"Breaking Away" is a movie about four working class friends from a college town who are better know as "The Cutters" a term for the stone quarry workers from town who never got to go to college, and how cycling becomes their unexpected ticket into bigger and better things.
It is populated with original characters who feel completely real, they all have their ambitions, their fears and their regrets which are hardly unlike ours. Each of their numerous idiosyncrasies only serve to make them all the more endearing.
Q. There are several reports about extreme reactions of early cinema audiences that I find hard to believe. It is said that viewers of the first movies were frightened by what they saw, such as moving images of an incoming train.
Q. I am a devoted fan of Ian McEwan’s novel "Atonement," one of those books that raises your heartbeat and ignites conflicting emotions and thoughts like fireworks exploding in the sky. So many nights I returned to that book to amuse myself for several hours by just repeating the poetry of McEwan’s prose, its words melting over my tongue like butter.
The cast of the Oscar-favorite film, "Home for Purim."
"For Your Consideration" -- Christopher Guest is blessed with the finest comedic stock company since the heyday of Preston Sturges. Guest, Catherine O'Hara (Goddess of Funny), Eugene Levy, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Parker Posey, Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Lynch, John Michael Higgins, Bob Balaban, Ed Begley Jr., Michael Hitchcock, Paul Dooley, Jim Piddock, Larry Miller... I get a thrill just seeing them share screen space in various combinations (and this time they've added Ricky Gervais and Sandra Oh to the mix). Every few years when they get together (the last time they were together was "A Mighty Wind" in 2003), it's like seeing old friends for whom you will always harbor a deep and abiding affection. Here's hoping they keep reuniting for many movies to come.
In "FYC," the subject isn't so much the movie industry (Guest already made the best American dissection of the contemporary film business back in 1989 with "The Big Picture") as the awards and publicity industry. We join a film in production -- a kind of kosher Tennessee Williams melodrama about a Jewish family in the South during the war, called "Home for Purim." Somebody on the web (or the "World Wide Internet" as the typically clueless HollyLuddites call it) claims the lead actress (played by O'Hara), an '80s sitcom star who's been virtually forgotten by the public and the industry, may be giving an "Oscar-worthy" performance, and a rumor is born that (as in "The Big Picture") takes on a life of its own.
LOS ANGELES - Robert Altman is in an unsettled frame of mind these days. He has moved his Lion's Gate Films out to a large, nondescript factory building in West Los Angeles, and there he sits and broods about the current state of the American film industry. "We are adrift," he declares. "There is nobody at the helm. There is no rudder. The bridge is cut off from the rest of the ship. You don't negotiate with them anymore. You plea bargain."
Film director Robert Altman isn't a stockholder in Twentieth Century-Fox, but if he were, he'd ask this question at Fox's summer board meeting, which will be held here in Chicago Thursday: "When is Robert Altman's new movie 'Health' going to be released?" The studio apparently has no plans to release.
T. PETERSBURG BEACH, Fla. - The old hotel rises next to the sea like a birthday cake on an acid trip. It is pink and white and impossibly ornamented with towers and gables, and out in front there are these enormous 6-foot lemons and bananas and watermelons. The hotel is named the Don CeSar Beach Hotel, and no cost was spared when it was constructed just in time to go bankrupt in the Depression. It sat empty for years, It housed Navy officers during the war, it was restored to its former grandeur in 1970, and now Robert Altman is shooting his next movie here.