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Howard Hawks' "The Big Sleep"

The Big Sleep is a film I have found a very intense love for. The rotating cast of shadowy crooks and deceptive dames coupled with the roller-coaster plotting makes this classic movie endlessly entertaining. Bogart and Bacall are electrifying together and the supporting cast is equally captivating. Considering it’s over 60 years old, The Big Sleep still works in a big bad way and feels fantastically modern. It’s as if the film is simply too fast and too entertaining to age. It was crafted by the hands of some of Hollywood’s finest artists at the time and oozes quality as a result. Most of all though, this movie is just pulpy, fearless, fun and really, really cool. - Pictures and Noise [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Apr 7, 2012 - 56 comments

'I'm not in favour of potchkying with it, but if something's bothering you...'

Is a ’director’s cut’ ever a good idea? The director's cut has been a feature of the home video landscape for years, getting a significant boost from multi-disk DVD and now Blu-Ray sets. There are some pretty bad ones around, but which are the best? Movie sites like Shortlist, IGN Movies, MoviesOnline.ca, FilmWad and Empire have all given us lists of the best (and worst), and online discussions have suggested others (Blade Runner tops most lists, but beyond that they diverge significantly). Where do you start when that two-hour epic isn't epic enough?
posted by rory on Apr 3, 2012 - 166 comments

He turns off the television and takes off his shoes and socks.

"Is cinema a language about to get lost, an art about to die?" [Vimeo] During the 1982 Cannes Film Festival, Wim Wenders set up a static camera in room 666 of the Hotel Martinez and provided selected film directors (inc. Spielberg, Godard, Fassbinder & Herzog) a list of questions to answer concerning the future of cinema. Each director was given one 16 mm reel (approximately 11 minutes) to answer.
posted by urbanwhaleshark on Mar 25, 2012 - 20 comments

Michael Mann's "Thief"

Michael Mann's "Thief" is a film of style, substance, and violently felt emotion, all wrapped up in one of the most intelligent thrillers I've seen. - Roger Ebert [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Mar 23, 2012 - 52 comments

Counting Down HK's Top Flicks

Time Out HK counts down the 100 Greatest Hong Kong Films (along with a mind map of the perfect HK film), while lovehkfilm.com begins its series on the Top 100 Hong Kong Films of the Eighties.
posted by milquetoast on Mar 15, 2012 - 57 comments

Herbert Ross' "Pennies From Heaven"

Pennies from Heaven is the most emotional movie musical I've ever seen. It's a stylized mythology* of the Depression which uses the popular songs of the period as expressions of people's deepest longings - for sex, for romance, for money, for a high good time...there was never a second when I wasn't fascinated* by what was happening on the screen. - Pauline Kael (* SPOILERS)
posted by Trurl on Mar 7, 2012 - 27 comments

Error -41: sit by a lake

The most immediately apparent characteristic of James Benning’s film is surely its form: thirteen ten-minute static takes, which (save the leader between shots) comprise the entire visual track of the picture. Far from cursory, this detail accounts for the totality of Benning’s æsthetic. Everything that Benning says in 13 Lakes, he says using this formal language – along with a soundtrack recorded on-site, thought not necessarily concurrently with the image. Moreover, Benning, as has been noted, repeats the same basic framing in each of the thirteen segments, presenting the horizon-line in centre of the frame, dividing lake and sky into approximately equivalent fields. James Benning’s Art of Landscape: Ontological, Pedagogical, Sacrilegious, by Michael J. Anderson for Senses of Cinema (via; see also: 13 Lakes Q&A at LA Film Forum) [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 6, 2012 - 5 comments

"Give Back and Learn"

"Fast Company’s four-hour interview with [Martin Scorsese] for their December-January cover story: How to Lead A Creative Life, was ostensibly about his career, and how he had been able to stay so creative through years of battling studios. But the Hugo director punctuated everything he said with references to movies: 85 of them, in fact." Welcome to Martin Scorsese’s Film School: The 85 Films You Need To See To Know Anything About Film [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 26, 2012 - 37 comments

Film Crit Hulk <3

Film Crit Hulk presents us with 22 SHORT THOUGHTS ABOUT MARGARET, the film which Kenneth Longeran (You Can Count On Me) directed in 2005 and which was finally released last year.
posted by Rory Marinich on Feb 20, 2012 - 26 comments

New video magazine about cinema

The Seventh Art is an independently produced video magazine about cinema with three sections: a profile on an interesting group/company/organization in the industry, a video essay and a long-form interview with a filmmaker.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy on Feb 10, 2012 - 1 comment

Tobe Hooper's "Lifeforce"

... it’s no exaggeration to say that LIFEFORCE tosses everything in but the kitchen in an attempt to entertain you. Actually, scratch that, it tosses everything including the kitchen sink. By the time the movie is complete, you may have to watch it again just to verify that you actually saw what you just saw. The movie is a mess of enormous proportions which I absolutely loved.* (previously) [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Feb 6, 2012 - 59 comments

Men Don't Tell

In 1993, Lifetime released Men Don't Tell, a landmark film exploring female on male domestic violence. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Feb 3, 2012 - 91 comments

Bollywood's Soft Power

What might help defeat Muslim extremists in Pakistan for good? Bollywood!
posted by reenum on Feb 2, 2012 - 11 comments

Sergei Bondarchuk's "War and Peace"

An ever increasing accumulation of film stills from Sergei Bondarchuk's 8-hour long epic film adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Feb 1, 2012 - 20 comments

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

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