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The celebrated 'French Buster Keaton' has finally won his battle over distribution rights to get his films shown again
Pierre Étaix is back, by popular demand. Jerry Lewis acclaimed him as a genius and Terry Gilliam is a devoted fan, but until very recently, the 83-year-old Étaix, a comedian, magician and clown who Paris-Match called "the French Buster Keaton", was in danger of being forgotten entirely. His films are timeless treasures of whimsical, physical comedy, but copyright difficulties meant that his movies had not been distributed, let alone released on home video, for decades. Étaix's signature on a disastrous distribution contract cast his films into oblivion, but 56,000 more, including those of Jean-Luc Godard, David Lynch and Woody Allen, on a petition in 2009, have rescued them for posterity. The end to this long-running legal dispute should be a cause for celebration among film fans, even though many, quite understandably, will never »
- Pamela Hutchinson
We're suspicious of trailers, but the first real glimpses of the Dark Knight Rises and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey were too big to miss
The big story
We don't normally get that excited about trailers. They have their place, but for the most part they're slippery, unreliable things - a keyhole shot of a bigger idea, designed to sell their wares to the largest audience, with little regard for the nature of their source material.
That said, there were a couple of promos released this week that even brine-soaked snobs like us couldn't ignore. Tuesday saw the release of the Dark Knight Rises trailer, the first real look at Christopher Nolan's third and final Batman film. Our go-to-guy for all things bat is Ben Child, who finally switched off the Bat Signal he'd installed on his roof and welcomed the caped crusader's return. "As with the best trailers, »
- Henry Barnes
Hit List is a handful of items that we find noteworthy, shared with you daily on our homepage. Enjoy!
Profile: Pam Grier from Guardian.co.uk
Watch Pulp Fiction Re-Edited in Chronological Order from IFC.com
Buster Keaton and the Use of Illusion from MovingImageSource.us
Walt Disney, the Maverick: A Guest Essay by Jon Favreau from LATimes.com
Have an item you’d like to see featured on Hit List? Submit it here. »
- Heather Campbell
Black and white images flicker across absorbed young faces as timeless stories unfold. To the delight of the education charity Filmclub, classic films are captivating children as young as seven.
In the past year, a quarter of all the films watched by its members have been pre-1979 movies and some, such as The Electric Edwardians (1900), date right back to the birth of cinema.
Launched in 2008 by film director Beeban Kidron and educationist Lindsay Mackie, Filmclub (@filmclub) helps schools set up film clubs and supplies a huge range of thoughtfully curated films.
Libby Serdiuk, aged 10, was "pleasantly surprised by The General (1926):
"I had never watched a film without sound or colour. Before I knew it my eyes were glued to the screen! The stunts were exhilarating to watch, Buster Keaton was mind blowing, »
- Judy Friedberg
Our look into Buster Keaton's solo features finds its next subject in an unusual entry in his oeuvre, Seven Chances. Whereas most of Keaton's silent work was a mostly the invention of his own imagination, Seven Chances was a departure in that it came from a previously published and performed stage play licensed by his producer. As such, the film plays a bit differently than many of Keaton's early films, but also features some of his most memorable gags and has had perhaps more of an impact on long term film history than some of his better films. Kino brings the latest of their Keaton holdings to Blu-ray in a stunningly gorgeous HD transfer with an upgrade for Robert Israel's bouncy score and a number »
There are 26 new releases out on Blu-ray this week and of those we have picked 10 we think are worth talking about. It is an interesting mix of films: a classic black and white comedy – Seven Chances starring Buster Keaton – a summer blockbuster – Rise of the Planet of the Apes – an award winning drama – Heavenly Creatures – an animated martial arts bear – Kung Fu Panda 2 – a family friendly action film – The Rocketeer – a neighbor who is a vampire – Fright Night – and a high-kicking, limb-severing, face-punching ninja movie from the ’80s – Five Elemental Ninjas.
Let’s see which are worth owning, which are worth renting and which ones to avoid altogether.
Click to continue reading DVD/Blu-ray Breakdown: December 13, 2011
- Paul Young
One crucial differential in a competitive Oscar race--like the one for best actress--is to be a media darling. It's that simple. Tilda Swinton gives yet another enigmatic performance in the strangely off-putting Lynne Ramsay drama "We Need to Talk About Kevin," which has been earning critical raves since its debut in Cannes. A striking beauty with androgynous overtones, Swinton is a photographers's fave, too, which is one reason why Time Magazine gave her a major takeout this week. Time's Catherine Mayer says the Scottish actress "is Buster Keaton as much as Lilian Gish." »
Kino Classics will release director-star Buster Keaton's must-see classic1925 comedy "Seven Chances" on Blu-ray and DVD. This marks the eighth feature-length Keaton release by Kino, which also began selling all 19 of his silent shorts earlier this summer. "Seven Chances" boasts the unforgettable classic action sequence in which Keaton runs for his life, chased by hordes of women--and other dangerous objects. The Kino release comes newly mastered in high definition from materials preserved by the Library of Congress. Film historian Eric Grayson restored the film's original two-color Technicolor prologue for the new edition. »
It is safe to say that I am clearly green with envy. Besides the fact that Austin is home to some amazing restaurants, stores and people, the city also hosts three large events for film geeks each year. The first is SXSW. The second being Fantastic Fest. The third and final event is Butt-Numb-a-Thon. This final event may seem like an odd title to some, but it is a fitting name for the much-coveted geek event. Each year, Harry Knowles (Ain’t It Cool News.com) screens films at the Alamo Drafthouse for 24 hours in honor of his birthday. The tickets for the event always sell -out due to the fact that Harry has been known for showing a mix between classic cinema and world premieres of highly anticipated films. This year was no different. With a lineup that included Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, »
- Michael Haffner
Both gorilla vs bear and Pitchfork have selected their videos of the year and, just for the fun of it, I've scattered a few up and down this Saturday Briefing.
Via Mike Everleth comes news that the National Film Preservation Foundation has begun production on Treasures 6: Next Wave Avant-Garde, "a 2-dvd set to be released in fall 2013. Envisioned as a sequel to the Nfpf's award-winning Treasures IV: American Avant-Garde Film, 1947-1986, the new anthology explores how avant-garde film took root and spread after the 1950s as the next generation embraced diversity and forged connections with conceptual and performance art." No titles have been announced yet, but we can look forward to 5½ hours of restorations from several archives.
212 featuring Lazy Jay from Azealia Banks on Vimeo.
"In this week's long review I take a look at the »
'When I first told people about my idea for this movie, they just laughed at me," says Michel Hazanavicius. "Friends, actors, producers – they all laughed. They'd say, 'Ok, Ok, but what do you really want to do?'" The problem was that Hazanavicius wanted to make a silent movie, 70 years after talkies rendered silents commercially obsolete and aesthetically outré. True, there have been some avant garde silent film-makers (Canadian Guy Maddin, for instance), but Hazanavicius isn't of their temper. "I wanted to make a charming mainstream movie. But nobody thought the market was ready for it. Producers said: 'Nobody wants to see a movie like that.'"
But they do. Hazanavicius's unremittingly charming and inventive movie The Artist, about a 1920s Hollywood star eclipsed »
- Stuart Jeffries
With the simultaneous release of Martin Scorsese's "Hugo" and Michael Hazanavicius' "The Artist" in the past two weeks, audiences are discovering a whole world of entertainment that preceded the panoramic, 3D, stereoscopic experience they currently talk and text through: silent film. Apparently, for more than the first 30 years of filmmaking's existence, Hollywood actually made movies that had no audible dialogue, and relied only upon actors' expressions (and an occasional intertitle) to communicate what the heck was going on in the story. Consequently, it seemed appropriate to go back and try to dig up one of these old fossils and see if they could hold a candle to the emotional power (much less technical virtuosity) of today's greatest films, such as Jack and Jill.
Filed under: Features, Movie News
It's a longstanding Hollywood myth that the coming of sound pictures in 1927 ruined the careers of most silent stars and forced the studios to find a new generation of Broadway-trained stars with full-throated speaking and singing voices. That myth finds its latest retelling in 'The Artist,' the new homage to the lost art form that is itself a silent movie, recounting the tale of a speechless star, George Valentin (Jean Dujardin), who stumbles when Hollywood shifts to talkies, even as his young protégé (Berenice Bejo) prospers. While it's certainly true that some of the silent era's greatest stars, from Buster Keaton to John Gilbert, failed to find similar success in talkies, there were still plenty of silent stars who did just as well or even better in sound films. Ahead, a look at some legends who made the transition smoothly, and whose silent »
- Gary Susman
For Tsai Ming-liang, emotion is skin-deep. No other working filmmaker is more sharply attuned to how raw, mundane feeling—feeling before it has been made compelling by drama or comprehensible by psychology—is undergone within the body and then hidden on its surface. The stupor induced by a long fit of crying, the half-bored mindlessness of bad sex, the feeling of one’s face on the pillow or one’s bare ass on the cold toilet seat: Tsai magnifies these semi-conscious fumblings and renders them lucid. His focus on minimally expressive figures making their way through a series of urban landscapes may owe a debt to Buster Keaton and Jacques Tati, but his style also distinguishes itself through an elevation of bodily embarrassment, its location of all that fleshy palpability onscreen within moments of non-being and self-forgetting.
So airtight has this style been at times that it’s easy to »
So far at Twitch, we've gone through all of Buster Keaton's features so far released on Blu-ray, now it's time for some shorts. Back in August Kino released The Short Films Collection, a complete collection of Buster's shorts from 1920-1923. These films are important because they mark the transition point after which Buster successfully moved into features. In these films you can see many of his trademark gags being worked out on a small scale before being eventually elaborated upon in later films. These films also illustrate many of Buster's favorite recurring gags, including the police chase, different train gags, and large scale destruction gags. Kino has lovingly restored these shorts, nineteen in all clocking in at around 8 hours, and presented them in high »
I previously detailed all 45 animated shorts in contention for Oscar's 2012 Best Animated Short Film category and today the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced the ten animated short films that will advance in the voting process for the 84th Academy Awards. Taking all of the information I compiled for the long list of 45 films I have listed the ten in contention for the Oscar with videos and additional information directly below The Short Films and Feature Animation Branch Reviewing Committee viewed all the eligible entries for the preliminary round of voting in screenings held in New York and Los Angeles. Short Films and Feature Animation Branch members will now select three to five nominees from among the ten titles on the shortlist. Branch screenings will be held in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco in January 2012. Dimanche (Sunday) Patrick Doyon, director (National Film Board of Canada) On a gray afternoon, »
- Brad Brevet
Not every filmmaker has a background as a controversial, award-winning artist. But film has always been intrinsic to Turner Prize-winner Steve McQueen's work -- 1997's "Deadpan," for instance, recreated Buster Keaton's legendary collapsing building stunt in "Steamboat Bill Jr." -- so his movement into feature filmmaking always felt like a natural shift, and it was no surprise that when it came with 2008's "Hunger," it would be one of the most indelible films of that year. His sophomore feature, "Shame," has caught the popular imagination to an even greater extent, despite the specter of some fairly explicit sexuality and the albatross of an Nc-17 rating around its neck. But with distributor Fox Searchlight working hard to strip away the stigma of the Adults Only tag, the film is looking like it'll reach an even wider audience than "Hunger," and should figure into the awards discussion in a big way as the. »
Earlier in the week, you’ll have seen interviews with both Robin Williams and Elijah Wood on their new movie. Happy Feet Two. With Elijah, we couldn’t help but talk about The Hobbit and if you missed it, you can catch up here and with Robin here. Likewise, in this interview with Director,George Miller, we couldn’t help but ask him about returning to Fury Road in the new Mad Max movie that will see Tom Hardy taking on the lead role.
Happy Feet Two is released in the UK this Friday, 2nd December and you can see our review here.
George – Probably, even though I’m now making another »
- David Sztypuljak
"The movies in The Silent Roar, Film Forum's ongoing Monday-night series of silent masterpieces from MGM studios, all date from 1924 to 1929, the glorious last half-decade before the coming of sound," writes Imogen Smith for Alt Screen. "While the series includes some director-dominated films, like Erich von Stroheim's Greed and The Merry Widow, the line-up consists mainly of star vehicles constructed around singular personalities: Greta Garbo, Buster Keaton, Lon Chaney, and Lillian Gish. Each of these icons presents a case study in silent acting, and taken together, The Silent Roar makes for an excellent primer in this lost art." The series runs through February 6.
"2011 has been a good year for silent cinema on DVD," writes Kristin Thompson, presenting "an overview of some of the highlights."
Fandor's Keyframe is dedicated this week to "The Silent Artists."
In production now is Utv’s Barfii, the Anees Bazmee directed film that stars Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra, along with Ileana D’Cruz. Talking about the film Ranbir told us, “It’s a romantic comedy set in the 70’s. I play a deaf and mute character, but it’s not a serious film. It’s a fun film along the lines of Charlie Chaplin meets Buster Keaton meets Roberto Benigni kind of a world. So, that should be fun.”
In keeping with the film’s vibe, Utv has been filming some totally fun videos on set. We showed you the first set and now present three more of these fab videos full of masti and even some intrigue!
First we have Ranbir making a film!
Then see what he was caught doing!
And who is after him? »
- Stacey Yount
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