All posts tagged: Robert Redford

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Blu-ray Review: “All the President’s Men: Two Disc Special Edition”

To commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Watergate break-in and the ensuing political scandal that lead to the disgrace and resignation of Richard Nixon, Warner Brothers is releasing this special two disc Blu-ray edition of All the President’s Men. The film, based on the bestselling book by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, was a commercial and critical success upon its release in 1976.  Winner of four Academy Awards, including Best Adapted Screenplay (William Goldman) and Best Supporting Actor (Jason Robards), All the President’s Men remains, in my mind, the standard by which all modern political thrillers are measured. Director Alan Pakula, having previously worked on two paranoid classics, Klute and The Parallax View, turned what could have been a dry story about two newspaper men into a gripping nail biter. Were Woodward and Bernstein’s lives ever really in danger? The film certainly leads us to believe that by creating a mood of dread and paranoia that has you on the edge of your seat. It helps that Pakula and the cast were …

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10 Movies…That Are Insane Adaptations of Famous Books (To Prepare You For the New ‘Great Gatsby’)

I haven’t seen The Great Gatsby yet, but I can tell already that it just doesn’t add up. The production seems to have missed the point—it’s not about the glitz and glamor and pop songs—it’s about the death of dreams and the danger of being a complete and total sellout, ironically enough. Here are 10 other literary adaptations that were kind of out of control. His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass (2007) When you adapt a children’s fantasy novel about goin’ off to kill God, you kind of have to tone that down for the multiplex audiences, and put a lot of polar bears on the promo materials. The Great Gatsby (1974) It’s happened before! Gatsby (Robert Redford) is a leering douchebag who is still in love with Daisy, and we can’t understand why, because Mia Farrow plays her as a hysteric gasbag. And while Luhrmann’s adaptation seems to favor color and sparkles, this movie is just a sea of white and a celebration of nostalgia—ironic for a book known for its color symbolism and …

Basement Songs: “The Sting” Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Long before I knew who Paul Newman and Robert Redford were, before I understood what a long con was or even what a hooker did, I knew of Scott Joplin, Marvin Hamlisch and the music of The Sting. The soundtrack LP to the 1973 Academy Award winning film was amongst the collection of records housed in the stereo unit that sat in our living room, growing up. That immense piece of furniture could be heard playing The Sting soundtrack on any given day when I was a boy. Later, we had the piano music, too, although I never learned to play any of the songs, despite my seven years of piano lessons. My mom could play it, quite well, actually. Mom’s an excellent piano player, although she would deny it. George Roy Hill’s movie, written by David S. Ward, employed several Joplin songs that Hamilsch arranged specifically for the film. The film is set in the 1930’s, long after Joplin’s ragtime music was out of style, but somehow it works for the film. It definitely …

DVD Review: Robert Redford in “Downhill Racer”

After a more than a decade in Hollywood 33-year-old Robert Redford broke through as a major star in 1969’s smash hit Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. But he had two other key roles that year. One was in Tell Them Willie Boy is Here, a Western whose social consciousness is embedded in his multi-hyphenate career. The other, Downhill Racer, defines a facet of his screen personality, and has received the Criterion Collection treatment on standard DVD. Outside of Butch Cassidy and The Sting, Redford has always been one of the most introspective stars—not for him the more declarative, chest-beating style of Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, or other actors of his remarkable generation. He’s inwards, not outwards. Cautious—and, in the eyes of some critics, vague, or timid. (Brad Pitt, the star of Redford’s A River Runs Through It and co-star in Spy Game, was once called “the new Robert Redford,” but it’s as difficult to imagine Redford appearing in True Romance, Twelve Monkeys, and Inglourious Basterds as it is thinking of Pitt …

Sugar Water: Jesus $aves

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops recently offered its one cent to married couples struggling through the current recession. (It used to offer two, of course, but everybody’s cutting back these days.) On its For Your Marriage website the USCCB lists “Ten Cheap Dates” that won’t cost you and your spouse an arm and a leg, which, incidentally, will be the new currency once the federal government runs out of bailout money and is forced to shut down the U.S. Mint. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Here are some of the website’s date ideas: “Tech-free” night. Turn off your cell phones, computer, the TV, and the lights. See what’s left to do without electricity. Sing old songs, have a pillow fight, recount stories of how you met, plan for the future. I’m not married, but if my girlfriend, Aimiee, and I were to turn off the lights and “see what’s left to do,” I doubt it’d be a pillow fight, which is a dangerous thing to do in the dark. I once read that most household accidents …

Sugar Water: Sydney Pollack (1934-2008)

“If I had to label myself in some way, I would describe myself as a kind of traditionalist, I suppose, in terms of cinema. Clearly, I’m a victim of the films I saw as a child — which were not so much art films as pop entertainment. I’ve never been a chic director in the sense of art movies, if you will, or an auteur type of director — an innovative director like an Altman, or someone who’s more responsive to the totality, like Francis Coppola. My work is generally in the middle area of popular entertainment — large-budget commercial Hollywood films with stars, which were essentially the kinds of films I saw when I was a kid.” —Sydney Pollack, from Judith Crist’s Take 22: Moviemakers on Moviemaking (1984) I was 17 when The Firm came out in the summer of 1993. My girlfriend wanted to see it because she was a Tom Cruise fan and had read the John Grisham novel. I had neither of those things going for me, but I figured director …