A Moment In History!

Great Historical Films

In this Moment In History article we will give a list of what we feel to be some of the best historical films, not only for their educational value, but also due to their ability to portray the raw emotional power of the moment.

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Nov 25

Cowardly Lion costume goes for $3 million at auction

Cowardly Lion costumer from 'The Wizard of Oz' goes to highest bidder for $3 million plus (image courtesy AP)

By Teresa Jue

Somewhere out there is a wealthy customer who just won himself one of the most expensive Halloween costumes out there: the Cowardly Lion costume from 1939's The Wizard of Oz fetched over $3 million at auction at Bonhams in New York City on Monday.

According to the Associated Press, the costume was authenticated to be the one that Bert Lahr wore in the film; a back-up costume fetched almost $1 million in recent years. The costume’s previous owner, Los Angeles Museum of Television founder James Comisar, said that the costume was made out of real lion skins, and was extensively analyzed to conclude that this costume was indeed the one that was worn on-screen.

According to People, the costume had been found from an old MGM building by a junk dealer cleaning out the deserted lot in the 1970s.

Continue Reading at: Entertainment Weekly

Nov 24

Jurassic World Teaser Trailer Debuts Online!

by Zach Johnson

The world premiere of the full-length Jurassic World trailer is just days away!

Over the weekend, Universal Pictures released a 20-second teaser to promote the summer blockbuster. The footage offered a first look at dinosaurs, the park, and co-stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard.

Jurassic World, the fourth installment in the series, pays homage to the 1993 original. One of the most memorable scenes in Steven Spielberg's classic involved a stampede of Gallimimus dinosaurs, who sent Laura Dern and Sam Neill running for cover. The stampede of dinosaurs is back in Jurassic World, but this time, fear is no longer a factor. In fact, visitors safely ride alongside them in the park's new vehicles. To see more differences and similarities between the two films, watch the trailer in full on Thanksgiving [11/28].

NBC will premiere the sneak peek during an NFL game at 9 p.m. EST.

Pratt plays a scientist who conducts behavioral research on raptors.

Watch the trailer here:

Continue Reading at: E Online

Nov 24

'Hunger Games' scores year's biggest opening with $123M

A scene from "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1" (image courtesy AP / Lionsgate)

by The Associated Press

"Mockingjay, Part 1" didn't catch fire like the previous installments of "The Hunger Games," but it still had the biggest opening of the year with $123 million at the weekend box office, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Lionsgate's "Mockingjay" opened well below the $158 million debut of last year's "Hunger Games: Catching Fire" and the $153 million opening of the 2012 original. But even with a $30-million-plus slide in the franchise, "Mockingjay" far surpassed the previous top weekend of the year: the $100 million debut of "Transformers: Age of Extinction."

The result made for some unusual ironies. The biggest opening of the year (and by a wide margin) was seen by some as a disappointment. After initial box office receipts of "Mockingjay" rolled in Friday, forecasting a weekend below expectations, Lions Gate Entertainment's stock dipped 5 percent.

But the decision to split the final book in Suzanne Collins' dystopian trilogy into two films was clearly lucrative for Lionsgate. "Mockingjay" did even better overseas, where it made $152 million over the weekend, accounting altogether for a $275 million global opening.

"It's the biggest opening of the year, so it really illustrates the strength of the franchise," said David Spitz, head of distribution for Lionsgate, noting the North American opening was the 15th best ever.

Continue Reading at: Fox News

Nov 23

Amy Adams Set to Play Janis Joplin in New Film

Amy Adams (left) to portray Janis Joplin in upcoming biopic (images courtesy Wireimage, Getty)

By Patrick Gomez

After years of false starts, Amy Adams will finally have her rock-'n'-roll moment.

The five-time Academy Award nominee is set to portray legendary singer Janis Joplin in a long-stalled biopic that is finally inching closer to production, Deadline reports.

Adams, 40, signed on to play the "Piece of My Heart" singer way back in 2010, but the project hit numerous roadblocks over the years as it struggled to find a director and writing team.

Wild director Jean-Marc Vallée is in negotiations to helm the biopic, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Vallée directed Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club, and is reportedly in talks to re-team with his writers from that film for this latest project.

As for Adams, she has made no secret of her affection for the hard-living-yet-vulnerable singer, who died at the age of 27 in 1970.

In the December issue of Vogue, Adams said that if given the opportunity to get coffee with anyone from the past, it'd be with Janis Joplin, but "it probably wouldn't be coffee."

Continue Reading at: People

Nov 22

Mel Gibson And Andrew Garfield Are Going To War, Here Are The Details

By Gregory Wakeman

Mel Gibson is planning his next cinematic assault and he has convinced Andrew Garfield to come along for the ride with him. And if the appeal of Martin Riggs and Spider-Man teaming up together isn’t enough for you, then hopefully the fact that their efforts will take place during World War II can convince you of the film’s merits.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Mel Gibson is set to step behind the camera once again for Hacksaw Ridge. The drama will tell the true story of Private First Class Desmond T. Doss, a war hero who picked up the Congressional Medal of Honor despite the fact that he decided not to bear arms on religious grounds throughout the war. Andrew Garfield would play Doss if he’s cast, but at the moment discussions are still at a very early stage. Unfortunately it hasn’t be announced if Mel Gibson himself will appear in the film. In the past he has both starred in and directed The Man Without A Face and Braveheart, but for his two most recent projects, The Passion Of The Christ and Apocalypto, he decided to remain strictly behind the camera. Hacksaw Ridge would be his first film he has directed since the release of the criminally underrated Apocalypto back in 2006. However, since then, Mel Gibson has remained in the public eye, but mostly for all of the wrong reasons.

So what would Hacksaw Ridge actually entail? THR notes that Desmond T. Doss was drafted into the armed forces in April 1942, just a few months after the United States of America had been attacked at Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. However, because of his beliefs as a Seventh-Day Adventist, he refused to kill anyone and he didn’t even carry a weapon into battle. As you can imagine, this left him as an innocent bystander while the horrors of the war in the Pacific raged around him.

Continue Reading at: Cinema Blend

Nov 21

'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 1' poised for biggest 2014 debut

Jennifer Lawrence portrays Katniss Everdeen in a scene from "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1" (image courtesy AP / Lionsgate)

By Saba Hamedy

While tracking forecasts vary on exactly how much the latest "Hunger Games" installment will make in its debut, one thing is for sure: "Mockingjay - Part 1" is going to soar.

With no other new wide releases at the box office this weekend, the Lionsgate franchise film is poised to have the biggest opening of the year, surpassing the $100-million debut of "Transformers: Age of Extinction" in June.

The studio expects the film will pull in between $130 million to $150 million -- but some analysts think it could gross a whopping $170 million. Lionsgate also anticipates it will catch fire overseas as it opens in 85 international markets this weekend.

Based on the bestselling young-adult novels by Suzanne Collins, the "Hunger Games" movies have been big hits for the Santa Monica-based studio.

In 2012, "The Hunger Games" debuted with $155 million. It ultimately pulled in about $408 million in the United States and Canada.

"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," the second installment of the franchise, opened to $161 million in November 2013. It went on to gross nearly $425 million and took the No. 10 spot on the all-time U.S. box-office list, according to the Internet Movie Database.

Together, the films have grossed more than $1.5 billion at the worldwide box office.

Continue Reading at: Los Angeles Times

Nov 20

Mike Nichols, Acclaimed Director of 'The Graduate,' Dies at 83

Director Mike Nichols in recent years (image courtesy The New York Times)


Mike Nichols, one of America’s most celebrated directors, whose long, protean résumé of critic- and crowd-pleasing work earned him adulation both on Broadway and in Hollywood, died on Wednesday. He was 83.

His death was announced in a statement by the president of ABC News, James Goldston. A spokeswoman for ABC said the cause was cardiac arrest.

Dryly urbane, Mr. Nichols had a gift for communicating with actors and a keen comic timing, which he honed early in his career as half of the popular sketch-comedy team Nichols and May. In works such as "The Graduate," "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and "Carnal Knowledge" on screen and in a wide variety of comedies and dramas on stage, he accomplished what Orson Welles and Elia Kazan, but few if any other directors have: He achieved popular and artistic success in both film and theater. He was among the most decorated people in the history of show business, one of only a handful to have won an Oscar, a Tony, an Emmy and a Grammy.

His career encompassed an entire era of screen and stage entertainment. On Broadway, where he won an astonishing nine Tonys (including two as a producer), he once had four shows running simultaneously. He directed Neil Simon's early comedies "Barefoot in the Park" and "The Odd Couple" in the 1960s, the zany Monty Python musical, "Spamalot," four decades later, and nearly another decade after that, an acclaimed revival of Arthur Miller's bruising masterpiece, "Death of a Salesman."

Continue Reading at: The New York Times

Nov 19

Coming soon to a theatre in China: Delays, disappointments and sabotage

by Nathan VanderKlippe

Mid-way through the theatrical trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, the machine guns and exploding arrows give way to two words: This November.

But in China, the third instalment in the series of blockbusters won't be shown this month – or even this year, after authorities quietly stymied plans for a simultaneous world-wide release Nov. 21. In China, the film is now likely to open in early 2015, but authorities gave no reason for the cancellation of its scheduled date, as Mockingjay became the latest Hollywood entrant to face the Middle Kingdom's often-capricious film bureaucracy and come up empty.

The first two films in the Hunger Games series have been blockbusters for Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., bringing in a combined box office total of $1.5-billion (U.S.), and the company had big hopes for the latest.

The entertainment company had planned a massive global launch of the movie, saying actor Jennifer Lawrence and director Francis Lawrence, among others, would begin a global press tour in Beijing. Chinese audiences had brought in $54-million for the previous two films. But the Beijing stop never happened, and Mockingjay was yanked from the theatrical schedule after some had already bought tickets.

Chinese media suggest Lions Gate failed to secure one of the coveted 34 annual spots for broad distribution of foreign movies in China. The Brad Pitt Second World War tank epic Fury, instead, "took the last of 2014's imported movies quota and will be played on Nov. 21," one report said, citing China's state broadcaster, CCTV.

"The Hunger Games' loss will be some other movie's gain," said Zhou Liming, a well-known film critic in Beijing, who said the jostling for year-end position commonly produces winners and losers.

Continue Reading at: The Globe and Mail

Nov 18

Charlie Brown's lovable dog Snoopy flies again in trailer for 'Peanuts'

By Josh Lasser

Just as you were preparing for this year's slate of Christmas films, FOX has taken a moment to remind you that the holiday will be back next year, and they are getting ready for it. Yes, this morning FOX and Blue Sky Animation have released a trailer for "Peanuts."

No worry of nut-based allergies here (depending on your view of the beagle), the film is based on the classic characters created by Charles M. Schulz. The trailer offers just about everything you would hope for from such a film (again, depending on your view of the beagle).

Yes, Snoopy himself is at the center of the new trailer, flying over Europe in his Sopwith Camel as he tries to shoot down the Red Baron. Woodstock is present as well, trying to deck Snoopy's doghouse halls for the holiday. You will even see the humans at the tail end of the trailer as Charlie Brown once again proves he's the Charlie Browniest.

Watch the trailer here:

Continue Reading at: HitFix.com

Nov 18

Ken Takakura, Japanese star and Black Rain actor, dead at 83

Japan's "Clint Eastwood" Ken Takakura has died at the age of 83 (image courtesy Getty)

by The Associated Press

Ken Takakura, a craggy-faced, quiet star known for playing outlaws and stoic heroes in scores of Japanese films, has died of lymphoma. He was 83.

Perhaps best known abroad for his police inspector role in Ridley Scott's Black Rain in 1989, Takakura died Nov. 10 at a Tokyo hospital where he was treated for the illness, according to his office and media reports Tuesday.

He surged to stardom after his 1956 debut, becoming an icon in yakuza films such as Abashiri Prison in the 1960s. Much of his appeal to the Japanese public stemmed from his image as a hero fighting authority figures on behalf of the poor and weak.

But in a career spanning more than 200 films he sometimes played comic roles, such as his 1992 portrayal of a coach in Mr. Baseball.

Likened to Clint Eastwood, Takakura starred in detective stories and dramas including the 1977 film The Yellow Handkerchief and 1999's Railroad Man, which won him a best actor award at the Montreal World Film Festival.

The news of his death topped Japanese news programs almost nonstop, and major newspapers distributed extras in downtown Tokyo.

Continue Reading at: CBC

Nov 17

'Dumb And Dumber To' Wins Weekend Box Office With $38 Million

A scene from 'Dumb and Dumber To' (image courtesy Universal Pictures)

by Noelle Talmon

Comedy "Dumb and Dumber To" dominated the weekend box office, taking home $38.1 million in ticket sales.

The film takes place 20 years after the last film. Harry (Jeff Daniels) finds out he needs a kidney and discovers he has a daughter. He enlists Lloyd's (Jim Carrey) help, who has been "comatose" since Mary's rejection, to find his long-lost offspring.

Animated film "Big Hero 6" fell to the number two slot during its second week of release, making $36 million. Rounding out the top three was space drama "Interstellar," starring Matthew McConaughey, which made $29.1 million.

Continue Reading at: Starpulse.com

Nov 15

Christoph Waltz joining Bond movie?

Christoph Waltz will apparently star in the next James Bond film

Christoph Waltz is apparently set to star in the new Bond movie.

The Inglourious Basterds star will share the screen with 007 Daniel Craig in the as-yet-untitled 24th film about the suave spy, reported the Daily Mail.

The two-time Oscar winner is said to have a significant part, and it has sparked rumours he might be the villain, with a source saying his character will be "a nemesis of sorts".

However, another insider said: "It's not immediately evident whether the part's friend, or foe, or a bit of both."

The Wrap reported that Chiwetel Ejiofor had been in negotiations to play a baddie in the movie, and that that is the part now earmarked for Christoph.

Sam Mendes is directing the film, which is the follow-up to 2012's Skyfall, and the production is expected to get under way in the coming weeks.

Continue Reading at: Belfast Telegraph

Nov 14

Comedy sequels almost too painful to sit through

By Bruce Kirkland

Barring miracles, comedy sequels rarely work. The magic of the original mayhem usually disappears. In many cases, the original stars refuse to reprise their roles. When they do return, more often than not it is a cynical money grab. The scripts for sequels are routinely slapped together to exploit the popularity of the preceding movie. But Hollywood persists - there is money to be made.

Because there was nothing much to laugh at during the movie, we were thinking about this sorry state of affairs in the middle of suffering through Dumber and Dumber To. This is the Farrelly Brothers' long-awaited sequel to their own 1994 hit movie. The original quickly achieved cult comedy status. But the sequel sucks, even though both Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels returned to their iconic roles as idiots Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne.

Here are other sequels that mocked fans of the original movies that Hollywood tried to turn into franchises. The rule is that we had to at least like those originals. That rules out stupid stuff like Without a Paddle: Nature's Calling because the original was awful, too.

More titles for the Comedy Hall of Shame: Beverly Hills Cop III; all of the Police Academy sequels); Porky's Revenge; Teen Wolf Too; American Wedding; American Pie: The Book of Love; Scary Movie 5; Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise; The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause; The Whole Ten Yards; Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo; Fletch Lives; Mannequin: On the Move; Smokey and the Bandit: Part 3; Airplane II: The Sequel.

Continue Reading at: The Toronto Sun

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