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March 17: Happy Birthday Kurt Russell and Rudolph Nureyev


0317RussellNureyev

Kurt Russell celebrates his 66th birthday today.  He began working as a juvenile actor in 1960s television, including starring on a short-lived Western series, The Travels of Jamie McPheeters.  He began to work regularly in features in the seventies, starring in a series of Disney films, most notably the three films featuring Medfield College undergrad Dexter Riley, beginning with The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes.

In the late seventies Russell began to break with his Disney image, with an Emmy-nominated performance in the TV movie Elvis, and made an even more decisive break as Snake Plissken in Escape from New York.  By the late eighties and early nineties, Russell was a credible leading man in many genres, including romantic comedy (Overboard), crime thriller (Tequila Sunrise, Unlawful Entry), and even Westerns:

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Starlog Archives: John Carpenter’s Escape From LA


Once Kurt Russell shed his Disneyfied image from his child actor days, he spent much of the eighties and nineties on the edge of being an A-list actor.  Following the surprise success of Tombstone and Stargate, Russell started commanding a hefty salary and was able to throw his weight around a bit.  That new-found clout enabled Russell to revisit one of his favorite characters, Snake Plissken, in a sequel to the 1981 cult movie, Escape From New York.  Fans of the original were initially excited to get a follow-up fifteen years later.  That is, until they actually saw the movie.  Before the disappointment set in, Stalog devoted a cover story to the anticipated sci-fi sequel in the September 1996 issue.

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Starlog Archives: Big Trouble in Little China


The May 1986 issue of Starlog is just bursting with cool stuff.  There are quite a few articles dealing with subjects we discuss here at Le Blog.  What other magazine would have given John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China a cover story?  None I can think of.  We may have to dive back in to this one to look at some of the other offerings later this month.  But for now, let’s relive the days when Kurt Russell channeled John Wayne to fight mystical ninjas.

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Review: The Hateful Eight


Russell - The Hateful 8

The Hateful Eight is the eighth movie from writer-director Quentin Tarantino.  The fact that the director keeps numbering his movies in the credits gives the impression that they are limited.  How many movies will Tarantino make?  If you’re a fan, every one feels precious.  By this point in Tarantino’s career, you probably have a pretty solid opinion of the director.  You either like his movies or you don’t.  The Hateful Eight rolls up a lot of Tarantino trademarks.  It’s unlikely to change anyone’s opinion of his work.  But if you are already a fan, The Hateful Eight is a real treat.

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Kurt Russell: Major Player


Russell - Executive Decision

Kurt Russell is currently starring in Quentin Tarantino’s Western, The Hateful Eight.  But twenty-years ago, he talked to Movieline while promoting his next action movie, Executive Decision.  This interview comes from the January 1996 issue which was the magazine’s annual “sex” installment.  Russell gives surprisingly frank answers about his own sex life, his relationship with Goldie Hawn and his controversial political views.

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Movies of 1986 Bracket Game!: Blue Velvet vs Big Trouble in Little China


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Just take a look at these two pictures I found for our contest today. For a pair of films that are as individually idiosyncratic as Blue Velvet and Big Trouble in Little China, these shots sure seem to have a lot in common. Is it because both movies, in their own ways, are critical of the places men and women are given in film and in society as a whole? Is it because they’re actually part of the problem? Or maybe it’s just that there are no truly new ideas under the sun. Don’t worry, I’m not going to inflict a sociology term paper on you, but if it’s a topic of interest, please fell free to continue discussing it in the comments section…after you place your vote of course.
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Kurt Russell Gallery

X-Men Dream Cast for my X-Men Movie


With X-Men: Days of Future Past about to be released, the announcement of Channing Tatum playing Gambit (NOOOOOOOOO *vomits* he is terrible) in future films, Hugh Jackman’s continued waffling about coming back as Wolverine, and Bryan Singer facing disturbing accusations, and lots of spin-off rumored, the X-Men universe is growing and in constant flux. I’m going to go out on a limb and say there has never been a great X-Men movie. And X-Men are my favorite comic book heroes. X2 is pretty strong, and the latest Wolverine offering is fantastic until the final setpiece defies all logic and becomes a plothole laden hell from a different movie. I hated First Class and thought it only worsened all the issues the series has been plagued by since the get-go. Read the rest of this entry

Hollywood Throwdown


hollywood throwdown

Hollywood has a head-scratching habit of turning out two movies within a few months of each other, that are basically the exact same film. So not only do we get sequels, prequels, sidequels, reboots, remakes, and adaptations we get White House Down and Olympus Has Fallen practically back to back, because obviously if we liked something once, we want the leftovers next month. And unfortunately that’s how it usually goes, one film becomes the dish, and the other is scrapped by audiences. Studios seem to go head to head, in a pissing contest to prove that their bland actioner is vastly superior to the same thing being developed at the same time. So let’s run through some notable ones and see how it shakes out.

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What the Hell Happened to Val Kilmer? Part Deux : A Retrospective Alternate Look at One Gifted, Talented, Complicated, Challenging Actor’s Career On and Off the Screen: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Saint


That’s right. It’s a sequel. We’re doing another WTHH with the one and only Val Kilmer.

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I know. We’re shocked too.

So, first off, why does Val need another WTHH when LeBeau has covered it so well? A couple reasons, one is Val really doesn’t need one, but I think it would be fun to provide an alternate perspective. I’ll get it out of the way now and admit to being in the running for biggest Val Kilmer fan out there. That being said, I’m also an honest and objective person, I can see his career for what it is. I love Val enough that I can make fun of him, lament his decisions, and hope that he’s able to right some in the future. The fact is I’m something of an expert when it comes to the Val, so I have a different perspective, some other insights, and some funny things to talk about and say when it comes to the Iceman. So let’s get into it.

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What the Hell Happened to Kurt Russell?


Kurt Russell

Kurt Russell

Kurt Russell has had an extremely long career.  So long that a lot of audiences probably don’t remember his career as a child actor.  Russell started making TV appearances in the late 1950s through the 60s.  In the 70s, he became the top star at Disney.  In the 80s, Russell and director John Carpenter created iconic anti-heroes.  Russell continued to work in various dramas throughout his career.  And yet, over the course of his long career, he never quite reached A-list status.

What the hell happened?

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Review: 3000 Miles to Graceland


Kevin Costner - 3000 Miles to Graceland - 2001

Kevin Costner – 3000 Miles to Graceland – 2001

A little while ago, I was having that old Forrest Gump vs. Pulp Fiction argument.  You know, the one about how Forrest Gump is a good movie, but there is no way it should have beaten Pulp Fiction for Best Picture in 1994.  You can disagree, but you’d be wrong.

I made the argument that Pulp Fiction was one of the defining movies of its decade.  Its cultural impact is still being felt today.  Whereas Forrest Gump is a movie you put on when it’s raining or you’re not feeling well.

This prompted the response, “If it wasn’t for Pulp Fiction, we never would have had Battlefield Earth.”  Which is certainly true.  But I will take Battlefield Earth as part of a Travolta resurgence that includes Get Shorty.

A more compelling counter-argument would have been that just about every Tarantino imitator in the wake of Pulp Fiction was awful.  Case in point, 3000 Miles to Graceland.

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