Category Archives: Movies

Nicole Kidman: The Princess Bride


Kidman - Billy Bathgate

We have had a lot of years to get to know Nicole Kidman.  But when she first came to America, she was shrouded in mystery and overshadowed by her world-famous husband.  In the July 1991 issue of Movieline magazine, Christopher H. Hunt tried to get the real story on Mrs. Tom Cruise.  What he found was not the Cinderella story his editor expected, but rather a woman who was driven to succeed.

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Building my Movie Posters Puzzle: For Whom the Bell Tolls


Screen Shot 2016-07-23 at 9.07.29 AM

In late June 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.

This is one of the movies I have looked forward to seeing since setting this task for myself. For Whom the Bell Tolls is a toweringly famous novel, but the film version has faded from the public mind over the intervening decades. Come with me as I discuss my viewing of this forgotten curiosity.
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The 100 Greatest Foreign Films


The Bicycle Thief

If you don’t mind reading subtitles, Movieline magazine compiled a list of what they considered to be the 100 Greatest Foreign Films at that time for the July 1996 issue.  Obviously, nothing released in the last twenty years qualifies.  If you’re not well-versed in world cinema, you can take this as a list of suggestions.  If you are, see how Movieline’s list compares with the one you might have made two decades ago.

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Meet Bill Pullman


Pullman - Independence Day

Prior to the release of Independence Day, Martha Frankel asks Bill Pullman why none of her friends know who he is.  Up to that point, Pullman had appeared in memorable movies like Ruthless People, Spaceballs and While You Were Sleeping.  But somehow, he always seemed to get lost in the shuffle.  Pullman seems genuinely worried when Frankel suggests his time as a leading man might be limited.  He also worries that his family guy image makes him seem boring.  In this article from the July 1996 issue of Movieline magazine, Pullman gamely endures Frankel’s antics.

 

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Randa Haines: The Waiting Game


Hurt - The Doctor

Randa Haines is the first woman ever to be nominated by the Director’s Guild of America for Best Director.  She was nominated for Children of a Lesser God which received five Oscar nominations in 1986.  But Haines was not nominated for an Oscar.  It was five years between Children and Haines’ next feature film, The Doctor.  In the July 1991 issue of Movieline, Lawrence Grobel talked with Haines about the obstacles she had to overcome as one of the few female directors in Hollywood.

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Drew Barrymore: True Drew


Mad Love

In July 1995, Stephen Rebello interviewed Drew Barrymore for Movieline Magazine for the third time.  In their previous interview, the actress had declared that she was done with love.  Then, just as the article was hitting magazine racks, Barrymore got married to an LA bar owner.  The marriage lasted less than two months which made Barrymore an easy target for tabloids and late night comedians.  But mostly, Rebello was mad that his interview was dated before it even hit the stands.  In this article, Rebello holds Barrymore’s feet to the fire regarding the deception.

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Building my Movie Posters Puzzle: Dr. Strangelove


Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 10.04.42 AM

In late June 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.

This third installment in Building My Movie Posters Puzzle sees yet another leap forward on the calendar, this time from 1939 to 1964. I can promise you that this will not be a continuing trend. It is of some mild interest that despite the 25 years of progress between the release of our last entry, The Wizard of Oz, and Dr. Strangelove, Stanley Kubrick and company made the decision to shoot entirely in black and white, whereas Oz is famously presented in both black and white and color. Obviously, for a long time after, filmmakers felt very free to select either approach to filming and displaying their movies. Although color was steadily becoming the preferred format, if you take a look at the top-grossing films of 1964 you will find a few that were released in black and white, including Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte, Zorba the Greek, The Night of the Iguana, and A Hard Day’s Night. You appeared to need a motivating artistic reason for shooting in black and white, but studios were apparently not yet dead set against it and there was plenty of audience left that didn’t seem to mind (at least one commenter here at LeBlog claims to never watch black and white movies).
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Tom Arnold: The Mayor of Simpleton


Tom Arnold - Nine Months

There was a brief time in the 1990’s when it seemed like Tom Arnold might be a movie star.  Maybe not a leading man, although he did get a few leading roles in the middle part of the decade.  But it sure seemed like he had a bright future playing the handsome leading man’s dopey best friend.  In the July 1995 issue of Movieline magazine, Stephen Rebello talked to the recently divorced actor about his changing public image including a gruesome account of his hair transplant surgeries.

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Shaquille O’Neal: Video Shaq


Kazaam

What do you imagine it would be like to visit NBA star Shaquille O’Neal circa 1996?  Do you imagine the athlete-turned-actor devouring an entire chicken in five minutes in a house filled with movie memorabilia while praising the cinematic merits of the Ace Ventura movies and dismissing Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel as elitists?  Do you picture the jovial giant demonstrating a karate move that drops interviewer Michael Kaplan to his kitchen floor?  Add in a screeching burglar alarm and afternoon nap and you have a good idea of what a surreal experience it was to visit Shaq.

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Dolph Lundgren: The Action Man Who Fell to Earth


Lundgren - Johnny Mnemonic

When you think of Dolph Lundgren, if in fact you do, you probably think of his most iconic role, the mostly mute villain Ivan Drago from Rocky IV.  But the actor has very little in common with the character he portrayed.  He’s actually extremely intelligent and well-spoken.  When Movieline magazine interviewed Lundgren for the July ’95 issue, the actor was working on growing as an actor.  But according to Stephen Saban, he didn’t seem overly excited about the direction his career was taking.

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Building My Movie Posters Puzzle: The Wizard of Oz


Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 9.06.13 PM

In late June 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.

We’re picking up here with a movie that was released eleven years after The Man Who Laughs, the fascinating piece of expressionist melodrama which was my first installment. Most obviously, The Wizard of Oz is a much more famous movie; one of the most famous and iconic pieces of film ever made, in fact. What is just as stunning is the extreme technological advances in the art form. Between 1928 and 1939, both full sound and color had become available to filmmakers. That’s an amazing leap forward that has helped to make The Wizard of Oz an enduring classic even for modern audiences who are used to things like widescreen presentation, 3D, and computer generated special effects. I can’t imagine those same audiences would sit still for a version of Dorothy and friends which was black and white all the way through and was absent the film’s famous songs. The technology of film sure hasn’t moved that much since 2005.
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Confessions of Movie Addicts


2001 A Space Odyssey

Movieline magazine loved its lists.  You could count on some kind of list-based article just about every month.  In July 1995, they polled 50 celebrities to ask which movies they were addicted to.

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Leading Ladies in Hollywood


Pretty Woman6

There aren’t enough women in Hollywood.  The men who run the studio won’t or can’t make movies for women.  These are not new complaints.  Twenty-five years ago, Stephen Farber wrote about the same issues for the July 1991 issue of Movieline magazine.  But according to Farber, it wasn’t always that way.  Despite the many flaws of the studio system, according to Farber, Hollywood did a better job of making movies for women in the Golden Age.

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