Tuesday, September 14, 2010

“Robert Redford's 'The Conspirator': A classic 9/11 movie? - Los Angeles Times” plus 3 more

“Robert Redford's 'The Conspirator': A classic 9/11 movie? - Los Angeles Times” plus 3 more


Robert Redford's 'The Conspirator': A classic 9/11 movie? - Los Angeles Times

Posted: 10 Sep 2010 11:57 AM PDT

Robert_tredford Robert Redford may be past his prime in Hollywood, but he's still brimming with enough media star power to land major stories today in both my paper and the New York Times. The pieces, including an especially interesting one by my colleague Betsy Sharkey, largely focus on the "irony," as Redford put it, of this once hugely influential Hollywood star and filmmaker having to schlep his new indie movie to the Toronto Film Festival, where he hopes to find a distributor.

It is definitely a sign of the times that this Hollywood icon, who once had studios at his beck and call, is now feeling the need to beat the drums to get some attention for his new film, "The Conspirator." The movie, which stars Robin Wright and James McAvoy, is a historical drama set in the wake of Abraham Lincoln's assassination, when seven men and one woman (played by Wright) are charged with conspiring to murder the president. The film was financed with independent money because it's virtually impossible to persuade a major studio to back a real-life historical drama today, at least unless you jump through a thousand hoops -- like keeping the budget under $20 million or providing your own financing and then loading the film up with a couple of big stars (working for peanuts, of course).

But for me, the most fascinating aspect of Redford's new film, which I saw recently, isn't its uphill struggle to find a distributor. It is the historical resonance of the story it tells, which makes it a perfect film to have its Toronto debut on Sept. 11. After Lincoln was shot and killed, America was traumatized, much as it was after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. And as the film makes clear, the War Department, run by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton (played in the film by Kevin Kline), is determined to quench the country's thirst for vengeance, even if that means bending the law and sending a seemingly innocent woman to the gallows. It's not a pretty picture, certainly no prettier a picture than the one showing terrorist suspects in Guantanamo Bay prisons, some held under the flimsiest of pretexts, many without access to proper legal protections. 

When Sharkey asked Redford about the historical parallels to today, he backpedaled, saying it was "up to the audience" to decide how to interpret the story. But I think he's being way too cautious. What makes the film stick in your mind isn't so much its depiction of Civil War-era strife as its unsettling relationship to many of the events in modern-day America, which has struggled to retain its ideals while battling the scourge of terrorism. If anyone is going to want to buy this film and put it into multiplexes, it won't just be because they're impressed by Wright's performance as Mary Surratt, the first woman ever executed by the United States government. It will be because they see a film whose story is loaded with reminders that if we cannot remember the past, we are condemned to repeat it. 

Photo: Robert Redford at the opening ceremonies this January for the Sundance Film Festival. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

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Roger Ebert and 'At the Movies' May Return - HULIQ.com

Posted: 11 Sep 2010 07:31 AM PDT

At The Movies

Longtime film critic Roger Ebert will attempt a revival of the dueling film-critics show "At the Movies." That show was cancelled earlier this year, as it failed to keep the audience that was first attracted by Ebert and his longtime friend and foe, the late Gene Siskel.

The new show would again be public TV bound. It will be shot at the Chicago public-TV station WTTW, where the original first aired back in 1975. Roger Ebert and his wife, Chaz are executive-producing, and hope the show will be picked up by other public stations.

Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel first brought their format, in which the two of them would agree or disagree about films while reviewing them, to WTTW as "Opening Soon at a Theater Near You." Shows were reviewed in a Thumbs Up or Down format.

In 1977, the name was to "Sneak Previews." When the show left for greener (meaning money) pastures into first-run syndication in 1982, it went with yet another name: "At the Movies," syndicated by Tribune. It left Tribune for Disney's syndication operation after that later.

As most know, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert hosted the show together until Siskel's death in 1999. The final film that Siskel reviewed was the Sarah Michelle Gellar romantic comedy 'Simply Irresistible.' He gave it a thumbs down.

After Siskel's death, Ebert continued the show, with guest hosts until he settled on one, Chicago Sun-Times colleague Richard Roeper. When he was hired, the show was renamed Ebert & Roeper at the Movies. Eventually it was shortened to Ebert & Roeper.

In 2002, Ebert was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. He continued to work while undergoing radiation treatments for tumors on his thyroid and a salivary gland. Eventually Ebert lost his voice, and Roeper left after a contract dispute.

Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz were named hosts in 2008. They were replaced after one season by newspaper film critics Michael Phillips and A.O. Scott, but the show was cancelled earlier this year.

In the new show, Ebert will use employ a computer voice, which he began using fairly recently, to appear on every episode with segments titled Roger's Office. The segement will be devoted to classic, overlooked and new films.

Meanwhile, the regular critics will be Christy Lemire (Associated Press film critic) and Elvis Mitchell (a former film critic for The New York Times and a contributor to NPR). There will also be frequent contributions by bloggers Kim Morgan and Omar Moore.

The first episodes will air in January of 2011.

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Meaty movies on the menu for fall - Kansas City Star

Posted: 13 Sep 2010 08:40 AM PDT

By STEVEN REA AND CARRIE RICKEY

The Philadelphia Inquirer

Preboots and remakes, begone! Sequels and special-effects spectaculars, outta here!

Well, not entirely begone and outta here, but it's fall now, that post-Labor-Day-to-Christmas season when moviedom's masterminds roll out their more substantive fare - awards-worthy projects with Oscar-contending performances and stuff for the grown-ups among us.

Like "Douchebag" and "Jackass 3-D."

Well, them too. But seriously, if you're looking for literary adaptations ("Never Let Me Go"); Clint Eastwood-directed near-death-experience thrillers ("Hereafter"); Swedish suspensers starring a tattooed, nose-ringed computer hacker ("The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest"); historical dramas about English royals ("The King's Speech"); documentaries about the financial meltdown ("Inside Job"), the education crisis ("Waiting for Superman"), and an art-world icon ("Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child"); pugilist biopics ("The Fighter"); dark comedies about Viagra salesmen ("Love and Other Drugs"); real-life spy capers ("Fair Game," about outed CIA operative Valerie Plame); a high-minded Shakespeare interpretation ("The Tempest"); or a Sofia Coppola riff on a famous Hollywood hotel ("Somewhere") - phew! - then these are the months for you.

There are also new films from old hands Oliver Stone ("Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps"), Joel and Ethan Coen (a "True Grit" redo), and Woody Allen ("You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger"), while a couple of actors go behind the camera, with Ben Affleck's "The Town" and Philip Seymour Hoffman's "Jack Goes Boating."

Herewith a baker's dozen of the anticipated and the buzzed-about, the likely hits and promising possibilities making their way to theater marquees between now and year's end:

"The Town": In this white-knuckle thriller directed by and starring Ben Affleck, he's a bank robber masked as a ghoul-faced nun who falls for his hostage (Rebecca Hall). While federal agent Jon Hamm tries to connect Affleck and accomplice Jeremy Renner to the crime, Renner tries to disconnect Affleck from the woman who could finger them. (Friday) - C.R.

"Never Let Me Go": From Kazuo Ishiguro's novel about three fast friends at a mysterious English boarding school where the headmistress takes exceptional interest in her students' health and fitness. With Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan, and Andrew Garfield. (Sept. 24) - S.R.

"The Social Network": Harvard, 2003, and a bunch of dorm-room brainiacs sit around dreaming up Facebook. David Fincher directs, based on Ben Mezrich's "The Accidental Billionaires," with Jesse Eisenberg as cofounder/CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The real Zuckerberg is said to be none too pleased. And how many friends do you have? (Oct. 1) - S.R.

"Hereafter": Clint Eastwood's supernatural triptych follows three converging plotlines about characters whose lives are redefined by death. Matt Damon is a psychic who can communicate with the dead, Cecile de France is a French journalist who barely survives the 2004 tsunami, and the McLaren twins, Frankie and George, are London boys at the time of the 2005 London subway bombings. Screenplay by Peter Morgan (The Queen). (Oct. 22) - C.R.

"Morning Glory": A floundering network morning show gets a new producer (Rachel McAdams) and a surly old-school news anchorman (Harrison Ford) in this comedy from the screenwriter of "The Devil Wears Prada" and the director of "Notting Hill." Diane Keaton stars as the daffy coanchor who rubs Ford's Dan Rather-esque character the wrong way. (Nov. 12) - S.R.

"Unstoppable": After their collaboration on "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3," Denzel Washington reboards director Tony Scott's runaway train in this fact-based thriller about a veteran railroad engineer trying to stop a freight loaded with toxic chemicals from crashing in an Ohio town. (Nov. 12) - C.R.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1": The not-so-young Chosen One faces off against dastardly immortal Lord Voldemort in the first installment of the two-part finale (second: July 2011), bringing to conclusion the epic - and epically lucrative - film series adapted from J.K. Rowling's seven books. (Nov. 19) - S.R.

"Black Swan": The blogosphere is on fire with advance reports that Darren Aronofsky's psychological thriller set in the competitive world of ballet - and starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis as the ballerinas angling for the lead in "Swan Lake" - features a romantic scene between the cutie beauties. (Dec. 17) - C.R.

"How Do You Know": Yes, that's Rittenhouse Square that Jack Nicholson and Paul Rudd are ambling around in the trailer for James L. Brooks' comedy, a love-triangle thing with Rudd, Reese Witherspoon, and Owen Wilson at the respective vertices. Much of it was shot in Philly, but the action is set mostly in D.C. (Dec. 17) - S.R.

"Tron: Legacy": Lucky for the cultists who loved "Tron," the visionary 1982 film that introduced moviegoers to virtual reality, Jeff Bridges reprises his role as the computer programmer sucked into the mainframe where he fights for his life, this time alongside his virtual son, Garrett Hedlund. (Dec. 17) - C.R.

"Little Fockers": Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller go nose-to-nose as sparring father-in-law and son-in-law in the second sequel in the antic "Meet the Parents" franchise. Greg Focker and his wife now have 5-year-old twins to deal with, and still have Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand around reprising their roles as the senior Fockers. (Dec. 22) - S.R.

"True Grit": That fabulous Bridges boy, Jeff, also stars in the Coen Brothers' rethink of the Western about inebriated, one-eyed Marshal Rooster Cogburn (the role that won John Wayne his Oscar) and the young girl (Hailee Steinfeld) who hires him to find her father's murderer. Also with Matt Damon and Josh Brolin. (Dec. 25) - C.R.

"Blue Valentine": Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams play a married couple working through difficult times in this well-received Sundance indie. Shot in Scranton, Wayne, and King of Prussia. (Dec. 31) - S.R.

TEN MORE FILMS FOR FALL

"Easy A": High schooler Emma Stone pretends to lose her virginity - and helps other teens do the same. (Friday)

"Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps": A stockbroker (Shia LaBeouf) gets embroiled with disgraced financier Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) and engaged to his daughter (Carey Mulligan). (Sept. 24)

"It's Kind of a Funny Story": The team behind "Sugar" and "Half Nelson" adapts Ned Vizzini's novel about a teenager struggling with depression - and love. (Oct. 8)

"Stone": Robert De Niro and Edward Norton act their eyeballs out in this somber drama about a soulless prison staffer nearing retirement and a convict looking for early parole. (Oct. 22)

"The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest": Computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) is tried for murder in the conclusion of the Dragon Tattoo trilogy. (Oct. 29)

"127 Hours": James Franco stars as real-life rock climber Aron Ralston, who had to amputate his arm to save his life, in director Danny Boyle's follow-up to "Slumdog Millionaire." No Bollywood dance numbers here. (Nov. 12)

"Monsters": Lots of festival buzz for this low-budget British sci-fi about alien life-forms trying to cross the border from Mexico into the States. Has the governor of Arizona heard about this? (Nov. 12)

"The Fighter": Mark Wahlberg is pro boxer "Irish" Micky Ward and Christian Bale is his older sib Dickie Eklund in David O. Russell's punchy comedy-drama. (Dec. 10)

"The Tempest": Helen Mirren as the shipwrecked Prospero in Julie Taymor's Shakespeare, with Djimon Hounsou and Russell Brand. (Dec. 10)

"Country Strong": Gwyneth Paltrow is a country thrush on a post-rehab comeback tour. (Dec. 22)

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Wife Allegedly Kills Husband Over X-Rated Movie - Momlogic.com

Posted: 12 Sep 2010 06:47 AM PDT

WPIX: A Brooklyn woman is accused of stabbing her husband to death after finding a pornographic movie in their apartment.

Shellyann Henry, 32, reportedly confronted her husband, Rudolph, Thursday night after finding the X-rated DVD in the family's home in Bushwick.

The couple apparently began to fight in front of their children when Shellyann grabbed a kitchen knife.

According to reports, the victim's wife repeatedly stabbed Rudolph in the chest. Authorities say Shellyann called police after committing the crime and stayed in the family's apartment where she was arrested.

Rudolph was reportedly dead when authorities arrived at the scene.

The couple have three children - ages 17, 4, and a newborn. According to reports, the 4-year-old boy may have witnessed the murder.

Neighbors say the pair had a tumultuous relationship.

An investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Read more stories in the news.

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