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  • ABC's '20/20' and CBS' '48 Hours' will be devoted to Nelson Mandela

    Type: Post | Date: Friday, Dec 6, 2013

    ABC's "20/20" and CBS' "48 Hours" will be devoted to Nelson Mandela this weekend
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    Movie Power Rankings: 'Dark Knight Rises' and 'Man of Steel' battle it out for no. 1

    Type: Article | Date: Friday, Aug 12, 2011

    Plus: 'Hunger Games,' 'G.I. Joe' and the Oscars make moves
  • TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Romance

    Type: Event | Date: Tuesday, Feb 2, 2010

    Includes:Now, Voyager (1942) Mogambo (1953) Love in the Afternoon (1957) Splendor in the Grass (1961) Now, Voyager Olive Higgins Prouty's popular novel was transformed into nearly two hours of high-grade soap opera by several masters of the trade: Warner Bros., Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, director Irving Rapper, and screenwriter Casey Robinson. Davis plays repressed Charlotte Vale, dying on the vine thanks to her domineering mother (Gladys Cooper). All-knowing psychiatrist Dr. Jaquith (Claude Rains) urges Charlotte to make several radical changes in her life, quoting Walt Whitman: "Now voyager sail thou forth to seek and find." Slowly, Charlotte emerges from her cocoon of tight hairdos and severe clothing to blossom into a gorgeous fashion plate. While on a long ocean voyage, she falls in love with Jerry Durrance (Henreid), who is trapped in a loveless marriage. After kicking over the last of her traces at home, Charlotte selflessly becomes a surrogate mother to Jerry's emotionally disturbed daughter (a curiously uncredited Janis Wilson), who is on the verge of becoming the hysterical wallflower that Charlotte once was. An interim romance with another man (John Loder) fails to drive Jerry from Charlotte's mind. The film ends ambiguously; Jerry is still married, without much chance of being divorced from his troublesome wife, but the newly self-confident Charlotte is willing to wait forever if need be. "Don't ask for the moon," murmurs Charlotte as Max Steiner's romantic music reaches a crescendo, "we have the stars." In addition to this famous line, Now, Voyager also features the legendary "two cigarettes" bit, in which Jerry places two symbolic cigarettes between his lips, lights them both, and hands one to Charlotte. The routine would be endlessly lampooned in subsequent films, once by Henreid himself in the satirical sword-and-sandal epic Siren of Baghdad (1953). ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide Mogambo The 1953 Clark Gable film Mogambo is a remake of Gable's 1932 seriocomic adventure Red Dust. Where the earlier film was lensed on the MGM backlot, Mogambo was shot on location in Africa by director John Ford. Gable is safari leader Victor Marswell, who plays "host" to stranded Eloise Y. Kelly (Ava Gardner, who is no better than she ought to be but is just right for our raffish hero -- the Gardner role was originally played along franker pre-Code lines by Jean Harlow). Anthropologist Donald Nordley (Donald Sinden) hires Victor to lead him into the deepest, darkest jungle. Along for the ride is Donald's wife, Linda (Grace Kelly), outwardly cool as a cucumber but secretly harboring a lust for Victor. Scorned, Kelly tries to kill Victor, but true-blue Eloise takes the blame for the shooting. Reportedly, Grace Kelly carried on an off-camera romance with Clark Gable, which ended when the differences in their ages proved insurmountable. Even so, it is the easy rapport between Gable and Ava Gardner which stole the show in Mogambo. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide Love in the Afternoon Gary Cooper more or less repeats his international-roue characterization from 1938's Bluebeard's Eighth Wife for the 1957 romantic comedy Love in the Afternoon (both films were co-scripted by Billy Wilder, who also directed the latter picture). Audrey Hepburn co-stars as the daughter of Parisian private eye Maurice Chevalier. Investigating the amorous activities of Cooper, Chevalier relates what he's discovered to cuckolded husband John McGiver, who declares that he's going after Cooper with a pistol. Overhearing this conversation, Hepburn rushes off to rescue Cooper. She keeps him far away from McGiver by adopting a "woman of the world" pose. Cooper quickly sees through this charade; still, she is fascinated by Hepburn and attempts to relocate her after she disappears. Meeting Chevalier one day, Cooper relates the story of the Mystery Woman, never dreaming that he is describing Chevalier's daughter. Equally in the dark, Chevalier offers to locate the elusive Hepburn. Once he's tumbled to the fact that his quarry is his own flesh and blood, Chevalier advises Hepburn against contemplating a relationship with the much-older Cooper. She, of course, fails to heed this warning, setting the stage for an ultraromantic finale. Love in the Afternoon is highlighted by a superb running gag involving a quartet of gypsy violinists, who insist upon dogging Cooper's trail wherever he goes-including a steam bath. Love in the Afternoon was adapted by Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond from the novel Ariane by Claude Anet. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide Splendor in the Grass 1961's premiere "date" movie represented the screen debut of Warren Beatty. Set in the 1920s, William Inge's screenplay concerns the superheated romance between working-class high schooler Natalie Wood and rich kid Beatty. Trying their best to keep their relationship from going "all the way," Beatty and Wood go through a series of unsatisfying interim romances. The troubled Wood attempts suicide and is sent to a mental institution, while Beatty impregnates freewheeling waitress Zohra Lampert. Wood and Beatty still carry a torch for one another, but circumstances preclude their getting together -- and besides, Wood suddenly realizes that she's outgrown the still-floundering Beatty. Scriptwriter William Inge shows up as a minister in Splendor in the Grass, while comedienne Phyllis Diller does a cameo as famed nightclub entertainer Texas Guinan; also, keep an eye out for Sandy Dennis, making her first movie appearance. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide
  • TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Sci-Fi Adventures

    Type: Event | Date: Tuesday, Feb 2, 2010

    Includes:The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (1953) Them! (1954) Satellite in the Sky (1956) World Without End (1956) The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms A longtime "dream" project of production designer-turned-director Eugene Lourie, The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms sees the titular beast unleashed on the world via nuclear testing. Making its way from the Arctic Circle, the monster-a carnivorous "rhedosaurus"-begins advancing towards New York. It stomps its way around Wall Street, pausing to have a policeman for lunch. By the time it has reached Coney Island, the rhedosaurus is more of a danger than ever because of the deadly bacteria it carries within its system. It's up to researcher Paul Christian and sharpshooter Lee Van Cleef to try to liquidate the beast with a grenade chock full of radioactive isotopes. Beast From 20,000 Fathoms represented effects artist Ray Harryhausen's first solo effort, after assisting Willis O'Brien on Mighty Joe Young (1949). ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide Them! A little girl is found wandering in the desert, in a state of complete shock. When she finally revives, she can scream out only one word: "Them!" Any aficionado of 1950s horror films can readily tell you that "Them" are giant ants, a byproduct of the radiation attending the atomic bomb tests of the era. Extremely well organized, these deadly eight-to-twenty-foot mutations converge on the storm drains of Los Angeles in the finale. Forming a united front against the oncoming ant battalions are New Mexico police sergeant James Whitmore, FBI representative James Arness, and father-and-daughter entomologists Edmund Gwenn and Joan Weldon. Since the details of Them are fairly common knowledge today, the mystery-thriller structure of the film's first half tends to drag a bit. Things liven up considerably during the search-and-destroy final reels, as the audience is barraged with convincing special effects and miniature work-not to mention that eerie ant-induced sound effect, so often imitated by subsequent lesser films. Fess Parker appears in a starmaking cameo as a pilot driven to the booby hatch after witnessing the ants in action, while an uncredited Leonard Nimoy is seen pulling info out of IBM machine. Definitely the high point in the careers of director Gordon Douglas and scenarists Ted Sherdeman and George Worthing Yates, Them is also one of the handful of vintage science-fiction thrillers that holds up as well today as it did when first released. (Sidebar: Though filmed in black-and-white, Them is alleged to have been released with a Technicolor opening title, the word THEM! hurtling towards the audience in a vibrant red). ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide Satellite in the Sky The topicality of Satellite in the Sky enabled the British-based Danzinger Bros. to release the film through Warner Bros., rather than their usual United Artists distribution channels. The story concerns the first manned space satellite, launched from England with commander Michael Hayden (Kieron Moore) at the controls. It is the mission of Hayden and his crew to test out the deadly "tritonium" bomb in outer space. Once he's left the atmosphere, Hayden discovers that he's been harboring a stowaway: reporter and anti-weapons activist Kim Hamilton (Lois Maxwell). Everyone's life is placed in peril when the bomb affixes itself to the side of the satellite. As tension mounts, the crew -- and Kim -- race against time to either remove or defuse the tick-tick-ticking weapon. Satellite in the Sky represented documentary filmmaker Paul Dickson's first fictional effort; like most other directors, Dickson was unable to curb the overacting of the venerable Donald Wolfit, here cast as the near-maniacal creator of the tritonium bomb. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide World Without End The first spaceship to Mars rounds the Red Planet and heads back toward Earth but runs into an unexplained phenomenon in space that accelerates the craft to such a high speed that all four men aboard black out. When they awake, they've crash-landed on a planet that they only gradually realize is Earth -- of the distant future: they have crashed through the time barrier. After they are chased by ugly "Mutates," they are taken in by the declining remnants of human civilization who live underground. It's now 2508 A.D, almost 400 years after an atomic war almost wiped out the human race. John Borden (Hugh Marlowe) falls in love with Garnet (Nancy Gates), daughter of Timmek (Everett Glass), leader of the underground people -- a fact that enrages Mories (Booth Colman), who's always assumed she would someday be his. The scheming Mories tries to turn his people against the space/time travelers, but falls victim to his own nefarious plans. Learning from Deena (Lisa Montell), a servant girl from the surface of Earth, that most people up there are normal though cruelly ruled by the deformed ones, Borden and his friends take on the mutates with modern weaponry and reclaim the Earth for normal humanity. Although this is (surprisingly) the first American feature film to deal with scientific time travel, World Without End is really just another lost-civilization plot, complete with princess, evil grand vizier, and lots of skulking in corridors. There are few imaginative touches -- the giant spiders in particular are pathetic -- and some of the cast isn't very good. But for the period, this is slightly above-average science fiction; the exteriors, shot at the famous Iverson Ranch, have an open, fresh feeling, but the interior sets are unimaginative and routine. The plotline owes more than a little to H.G. Wells' The Time Machine (a lawsuit was filed), which makes the presence of Rod Taylor in the cast (as the hunk from our time) a little ironic, as just a few years later, he starred in George Pal's much-loved movie version of the Wells novel. ~ Bill Warren, All Movie Guide
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    With 'Superman' off the table, is Aronofsky about to tackle 'Wolverine 2'?

    Type: Post | Date: Wednesday, Oct 6, 2010

    What would a superhero sequel mean to the arthouse hero?
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    Box Office: 'End of Watch' and 'House at the End of the Street' tie with $13 million

    Type: Article | Date: Sunday, Sep 23, 2012

    'Perks of Being a Wallflower' blooms in limited release
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    Steven Spielberg to close AFI Fest for a second year in a row with the premiere of 'Lincoln'

    Type: Post | Date: Thursday, Sep 20, 2012

    Gala screening will take place on November 8
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    J.J. Abrams' 'Undercovers' gets an early NBC pickup

    Type: Article | Date: Monday, May 3, 2010

    Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw star in the spy action-comedy
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    Zach Braff follows the 'Veronica Mars' Kickstarter model for next film

    Type: Article | Date: Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013

    'Scrubs' star hopes to raise $2 million for his 'Garden State' follow-up
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    'A Nightmare on Elm Street' scares up $32.2 million, but is it sequel worthy?

    Type: Article | Date: Sunday, May 2, 2010

    Plus: 'Furry Vengeance' barely makes it into the top five with $6.7 million