Robert Redford

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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‘Mad Men’ Multiplex: Which 1969 Movies Will Turn Up This Season?

From the third-season cola campaign aping Bye Bye Birdie to last year’s multiple screenings of Planet of the Apes, Mad Men has always dipped generously into the pool of period cinema to help set its scene, while simultaneously drawing inspiration from films of the era (The Apartment, BUtterfield 8, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter, and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying — starring Bert Cooper himself, Robert Morse — leap to mind). We’ve taken some guesses at the books this season’s 1969 timeframe might introduce; here are a few of the most popular movies of that year, and how they might work their way into Don Draper’s world. … Read More

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How to Make a Great Superhero Movie: Hire a Comedy Director

If you look up the filmographies of Anthony and Joe Russo, directors of the new (and very good) Captain America: The Winter Soldier, you’re not going to see much that screams SUMMER TENTPOLE ACTION MOVIE MAKERS. Their only two previous features were the mostly unseen Big Deal on Madonna Street remake Welcome to Collinwood and the mostly unloved Owen Wilson comedy You, Me and Dupree. And then you will find lots and lots of television comedy, everything from the monkey-doctor comedy Animal Practice to more acclaimed programs like Arrested Development, Happy Endings, and Community. The natural assumption is that the powers-that-be at Marvel who handed the Russo brothers the keys to Captain America were taking a big chance. But Marvel has reached a point where it’s actually more unusual for them to pick conventional action directors for their films — in fact, what’s making their big-screen efforts stand out from the blockbuster pack is their tendency to place them in the hands of, when you get down to it, comedy filmmakers. … Read More

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2014 Oscar Nominations: A Look at This Year’s (Few) Surprises

The West Coast entertainment media got up nice and early this morning (or stayed up all night, YOLO), put on their Thursday best, and turned out to watch Chris Hemsworth and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs announce this year’s nominees for the Academy Award. It’s all become a bit rote at this point: months of breathless speculation, relentless campaigning, and meta-narratives, followed by an announcement that honors a lot of the year’s best, while including a few surprises and shutouts. … Read More

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2013: The Year Prestige Cinema Reinvented Action Filmmaking

A quick glance at the box-office returns for 2013 confirms that this year, like pretty much every year since, oh, 1980, action was king: all but three of the top ten films could be considered, by at least some loose definition, action movies. (All but two of them are sequels or prequels, but that’s another, even more depressing conversation.) This year at the multiplex, we were treated to superheroes destroying cities in Man of Steel, zombies destroying cities in World War Z, aliens destroying cities in Star Trek: Into Darkness, and robot suits destroying, well, a pier in Iron Man 3. All that computer-generated carnage doesn’t create much in the way of human stakes or emotional resonance; you may have a rooting interest in the hero, but there’s never much doubt they’re going to come out on top, and by the end of the summer, action movie fatigue had set in. But, presumably through coincidence and/or parallel thinking, three films this fall took a decidedly different approach, and in doing so, turned the so-called “action movie” on its head. … Read More

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‘All Is Lost’ Proves Robert Redford Is Still a Great Actor

The deep lines of Robert Redford’s weathered, tanned face have, in an interesting way, become a fascinating cinematic landscape, and you’ll get to know them well in J.C. Chandor’s new film All Is Lost, because he’s the only person in it. Billed only as “Our Man,” Redford plays a gentleman sailor whose yacht collides with an abandoned container in the middle of the Indian Ocean, and spends the rest of the film trying first to save his ship, then himself. … Read More

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Flavorwire’s Big Deal, All-In Fall Movie Preview

There’s a particularly juicy crop of Movies for Grown-Ups™ to look forward to this season — daunting, even. It’s all exhaustive and a little overwhelming, but hey, that’s what fall moviegoing is all… Read More

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James Gandolfini’s Most Underrated Performances

Because he was too young, because he was so admired, and because he made possibly the first great television show of the 21st century, James Gandolfini’s untimely death is an enormous loss. I, like many others, will never shut up about what Gandolfini brought to The Sopranos. Yes, in the post-Goodfellas era, it wasn’t hard to see a big, dark dude with a North Jersey twang and suspend your disbelief. Gandolfini’s physicality and heft didn’t hurt, nor did the fact that he often appeared on screen surrounded by actors from the Scorsese canon. The man knew how to play a gangster, and there were moments in The Sopranos when he performed on the level of James Cagney. … Read More

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Why Can’t Hollywood Get ‘The Great Gatsby’ Right?

Hollywood took its first stab at adapting The Great Gatsby for the screen only a year after its publication, and has been trying intermittently ever since — and, for the most part, failing. What is it about F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic that makes it so impossible, so utterly untraslatable? It’s certainly not that the film industry hasn’t been trying hard enough: Baz Luhrmann’s new film is the fifth official adaptation. In the course of a week, I watched all of them that can be seen (and another, looser adaptation besides), and came up with a few theories. … Read More

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