Sunday, January 2, 2011

Important Cinema Anniversaries to be Celebrated in 2011

My "25 Years Ago This Month - January" post may come a little bit later. Instead I wanted to start off 2011 with a rundown of some of the big milestones and anniversaries that will happen this year.

To begin with, can you believe that Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy started a decade ago this year. That's right, The Fellowship of the Ring was released at the end of 2001. Likewise, the Harry Potter film series will also celebrate its tin anniversary in November this year, ten years after The Sorcerer's Stone opened. Also ten years ago, Christopher Nolan (now the world-famous director of little films such as The Dark Knight and Inception) had his film debut Memento. And does it really seem like it's been 10 years since Steven Soderbergh's remake of Ocean's 11 was released?

Big names in cinema who died ten years ago:
Anthony Quinn
Jack Lemmon
Nigel Hawthorne
Ray Walston
Beatrice Straight (shortest Oscar-winning performance)
director Stanley Kramer
seminal film critic Pauline Kael

15 years ago I was about to graduate from high school and start college in the Fall. Somehow at the time I thought 2 Days in the Valley and From Dusk Till Dawn were good movies. I was wrong. I was so enamored with my AP English syllabus that I saw Kenneth Branagh's 4 hour long 70mm Hamlet in the theater - twice! Ralph Fiennes became a major star by falling in love in the desert, David Cronenberg made a movie combining sex and car crashes, and Woody Allen made a musical. A little known Australian actor would go on to win the Best Actor Oscar for a film about a crazy piano player, I began love affairs with Jackie Chan, the Coen brothers and John Sayles, and a Danny Boyle film about heroin addicts blew my mind.

Cinema personalities who died 15 years ago:
Gene Kelly
Martin Balsam
George Burns
director Krzysztof Kieslowski
Claudette Colbert
Marcello Mastroianni

Can Beauty and the Beast, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and The Silence of the Lambs really be turning 20 years old this year?

Cinema deaths 20 years ago:
director David Lean
composer Carmine Coppola (father to Francis)
director Frank Capra
German actor Klaus Kinski
Ralph Bellamy

We'll see more of these as my series continues each month, but Ferris Bueller is 25 this year? Say it ain't so! Labyrinth with David Bowie and a lovely teenaged Jennifer Connelly? Molly Ringwald was Pretty in Pink 25 years ago? Tom Cruise was the Top Gun? And Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman and Jerry O'Connell went looking for a dead body?

One of the most important moments of the year: an important black film maker from Brooklyn shot onto the scene with a stunning debut film called She's Gotta Have It.

Cinema deaths of 25 years ago:
James Cagney
director Otto Preminger
Sterling Hayden
director Vincente Minnelli
Cary Grant
director Andrei Tarkovsky

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