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]
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]
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]
[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]
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]
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]
To paraphrase a character in the film, The Black Hole walks "a tightrope;" if not between "genius" and "insanity," then certainly between "genius" and "banality". If you're looking at this movie as a Manichean exercise between darkness and light, then you can -- for at least a few hours -- entertain the "genius" part of that equation.
The French romantic thriller “Diva” dashes along with a pellmell gracefulness, and it doesn’t take long to see that the images and visual gags and homages all fit together and reverberate back and forth. It’s a glittering toy of a movie... This one is by a new director, Jean-Jacques Beineix... who understands the pleasures to be had from a picture that doesn’t take itself very seriously. Every shot seems designed to delight the audience. - Pauline Kael, 1982 [more inside]
George Kuchar dies. Bronx-born underground filmmaker George Kuchar, whose was created in semi-collaboration with his twin brother Mike, has passed away. [more inside]
Leonard Michaels' "The Zipper": Rita Hayworth is never seen disrobed in the movie, though it is threatened more than once. The atmosphere of dark repression and mysterious forces – the mood or feeling of the movie – might be destroyed by the revelation of her body. It scared me as she began her striptease dance in the nightclub. I didn’t want everybody to see her body, or even to see that Rita Hayworth had a body. [more inside]
Lawrence of Arabia is a 1962 British film based on the life of T. E. Lawrence. It was directed by David Lean... with the screenplay by Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson. The film stars Peter O'Toole in the title role. It is widely considered one of the greatest and most influential films in the history of cinema. The dramatic score by Maurice Jarre and the Super Panavision 70 cinematography by Freddie Young are also highly acclaimed.
Logan's Run is a 1976 science fiction film... It depicts a dystopian future society in which population and the consumption of resources are managed and maintained in equilibrium by the simple expediency of killing everyone who reaches the age of thirty, preventing overpopulation. (related 2004 post worth clicking through for) [more inside]
in 1976, surrealist icon Salvador Dali starred and directed in the fake documentary/travelogue Impressions de la haute Mongolie - Impressions of Upper Mongolia - about his quest to find a rare hallucinogenic mushroom. It was intended as a tribute to the late Raymond Roussel. It is available on Youtube in 5 parts. 1 - 2 -3 - 4 - 5 (70 min)
Hidden away in vaults and out of distribution for over forty years, Herostratus was in its own time largely misunderstood. After only a handful of initial screenings it virtually disappeared from public view altogether, remaining all but forgotten to this day. Yet while admittedly flawed, the film does offer a compelling critique of the failure of 1960s postwar idealism in Britain, an ideal portrayed as having degenerated into neurotic self-gratification. It is also of note as Dame Commander Helen Mirren's first credited screen role. (not safe for those sexually aroused by Helen Mirren) [more inside]
MST3kdbx: Six Degrees of Peter Graves. Did you know Coleen Gray was in The Leech Woman and The Phantom Planet? Like the IMDB obsessive cinephile friend you never friend MST3Kdbx indexes and connects together every actor in every movie shown on Mystery Science Theater 3000 [via mefi projects]
The annotated scores for [*and Filmtracks.com's reviews of] Howard Shore's soundtracks to The Fellowship of the Ring*, The Two Towers*, and The Return of the King*
In 1989, invited to an open air theatre, late at night, I first experienced the 6 hour long screening of Peter Brook's Mahabharata, a much revered Hindu epic which includes the complete Bhagavad Gita as a central part of its narrative. Brook's multiracial casting and innovative treatment received criticism yet its impact has been acknowledged anyone who sat through the 9 hour play, the 6 hour TV serialization or only the 3 hour DVD. [more inside]
"These giant monsters of the past are seen to breathe, to live again, to move and battle as they did at the dawn of life!" The Ghost of Slumber Mountain (1918), by Willis O'Brien. Previously.
The original Yahoo, Bollywood actor (and internet buff) Shammi Kapoor passed away after illness in Mumbai on 14th August 2011. The actor belonged to the Indian film industry's famous family of actors which included his father, Prithviraj, and brothers Raj and Shashi Kapoor. (His first wife Geeta Bali was a superstar in her own right) One of the most popular stars of his generation, also known as the "Elvis Presley of India" he starred in hits like Junglee, An Evening in Paris, Chinatown and Kashmir Ki Kali.
Today is the 100th birthday of Raymond Nicholas Kienzle, better known as Nicholas Ray. The seminal Hollywood-outcast-turned-French-New-Wave idol behind Rebel Without a Cause, Bigger Than Life, Bitter Victory and the hallucinatory Western Johnny Guitar made intensely emotional films about isolated people, often infused with profound desperation and a sense of the nightmarish. Francois Truffaut dubbed him "the poet of nightfall," while Jean-Luc Godard simply declared that "the cinema is Nicholas Ray." He studied architecture under Frank Lloyd Wright, mentored Jim Jarmusch and let Wim Wenders film him as he was dying of cancer. Bob Dylan even wrote a hit song about one of his movies. [more inside]
Starting tonight, Ebert Presents At the Movies will begin airing full episodes of Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert’s original PBS show, Sneak Previews. Taking a break from reviewing movies, co-hosts Christy Lemire and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky will introduce and discuss the episodes. Hungry for more classic Siskel & Ebert? Try the invaluable, Ebert-approved SiskelandEbert.org, a growing archive of home-taped episodes of Sneak Previews and At the Movies. [more inside]
British manned space flights; an insidious threat from outer space; a man mutating into an evil alien, his human consciousness being eaten away; and a scientist - utterly anti-Establishment, courageous and cerebral - the only man who can fight it. No, not Doctor Who, but his highly distinguished predecessor, Prof Bernard Quatermass. A decade before Doctor Who first aired, the The Quartermass Experiment was the first science-fiction TV serial produced for adults, and a live-to-viewers BBC production, to boot. The show ran for six episodes in 1953, of which only the first two episodes are known survive. The short sci-fi series spun off three original sequels and a radio drama-documentary, along with movie re-makes of the first three series by Hammer Films. BBC brought back live TV with a 2005 adaptation of the original 1953 series. You can watch the various series on online (in parts on Daily Motion), thanks to fans of The British Rocket Group. [more inside]
The Alamo Drafthouse cinema chain has a tradition of airing humorous celebrity "PSA" bumpers urging theatergoers not to talk during the movie. Will Ferrell. George A. Romero. Jonah Hill and Michael Cera. Danny DeVito. R. Lee Ermey. Governor Ann Richards. Recently, Drafthouse owner Tim League sat down for an interview with The Social Network's Jesse Eisenberg and attempted to get him to record a "Don't Talk" PSA. It did not go as planned. (Previously.)
Olly Moss designed two Captain America prints in the style of WWII propaganda. So did Eric Tan and Tyler Stout (less propaganda, more movie poster). All commissioned by Mondo. The Tyler Stout prints will be given away at the Captain America Comic-Con screening.
The Last Circus, latest film by vastly under-exposed Spanish director Alex de la Iglesia, will see a limited U.S. theatrical release by Magnet on August 12th. The director's previous work includes surreal apocalypse fantasy (El Dia de la Bestia) and black humor (El Crimen Ferpecto). NSFW trailer here.
[Michelangelo Antonioni's Chung Kuo] as a documentary film was one which was draped with fascination for both filmmakers as well as an audience, rather than championing anti-whatever sentiments from either side of the world. Not having seen many movies, either features, shorts or documentaries made during the Cultural Revolution era or about that era in question (propaganda included), I think this Antonioni film has more than made its mark as a definitive documentary that anyone curious about the life of the time, would find it a gem to sit through.
HealtH (1980) [part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10] was the film which ended Robert Altman’s relationship with Twentieth Century Fox, the studio for whom he had made M*A*S*H. ... During the editing of the film Altman’s main supporter, Alan Ladd Jr., left the studio and release was shelved. Altman distributed the film himself to the festival circuit. ... But it has never been released on VHS, DVD or BluRay and thus remains one of the least seen of Altman’s ouvre. This is unfortunate as it is a very entertaining film, even if it falls short of its ambitions as a political satire. Ronald Reagan disagreed - calling it "the world's worst movie".
Winner of more Academy Awards than any other woman in history, costume designer Edith Head authored a 1967 bestseller titled How to Dress for Success which featured her own illustrations. [more inside]
Variously dubbed "King Leer", "Hollywood primitive", "trash master" and "dirty old man", this self-proclaimed "King of the Nudies" and "glandscape artist" not only defined the sexploitation genre, he practically invented it. [all links NSFW]
SI has written an oral history about the making of the movie "Major League". Charlie Sheen was also interviewed for this piece.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Margaret Herrick Library today launched its latest online research tool, the Production Art Database. The database contains records for more than 5,300 items from the library’s collection, including motion picture costume and production design drawings, animation art, storyboards and paintings. Nearly half of the records include images, making this an invaluable online resource for researchers interested in motion picture design.
Straight to Hell is a 1987 action-comedy film directed by Alex Cox, featuring Sy Richardson, The Clash frontman Joe Strummer (after whose song the film is named), Courtney Love, Dick Rude, Dennis Hopper, Grace Jones, Elvis Costello, Xander Berkeley, Kathy Burke, Jim Jarmusch, Edward Tudor-Pole, Miguel Sandoval, as well as members of The Pogues, Amazulu and The Circle Jerks. ... While the film received almost no positive reviews, it has (like several other of Cox's films) achieved a minor cult status, largely due to its cast of musicians, many of whom have cult followings of their own. A soundtrack has been released. (previously, awesomely)
Reports suggest that director Terrence Malick's recent film The Tree of Life, starring popular actor Brad Pitt, is experiencing a 5-10% walkout rate. Are misconceptions about the film driving audience members out of movie theaters in anger and bafflement? (previously)
It was bound to happen eventually. After a quarter-century, 26 Academy Awards, and an unparalleled streak of eleven artistic and commercial triumphs, Pixar's latest project, Cars 2, is Certified Rotten. Critics have assailed the film as a slick but hollow vehicle for Disney's $10 billion-dollar Cars
merchandising industry "lifestyle brand," replacing the original's serviceable tale of small-town redemption with zany spy games, hyperactive chase sequences, and even more lowbrow aww-shucks potty humor from Larry the Cable Guy. But it's not all bad news! Along with a fun new Toy Story 3 short, preceding today's (3-D) premiere showings is a first look at next year's Brave -- a darkly magical original story set in ancient Scotland featuring the studio's first female lead (and director). Evocative high-res concept art [mirror] is available at the official website, and character sketches have leaked to the web, with the apparently striking teaser trailer sure to follow. Also, be sure not to miss the sneak peak of Brave's associated short, "La Luna"!
To record the history of the large format movies and the 70mm cinemas as remembered by the people who worked with the films.
Amin's hunger for publicity was so great, in fact, that in 1974 he became the first dictator in history to agree to be the subject of an independent documentary film. The resulting movie, Barbet Schroeder's General Idi Amin Dada... is a devastating look at despotism in action and a riveting, and strangely entertaining, portrait of Amin. [more inside]
As time has gone by, though, Touch of Evil has acquired a large cult following, and it now regularly appears on lists of the best films of the century. What is not generally known is that the film never accurately reflected Welles's intentions for it. In July 1957, the studio took over the editing of the film and prevented him from participating in its completion. In an odd turn of events, however, a 58-page memo that Welles wrote in 1957 was recently rediscovered, and a small team on which I was film editor and sound mixer has used that remarkable document to bring Touch of Evil as close as possible to Welles's original concept. - Walter Murch, 1998
Some early test shots from legendary filmmaker and animator Ray Harryhausen's unfinished film, Evolution. [more inside]
A visitor to the Rotten Tomatoes site can check out the data for individual Hollywood careers—that's how Tabarrok came up with the Shyamalan graph—but there's no easy way for users to measure industrywide trends or to compare different actors and directors side-by-side. To that end, Rotten Tomatoes kindly let Slate analyze the scores in its enormous database and create an interactive tool so our readers might do the same.
Cinema chain posts audio of anonymous angry voicemail from customer who was kicked out for breaking one of their two golden rules. No talking. No using mobile phones. [via /film who also have an alternative embed of video] [more inside]