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New in Print: Isle of Dogs: The Screenplay

Coinciding with the limited release of the movie, Wes Anderson's screenplay for Isle of Dogs is now available in a paperback edition from Faber & Faber.

In Isle of Dogs, 12-year old Atari Kobayashi goes in search of his dog who has been exiled to Trash Island along with every other canine pet in Megasaki City by the order of his own father, Mayor Kobayashi. Atari is joined in his journey on the garbage dump island by a new group of friends, a pack of now wild but still noble former pet dogs.

In addition to the full screenplay, Isle of Dogs: The Screenplay also features twenty pages of drawings and an interview with with Anderson and his three co-writers, Jason Schwartzman, Roman Coppola and Kunichi Nomura, who all received 'Story by' credits.

In Theaters Today: Ready Player One

Steven Spielberg's adaptation of Ready Player One, Ernest Cline's best-selling love letter to the 1980's, hits screens today from a screenplay by Cline and Zak Penn.

"The film is set in 2045, with the world on the brink of chaos and collapse. But the people have found salvation in the OASIS, an expansive virtual reality universe created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance). When Halliday dies, he leaves his immense fortune to the first person to find a digital Easter egg he has hidden somewhere in the OASIS, sparking a contest that grips the entire world. When an unlikely young hero named Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) decides to join the contest, he is hurled into a breakneck, reality-bending treasure hunt through a fantastical universe of mystery, discovery and danger."

Francis Ford Coppola's The Outsiders Was Released Thirty-five Years Ago Today

Based on S.E. Hinton's novel of the same name, The Outsiders was released in theaters thirty-five years ago today on March 25, 1983.

Hinton was just seventeen years old when she began writing the novel and nineteen when it was published by Viking Press during her freshman year of college. The film, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, was written by Kathleen Rowell (Hear No Evil, Killing Mr. Griffin) as her first credited screenplay.

"Early 1960s. Tulsa, Oklahoma. The city is divided between teenagers who have grown up with wealth and privilege and the rough-edged "greasers" from the wrong side of the tracks. The greasers yearn for the life they see on the other side of town, but the rich kids want to keep them in their places. Then, one greaser dares cross the line to talk, and to dream of more, with a girl from across the tracks . . . an action that can only lead to conflict on a hot, steamy night."

According to Box Office Mojo, The Outsiders was the 28th highest grossing movie of 1983, earning $25,697,647 at the domestic box office.


In Theaters Today: A Wrinkle in Time

Adapted from the Newberry Medal-winning novel by Madeleine L'Engle published in 1962, A Wrinkle in Time is premiering in theaters today with a screenplay by Jennifer Lee (Frozen, Wreck-It Ralph) and directed by Ava DuVernay.

Disney first adapted the book in 2003 as a made-for-TV movie that was written by Susan Shilliday (Legends of the Fall, I Dreamed of Africa).

Disney describes it's 2018 version as "an epic adventure based on Madeleine L’Engle’s timeless classic which takes audiences across dimensions of time and space, examining the nature of darkness versus light and, ultimately, the triumph of love. Through one girl’s transformative journey led by three celestial guides, we discover that strength comes from embracing one’s individuality and that the best way to triumph over fear is to travel by one’s own light."

New in Print: Mother! The Making of the Fever Dream

If you're interested in delving deeper into mother!, Darren Aronofsky's challenging allegory about religion and human nature, then you will be hard pressed to find a more useful reference than, "mother! The Making of the Fever Dream",  the filmmaker's own analysis of his work on the film.

The book, published by Rizzoli, allows Aronofsky to detail his development and production of the film:

"Equal parts visual chronicle and artful scene study, mother! The Making of the Fever Dream recounts Darren Aronofsky’s spellbinding second half of mother!, and how it was constructed, with corresponding screen grabs, behind-the-scenes photography, script cues, and the annotated maps of his shot list.

mother! The Making of the Fever Dream is a deep dive into an auteur’s process about the heavily talked-about film mother! and its Bosch-like riveting sequence. From Aronofsky (Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream), mother! is the filmmaker’s newest polarizing offering, a psychological horror film with small nods to Roman Polanski, Luis Bunuel, and David Cronenberg, but is wholly Aronofsky’s original vision, a film presented in his singular and arresting style.  This chronicle is a beautiful, dynamic presentation of that sequence, with corresponding screen grabs, behind-the-scenes photography, the script as it pertains to the sequence, and the “maps” of his shot list. mother! The Making of the Fever Dream also includes a preface from Aronofsky about this shoot, and this book is a record of a film that will have audiences, Aronofsky fans, and film school denizens discussing the movie for years to come."

"mother! The Making of the Fever Dream" is available in paperback now,

Paul Thomas Anderson on Writing 'Phantom Thread'

Paul Thomas Anderson on writing 'Phantom Thread':

"The story was a little bit more fully formed than I'm making it out to be. There was the idea that there was a very strong willed man and a woman who enters his life, and what happens when they discover that, when he's weak he's at his best in terms of the relationship, and how that affects their future."

New On Blu: The Goodbye Girl

The Goodbye Girl, featuring Neil Simon's Oscar-nominated original screenplay, is available for the first time in high definition with Warner Archive's new Blu-ray release.

Richard Dreyfuss delivers an Academy Award-winning performance in this Neil Simon classic where romance blooms between two complete opposites forced to share an apartment in New York.

Elliot Garfield (Dreyfuss) has just arrived in Manhattan to take the acting role of his life—Richard III in an off-off-Broadway production. Ex-chorus girl Paula McFadden (Marsha Mason in her Oscar-nominated role) has just been dumped again. This time her ex has abandoned her, sublet their apartment—to Garfield—and left Paula and her nine-year-old daughter (Quinn Cummings in her own Oscar-nominated performance) without a job or a place to live.

Garfield legally has claim to the apartment, but he can't throw a mother and daughter out. So, despite Garfield's habits of chanting, burning incense and walking about naked, the threesome forms a home.

The Goodbye Girl is available now on Blu-ray.

New On Blu: The Beautiful Blonde From Bashful Bend

Writer-director-producer extraordinaire Preston Sturges's The Beautiful Blonde From Bashful Bend is finally available on Blu-ray thanks to Kino Lorber.

Clocking in as his 38th writing credit after film classics including Remember the Night, The Lady Eve, The Palm Beach Story, Unfaithfully Yours, and Sullivan's Travels, Sturges wrote The Beautiful Blonde From Bashful Bend with Earl Felton.

The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend is a romantic comedy-western directed by the legendary Preston Sturges (The Lady Eve, Sullivan’s Travels) and starring Betty Grable (I Wake Up Screaming), Cesar Romero (The Joker of TV’s Batman), Rudy Vallee (The Palm Beach Story) and Olga San Juan (Blue Skies). In this wild six-gun farce set in the old west, Grable plays a hot-tempered racy saloon entertainer named Freddie who’s as quick with a pistol as she is to kick up her heels. During a fray, Freddie accidentally shoots a judge while trying to protect her boyfriend (Romero) - she leaves town disguised as a schoolteacher and woos a mine owner (Vallee) while trying to escape persecution. Sturges co-wrote the screenplay with Earl Felton (The Narrow Margin), based on a story by Felton.

The Beautiful Blonde From Bashful Bend is available now on Blu-ray.

New On Blu: The Player

New the week from The Criterion Collection is The Player, written by Michael Tolkin (based on his novel), directed by Robert Altman, and starring Tim Robbins as a Hollywood studio executive who finds himself stalked by a screenwriter whose work he rejected.

"A Hollywood studio executive with a shaky moral compass (Tim Robbins) finds himself caught up in a criminal situation that would be right at home in one of his movie projects, in this biting industry satire from Robert Altman. Mixing elements of film noir with sly insider comedy, The Player, based on a novel by Michael Tolkin, functions as both a nifty stylish murder story and a commentary on its own making, and it is stocked with a heroic supporting cast (Peter Gallagher, Whoopi Goldberg, Greta Scacchi, Dean Stockwell, Fred Ward) and a lineup of star cameos that make for an astonishing Hollywood who’s who. This complexly woven grand entertainment (which kicks off with one of American cinema’s most audacious and acclaimed opening shots) was the film that marked Altman’s triumphant commercial comeback in the early 1990s."

Special features include:

- New 4K digital restoration, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray

- Audio commentary from 1992 featuring director Robert Altman, writer Michael Tolkin, and cinematographer Jean Lépine

- Interview with Altman from 1992

- New interviews with Tolkin, actor Tim Robbins, associate producer David Levy, and production designer Stephen Altman

- Cannes Film Festival press conference from 1992 with cast and crew

- Robert Altman’s Players, a short documentary about the shooting of the film’s fund-raiser scene

- Map to the Stars, a gallery dedicated to the cameo appearances in the film

- Deleted scenes and outtakes

- The film’s opening shot, with alternate commentaries by Altman, Lépine, and Tolkin

- Trailers and TV spots

- An essay by author Sam Wasson

The Player is available now on Blu-ray and DVD, and Amazon Video.

New On DVD: Best Friends

New this week from Warner Archive is Best Friends, a 1982 film written by Valerie Curtin and Barry Levinson and directed by Norman Jewison that stars Burt Reynolds and Goldie Hawn as a pair of married Hollywood screenwriters.

"After five successful years of living and working together, a couple decide to get married. But what they don't count on is how to survive the honeymoon.

Paula (Goldie Hawn) and Richard (Burt Reynolds) are a happy, successful Hollywood screenwriting team. They know and love each other, and live together. So why, already, did they get married and spoil it all?

Best Friends is a comic marriage uniting screen favorites Hawn and Reynolds, whose byplay rekindles the tradition of Tracy and Hepburn and Powell and Loy. From a witty script by Valerie Curtin and Barry Levinson, director Norman Jewison serves up a delightful study of mating manners and morals. His supporting cast - particularly a formidable foursome of in-laws played by Jessica Tandy, Barnard Hughes, Audra Lindley and Keenan Wynn-also makes this perceptive charmer your best entertainment choice."

Best Friends is available now on DVD.

The DGA's 80 Best-Directed Films

The DGA released a list of what their members believe to be the eighty best-directed films since 1936, when the guild was founded.

"...this was an opportunity for the people who actually do the job to focus specifically on the work of the director and his or her team. Members participating totaled 2,189 (13.7 percent of all Guild members)."

1. The Godfather - Francis Ford Coppola

2. Citizen Kane - Orson Welles

3. Lawrence of Arabia - David Lean

4. 2001: A Space Odyssey - Stanley Kubrick

5. Casablanca - Michael Curtiz

6. The Godfather: Part II - Francis Ford Coppola

7. Apocalypse Now - Francis Ford Coppola

8. Schindler’s List - Steven Spielberg

9. Gone With the Wind - Victor Fleming

10. Goodfellas - Martin Scorsese

11. Chinatown - Roman Polanski

12. The Wizard of Oz - Victor Fleming

13. Raging Bull - Martin Scorsese

14. Jaws - Steven Spielberg

15. It’s a Wonderful Life - Frank Capra

16. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb - Stanley Kubrick

17. The Shawshank Redemption - Frank Darabont

18. The Graduate - Mike Nichols

19. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope - George Lucas

20. Blade Runner - Ridley Scott

21. On the Waterfront - Elia Kazan

22. Pulp Fiction - Quentin Tarantino

23. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial - Steven Spielberg

24. Annie Hall - Woody Allen

25. Saving Private Ryan - Steven Spielberg

26. Seven Samurai - Akira Kurosawa

27. A Clockwork Orange - Stanley Kubrick

28. Raiders of the Lost Ark - Steven Spielberg

29. Vertigo - Alfred Hitchcock

30. Sunset Boulevard - Billy Wilder

31. To Kill A Mockingbird - Robert Mulligan

32. Psycho - Alfred Hitchcock

33. The Searchers - John Ford

34. Forrest Gump - Robert Zemeckis

35. Singin’ in the Rain - Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly

36. 8 ½ - Federico Fellini

37. The Third Man - Carol Reed

38. The Best Years of Our Lives - William Wyler

39. Rear Window - Alfred Hitchcock

40. The Bridge on the River Kwai - David Lean

41. North by Northwest - Alfred Hitchcock

42. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest - Miloš Forman

43. The Sound of Music - Robert Wise

44. Taxi Driver - Martin Scorsese

45. Titanic - James Cameron

46. The Shining - Stanley Kubrick

47. Amadeus - Miloš Forman

48. Doctor Zhivago - David Lean

49. West Side Story - Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise

50. Some Like it Hot - Billy Wilder

51. Ben-Hur - William Wyler

52. Fargo - Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

53. The Silence of the Lambs - Jonathan Demme

54. The Apartment - Billy Wilder

55. Avatar - James Cameron

56. The Hurt Locker - Kathryn Bigelow

57. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre - John Huston

58. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) - Alejandro G. Iñárritu

59. All About Eve - Joseph L. Mankiewicz

60. The Deer Hunter - Michael Cimino

61. There Will Be Blood - Paul Thomas Anderson

62. The Sting - George Roy Hill

63. The Wild Bunch - Sam Peckinpah

64. Alien - Ridley Scott

65. Rocky - John G. Avildsen

66. The Conformist - Bernardo Bertolucci

67. Gandhi - Richard Attenborough

68. The Bicycle Thief - Vittorio De Sica

69. Cinema Paradiso - Giuseppe Tornatore

70. Brazil - Terry Gilliam

71. The Grapes of Wrath - John Ford

72. All the President’s Men - Alan J. Pakula

73. Barry Lyndon - Stanley Kubrick

74. Touch of Evil - Orson Welles

75. Once Upon a Time in America - Sergio Leone

76. Unforgiven - Clint Eastwood

77. The Usual Suspects - Bryan Singer

78. Network - Sidney Lumet

79. Rashomon - Akira Kurosawa

80. Once Upon a Time in the West - Sergio Leone

New On Blu: In a Lonely Place

New this week from the Criterion Collection is In a Lonely Place, written by Andrew Solt based on a story by Dorothy B. Hughes, directed by Nicholas Ray, and starring Humphrey Bogart as Dixon Steele, cinema's most hot-tempered fictional screenwriter.

"When a gifted but washed-up screenwriter with a hair-trigger temper—Humphrey Bogart, in a revelatory, vulnerable performance—becomes the prime suspect in a brutal Tinseltown murder, the only person who can supply an alibi for him is a seductive neighbor (Gloria Grahame) with her own troubled past. The emotionally charged In a Lonely Place, freely adapted from a Dorothy B. Hughes thriller, is a brilliant, turbulent mix of suspenseful noir and devastating melodrama, fueled by powerhouse performances. An uncompromising tale of two people desperate to love yet struggling with their demons and each other, this is one of the greatest films of the 1950s, and a benchmark in the career of the classic Hollywood auteur Nicholas Ray."

Special features include a new 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray, a new audio commentary featuring film scholar Dana Polan, the 1875 documentary I’m a Stranger Here Myself, anew interview with biographer Vincent Curcio about actor Gloria Grahame, a featurette from filmmaker Curtis Hanson, the 1948 Suspense radio adaptation from 1948 of the original Dorothy B. Hughes novel, the trailer, and an essay by critic Imogen Sara Smith.

In a Lonely Place is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and Amazon Video.

All original content is copyright © 2010-2018 Michael Sajkowicz. All other content is owned by their respective rights holders and used respectfully and with appreciation in an editorial manner under fair use for the purposes of commentary, criticism and reporting.