After months of investigation, criminal charges have finally been filed related to the death of camera assistant Sarah Jones while filming the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider. Jones was killed when a train traveled down the tracks upon which the Midnight Rider crew was working at the time. Now director Randall Miller and producers Jody Savin and Jay Sedrish have been charged with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass in the Wayne County, Georgia superior court. Read More »
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Eli Wallach will always be Tuco to me. For some actors who enjoyed a career as long and varied as Wallach, being persistently known for one role above all others would rankle. Judging by Wallach’s frequent interview conversations about his role in Sergio Leone’s The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, he probably wouldn’t mind. Or he would understand, at least.
And Tuco is a hell of a performance, all bluster, willpower and charisma. In that respect, the role may actually be a good representation of the actor’s career. For Wallach was born to Polish Jewish parents, and grew up in an Italian neighborhood in Brooklyn. No one looking very closely would have mistaken him for an actual Mexican bandit, but Wallach’s cagey energy and sardonic wit allowed him to own the role. Those were only a couple of the qualities that made him a mainstay of stage and screen for nearly sixty years. Eli Wallach died Tuesday, at age 98. Read More »
Ruby Dee personified class throughout her life. The Oscar-nominated actress, born Ruby Ann Wallace in Cleveland in 1922, began making movies in the mid 1940s and didn’t stop until 2013. In that time she was also was an accomplished playwright, Grammy-award winning poet, social activist and inspiration to millions. Dee passed away Wednesday at the age of 91. Read More »
The man who did more than any other to influence the entire art of cinematography through a single film was Gordon Willis. The Godfather broke every classical “rule” in the book, and much of its impact can be attributed to the unusual but intuitive approach Willis took to photographing the film. In many scenes Willis used as little illumination as possible. In doing so he invited us to lean forward, to peer into the eyes of characters with blackened souls. We may have recoiled when we saw what was truly in the heart of Michael Corleone, but we could never look away. Willis painted with shadow, and for it earned a loving nickname that was better suited to Michael Corleone: the Prince of Darkness.
Now Gordon Willis has died at the age of 82. A cause of death has not been released, but Willis’ passing has been confirmed by American Society of Cinematographers president Richard Crudo. Read More »
UPDATE: The investigation into Bendjelloul’s death has revealed an apparent suicide. The original text follows.
This is a tragic piece of news. Malik Bendjelloul, director of the Oscar-winning documentary Searching for Sugar Man, has died at the age of 36. A cause of death was not released, but foul play is not believed to have played a part in his passing.
Bendjelloul came to the Sundance Film Festival in 2012 with his first film, a little documentary called Searching for Sugar Man. It opened the festival and was an immediate breakout hit. A year later, Ben Affleck presented Bendjelloul with the Oscar for Best Documentary, marking the filmmaker’s arrival as one to watch. His passing comes far too early.
Below, watch Bendjelloul at his peak, winning his first and only Oscar. Read More »
H.R. Giger showed us nightmare visions that were unlike those anyone else had conjured. The man who designed the Alien for Ridley Scott belongs in the pantheon of visionaries of the horrific alongside Hieronymus Bosch and Francis Bacon. Giger visualized concepts that are particularly modern, as they meld biological and mechanical elements, and are harrowingly seductive in their curvaceous sexuality. Now H.R. Giger has died at the age of 74, due to injuries sustained in a fall. Read More »
Bob Hoskins, one of the most recognizable and charismatic actors of his generation, has passed away at the age of 71.
Hoskins gave iconic performances as far back as the 1970s. His most successful films were probably Robert Zemeckis’ Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Steven Spielberg’s Hook. In each Hoskins exhibited a perfect balance of physical humor, aloofness and intimidating strength. His final film was in 2012′s Snow White and the Huntsman, but his legacy includes wonderful turns in Brazil, Mermaids, Nixon, The Cotton Club and Mona Lisa, for which he got an Oscar nomination in 1986.
Hoskins retired in 2012 and at the time he thanked “all the great and brilliant people he has worked with over the years, and all of his fans who have supporter him during a wonderful career.” He added he was “looking forward to retirement with his family.” In a statement released by his family, they said Hoskins passed “peacefully at hospital last night surrounded by family, following a bout of Pneumonia.”
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Mickey Rooney lived a hell of a life. He started working on stage in vaudeville acts when he was just over a year old. That was in 1922, and Rooney recently did a part in Night at the Museum 3. His career spanned 92 years, and he was part of just about every major era of film and television entertainment in some way in addition to work on the stage. Mickey Rooney died today at home in Los Angeles of natural causes, at the age of 93. Read More »