Posted on Friday, February 5th, 2016 by Jacob Hall
Dennis Hopper is one the most fascinating figures in American cinema, a vital artist who rose so fast and fell so hard that his story has taken on a tragic aura. What would have become of the director Easy Rider if his second film wasn’t a failure? Would he still be in the same conversation as the likes of Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Brian De Palma, and the rest of their peers? These days, the late Hopper is remembered more as a character actor than as a filmmaker, with the tales of his off-set antics overshadowing his contributions to American New Wave of the ‘60s and ‘70s.
We’re pleased to premiere Mondo’s new poster for Lawrence Schiller and L.M. Kit Carson’s The American Dreamer, a cinéma vérité documentary tracking Hopper as he basks in the glow of Easy Rider and sets out to make The Last Movie, a film that would derail his career for years. The poster (which signifies a serious departure from Mondo’s usual style) celebrates the restoration and theatrical re-release of this widely unseen film, which will play in limited release in select cities and see a digital release later this month.
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We’ve seen enough movies based on video games to know that they just don’t seem to work very well for some reason. Whether it’s too much fan service for those who played the games, or maybe video game stories are only fun when you’re the one in control of the main character, Hollywood just can’t crack them.
But before there were dozens of examples of this, Buena Vista Pictures took a swing and missed hard with Super Mario Bros., probably the worst video game movie ever made. Actually, it’s probably one of the worst movies ever made period. And now Honest Trailers has taken aim at the weird half-ass video game movie for your enjoyment.
Watch the Super Mario Bros Honest Trailer after the jump! Read More »
I like the fact that the band is still called Sonic Youth, even though they’re all in their 50s. Similarly, there’s the term New Hollywood, which represents a very specific time in which the studio bosses gave free reign to independent-minded, radical filmmakers looking to push the artistic boundaries of film. It is a cinema movement that came out guns blazing in 1967 with Bonnie and Clyde and suffered its first wound from Jaws in 1975, then sank into the mud under its own weight by 1977 with Sorcerer. (Yeah, that’s right, Roy Scheider represents the end of New Hollywood from both directions.)
But these movies still feel “new.”
These were films made by a generation influenced by European Art Cinema, reacting against big studio bloat and, in many cases, taking advantage of new technical advances. There are a hundred books you can read about this movement, and the safest bet it to check out Peter Biskin’s “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls” as a primer.
Like most people my age, New Hollywood is a sweet spot – and it was a real chore to limit myself to just eight underrepresented gems. My initial brainstorm had twenty-five titles that all fit the “obscure” and “great” parameters. Maybe I’ll revisit this column with a Volume II if there are calls for it in the comments. (The people have the power!)
Hats off to Twitter’s @MoviesByBowes for the suggestion. Read More »
This is as good a Friday treat as we’re ever likely to offer. Just as I celebrated the 25th anniversary of the film this summer, it was announced that fifty minutes of deleted scenes had been recovered for David Lynch‘s seminal 1986 film Blue Velvet. Those scenes are available on the film’s new Blu-ray disc release, which streets next week, on November 8. I just watched a handful of the ‘new’ scenes, and while I haven’t yet seen them in full blu-ray resolution, what I did see suggested that the mastering and color correction all supervised by Lynch, were done with a meticulous attention to detail.
But don’t take my word for it. Below you’ll find a scene featuring Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper) threatening one of his ‘friends’ as Jeffrey Beaumont and Dorothy Vallens (Kyle MacLachlan and Isabella Rossellini) look on in horror. The clip is considered NSFW due to language and nudity, but given that this is a Frank Booth scene, I’m sure that does not come as a surprise.
Oh, and this features the infamous lost ‘woman lighting her nipples on fire’ moment, which Lynch has called a favorite scene. It has been discussed by many Lynch fans, but seen by few people. I’ve wanted to see this scene for many, many years. Read More »
Twenty-five years ago, David Lynch held a crystal clear mirror up to the face of America. Blue Velvet, which had played festivals in Montreal and Toronto, opened in the US on September 19, 1986. It was mainstream America’s real introduction to the private world of David Lynch. Eraserhead was still a cult film. While many people had seen The Elephant Man and some (not many) had seen Dune, few were prepared for the deeply idiosyncratic dreamscape Americana seen in Blue Velvet. Attacked for depicting a savage sexuality rarely seen on screen, the movie attracted no shortage of negative attention, but it quickly became regarded as a classic.
After twenty-five years Blue Velvet’s mysterious and musical vision of middle-American life remains seductive and powerful. Its gallows humor still earns laughs, and a peculiar clash of of classical Hollywood and noirish styles draws viewers in to Lynch’s unique world. The classic and noir impulses came out of Lynch’s own fondness for movies, but combined with his depiction of raw, violent sexuality they suggested something specific. That is, the deranged sexual power games in Blue Velvet aren’t anomalies; they’re what was always going on when the camera panned away in movies of the past.
The film established the career of Laura Dern and prevented Kyle MacLachlan’s image from being lost in the sandstorm of Dune. (MacLachlan’s look as the young Jeffrey Beaumont was actually based on Lynch’s own sartorial manner.) More than anything else it gave Dennis Hopper a framework in which to create one of the strongest, ugliest and most frightening characters ever seen on the silver screen: the raging gangster and sexual manchild Frank Booth.
The film’s twenty-fifth birthday is something to celebrate. As Jeffrey says when making a toast in the film, “here’s to an interesting experience.” Read More »
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Lionsgate has released an international movie trailer for the upcoming 3D computer animated movie Alpha & Omega. Directed by Anthony Bell and Ben Gluck, the family adventure comedy tells the story of two mismatched young wolves are thrown together by circumstance. The voice cast includes Justin Long, Hayden Panettiere, Christina Ricci, Dennis Hopper, Danny Glover, and Vicki Lewis. The movie looks like a subpar effort even compared to DreamWorks films, and the storyline seems rather generic. Watch the trailer now embedded after the jump. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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In this week’s /Filmcast, David Chen, Devindra Hardawar, and Adam Quigley debate whether or not Michael Bay is the right person to take over Ninja Turtles, discuss the artistic ethics of “fixing” an older film, and remember the passing of Dennis Hopper.
You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us next week at Slashfilm’s live page as we review Splice.
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Reports are coming in (via Reuters, among other sources) that actor Dennis Hopper died this morning of complications from prostate cancer at the age of 74. Hopper passed away at his home in Venice, California.
Hopper co-wrote, directed, and starred in the acclaimed film Easy Rider back in 1969, and achieved fame for his memorable roles in films such as Blue Velvet and Apocalypse Now. More recently, viewers may remember him as the bad guy from films such as Speed, and in television shows such as 24 and Crash. Regardless of whether I liked the characters Hopper played, I always appreciated the unwavering intensity he was able to bring to them. He will be missed.
Feel free to share remembrances in the comments below. Hit the jump for a video appreciation of Hopper by film critic Matthew Zoller Seitz.
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LionsGate isn’t really the studio most people think of for cutting edge 3D CGI animation. In fact, despite having a film or two in release, I don’t ever think of LionsGate with respect to animation, at all. But they’re trying. The latest attempt to capture the hearts and minds of audiences is Alpha and Omega, a story of two wolves trying to rejoin their pack. Check out the trailer after the break. Read More »