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After All The Whining, Quentin Tarantino Will Shoot 'The Hateful Eight'


Quentin Tarantino Michael Madsen Samuel L Jackson Bruce Dern

It seems as though Quentin Tarantino's dispute with Gawker hasn't put him off shooting The Hateful Eight, with sources confirming the cameras will roll in November. Insiders tell Showbiz411 that the cast including Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Dern and Michael Madsen will gather to begin filming in Wyoming.

Quentin TarantinoQuentin Tarantino Is Shooting 'The Hatful Eight'

All three of those actors took part in a recent live-reading of the now infamous "leaked" script, alongside Kurt Russell, James Remar, Amber Tamblyn, Walt Goggins and Zoe Bell. Tarantino's close collaborator Christoph Waltz is not involved in the project, despite his award winning performances in Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained.

Continue reading: After All The Whining, Quentin Tarantino Will Shoot 'The Hateful Eight'

Fancy An Outside Bet On The Oscars? The Nominees With Amazing Odds


Bruce Dern Michael Fassbender Academy Of Motion Pictures And Sciences

Sitting around with a bunch of friends, eating bad (good) food and trying to guess who’s going to win each category is really fun. But putting some money on the proceedings can add to the fun, and it’s only really worth it if you’re going to win big, big money. Here are some rank outsiders with a chance of winning you some Oscars dough.

Nebraska for Best Picture – 250/1

NebraskaBruce Dern is also nominated in the Best Actor category

Continue reading: Fancy An Outside Bet On The Oscars? The Nominees With Amazing Odds

Ahead Of The Oscars, Leonardo DiCaprio Wins Most Googled Male Lead


Leonardo Dicaprio Matthew Mcconaughey Chiwetel Ejiofor Bruce Dern Christian Bale

The Academy Awards are almost upon us and, like any other major event of the past decade, Google Trends are one of the most reliable ways to measure interest in the coming show. This week the trends say one thing: people really care about Leonardo Dicaprio. And by “people”, we mostly mean “North America” since the volume of their Oscar-related searches trumps any other region of the world.

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street Still
DiCaprio may or may not get the Oscars, but he's already captured people's minds/Google searches.

Winner of Golden Globe Award for Best Actor and Academy Award nominee Leonardo DiCaprio is the most popular nominee in the race for Best Actor for the coming Academy Awards. Matthew Mcconaughey comes in second, but it’s not even a close second. The average amount of Google searches for the past 30 days favors DiCaprio over McConaughey by about 24 points. Christian Bale (nominated for American Hustle) is third, with Bruce Dern and Chiwetel Ejiofor tied for last. Leo also pops up as the most searched term, related to the Academy awards. No other actors make the top ten. Ouch.

Continue reading: Ahead Of The Oscars, Leonardo DiCaprio Wins Most Googled Male Lead

Naomi Watts and Bruce Dern - 13th Annual AARP's Movies For Grownups Awards Gala At Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel - Beverly Hills, California, United States - Tuesday 11th February 2014

Naomi Watts and Bruce Dern
Naomi Watts and Bruce Dern
Naomi Watts
Naomi Watts
Naomi Watts and Bruce Dern
Naomi Watts

Quentin Tarantino V Gawker: Director Suing Over 'Hateful Eight' Leak


Quentin Tarantino Bruce Dern

We told you about Quentin Tarantino’s anger and subsequent decision to can The Hateful Eight over a script leak, but now it looks as though the director has finally settled on a guilty party, believing Gawker to be deserved of litigation as he sues the website, according to The BBC.

Quentin TarantinoQuentin Tarantino isn't a happy director

Tarantino was upset that The Hateful Eight appeared on Gawker’s Defamer blog. "There was nothing newsworthy or journalistic about Gawker Media facilitating and encouraging the public's violation of [Tarantino's] copyright in the screenplay, and its conduct will not shield Gawker Media from liability for their unlawful activity," the lawsuit states.

Continue reading: Quentin Tarantino V Gawker: Director Suing Over 'Hateful Eight' Leak

A Week In News: Justin Bieber Arrested For Drunk Drag Racing, 'Gravity,' '12 Years' Tie At PGAs And Shia LaBeouf Does A "Joaquin"


Justin Bieber Shia LaBeouf Quentin Tarantino Nine Inch Nails Lupita Nyong'o Bruce Dern Ice Cube Kevin Hart Gal Gadot

Justin Bieber

Bieber Banged Up For Druggy Drag Racing: Justin Bieber has just had the mother of all terrible fortnights. The recalcitrant popstar was under investigation for a vicious egg attack on his neighbor's home by police who discovered drugs upon raiding Bieber's abode. The 'Baby' singer headed snowboarding with his equally rebellious chums with the threat of deportment looming. The singer was then arrested yesterday for DUI and drag racing in Miami.

Bieber showed what a true hard-ass he really was when police stopped him and he immediately snitched on himself, saying he was drunk and high on weed and prescription medication. The 19 year-old was released from a Miami jail an hour after a Miami judge, set a "standard" $2,500 bond Thursday afternoon. The widely-circulated mugshot shows the fallen star grinning ear-to-ear in his orange prison v-neck, prompting Seth Rogen to brand him "a piece of s**t."

Continue reading: A Week In News: Justin Bieber Arrested For Drunk Drag Racing, 'Gravity,' '12 Years' Tie At PGAs And Shia LaBeouf Does A "Joaquin"

Quentin Tarantino's Scrapped 'Hateful Eight' Would Have Been Bloody 70mm Western


Quentin Tarantino Bruce Dern Michael Madsen Tim Roth Samuel L Jackson Christoph Waltz

Quentin Tarantino has revealed this week that he has shelved his latest movie project, Hateful Eight, after the scripts that he carefully handed out to a trusted few leaked out, bringing unwanted attention to the director. The filmmaker revealed to Deadline that the script, which was still in its embryonic stages, was handed out to the actors he was courting as leads.

Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino Dropped His Latest Script After It Leaked.

The Hateful Eight script was given to six people, including Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern and Tim Roth but was leaked after one of the actors' agents passed it around. Soon after, Tarantino's longtime agent Mike Simpson began getting phone calls from agents looking to pitch their clients for roles in the proto-movie and the furious director felt compelled to shut the whole project down.

Continue reading: Quentin Tarantino's Scrapped 'Hateful Eight' Would Have Been Bloody 70mm Western

Bruce Dern - The 19th Annual Critics' Choice Awards at The Barker Hangar - Arrivals - Los Angeles, California, United States - Thursday 16th January 2014

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Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern

Bruce Dern - The 39th Annual Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards - LA, California, United States - Saturday 11th January 2014

Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern

Bruce Dern and Laura Dern - The Weinstein Company & Netflix 2014 Golden Globes After Party at The Old Trader Vic's at the Beverly Hills Hotel - Beverly Hills, California, United States - Monday 13th January 2014

Bruce Dern and Laura Dern
Bruce Dern and Laura Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern

Bruce Dern - BAFTA Los Angeles Awards Season Tea Party At Four Seasons Hotel - Los Angeles, California, United States - Saturday 11th January 2014

Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern

Bruce Dern - BAFTA 2014 Awards Season Tea Party held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, California 11-1-2014 - Los Angeles, California, United States - Sunday 12th January 2014

Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern

Bruce Dern - Bruce Dern arriving at Los Angeles International Airport - Los Angeles, California, United States - Friday 10th January 2014

Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern

Bruce Dern - 25th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala at Palm Springs Convention Center - Palm Springs, California, United States - Saturday 4th January 2014

Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern

Bruce Dern - 2014 National Board Of Review Awards Gala - Red Carpet Arrivals - Tuesday 7th January 2014

Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern

Bruce Dern - 2014 National Board Of Review Awards Gala - Red Carpet Arrivals - Manhattan, New York, United States - Wednesday 8th January 2014

Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern

Jane Fonda and Bruce Dern - 25th Anniversary Palm Springs International Film Festival held at the Palm Springs Convention Center - Arrivals - Palm Springs, California, United States - Saturday 4th January 2014

Jane Fonda and Bruce Dern
Jane Fonda and Bruce Dern
Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda and Bruce Dern
Jane Fonda and Bruce Dern
Jane Fonda

'Nebraska' Brings Glory To The State, Like Football And Springsteen


Bruce Dern

When the Oscar-winning writer Alexander Payne arrived at a screening and Q&A for Nebraska – his black ‘n white, father ‘n son indie road movie – he wouldn’t have expected a heroes welcome. But that’s exactly what the Nebraska Coast Connection gave him.

Bruce Dern and Will ForteBruce Dern and Will Forte in Nebraska

The NCC is a group of Nebraska-state natives working in the film and TV industry. Brought together by a geographical connection but with a wider goal, catalysed by Nebraska’s considerable role in the entertainment business, the 1000+ group meet monthly.

Continue reading: 'Nebraska' Brings Glory To The State, Like Football And Springsteen

Bruce Dern And Forte Snagged 'Nebraska' Roles, Ahead Of De Niro, Cranston


Bruce Dern Alexander Payne Will Forte Robert De Niro Bryan Cranston

After taking it easy with the breezy yet assured The Descendants, Alexander Payne appears to have gotten back his social bite with Nebraska, his road-movie with a difference starring Bruce Dern and Will Forte.

Bruce Dern Will Forte NebraskaBruce Dern [L] and Will Forte [R] in 'Nebraska'

The black-and-white movie which found considerable acclaim at the festivals follows a tempestuous Missouri father (Dern) who's convinced he's won a million dollar magazine sweepstakes. His son (Forte) grudgingly agrees to drive him to Nebraska to claim his winnings. 

Continue reading: Bruce Dern And Forte Snagged 'Nebraska' Roles, Ahead Of De Niro, Cranston

'Nebraska' Set To Take '12 Years A Slave' To The Wire At The Oscars?


Bruce Dern Will Forte

As Nebraska finishes up its festival run – the last is today in Slovenia at the Ljubljana International Film Festival – and the dust settles on the last few reviews to be filed, we get a pretty good idea of the overall critical reception. And Nebraska’s is good.

Bruce Dern and Will ForteBruce Dern and Wil Forte in Nebraska

The story sees cranky old geezer Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) get found walking to Nebraska by his son (Will Forte). He’s taking the mammoth trek in search of the $1m promised to him by a sweepstakes-marketing prize.

Continue reading: 'Nebraska' Set To Take '12 Years A Slave' To The Wire At The Oscars?

Bruce Dern and Andrea Beckett - Nebraska Screening at AFI Fest - Los Angeles, California, United States - Tuesday 12th November 2013

Bruce Dern and Andrea Beckett
June Squibb and Bruce Dern
June Squibb and Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern and Andrea Beckett
Bruce Dern
Bruce Dern

Bruce Dern - The 51st New York Film Festival held at the Film Society of Lincoln Center - Press Conference. Bruce Dern talks about his new movie 'Nebraska' - New York City, New York, United States - Tuesday 8th October 2013

Bruce Dern

Geoffrey Rush and Bruce Dern - Mill Valley Film Festival 2013 - Opening Night - San Francisco, United States - Thursday 3rd October 2013

Geoffrey Rush and Bruce Dern
Geoffrey Rush and Mark Fishkin
Geoffrey Rush
Geoffrey Rush
Sophie Nelisse and Geoffrey Rush

A Week In Movies: Slavery Drama Wins In Toronto, Gordon-Levitt Makes Filmmaking Debut, Diana Hits UK


Steve McQueen Michael Fassbender Chiwetel Ejiofor Brad Pitt Benedict Cumberbatch Joseph Gordon-Levitt Scarlett Johansson Naomi Watts Nicole Kidman Alexander Payne Bruce Dern Robert De Niro Sylvester Stallone Emily Browning

12 years a slave

As the Toronto Film Festival wrapped up earlier this week, 12 Years a Slave, the new film from Steve McQueen (Shame), took home the top prize, which makes it the frontrunner for Oscar nominations. It stars Michael Fassbender, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brad Pitt and Benedict Cumberbatch. Read more about the win here.

One of the festival's most talked-about films was Don Jon, the writing-directing debut of actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays a womanising gym-obsessive who meets his match in the feisty Scarlett Johansson. Both actors were on hand for the film's gala New York premiere this week. Here's a video of Scarlett Johansson at the event and in this video you can see director/actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt at the event.

Continue reading: A Week In Movies: Slavery Drama Wins In Toronto, Gordon-Levitt Makes Filmmaking Debut, Diana Hits UK

Chasing $1m In 'Nebraska' - Pure Black & White Suave [Trailer]


Will Forte Bruce Dern

Everything about the Nebraska trailer screams charming, except it’s so charming it doesn’t scream it; it just slowly and assertively says it in a cool American accent.

Bruce Dern and Will ForteBruce Dern and Wil Forte in Nebraska

Story: Woody Grant is an old boy, unassuming, set in his ways and partial to a drink or two. He’s not privy to the luxurious side of life. Although he’s never really experienced it, but when $1m is promised to him via a marketing company talking about a huge sweepstakes prize, he sets his mind to claiming his money.

Continue reading: Chasing $1m In 'Nebraska' - Pure Black & White Suave [Trailer]

Nebraska Trailer


Woody Grant is an alcohol-swigging old man who's never had much in the way of luxury over his long life, but when he receives a letter from a marketing company about a huge sweepstakes prize, he believes that things are about to change for good. Thus, he starts to travel by foot from Billings, Montana to Lincoln, Nebraska in order to claim his $1 million award, accompanied by his supportive but extremely sceptical son David who believes it's all a scam. Along the way, they meet various relatives and old friends of Woody desperate for a piece of his wealth as the gossip spreads around the neighbouring towns like wildfire. Some are interested in being paid back with interest, and Woody's about to see just how far his debts spread.

Continue: Nebraska Trailer

Laura Dern and Bruce Dern - 66th Cannes Film Festival - 'Nebraska' - Premiere - Cannes, France - Friday 24th May 2013

Laura Dern and Bruce Dern
Laura Dern and Bruce Dern
Laura Dern
Laura Dern and Bruce Dern
Laura Dern

Jack Nicholson and Bruce Dern - Celebrities at the Lakers game Los Angeles California United States Thursday 17th January 2013

Jack Nicholson and Bruce Dern
Jack Nicholson and Bruce Dern

Bruce Dern and Emmy Awards Friday 16th September 2011 63rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards Cocktail Reception Honoring Nominees for Outstanding Performances held at Spectra by Wolfgang Puck at the Pacific Design Center West Hollywood, California

Bruce Dern and Emmy Awards
Bruce Dern and Emmy Awards

Grace Zabriskie, Bruce Dern and Bill Paxton - Grace Zabriskie, Bruce Dern & Bill Paxton Agoura Hills, California - at the 12th annual method film festival screening of The Lightkeepers during which the Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Bruce Dern Monday 29th March 2010

Grace Zabriskie, Bruce Dern and Bill Paxton
Grace Zabriskie
Grace Zabriskie
Bill Paxton and Grace Zabriskie
Grace Zabriskie

The Cake Eaters Review


Weak
The Cake Eaters reminds me of what an IFC Original Soap Opera might look like. All of the characters are loosely interconnected in some non-specific small-town setting, and the individual stories so deliberately exist on separate planes that the film can never possibly attain coherence. It is episodic, melodramatic, and oddly tepid -- all of the emotions seem propelled by the disingenuous desire to make an Enlightening Indie Drama. Surely the film wants to be a thoughtful, profound emo-weepie, but it contains all the insight of a Hallmark Movie of the Week.

The film tells the very simple story of how three generations of men deal with the death of one woman, their mother (for two) and wife (for one). Aaron Stanford is the twentysomething slacker who works in a high school cafeteria and is very protective of his deceased mom. Bruce Dern plays the aging father who carries on a long-term affair with a local shopkeeper (Elizabeth Ashley). Jayce Bartok is the elder son, a struggling musician who returns home when he hears the sad news, apparently just to look morose as he walks around town.

Continue reading: The Cake Eaters Review

The Golden Boys Review


Bad
Daniel Adams' The Golden Boys has nothing to do with the Emmy-winning sitcom The Golden Girls (sorry, mom). In no way is it a masculine spin-off that replaces sassy-talking Bea Arthur, Betty White, and Rue McClanahan with Rip Torn, David Carradine, and Bruce Dern.

Yet there are similarities worth mentioning. Both rest on characters tolerating their "golden" years. And both offer television-sized entertainment.

Continue reading: The Golden Boys Review

The Hard Easy Review


Weak
Jon Lindstrom must have thought he was on to the gimmick of the century when he sat down to write The Hard Easy: Two separate gangs plan a diamond theft that goes down at the same time. One gang shows up, only to find the other's already working the job. Now that's an "oh snap!" moment.

And hey, it's not a bad idea. The problem is that The Hard Easy doesn't have any other ideas to sustain the other 95 minutes that don't involve the two gangs facing off. Director Ari Ryan practically admits this from the start. He opens with a snippet of the botched heist, then flashes back to how we got there, then we see the heist in all its glory. Those are some rocky times, alas. Try as he might to make Henry Thomas's lovable loser Paul into the hero we're supposed to root for, it doesn't really pan out. Thomas is a terrible choice for the role, in the end, a whiny loser and a bit of a jerk (and on the hook for countless gambling debts) that deserves what he has coming. The schlub on the other team: David Boreanaz, an odd choice who has substantially less screen time than Thomas but does little with what he gets.

Continue reading: The Hard Easy Review

The Astronaut Farmer Review


Very Good
The Astronaut Farmer taught me that, according to the Polish brothers, I am a dream-crushing non-believer. And all things considered, I am just fine with that.

The overly cutesy name refers to a man who is both a farmer and named Farmer (Billy Bob Thornton), a rancher in a small Texas town who never gave up his youthful dreams of becoming an astronaut, and so continues pursuing them in his spare time. Out in his barn, he's spent years building a rocket out of salvaged parts in order to finally get himself into outer space. Farmer's entire family revolves around his dream: His 15-year-old son runs mission control, his adorable little girls play moon games, and his family ranch is mortgaged to the hilt to pay for it.

Continue reading: The Astronaut Farmer Review

On The Edge (1985) Review


Good
For 100 years, the Dipsea has been one of running's most grueling races -- seven miles along unpaved forest trails from inland to the Pacific Ocean in Mill Valley, California, going up and down two mountains en route.

On the Edge uses the Dipsea (here called the Cielo Sea) as the backdrop for this sports fable, and it's a far cry from films like Chariots of Fire. Bruce Dern (himself a real runner) stars as Wes Holman, a disgraced athlete who blew the whistle on amateur payola and ended up taking the fall for it. Despite external pressures and being a little out of shape, Holman trains for the race, the reasons and motivations of which form the core of the movie.

Continue reading: On The Edge (1985) Review

Big Love: Season One Review


Very Good
In its first season, Big Love was often summarily referred to as "the polygamy show." True enough, but as with many of HBO's finer offerings, it offers more than meets the eye. And the expectations. While Big Love doesn't deliver the consistency or tension many HBO fans enjoy in The Sopranos, there's enough in this bizarre drama to support a solid DVD-viewing addiction.

From the first notes of The Beach Boys' "God Only Knows" ringing under an otherworldly opening credit sequence, Big Love hints at a combination of somber connection and sincere personal adoration. At the center is Bill Henrickson (Bill Pullman), an ambitious home superstore owner who lives a clean, Utah Mormon life... along with his three wives and gaggle of kids.

Continue reading: Big Love: Season One Review

Down In The Valley Review


Good

Harlan Carruthers is a blissful cowboy, all scuffed boots, aw-shucks mannerisms, and a negligent sort of sensuality. He's lightening-quick with his twin single-shot Colts and loves nothing more than riding his horse to the highest hill around and surveying the beauty of the landscape.

He's also a walking anachronism, because Down in the Valley is a modern-day tale, and the title refers to the overbuilt suburbia that is the San Fernando Valley, the land of crowded freeways and chain stores that marks the northern reaches of Los Angeles. But Harlan, played by Edward Norton, swaggers through, contentedly out of place, until he catches sight of Tobe (Evan Rachel Wood), a teenage nymph who pulls into the service station where Harlan works as she is on the way to the beach with her giggling friends. It's unclear why the group dismisses Harlan as out-of-place instead of in fashion, but Tobe is as instantly taken with him as he is with her, and he quits his job to catch his first sight of the ocean with her.

Continue reading: Down In The Valley Review

Walker Payne Review


Weak
A fan of the film Walker Payne said she found it surprising, since everything about it seemed so different than what you'd expect from its director and co-writer Matt Williams, a TV scribbler who wrote for The Cosby Show and Roseanne before committing the crime of creating Home Improvement. On the surface of it, you'd think she was right, after all, the film is a hardscrabble period drama set in a small mining town, where the main character is forced into difficult circumstances in order to get his kids back from his harpy of a divorced wife. Although the subject matter might seem grimmer than Williams' standard TV fare - excepting perhaps Roseanne, which had its darker moments - it's unfortunately really just a shaggy dog story about a loveable loser who gets in over his head. At least there's an actual dog of not inconsiderable charisma.

The dog in question belongs to the titular Walker Payne (Jason Patric), who's the resident rogue of his little Illinois burg. Laid off from the coal mine at the film's opening, Walker kicks about for some other way of getting by, biding his time in the local watering hole, racking up more notches on his bedpost, and generally charming the pants off everyone - with the exception of the ex-wife (Drea de Matteo), who hates him with a near volcanic passion. Williams was smart enough to give such so much of the film over Patric, a generally underused performer who can slip into moroseness if not nudged out of his corner. The early stretches of the film are concerned with little else but Walker and his dog as they scrounge about town, and it's actually not half bad considering how little is going on. But then the plot starts to kick in, along with the problems.

Continue reading: Walker Payne Review

Black Sunday (1977) Review


Excellent
If the plot of Black Sunday seems familiar, that's probably because you're remembering the wholesale rip-off it was given by The Sum of All Fears just a year ago. But Sunday is immensely better. If you've seen the latter but not the original, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

The story has since been done to death: terrorist group plans to cause massive carnage, this time at the Super Bowl by blowing up the Good Year Blimp overhead. But Black Sunday is distinguished by its unique focus not on the hero but on the villain: Bruce Dern as an angry Vietnam vet, pilot, and former prisoner of war. He holds a grudge against the U.S. like you wouldn't believe (brainwashed? shellshocked?): Enough to convince him to join forces with a Palestinian militant group called Black September. It doesn't help that he's just plain crazy. Even the Black September operatives are a little afraid of what he might do.

Continue reading: Black Sunday (1977) Review

All The Pretty Horses Review


Weak
All the Pretty Horses reminds me of a bad comedian telling a joke. He begins with an awful set-up and takes forever introducing the characters. If you're lucky, he stumbles into the narrative within five minutes. By the time he's arrived at the punch line, you don't care. You've forgotten the setup altogether.

Billy Bob Thornton's latest film, which examines a Texas cowboy trying to find his dreams in 1949 Mexico, is a tale I might have been interested in. But like that lousy comedian, Thornton's delivery positively stinks. And, what's worse, I couldn't find the punch line anywhere.

Continue reading: All The Pretty Horses Review

They Shoot Horses, Don't They? Review


Excellent
I didn't get what all the fuss was over. Dance marathons? A couple of hours of the charleston and eventually everyone quits, right?

Wrong. They Shoot Horses, Don't They? is set in the real dance marathon world of the Great Depression, when people were willing to do anything for a buck. Even if that means staying on your feet for 1,200 hours or more, with a few rest periods along the way. That's nearly two months. Dancing.

Continue reading: They Shoot Horses, Don't They? Review

Smile Review


Very Good
The film references tend to term it "overlooked," but there are many of us who never forgot the wonderful comedy Smile from its theatrical release in 1975. '75 was a great year for movies, and it could be that Smile, like the fresh-faced competitors that populate it, just faced some really rough competition that year; maybe, in the company of Nashville, The Story of Adèle H., One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Dog Day Afternoon, Grey Gardens, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and so on, this relatively modest beauty fades into the wallpaper. Maybe its comparatively adult wit would get lost among the frantic adolescence of screen comedy in any year. Whatever the reason, it's a pleasure to welcome back a really funny and distinctively American satire, now available on DVD.

Smile charts the progress of a round of finals for the fictitious Young American Miss pageant being held in Santa Rosa, California. The civic force behind this event is a community-minded car salesman named Big Bob Freelander (Bruce Dern), a yokel with good intentions, an abiding optimism, and an inexhaustible reserve of clichéd bromides about the importance of a positive attitude. Brenda DiCarlo (Barbara Feldon) acts as pageant coordinator and den mother to the young contestants; her husband Andy's suicidal tendencies are exacerbated, rather than quelled, by all the forced goodwill she radiates and by the pageant's general, bright, can-do American vibe. Big Bob, especially, finds this mystifying - what on Earth is there to be blue about in a land of such copious opportunity and beautiful young women such as ours? - and the best advice he can muster for his desperate friend is to "go out there and have some fun."

Continue reading: Smile Review

The Driver Review


Very Good
No names. Literally. The Driver is one of those films where no character's name is ever given, and its too-cool-for-school sentiment bleeds through the entire production. Ryan O'Neal is the title character, a heist getaway driver with mad skills like you wouldn't believe. (The scene where he proves his merit in a parking garage -- all but demolishing the ride along the way -- is worth the price of admission alone.) Sadly, there's a plot attached to this, with Bruce Dern the cop who's always one frustrating step behind the driver, but this movie excels so greatly during its chase scenes that you'll forget about all that business.

Diggstown Review


Good
Hardly awful, Diggstown combines two of my favorite movie elements: boxing and con games. Woods and Dern make well-matched hustlers, outdoing one another over a bet as to whether an aging boxer (Gossett) can beat ten local men in the boxing ring inside of 24 hours. Throw in an early Heather Graham appearance and I'll go the distance with this one.

The Wild Angels Review


Terrible
Hell's Angels maraud California until one of their pals (Bruce Dern) bites it. Then his Nazi funeral turns ugly. That's the sum of it. Peter Fonda, Nancy Sinatra, and Diane Ladd can't save this pile of junk, a train wreck of epic proportions. It manages to be exploitative, lifeless, and boring at the same time! Truly, one of the most awful movies ever made, despite its pedigree (Venice Film Festival, Peter Bogdonavich rewrite, banned in Denmark, etc.).

Silent Running Review


Good
Bizarre to the point of cult classicality, Douglas Trumbull's Silent Running is often so bad it's good but never quite so good that you forget (and forgive) those missteps.

Starring Bruce Dern, the film takes place in the far future, after Earth has wiped out its ecosystem and has sent its forests into space aboard enormous greenhouse spaceships. All is well until the order comes in to blow up the greenhouse and return to earth, which drives ultra-greenie Freeman Lowell (Dern) to desperate measures -- namely, killing off his crewmates and trying to escape undetected with the ship into deep space.

Continue reading: Silent Running Review

The Haunting (1999) Review


Bad
Some houses should never be visited. And some movies should never be remade. The Haunting represents both of those tenets.

A loose remake of the 1963 Haunting, this version gives us a creepy haunted house and four hapless people to populate it. Chief among them is Eleanor (Taylor), a real wacko who believes there are children's spirits in the house that speak to her. And she's right! Wow, original! And hey kids, the sexy Zeta-Jones plays a bisexual in the movie! Oooooh, scandalous! (Sarcasm, people.)

Continue reading: The Haunting (1999) Review

On The Edge (1985) Review


Good
For 100 years, the Dipsea has been one of running's most grueling races -- seven miles along unpaved forest trails from inland to the Pacific Ocean in Mill Valley, California, going up and down two mountains en route.

On the Edge uses the Dipsea (here called the Cielo Sea) as the backdrop for this sports fable, and it's a far cry from films like Chariots of Fire. Bruce Dern (himself a real runner) stars as Wes Holman, a disgraced athlete who blew the whistle on amateur payola and ended up taking the fall for it. Despite external pressures and being a little out of shape, Holman trains for the race, the reasons and motivations of which form the core of the movie.

Continue reading: On The Edge (1985) Review

The Glass House Review


Very Good
People who live in glass houses... better not have much to hide. Because sooner or later, you'll get caught with your pants down, leaving everything hanging out for everyone to see.

The Glass House stars everyone's favorite Helen Hunt clone, Leelee Sobieski, as half of a sister-brother duo who move in with family friends after the untimely deaths of their parents. Little does she know that her new guardian's motives are less than altruistic and it's up to her to protect herself and her brother.

Continue reading: The Glass House Review

Support Your Local Sheriff! Review


Very Good
"It's bad enough to have to kill a man, without having to listen to a lot of stupid talk from him first." James Garner adapts his Maverick persona to this western-comedy, a clever and deftly-dialogued story about a blase gunfighter who takes the job of sheriff in a rough-and-tumble town simply for the money. Good thing he's an excellent shot and even better with a pistol. It's a clever spoof with some dry moments, but overall it's one of the old west's better comedies.

Milwaukee, Minnesota Review


Weak
Director Allan Mindel's debut feature, Milwaukee, Minnesota, doesn't draw you in so much as remind you of movies already seen. The movie, scripted by R.D. Murphy, feels like a soulless mishmash of thriller, melodrama, and love story elements, all of them fastened together by direction that co-opts the styles and sensibilities of contemporary "indie" cinema.

From the outset, the movie bumbles into genre territory inhabited by superior specimens like John Dahl's Red Rock West, Sam Raimi's A Simple Plan, and the Coens' Fargo. Images of wintry fields and desolate small-town streets -- not to mention a moody minimalist score that feels directly indebted to Thomas Newman's music for American Beauty -- puts us in a mind for an existential fable, something those aforementioned movies delivered by way of complex characters nursing pent-up desires and grievances. Mindell and Murphy provide us with a potentially interesting collection of ne'er-do-wells, dreamers, and saps. But their material is too shallow to allow any of their creations to function as more than cogs in the story's clockwork plotting. And, for a movie that references setting in its very title (more for its cultural implications than for geographic accuracy), Milwaukee, Minnesota's sense of place feels as arbitrary as its characterizations, never venturing beyond the stale stereotypes of the provincial Midwest.

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Madison Review


Terrible
Four years of dust, mold, and caked-on grime have collected around Madison, a sleep-inducing yarn produced way back in 2001. Why then is MGM picking this relic off the shelves for theatrical distribution? We'll never know.

Madison is based on a true story, though not a very good one, about an underdog Indiana-based power boat racing team led by Jim McCormick (James Caviezel), his impressionable son, Mike (Jake Lloyd), and their affable crew. In 1971, faced with overwhelming odds, the Madison squad raised $50,000 and hosted the sport's year-end Gold Cup event, a televised race that brought tremendous exposure and drive to their cash-strapped mill town.

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Down Periscope Review


Bad
The horrors of a genre needing a spoof that got a nutty Kelsey Grammer comedy... in this wacky, comic submarine adventure the funniest bit is Lauren Holly finding that her clothes have been shrunk. Yes, I think I can hear you not laughing, right now.

The King Of Marvin Gardens Review


Good
Frequent Jack Nicholson director Bob Rafelson turns in this oddball -- and sad -- movie about two brothers, one a radio DJ (Nicholson) and one a drifting low-level mobster (Bruce Dern). Nicholson's character gets reluctantly drawn into his scheme in Atlantic City, where Dern is trying to finance the purchase of an island off the coast of Hawaii, where he plans to build a dream resort. Don't bet on it. Depressingly set along Atlantic City's infamous boardwalk, the movie closely resembles, oddly enough, Louis Malle's Atlantic City. Memorable performances from the players, including Ellen Burstyn as a psychotic girlfriend of Dern's.

All The Pretty Horses Review


OK

In directing "All the Pretty Horses," a romantic homage to the great American cowboy epic, Billy Bob Thornton adheres honorably to the code of the Western and emerges with a familiar and satisfying -- if not entirely memorable -- eulogy to a lifestyle that rode off into the sunset some time last century.

The film takes place in 1949 and follows a handsome young rancher, played with surprising 10-gallon-hat credibility by Matt Damon (he says "I reckon" like he means it), who clings to the cowboy way as he tries to find a new life in Mexico after losing his family's long-time homestead.

"Come to find out, Mama means to sell it," Damon narrates in a flawless Texas drawl. "Says the oil company will pay her three times what it's worth."

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The Haunting Review


Weak

Sooner or later, somebody had to make a super-spectacular CGI horror movie. I suppose it might as well be Jan DeBont, the guy who helped pioneer the F/X-over-substance, computer-generated blockbuster with his second movie, "Twister."

But lest he be mistaken for a director with any sense of moderation, DeBont lets his Intel-inside ghosts and goblins run rampant and unchecked in "The Haunting" -- a neo-classic horror remake with special effects so distractingly, excessively cool that you'll completely forget to be scared.

The plot of "The Haunting" -- that an unethical psychology prof (Liam Neeson) doing a study in fear bunks a trio of volunteer insomniacs at a haunted house under the guises of a sleep study -- is ridiculous and practically irrelevant against the backdrop of the manically over-decorated Xanadu in which hundreds of iron-cast, zombie-eyed cherubs, lions and deformed human sculptures morph to life and terrorize the cast.

Continue reading: The Haunting Review

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