Happy Birthday: Buster Keaton (1895–1966)

busterkeaton.jpgBuster Keaton (1895–1966)

Born: October 4, 1895 in Piqua, Kansas, USA
Died: February 1, 1966 (age 70) in Los Angeles, California, USA

I’ve had few dull moments [in my life] and not too many sad and defeated ones. In saying this, I am by no means overlooking the rough and rocky years I’ve lived through. But I was not brought up thinking life would be easy. I always expected to work hard for my money and to get nothing I did not earn. And the bad years, it seems to me, were so few that only a dyed-in-the-wool grouch who enjoys feeling sorry for himself would complain.

The Boat: Short Film
1921
dir. Keaton
starring
Keaton
the balloonatic buster keatonThe Balloonatic
1923
dir. Keaton
Starring
Keaton
Phyllis Haver
THE FROZEN NORTHThe Frozen North
1922
dir. Keaton
Edward F. Cline
starring
Keaton
Bonnie Hill
COPSCops
1922
dir. Keaton
Edward F. Cline
starring
Keaton
Virginia Fox
Sherlock Jr
1924
dir. Keaton
starring
Keaton
Kathryn McGuire
The GeneralThe General
1927
dir. Keaton
Clyde Bruckman
starring
Keaton
Marion Mack
AT THE CIRCUSAt the Circus
1939
dir. Edward Buzzell
starring
The Marx Bros
Keaton co-writer
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the ForumA Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
1966
dir. Richard Lester
Starring
Zero Mostel

Born in 1895 in Kansas, into a vaudeville family performing with the likes of Houdini (who coined his name ‘Buster’), Keaton was an early physical talent.

He entered film in his early twenties making shorts, and was deemed a star upon his first feature, 1920’s The Saphead. Keaton wrote, directed and starred in many of his own films, as well as doing studio comedies which did not garner him critical success.

With the discovery of lost stock of his early work, and 1952’s Limelight with Charlie Chaplin, Buster was finally recognized as an icon of his genre. Buster Keaton died in 1966.

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Happy Birthday: Stanley Kramer (1913–2001)

stanleykramer.jpgStanley Kramer (1913–2001)

Born: September 29, 1913 in Hell’s Kitchen [now Clinton], Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA
Died: February 19, 2001 (age 87) in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA

[on Katharine Hepburn] The most completely thorough, driving, constantly seeking actress with whom I’m been associated. She’s never really satisfied; she never stops thinking about what she’s doing and about what everybody else is doing. She is a marvelous woman who has a capacity for many emotional areas and she has great talent. She can trigger an emotional truth at precisely the right time. I don’t know what she draws on; it’s a deep, deep well.

GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER
1967
dir. Stanley Kramer
Stars:
Spencer Tracy
Sidney Poitier

THE DEFIANT ONESThe Defiant Ones
1958
dir. Stanley Kramer
Cast
Tony Curtis
Sydney Poitier
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Happy Birthday: Nicolas Winding Refn

nicolaswindingrefn.jpgNicolas Winding Refn

Born: September 29, 1970 in Copenhagen, Denmark

The auteur theory is such a strange theory, because you’re dealing with human beings. You only make good stuff if your collaborators are a part of your process and a part of your ideas, and there’s no point in fighting them or them fighting you. Even Ingmar Bergman had a lot of discussions with his actors about pros and cons. An auteur doesn’t have to write every single word, because the writer’s there to help the director do what the director wants to do, and that was certainly my case.

DRIVE
dir. Nicolas Winding Refn
Stars:
Ryan Gosling
Carey Mulligan
movie posterVALHALLA RISING
2009
dir. Nicolas Winding Refn
Starring:
Mads Mikkelsen
Maarten Stevenson
BRONSON
2008
dir. Nicolas Winding Refn
Starring:
Tom Hardy
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Happy Birthday: John Sayles

johnsayles.jpgJohn Sayles

Born: September 28, 1950 in Schenectady, New York, USA

[1983 interview] Because directing is very political and social, it takes up more of your time than writing does. It’s more demanding because you have to make the movie when the money is there. A book can just sit there; it doesn’t depend on anyone else. That’s what’s nice about it. You don’t have to rely on anyone else – you either do it or you don’t. Fiction writing is a break from movie-making for me.

EIGHT MEN OUT
1988
dir. John Sayles
Stars:
John Cusack
Clifton James

 

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Happy Birthday: Arthur Penn (1922–2010)

arthurpenn.jpgArthur Penn (I) (1922–2010)

Born: September 27, 1922 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Died: September 28, 2010 (age 88) in Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA

[on Bonnie and Clyde (1967)] I thought that if were going to show this (violence), we should SHOW it. We should show what it looks like when somebody gets shot. TV coverage of Vietnam was every bit, perhaps even more, bloody than what we were showing on film.

 

The Left Handed Gun
1958
dir. Arthur Penn
Cast
Paul Newman
Lita Milan
Bonnie and ClydeBonnie and Clyde
1967
dir. Arthur Penn
Cast
Warren Beatty
Faye Dunaway
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Happy Birthday: Pedro Almodóvar

pedroalmodovar.jpgPedro Almodóvar

Born: September 25, 1949 in Calzada de Calatrava, Ciudad Real, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain

[2016 interview] Reality always filters through into my films, even when I try to reject it. It finds a crack to seep in through. The climate of the last four years in Spain has been of enormous unhappiness and even though I haven’t personally suffered from the harshness of the economic situation, I’m surrounded by people who have. I don’t think Julieta (2016) is a metaphor for Spain today but it’s no accident that my 80s films were much happier.

VOLVER
2006
dir. Pedro Almodovar
Stars:
Penelope Cruz
PEDRO ALMODOVAR
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Happy Birthday: Brad Bird

bradbird.jpgBrad Bird

Born: September 24, 1957 in Kalispell, Montana, USA

Married to: Elizabeth Canney (1988 – present) (3 children)

When I write things, often at the moment I’m writing, I’m thinking of camera angles; it’s not a separate part of the process, it kind of comes out all at the same time. So I have really strong opinions about how things are presented, but at the same time I’m thinking about things that I want to present. It’s like when somebody speaks, they assemble words in a certain way, but it’s not always that conscious, it just comes out. That’s the way film is for me.

Ratatouille
2007
dir. Brad Bird
Jan Pinkava
Voices by
Patton Oswalt
Ian Holm
THE IRON GIANTThe Iron Giant
1999
dir. Brad Bird
Cast
Jennifer Aniston
Harry Connick Jr.
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE GHOST PROTOCOL
dir. Brad Bird
Stars
Tom Cruise
Jeremy Renner
UPUP
dir. Pete Docter
Bob Peterson
Voices by:
Edward Asner
Christopher Plummer

 

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Happy Birthday: Ethan Coen

ethancoen.jpgEthan Coen

Born: September 21, 1957 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Married to: Tricia Cooke (2 October 1990 – present) (2 children)

We’ve always actually been remarkably commercially successful. Not in terms of making huge amounts of money, which we rarely do, but in terms of not losing money and making modest amounts of money. We’re actually strangely consistent in that respect. We’ve been able to keep making movies because of that and also because, strangely, we’ve had studio patrons, starting from Barry Diller. Sometimes they’re establishment people who know they’re not going to make huge amounts of money, but they like your movies. They’re moviegoers, too.

Raising Arizona
1987
dir. Joel and Ethan Coen
starring
Nicolas Cage
Holly Hunter
Miller's CrossingMiller’s Crossing
1990
dir. Joel and Ethan Coen
starring
Gabriel Byrne
Marcia Gay Harden
BARTON FINKBarton Fink
1991
dir. Joel and Ethan Coen
Starring
John Turturro
John Goodman
The Hudsucker ProxyThe Hudsucker Proxy
1994
dir. Joel and Ethan Coen
Cast
Tim Robbins
Jennifer Jason Leigh
Fargo
1996
dir. Joel and Ethan Coen
starring
William H Macy
Frances McDormand
THE BIG LEBOWSKIThe Big Lebowski
1998
dir. Joel and Ethan Coen
Starring
Jeff Bridges
John Goodman
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
2000
dir. Joel and Ethan Coen
Starring
George Clooney
John Turturro
True GritTrue Grit
dir. Coen Brothers
Stars:
Jeff Bridges
Matt Damon
MOVIE POSTERINSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS
2013
dir. Ethan Coen
Joel Coen
Stars:
Oscar Issac
No Country for Old Men
dir. Joel and Ethan Coen
Starring
Josh Brolin
Tommy Lee Jones
Burn After ReadingBurn After Reading
2008
dir. Joel and Ethan Coen
Starring
George Clooney
Brad Pitt
A SERIOUS MAN Movie PosterA Serious Man
dir. Ethan Coen
Joel Coen
Stars:
Michael Stuhlbarg
Richard Kind
A SERIOUS MAN Movie PosterTHE MAN WHO WASN’T THERE
dir. Ethan Coen
Joel Coen
Stars:
Billy Bob Thornton
James Gandolfini
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Died Today (September 20th) – Director Curtis Hanson (1945–2016)

curtishanson.jpgCurtis Hanson (1945–2016)

Born: March 24, 1945 in Reno, Nevada, USA
Died: September 20, 2016 (age 71) in Los Angeles, California, USA

Oscar Winner for Best Screenplay (LA Confidential)

“For me, all good stories are about awareness. Self-awareness and lack of it, of how you get there and how you might fail to get there. Even Don Siegel’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) is about that to a degree. People discover who they are and what they’re all about by meeting their doppelgängers. I have deliberately tried to mix it up in my movies, because I enjoy visiting different worlds. However, thematically, I find that things keep coming up. Self-examination to begin with. You know, who am I, how did I get here and how do I become a better version of myself. Self-destructiveness, because that is the beginning or negation of self-examination”.

A River Wild
1994
dir. Hanson
Starring
Streep
Kevin Bacon
LA CONFIDENTIALLA Confidential
1997
dir. Hanson
starring
Crowe
Guy Pearce
Kevin Spacey
WONDER BOYSWonder Boys
2000
dir. Curtis Hanson
Starring
Michael Douglas
Holmes
LUCKY YOULucky You
2007
dir. Hanson
Starring
Eric Bana
Barrymore
Robert Duvall
MOVIE POSTERCHASING MAVERICKS
dir. Curtis Hanson
Stars:
Jonny Weston
Gerard Butler

Happy Birthday: Neill Blomkamp

neillblomkamp.jpgNeill Blomkamp

Born: September 17, 1979 in Johannesburg, South Africa

I don’t put any pressure on myself in terms of what people or fans do or don’t want. It really just doesn’t occur to me. I honestly just want to make the films I want to see as a fan. The film will survive or fail in my mind by how much I like it. Having said that, everyone wants their films to do well and to be well-received.

ELYSIUM
2013
dir. Neill Blomkamp
Stars:
Matt Damon
Jodie Foster

DISTRICT 9 Movie PosterDistrict 9
dir. Neill Blomkamp
Starring
Sharlto Copley
David James