On October 23, Warner Home Video will launch the first in their new series featuring influential films from some of history’s greatest directors, starting with Stanley Kubrick. Among the new films, “2001: A Space […]
The Smackdown Yesterday, my wife and I went with six other couples to an afternoon showing of the new “TheÂ Heartbreak Kid” at our local cineplex. Then we went out for a niceÂ Italian dinner, drank a […]
The Smackdown Both “Eastern Promises” (2007) and its companion piece “A History of Violence” (2005) are brutal dramas from director David Cronenberg who has, apparently, moved beyond the fantastic (infections, mutations, genetic accidents) and settled […]
The Smackdown Westerns are routinely declared dead until one comes along that makes everyone realize the primal power they still exert — in our hearts and minds, and as cinematic art. Clint Eastwood managed to […]
May 2011 Update: Obama in Ireland. His trip was largely overshadowed by the Arab Spring coupled with his provocative foreign policy fracas over Israel. So, oddly, in this year’s context, Ireland seems like a place to get away from politics. Ireland, however, is actually a country that takes its politics as seriously as its music. There are two recent films that have told very tough tales of Irish history. Here is our original Smackdown.
Every St. Patrick’s Day, people worldwide celebrate the Irish by wearing shamrocks, marching in parades, even drinking green beer. It can be a ton of fun, to be sure, but the Ireland of fairly recent history was a very serious place where political battles were decided in revolution and civil war. Our Irish Movie Smackdown pays tribute to those days by putting a couple of films in the ring together that tell the story. These two classic films of Irish-rebellion â€” The Wind That Shakes the Barley and Michael Collins â€” were made a decade apart. Back in the Clinton years, Liam Neeson starred in the title role as Irish rebel turned Free Stater, Michael Collins, and a few days before St. Patrick’s Day in 2007, Cillian Murphy played a rebel on the other side of the bloody Irish Civil War in The Wind That Shakes the Barley. They each tell stories about the years when Irish eyes were definitely not smiling… […]
The Smackdown A good secret agent can give lift to a film franchise and turn it into a multi-billion dollar industry. We have two inside-the-CIA runs going with Bourne and Mission: Impossible,and both have gone […]
To this day when the major track running events are held, it’s a safe bet that plenty of people remember the gutsy runner who pretty much owned distance running back in the day, Steve Prefontaine. In the late 90s, Hollywood bizarrely made two films back-to-back about the legendary distance runner, and you may be tempted to go rent one of them to see for yourself what the fuss was all about.
About a decade after that box-office match-up, my wife and I had a Hallmark Channel film shooting out here in Los Angeles, Chasing a Dream, about a high-school athlete who decides to go for a sub-four minute mile. During the time we were polishing up our screenplay’s last draft before production, we looked for a little inspiration and watched both Prefontaine and Without Limits within a couple of days of each other. It was like a film school assignment to see what different production teams and actors could do with essentially the same source material. But there was another element here, for me, that put even this challenge through a separate creative filter.
Steve Prefontaine wasn’t actually a legend to me, you see, because I was there when he was breaking all these incredible records. […]
The Smackdown Pixar pretty much owns the press clippingsÂ and praise handed out in the animation market these days because, basically, they do what they do better than anyone else can even imagine doing it. […]