Al Pacino

50 Great Pre-Fame Performances by Famous Actors

This week, the Criterion Collection is releasing a double bill of the mid-‘60s Westerns The Shooting and Ride the Whirlwind, a treat not only for fans of revisionist Westerns and director Monte Hellman, but also for those who admire Jack Nicholson, here seen in two terrific performances that predate his breakthrough in Easy Rider. There’s a specific kind of pleasure in revisiting the early work of actors who would later become famous — not the roles that made them stars, but their earlier, quieter gigs, in which we glimpse an actor just trying to do good work, yet already exhibiting the spark that would mark them for fame. Here are a few of our… Read More

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Fascinating Underground Worlds in Film

One of our must-see movies this fall celebrates its theatrical opening this weekend. Nightcrawler by first-time director Dan Gilroy finds Jake Gyllenhaal as the driven, out-of-work Lou Bloom who falls into the fast-paced world of freelance L.A. crime journalism. Time called Gyllenhaal’s character a “mesmerizing cipher” and “spiritual descendant of Robert De Niro’s Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver.” We unlocked the doors to other underground worlds and set the scene for several secret societies in film that share an element of danger. … Read More

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Know Your Righteous Movie Journalists

In the new drama Kill the Messenger (out today) Jeremy Renner stars as Gary Webb, a small-time journalist (easily supporting a family of five in a realllly comfortable home, but let’s put such nitpicks aside) who stumbles upon a giant story of CIA-sanctioned drug smuggling, corruption, and cover-ups, and ends up taking on not only the government, but his bosses. It’s not the first time we’ve heard this story; Renner’s film is the latest in a long tradition of movies celebrating the journalist on a mission, so we’ve assembled the best and worst of those newsmen and women, ranked by righteousness. … Read More

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Al Pacino and Greta Gerwig Make Out in Trailer for Roth Adaptation, ‘The Humbling’

Now that you’ve been sufficiently click-baited (but not deceptively: the mouths of Gerwig and Pacino do, indeed, commingle in… Read More

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Al Pacino’s Driving Force

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Wickedly Inventive Happy Meal Tie-Ins for Cult Movies

The movie tie-in McDonald’s Happy Meal is one of our most venerable cultural barometers, a big “get” for family movies hoping to market directly to their most vocal consumers. Starting with Star Trek: The Motion Picture back in 1979 (the same year the Happy Meal rolled out), Disney hits, superhero smashes, and other family favorites have used the cardboard panels of the Happy Meal and the toy inside to hawk their cinematic wares. But what if Happy Meals were used to market slightly more adult fare? This is the question asked by Pinterest artist Newt Clements, who’s made an extensive collection of imaginary Happy Meals that we really, really wish existed. … Read More

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10 Wildly Unsuccessful Movie Reunions

Buried among this week’s DVD and Blu-ray releases is a movie that, by the looks of it, was supposed to be one of the summer’s big hits: Blended, the third onscreen teaming of Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. Their first film, 1998’s The Wedding Singer, reshaped Sandler into a romantic lead and got him less-vicious-than-usual reviews, while grossing $80 million domestic; its follow-up, 2004’s 50 First Dates, did $120 million. But stars can fall over a decade, and Sandler and Barrymore’s big reunion was a big disappointment, only pulling $46 million total (barely more than First Dates’ first weekend). In other words, lightning doesn’t always strike twice, and for every Hope and Crosby or Redford and Newman, there are plenty of cinematic reunions that didn’t quite pan out. … Read More

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