December 5, 2007 |
RECENT changes in the voting process and campaigning for music Oscars may be altering old patterns of who wins. Starting this year, contenders are no longer permitted to send audio CDs of songs and scores to members of the academy's music branch; voters now must experience tunes within the visual context of a film. In 2005, voters began determining song nominees by judging three-minute video clips from each film that are strung together at screenings held in Los Angeles and New York.
January 16, 1991 |
There was no ignoring the gulf crisis, even amid the fur coats, jeweled necklines and dinner tables sprouting yellow orchids at the annual scholarship fund-raiser for Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Security on Sunday night was noticeably beefed up at the Century Plaza because of concerns about terrorist activity in U.S. hotels, and there was a certain pall to the gaiety. Noted Gregory Peck: "What can I say?
January 3, 2008 |
EVEN with its big-ticket attractions, the Palm Springs International Film Festival keeps a casual, hometown feel. Sure, it's the place to see all the documentaries and short films on the Oscar short list, most of the submissions for the academy's foreign-language film category and a ballroom full of stars at the awards-night gala. But there are plenty of other rides at this fair, all accessible, and some are quite tuneful.
January 10, 1993
Leonard Feather's dismissal of the film soundtrack as a viable source of listening pleasure--"Except for those written for musicals, few soundtrack scores have a logical raison d'etre"--is demonstrative of the cavalier attitude The Times has exhibited toward this exacting and very wonderful genre ("Bits, Pieces of 'X' Can Only Deliver Stirring Moments," Dec. 13). First, it is a rare film (feature or TV) review that deigns to even name the composer, much less intelligently discuss the music's merits as an important and often pivotal aspect of the film.
March 22, 1998
THE BIG 8 Picture Kenneth Turan: Titanic Kevin Thomas: Titanic Actress Kenneth Turan: Helen Hunt (As Good as It Gets) Kevin Thomas: Hunt Actor Kenneth Turan: Robert Duvall (The Apostle) Kevin Thomas: Peter Fonda (Ulee's Gold) Supporting Actress Kenneth Turan: Gloria Stuart (Titanic) Kevin Thomas: Gloria Stuart Supporting Actor Kenneth Turan: Robin Williams (Good Will Hunting) Kevin Thomas: Burt Reynolds (Boogie Nights) Director Kenneth Turan: James Cameron (Titanic) Kevin Thomas: Cameron
December 8, 2000 |
A man's face fills the screen. His eyes expand in terror, his mouth opens double-wide, he screams "AVALANCHE" as if the fate of nations hung on the word. You can run, you can hide, but ready or not, "Vertical Limit" is that kind of a movie. In theory, these high-octane extravaganzas, old-fashioned in form but bristling with up-to-the-minute special-effects technology, should be business as usual for Hollywood. In reality, making a success of high-altitude heroics is something of a lost art.
April 3, 1996 |
"Primal Fear" makes fools of us and makes us like it. A tight courtroom melodrama that serves up twist after twist like so many baffling knuckle balls, this film handles its suspenseful material with skill and style. Adapted from a best-selling William Diehl potboiler by Steve Shagan and Ann Biderman, "Primal Fear" follows top Chicago defense attorney Martin Vail through the case of his life, one with enough ups and downs to reduce Perry Mason to tears.
December 23, 2008 |
What's a bust for some is a boon for others. The music industry might be fragmenting to bits, but other media are picking up the pieces. Movies, television and YouTube are increasingly proving to be the way to find out about a great song or artist. Witness the ascension of M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes" -- an underground sleeper one minute, the next a Grammy-nominated hit, thanks to exposure in the trailer for "Pineapple Express" and more recently, the critically adored "Slumdog Millionaire."
August 6, 1993 |
Dr. Richard Kimble never quits, never rests, barely even stops to catch his breath, and neither does the film that capitalizes on his dilemma. "The Fugitive" (citywide) is a super-adrenalized stemwinder, a crisp and jolting melodrama that screws the tension so pitilessly tight it does everything but squeak. Laced though it is with breakneck chases and eye-widening stunts, "The Fugitive" paradoxically succeeds because of qualities like intelligence and wit not always associated with thrillers.
July 17, 2008 |
Given THE success of "Batman Begins" three years ago, adventurous, eclectic director Christopher Nolan could have gone anywhere and done anything with his next film. So why did he elect to return to the mythical city of Gotham, to the confines of a superhero movie and the narrow world of a caped crusader imprisoned by the secret of who he really is? That sequel, "The Dark Knight," answers all those questions with a vengeance. To see it is to understand that Nolan and his co-writer brother Jonathan saw a chance to go deeper into familiar characters and mythology, a chance to meditate on darker-than-usual themes that have implications for the way we live now. A chance to disturb us in the ways these kinds of movies rarely do. With Christian Bale returning in the title role and Heath Ledger giving a shocking, indelible performance as his arch-nemesis the Joker, "The Dark Knight" may be the most hopeless, despairing comic-book movie in memory.