'Lion King', 'Breakfast Club' added to National Film Registry
While not usually regarded as a golden age of American cinema, the 1980s produced plenty of popular classics - and a few more of them have now been added to the prestigious National Film Registry. The Library of Congress announced Wednesday that "The Breakfast Club," "The Princess Bride" and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" are among the 25 movies tapped for preservation this year. They join three other more obscure 1980s titles on this year's list.
The national library also picked a few more recent favorites, including "Thelma & Louise," Disney's "The Lion King" and "Rushmore." The library selects movies for preservation in its audio-visual vault in Culpeper, Virginia, because of their cultural, historic or artistic importance. This year's picks bring the total number of films in the registry to 700. The choices have become increasingly diverse and eclectic since the registry began in 1989.
Still, the library always makes room for some crowd-pleasers. Considered a feminist landmark for its portrait of women who stand up to abusive partners and find liberation on a crime spree, "Thelma & Louise" achieved a rare distinction when its co-stars, Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon, were both nominated for the best-actress Oscar. (Jodie Foster won that year, for "The Silence of the Lambs.") It's the third movie directed by the prolific Ridley Scott to join the registry, following "Alien" and "Blade Runner."
"I am very honored and proud to be acknowledged by the Library of Congress," Scott said in a statement. "'Blade Runner' will now have two great ladies to keep him company." Lauded for its sensitivity, "The Breakfast Club" (1985), from writer-director John Hughes, is the most enduring collaboration of the so-called "Brat Pack," a short-lived troupe of young stars that included Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy.
Two years later, "The Princess Bride" charmed audiences with its mix of fantasy, action and humor and its innovative screenplay that allowed a young boy (Fred Savage) to provide running commentary on the story. With its mix of live action and animation, "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" was a genuine breakthrough that looks quaint in retrospect. Director Robert Zemeckis' wacky 1988 film noir, set during
Hollywood's golden age, imagined cartoon characters living alongside their human collaborators and grappling with off-screen complications including blackmail and murder. In "Roger Rabbit," humans sharing space with cartoons was so novel it had to be part of the plot. Now, thanks to the perfection of digital effects in movies such as "Titanic" and the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, movie audiences can hardly distinguish between what's real and what's animated. "Rushmore" (1998) is the first movie from whimsical auteur Wes Anderson to be added and is one of just a handful of films to be selected fewer than 20 years after its release. Movies must be at least 10 years old to be included.
One of a few Disney animated movies not based on fairy tales, "The Lion King" (1994) was part of the studio's early-1990s renaissance. It proved so sturdy that a Broadway adaptation with avant-garde costumes became wildly popular.
This year's other '80s selections are "The Atomic Cafe" (1982), a compilation of clips about the threat of nuclear war; "The Decline of Western Civilization," director Penelope Spheeris' 1981 documentary about the hardcore punk rock scene in Los Angeles; and "Suzanne, Suzanne", a 1982 documentary short about a black woman's struggles with addiction.
Director Alfred Hitchcock now has seven films on the registry with the inclusion of "The Birds" (1963). Other titles joining the list are "Blackboard Jungle" (1955), "Funny Girl" (1968), "East of Eden" (1955) and "Point Blank" (1967). The oldest of this year's selections is "Life of an American Fireman" (1903), considered by film historian Charles Musser to be an innovative early American film for its use of editing, storytelling and the relationship between shots. Among the lesser known but historically significant selections is a series of short films by Solomon Sir Jones, a Baptist minister and amateur filmmaker. Shot on then-new 16mm cameras, his silent films documented African-American communities in Oklahoma between 1924 and 1928. — AP
When a group of friends took their cameras to the streets of Damascus to document Syria's 2011 uprising, they could not have foretold how events would spiral out of control and change their lives forever.
Obaidah Zytoon, a radio host with big dreams for her country, was full of hope for freedom when she started filming the demonstrations that broke out against President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011. Five years later, she is in Copenhagen living as a refugee. Zytoon is one of the lucky ones. Most of her friends did not make it out of Syria alive.
Much of the death and destruction documented in Zytoon's hometown of Zabadani in the film is eerily similar to images coming out of the battle of Aleppo this week, where Syrian government forces and their allies finally broke rebel resistance to hand Assad his biggest victory of the civil war. "What remains is the crime," Zytoon narrates as she watches dogs eating a dead sheep amidst the death and destruction of war.
The War Show, which premiered in the Middle East this week at the Dubai Film Festival, is a disturbing documentary that compiles footage shot inside Syria from 2011 to 2013, taking viewers through a journey of euphoria and revolution to disappointment and despair. In one scene at the beginning, the friends sit together at a Damascus apartment smoking hash and discussing revolution. "By 2014, we will all be free," one of them says. Another replies that by 2014 they will all be dead.
The harrowing effect is amplified as viewers become deeply involved in the lives of Houssam, Hisham, Lulu, Rabea, Amal and Argha, joyful young Syrians who fall in love, play heavy metal, go to the beach and dream big, only to meet tragic ends. "You were the love of his life, you know," Zytoon tells her friend Lulu in Turkey after they discover that Hisham, who had gone missing for years after being picked up at a checkpoint, had died in prison after repeated torture.
Rabea, a musician who Zytoon described as "universal" in his views on life, gets assassinated in his car. He is found dead by his sister, who desperately tries to put part of his shattered forehead together to bring him back to life. Zytoon collaborated with Danish filmmaker and co-director Andreas Dalsgaard to bring those stories to life after meeting him in Turkey and showing him the footage.—Reuters
Canadian actor Alan Thicke, best known for his leading role in the 1980s family sitcom "Growing Pains" and as the father of R&B singer Robin Thicke, died on Tuesday, his spokeswoman said. He was 69. "Alan's sudden passing has been confirmed. At present, we have no further details," Monique Moss said in a brief email.
A source close to the family told Reuters by telephone that Thicke suffered a heart attack and was transported to Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California, where he was pronounced dead. Grammy award nominated-singer Robin Thicke told the Los Angeles Times newspaper that his father was playing hockey with another of his sons, 19-year-old Carter Thicke, when he suffered the heart attack.
"I saw him a few days ago and told him how much I loved and respected him," Thicke told the newspaper, adding that his father was an inspiration for his own musical career. "The good thing was that he was beloved and he had closure." Alan Thicke was beloved by many fans for his role as psychiatrist and father Jason Seaver in ABC's "Growing Pains," which ran from 1985 to 1992. Thicke's work in the show earned him a nomination for a Golden Globe for the best performance by an actor in a television series in 1988.
Thicke was also a popular host for television events, including the Emmy Awards, and a prolific composer of television theme songs, among which was the theme for Wheel of Fortune, his website said. Thicke also appeared in an array of television shows, including "The Outer Limits," "Murder She Wrote," and "Married with Children," according to IMDB. More recently, Thicke was set to appear in "Fuller House," a remake of the popular 1990s family sitcom produced by Netflix.
"Season 2 Fuller House looking good. I even like the ones I'm not in!" Thicke said in a tweet earlier on Tuesday. His death was quickly mourned on social media. "America loved Alan Thicke. I'm so sad he's gone. Sending so much love to his family," comedian Ellen DeGeneres said in a tweet. The National Hockey League tweeted: "The NHL family is sad to learn of the passing of longtime hockey fan Alan Thicke." — Reuters
In this Sunday, April 26, 2015 file photo, Alan Thicke poses in the pressroom at the 42nd annual Daytime Emmy Awards at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California. — AP