Maitland McDonagh

FlickChick: In Praise of Roy Scheider (1932-2008)

Roy Scheider by Stephen Lovekin/

Yeah Jaws Everybody remembers Roy Scheider as Chief Brody Partly because its impossible to imagine anyone else as the small-town family man forced to wage war on a prehistoric eating machine with only a nebbish and a psychopath as allies and partly because the one-two punch of Jaws and Star Wars changed American movies forever Being in Jaws let alone being the guy who summed up the man vs shark odds in the laconic observation Youre gonna need a bigger boat eclipsed everything But Scheider made his first movie in 1964 and his last three in 2007 He didnt die painfully young like Heath Ledger But his soft gravelly voice off-kilter good looks Scheider beat Owen Wilson to broken-nosed sexiness by decades and air of lean secretly damaged authority were such a familiar presence in TV and movies large and small that it was hard to imagine it ever being gone And now Scheider is Born and raised in Orange New Jersey Scheider was lean and a read more

Sarah Connor Movie Shout-outs, and More

Ask FlickChick Aliens in Love The Sarah Connor Chronicles an Italian Cinderella and more movie answersQuestion I know this isnt strictly speaking a movie question but I thought you might know the answer anyway In the third episode of The Sarah Connor Chronicles theres a terminator thats putting together a whole terminator factory and theres a company truck with a Japanese name is it a reference to something in the movies And is the story Sarah keeps talking about from a movie it sounds kind of familiar to me Thanks GregFlichChick The name on the truck is Tetsuo and its not an allusion to the Terminator movies Its sort of an in-joke a sly reference to a bizarre Japanese movie called Tetsuo The Iron Man 1989 about a man who begins finding scraps of metal growing out of his body and is gradually transformed into a perverse human-machine hybridThe story Sarah talks about is a Jewish folktale in which a rabbi builds an artificial man a read more

DVD Tuesday: Network Trashes Trash TV... 30 Years Ago!

Network courtesy Warner Home Video

DVD Tuesday Network The movie that took on trash TV three decades agoWith all the Oscar talk about veteran director Sidney Lumet 82 being snubbed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences despite overwhelming accolades for his new Before the Devil Knows Youre Dead this seems a good time to revisit one of Lumets classics the 30-year-old denunciation of trash television Network I always remembered Network as broad and exagerrated but I saw it again a couple of years ago and boy was I wrong If anything its not wild enoughGolden Age of Television writer Paddy Chayefskys furious screenplay grew out of the 1970s-era push to shift network-news programs into the entertainment groups suddenly forcing them to compete with sitcoms game shows and soap operas for ratings and more importantly moneyVeteran New York newsman Howard Beale Peter Finch who won a well-deserved Oscar is unceremoniously given the boot after 25 years and loses it on air read more

What's That Movie, and More Questions Answered

Ask FlickChick Whats that sci-fi movie multigenerational family drama time-tripping love story and moreQuestion I saw several scenes from some film a several decades in the life of a family tale as a kid in the 80s and theyve been coming back to me for a decade but my attempts to find the movie have been futile I dont think I saw the ending which may explain why its stayed with me so many years Im afraid these snippets are all I can rememberThe family has moved to a large city and invested in a store selling television sets then a new technology but their area has no broadcasts No one is buying the sets which just show a test pattern but then the TVs spring to life showing I believe Howdy Doody Almost a generation later this success has been parlayed into a large department store Some family youngsters are playing there after-hours and leave a candle lit or set off a firecracker That night the store burns to the ground and the read more

DVD Tuesday: 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T: Weirdest Movie Ever!

The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T courtesy Sony Pictures

DVD Tuesday A childrens movie to give adults nightmares dare to enter the mindscape of Dr Suess via The 5000 Fingers of Dr TIm not a huge fan of most childrens films and never have been but The 5000 Fingers of Dr T 1953 is a mind-boggler and as regular FlickChick readers know I love having my mind boggledRegular suburban kid Bartholomew Bart Collins Tommy Rettig star of TVs Lassie OK co-star hates taking piano lessons and really hates his paino teacher the tyrannical Dr Terwilliker Hans Conried Hed rather be playing baseball or hanging out with Mr Zabladowski Peter Lind Hayes the plumber who always seems to fixing something in the Collins house But Barts widowed mother Heloise Mary Healy believes piano lessons build character so theres no getting out of them Hence Tommys extended nightmare which lasts most of the movie about being trapped in the bizarre world of the Terwilliker Institute where Dr T has built a m read more

Oscar Surprises, Part 3: Films That Made Out Big, Plus: Foreign Invasion!

George CLooney in Michael Clayton courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

And now to the films that made out like banditsTheres Juno of course and Paul Thomas Andersons bleak There Will Be Blood based on Upton Sinclairs muckraking 1927 novel Oil was nominated for best picture best actor Daniel Day-Lewis best director and best adapted screenplay The quietly effective Paul Dano of last years indie favorite Little Miss Sunshine was passed over for best supporting actor Lewis was widely considered a shoo-in but the rest of the nominations were less than givens despite critical raves for this lengthy 158 minutes epic examination of greed false prophets and near-biblical retributionThinking-mans thriller Michael Clayton scored big with critics without exciting much attention among moviegoers Its nominated for best picture with star George Clooney recognized in the best-actor category Costars Tilda Swinton and Tom Wilkinson were both nominated in the supporting categories and first-time director Tony Gilroy got a nod both for direct read more

Oscar Surprises, Part 2: Blanchett, Mortensen, Hal Holbrook and More!

Viggo Mortensen in Eastern Promises courtesy Focus Features

A surprising number of movies had to make do with single nominations in the major categoriesViggo Mortensen picked up a best-actor nom as an icy Russian Gangster in David Cronenbergs brutal thriller Eastern Promises ditto Johnny Depp for Tim Burtons gothic adaptation of Stephen Sondheims musical Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Sentimental favorite Hal Holbrook 82 hell be 83 by the time the ceremony takes place took a best supporting actor nomination for Sean Penns Into the Wild based on Jon Krakauers nonfiction account of a troubled young mans search for meaning that eventually takes him deep into the unforgiving Alaskan wilderness It was also ignored in all other major categories despite strong reviews for Penns direction and adapted screenplay as well as Emile Hirschs performance in the lead role Audiences failed to warm to the film Much-loved veteran character actress Ruby Dee 83 got the only nomination for best-supporting actress 15 read more

Oscar Nomination Surprises, Part 1: Juno and Tommy Lee Jones!

Ellen Page in Juno by Doane Gregory/Fox Searchlight

Sid Ganis president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and actress Kathy Bates have just announced the major Oscar nominations for last years films and for my money there are some real surprises among themThe critically acclaimed comedy Juno which is also doing strong business has been recognized in a major way especially surprising since traditionally comedies often get short shrift in the major categories Written by first-time screenwriter Diablo Cody starring up-and-coming Canadian actress Ellen Page and directed by Jason Reitman it took a best-picture nomination and major category recognition for the key players a best-actress nom for Page original screenplay for Cody and director for Reitman Tommy Lee Jones nabbed a best-actor nomination for the sober Iraq War picture In the Valley of Elah directed and written by 2005 Oscar-winner Paul Haggis Crash and ignored in all other categories like every other fiction film dealing with the read more

Was There Another Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and More

Ask FlickChick An earlier Mr Mrs Smith Plus A family trapped by green goo in their house Rendezvous with Rama and more movie questions answeredQuestion I just saw the Angelina JolieBrad Pitt movie Mr Mrs Smith and I could have sworn Ive seen the same story before Am I misremembering I know Im not thinking of the Alfred Hitchcock movie of the same title that has a totally different plot FrankFlickChick Ill bet youre thinking of a short-lived 1996 television series called wait for it Mr Mrs Smith starring Maria Bello and Scott Bakula as spies recruited by a mysterious intelligence agency and required to pose as a married couple to carry out their assignments Neither trusts the other in part because theyve both worked for other covert agencies in the past and know that they may well have been on opposite sides then but theres a sexual tension that would presumably have led to them becoming Mr and Mrs Smith for re read more

DVD Tuesday: Sex, Violence, Endangered Baby: I love Shoot 'Em Up!

Clive Owen in Shoot 'Em Up courtesy New Line Cinema

DVD Tuesday A girl a gun a baby and Clive Owen careen through this sly meta-action movie romp in an exhilarating hail of bulletsWriter-director Michael Davis deliriously trashy mash-up of John Woo and Loony Toons was greeted by a mix of scathing denunciations and cluelessly slavering encomiums applauding its over-the-top excesses rare was the reviewer who deigned to notice its sly poignantly affectionate deconstruction of contemporary action-movie clichs Shoot Em Up tanked at the box office but I suspect its going to find its following on DVD where each and every knowingly audacious frame can be frozen and savored An itinerant carrot-chomping down-on-his-luck man with no name Clive Owen come on Mr Smith is not a name is waiting at a deserted big-city bus stop in the middle of a dark dark night when a hugely pregnant woman waddles by with a gun-toting thug in hot pursuit Smith intervenes you just know he once knew someone like her exc read more

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