Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Damned



1969 Italian/West German Feature
Alternate Titles: La caduta degli dei / Die Verdammten

Cast: Dirk Bogarde, Ingrid Thulin, Helmut Griem, Helmut Berger, Renaud Verley, Umberto Orsini, Albrecht Schoenhals, Reinhard Kolldehoff, Florinda Bolkan and Charlotte Rampling
Director: Luchino Visconti
Writers: Luchino Visconti, Enrico Medioli and Nicola Badalucco

Synopsis:
In the early days of Nazi Germany, the Essenbecks, a powerful noble family, must adjust to life under the new dictatorship regime.

Links:

Ratings:
  • Internet Movie Database: 7.6/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes - Critics: 91% / Audience: 85%

Buy/Rent:
  • DVD: Available



Trailer:


Awards:
  • Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
  • Golden Globe Award nomination for Most Promising Newcomer - Male (Berger).

Notes/Trivia:
  • The Italian title is the conventional translation of the term Götterdämmerung, a reference to the title of the Richard Wagner opera, itself a translation into German of the Old Norse phrase Ragnarök, which in Norse mythology refers to a prophesied war. But for the German version the title Die Verdammten ("The Damned") was chosen.
  • The Essenbeck family was a thinly veiled reference to the Essen-based Krupp family of steel industrialists, infamous for their brutal use of slave labor during World War II.
  • The full 155-minute version of The Damned contains such extreme scenes of sex and violence that it was originally rated X by the Motion Picture Association of America. Most early video versions have been trimmed to 150 minutes and rated R, however Warner Bros. submitted the film for re-classification for their DVD release in 2004 and the film was re-rated to an R.
  • When The Damned was first acquired by CBS for its premiere TV broadcast in the early 1970s, so many cuts were required to meet the much stricter network censor guidelines that one CBS executive joked that the movie should be retitled "The Darned".
  • Martin von Essenbeck's drag performance as Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel at his grandfather's birthday celebration, notorious at the time of the film's release, has since become an iconic image in cinema history.
  • Director Rainer Werner Fassbinder's favorite film. He called it "perhaps the greatest film, the film that I think means as much to the history of film as Shakespeare to the history of theater."
  • In the 2014 biopic Saint Laurent, the elderly Yves Saint Laurent, played by Helmut Berger, watches The Damned, starring Helmut Berger, on television.

Related Movies:
  • First part of Luchino Visconti's "German Trilogy", followed by 1971's Death in Venice and 1972's Ludwig.
  • Featured in the documentaries The Hidden Führer: Debating the Enigma of Hitler's Sexuality and Homo Promo.

Related OMG Posts:

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Rate The Damned below and add your own reviews in the comments section.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Normal Heart



2014 American Television Movie

Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parsons, Julia Roberts, Alfred Molina, Joe Mantello, B.D. Wong, Jonathan Groff, Stephen Spinella and Denis O'Hare
Director: Ryan Murphy
Writer: Larry Kramer, based on his play

Synopsis:
Against the dark backdrop of the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s, an outspoken gay activist tries to raise public awareness but encounters myriad obstacles from all sides.

Links:

Ratings:
  • Internet Movie Database: 8.0/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes - Critics: 94% / Audience: 87%
  • Metacritic - Critics: 85% / Audience: 7.7%
  • OMG rating: 8/10
  • Movie Dearest rating: B+

Buy/Rent:
  • DVD/Blu-ray: Available
  • Book: Available



Trailer:


Awards:
  • American Cinema Editors Eddy Award for Best Edited Miniseries or Motion Picture for Television.
  • Directors Guild of America Award nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television and Mini-Series.
  • Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Dorian Award for TV Drama of the Year; also nominated for TV Director of the Year and TV Performance of the Year - Actor (Bomer, Ruffalo).
  • GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding TV Movie or Mini-Series.
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television (Bomer); also nominated for Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television and Best Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television (Ruffalo).
  • Movie Dearest Award for TV Show of the Year.
  • Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Television Movie and Makeup (Non-Prosthetic); also nominated for Directing, Lead Actor (Ruffalo), Supporting Actor (Bomer, Mantello, Molina and Parsons), Supporting Actress (Roberts), Writing, Cinematography, Single-Camera Picture Editing and Casting.
  • Producers Guild of America Stanley Kramer Award; also nominated for Outstanding Producer of Long-Form Television.
  • Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries (Ruffalo); also nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries (Roberts).
  • Writers Guild of America Award nomination for Adapted Long Form Television.

Notes/Trivia:
  • Larry Kramer's autobiographical/roman à clef drama The Normal Heart opened Off-Broadway in 1985, soon after the events that inspired it. Brad Davis, who was diagnosed with AIDS that same year, played Ned Weeks, the character based on Kramer himself. In addition to Kramer, other characters were based on fellow activists Rodger McFarlane and Paul Popham and HIV/AIDS researcher Dr. Linda Laubenstein. Joel Grey replaced Davis later in the play's original run.
  • It was subsequently revived in London (starring Martin Sheen, followed by Tom Hulce and John Shea, as Ned Weeks) and Los Angeles (starring Richard Dreyfuss) and again Off-Broadway in 2004 (starring Raúl Esparza and Joanna Gleason).
  • The title of the play comes from W.H. Auden's poem "September 1, 1939".
  • Barbra Streisand held the film rights to the play for a decade, but was unable to get financing for a feature film.
  • Larry Kramer's sequel, The Destiny of Me, premiered Off-Broadway in 1992 and won the Obie Award for Outstanding Play. Kramer is currently working on the screenplay adaptation for HBO that will also be directed by Ryan Murphy. Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts and Jim Parsons are expected to reprise their roles.
  • The Normal Heart made its Broadway debut in 2011. Directed by Joel Grey and George C. Wolfe, the production won Tony Awards for Best Revival of a Play and featured acting awards for John Benjamin Hickey and Ellen Barkin. Joe Mantello, who plays Mickey Marcus in the film, was nominated for his performance as Ned Weeks. Jim Parsons played Tommy Boatwright and reprised his role in the film. The revival also starred Luke MacFarlane and Lee Pace.
  • Originally aired on the American premium cable channel HBO.
  • Casting Call: Alec Baldwin.

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Rate The Normal Heart below and add your own reviews in the comments section.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Under the Tuscan Sun



2003 American/Italian Feature

Cast: Diane Lane, Sandra Oh, Lindsay Duncan, Raoul Bova, Vincent Riotta, Mario Monicelli, Roberto Nobile, Kate Walsh, Pawel Szajda and David Sutcliffe
Director/Writer: Audrey Wells, based on the memoir Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy by Frances Mayes

Synopsis:
A recently divorced writer impulsively buys an abandoned villa in Tuscany, hoping it will lead to a change in her life.

Links:

Ratings:

Buy/Rent:
  • DVD/Blu-ray: Available
  • Soundtrack: Available
  • Book: Available



Trailer:


Awards:
  • Art Directors Guild Award nomination for Excellence in Production Design - Contemporary Film.
  • GLAAD Media Award nomination for Outstanding Film - Wide Release.
  • Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical (Lane).
  • Hollywood Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist Guild Award nomination for Best Contemporary Hair Styling - Feature.

Notes/Trivia:
  • Frances Mayes' 1996 memoir Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy was a New York Times bestseller for more than two and a half years. It included several chapters of recipes.
  • Sandra Oh and Kate Walsh play a lesbian couple expecting a child; they later co-starred on the popular hospital drama Grey's Anatomy.

Related OMG Posts:

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Rate Under the Tuscan Sun below and add your own reviews in the comments section.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Affinity



2008 British/Romanian/Canadian Feature

Cast: Zoë Tapper, Anna Madeley, Domini Blythe, Amanda Plummer, Mary Jo Randle, Caroline Loncq, Anne Reid, Vincent Leclerc and Anna Massey
Director: Tim Fywell
Writer: Andrew Davies, based on the novel by Sarah Waters

Synopsis:
When a grieving upper class woman becomes a "lady visitor" at a women's prison, she becomes emotionally attached to one of the inmates.

Links:

Ratings:

Buy/Rent:
  • DVD: Available
  • Book: Available



Trailer:


Awards:
  • FilmOut San Diego Festival Award for Best Actress (Madeley).
  • GLAAD Media Award nomination for Outstanding Television Movie.

Notes/Trivia:
  • Sarah Waters' award-winning second novel Affinity was first published in 1999.
  • Following its premiere at the Frameline San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, Affinity was first shown on ITV1 in the United Kingdom.

Related OMG Posts:

OMG Movie #590

Rate Affinity below and add your own reviews in the comments section.

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