Samuel L. Jackson
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
Last night, the trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron leaked, just after which it was “officially released” by the studio. Plunging into… Read More
Why Are We So Obsessed With Tarantino’s Violence? An Excerpt From ‘Pulp Fiction: The Complete History of Quentin Tarantino’s Masterpiece’
Tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, the movie that crystalized the 1990s indie film movement and, in doing so, changed mainstream moviemaking forever. To mark the occasion, I’m happy to present this excerpt from my book on the film, Pulp Fiction: The Complete History of Quentin Tarantino’s Masterpiece, available from Amazon or at your fine local bookseller.
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Matthew Vaughn is an interesting case—initially known as Guy Ritchie’s producer, his subsequent directorial efforts have, in many ways,… Read More
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.
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As you may or may not have heard, depending on how many musical theatre nerds you know, the 2014 Tony Awards happened last night. Hosted by Wolverine, er, Hugh Jackman, the evening’s highlights included Jackman, LL Cool J, and T.I. performing a rap version of “Rock Island” from The Music Man; Audra McDonald winning her sixth Tony to become the first person to win in four different acting categories; Neil Patrick Harris unsurprisingly winning Best Actor in a Leading Role for Hedwig and the Angry Inch; and Carole King joining her fictionalized younger self from Beautiful onstage.
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Anthony Mackie is one of those underrated and substantially gifted actors who livens up just about any movie he shows up in, and his unique fusion of genuine warmth and unflappable cool is particularly welcome in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. But his most important contribution to the comic-book movie universe may well have occurred off-screen, at a recent promotional roundtable, when he said this about playing a black superhero: “When I first got this role I just cried like a baby because I was like, ‘Wow, next Halloween, I’m gonna open the door and there’s gonna be a little kid dressed as the Falcon.’ That’s the thing that always gets me. I feel like everybody deserves that. I feel like there should be a Latino superhero. Scarlett does great representation for all the other girls, but there should be a Wonder Woman movie. I don’t care if they make 20 bucks, if there’s a movie you’re gonna lose money on, make it Wonder Woman. You know what I mean, ’cause little girls deserve that.” Or, to put a more cynical spin on his comment: why are all the comic book superhero movies about white guys?
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