The Bag Man, starring John Cusack and Robert De Niro, opens in a handful of movie theaters this weekend (“handful” = 1 screen only in each of a few major markets). It’s also available from most Video on Demand services if you don’t want to leave the house.
De Niro is operating in full anything-for-a-paycheck mode here. The best guess is that he filmed all his scenes in less than a week and he gets to rock a poufy hairstyle and some chunky glasses while spouting philosophical gangster dialog. +Continue Reading
Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Kennedy was a massive bestseller and the followup to his Killing Lincoln. Nat Geo TV had a lot of success with a Killing Lincoln TV movie that played like a documentary with live reenactments and quickly followed up with a straight drama feature starring Rob Lowe as JFK. Killing Kennedy was the most-watched program in the history of the channel and it’s now out on Blu-ray and DVD. +Continue Reading
The Counselor has resurfaced on Blu-ray after bombing last fall in theaters. The movie features stars after stars: Michael Fassbender, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt and Penélope Cruz with an screenplay by tough guy literary hero Cormac McCarthy and direction by the legendary Ridley Scott.
The movie has gotten what amounts to a radical makeover in a new extended cut that gets its own disk in the package. The revised film is twenty minutes longer and many of the scenes have been reshuffled in light of the extra material. That doesn’t really make the movie any less strange or challenging but it should help The Counselor find a few more hardcore fans who might corner you in a bar to recount the entire thing start to finish. +Continue Reading
By Brig. Gen. Creighton W. Abrams, Jr., USA-Ret., Executive Director, The Army Historical Foundation
Rick Atkinson, the brilliant Pulitzer-winning author of The Liberation Trilogy on the U.S. Army in World War II, says that war reveals character. And revealing character is what most movies are all about, so it should come as no surprise that there have been a lot of war movies made over the years.
What astounds me, however, is finding out that 23 movies about war or which use war as an important backdrop have won the best picture Oscar, and that doesn’t count all the other very good war movies that were nominated or won the Oscar for best director, actor, cinematography, writing, etc. Here are those 23:
Saving Private Ryan (WWII), Patton (WWII), The Deer Hunter (Vietnam), Platoon (Vietnam), Mrs. Miniver (British family survives bombings and other exigencies), Lawrence of Arabia (WWI), Casablanca (1942—WWII is backdrop), The Best Years of Our Lives (WWII returning veterans), All Quiet On the Western Front (WWI), Wings (WW I), Gone With the Wind (Civil War), From Here to Eternity (WWII), The Bridge On the River Kwai (WWII), Ben-Hur (sea battle is key plot element; primary antagonist, Messala, is a Roman Tribune/Commander), Dances With Wolves (Civil War and Indian Wars), Schindler’s List (WWII as backdrop to the Holocaust—Schindler is war profiteer who has a conscience), Forest Gump (Vietnam), The Last Emperor (WWII, Chinese Civil War), Braveheart (Scottish War of Independence), The English Patient (WWII), Gladiator (opens with huge battle scene, the gladiator is also a Roman General), The Hurt Locker (Iraq, an explosive ordnance disposal unit) and The King’s Speech (World War II is key plot element).
Despite the greatness of those 23 winners, my Top Ten list includes some others as well as a few of the above, so here goes (in no particular order): +Continue Reading
And the winner is … Arnon Milchan!
Anyone watching the Oscars on Sunday – or reading/watching news Monday morning – knows that 12 Years a Slave earned the Academy Award for Best Picture.
But when the star-studded cast and director crowded the stage at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre to accept their trophies, it was evident that film producer and Israeli spy Arnon Milchan – who stood with them – also won big. +Continue Reading
Even though Nebraska got nominated for a slew of Oscars (including Best Picture), the movie didn’t really find an audience in theaters, especially when you compare its box office to the last three pictures directed by Alexander Payne (About Schmidt, Sideways and The Descendants).
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it’s filmed in black and white and perhaps the audience that would love Nebraska thinks “no color” equals “art movie.” Fortunately, it’s out now on home video and you get another shot at this one. +Continue Reading
Stalingrad is the highest grossing movie in Russian history and its Doctor-Zhivago–meets–Call-of-Duty 3D sensibility arrives in U.S. IMAX theaters this weekend. +Continue Reading
Rocky: Heavyweight Collection is out now on Blu-ray and this edition aims to correct the fatal flaw in the previous Rocky: The Undisputed Collection box set. This new collection features a massively upgraded disc for the 1976 Oscar Best Picture-winning original Rocky movie. This 4K transfer is absolutely one of the very best transfers of a ‘70s movies to date, bringing a lot of clarity to the image while maintaining the grit of its low-budget origins. +Continue Reading
Louie Zamperini competed for the USA in the 1936 Olympics and later served as an Air Force Lieutenant during World War II. After his plane was shot down over the Pacific, Zamperini survived 47 days at sea before spending three years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. His incredible story was chronicled in Laura Hillenbrand’s bestseller Unbroken and that book is now the basis for a new movie directed by Angelia Jolie and written by Joel and Ethan Coen. +Continue Reading
Pompeii aims to use cutting-edge 3D technology to tell the story of the 79 A.D. Mount Vesuvius volcanic eruption in a way that appeals to modern audiences. Paul W.S. Anderson, who’s best known for the series of successful movies based on the Resident Evil video game, directed the movie, which stars Kit Harington from Game of Thrones and features a villainous turn from Kiefer Sutherland. +Continue Reading