Happy Birthday to silver screen legend Elizabeth Taylor. From Lassie to Cleopatra, she was certainly one of the classiest. With a career that started very early as a child and progressed through the Golden Age of Hollywood, to this day she still serves as one of the most iconic figures to ever have graced the silver screen. In fact, AFI ranks her number seven on their list of the all time “Greatest Screen Legends” and she garnered two Academy Awards to attest to that fact.
More than just a great actor, she set a standard for the industry as a whole, ushering in a whole new standard of glamour that today’s top actors can only hope to emulate for themselves. One of the movies that launched her into stardom was Father of The Bride. You can watch the sequel, Father’s Little Dividend, free here or below, and see for yourself why America immediately fell in love:
….and while you’re at it, check out a few more of her early hits:
It’s not really much of a surprise that people are angry at Alec Baldwin. Aside from personally attacking a select handful of producers, directors, actors and anchors who made his 2013 a living nightmare, his interview/farewell/rant in New York Magazine seemed to be more pointed towards the entirety of U.S. modern society than the entertainment industry itself. Sure, he blames the media for the majority of his problems, but what seems to be a greater source of upset is how the audience blindly trusts it, takes it in, and perpetuates its ideas through social media outlets. From his troubled Orphans stint on Broadway to a dismissal from MSNBC for “lack of moral character” and the end of a long love affair with the city of Manhattan, Alec Baldwin’s romantic ideas of celebrity are slowly crumbling apart. He’s accepting it and moving on.
Watch him kick a** and take even more names in Brooklyn Rules, written by a writer on The Sopranos, here or below:
With football now sadly in our wake and winter continuing to keep a stranglehold on our collective will to set foot outside, it seems there’s not a lot to hope for these days. Fear not, brave filmgoers! Baseball is here! In four days, pitchers and catchers report to those areas of the country which are not covered in slush and black ice, bringing with them the promise of sun, fresh cut grass and the smell of hot dogs and boozed-out bleacher fans.
Here are 6 films to get you excited for the re-emergence of our national pastime. Plus, it’s Spring Training!
The return of baseball also signals the return of Fantasy Football’s slightly more meticulous cousin….with 2430 games a season, compared to the NFL’s 256, the word “obsession” becomes somewhat of an understatement. Fantasy Baseball, for the subjects of this documentary, is life. It’s, um, a little sad. Watch above, free!
Could 2014 be the year Billy Beane finally brings a championship to Oakland? Heart-poundingly tense, beautifully adapted by Aaron Sorkin, and featuring impeccable performances from Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill and the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman, this movie is, if nothing else, a fine education on how to build a championship caliber team from…well, pretty much nothing.
3. Angels in the Outfield
Possibly the greatest theological-baseball hybrid film to hit the 10-and-under demographic ever made. Joseph Gordon Levitt is said to have drawn the majority of his inspiration for Inception from his turn as baseball prophet/messiah Roger Bomman. Mostly this movie makes us nostalgic for the never-should-have-been changed “California Angels,” those throwback unis, and that awesome logo, but it does beg the question: is Mike Trout getting some help out there?
4. The Jackie Robinson Story
Before 42, there was this much less dramatized and Harrison Ford-less biography on Robinson’s historic career in the MLB. On April 15 this season, all players from each of the 32 teams will don the number 42 in celebration of his struggle to make baseball the truly great sport it is today. Watch above, free!
5. The Sandlot
Anyone who doesn’t like this movie is probably a can’t-hack-it pantywaist who wears their mama’s bra. And if you are one of the few that don’t enjoy this backyard baseball classic, you at least have to appreciate the insults…”butt sniffer,” “pus licker,” “fart smeller,” “buffalo butt breath,” “pee-drinking crap-face,” “you bob for apples in the toilet! And you like it!” When it comes down to it, there’s no better movie that embodies the spirit of baseball.
6. Rookie of the Year/Little Big League
We’re still convinced these movies are actually the same film. One is about a kid who manages a team. The other is about a kid who pitches for a team. We’re pretty sure one of them stars Gary Busey. In any case, the Cubs and the Twins could definitely use some help right now.
6 Reasons You Need to Watch the Original ENDLESS LOVE
Whenever a remake comes out, your first instinct should be to scrounge all corners of the earth for the original. (Always watch the original first!) But since we’re inundated with the remake factory some like to call Hollywood, tasking yourself with seeing the original paired with every new release seems quite daunting.
Here are five reasons you just really need to watch the original Endless Love (1981).
1. It stars young and beautiful Brooke Shields, Tom Cruise, and James Spader.
This could be reason enough. The beautiful angel/paragon of youth that is Brooke Shields as a teenager floats around the screen like a nymph, leaving nothing but death and heartbreak in her wake.
Oh, also Tom Cruise has a bit part (shirtless) and James Spader is looking fine.
2. It’s visually stunning. Like, actually.
Acclaimed director Franco Zeffirelli and cinematographer David Watkin (who also shot Catch-22) bring this story to fruition with beautiful lighting schemes and an eye for visual nuance.
3. It features Diana Ross and Lionel Richie’s most famous single hit.
The titular song was a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 for 9 weeks. It also received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for “Best Original Song,” along with 5 Grammy nominations.
4. It’s MUCH sexier than the remake. More butts. More sex. More obsession.
The remake’s got nothing on the original when it comes to sex. The remake is rated PG-13 and doesn’t cross any notable lines, if you know what I mean. The original is full of passionate sex and naked butts.
5. It’s got a creepy Mrs. Robinson wannabe and very, very strange Oedipal… er, overtones.
Brooke Shields’ parents just won’t let her have sex with her man in peace. The mom wants him, the dad wants her. Yep. See it to believe it.
6. It has one of the coolest one-man stunts ever.
Not to spoil anything, but someone gets hit by a car at some point. The stunt was conducted in New York City by a single stuntman who does a high end-over-end flip in mid-air, one of the most notable single film stunts to date.
In a world studded with child stars and toddlers in tiaras, it’s tempting to dismiss famous faces under twenty as pop phenomena symptomatic of a vapid youth culture. But certainly it wasn’t always this way. Certainly the the child star once contributed something noble to a society much in need of a lift.
Enter Shirley Temple, the original child star. Out of the abyss of the Great Depression came a sprightly face framed with curls and dimples. This was the face of whimsy in a country that had forgotten it. The three-year-old danced into the homes of America’s overworked, underpaid masses, lending smiles to the hopeless and downtrodden. The frivolous antics of a small child became the fodder of a Hollywood legend.
Today, Temple is emblematic of the power of entertainment. Much like Charlie Chaplin, she showed a bourgeoning Hollywood industry the depth of its influence on the American psyche. But beyond the winsome face of youth that’s etched into our country’s history, little is widely known about Temple’s storied life, which came to an end last night after eighty-five years.
1. She helped save Fox from bankruptcy.
In 1934, Fox Films merged with Twentieth Century Pictures to become Twentieth Century-Fox. Its then studio head, Darryl F. Zanuck (pictured above), harnessed the fledgling talent that was three-year-old Temple and focused his resources upon cultivating her star status. Temple elevated the studio from near-bankruptcy—it was tens of millions of dollars in debt—to one of the most successful and profitable studios in Hollywood.
2. She stopped acting at 22.
Disheartening studio flops, a messy divorce, and a diminishing audience interest in the post-innocent Temple culminated in a decision to retire from acting at age twenty-two.
3. She was a spokeswoman for breast cancer awareness.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer and undergoing a mastectomy in 1972, Temple held a news conference from her hospital room to raise awareness and encourage women not to “sit home and be afraid” after discovering a breast lump. At the time, mastectomies were secret operations, and Temple helped bring breast cancer awareness to the forefront of the nation’s priorities in public health discussion.
4. She was a politician.
A staunch opponent of the Vietnam War, Temple was a liberal Republican who once ran, albeit unsuccessfully, for Congress. After, however, she was appointed Representative to the 24th United Nations General Assembly and the United States Ambassador to Ghana by President Richard M. Nixon. Later, she also served as the U.S. Ambassador to Czechoslovakia, appointed by George H. W. Bush.
5. At age six, she was the first recipient of a Juvenile Academy Award.
In memoriam, watch these two famous films featuring Temple.
New York Fashion Week is upon us! We have a few favorites this year, on and off the runway….
We couldn’t get enough of Vallance’s La Belle leather jacket last year, and her Friday show, titled “Ladies Man,” did not disappoint either. The Australian-born designer’s Fashion Week debut featured structured menswear-inspired pieces with feminine overtones – simply exquisite.
Can Peter Som design our entire closets? Som’s Friday show at Milk Studios featured pieces that were not only elegant but also wearable. The collection was full of unique prints, including a mysterious blurred floral pattern and leopard accents on many of the pieces. Also notable were his pea coats, inspired by Jane Birkin.
Jack McCoullough and Lazaro Hernandez, Proenza Schouler
These New York-based designers popped back on our radar at Sundance when stunning Brit Marling donned a Proenza Schouler black and gold pantsuit at the premiere of I Origins. Dubbed “the new establishment” by InStyle, we can’t wait to see their Fall collection on Wednesday.
Anna Wintour famously stated, “We all get dressed for Bill.” We’re sure to find this beloved New York fashion photographer all over the place this week, snapping photos from the front row, backstage, and on the street. You can also find him in this poignant documentary, Bill Cunningham New York, and learn a bit more about Manhattan’s fashion scene.
On the heels of her well-deserved Golden Globe win last night, we thought it might be appropriate to celebrate the seasoned actress that is Cate Blanchett. This past year’s performance in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine showcased her ability to immerse herself entirely in a role, unabashedly towing the line between sanity and insanity.
As the cold Arctic fronts billow past, you may find yourself stuck inside for the better part of the winter. But cabin fever is impossible when you’ve got an internet connection. Experience winter from the comfort of your bed with these 5 unique sub-zero films.
Up to ten feet tall and weighing over 1500 lbs, polar bears are the majestic lords of the arctic, inciting myth, awe, and reverence in human minds for thousands of generations. Learn more about this elusive animal.
Thanks to Breitling, 100 WWII veterans visited their memorial in Washington, D.C. These veterans, some approaching 100 years of age, would not have otherwise been able to make the trip. Many called it the best day of their lives.
The documentary Honor Flight tells the inspirational story of this incredible program and the veterans to whom we all owe our freedom.
1937’s “Rape of Nanking,” a bloody and brutal invasion of China’s capital by Japanese forces, still looms large in the Chinese national imagination, and is being used by China’s government to stoke anti-Japanese sentiment.
In August and September 2012, a series of anti-Japan protests took place in several Chinese cities. In Beijing, storefronts were vandalized and Japanese-branded cars were destroyed. In Shenzen, tear gas was deployed to disperse the crowd. On December 13 of this year, several civic organizations in Hong Kong, led by The Action Committee for Defending the Diaoyu Islands, staged ademonstration against Japan. They chose the 76th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacres as the date of their protest. The symbolism was obvious. As the flag of the Imperial Japanese Army burned, it was clear that current disagreements are now irrevocably entangled with historical conflicts. An indescribably disheartening point in history has been hijacked to whip up anti-Japan fervor, and the ghost of World War II continues to threaten geopolitical stability in the East China Sea.
A lesson the world gleaned from the 9th highest grossing US documentary and Academy Award-winning tour-de-force An Inconvenient Truth: environmental film moves mountains. Al Gore’s 2006 doc galvanized the environmental film movement; what was previously a lean batch of under-funded public broadcasts matured to a legitimate genre of film, and the environmental movement gained traction in the over-saturated digital landscape of the new millennium.
One of the largest and most established havens for environmental film is the DC Environmental Film Festival, which is nearing the end of its 21st year run in the nation’s capital this week. This year, films were presented from 50 countries, including Gabon, Cuba, Argentina, Mexico, Ecuador, Poland, China, India, Japan and South Korea.
From the film festival’s official website:
The 2013 Festival theme examined the vital role of rivers and watersheds in the global environment. Films explored the ecological importance of and threats to the world’s rivers, including the Rhine, the Amazon, the Mekong, the Ganges, the Colorado, the Yellowstone, the Willamette and Washington, D.C.’s Potomac and Anacostia. The Washington, D.C. premiere of A River Changes Course, winner of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize for documentary at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, about the effects of globalization on the environment and people of Cambodia, was a program highlight.
In addition to over a hundred screenings in partnering museums, libraries, embassies, and local theaters, the film festival is now offering an online viewing experience. The collection of twenty films from past festivals is available through SnagFilms’ online viewing platform and includes some of the most important environmental documentaries our site has to offer, such as Climate Refugees, a film about refugees displaced by climate change, and On Coal River, about a coal miner’s David-and-Goliath struggle for the future of his valley (both films embedded below).
The film festival’s online platform can be accessed here.
Anniversary of the Repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act
by Emily Buder
A little not-so-flattering US history for you: Today is the anniversary of the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act (1943), one of the harshest restrictive immigration laws America has ever enacted. Signed into law by President Chester A. Arthur in 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act excluded “skilled and unskilled laborers and Chinese employed in mining” from entering the country for ten years under penalty of imprisonment and deportation. It also rendered then-current Chinese immigrants permanent aliens and deprived them of the ability to leave and reenter the country.
The law was extended and renewed multiple times, effectively legalizing racial discrimination for decades in America. Read more about the Act here.
Honor this anniversary by educating yourself about the current state of affairs for illegal Chinese immigrants in America. Take Out, which intelligently illuminates an immigrant underdog and his small community, deftly combines a “terrific cast” (The New Yorker) of professionals and non-actors with “uncompromisingly ingenious photography that is beautiful in unexpected ways under rough-and-ready conditions” (Variety). This, raved the Village Voice, is as exceptional as micro-budget cinema gets. Watch the full film below.
The great Peter O’Toole passed away this weekend, leaving behind a legacy of incredible films. From his breakthrough role in “Lawrence of Arabia” to more recent roles such as “Venus,” O’Toole has been showcasing his wide range of acting abilities for decades.
We’re honoring the legendary man by watching two of the films that landed him deserved Best Actor nominations at the Academy Awards.
In the 1972 film “The Ruling Class,” O’Toole plays the crazed son of a House of Lords member that inherits his family’s estate and nobility. Watch the film here.
In 1980s “The Stunt Man,” O’Toole plays the director of an action movie that unknowingly hires a fugitive as a stunt man. Watch “The Stunt Man” here.
Sadly, O’Toole never did win the Oscar for any of his leading roles, although he does hold the record for most-nominated actor to never win. O’Toole played a role in "Katherine Of Alexandria," a new film scheduled to be released next year.
We’re looking back on the Oscar winning movie icon’s Hollywood legacy with her 1953 drama The Bigamist. Fontaine plays a wife trying to adopt a baby with her husband. Little does she know, her husband has been traveling back and forth from San Francisco to Los Angeles, where he secretly has a second family.
The Good Son, our incredible documentary about the life of legendary boxer Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, is airing on NBC Sports tomorrow.
NBCSN will televise four hours of top-level boxing coverage Saturday beginning at 8 p.m. ET with Fight Night live on NBCSN. Following live boxing, NBCSN presents the television debut of the critically-acclaimed and award-winning documentary The Good Son: The Ray Mancini Story at 10 p.m. ET.
The ever-changing landscape of digital film distribution may seem daunting to the untrained eye, but it is rife with opportunity for both emerging and established filmmakers to have their voices heard. We’ve finally bid farewell to the old paradigm; in 2013, a filmmaker doesn’t have to be a wealthy, well-connected industry mogul with proven box-office success. To be a filmmaker in today’s digital democracy, you need only the most important elements: passion, dedication, and a story that needs to be told.
At SnagFilms, we’re committed to giving powerful films, large and small, a platform on which to be seen by audiences worldwide and of all socio-economic statuses. Part of honoring this mission involves supporting this ideology wherever we see it catching fire.
Today, we’re proud to announce that the Unofficial Google+ Film Festival is now live. The first festival of its kind, UGPFF is a live, interactive, global online short film festival that spans December 13-29 and features filmmakers from 23 countries.
Exclusive offline screening events will be held in conjunction with the festival in London, Los Angeles, Singapore, New York City, Toronto, New Zealand, Atlanta and Kansas. The core of festival events will be streamed online December 13-15. Immediately following the events, the festival films and web series will be available to stream for free via SnagFilms online viewing platform: www.snagfilms.com/ugpff.
SnagFilms believes in the power of film festivals as a platform for exciting new creators. The Unofficial Google Plus Film Festival takes it up another level with its innovative global format. We are proud to continue our own tradition of supporting emerging artists by partnering our social viewing platform with an interactive online festival.
— Damian Benders, SVP of Programming & Marketing at SnagFilms.
Among other things, the Global Globes serves a dual purpose: it’s the first sign of where the Oscar nominations may end up, and it’s a predictor of shocking oversights and exclusions. As nominations were announced this morning by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, you may have noticed some major snubs/surprises. Here’s a quick recap:
The Butler star Forest Whitaker was widely hailed as a frontrunner in the Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama category, but was ignored.
The actors of Dallas Buyers Club were recognized, but not the film … hum!
Ben Stiller’s remake of the James Thurber’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was completely shut out of the musical/comedy category.
Oprah was absent from the Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture category. How could they forget Oprah?
… And what about Monsters University?
And on the TV side…
Homeland was completely shut out of the nominations. Nothing for Damien Lewis and, shockingly, no nomination for Claire Danes.
Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Sons of Anarchy, and Justified got zip.
However, Netflix series (which, by the way, is TV that’s not actually TV) House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black received several nominations.
As far as awards nominations go, the 2014 Golden Globe nods are far from earth-shattering. But this time around, predictability seems to bode well for the integrity of cinema. Arguably this year’s most important film, the prodigious historical effort that is 12 Years A Slave, garnered seven nominations. The widely lauded if not overly romanticized American Hustle, which hits theaters tomorrow, also nabbed seven nominations, serving up a tie that suggests that Americans are finally cognizant of the power of the historical narrative.
Other deserving nominations were given to portrayals of people on the verge of collapse: Matthew McConaughey for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club, a film that would have been decidedly hollow without his searing portrayal of a man defying death, and Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine, in which she fully embodies the insidious onslaught of mental collapse in what may be Woody Allen’s most sobering picture yet.
Here at Snag, we’re honoring the honorees by watching some of their notable past work. In our 2014 Golden Globes collection, we bring you underrated films featuring performances from nominees Cate Blanchett, Michael Sheen, Kevin Spacey, Amy Adams, Aaron Paul, James Spader, Matt Damon, Elisabeth Moss, Robert Redford, and Greta Gerwig. We’ve also got a documentary by David O. Russell, a documentary narrated by Spike Jonze, and a film featuring hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.
Click on the link below to check out the collection in its entirety.