Menu

OSCARS CAST A WIDE NET

I’ve been watching the Oscars since I was a kid and covering them since I moved to Los Angeles in 1983, so I can assure you that it’s not a cliché when people say it’s an honor just to be nominated. To be one of five (or even eight) candidates out of a year’s worth of movies is no small achievement. But in any race, someone is declared the winner. That’s why I was pleased by the outcome of this year’s Academy Awards. Green Book, Roma, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Blackkklansman, Black Panther, A Star is Born, and If Beale Street Could Talk all had cause to celebrate. Even First Man, which was otherwise forsaken, took home a well-deserved prize for its extraordinary visual effects. With the rise of…

READ MORE >

SLEEPERS! FILM NOIR, WESTERN AUTEURS ON DVD AND BLU-RAY

Even as “physical media” is ostensibly disappearing there are new DVD and Blu-ray releases being released on a regular basis, with valuable bonus material. The newest company to join the parade is Arrow Academy (Arrow Video in the United States), which is offering superb digital transfers of Joseph H. Lewis’ signature films My Name is Julia Ross and So Dark the Night. The pleasure of watching beautiful copies of these films would be worth the price alone, but following the lead of the Criterion Collection, Arrow has gone the extra mile for film buffs.     My Name is Julia Ross (1945) has always had a strong reputation, uncommon for a B movie, but my recollection of So Dark the Night (1946) was dim until I revisited it and I count it as…

READ MORE >

ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL

A striking new female character is ready for action in a fantastic-looking movie. Based on a Japanese manga comic book, Alita: Battle Angel combines the talents of two tech-savvy filmmakers, James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez. Screenwriting has never been their strong suit, but working with Laeta Kalogridis (who wrote the most recent Terminator movie), the vfx wizards at WETA and Cameron’s longtime producer Jon Landau, they have crafted a dynamic comic-book yarn. Like so many of these projects it hews to a formula, and it’s longer than it needs to be, but I still enjoyed watching it. Cameron’s Avatar set a new standard for performance-capture and Alita reaffirms the exceptional result of that methodology. We’ve come a long way from Polar Express and even Gollum in The Lord of the Rings. Alita is played by Rosa…

READ MORE >

EVEN MORE OF MY FAVORITE MOVIE SCORE

Imagine loving a movie soundtrack but never having a chance to hear it all. The most-played score in my collection is Jerome Moross’ evocative, Oscar-nominated music for The Big Country (1958), William Wyler’s sprawling film starring Gregory Peck and Charlton Heston. Most people would probably point to Elmer Bernstein’s The Magnificent Seven or Ennio Morricone’s The Good, The Bad and the Ugly as the ultimate Western scores, but I have a deep, abiding affection for The Big Country which is difficult to put into words. I just love listening to it. Moross is not one of the acknowledged giants of film music, but he made his mark all the same. Once an orchestrator for Aaron Copland, some of that composer’s ideas rubbed off on him and became part of his musical DNA. His…

READ MORE >

ALBERT FINNEY: THE CHAMELEON WHO DIDN’T CARE ABOUT OSCARS

I remember a publicist who was working on the Academy Award campaign for Erin Brockovich complaining that Albert Finney could have won the Oscar that year if he’d only been willing to come to Los Angeles to do some publicity and glad-handing. But that wasn’t Finney’s m.o. He only cared about the work. The fact that he was nominated five times by his fellow actors may have pleased him (we’ll never know) but didn’t turn his head. Nor, apparently, did the concept of movie stardom. He attended RADA (the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts) alongside other notable up-and-comers and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he shone as one of its brightest lights. The world was his oyster. He could have capitalized on his formidable skills to…

READ MORE >

FAREWELL TO VITAPHONE CHAMPION RON HUTCHINSON—ONE OF THE GOOD GUYS

In It’s a Wonderful Life, James Stewart’s George Bailey required an angel to show him how much his life mattered to the people around him. I don’t think Ron Hutchinson needed evidence of the impact he made by cofounding The Vitaphone Project and resuscitating dozens of dormant films. He has done heroic work since the early 1990s and deserves all the accolades imaginable. He didn’t do it for credit or glory; he did it because he cared. That’s one reason his untimely passing last weekend comes as such a blow to the film community. For me it’s also personal. I counted him as a friend for more than 25 years, and I am devastated. Some collectors hoard their goodies; Ron was the opposite, an unabashedly enthusiastic guy…

READ MORE >

SURROUNDED BY STARS

It’s impossible to be blasé when I’m in a sea of famous faces. My weekend began by interviewing Glenn Close at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Sunday (where she received the Maltin Modern Master Award, so named because I’ve conducted these interviews for nearly 30 years). This was followed by Monday’s Oscar nominee luncheon, an oasis in the chaotic award season that I’m privileged to attend. Seeing each nominee walk up, accept their certificate and join their peers on the bleachers is truly something special. I am nobody’s idea of a great photographer, but it’s fun to take snapshots just the same; here are some of my favorites from this year’s gathering.

Subscribe to our newsletter

MERCH

Maltin tee on teepublic

PODCAST

Maltin On Movies

PAST MALTIN ON MOVIES PODCASTS

APPEARANCES/BOOKING

Leonard Maltin Appearances & Bookings

CALENDAR

May 2019
S M T W T F S
« Apr    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031