This was a big week for actors we never thought would venture into the directing pool. Keanu Reeves will debut Man of Tai Chi in China this summer, honoring his Matrix martial arts trainer, Tiger Hu Chen. Michael Cera’s short film Brazzaville Teen-Ager, starring “Milkshake” singer Kelis and Charles Grodin, saw its YouTube premiere. Perhaps Alfred Hitchcock was just a little hasty when he recommended that all actors should be treated like cattle. … Read More
BAMcinématek’s A Pryor Engagement retrospective, which we told you about a couple of weeks back, is unfortunately coming to an end this week — but not before tonight’s screening of a film that most consider not only lesser Pryor, but a fairly middling and forgettable effort in general. Your film editor disagrees. The picture is called Brewster’s Millions, a 1985 comedy that pairs up Richard Pryor and John Candy, and it’s not just a funny kick of a buddy movie (though it is that); it is, we contend, nothing less than the quintessential American 1980s motion picture. We’ll explain why in due course. In the meantime, inspired by this particular take on Millions, we decided to comb through the annals of cinema history and determine which films were most specifically of their decades. We’re not saying that these are the very best films of their time (though some were); rather, we feel that each is specific to their time, and summed it up in a unique way. We’ll go from the 1920s to the 2000s, and explain our choices along the way. … Read More
When we heard that there was a film in the pipeline called Seven Psychopaths, we figured there was a pretty good chance Christopher Walken was somehow involved — and yep, sure enough, co-starring alongside Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, and Woody Harrelson is our Mr. Walken, doing the slightly-restrained variation on the bananas weirdo screen persona we’ve all come to know and love. In celebration of a new bit of insanity from the man, we’ve selected what we believe to be his ten nuttiest performances — not his best, mind you, but his craziest. And even that list was hard to whittle down, so add your own favorites in the comments. … Read More
We’re all shocked and saddened by the news that filmmaker Tony Scott, 68, died Sunday in what appears to be a suicide (possibly prompted by inoperable brain cancer). As tributes and obits roll out today, most will identify Scott with Top Gun, his biggest commercial success — but as with most filmmakers, his biggest hit was far from his finest work. Though Scott never quite made the move from blockbuster-maker to critical and Oscar darling that his brother Ridley did, the second half of his career was marked by entertainments that refused to pander or condescend to their audience in the way that big-budget action films often did. He was a filmmaker who first found a style and then found substance, and it’s worth taking a moment to praise a few of his films that may have been under-appreciated or undervalued. Five of our favorites are collected after the jump. … Read More
Jodie Foster played a child prostitute in Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. She was only 12 years old at the time, but had already established herself as a prolific presence in commercials and television. The film took the young star onto the gritty New York City streets opposite the intense and chillingly effective Robert De Niro as the unhinged Travis Bickle. The 33-year-old actor’s methods inspired a career revelation for Foster, who admits she was cocksure when she showed up on set. “I felt like I was the veteran there,” the actress revealed.
This kind of actor-mentor relationship has been prevalent throughout Hollywood since the Golden Age of cinema. Stars guiding other stars and sharing their wisdom has proven crucial for many now iconic actors who sought to perfect their screen personae. We took a look at a few famous actor-mentor duos — including that of Foster and De Niro — below. … Read More
It’s kind of refreshing to find out that filmmaker Cass Warner Sperling — granddaughter of Warner Bros. co-founder Harry M. Warner — will be relying on Kickstarter and not her family name to get the funds to finish her intimate documentary on iconic actor, filmmaker, and artist Dennis Hopper. Hopper: In His Own… Read More
In honor of National Poetry month, we at Flavorpill have been amping up our poetic coverage a little bit, from suggesting poems you can memorize to celebrating our favorite badass poets. But since poetry is really meant to be read aloud, we’ve also been celebrating the month by listening to some of our favorite celebrities reading famous poems. Now, audio recordings of celebrities — especially (British) actors — reading poetry are a dime a dozen, so we decided to limit the field to actual videos of celebrities performing readings and recitations, whether on stage, in a more intimate setting, or filmed solo. Click through to watch a few of your favorite public personas read you some poetry, and let us know which ones you like best in the comments. … Read More
Chances are you’ve seen at least one of Norman Seeff’s photographs of the 1970′s and ’80s most iconic personalities. The former doctor from South Africa left a career in medicine to pursue his art and landed in New York City in the early ’70s. He was introduced to the Big Apple’s biggest creative collaborators and shot portraits for the likes of Patti Smith and Andy Warhol to name a few. As his photography expanded he began to attract the names of musicians, artists, and visionaries worldwide, and his now famous images remain some of the most memorable celebrity snapshots ever taken. Click through for a candid look at an enthusiastic John Travolta right before he became a star in Saturday Night Fever, a married Cher and Gregg Allman, a young Steve Jobs, and more. … Read More
This Saturday, October 15 people will be digging into their personal archives celebrating Home Movie Day. For those who don’t have a projector, the event provides an opportunity for people with reels of family memories and thrift shop finds to check them out on a big screen — many for the first time ever. The event will take place at 66 venues across 13 countries where historians, curators, archivists, and enthusiasts will be on hand to provide insight into the uniqueness and artistic relevance of amateur film.
English actor Roddy McDowall — best known for his role in the original Planet of the Apes — was also a home movie enthusiast. He recorded a group of Hollywood pals at random parties in the mid ’60s — and the list of friends reads like a who’s who of Tinseltown during its prime. Watch Dennis Hopper, Jane Fonda, Natalie Wood, Judy Garland, Rock Hudson, Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Lauren Bacall, Julie Andrews, and many more hang out. It’s a great, rare opportunity to see what some famous faces were like off screen. Click through for more. … Read More
The entertainment news cycle brings no shortage of casting announcements, but only rarely do we actually get excited about the news that a certain actor has been matched with a certain role. For instance, we were thrilled to hear, earlier this week, that Chloë Sevigny is slated to play Lizzie Borden in an HBO miniseries — and that she has, in fact, been staying at the bed and breakfast in Fall River, MA where Borden may or may not have killed her father and stepmother. Who better to take on such a morally ambiguous role than the woman who is just finishing her run as a delightfully selfish, short-fused (but ultimately well-meaning) character on Big Love?
Sevigny, we concluded, was born to play dark, fascinating roles. And that got us thinking about other actors who are at their best when portraying villains. Our top ten is after the jump. … Read More