Donna's Cool Movies

Donna's Cool Movies

Movie and Book Reviews ... Scroll down for more ....

Jan 12, 2004

Down and Dirty Pictures : Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of Independent Film by Peter Biskind  

Down and Dirty Pictures chronicles the rise of independent filmmakers and of the twin engines -- Sundance and Miramax -- that have powered them. As he did in his acclaimed Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, Peter Biskind profiles the people who took the independent movement from obscurity to the Oscars, most notably Sundance founder Robert Redford and Harvey Weinstein, who with his brother, Bob, made Miramax an indie powerhouse. Biskind follows Sundance as it grew from a regional film festival to the premier showcase of independent film, succeeding almost despite the mercurial Redford, whose visionary plans were nearly thwarted by his own quixotic personality. He charts in fascinating detail the meteoric rise of the controversial Harvey Weinstein, often described as the last mogul, who created an Oscar factory that became the envy of the studios, while leaving a trail of carnage in his wake. As in Easy Riders, Biskind's incisive account is loaded with vibrant anecdotes and outrageous stories, all of it blended into a fast-moving narrative. Redford, the Weinsteins, and the directors, producers, and actors Biskind profiles are the people who reinvented Hollywood, making independent films mainstream. But success invariably means compromise, and it remains to be seen whether the indie spirit can survive its corporate embrace.

Hollywood Then and Now by Rosemary Lord - Book 

Celebrating beloved cities from around the world, this book from the Then and Now series offers a unique combination of historic interest and contemporary beauty. Then and Now Hollywood features over 100 fascinating archival photographs contrasted with specially commissioned, full-color images of the same scene today. Each work is a visual lesson in the historic changes of this great urban landscape.

Pictures by Jeff Bridges - Book 

For more than twenty years, on dozens of film sets, Jeff Bridges has perfected his own photography, shooting between takes and behind-the-scenes with a Widelux camera. This fascinating, surprisingly candid body of work began as a personal project, as he recorded the arduous, emotionally intense, evanescent work of the film shoot in books that were privately printed and given as gifts to cast and crew. These are not traditional "Hollywood" pictures, but rather - despite the costumes and lighting, the crowds of extras, the stardom of the subjects - pictures of friends at work. Taken together, the pictures act as Bridges' personal and professional diary, with actors, directors, and crew appearing as coworkers, all equal participants in the job at hand. With a foreword by Peter Bogdanovich and Jeff Bridges' hand-written commentary and captions throughout, Pictures promises to be one of the biggest visual books of the year. Proceeds from Pictures will be donated to The Motion Picture & Television Fun, a non-profit organization that offers charitable care and support to film-industry workers.

The Dream Life: Movies, Media, and the Mythology of the Sixties by J. Hoberman -Book 

In The Dream Life, Village Voice film critic J. Hoberman turns his attention to the 1960s, the era when politics and culture became one. With wildly entertaining reinterpretations of key Hollywood movies (such as Dr. Strangelove, Bonnie and Clyde, The Wild Bunch, and Shampoo), Hoberman reconstructs the hidden political history of 1960s cinema. Meanwhile, against the pageantry of four national elections—1960 to 1972—he describes the formation of America's spectacular, image-laden political culture.

Chaplin: Genius of the Cinema by Jeffrey Vance - Book 

Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977), an immortal of the silver screen, was perhaps the greatest comic genius the world has known. To this day his beloved creation the Tramp remains the most universal representation of humanity in the history of film. Noted film historian and silent-comedy authority Jeffrey Vance has drawn on exhaustive research and interviews with those who knew Chaplin to produce this definitive illustrated account. Composed with full access to the Chaplin family archives, the book chronicles his entire complex life story and his creative process in 500 photographs, many of them rare and recently discovered, newly printed from the original negatives especially for this volume.

Jackie Coogan, the World's Boy King by Diana Serra Cary - Book 

Jackie Coogan, The World's Boy King: A Biography of Hollywood's Legendary Child Star (Filmmakers Series, 100)

Seabiscuit (2003) - DVD 

With superior production values at his disposal, writer-director Gary Ross (Pleasantville) is a bit too reverent toward Laura Hillenbrand's captivating bestseller, unnecessarily using archival material--and David McCullough's familiar PBS-styled narration--to pay Ken Burns-like tribute to Hillenbrand's acclaimed history of Seabiscuit, the knobby-kneed thoroughbred who "came from behind" in the late 1930s to win the hearts of Depression-weary Americans. That caveat aside, Ross's adaptation retains much of the horse-and-human heroism that Hillenbrand so effectively conveyed; this is a classically styled "legend" movie like The Natural, which was also heightened by a lushly sentimental Randy Newman score. Led by Tobey Maguire as Seabiscuit's hard-luck jockey, the film's first-rate cast is uniformly excellent, including William H. Macy as a wacky trackside announcer who fills this earnest film with a much-needed spirit of fun. - Amazon

There's a Girl in My Soup (1970) - DVD 

Peter Sellers has some nice moments early as a famous TV-host twit, whose career as a serial seducer is halted after meeting hippie chick Goldie. It's one double-entendre after another: "You only want one thing," says one of Sellers's conquests. "Yes, but what a lovely thing," he sighs. Seen now, the movie is most fun for its goofy look at the gestalt of swinging London: Sellers' automated bachelor pad was surely an inspiration to the Austin Powers folks, and his checkered beige suit must be seen to be believed.- Amazon

Ship of Fools (1965) - DVD 

In adapting Katherine Anne Porter's acclaimed novel set aboard a German liner sailing from Mexico to Germany, Kramer and screenwriter Abby Mann (who shifted the story from 1931 to 1933) attempted to display the oncoming horror of Nazi Germany in microcosm, as represented by the ship's colorful variety of passengers, including maritally combative artists (George Segal, Elizabeth Ashley); a has-been baseball star (Lee Marvin); a pair of illicit lovers (Oskar Werner, Simone Signoret); a despondent divorcée (Vivien Leigh, shockingly garish in her final film); and several others who play symbolic roles with varying degrees of obviousness. Porter's potent themes are somewhat deflated by Kramer's pompous, heavy-handed approach, but powerful acting remains. Having lost what relevance it had in 1965, Ship of Fools is still fascinating as a showcase for well-drawn characters (including an observant dwarf, played by the late, great Michael Dunn) whose inner lives and outward interactions reflect a turbulent world irrevocably headed for war. - Amazon


12/21/2003 - 12/28/2003   01/04/2004 - 01/11/2004   02/01/2004 - 02/08/2004   08/15/2004 - 08/22/2004   09/19/2004 - 09/26/2004   12/19/2004 - 12/26/2004   03/13/2005 - 03/20/2005   09/24/2006 - 10/01/2006   10/01/2006 - 10/08/2006   10/08/2006 - 10/15/2006   10/15/2006 - 10/22/2006   10/22/2006 - 10/29/2006  

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?