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Posts Tagged ‘Valkyrie’

Real Life Film Curses

Posted by LiveFor on February 16, 2010


Whether you have been turned in to a hairy beast because you could not love, or have sold your soul for eternal youth, curses have been the basis for many a film plot. Sometimes it has been said however that the likes of Mrs Ganush herself have infiltrated movie sets causing some strange goings on during and after production has ended. Are these a series of unfortunate events, bad publicity stunts, or is there something more sinister going on? Carrying on from last weeks Film Production Nightmares, Live for Films brings you The Real Life Film Curses…

The Exorcist

The Exorcist – Widely regarded as a horror classic, William Friedkin’s adaptation of William Peter Blatty’s novel of a young girl possessed by a demonic spirit had its fair share of creepy tales.  The set itself was thought to be cursed after a fire burnt down and destroyed it forcing production crews to rebuild.  It is also believed that a priest was asked to come in and bless the set as well as the actors themselves.  A handful of cast and crew members are rumoured to have died during production, including actor Jack MacGowan who played Burke Dennings, but perhaps the strangest thing is Linda Blair, who played the possessed Regan, apparently foretold the deaths of crew members’ weeks before.

The Omen – You really have to wonder if making films about demonic children is a smart move.  The events surrounding this Richard Donner directed film were scarier than your friends’ kid with redeye in a birthday snapshot.  Along with trained Rottweiler’s attacking their handlers and the principal cast members being involved in a head on crash first day of filming, Donners hotel was bombed by the IRA,  star Gregory Peck and writer David Seltzers planes were struck by lightning in two separate events.  Peck would again have another close escape when a flight he cancelled at the last minute would later crash killing everyone on board.  But perhaps the most frightening was that Visual Effects Supervisor John Richardson’s wife was beheaded on the set of A Bridge Too Far a year later, in a scene eerily reminiscent of that from The Omen.       

Rosemary’s Baby – Another classic film another troubling aftermath for Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby.  The critically acclaimed tale of a woman (Mia Farrow) who believes she is carrying the son of Satan has been linked to some horrifying events following its release in 1968.  Director Polanskis pregnant wife, actress Sharon Tate, was murdered by Charles Manson at their home in 1969.  This was part of an infamous killing spree for the Manson Family which he named Helter Sketler after the Beatles song.  On the 8th December 1980, Mark Chapman killed Beatles legend John Lennon outside the Dakota Building where Rosemary’s Baby was filmed.  Make of it what you will.

Poltergeist – Along with The Omen, Steven Spielberg and Tobe Hoopers Poltergeist is probably the most publicised example of the film ‘curse’.   The film which features ghosts communicating to the other side through a television set spawned two sequels and the basis for the curse comes from the fact four actors have died during the six year years between the first and third film.  Dominique Dunne who played the older daughter in the first film was strangled by her boyfriend in 1982, Julian Beck (Poltergeist 2) died aged 60 from stomach cancer in 1985, Will Sampson (also Poltergeist 2) died from post op complications from a kidney operation in 1988 and Heather O’ Rourke who played Carol Anne in all three films sadly died also in 1988.   

Superman – The Man of Steel may be able to stop, but the men who have played them have not been so lucky.   George Reeves portrayed Superman in the US television series in the 50’s, but was found dead in mysterious circumstances on his wedding day in an apparent suicide.  Ben Affleck would portray Reeves in Hollywoodland in 2006.  Perhaps the most well know incarnation of Clark Kent was that of Christopher Reeve who starred in Superman (1978) directed by Richard Donner, as well as three sequels.  In 1995, Reeve was involved in a tragic horse riding accident which left him paralysed from the neck down.  Reeve did however battle on, defying the odds and continued to star in TV and film before his death in 2004. Reeves co-star Margot Kidder who played the role of Lois Lane was found by police in undergrowth in LA after suffering a manic breakdown; she was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

The Dark Knight – Christopher Nolan’s follow up to Batman Begins was a success both critically and commercially when it was released in 2008, but the death of Heath Ledgers just shortly after filming wrapped left a black cloud hanging above it and was the starting point for another curse rumour.  More strange incidents followed; a stunt driver was killed during filming, Morgan Freeman was involved in a car accident which would break his arm and at the opening premiere, Christian Bale would be arrested for allegedly assaulting his mother.

Rebel without a Cause – It is a well known fact that James Dean died while driving the Porsche Spyder used in Rebel Without A Cause in 1955, while co-stars Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood both died prematurely years later.  However was the car itself cursed? A real life Christine? The mechanic who recovered the wreck apparently had his leg broken as the vehicle collapsed on him.  Later, parts of the car were sold to two separate buyers; both the cars also crashed claiming the lives of the drivers.

The curse is also known to have struck Quantum of Solace, Valkyrie and Blade Runner; in which companies like Coca Cola that were used for advertising suffered big losses. Shame.

So what do you guys think? Real, or desperately made up by people who should be doing something better with their time like working out what is going on in Lost or something?  Check out Good Actors Turned Bad next week…

By Richard Bodsworth.

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Valkyrie – First 5 minutes

Posted by LiveFor on January 10, 2009

Here are the first 5 minutes of Valkyrie for your viewing pleasure.

n a country in the grips of evil, in a police state where every move is being watched, in a world where justice and honor have been subverted, a group of men hidden inside the highest reaches of power decide to take action. Tom Cruise stars in the suspense film, Valkyrie, based on the true story of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (CRUISE) and the daring and ingenious plot to eliminate one of the most evil tyrants the world has ever known. Director Bryan Singer (THE USUAL SUSPECTS, X-MEN, SUPERMAN RETURNS) re-teams with Academy Award®-winning USUAL SUSPECTS screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie to bring to life the story of the men who led the operation to assassinate Hitler. The film also stars an acclaimed cast including Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Carice van Houten, Thomas Kretschmann, Eddie Izzard, Christian Berkel and Terence Stamp.

A proud military man, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg is a loyal officer who serves his country all the while hoping that someone will find a way to stop Hitler before Europe and Germany are destroyed. Realizing that time is running out, he decides that he must take action himself and joins the German resistance. Armed with a cunning strategy to use Hitler’s own emergency plan – known as Operation Valkyrie – these men plot to assassinate the dictator and overthrow his Nazi government from the inside.

With everything in place, with the future of the world, the fate of millions and the lives of his wife and children hanging in the balance, von Stauffenberg is thrust from being one of many who oppose Hitler to the one who must kill Hitler himself.

Valkyrie is produced by Bryan Singer, Christopher McQuarrie and Gilbert Adler. McQuarrie co-wrote the original screenplay with Nathan Alexander who also serves as co-producer. The executive producers are Chris Lee, Ken Kamins, Daniel M. Snyder, Dwight C. Schar and Mark Shapiro. The film was shot in Germany at various locations where many of the actual events occurred, including the historic Bendlerblock. Recreating the atmosphere of urgency and paranoia inside the German resistance is a team that includes Singer’s frequent collaborators Newton Thomas Sigel (SUPERMAN RETURNS, X2, X-MEN) as director of photography and editor/composer John Ottman (SUPERMAN RETURNS, X2); as well as production designers Lilly Kilvert (two-time Oscar-nominee for THE LAST SAMURAI and LEGENDS OF THE FALL) and Patrick Lumb (THE OMEN) and costume designer Joanna Johnston (MUNICH, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN).

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Valkyrie, 2008 – Movie Review

Posted by LiveFor on January 2, 2009

Director: Bryan Singer
Starring: Tom Cruise, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Terence Stamp, Eddie Izzard, Christian Berkel, David Bamber
Running Time: 120 minutes
Score: 7 / 10

This review by James Meeley.

One of the tricky things about doing films based on a true moment of history, is that, oftentimes, the actual events are not nearly as interesting as the film will portray it. This will lead to a “Hollywood-ification” of history, which can hurt the believability of the film. It is only made more difficult, when you use a moment that is also very well known, such as this plot by the Germany army to kill Hitler, and in which knowing the outcome can cost you much dramatic tension. Fortunately, director Bryan Singer doesn’t take many liberties with the actual history of events and produces a film that, while not perfect, is very much entertaining and somewhat moving.

First off, the look of the film is flawless. The cinematography, with its wide-angle shots and sweeping overviews of the landscape and architecture, truly captured the times in which this event took place. It really felt like 1940’s Germany, under the Nazi Reich. It is, quite easily, the strongest point of the film.

The performances range a bit from adequate to very good. Tom Cruise’s take on Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg is more the former. It isn’t bad and he certainly plays up how Stauffenberg put his love of his country above everything else, but I never really got a very good impression of why he felt this way. There was no sense of depth to the character, which one would think would be key to such an important figure of this historical moment. The fact we saw little of Stauffenberg’s interaction with his family also played a part in lessening the impact of his great gamble.

Fortunately, some of the others who support Cruise help to raise the film (and his performance) from being totally lackluster. Tom Wilkinson as General Friedrich Fromm, was certainly one of the standout performances. He played the character with a true sense of duplicity and cunning guile. The way he straddles the fence on the plot to killer Hitler, is very much in keeping with how many of the high ranking Nazis seemed to navigate the political schemes within the Third Reich. Also of note, is Christian Berkel as Colonel Mertz von Quirnheim and Terence Stamp as Ludwig Beck. Both of whom turn in excellent supporting roles and have key moments of tension within the story. And while David Bamber has very few scenes in the film, he is very effective in conveying the side of Adolf Hitler that was never shown very much to the cameras of the times.

In the end, “Valkyrie” is good, but falls a bit short of the truly epic scope it wants to have. This film will become a standard for high school history teachers, when they study WWII in class, as well as being a solid entry into the war movie genre. However, there are too many little things, like almost no one speaking actual German (or even using an accent like one), or the mediocre score that lacks any memorable feeling of emotion, which keep the film out of the realm of a truly great cinema experience. Still, it is a good film, which is fairly historically accurate with the events it depicts, has some wonderful cinematography, and has an excellent cast with some standout supporting performances.

It is no “Schindler’s List” or “Saving Private Ryan,” but it is an entertaining look at some of the events of WWII from within the Nazi Reich, from the view of those who were involved with the atrocities that were being committed in the name of Germany. While certainly not an uplifting film (especially if you know the outcome of the plot), it is still one that is worth seeing.

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Posters – Gran Torino, Valkyrie, Coraline, Lie to Me, A Good Day to be Black and Sexy, Fuel, Reclaiming the Blade, Outlander

Posted by LiveFor on November 10, 2008


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The Random

Posted by LiveFor on October 31, 2008

Bubba Nosferatu – Bruce Campbell is out. Ron Perlman is Elvis, Paul Giamatti is Col. Parker.

Samuel L Jackson and Maggie Cheung have joined Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds

A final trailer for Bryan Singer’s Valkyrie movie is out.

My Name is Bruce Trailer is still out there.

Gary Oldman will join the Denzel Washington-led post-apocalyptic action film Book of Eli for Warner Bros. Pictures’ reports Variety.

Trailer for Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire is out.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, David Lindsay-Abaire, a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright in 2007 could very likely be writing Spider-Man 4. Lindsary-Abaire won the Pulitzer for his dramatic play Rabbit Hole.

According to Variety, screenwriter Chris Bryant has died at 72.This scribe is known for writing such films as Nicholas Roeg’s upcoming Don’t Look Now, Tristan and Ysolt and Stealing Heaven. Some of his TV credits include One Against the Wind and Miracle At Midnight.

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Valkyrie – Trailer for Tom Cruise’s new movie

Posted by LiveFor on September 26, 2008

In a country in the grips of evil, in a police state where every move is being watched, in a world where justice and honor have been subverted, a group of men hidden inside the highest reaches of power decide to take action. Tom Cruise stars in the suspense film, VALKYRIE, based on the true story of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise) and the daring and ingenious plot to eliminate one of the most evil tyrants the world has ever known. Director Bryan Singer (THE USUAL SUSPECTS, X-MEN, SUPERMAN RETURNS) re-teams with Academy Award®-winning USUAL SUSPECTS screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie to bring to life the story of the men who led the operation to assassinate Hitler. The film also stars an acclaimed cast including Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Carice van Houten, Thomas Kretschmann, Eddie Izzard, Christian Berkel and Terence Stamp.

A proud military man, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg is a loyal officer who serves his country all the while hoping that someone will find a way to stop Hitler before Europe and Germany are destroyed. Realizing that time is running out, he decides that he must take action himself and joins the German resistance. Armed with a cunning strategy to use Hitler’s own emergency plan – known as Operation Valkyrie – these men plot to assassinate the dictator and overthrow his Nazi government from the inside.

With everything in place, with the future of the world, the fate of millions and the lives of his wife and children hanging in the balance, von Stauffenberg is thrust from being one of many who oppose Hitler to the one who must kill Hitler himself.

The trailer is below. What do you think? Will Tom Cruise match is Hip Hop dancing producer in Tropic Thunder?

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The Random

Posted by LiveFor on August 13, 2008

Universal Pictures has acquired film rights to the late Robert Jordan’s bestselling “The Wheel of Time” novel series in a seven-figure deal.

The guys who wrote the Viking v Aliens movie, Outlander, are scripting the new Conan movie.

Lars Von Trier’s next project is a psychological thriller that turns into a horror movie, according to Variety. It’s called ANTICHRIST and will be headlined by Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

J.J. Abrams to Follow Star Trek with an Earthquake Flick

Check out this cool Watchmen poster to original art comparison.

George Clooney has optioned Jonathan Mahler’s novel THE CHALLENGE about a Navy lawyer who teams with a law professor to ensure that Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard and driver Salim Hamdan is given a fair hearing.

An advanced and not particularly positive review of the script for “Masters of the Universe“.

Corey Feldman has confirmed that he has received no offers to star in Tarantino’s “Inglorious Bastards” despite Net talk to the contrary.

Screenwriter Justin Marks talks about how the film adaptations of the comic “Hack/Slash” and the video game “Street Fighter” are progressing.

Both “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” and “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallenwill get simultaneous IMAX releases next summer.

A first look at “The Dark Knight” DVD releases planned for Germany is up at Batmans.de. The film will hit DVD & Blu-ray in the US on December 9th.

Albert Torres has confirmed that they’re still trying to adapt Chuck Palahniuk’s “Survivor” into a workable screenplay.

A couple of new photos from the much-delayed Tom Cruise-led Hitler assassination flick “Valkyrie“.

Linda Hamilton’s agent confirmed on Monday that the actress has not been approached in any way to be involved in the upcoming “Terminator Salvation“.

Radiohead have written their first film score – for the adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s novel Choke reports Pitch Fork Media.

Principal photography is underway on locations across London and at Ealing Studios on “Dorian Gray“.

Stone Village has acquired Dikran Ornekian and Ryan Colluci’s Brazillian werewolf action thriller spec script “Lobo” reports MSN.

Discuss in the forum.

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