Peter Sellers

peter-sellers-pink-panther

We all have one or two — filmmakers and actors who we just can’t get behind no matter how much acclaim they receive. Sometimes it’s just a matter of taste. You either love Wes Anderson’s style or you don’t. You either enjoy Tom Cruise’s charisma or you don’t. Other times it’s actually a matter of objective criticism, a certainty that the person is no good, and that’s the kind that can be very difficult to admit if most of the intelligent world considers the director or performer to be a genius. That’s also the kind of argument that can upset friendships, as I’ve known one critic to confess of regarding his stance on Stanley Kubrick — a stance he is not yet brave enough to put onto a public forum. After all, commenters can be so cruel. So can academic peers. My confession for today is relevant to the Kubrick one. I want to admit that I don’t like Peter Sellers. I never have. But it’s not enough anymore to admit that as a matter of opinion. I now believe that Sellers was in fact not a good actor, nor a good comedian. That’s not to say he wasn’t funny. He makes people laugh, so that’s irrefutable. Sense of humor is one thing, though, and talent is another. I can’t say that I’ve seen everything he was in, but how comprehensive a study must I make to find the exception? I’ve given him a chance over and over. I watched […]

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Are you more likely to see a movie in the theater if it’s followed by an exclusive, live Q&A event featuring that movie’s stars? What if it’s free? What if the Q&A is only via satellite and only temporally but not locally exclusive, and so no possibility of autographs or hugs? What if you still have the chance to submit a question to a relatively reclusive living legend of screen and song, such as Barbra Streisand? What if her answer is that she smoked pot with Peter Sellers? “I was married to Elliot [Gould] and he was with Britt Ekland,” the actress said while being broadcast to viewers in 20 theaters nationwide following a sneak preview of her upcoming film, The Guilt Trip, “and the funny thing is that we went to a restaurant and we started to riff on, like, should we have steak ice cream? It was funny at the time. It’s not funny now, because you’re not high.” People were turned away from the AMC Barrett Commons outside Atlanta on Sunday for this national sneak preview. But that happens all the time with complimentary, invite-style advance screenings. It’s hard to be sure whether there was more interest in this particular film and this particular showing of it that wouldn’t otherwise be there simply because the show was to be followed by a live interview with Streisand and her co-star, Seth Rogen. In my experience at film festivals and special events in New York, I’ve found that the […]

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The James Bond Files

Not only are FSR’s resident Bond nerds (specifically yours truly and my partner in espionage, Brian Salisbury) gearing up for the release of Skyfall in November, but we are also rubbing our hands together with anticipation of opening our new Bond 50 Blu-ray box sets that came out this week. Since we’re in the movie news business, we can watch all 22 of these films, we can chalk up the 40+ hours of movie watching to a full work week. We bet you’re feeling an extreme amount of jealousy right now (or an extreme amount of pity for us… not quite sure which). But as we prepare to watch all the James Bond movies again, we’ll also reflect upon the different actors who have played James Bond in the past. Here’s a quick breakdown of the legendary (and one not-so-legendary) Bond actors over the years. Fortunately, since Daniel Craig has signed on for some additional post-Skyfall movies, this piece should still be relevant for a while, and that’s a valuable commodity in the ever-changing world of the Internet.

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Over Under - Large

When thinking about which films I consider to be overrated, I keep coming back to two different categories. First there are the art films that get embraced by the movie geek community and praised to high heaven for their crafting, whether they really makes for an exceptional overall movie-going experience or not. And then there are the movies that get overrated by the mainstream. They’re mostly sentimental movies that tug on the heartstrings, with characters that hit low lows, but then achieve some new victory. Robert Zemeckis’ Forrest Gump is definitely the latter. It’s a movie that seems designed solely to make parents and grandparents nod knowingly at historical incidents they remember and then tear up when a sad part rolls around; but they love it for it. Being There was nominated for the Palme d’Or and even won Melvyn Douglas an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor back when it came out, but it’s a movie I never hear mentioned these days. As a matter of fact, other than the little bit of nostalgia that remains for Harold and Maude, I would say that Hal Ashby is a director whose career has been kind of forgotten by my generation of film fans. That’s a shame, because the man did some great work, and this film in particular has one of the last great performances by the legendary Peter Sellers.

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Right in between Dr. Strangelove and Casino Royale, Peter Sellers played a crazed doctor named Fritz Fassbender for a little flick called What’s New Pussycat?, and the result was a comedy about as offbeat as they get. The Woody Allen-scripted movie saw Sellers teaming with Peter O’Toole to explore the randomness and destruction of romance. O’Toole plays a wealthy cad who refuses to lead the married life with the woman he loves, opting instead for tons of casual sex. Burdened by the issue, he seeks the guidance of the crazed Fassbender who has more than a few romance problems himself. Some of it makes sense, most of it doesn’t, and the trailer captures that hilarious spirit perfectly.

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How many James Bonds can be stuffed into one movie? Casino Royale, the first Bond spoof, seeks to answer that question with David Niven, Ursula Andress, Peter Sellers, Joanna Pettet, Daliah Lavi, and Woody Allen all playing 007. Plus, Orson Welles playing Le Chiffre. Seriously. Orson Welles. There were a ton of writers and directors (and actors) who worked on this movie, but somehow the love of the spy and the spoof shines through. Even in the trailer, you can see where Austin Powers was born (hint: in a spinning bed with Peter Sellers flashing his giant teeth for pictures). Unrelate sidenote: have you ever noticed that Ursula Andress’s name is one letter away from “Undress”? In fact, her spoonerism name would be Arsula Undress. What are the odds of that?

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Every day, come rain or shine or internet tubes breaking, Film School Rejects showcases a trailer from the past. Today’s trailer is a simple gardener who gets mistaken for so much more. Maybe it’s true: All you have to be is white in America to get everything. Peter Sellers crushes every single scene he’s in without batting an eye or letting a smile slip. Of course, it helps that he can walk on water. Life is a state of mind. Think you know what it is? Check the trailer out for yourself:

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Science Fiction is, sadly, not always seen as high art. However, there are some brilliant acting talents who have dared to slum it in the world of science fiction. Here’s the 15 most notable ones.

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Our Culture Warrior Landon Palmer digs into next month’s Cannes line up so you won’t have to. Learn what to look out for when they hit the states and feign sounding cultured at parties!

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FSR

Kevin Carr reviews the movies the studios didn’t allow him to see early this week: Pink Panther 2, Coraline and Push.

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If I had to describe the trailer for Blake Edwards’ original Pink Panther, I’d either call it “ridiculously hokey” or “surprisingly sexist.” The first is obvious, especially if you’ve already seen the movie which is a triumph of slapstick foolishness delivered expertly by David Niven and Peter Sellers.

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Fat Guys at the Movies

Neil finally returns to the Magical Studio in the Sky with stories from the land of milk and honey, otherwise known as the Sundance Film Festival. Kevin celebrates the return by berating him for only seeing one movie this week, although Neil defends himself because he saw 143 movies at the festival.

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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