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Posts tagged “Harrison Ford

Blade Runner 2049: A Time To Live

Revered cinematographer Roger Deakins has ‘never worked on a film with so many different sets and lighting challenges’ as ‘Blade Runner 2049.’

Denis Villeneuve’s sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 original film looks to be a jaw-dropping mix of visual feats that stay true to both the story and the technical innovation that made Blade Runner an instant classic. Villeneuve acknowledges this legacy, stating “I have massive respect for the world Ridley created. Blade Runner revolutionized the way we see science fiction.”

Villeneuve is likely the right man for the job, as he took science fiction down an entirely new road himself, ostensibly reinventing the hackneyed alien genre with 2016’s Arrival, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award in Directing.

Blade Runner 2049 indeed brings several heavy-hitters to the table to help ensure its success, including no less of a cinematographer than multiple Oscar-nominated Roger Deakins, who also shot for Villeneuve on 2015’s Sicario. No stranger to complex action movies (the James Bond hit Skyfall, for one), Deakins admits in the featurette, “I’ve never worked on a film with so many different sets and lighting challenges. Technically, it’s quite challenging.”

 


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Blade Runner: The Final Cut

You’re probably familiar with various trailers for the film, but the BFI has cut a new one for a new cinema release in the UK, and it is quite good. Ridley Scott even says “This new trailer captures the essence of the film and I hope will inspire a new generation to see Blade Runner when it is re-released across the UK on 3 April.”

Blade Runner: The Final Cut is the version of the film overseen by Ridley Scott for the 2007 blu-ray release of the movie. This new cut features a handful of small changes from the previous Director’s Cut and, most significantly, has the full “unicorn dream sequence” that ties directly into the argument over whether or not Harrison Ford’s character is a replicant. Check out the new Blade Runner trailer below, makes me want to watch it again.


Mike Nichols – R.I.P.

800px-Still_portrait_Mike_NicholsLegendary film and theater director, writer and producer Mike Nichols has passed away. An Oscar winner for 1967′s seminal The Graduate, he also was nominated for such films as Working Girl, Silkwood and Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? For his stage work, he amassed 10 Tony Awards including as director for such plays as Barefoot In The Park, The Odd Couple, The Prisoner Of Second Avenue andDeath Of A Salesman; and as producer of Annie and The Real Thing.

“William Goldman said there were two great American film directors—Elia Kazan and Mike Nichols,” said Broadway producer Emanuel Azenberg, who co-produced Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing with Nichols, who also staged ythe play’s Tony-winning Broadway edition with Glenn Close and Jeremy Irons. “I think that’s true. He was a giant who could convince people to be better than they were.”

Nichols died suddenly late Wednesday night at 83 and his passing was announced on Thursday morning by ABC News President James Goldston. Nichols was married to ABC News Anchor Diane Sawyer. Goldston said this morning, “He was a true visionary, winning the highest honors in the arts for his work as a director, writer, producer and comic and was one of a tiny few to win the EGOT — an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony in his lifetime. No one was more passionate about his craft than Mike… Mike and Diane were married for 26 years. He leaves behind three children — Daisy, Max and Jenny — and four wonderful grandchildren… The family will hold a small, private service this week, and a memorial will be held at a later date.”

Nichols’ last film as director was 2007′s Charlie Wilson’s War with Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman. In 2012, he staged a Tony-winning revival of Death Of A Salesman with Hoffman as Willy Loman. At the time of his death, he was working on an adaptation of Terrence McNally’s Tony-winning play about Maria Callas, Master Class, for HBO.

Nichols was an “extraordinary talent. Consummate gentleman. One of the legends,” HBO CEO Richard Plepler said this morning. “Legend is often overused, but he was a legend and most importantly he was unbelievably decent and had time for everybody, mentored a lot of young talent. That is a vacuum that will not be filled.”
Steven Spielberg weighed in on Nichols’ passing this morning with the following statement to Deadline:

The-Church-in-The-Graduate-600x400“Mike was a friend, a muse, a mentor, one of America’s all time greatest film and stage directors, and one of the most generous people I have ever known. For me, The Graduate was life altering — both as an experience at the movies as well as a master class about how to stage a scene. Mike had a brilliant cinematic eye and uncanny hearing for keeping scenes ironic and real. Actors never gave him less than their personal best — and then Mike would get from them even more. And in a room full of people, Mike was always the center of gravity. This is a seismic loss.”

Nichols was born in Germany in 1931 and moved to the U.S. with his family at age seven. He pursued theater while attending the University of Chicago in the early 1950s. Although he was studying medicine, his true calling was comedy. He met Elaine May in Chicago and the pair formed a legendary comedy duo, winning a Grammy in 1962 for Best Comedy Album.

In 1964, he directed Barefoot In The Park on Broadway, and followed that up with The Odd Couple in 1965. His first film as director was Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? in 1966 which won five Oscars including Best Actress for Elizabeth Taylor. He followed that up the next year with The Graduate, putting Dustin Hoffman on the map and earning seven Oscar nominations. Nichols won his first Oscar for directing the film. In the early 70’s, he helmed Carnal Knowledge and in the 80’s made a string of now classic movies that includes Silkwood, Heartburn and Working Girl. He produced 1993′s Best Picture nominee The Remains Of The Day, and in 1996 transferred The Birdcage to film with Robin Williams and Nathan Lane starring. His 1998 Primary Colors opened the Cannes Film Festival that year.

MV5BMTM0MzM1NTAyM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTkyMTQzNw@@._V1._SX333_SY500_His TV credits include exec producing classic 1970’s drama series Family and directing and exec producing HBO drama Angels In America.

The list of actors with whom Nichols worked on stage and screen is a who’s who of Hollywood, past and present. They include (in no particular order) Julie Christie, Lillian Gish, George C Scott, Richard Dreyfuss, Morgan Freeman, Steve Martin, Robin Williams, Meryl Streep, Dustin Hoffman, Jack Nicholson, Emma Thompson, John Travolta, Kathy Bates, Natalie Portman, Christopher Walken, John Goodman, Kevin Kline, Harrison Ford, Julia Roberts, Ron Silver, Anne Bancroft, Candice Bergen, Gene Hackman, Robert Redford, Tom Hanks, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.


Indiana Jones – Poster Series

Awesome print series featuring Indiana Jones and the 3 Good Movies in the Series… Click on the poster and see larger individual posters of each movie.

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Indiana Jones – By Craig Drake

Indiana-Jones_Craig-DrakeIndiana Jones  by Craig Drake. Screenprint available HERE

 


R.I.P. Saul Zaentz

saul-zaentzSaul Zaentz, the producer who won Best Picture Oscars in three different decades has died in the Bay Area, Indiewire reports. Saul Zaentz was 92. He won the Academy’s biggest prize for the classic One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), Amadeus (1984) and The English Patient (1996), and produced such other films as The Unbearable Lightness Of Being, Goya’s Ghost and the 1978 animated version of The Lord Of The Rings directed by Ralph Bakshi. He also received the Academy’s Irving G. Thalberg Award, the Producers Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award and BAFTA’s Academy Fellowship.

Over his long career, Zaentz produced several notable films adapted from literary works, including Cuckoo’s Nest (based on the Ken Kesey’s novel) which earned he and then young producer Michael Douglas five Academy Awards, including best picture. It was Douglas’ first feature film producing credit. Cuckoo’s Nests Oscar wins were notable because it was the first film since 1934′s It Happened One Night to win all five top Oscar categories. It also earned Jack Nicholson and Douglas their first Academy Awards.

Then in 1984, when he joined with Cuckoo’s Nest director Milos Foreman again for Amadeus about the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, they once again swept the Academy Awards winning eight Oscars this time winning best picture, best director and best actor for F. Murray Abraham. And in 1997, Zaentz produced The English Patient which for third time during his career led to a sweep of the Academy Awards, winning nine Oscars including for best picture, best director for Anthony Minghella (who passed in 2008), best actor for the young Ralph Fiennes and best supporting actress for Juliette Binoche (who worked with Zaentz years earlier in The Unbearable Lightness of Being).

Never one to shy away from what he believe in, he became involved in a heated battle for many years with Miramax Films over monies owed from The English Patient and was outspoken about it not only for himself but on behalf of the actors and his director Minghella. But that was not his first legal wrangling. This was a man who stood up for what he believed in and was unafraid and unabashed to go head to head against companies for artists and himself. He also always went on the record with journalists, never hiding behind anonymity. He led a colorful and eventful life and was part of the Greatest Generation of those who served in the Army in World War II and, at one point, he made a living as a gambler. He was born Feb. 28, 1921, in Passaic, N.J. but relocated to St. Louis during his teens before moving to San Francisco.

one_flew_over_the_cuckoos_nest_ver3Zaentz started his showbiz career in the music business, working concert tours with jazzmen such as Duke Ellington and Dave Brubeck. In 1955, he joined Fantasy Records.  Twelve years later, he and a group of investors bought out the music company and would grow it into the largest jazz record label in the world. The label also recorded comedian Lenny Bruce who was known for breaking down barriers with his vulgar stream of conscious rants on politics and sex. The Bay Area label had modest success with jazz artists like Brubeck until a local act on its roster changed its name from the Golliwogs to Creedence Clearwater Revival became an international smash. He used his Fantasy Records earnings to get into a second career as a Hollywood producer but not before Zaentz and Credence’s leader, John Fogerty, would wage epic court battles over Creedence’s publishing and some of Fogerty’s solo songs, the latter case going all the way to the Supreme Court.

Litigation turned out to be a recurring theme in Zaentz’s life: His company and Warner Bros remain in a battle with the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien and publisher HarperCollins over copyright and merchandising rights related to the author’s The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings.

one_flew_over_the_cuckoos_nest_ver2His last film was Goya’s Ghosts, also directed by Milos Forman and starred Javier Bardem, Natalie Portman and Stellan Skarsgård. He also produced At Play in the Fields of the Lord and The Unbearable Lightness of Being based on the Milan Kundera novel of the same name. The film starred Daniel Day-Lewis, Binoche and Lena Olin. He also executive produced The Mosquito Coast which starred Harrison Ford.

In 1996, Zaentz was honored with the Irving G. Thalberg memorial award which is given to “creative producers, whose bodies of work reflect a consistently high quality of motion picture production,” joining the ranks of such legendary producers as Cecille B. DeMille, William Wyler, Alfred Hitchcock, and Billy Wilder. Some of the films he produced are epic in nature and scope and are still studied by film students. Years later, in 2003, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts would award Zaentz its highest award — the Academy Fellowship – to honor his body of work. And then in 1997, won the Producer’s Guild lifetime achievement award.