From all of us here at The Bits today: A Happy Friday to YOU, sir! (And/or madam.)
All right, we’re back as expected today with a great new History, Legacy & Showmanship column from our very own Michael Coate.
But first, we wanted to take a moment this afternoon to acknowledge a bit of sad breaking news: The legendary film and stage actor Peter O’Toole has died. He passed away yesterday at the age of 81. Cinephiles will of course know him from his performance as T.E. Lawrence in David Lean’s 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia, but other favorite film roles include such titles as Becket, The Lion in Winter, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, The Stunt Man, The Last Emperor and My Favorite Year. Younger readers may best recall him for voicing a character in Pixar’s Ratatouille. If you’re one of them, I envy you – it means you have so many great O’Toole films yet to discover. In fact, I think a fresh viewing of Lawrence just might be in order in O’Toole’s memory. Our hats off to him. You can read more here at The New York Times. [Read on here...]
So it turns out The Desolation of Smaug is pretty good. I mustered up the energy to catch a double-feature screening last night with a friend, and it was a fine evening’s entertainment. If you enjoyed the first Hobbit film, I think you’ll like this one a great deal more. The pacing is much more engaging. Fans of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy will definitely feel more at home here, as in this film the prequel trilogy really begins to reveal its connections to the previous films more strongly… and not just in the fact that Legolas (Orlando Bloom) features prominently. As one would hope, Smaug himself is wonderfully realized.
Smaug aside, with any luck you have a good art house theater in your neck of the woods, because there are a number of fine indie films worth seeing this holiday season: American Hustle, the Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis, All Is Lost, Nebraska, Her, 12 Years a Slave and many more. This is the time of year when all the great dramas get dumped into limited theatrical distribution so they quality for Oscar nominations, so be sure to head out to your local theater over the next 2 or 3 weeks. [Read on here…]
Afternoon, folks! Hope you all had a nice holiday weekend with family and friends. Sarah and I spent our Thanksgiving in New Orleans with family and it was pretty swell. I ate way too much good food (NoLA is like that). If I lived there, I’d have to run about 12 miles a day just to work off the calories from everything I wanted to eat: Crawfish étouffée, jambalaya, gumbo, po-boys, tartine, beignets and cafe au lait… MMmmmmmm. They do know how to cook down there.
So we’ve got a couple things for you this afternoon. First, our own Tim Salmons has checked in with reviews of two more classics on Blu-ray Disc from Criterion, including Richard III and The Earrings of Madame de…. Enjoy! [Read on here…]
Anyone interested in some new Blu-ray reviews to start the week? Our own Tim Salmons has checked in today with a pair of them featuring a look at a couple of Criterion titles in high-definition, including David Maysles and Albert Maysles’ Rolling Stones concert film Gimme Shelter and also the new special edition of Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights. Both are now available on BD, so enjoy!
Meanwhile, pre-orders are now on for Paul Greengrass’ Captain Phillips from Sony at this link on Amazon. Disney’s Thor: The Dark World and Summit Entertainment’s Ender’s Game are also both up for pre-order on BD on Amazon. [Read on here…]