Emmy Award-winning movie maverick Daniel Melnick has died after battling lung cancer. He was 77.
The former head of production at MGM and Columbia studios made his name by signing off on bold and often controversial films like Straw Dogs, Network and Making Love.
Paying tribute to the mogul, his protege Sherry Lansing tells the Los Angeles Times newspaper, "He was an extraordinary producer and an extraordinary executive. He always thought out of the box and was never afraid to take a risk."
Melnick was also the brains behind cult TV show Get Smart.
Continue reading: Movie Maverick Melnick Dead At 77
That sword-fighting scene is indicative of the entire movie's attitude. Roxanne is an intelligent, playful flight of fancy, meant to be judged by the merits of its own universe, not the real world. Martin is a brilliant mind and a beautiful writer, and the light touch of his screenplay allows for this story to be set in the "real world," but graces it with such good cheer and unexpected whimsy that this film is like a fairy tale with jokes.
Continue reading: Roxanne Review
Zack (Michael Ontkean) and Claire (Kate Jackson) have a seemingly perfect LA marriage. He's a young doctor on the rise, and she's the kind of TV executive you always see in the movies, ensconced in her large office reading scripts, juggling the fall schedule, and monitoring the three televisions built into the wall. Her big plan: to bring live classic plays back to prime time. (Good luck, Claire!) They've just bought their dream house, and all is right with the world, except...
Continue reading: Making Love Review
On the surface, the movie is the autobiographical story of Fosse going through a physical/emotional breakdown during the making of the original stage version of Chicago in the mid-1970s. Roy Scheider plays the Fosse stand-in, Joe Gideon, as a pill-popping, compulsively womanizing, perfectionist, son of a bitch who finds happiness only in his work. But Fosse rips apart the standard showbiz puff piece right from the start, by dropping viewers right into the frenzied mess of Gideon's life, and mixing up the already-fractured storyline with a recurring sequence where Gideon talks over his life with a glowing, radiant Muse figure (Jessica Lange).
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Dustin Hoffman plays the hero, David Sumner, and at first he seems to be continuing in the string of nebbishy neurotic roles he took previously in The Graduate and Midnight Cowboy. A mild-mannered American college professor, he's arrived in western England with his wife Amy (a brave and brilliant Susan George) so he can have peace and quiet to work on his "astral mathematics." The small town, full of sad stone houses and often cloaked in fog, is where Amy grew up, and she's almost immediately stalked by a passel of alcoholic locals. The film's first five minutes has some virtuosic foreshadowing in it, giving us shots of David and Amy carrying a large and intimidating "mantrap" (basically a man-sized bear trap); tight shots of thuggish locals like Charlie (Del Henney) getting too close to the pair; a shot of Amy's sweatered chest, noticeably bra-less, which will become an important plot point later. Subtly and quickly, Peckinpah announces his three themes: sex, intimidation, and violence. It's gonna be interesting, but it's not gonna be easy to get through.
Continue reading: Straw Dogs Review