Elevator to the Gallows - Criterion


It’s amazing to think that Louis Malle was just 24 when he made the classic film noir Elevator to the Gallows. The 92-minute feature, headlined by late actress Jeanne Moreau and featuring an iconic score from Miles Davis, hits Blu-ray and DVD February 6.

The feature centers on lovers (Moreau, Maurice Ronet) who plan to murder her husband. Their plan eventually goes south, and the walls gradually close in on their existence. Along with Davis’ score and Malle’s assured direction, the feature also features the rich, black and white visuals of cinematographer Henri Decaë.

Special features on both versions include a 2005 interview with Moreau, archival interviews with Malle and Ronet, and original session pianist René Urtege, Malle’s student movie Crazeology (which features the Charlie Parker song of the same name), trailers, and a booklet featuring an essay from critic Terrence Rafferty, an interview with Malle, and a tribute by producer Vincent Malle.

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775060064SH00002_The_U_S_PrIn the animated flick Coco, Benjamin Bratt plays Ernesto de la Cruz, a famed Mexican singer who has since passed away. That fact doesn’t stop a young boy named Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal) from visiting him in the Land of the Dead.

Taking part in this Pixar project was a sublime experience for Bratt. “When I first took a tour of Pixar I was led into a room that was filled from top to bottom with images of the characters and art from Coco,” said Bratt. “I was surprisingly and deeply moved by what I saw because it was the first time in my life in this context, a cinematic context, that I was going to see images of people that I know. My grandmother. My mother. My aunts and uncles. My cousins. My own children. It was quite obvious that whomever put this room together did so with a great deal of attention to detail and love.”

Bratt talk about why he’s been a lifelong fan of Pixar’s work:

Coco opens nationwide November 22nd.

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From its very first episode, one of the things This Is Us has excelled at is defying expectations and breaking down stereotypes. The Pearson family is certainly not the typical Hollywood family. And Chrissy Metz, who plays Kate Pearson, doesn’t exactly live up to Hollywood’s ideals of how a leading actress should look. But none of those stereotypes matter, Metz told us, because her character’s weight issues and identity struggles have resonated with all of the show’s fans, and she couldn’t be happier with the response she’s gotten from viewers. (Click on the media bar below to hear Chrissy Metz)

This Is Us airs at 9/8c Tuesday nights on NBC

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In today’s digital world, it’s virtually impossible for an actor to hide from a role he’d rather forget. Even really bad movies can find new life through streaming, so new viewers are always discovering performances the actors wish you wouldn’t watch. For Jason Bateman, that role was playing the title character in 1987’s Teen Wolf Too. The sequel to Michael J. Fox’s Teen Wolf didn’t exactly do justice to the original, either artistically or commercially, when it was released 30 years ago. But it has since taken on new life as one of those movies that are “so bad, they’re good.” Bateman himself admits he’s not a big fan of the movie, and that it was a job he took only for the paycheck. (Click on the media bar below to hear Jason Bateman)

Right now, Jason Bateman is revisiting a role he’s proud to play, as he’s currently filming a new season of Arrested Development.

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On The Flash, the Cisco Ramon we see in Season Four is very different from the character we met when the show premiered. While Cisco’s growth and evolution has been interesting for viewers to watch, it’s been even more fascinating for the actor who plays him, Carlos Valdes. He told us that when he signed on for the role, he had no idea what the producers had planned for him, but he’s been thrilled with the way things are turning out. (Click on the media bar below to hear Carlos Valdes)

The Flash airs Tuesday nights at 8/7c on The CW.

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DARKEST HOURGary Oldman, who’s receiving praise this year for his work as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour, will be honored with the Desert Palm Achievement Award at the 29th annual Paul Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF). The Film Awards Gala, hosted by Mary Hart, takes place January 2nd at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

Gary Oldman brings to screen one of the most powerful performances of this year as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour,” said Fest chairman Harold Matzner. “Portraying Britain’s steadfast leader during the tumultuous era of World War II, he has already earned rave reviews from critics and is sure to garner awards attention this season. The Palm Springs International Film Festival is honored to present Gary Oldman with this year’s Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actor.”

Previous recipients of the Desert Palm Achievement Award include Casey Affleck, Jeff Bridges, Bradley Cooper, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Brad Pitt.

PSIFF runs January 4-15.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi


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theshapeofwater5

One of 2017’s most talked about performances is Sally Hawkins’ work in director Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water. The film centers on a mute woman (Hawkins) in 1960s America who becomes enamored with an amphibian man (Doug Jones) and there’s a ton of awards buzz centering on the actress’ work.

Even with an acclaimed acting career which includes work in Made in Dagenham and Happy-Go-Lucky, Hawkins was a bit surprised that she landed the lead role in The Shape of Water.  “I couldn’t quite believe that Guillermo del Toro wanted to work with me and I kept worrying right up until filming and throughout filming that (he) got the right person,” said Hawkins. “I wasn’t quite sure (if) I was going to get a tap on the shoulder and (he’d) go ‘No, you better go.’”

Click on the media bar to hear Hawkins explain what makes Guillermo del Toro an intriguing filmmaker:

The Shape of Water, co-starring Michael Shannon, opens nationwide December 1.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi


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Getting a bunch of revered DC superheroes should have guaranteed that Justice League would have set the box office world on fire, but unfortunately that was not meant to be. Although it made $96 million domestically, Justice League’s failure to surpass the $100 million mark was a huge disappointment for Warner Bros. Coming in second was the Julia Roberts family drama Wonder which had a solid $27 million debut. The top 10:

1. Justice League - $96 million

2. Wonder - A surprise hit with Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson. $27 million

3. Thor: Ragnarok - It makes $21.7 million and to date has grossed over $247 million domestically.

4. Daddy’s Home 2 - $14.8 million

5. Murder on the Orient Express - It collects $13.8 million in its second weekend and it currently has a worldwide gross of $140 million. Not bad considering its relatively modest $55 million budget!

6. The Star - Animated flick on the Nativity Story has a lackluster debut with $10 million.

7. A Bad Moms Christmas - $6.8 million

8. Lady Bird - Greta Gerwig indie with Saoirse Ronan takes in $2.5 million

9. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri - $1.1 million

10. Jigsaw - $1 million


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RootsDestined to be one of this year’s top Oscar contenders, Mudbound is an ambitious and beautifully rendered epic about two Mississippi families whose lives intersect in a 1940s world of violence, racism, and abiding love. Directed and co-written by Dee Rees, the film takes its cue from Hillary Jordan’s acclaimed debut novel but forges a cinematic path that’s hard to shake.

Hap (Rob Morgan) is a hard working tenant farmer who’s blessed with an equally determined wife (Mary J. Blige) and loving family. Ronsel is the eldest of their children, and he eventually joins the all-black 761st Tank Batallion during World War II. Laura (Carey Mulligan) is a city slicker who, after marrying her industrious husband Henry (Jason Clarke), is forced to make the best of it in their sprawling Mississippi farmland. Garrett Hedlund, in his finest performance to date, is her brother-in-law Jamie, a charmer who becomes an alcoholic after witnessing his share of tragedy as a WII pilot.

Seamlessly weaving the WWII narrative with the inevitable struggles of farming in harsh country, Rees delivers an uncompromising story that thankfully strays away from a heavy handed message. With the effectively employed use of voice over, Rees effectively captures the diverse lives of both families as they struggle to survive the day. Until the film’s final moments, very few instances carry a romanticized overtone, as Mudbound’s lives exist and toil in the unforgiving earth beneath their feet. The ensemble should also receive a ton of awards recognition for their lived in performances, and Rees’ deft handling of the meaty narrative is also one of the film’s major strengths. The chemistry between Hedlund and Mitchell, playing fast friends who are bonded by experience, is also palpable.

The final moments of Mudbound, in which there is a substantial shift in tone, is sure to have its detractors. Running at an often somber 134 minutes, a bit of light is offered at the end of Mudbound’s tunnel, and this reviewer was more than happy that, even the darkest of days, there’s hope to be found in this life or the next.

Mudbound is now streaming on Netflix.


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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi


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adventurers2


Screen icons Jean Reno (The Professional, Mission: Impossible) and Andy Lau (House of Flying Daggers, Saving Mr. Wu) is a dream come true, and their caper flick The Adventurers hits Blu-ray January 2nd via Well Go USA Entertainment.

The flick centers on Cheung Tan (Lau), a thief recently released from prison who immediately engineers a heist to steal jewels in Europe. Reno, seen earlier this year in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, plays the French detective who’s been on Cheung’s trail for years. Tony Yang (The Crossing) and Shu Qi (The Transporter, The Assassin) co-star as Cheung’s partners-in-crime.

Special features on the disc include three making of featurettes which includes interviews with the cast. Check out the trailer below and tell us what you think!

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