Tag: Movies

Watch: The Official Trailer for ‘Wild’

The new film based on Cheryl Strayed’s bestselling memoir, “Wild,” doesn’t hit theaters until December, but the trailer was just released. The film stars Reese Witherspoon. It looks promising, doesn’t it?

By the way, the song featured here is Beck’s “Turn Away.” Great choice.

A few of our favorite related tweets:

New Documentary: ‘Neil Young Journeys’

Jonathan Demme’s third documentary about Neil Young, in select theaters now, features a solo performance Young gave at Toronto’s Massey Hall and footage of Young driving across the Ontario countryside, musing about life and his childhood.

Travel TV Movie Watch: ‘Hemingway & Gellhorn’

For those of you who just can’t get enough Ernest Hemingway in your life (and, really, love him or hate him, who can ever get enough?): HBO is behind a new film about the romance between Papa and Martha Gellhorn. It premieres on HBO Monday, May 28, and stars Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman. And hey, isn’t that Metallica’s Lars Ulrich in the trailer, talking about people heading to Spain? Why yes (thanks, IMDb).

Cue Ulrich’s anthem to landmine wounds?

Travel Movie Watch: ‘Mariachi Gringo’

This looks promising. That said, I don’t see an official release date set; it got a mixed review in Variety; and according to a piece last month in the Hollywood Reporter, “The film has no sales agent nor distribution deals in place.” Hmm. (Via @TranquiloTravel)

Travel Movie Watch: ‘Chico & Rita’

This looks great. Nominated for a 2012 Academy Award for best animated feature, Chico & Rita is set in Havana, New York and Paris in the 1940s and ‘50s and features some great music by the likes of Bebo Valdés. A.O. Scott just gave it a rave review in The New York Times, calling it “an animated valentine to Cuba and its music.” He also notes that Havana’s streets “are exquisitely rendered and meticulously colored.”

It’s playing in select Landmark Theatre locations; in Los Angeles, it’s at the Nuart through Thursday.

Here’s the trailer:


Travel Movies Go to the Oscars

It’s Oscar time again. The nominees were announced this week and a pair of travel-themed movies are up for the big awards. Midnight in Paris is Woody Allen’s tale of a Hollywood screenwriter (played by Owen Wilson) who visits contemporary Paris and finds himself time-traveling back to the glory days of Hemingway and Picasso. It’s nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Art Direction.

On the other side of the planet, The Descendants stars George Clooney as a Honolulu lawyer who takes his children to see land held in a family trust on Kauai. It received nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (for Clooney), Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film Editing.

Of the two, I’ve seen only “Midnight in Paris,” which I liked—as a confirmed 1920s Paris nerd I laughed at the inside jokes and enjoyed the scenery. “The Descendants” is on my To Do list. It won Best Picture (Drama) at the Golden Globes last week, and Clooney won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama, too, so it has to be considered a favorite come Oscar night.

‘Before Sunrise,’ ‘Before Sunset’ and Aging

I often read Nathan Bransford’s blog about the publishing industry. I liked his recent post about the now classic travel films “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset.”

Bransford recently re-watched both films, and he writes about how his perspective on them has changed as he has aged. I know many of us can relate.

What’s amazing about these movies is that because they’re set nine years apart they thoroughly embody this passage of time and maturation that we all go through, while at the same time retaining that essential magic between Jesse and Celine. Life moves on, we change, we age, and yet something essential remains.

And that’s the amazing thing about art. These movies haven’t changed at all since I saw them last, that essence hasn’t moved a bit. But I have changed, the world has changed, and how we all respond to works of art evolves.

The movies may be the same but they mean something different than they used to and they’ll continue to change while remaining exactly the same.

The entire post is worth a read.

As we noted recently, director Richard Linklater and stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy are plotting a third installment in the series.


Travel Movie Watch: ‘Before Sunrise 3’?

Big news for fans of the “Before Sunrise”/“Before Sunset” movies: Director Richard Linklater and stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy are plotting a third installment in the series. Linklater, Hawke and Delpy are co-writers on the films, which, of course, revolve around two young travelers in Europe.

According to Hawke they’re about ready to get started on a new script. Says Hawke: “All three of us have been having similar feelings that we’re ready to revisit those characters. There’s nine years between the first two movies and, if we made the film next summer, it would be nine years again so we’ve really started thinking that would be a good thing to do. We’re going to try write it this year.”

I know, I know. Everybody cringes when a fave flick gets the sequel treatment—and yes, the “Sunrise”/“Sunset” movies are among my all-time favorites. But for me the first sequel, “Before Sunset,” doesn’t just match the original: It betters it. So I’m not about to write off a third movie as overkill. I want to see what happens next—even if Hawke and Co. did leave us, last time, with one of the greatest movie endings of all time.

The ‘Airport’ Movies: The ‘Best Kind of Guilty Pleasure’

Gerardo Valero finds the cheesy disaster movies of the ‘70s had something important to say.

There’s nothing quite like the movies if you want to learn what people’s hopes and dreams were during the period in which they were made. Take for instance the recent “Up in the Air”. In the present when air travel has turned into something to be endured, George Clooney’s Ryan Bingham showed us how it can become an enticing way of life. The same subject was also portrayed extensively, under a very different light, some forty years as the “Airport” movies dealt with our fears of dying in new and horrible ways, while glamorizing our dreams of flying first-class, surrounded by a movie star in every seat. As the trailer for one of these features once put it: “on board, a collection of the rich and the beautiful!” They also marked the advent of a new genre (the Disaster Film) as well as the “Ark movie” which Ebert’s Little Movie Glossary defines as “mixed bag of characters trapped in a colorful mode of transportation”. How many films can claim to this kind of impact?

I made a similar point in my look back at the 25th anniversary of “Airplane!”

‘127 Hours’ Fan Rescued in Canyonlands National Park

Move over, McCandless pilgrims: With the success of last year’s 127 Hours, there just might be a new breed of death-defying travel movie fans on the block. The Guardian reports that a solo hiker was attempting to retrace Aron Ralston’s route through Little Blue John Canyon when he fell and broke his leg. The hiker, Amos Richards, hadn’t told anyone where he was going—he crawled in search of help for four days before being found by park rangers who’d noticed his abandoned campsite. Richards was treated at a hospital and has, thankfully, been released with all four limbs still attached. (Via Gawker)

R.I.P. Notting Hill’s Travel Bookshop

Despite a last-minute campaign by editors and even celebrities, London’s Travel Bookshop has closed.

USA Today’s Laura Bly received an email from the founder yesterday: “The shop is currently closed—but I am going to open it and be there myself this Saturday 10th - for a final day’s sale. Then sadly, that’s it for the Travel Bookshop.”

The store was featured in the 1999 Hugh Grant movie “Notting Hill.” As we noted recently, Alec Baldwin, who appeared in the film, was among those Tweeting his support for efforts to find a buyer.

Alec Baldwin: ‘Save the Travel Book Shop!!!’

Actor Alec Baldwin is among those lending his support—or Tweets, at least—to a campaign to save the Travel Bookshop, the three-decades-old British bookstore made famous in the 1999 film “Notting Hill.”

The film starred Hugh Grant, who played the owner of the shop specializing in travel writing. Julia Roberts also starred, and Baldwin made an appearance.

The bookstore’s owner put the shop up for sale in May. Poet and journalist Olivia Cole launched a campaign last week to find a buyer, but some fear it’s too late. It could close in early September.

The news prompted Michael Jacobs to reflect on the state of travel writing in The Observer:

Some people might conclude that the Travel Bookshop is doomed because travel writing itself is doomed. Such pessimists tend to point to the internet as the final factor in the genre’s potential extinction. The internet has certainly made redundant a Victorian type of travel book bringing together a lot of factual and statistical information about a country. It is also likely to do away soon with the need for guide books and the travel pages of newspapers (at least in their present form).

But, despite the rise of the internet and all the recent negative attitudes towards travel writing, to predict the death of the genre seems to me as nearsighted as believing that this country’s pioneering travel bookshop has come to the end of its useful life.

Travel Movie Watch: ‘The Loneliest Planet’

The Loneliest Planet premiered at the Locarno Film Festival last week. It’s an adaptation of a travel-themed short story, “Expensive Trips Nowhere,” by World Hum contributor Tom Bissell, and it stars Gael Garcia Bernal of “The Motorcycle Diaries” fame. The story follows a pair of young backpackers on a guided hiking expedition in the Caucasus Mountains, and judging from this Variety review, it’s a must-see:

Much of the pic’s first hour unspools through continuous handheld shots of the threesome trudging along with backpacks, telling stories when they’re not silently concentrating on navigating treacherous terrain. At regular interludes, long-distance shots observe them dwarfed by the landscape as Richard Skelton’s haunting, rhythmic, ethnically inflected score intones in the background.

An encounter on the trail turns into a near-life-threatening test of manhood that Alex [Bernal] arguably fails. Thereafter, none of the characters discuss what happened, but it casts a profound pall over the adventure, shifting allegiances and sympathies among the threesome. ...[V]iewers may recognize a core emotional truth about how deeply travel tests relationships, how a single instinctive action can shift the ground irrevocably between people, and how no words can make things right.

Happy 50th Birthday, In-flight Movies

Fifty years ago today Trans World Airlines screened By Love Possessed starring Lana Turner on a Los Angeles to New York flight. It wasn’t easy. Given the technology of the time, it took David Flexer three years and $1 million to make it happen. Writes Angela Watercutter:

The airlines weren’t Initially interested in Flexer’s wares. But then TWA, which at the time was looking to increase its profile, agreed to give Inflight a shot. Flexer and his team took a Boeing 707, fitted it with their equipment and spent the early part of 1961 flying around and fixing bugs.

In July of that year TWA began offering films to first class passengers. The response was extraordinary, and soon flyers were paying huge fees to get into first class to catch the show. Before long, in-flight movies were everywhere.

Scenes From the ‘On the Road’ Movie

Jerry Cimino, founder and curator of The Beat Museum, updates what’s going on with Walter Salles’ film adaptation of Kerouac’s classic.

The film was shot between August and December of 2010 in Montreal, New Orleans, Mexico, San Francisco and many other locations. But Walter Salles was searching for even more authenticity, so unbeknownst to just about everyone he and Garrett Hedlund took to the road for a second time in April of 2011. They spent two weeks along with a crew of five and blasted 4,000 miles across the back roads of the USA. They purposefully avoided the interstate highways not built until the 1950s, retracing as best they could the original route of the two lane roads Jack & Neal drove.

The purpose of this unpublicized trip was for Walter and Garrett to be involved in the “Second Unit” shooting themselves. True to their desire to make On The Road as authentic as they could they wanted to capture the images of the ‘49 Hudson roaring across the continent with the sights and sounds of the country in the background. The story of On The Road is also the story of America and the film makers wanted to capture the physical and human geography at the core of On The Road as part of the film.

The Huffington Post has photos.

Travel Movie Watch: ‘The Trip’

NPR notes that British comedians Steven Coogan and Rob Brydon have put together a travel-themed comedy that sees them playing themselves (or, versions of themselves) on a restaurant tour of northern England. The film is mostly improvised and, says Coogan, “what makes it interesting is that there’s an edge to it and a discomfort to it that makes it engaging. It’s not just a couple of actors saying, ‘Get a load of me. I’m laughing at myself.’ There are a couple of moments where I find Rob irritating—genuinely—and I respond naturally, but not the way that I would in reality.”

I’ve been a fan of Coogan’s since his Alan Partridge days, and the movie will take place in my old expat stomping grounds, so I’ll hope to catch this one when I can. “The Trip” went into limited North American release last weekend.

R.I.P. Alberto Granado, Travel Companion to Che

The fellow Argentinian who joined Che Guevara on the Latin American road trip immortalized in The Motorcycle Diaries has died in Cuba at the age of 88.

On their journey:

As young medical students, they witnessed deep poverty across the continent, particularly Chile, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela, and their stay at a Peruvian leper colony left a lasting impression on the pair.

They parted ways in Venezuela, where Granado stayed on to work at a clinic treating leprosy patients.

In 1961, Granado moved to Cuba, where he taught biochemistry at Havana University.

Related: Will ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’ Spawn a New Magazine: Condé Nast Revolution?


‘Airplane!’ Picked for 2010 National Film Registry

And thus Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s tour de force performance as a knee pad-wearing pilot will be preserved forever by the Library of Congress. “Airplane!” was one of 25 films added to the registry Tuesday. From the press release:

Characterized by a freewheeling style reminiscent of comedies of the 1920s, “Airplane!” introduced a much-needed deflating assessment of the tendency of theatrical film producers to push successful formulaic movie conventions beyond the point of logic. One of the film’s most noteworthy achievements was to cast actors best known for careers in melodrama productions, e.g., Leslie Nielsen, and provide them with opportunities to showcase their comic talents.

It’s been an eventful but sad 30th anniversary for one of the greatest travel movies ever made. Three of the film’s stars passed away in 2010—Leslie Nielsen, Barbara Billingsley and Peter Graves

Two Travel Movies Land Golden Globe Nominations

The nominees for the 2011 Golden Globes were announced yesterday, and two travel movies we’ve kept our eye on this year—127 Hours and The Tourist—were among the honored films.

James Franco was nominated for Best Actor in a Drama for his portrayal of climber Aron Ralston, and “127 Hours” also received a nod for Best Screenplay and Best Original Score. Meanwhile, “The Tourist” received a nomination for Best Picture, Musical or Comedy while its two stars, Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, were nominated for Best Actor and Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy, respectively.

R.I.P. Leslie Nielsen

The actor starred as Dr. Rumack in one of the greatest travel movies ever made, “Airplane!” As Russell Brand tweeted, “Shirley, he will be missed.”

The New York Times and The Globe and Mail, among many, remember the native Canadian. The Telegraph picks his top 10 lines from “Airplane!” and beyond. Nielsen was 84.