Wallace Shawn

Commemorating the 25th anniversary of The Princess Bride, director Rob Reiner, screenwriter William Goldman (also the author of the source novel) and stars Robin Wright (“Buttercup”), Wallace Shawn (“Vizzini”), Chris Sarandon (“Prince Humperdink”), Mandy Patinkin (“Inigo Montoya”), Carol Kane (“Valerie”), Cary Elwes (“Westley”), and Billy Crystal (“Miracle Max”) all gathered at NYC’s Alice Tully Hall on Tuesday as part of a New York Film Festival special event screening. This marked the first time in almost 26 years that they have watched the film with an audience, re-experiencing the saga of Buttercup and her Westley (and all swordsmanship and kissing involved). Throughout the film, which sold out the 1,086-seat Lincoln Center venue, attendees of all different ages loudly applauded and hooted for their favorite lines and for the first appearances of their favorite characters. They were worked up into a fervor, more closely resembling a ribald grindhouse crowd than one at a typical NYFF screening. This large-scale showing injected new life into The Princess Bride, and it is especially great that the audience was so responsive, given that the cast sat through the film and were able to witness the extreme appreciation of their work firsthand.

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Last Tuesday was the 25th anniversary of the theatrical openings of The Princess Bride, and this coming Tuesday sees the release of a 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray of the movie, which features a new two-part retrospective documentary. Also on Tuesday, a new print of the fantasy adventure classic will screen during the New York Film Festival, complete with a reunion of actors Robin Wright, Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal and Carol Kane and director Rob Reiner (no Fred Savage? Inconceivable!) for a post-film conversation. So, we’ve got a new Scenes We Love this week to honor the beloved comedic romance (don’t call it a rom-com), and maybe this sounds like an impossible task. After all, if you love one scene from The Princess Bride, you love them all. We could just say, we love that 100-minute-long scene in which a stable boy-turned-pirate fights a giant, a genius and a swordsman in order to rescue a princess from kidnappers and then stop her from marrying an evil prince, all as it is told by an old man to his grandson. Then just embed the film in its entirety (if it were available this way). But we can isolate a handful of favorites — that’s six scenes, if we go by Count Rugen’s hand — and if there are any others you wish to bring up, we invite you to do so.

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A Late Quartet

If Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Walken, Catherine Keener, Mark Ivanir and Wallace Shawn were in a movie together, would you go see it? Director Yaron Zilberman (Watermarks) is even throwing in Imogen Poots for free. This excellent ensemble formed for A Late Quartet, the story of four world-class string players who struggle to stay together. The official synopsis uses the phrase “insuppresible lust.” Hopefully it’s between Walken and Hoffman. Or hopefully it’s the kind that causes a massive rift between two or three people. That might be the case, as this absolutely gorgeous trailer shows. It’s intense and makes a powerful impact with a striking metaphor. Having Beethoven in its corner doesn’t hurt either. This, right here, looks like must-see filmmaking from a new director and a veteran cast.

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Toy Story‘s resident worrier, Rex (as voiced by Wallace Shawn in the franchise), is not a good-time dino. He’s not a party bipedal carnivore. He doesn’t like to cut loose. But in the latest Toy Story short, Partysaurus Rex, the lovable plastic tyrannosaurus is bent on breaking out of his little box, styling himself as some kind of wild party dude when the toys’ new owner, Bonnie, dispatches him for bathtub duty with some new pals. And bathtub playtime is nuts. Director Mark Walsh explains, “if you’re a bath toy you get really intense playtime. It’s like a party. Then when the water goes down you can’t move. You’re helpless. And that’s pathetic, these guys in bottom of the tub all the time.” Oh, that does sound like the aftermath of a party. But just what appeals to Rex about these wild times? As Shawn tells it, “He’s sick of being the angel of goodness and sensibleness and caution and fear…He wants to stand on the side of pleasure and happiness and joy.” And Rex has something that none of the other bathtub toys have – arms. EW explains, “Rex puts his tiny arms to good use by turning on the water and getting the party going for those dried-out toys on his own – which leads to a sort of bubble-filled rave, complete with glow-in-the-dark toys making disco lights under an overturned colander and dance music by Grammy-nominated electronica musician BT.” Whoa. Check out a better look at the […]

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Amy Heckerling has been developing the habit of making movies about once a generation that perfectly encapsulates the zeitgeist of current youth culture. In the early ’80s, it was her film Fast Times at Ridgemont High that gave high school kids all over the world the idea to have pizzas delivered to their classrooms and made that one Cars song be forever linked with Phoebe Cates taking off her top. In the mid-’90s she brought us Clueless, which introduced the world to how cute Paul Rudd is when he sheepishly grins and finally asked a lost generation to pull up their pants and stop looking like trashballs. So now that it’s 2012 and Heckerling has written and directed a new film, you have to ask yourself if it’s going to be another one of those generation defining moments in movies, or if it’s just going to end up being another Look Who’s Talking? Her new project is called Vamps, and seeing as it’s a little late to cash in on the vampire crazy, its chances of becoming a big thing are already looking kind of dicey. That doesn’t mean it won’t be fun though, because it has a completely ridiculous cast, and a plot that sounds tailor-made for getting everyone’s girlfriends to squeal.

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When Jeremy said he needed someone to fill in on Commentary Commentary so that he could focus his energies primarily on South by Southwesting, I simply replied, “As you wish.” But then I was left with a conundrum. What movie should I watch the commentary track for? After rifling through my DVD collection I ended up with a handful of possibilities, and I wound up choosing The Princess Bride for one reason: when else would I ever listen to the commentary tracks on this movie, if not now? The Princess Bride is so much fun, such a whimsical experience, that if you’re going to put the DVD on, you want to watch the movie. You don’t want to hear some old guy rambling over all of the classic lines. Consequently, this thing has been sitting on my shelf essentially since DVDs began, and I still haven’t listened to either the Rob Reiner or the William Goldman commentaries. So, here we go, I’ll take the hit and give them a listen, pick out all the interesting stuff, and you can go about your usual business of properly soaking in all the action, adventure, and romance the next time you need to get your Princess Bride fix.

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Before Community riffed on it, My Dinner With Andre was the kind of thing you chatted about over Merlot while chuckling and pretending to know what you were talking about. After Community, that’s still the case, but you can reference Community referencing it and still seem cool. The truth is, Wallace Shawn and André Gregory‘s contemplative dinner conversation about the nature of art is fascinating because it features two men who know way more than they should talking about the broad-reaching subject of the humanities. Even as high a pedestal as they should be on, they manage to come off casually. Why there hasn’t been a podcast featuring the two yet is baffling, but according to The New York Times, they’re both set to work together again, and they’ll be doing it with directing icon Jonathan Demme. After Dinner, they did Vanya on 42nd Street, so naturally for desert they’ll be twisting up Henrik Ibsen‘s play “Master Builder” for a movie called Wally and André Shoot Ibsen. There’s nothing like tackling the depressingly Norwegian father of prose drama to create a stir, and doing it with the genius behind Caged Heat and Silence of the Lambs is even better. No cynicism, no irony, everything about this project sounds ridiculously amazing. Plus, the director claims “it’s like a Hitchcock movie with a vein of humor running through it.” Get. Ready.

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kevin-reportcard-header

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr opens up his toy box to look at Toy Story 3D and Jonah Hex.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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