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HULK SMASHES THE PUNY PARADIGMS OF FILM CRITICISM

Loudly and with much smashing, FilmCritHulk has become a major presence in the world of online film criticism with his semiotical essays on storytelling, cinematic principles, and media theory. Starting first on his personal blog, Hulk now writes for Badass Digest [previously] (the lifestyle blog corner of the Alamo Drafthouse empire [previously, previously]) [more inside]
posted by kcalder on Jan 26, 2012 - 24 comments

"I need to feel the winter, grey colour to me is the most poetic. It allows me to leave the prison of my imagination, everything that is grey suits me."

Greek filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos has passed away. "[He was] possessed of a singular style that has long divided critics... visually evocative, often beautiful, his films contain long sections with little or no dialogue." In 1995, he won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes for Ulysses' Gaze, and three years later, the Palme D'Or for Eternity and a Day. A career in clips. [more inside]
posted by phaedon on Jan 26, 2012 - 9 comments

John Frankenheimer's "Seconds"

Seconds (John Frankenheimer, 1966) is a disturbing film to watch. With its unresolved, horrific ending, it’s possibly one of the most depressing films ever made [SPOILER]. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Jan 22, 2012 - 40 comments

The 100-headless woman

Brought to you by Swiss pharmaceutical manufacturers Sandoz, Eric Duvivier’s La Femme 100 Têtes (1967, rated NSFW) is a free cinematic adaptation of Max Ernst’s collage-novel of the same name. Via { feuilleton }.
posted by misteraitch on Jan 16, 2012 - 11 comments

Wim Wenders' "Wings of Desire"

p.o.v number 8: Wings of Desire
posted by Trurl on Jan 10, 2012 - 7 comments

Robert Bresson's "Pickpocket"

Both an ingeniously choreographed crime film and a moral drama influenced by Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Pickpocket marks the apotheosis of Bresson's stripped-down style. There’s little or no psychological realism or conventional drama at work in Martin La Salle’s portrayal of a master thief who plies his trade at the Gare de Lyon and easily outwits the cops who seek to ensnare him. See it once to appreciate the spare elegance of the pickpocketing scenes, and then a second time to appreciate how subtly Bresson accomplishes the story of a man’s self-willed corruption, his liberation through imprisonment and his redemption through love, all in less than 80 minutes.* [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Jan 6, 2012 - 11 comments

Alan J. Pakula's "The Parallax View"

Welcome to the testing room of the Parallax Corporation's Division of Human Engineering. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Jan 5, 2012 - 29 comments

J. Hoberman Fired by Village Voice

Yesterday, the Village Voice fired J. Hoberman, long-time champion of independent and experimental film (and its senior film critic of 24 years). Hoberman promises that there's a blog in his future. The Voice has an archive of his writing for them since 1998. Here are his Top 10 lists for the years 1977 to 2006, and here they are for 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. Here is a compilation of his advice for aspiring film critics. A critic who came of age in an era when the lines between "film critic" and "film scholar" were blurrier, Hoberman has also written books about American movies and the Cold War and the forgotton history of Yiddish cinema. Here are some interviews with him about his work.
posted by bubukaba on Jan 5, 2012 - 42 comments

Todd Haynes' "Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story"

One of the more famous suppressed films of recent years is Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, an early work by writer/director Todd Haynes (Safe, Velvet Goldmine, Far from Heaven). Filmed in 1987, the short film -- which relates the rise and fall of Karen Carpenter with a cast of Barbie dolls -- barely got a year's worth of festival time in 1989 before the twin iron boots of A&M Records and Richard Carpenter came down on Haynes.* [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Dec 31, 2011 - 29 comments

Dance the fury boogie!

Ken Korda was probably the greatest British film director, and critic, of recent years producing the legendary Speeding On The Needlebliss back in the 90s and you can see his influence even now, such as in this year’s instant classic Kevin Curtis Is Dead (NSFW) [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Dec 30, 2011 - 15 comments

Roger Ebert On Why Movie Theatre Revenues Are Falling

"I'll tell you why movie revenue is dropping" SLREP
posted by everichon on Dec 29, 2011 - 238 comments

Robert Zemeckis' "Used Cars"

The concept of Used Cars originated with writer-director-producer John Milius, who pitched the idea to scribes Zemeckis and Gale while they were still hard at work on what would become 1941. ... Zemeckis shot Cars in a breakneck 28 days at a Chrysler-Plymouth dealership in Mesa, Ariz. ... Despite its low profile, the film received a great deal of critical acclaim, including the notoriously finicky Pauline Kael…who described Cars as “a classic screwball fantasy — a neglected modern comedy that’s like a more restless and visually high-spirited version of the W.C. Fields pictures.”* [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Dec 21, 2011 - 36 comments

Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing"

In Do the Right Thing, the subject is not simply a race riot, but the tragic dynamic of racism, racial tension, and miscommunication, seen in microcosm. The film is a virtuoso act of creation, a movie at once realistic and symbolic, lighthearted and tragic, funny and savage... I have written here more about Lee’s ideas than about his style. To an unusual degree, you could not have one without the other: style is the magician’s left hand, distracting and entertaining us while the right hand produces the rabbit from the hat. It’s not what Lee does that makes his film so devastating, but how he does it. Do the Right Thing is one of the best-directed, best-made films of our time, a film in which the technical credits, the acting, and Lee’s brazenly fresh visual style all work together to make a statement about race in America that is all the more powerful because it blindsides us. - Roger Ebert (SPOILER) [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Dec 20, 2011 - 74 comments

Erich Von Stroheim's "Greed"

No one living can say whether the original, ten-hour version of Erich von Stroheim's most famous movie was the epic masterpiece it was touted to be. The 140-minute version is all that remains, and while it's only a quarter of the film it was meant to be, it's still one of the greatest accomplishments (SPOILER) of the silent film era. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Dec 18, 2011 - 13 comments

A bright spot, with watercolors

What you need is a splash of color!
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Dec 16, 2011 - 17 comments

Julien Temple's "Absolute Beginners"

[Absolute Beginners] has a glossy immediacy, and you can feel the flash and determination that went into it. What you don't feel is the tormented romanticism that made English adolescents in the 70s swear by the novel the way American kids had earlier sworn by The Catcher in the Rye. - Pauline Kael [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Dec 12, 2011 - 15 comments

Wim Wenders' "Until The End Of The World"

Until the End of the World was conceived over most of the ’80s, filmed on four continents (including video smuggled out of China), and foresaw a future abetted by such diversions as mobile viewing devices, proto-GPS and a highly sought-after contraption that records images for the blind. Starring William Hurt, Sam Neill, Solveig Dommartin, Jeanne Moreau and Max von Sydow among an international ensemble of actors, the film also skyrocketed to a $23 million budget and found its distributors — including Warner Bros. in the United States — requiring cuts that reduced it to barely a quarter of Wenders’s original vision. Later locked in at just under five hours, it’s the type of material that today would be a shoo-in for a cable miniseries that could probably win Emmys for everyone involved. Twenty years on, however, it’s relatively lost to the mainstream, with Wenders’s directors cut as yet unreleased outside two territories in Europe.
posted by Trurl on Dec 10, 2011 - 50 comments

The Bourne Ultimatum with Unicorns

Carl Erik Rinsch‘s futuristic action thriller short The Gift. Other movies by Big Lazy Robot Studio. The Commercials of Carl Erik Rinsch. Also: The Hunt of the Unicorn.
posted by growabrain on Dec 10, 2011 - 7 comments

Creature unFeature

Meet Creature: the biggest box-office flop of all time It had everything: nudity, gore and the most superfluous lesbian sex scene in the history of film. How could it possibly fail? Stuart Heritage goes behind the scenes of a real Hollywood disaster movie
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Dec 10, 2011 - 76 comments

Michael Tolkin's "The Rapture"

(MAJOR SPOILERS EVERYWHERE) [Michael Tolkin's The Rapture] is one of the most radical, infuriating, engrossing, challenging movies I've ever seen. There are people who love it and many who hate it, but few who can remain on the sidelines. ... Movies are often so timid. They try so little, and are content with small achievements. "The Rapture" is an imperfect and sometimes enraging film, but it challenges us with the biggest idea it can think of, the notion that our individual human lives do have actual meaning on the plane of the infinite. - Roger Ebert
posted by Trurl on Dec 8, 2011 - 54 comments

The unique looks of Drive and Bellflower

Drive and Bellflower are both movies with fast cars and distinctive looks but one had a budget 765x the other. Drive was captured to Betamax's grandchild, Bellflower to a Mac Book Pro. [more inside]
posted by morganw on Dec 7, 2011 - 21 comments

Samuel Beckett's Film

Samuel Beckett's Film. Here is an article by director on Alan Schneider on the movie, and an article by Sylvia Debevec Hanning.
posted by beshtya on Dec 5, 2011 - 7 comments

Peter Greenaway's "Prospero's Books"

Peter Greenaway's "Prospero's Books" (NSFW) is not a movie in the sense that we usually employ the word. It's an experiment in form and content. ... The books, their typography, calligraphy and illustrations, are photographed in voluptuous detail. ... "Prospero's Books" really exists outside criticism. ... It is simply a work of original art, which Greenaway asks us to accept or reject on his own terms. - Roger Ebert
posted by Trurl on Dec 4, 2011 - 32 comments

PERFECT! NOW...DOUBLE IT!

RIP Ken Russell enfant terrible of British cinema, director of Women in Love, The Devils, Tommy, Altered States and The Lair Of The White Worm. [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Nov 28, 2011 - 55 comments

Barbara Stanwyck

Yet by 1944 the IRS named Barbara Stanwyck the highest-paid woman in America. From 1930-57, she did a minimum of two pictures a year, sometimes even four or five. Yet it wasn't workaholism, according to the actress: "I was afraid they'd get somebody better, frankly. I never really thought I had any clout. For a lot of years I was free-lancing, by choice, but I think discipline stays with you. It's this fear that maybe somebody can come in and take over. Maybe a Redford or a Streep can take the luxury of a year off, but I never thought I could. Of course, we were more workable in those days. And they make more money now. Anyway, I never had self-assurance about leaving."
posted by Trurl on Nov 27, 2011 - 41 comments

Werner Herzog's "Aguirre, the Wrath of God"

Despite appearing early in his career, Aguirre, the Wrath of God is for me the quintessential Herzog movie. ... It deals with possibly the most obsessed group of people in history, the Spanish conquistadors, and their desperate hunt for the most magic of all Grails, the elusive golden land of El Dorado – leaving destruction and death to millions in their wake. A few lines in an old chronicle is all that remains of the historical facts, thus leaving plenty of room for Herzog to employ his imagination and re-arrange the facts. In short: an ideal topic for a visionary director, tackled with just the right crew, and on a location guaranteed to make the shooting an ordeal in itself.
posted by Trurl on Nov 24, 2011 - 40 comments

Earl Campbell Thighs in HD!

Just in time for Turkey Day.
Recently something unique came into my possession: the original 16mm work-print of Manos: The Hands of Fate. (made famous by these guys).
posted by KevinSkomsvold on Nov 23, 2011 - 34 comments

Lydia Nibley's "Two Spirits"

Fred Martinez was nádleehí, a male-bodied person with a feminine nature, a special gift according to his ancient Navajo culture. He was one of the youngest hate-crime victims in modern history when he was brutally murdered at 16. Two Spirits explores the life and death of this boy who was also a girl, and the essentially spiritual nature of gender. (previously)
posted by Trurl on Nov 10, 2011 - 15 comments

Jim Fields and Michael Gramaglia's "End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones"

The most vivid figure in Michael Gramaglia and Jim Fields's End of the Century was the least articulate and most archetypal of the Ramones: Johnny, the right-wing prole whose hard-ass sense of style the others nutballed and softened and accelerated and above all imitated. ... Exciting and absolutely right though their '70s sets always were, the film establishes that they kept the faith live till the end, lifted by Joey's goofy dedication and powered by the chords Johnny thrashed out like they were why he was alive. As unyielding in his aesthetic principles as he was in everything else, this reactionary was an avant-gardist in spite of himself. - Robert Christgau
posted by Trurl on Nov 9, 2011 - 17 comments

On The Set

Hervé Attia has made dozens of videos showing movie locations as they look in the present day juxtaposed with clips of the actual film. He also puts himself into the film sometimes. [more inside]
posted by gman on Nov 7, 2011 - 9 comments

The WH Auden of ultraviolence

So it was with uncontainable excitement one Saturday afternoon that I went round to Alan Walters's house to watch something with the promising title of Predator. I knew only three things about it: it was certified 18, it starred the great Arnold Schwarzenegger – the WH Auden of ultraviolence – and it reputedly featured a scene in which someone's eviscerated chest cavity was on full display. My favourite film: Predator The rest of the series.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Nov 6, 2011 - 43 comments

If you thought just the movies these days were unoriginal...

Thirteen movie poster trends and...what they say about their movies. Included are the Sexy Back, the Text In Your Face, and the Legs Wide Spread. [more inside]
posted by zardoz on Nov 5, 2011 - 61 comments

William Friedkin's "To Live and Die in L.A."

After 25 years I revisited To Live and Die In L.A. (1985), William Friedkin's cynical, fatalistic, hardboiled and high-energy crime noir about corruption and survival in the city of no angels. The script is literate, the characters are believable, the performances are brutally honest, the unpredictable twists keep coming, the action never stops, and the car chase is shot for real without any fake process. (spoilers)
posted by Trurl on Nov 4, 2011 - 60 comments

Kevin Smith's Army

Kevin Smith's Army How His Loyal Fans Prop Up A Stunningly Mediocre Career [Slate] [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Nov 4, 2011 - 119 comments

Alex Cox's "Repo Man"

Alex Cox: REPO MAN was made as a "negative pickup" by Universal at the time when Bob Rehme was head of the studio. At the time, the big deal over there was STREETS OF FIRE, and nobody really noticed our film [8 MB PDF] at all. Which was lucky for us, since Bob Rehme had "green-lighted" a film which was quite unusual by studio standards. (previously)
posted by Trurl on Oct 31, 2011 - 92 comments

WAN WAN

Wanwanlink weaves together a sequence of motion in realtime, using fragments of archival footages that are being collected daily. When a human figure appears on the screen, the sound is deliberately distorted into a slow 'wan wan.' This project, with a theme linking to classification and dependency, shall continue to be developed for a very long time. (Footages featured on this website belong to the public domain. Clips were downloaded from http://www.archive.org/).
posted by bonsai forest on Oct 30, 2011 - 14 comments

Outside Consensus Reality

In 2003 and again in 2009, Director Andy Glynne, with Mosaic Films and BBC4 created Animated Minds, a series of animated documentaries to express the subjective experiences of various kinds of mental health disorders. [more inside]
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur on Oct 22, 2011 - 5 comments

Thanksgiving Timelapse

Thanksgiving Timelapse by Jared Foster. (SLV. Music is Mahna Mahna, by Cake)
posted by growabrain on Oct 21, 2011 - 21 comments

Liliana Cavani's "The Night Porter"

The familiar '70s query, "Is it art or porn?," took on a whole new dimension with The Night Porter (NSFW), a stylish and astoundingly seamy fusion of erotica and stark concentration camp trauma. While many subsequent films, mostly Italian, took the Nazi sexploitation route to unbelievably tastless levels, Liliana Cavani's treatment remains more problematic. More concerned with mood and characterization than cheap thrills, the film is nevertheless extremely kinky and shocking enough to prove that its R rating is the product of a ratings system far different than the one we have now. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Oct 19, 2011 - 17 comments

The Avengers...Sweded!

THE AVENGERS Trailer... Sweded!(via). The original trailer. [more inside]
posted by AElfwine Evenstar on Oct 19, 2011 - 38 comments

"Someone, somewhere in the world is now holding the last film camera ever to roll off the line.”

Cinema is dead.
posted by Fizz on Oct 13, 2011 - 103 comments

It is Margaret you mourn for.

In 2000, acclaimed playwright and screenwriter Kenneth Lonergan directed his first film, the critically acclaimed You Can Count on Me, which among other things kickstarted the career of Mark Ruffalo. In 2006, Lonergan got $12 million to film his follow-up, called Margaret, and starring Ruffalo, Anna Paquin, Jeannie Berlin, Matt Damon, Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, Allison Janney, and Kieran Culkin. Then things got ugly. [more inside]
posted by eugenen on Oct 12, 2011 - 37 comments

Cannon Films

Under the stewardship of Israeli cousins Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, Cannon Films was responsible for many of the worst - and a few of the best - movies of the 1980s. Along the way it won an Academy Award and enriched the language. (previously) [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Oct 11, 2011 - 43 comments

The Hampshire Bunny Massacre & Other Tales

Shocking Moments In U & PG Rated Movies
posted by veedubya on Oct 7, 2011 - 130 comments

Charles Napier, 1936-2011

Thank you Charles Napier, 1936-2011
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Oct 6, 2011 - 31 comments

"You...are my number one...GUY."

Chris Sims is a former comic book store employee. David Uzumeri is a computer scientist. Together, they fight crime review the shit out of Batman film canon in an 18-part series they call Cinematic Batmanology, covering all the major theatrical releases from Tim Burton's franchise-reviving 1989 film (start there) up through Christopher Nolan's recent The Dark Knight, with a couple of odd tangents along the way. [more inside]
posted by cortex on Oct 3, 2011 - 34 comments

Alain Resnais' "Night and Fog"

Alain Resnais' Night and Fog (1, 2, 3) [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Oct 3, 2011 - 12 comments

Arthur Penn's "Night Moves"

[Arthur Penn's Night Moves] does belong to a traditional, indeed obsolescent genre, but the distance it keeps from it (not an ironic or critical distance, just a distance) is such that genre-related expectations become irrelevant. Most of the time, the story line seems to meander aimlessly, taking in extraneous material, doubling back, going round in circles (the aimless is deceptive, a smoke screen obfuscating the complex, rigorous organization of an exceptionally well-structured script). The "mystery" aspect of the plot is dealt with in the most peculiar, topsy-turvy manner, withholding not the solution of the problem but the problem itself until the very end, when, in a dazzling visual tour de force, both are conjured up almost simultaneously. - Jean Pierre Coursodon [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Oct 1, 2011 - 19 comments

Death of a Fucking Salesman

Glengarry Glen Ross endures mainly as a spectacular display of verbal warfare and alpha-male gamesmanship. There’s a musical quality to it, with a great composer and a great chorus hitting the complicated runs of broken dialogue and solos that weave into profane poetry and nuggets of philosophical wisdom. Perhaps the greatest sign of the movie’s success, owed equally to Mamet’s script and this cast, is that it does a great sales job in itself, convincing us that there’s nobility to men who lie for a living — a bill of goods we’re all too happy to buy. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Sep 29, 2011 - 67 comments

And we know that everything falls to dust...

Are small theaters punching a ticket to oblivion? Radical changes in the traditional structure of the lab processing and exhibition sides of the film industry have been filling the lives of small theater operators with uncertainty and worry for the last few years. Will filmstock be the next Kodachrome? (And what will that mean for the future of film preservation?) [more inside]
posted by bubukaba on Sep 28, 2011 - 36 comments

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