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'Free Willy' Star August Schellenberg Dies Aged 77 After Cancer Battle

August Schellenberg

August Schellenberg, the actor best known for Free Willy, has died after a battle with lung cancer. He was 77.

The Montreal-born actor was half Mohawk and half Swiss-German though mainly played Native American roles including Chief Powhatan in Terrence Malick's 2005 movie The New World, with Christian Bale and Colin Farrell.

Schellenberg's manager Alan Mills said he died at his home in Dallas on Thursday (August 15, 2013). The actor's family has not yet made arrangements for his funeral.

Continue reading: 'Free Willy' Star August Schellenberg Dies Aged 77 After Cancer Battle

The New World Review

Is there a more frustrating living director than Terrence Malick? It's hard to imagine another filmmaker more fantastically talented or more jaw-dropping awful, capable of conjuring scenes of breathtaking cinematic poetry and cringing adolescent pathos within mere seconds of each other. There is nobody in the modern world of cinema even remotely like the ineffable artist who is Malick - but whether that's a good or bad thing is for wiser heads to puzzle out.

Malick ended the silence which followed his fantastic 1970s one-two punch of Badlands and Days of Heaven - airy, wind-swept paeans to wide-open skies and the loneliness that lies like a bruise on the land beneath them - with 1998's star-stuffed adaptation of James Jones' battle epic The Thin Red Line. It would have been the World War II movie to end the century with, but for a little something called Saving Private Ryan, out that same year. Up against Ryan's self-consciously stomach-churning gore and herky-jerky camerawork, not to mention its resolutely action, action, ACTION! pacing, Malick's moony meditation on the thin line (if any) between civilization and savagery couldn't help but come off as impossibly arch. Never mind that Malick's battle scenes were even more vicious and realistic than Spielberg's, given their eschewing of comforting action film tropes in favor of pure hot chaos. A strike (well, several strikes) against Malick was his habit of telling the story via overlapping voiceovers, as each of the characters thinks Big Important Thoughts about life and war and love. By jettisoning Jones' pungent prose, all the characters ended up sounding exactly the same, like Malick just thinking aloud in the sort of white-noise pseudo-philosophical jumble that Godard litters his films with.

Continue reading: The New World Review

Black Robe Review

A Jesuit in a black robe travels to remote 1600s Canada, trying to reach a mission to the Huron tribe deep in the wintry Quebec country. Guided by Algonquins and encountering troublesome Iroquois, our hero as the brush which is used to paint a nuanced picture of historical time few people know very much about. Though the film tends to wander in its latter half, the stunning winter sets and excellent score generally transcend its weaknesses.

Free Willy Review

What won't a boy do for his whale?

Back in 1993, Free Willy became an inexplicable sensation despite its relatively unlikeable lead character Jesse (Jason James Richter) and the fact that the cuddly creature he frees is not cuddly in the slightest.

Continue reading: Free Willy Review

Heavy Metal Review

There wasn't a more seditious movie you could watch as a kid growing up in the 1980s than Heavy Metal, a film that not only relished in its sex, drugs, and rock and roll, but was animated, too. The collection of a handful of hand-drawn sci-fi vignettes are loosely connected by an evil, glowing green ball which tells its story (huh?) to a young girl it soon plans to kill. Some of the stories are funny. Some are gruesome. Some look cool. Some are drawn terribly. All of it amounts to a graphic, guilty pleasure that features a soundtrack from the era's biggest rock groups. And, uh, Stevie Nicks. Anyone from the era will love it, while everyone else simply won't get it at all.

High Noon (2000) Review

If there is a universal law in cinema, it is this: Make a western for cable TV, and Tom Skerritt will come a-running. Doesn't matter if the movie's any good or not, Skerritt is your man.

High Noon, a remake of the 1952 film starring Gary Cooper, puts Skerritt in the role of the now-immortal cop on the eve of his retirement. Newly married, our sheriff hero finds that his arch-enemy (Michael Madsen) has been pardoned by the governer, and he's on his way to the town to exact his revenge. The train arrives at noon... will he stay and fight or run away like the rest of the town?

Continue reading: High Noon (2000) Review

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