16 items from 2017
If one is looking to experience a dose of astonishing beauty, now in theaters in the Oscar-nominated animation The Red Turtle. A co-production with Studio Ghibli, Michaël Dudok de Wit’s first feature-length film is a humble, patient drama with an emotionally rich finale. To celebrate its theatrical release here in the U.S., we’re highlighting the director’s all-time favorite films, which he submitted to BFI‘s latest Sight & Sound poll. Featuring classics from Kubrick, Cimino, Kurosawa, and more, on the animation side, he makes sure to recognize a Miyazaki masterwork, along with a seminal Disney film.
“Just before the team arrived, Studio Ghibli called me and said, ‘We’ve been thinking about the list of words that are supposed to be spoken in the film and we think you should drop the dialogue entirely,'” the director told us, speaking about the production process of his film. »
- Jordan Raup
As the art film revolution of the late 1950s and 1960s gave way to more populist manifestations of its stylistic inventions, so too did the “foreign language drama” become a codified form. As Bergman, Antonioni, Kurosawa, Fellini, and other renowned directors of that earlier time aged out of their peak years of financial viability, a new class found a framework in which to ground their career. They didn’t always have the training in commercial art that their forerunners had worked in and helped develop before eventually resisting, subverting, or overthrowing, but they had the stamina and the work ethic to invest in the trappings that made earlier more revolutionary works so galvanizing.
Ermanno Olmi made his start in documentary shorts, making more than two dozen from 1953-1959, before making his feature narrative debut with Time Stood Still (1959), an avalanche drama about a generational divide. He gained considerably more acclaim for 1961’s Il Posto, »
- Scott Nye
“It’s been an absolute pleasure to have worked alongside the legendary Kenny Baker,” Vee said in a statement released by the Oh So Small production agency. “Kenny was a fantastic actor and taught me all the ‘tricks’ on how he brought R2-D2 to life which I will continue to portray in his honor. I’m so excited to be a part of the Star Wars universe and can’t wait for everyone to see what we’ve been working so hard on for the last year.”
Baker died in August at the age of 81. He had played R2-D2 — which stands for Second Generation Robotic Droid Series-2 — in all the “Star Wars” movies since the original 1977 film “A New Hope,” in which George Lucas introduced the droid as a comic-relief »
- Dave McNary
Henry Bevan on why Lego Batman is the hero Hollywood needs right now…
The Joker is Batman’s greatest enemy, and he has been almost since the start. Batman may have the best roster of rogues (rivalled only by Spider-Man), but nothing gets Bat-fans excited more than a tussle with the Clown Prince of Crime. A mere whisper of his presence, like the ending of Batman Begins, is enough to whip up a frenzy. Chris McKay and the folks over at Warner Bros. Animation understand this. They also understand how ridiculous the Batman mythology is. This is, after all, a man dressed as a bat fighting a man dressed as a clown.
In The Lego Batman Movie, Batman and the Joker are jilted lovers (“I like to fight around”). The Joker, voiced by Zack Galifianakis, only wants Batman’s (Will Arnett) attention. It is a spot-on interpretation that encapsulates and laughs at their relationship. »
- Henry Bevan
Judson & Collin are joined by Star Wars expert Jason Ward, the editor-and-chief of MakingStarWars.net and co-host of Now, This is Podcasting!, to talk about Star Wars: A New Hope and Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress, which inevitably branches into a discussion about Star Wars in general and the overall influence that Kurosawa has had on Star Wars.
Check out Jason's website here: www.makingstarwars.net
Join us now and in the future. You can listen here or on iTunes (more formats are forthcoming). Be sure to check out and follow the official Twitter for upcoming episodes. @AnotherFilmPod
Star Warsakira Kurosawathe Last JEDIGeorge LucasTHE Hidden FORTRESSFilmpodcastMOVIE Buffsa New Hope »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Collin Llewellyn)
Made in 1990, in the twilight of his career, this is the kind of out-there movie that only an auteur of Akira Kurosawa’s status could have brought (or had financed) to fruition. He had help from some American cineaste buddies like Steven Spielberg (producing) and Martin Scorsese (lending his acting skills and a ginger wig); but the result is something steeped almost entirely in Japanese culture, its history and traditions.
Dreams is structured as a series of brief chapters, each based on one of Kurosawa’s own dreams. It’s an approach that at once seems chaotic: half-formed vignettes with no connective tissue. But at the end of its two-hour runtime, the linking themes coalesce in the mind. In short, this is a heartfelt cry about the threat of industrialisation upon rural Japanese life. »
- Rupert Harvey
Turner Classic Movies and Robert Osborne are getting some healthy competition as Cohen Media Group launches ‘Cohen Film Classics,’ a new classic film series, hosted and curated by Cmg CEO and consummate cinephile Charles Cohen. The series premieres Friday night, with Academy Award winning filmmaker Chuck Workman’s 2013 documentary, “What is Cinema?”
Workman’s documentary combines archival interviews with film visionaries such as Chantal Akerman, Robert Bresson, Robert Altman, and Akira Kurosawa, along with newly conducted ones with Mike Leigh, David Lynch, and Jonas Mekas. In their own words, the filmmakers explore the meaning of the art to which they have devoted their lives.
Following the premiere of “What Is Cinema?,” the series will show these four films every Friday in February: “Sudden Fear,” from 1952, featuring Joan Crawford and Jack Palance, “Hangmen Also Die,” Fritz Lang »
- Jude Dry
The eighth installment in the Star Wars saga now has an official title -- Star Wars: The Last Jedi -- and we've had a day to consider the implications of that title. While the title came as a surprise to almost everybody, two people had a little advance knowledge and have shared their feelings.. Mark Hamill, who will reprise his role as Luke Skywalker, says he was told the title while the movie was being made. In the Associated Press video below (via ScreenCrush), he gives his charming reaction. The actor notes: "It's got a real samurai -- you know, it's straightforward and minimalist and I like that." George Lucas acknowledged the influence of Japanese master filmmaker Akira Kurosawa in this video. While we're at it...
- Peter Martin
Earlier this January, Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” won Best Picture — Drama at the 74th Golden Globes after racking up widespread critical acclaim since its world premiere at Telluride last September. The film has recently racked up eight Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. In honor of his new film and all the recent accolade, the Criterion Collection invited Barry Jenkins to check out the famed Criterion Closet and pick out some films to take home. Watch the video below.
Read More: National Society of Film Critics Names ‘Moonlight’ Best Picture of 2016
Jenkins picks out a host of films from the closet that have special significance for him. Some of these films include the “John Cassavetes: Five Films” box set, which Jenkins describes as “foundational”; Krzysztof Kieślowski’s ten-hour long “Dekalog,” a film Jenkins once bought on Ebay because he “felt like he had to see it”; Mathieu Kassovitz’s “La Haine, »
- Vikram Murthi
It’s one of the strengths of “Walking Out” – part of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the Sundance Film Festival – that the movie can explore wilderness survival and father-son bonding and somehow still have room to teach us that big game hunting need not be as fractious a political issue as it first appears.
The lyrical and moving exploration of both the Montana backwoods and the human soul will get its third Sundance screening Monday evening in Salt Lake City and continue its bid for a distribution deal. Strong audience reaction and reviews – calling the film “moving and thrilling” and “captivating and poignant” – should help the film find an audience.
The 96-minute drama was written and directed by two Montana brothers, Alex and Andrew Smith. It tells the story of a divorced father and his estranged 14-year-old son, who comes to visit for a winter hunting trip. A struggle »
- James Rainey
The filmmaker, who died last July, will be honored at the Writers Guild Awards ceremony on Feb. 19. His son, Ahmad Kiarostami, will accept the award on his father’s behalf.
“Abbas Kiarostami was, as Martin Scorsese put it, ‘one of those rare artists with a special knowledge of the world,'” said WGA West President Howard A. Rodman. “As a founding father of the New Iranian Cinema, Kiarostami navigated tricky political and cultural terrains with courage and grace. Yet the impact of his work – and his life – is felt far outside the borders of his native land. Kiarostami’s films were fiction, were documentary, were transcendent. He expanded cinematic narrative for all of us, »
- Dave McNary
To celebrate The Criterion Collection’s 2016 releases — and there’s a lot to celebrate — Arik Devens, David Blakeslee, Keith Enright, Scott Nye, and Trevor Berrett gather to talk about the past year in Criterion, including their favorite three Criterion releases of 2016.
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Episode Notes Arik’s List
– Favorite Cover: A Brighter Summer Day
– Favorite Packaging: Trilogia de Guillermo del Toro
– Favorite Releases:
2) Wim Wenders: The Road Trilogy
– Favorite Cover: Lady Snowblood
– Favorite Packaging: Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
– Favorite Releases:
3) The Executioner/Death by Hanging
1) The Emigrants/The New Land
– Favorite Packaging: Valley and Beyond the Valley
– Favorite Releases:
3) Valley of the Dolls and Beyond the Valley
1) The Kennedy Films of »
- David Blakeslee
“About three in the afternoon, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani (which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’)”—Matthew 27:46Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield), a Jesuit priest ministering in a 17th century Japan hostile to Christians, craves the sound of this voice, pining for a confirmation of his convictions: something—anything—to demonstrate that God, too, has not forsaken him. Accompanied by Garrpe (Adam Driver), a fellow priest, he enters Japan looking for his former mentor, Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson), who according to rumor apostatized at the hands of the Japanese authorities. Because the Japanese closed off their borders to “Christian” nations like England, Portugal and Spain, Garrpe and Rodrigues travel illegally from Macao to Japan, led by an enigmatic drunkard, Kichijiro (Yôsuke Kubozuka). Shortly after their arrival, the priests bear witness to excruciating acts of torture perpetrated against the local Japanese Christians. »
Above: Mondo poster for The Graduate (Mike Nichols, USA, 1967); artist: Rory Kurtz; lettering: Jay Shaw.On my daily movie poster Tumblr I don’t make a habit of posting fan art or art prints—call them what you will—because I’m most interested in the intersection of commerce and art that is the theatrical movie poster. But I make an exception when something stands out, and nothing stood out last year quite like Rory Kurtz’s beautiful, elegant and unexpected Mondo illustration for The Graduate, which quite rightly racked up over 200 more likes than even its nearest competitor. But its nearest competitor was fan art too: a brilliant poster for Badlands by the insanely talented Adam Juresko, whose art poster for In the Mood for Love (featured in my Maggie Cheung article) was also in the top four. What makes art posters easy to like—beyond their extraordinary artistry »
Movie sequels are big business for Hollywood. Many fans are getting burnt-out on sequels, especially since so many of them are unnecessary. Still, let’s not forget that when they’re done right, sequels can be great. Here are a dozen of the greatest sequels ever made.
12. Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Khan (1982): Still the best of all the Star Trek films, this excellent sequel corrected everything that went wrong with its disappointing predecessor, Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The action, the humor and the character interactions were all excellent. The comparisons to Moby Dick gave it a literary flavor, and Ricardo Montalban was fantastic as the villain, Khan Noonien Singh. The death of Spock was a surprise to long-time fans, even if it didn’t last. This film made the Trek film franchise fun and set the standard for the future films.
11. The Color Of Money »
- email@example.com (Rob Young)
The maxim that good scripts are essential to making good movies is especially true in animation. In this medium, scripts and storyboards provide blueprints for completely invented worlds, and dialogue is recorded before the animation is done.
There’s been an Oscar category for animated feature for just 15 years; and toon screenplay nominations are relatively recent. Prior to that, animated movies typically were likelier to be recognized for song. Thus far, writer-director Andrew Stanton tops the list of Oscar-nominated animation screenwriters with four to his name (including “Toy Story,” “Wall-e,” “Finding Nemo,” and “Toy Story 3”), and he could compete again this year with the Disney/Pixar billion-dollar winner “Finding Dory.”
There’s another billion-dollar baby attracting awards buzz this season, too. Disney’s computer-animated “Zootopia” nabbed 11 Annie Award nominations (including writing) and a Golden Globe nod for animated film. It’s also the only animated feature among AFI’s 2016 honorees. »
- Ellen Wolff
16 items from 2017
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