun long weekend that included meals out, a screening of Finding Dory, and an unexpected shared activity when I ran across a puzzle in the book store that was just too good to pass up. It consists of thirty-nine posters from a wide variety of classic films stretching from the silent era of the 1920s into the 1970s. It was an engrossing project to undertake alongside my Mother and we naturally discussed several of the featured movies as we built it. What stunned me a little was that I had actually only seen twenty-six of the thirty-nine films honored. I have vowed to fill these gaps in my knowledge of film and take you along for the ride as I reconstruct the puzzle in question. I’ll re-watch the movies I’ve already seen along with experiencing the ones that are new to me and share my thoughts on each one.

As a puzzle focused on movie posters, some of the chosen films or versions of their posters featured on it are not necessarily top notch. None of this can be said about the amazing poster for Alfred Hitchcock’s classic psychological thriller, Vertigo. The great designer Saul Bass produced a wide array of promotional images for this Hitchcock masterpiece, but the above one sheet version has become one of the most famous and striking posters in film history.

However, Vertigo is much more than a great marketing campaign. The film was worked on by some of the legends of the art form, and it shows. Although the movie’s reputation had gained steadily over the years as film lovers continued to see it over and over, a dramatic million dollar restoration and re-release of Vertigo in 1996 allowed even larger numbers of people to fully appreciate the beauty of Hitchcock and company’s work on it. Despite mixed reviews on its initial release in 1958, it has become one of the standard members of any compiled list of the finest films ever made, and actually replaced the legendary Citizen Kane at the top of Sight & Sound’s 2012 critics list.

Join me below, and we’ll discuss this amazing poster and film. Oh, by the way, there will be enormous spoilers for the movie after the break, so if you haven’t seen Vertigo yet I’d recommend you go take care of that momentous lapse in judgement first and then come back and finish reading this article.
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Katie Holmes: The Treasure from Toledo


Fifteen years ago, Katie Holmes saw the light at the end of the tunnel.  She only had one season left of Dawson’s Creek and then she could concentrate on her movie career.  Up until that point, Holmes hadn’t had much success in movies.  When she was interviewed for the cover story of the October 2002 issue of Movieline magazine, Holmes was optimistic about her first real leading role in the movie Abandon.  It didn’t work out the way she probably hoped.  Knowing what we know now, the second-to-last question posed in this article is hysterical.

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Oliver Stone: The First Stone


Oliver Stone is a complicated and polarizing figure.  He always has been.  On the one hand, he’s a Hollywood liberal who is best-known for movies critical of the Vietnam war.  On the other, his work is filled with sexism and he’s spending his later years cozying up to the likes of Vladimir Putin.  This week, Stone made headlines for his contribution to the great Weinstein scandal.  It seems like no matter who you are or where you stand, Stone has said or done something likely to alienate you.

That was less true twenty years ago, but the Oscar winning director was starting down a career path that would slowly erode his cultural relevance.  But Movieline magazine still had enough interest in Stone to publish a two-part interview with the controversial filmmaker.  The first half appeared in the October 1997 issue.

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Mira Sorvino: The Mira Has Two Faces


Winning an Oscar is no guarantee of movie stardom.  Just ask Mira Sorvino who won a Best Supporting Actress statue for her star-making role in Mighty Aphrodite.  Sorvino seemed to have the makings of a movie star, but things didn’t work out that way.  In a profile piece from the October 2002 issue of Movieline, Sorvino claimed she was happier being out of the spotlight.  She frankly discusses the mistakes that she made in her career and her reputation for being “difficult”.

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Ashley Judd: Steel Magnolia


So this is timely.  Ashley Judd has been in the headlines recently for her part in bringing down the infamous Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.  Today’s interview was the cover story of the October 1997 issue of Movieline magazine right about the time when the events Judd described would have happened!  Of course, the interview has nothing to do with Weinstein.  But it does provide a look back at Judd when she was a rising actress looking to establish herself.  You can tell from her answers that Judd was a fighter from way back.

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The New Divas


Hollywood loves its divas.  Even when their demands drive everybody crazy, there’s something about a starlet who knows what she wants and how to get it.  The 90’s ushered in a new crop of divas (and divas in training).  In the October 1997 issue of Movieline magazine, Stephen Rebello ran through some of Tinseltown’s most fabulous actresses.  Some were on their way out while others were ascendant.  Find out how the biggest divas of the decade lived twenty years ago.

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Tim Robbins: The Cutest Serious Person in Showbiz


Was Tim Robbins ever a big enough movie star to warrant a cover story in Movieline magazine?  I guess he must have been, because after starring in Robert Altman’s Hollywood satire, The Player, Robbins was right there on the cover of the October 1992 issue talking about his own political satire, Bob Roberts.  While chatting up Martha Frankel, Robbins veers from silliness to seriousness and back again.

 

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Tom Kalin Swoon: The NON-Player


Tom Kalin is an indie filmmaker.  I’ll admit, I had never heard of him before.  He made his directorial debut with the 1992 drama, Swoon.  The movie retold the story of infamous child killers Leopold and Loeb with an emphasis on their homosexuality.  Kalin’s film was part of a movement in the early nineties that was called New Queer Cinema.  In the September 1992 issue of Movieline magazine, Hollywood writer Christopher Hunt met with the New York director to discuss the differences between his movie and two previous adaptations of the same story.

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James Franco: Keeping it Real


Prior to Spider-Man, James Franco was a relative unknown.  He was familiar to fans of the short-live sitcom, Freaks and Geeks, but Franco was hardly a household name.  Playing Harry Osborne didn’t make Franco a star, but it opened doors.  In this interview from the September 2002 issue of Movieline magazine, Franco was figuring out how to deal with his newfound fame.

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Into the Known World


Usually when I dig into the Movieline archives, I will omit some of the blurbs that the magazine published because they just aren’t meaty enough to stand alone.  This time, however, I took two short pieces about Australian imports Russel Crowe and Guy Pearce who were being discovered by American audiences in L.A. Confidential when the September 1997 issue hit the shelves.

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Whatever Happened to Amanda Bynes?


Kevthewriter wonders whatever happened to Amanda Bynes.

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Vince Vaughn: It’s Oz, Bro


Post-Swingers, Vince Vaughn was a hot commodity in Hollywood.  But for a while, it seemed like no one knew what to do with the fast-talking actor.  This interview from the September 1997 issue of Movieline magazine comes after Vaughn broke out with Swingers.  He had a supporting role in Lost World under his belt an lots of indies on the horizon.  But at the time, Vaughn was just happy to be there.

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