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Entries in Robert Zemeckis (12)

Friday
Apr212017

OTD: Annie, John Cameron Mitchell, and Field of Dreams

On this day (April 21st) in history as it relates to showbiz...

Anthony Quinn

1904 Oscar winning cinematographer Daniel L Fapp (West Side Story and Desire Under the Elms, among many films) born in Kansas City

1914 Cinematographer Gilbert Taylor born in England. Though he was BAFTA nominated Oscar never bit despite high profile films and collaborations with famous directors. Credits include: Repulsion, The Omen, Dr Strangelove, Star Wars, Frenzy, Dracula (1979) and MacBeth 

1915 Oscar's all time favorite Mexican actor Anthony Quinn born (Lust for Life, Viva Zapata, Wild is the Wind, Zorba the Greek, La Strada, etcetera)

1918 "The Red Baron," the famous German fighter pilot, shot down in World War I. Snoopy in Peanuts fantasizes about him repeatedly and he's also been a character in many films including Wings, Hell's Angels, and Darling Lili 

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Nov262016

Review: Allied's Old School Beauty

by Eric Blume

The lovely opening image of Robert Zemeckis’ new film Allied has Brad Pitt falling slowly and soundlessly into the North African desert via parachute.  As he walks across the spine of an endlessly long sand dune, the film evokes the luxurious opening of The English Patient and of course the granddaddy of desert films, Lawrence of Arabia.  And Pitt’s arrival into Casablanca, Morocco tees up memories of the Bogart-Bergman classic.  Zemeckis positions us exactly where he wants us to be:  open to the possibility of the pleasures of those highly-romantic, old-school pictures that we truly don’t see anymore...

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Thursday
Aug252016

1984: The Sexiness of "Romancing the Stone"

We're celebrating the cinematic year of 1984 this month. Here's Chris Feil on Romancing the Stone...

One of 1984's biggest hits was Romancing the Stone, a quippy twist on a harlequin romance dressed up as a jungle adventure. The film was the first big box office success for director Robert Zemeckis, though he only ever fleetingly matched Stone's glee for the sexy - it's almost odd that this film comes from a director who's film are often mostly crotchless.

But more importantly, Stone gifted us with the first cinematic gold pairing of Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas. The duo is perfectly matched for their complimentary wits and evident sex appeal, resulting in both sequel The Jewel of the Nile and The War of the Rose before the decade's end. They may have had more overt steaminess elsewhere (see: Body Heat and Fatal Attraction, et al.), but even this film's PG rating can't contain their fireworks together.

The blend of grand adventure, slapstick humor, and loin-grabbing passion begs the question "Why does sex at the movies always have to be so damn serious?" So in honor of the Stone's hot fun:

TEN OF THE SEXIEST MOMENTS...

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Monday
Aug152016

Beauty Break: Cotillard & Pitt in 'Allied'

Manuel here. Have you guys seen the sweeping, swoon-worthy teaser trailer for Robert Zemeckis' Allied? If nothing else, it shows us that Zemeckis understands that Marion Cotillard and Brad Pitt are timeless movie stars whose faces deserve all the beautiful costumes and close-ups they get. The entire trailer is giving me Casablanca vibes even if I'm still unsure what the hell is going on other than these two look like they walked out of a 1940s war film.

Rather than do a regular YNMS for the trailer, I wanted to leave you with 8 moments from the teaser that made me gay gasp...

Cotillard in period garb will never get old. And that red lipstick? Divine...

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Saturday
Oct032015

NYFF: Voilà... "The Walk"

Nathaniel reporting from NYFF 53 though this movie is now in IMAX theaters and next week wide for all y'all. This piece was original published in a shorter version in my column @ Towleroad

The Walk  begins in mid air with a jaunty circus-like score from composer Alan Silvestri accompanying the clouds. Our birds-eye view is quickly revealed as just above Manhattan, perched on no less a tourist icon than the Statue of Liberty. That we’re looking at something purely presentational is abundantly clear as crinkly-eyed Joseph Gordon-Levitt makes his first appearance, smiling and speaking directly to the camera. And he speaks with a cartoon French accent to boot. (To be fair to JGL, many real French people sound like cartoon people when they speak English. This is meant as a compliment because who doesn’t love cartoons and/or French accents?). What’s more, at least to these only super-marginally trained ears (I watch a lot of French movies and I took French in high school –that’s the extent of it!) JGL’s actual French sounds impeccable in his subtitled scenes with French co-stars.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt's adorableness can be so distracting? Is that why filmmakers keep trying to make him look not so much like Joseph Gordon-Levitt? We already know he can sing / dance / act and in this film he juggles and wirewalks and speaks fluent French. Is there anything he can’t do? 

Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s adorableness can be so distracting! Let’s get back on topic...

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Friday
Jul312015

Tim's Toons: Auteurs and animation

Tim here. This week brought us the roll-out of the Venice Film Festival lineup, including one animated film, and it's a biggie. Charlie Kaufman's sophomore directorial work and first project of any kind since 2008, Anomalisa, is also his first foray into animation: it's a stop-motion feature for adults, on the same topics of loneliness and frustration that Kaufman has mined for his whole career. In celebration of the Venice announcement, the studio released the first still image from the movie, from which it is possible to draw no conclusions whatsoever.

Kaufman is the latest in a recent trend of established filmmakers dipping their toes into the world of animation. So in his honor, I'd like to share this capsule history of some of his predecessors, who made the jump into a new medium to see what they could do outside of the confines of live-action.

Richard Linklater: Waking Life (2001) & A Scanner Darkly (2006)

Using a brand new form of computer-aided rotoscoping to paint over videotaped footage with bright, unreal colors and subdued realism alike, Waking Life took Linklater's established gift for capturing moments in the lives of a huge ensemble, and amped it up. Instead of the laid-back Austin of Slacker, the setting here is the human subconscious, where the director's characteristic musings on all the little moments that happen in the gaps between plot are transformed into surreal explosions of psychologically loaded imagery. It's a great marriage of form and content, which is less true of A Scanner Darkly, a Philip K. Dick adaptation that's much more consistent and sober in its style, save for a few reality-bending moments. Still, kudos to Linklater for recognizing that a thin veneer of digitally heightened reality would create a more receptive mood for the story's druggy weirdness.

Robert Zemeckis: The Polar Express (2004), Beowulf (2007) & A Christmas Carol (2009)

Now that Zemeckis's dream of a perpetual machine of motion-capture films has fizzled out and died- nope, I still can't bring myself to say anything nice about his trilogy of dead-eyed humanoids pantomiming great works of literature, or paying obeisance to their terrifying zombie Santa-god. But we must concede that the films fall squarely in line with Zemeckis's career-wide interest in using the newest tools available (in addition to mo-cap, The Polar Express was the first film in the present 3D era) to find fresh ways into classical storytelling. That technology wasn't up to his ambitions is lamentable, but we can at least defend the films' rich fantasy design and-

Oh God, no, that's still just completely hideous.

Wes Anderson: Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

The clearest precursor to Kaufman's new film, Anderson's translation of his shadow-box aesthetic into shaggy, '70s-style stop motion animation netted him a Best Animated Feature Oscar nomination and rejuvenated his career: his subsequent return to live action in Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel won him better reviews and box-office than he'd had for years. Still, there's nothing quite like seeing his world-building turned towards literal dioramas in which every square centimeter can be designed precisely to order. It's fussy as it gets, but perfectly matched to the intricacy of the caper narrative, and the arch tone with which Roald Dahl's children's classic is brought to life.

Zack Snyder: The Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (2010)
Copious, unnecessary slow-motion, a preposterous fetish for military grandeur, overblown and idiotic internal mythology, dialogue that strives for weightiness and lands in shallow pomposity. Look, just because somebody's an auteur, that doesn't mean they have to be good at it. But hey, the owls look nice.