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Remembering Actor Robert Vaughn, Episode IX in 65mm, and Curb Unleashed

By  · Published on November 12th, 2016

Movie News After Dark

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Some sad news today as actor Robert Vaughn, best known for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (the awesome TV show, not the crappy movie) and The Magnificent Seven has passed away. Vaughn got his start in the mid-50s, appearing in nearly every television show there was at the time. His first feature role came in Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments, though he went uncredited, but it was the above-mentioned western that gave Vaughn his breakthrough. A couple years after that he was cast as a regular in the TV series The Lieutenant, which is notable for being the series created by Gene Roddenberry just before Star Trek, however it was that other series, U.N.C.L.E., that made Vaughn a household name. He appeared in all 105 episodes of the series and six TV movies as Napoleon Solo, a Bond-esque agent charming his way through the Cold War. U.N.C.L.E. opened all sorts of cinematic doors for Vaughn who would appear in several notable films over the next couple decades, including Bullitt, The Towering Inferno, Superman III, The Delta Force, and Pootie Tang, all while remaining an active presence on television, including a 13-episode run on the single greatest show of the 80s, The A-Team. Of his recent work, the standout is easily Hu$tle, the British series about a team of con artists on which he played Albert, the old American hat showing the U.K. kids how it’s done. He was one of those rare actors whose personality could be charming or chilling at the drop of a dime, who presented a noble air to everything he did and everyone he inhabited, regardless of their actual standing, and who was a source of dignified joy every time he came on screen. He was also the last surviving member of The Magnificent Seven. When you’re tipping them back tonight, pour a little out for Vaughn, and then maybe a little more for the passing of the era of the Western.

Though there’s a cohesion of narrative in the new Star Wars films, how the films are being shot varies. J.J. Abrams shot most of The Force Awakens on 35mm with one scene, the action sequence on Jakku, being shot with a 65mm IMAX camera. Rogue One, out next month, was shot in 65mm with astounding 6K resolution ‐ so get ready for that to blow your mind ‐ but Rian Johnson, who’s at the helm of Episode VIII, is rumored to be shooting 35mm again. Episode IX, however, directed by Jurassic World’s Colin Trevorrow (above), is going to employ the same stock used to bring Jyn Erso and the Indominus Rex to life: 65mm. And he’s not the only one.

Kodak today announced that their U.K. processing facility now has the capability to handle to handle 65mm, also listing a slate of upcoming pictures that are planning to shoot in the format, including Episode IX, Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan’s WW2 pic in production now, and Lasse Hallstrom’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms for Disney. Steven Overman, Kodak’s Chief Marketing Officer and President, Consumer and Film Division (how does he fit that on one business card?) had this to say:

“The film comeback is accelerating, and the epic, big screen experience is well and truly back. The creative and aesthetic distinctiveness of 65mm film is still well beyond the capability of digital capture, so when discerning filmmakers want to a create work of memorable grandeur and lasting visual quality, they know that only real film delivers.”

Larger formats have been out of regular use for decades, with only three American-produced films having utilized them this century: the documentary Samsara and Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, both shot with the Panavision System 65, and Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, which was shot with Ultra Panavision 70, the first film to do so since 1970. Nolan has worked some with IMAX cameras on the Dark Knight trilogy and Interstellar, Trevorrow of course shot Jurassic World in 65mm, and Branagh too used the style back in the 90s on his epic take of Hamlet, so this initial slate of filmmakers seem particularly suited to doing the format justice. Of these films, Dunkirk is the first to release, hitting theaters July 21st, 2017. Murder on the Orient Express follows in November, The Nutcracker… is out in 2018 and Star Wars: Episode IX is still three years off, scheduled for a 2019 release.

In remake news, Robert Eggers, writer-director of the masterful The VVitch, confirmed to Indiewire that his next film will be Nosferatu. As in, the great-granddaddy of all vampire movies, made once by F.W. Murnau and again by Werner Herzog. Even Eggers thinks it’s a blasphemous idea, which I guess makes it better? In his defense, the director has a lifelong fascination with the original material, and given his exemplary handling of period horror in his last film, he’s certainly not the worst person to be behind this revamp (I had to), in fact he might be the best. We’ll see down the line.

How about a trailer roundup? Did you see this final one for Ben Affleck’s next directorial star vehicle Live By Night? Or what about this one for The Salesman from Asghar Farhadi, Iranian director of A Separation and The Past? Or this third international trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story? Or what about the trailer for Solace, the Anthony Hopkins thriller that was originally written as the sequel to Se7en? Imagine Sir Tony as Morgan Freeman.

And lastly, this is some pretty cool news, some pretty, pretty, pretty cool news indeed. Today HBO released a video announcing the start of production on the ninth season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, the groundbreaking comedy from and starring Seinfeld co-creator Larry David. In the video, actor/comedian J.B. Smoove ‐ who plays Leon Black ‐ walks around the lot first announcing his own return to the series then trying to rouse David from his trailer. David and Smoove join returning stars Cheryl Hines, Jeff Garlin, Suzie Essman, and regular guests Mary Steenburgen and Ted Danson. It’s been five years since Curb last aired; expect new episodes next year.

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