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Fake Fruit Factory from Guergana Tzatchkov on Vimeo.
"Every year, Librarian of Congress James H Billington personally selects which films will be added to the National Film Registry, working from a list of suggestions from the library’s National Film Preservation Board and the general public," reports Ann Hornaday for the Washington Post. This year's list of 25 films slated for preservation:
Allures (Jordan Belson, 1961) Bambi (Walt Disney, 1942) The Big Heat (Fritz Lang, 1953) A Computer Animated Hand (Pixar, 1972) Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment (Robert Drew, 1963) The Cry of the Children (George Nichols, 1912) A Cure for Pokeritis (Laurence Trimble, 1912) El Mariachi (Robert Rodriguez, 1992) Faces (John Cassavetes, 1968) Fake Fruit Factory (Chick Strand, 1986) Forrest Gump (Robert Zemeckis, 1994) Growing Up Female (Jim Klein and Julia Reichert, 1971) Hester Street (Joan Micklin Silver, 1975) I, an Actress (George Kuchar, 1977) The Iron Horse (John Ford, 1924) The Kid (Charlie Chaplin, 1921) The Lost Weekend (Billy Wilder, 1945) The Negro Soldier (Stuart Heisler, »
“My momma always said, .Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get..” That line was immortalized by Tom Hanks in the award-winning movie “Forest Gump” in 1994. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington today selected that film and 24 others to be preserved as cultural, artistic and historical treasures in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.
Spanning the period 1912-1994, the films named to the registry include Hollywood classics, documentaries, animation, home movies, avant-garde shorts and experimental motion pictures. Representing the rich creative and cultural diversity of the American cinematic experience, the selections range from Walt Disney.s timeless classic “Bambi” and Billy Wilder.s “The Lost Weekend,” a landmark film about the devastating effects of alcoholism, to a real-life drama between a U.S. president and a governor over the desegregation of the University of Alabama. The selections also »
- Michelle McCue
Christmas isn't just about getting stuff. It's about giving too, Charlie Brown. I know what you're thinking: Tell that to the U.S. government, who seems to delight only in taking — be it our money or our personal freedoms.
But each December, there is a certain federal institution that gives we the people a little gift…emphasis on the "little." That's right, it's time once again to see what films have been designated as American treasures by the Library of Congress.
Every year, 25 movies are chosen by the Librarian of Congress for addition to the National Film Registry. If my math is correct (and there's a good chance it's not), there have been 575 films deemed worthy of preservation by the Library of Congress since this all began in 1989. To give you some perspective, that's about the average number of movies released each year. Coincidentally, it's also the number of average movies released each year… »
I’m never one to put significant stock in the film-based choices made by any kind of committee — be it an awards group, critics circle, soup kitchen line, etc. — but the National Film Registry is a little different. Not that they’re any different than those aforementioned organization types, but because the government assemblage preserves works deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.” No small potatoes.
Their latest list — created for both public awareness and the opportunity to grumble, as I’ll do in a second — has been unveiled, and the selections are none too out-of-left-field. The biggest of these 25 would have to be Forrest Gump, a choice I fully understand but completely disagree with on an opinion and moral scale. The only other true objection I can raise is toward El Mariachi, film school-level junk from a director whose finest works are the direct result of working with those more talented. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (thefilmstage.com)
Every year, the National Film Registry announces 25 films that it will toss gently into its vault for safe keeping. This year, they’ve chosen a hell of a list, but (like every year), the movies saved act as a reminder that even in a digital world where it seems unfathomable that we’d lose art, we’re still losing art. The task of actively preserving films is an honorable, laudable one, and it’s in all of our best interests to see movies like these kept safe so that future generations (and those attending Butt-Numb-a-Thon 55) will be able to screen them as they were meant to be seen. So what 25 movies made the cut this year? Let’s explore: Allures (1961) – The short from director Jordan Belson was abstract, like all of his work. Belson passed away in September of this year, and it’s a great thing to see his trippy work preserved. Bambi »
- Cole Abaius
Gloria Grahame, The Big Heat Forrest Gump, Bambi, The Silence Of The Lambs: National Film Registry 2011 Movies Besides the aforementioned Hester Street and Norma Rae, women are also at the forefront of Julia Reichert and Jim Klein's Growing Up Female (1971); Chick Strand’s Fake Fruit Factory (1986), a documentary about Mexican women who create ornamental papier-mâché fruits and vegetables; and the recently deceased George Kuchar’s experimental short I, an Actress (1977), which is available on YouTube. I couldn't find any titles focusing on gay, lesbian, bisexual, multisexual, etc., or transgender characters. As so often happens, political correctness will go only so far. Anyhow, more interesting than p.c. choices was the inclusion of A Cure for Pokeritis (1912), an early comedy starring then-popular (and quite odd) couple John Bunny and Flora Finch; and what may well be my favorite noirish crime drama, Fritz Lang's The Big Heat (1953), starring Glenn Ford and Gloria Grahame. »
- Andre Soares
If you happen to be in the market for Fritz Lang Christmas ornaments, they do exist, though they don't come cheaply. At any rate, much of the third issue of Movie: A Journal of Film Criticism (the successor to Movie, the print journal Ian Cameron edited from 1962 to 2000) is given to the second part of its Fritz Lang dossier featuring — and I should mention before you start clicking that these are PDFs — Stella Bruzzi on Fury (1936), Vf Perkins on You Only Live Once (1937), Edward Gallafent on The Return of Frank James (1940), Adrian Martin on Scarlet Street (1945), Peter William Evans on The Big Heat (1953), Deborah Thomas on Human Desire (1954) and Peter Benson on Moonfleet (1955).
Originally published in the Observer on 18 December 1938
I am writing this letter now, so that the readers of the Observer can light their fires with it on Monday morning, and you will have six days after it has gone up the chimney to study my wants and decide what you are going to do about them. I know you will be very busy this Christmas, but in case you have time to think about the cinema, here are one or two suggestions for useful gifts.
Give back a film industry to England, just a little one. We have been very stupid, shortsighted and wasteful here, but most of us are sorry now. There are thousands of people out of work in the studios this Christmas, many of them with little prospect of getting back again. Be kind to them, please.
Whisper in the ear of politicians and City men, and »
Director David Fincher is nabbing all sorts of acclaim for his new film "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" –the Daniel Craig-Rooney Mara starrer enjoys an 94 percent "fresh" rating on movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
The "Social Network" Oscar contender has established an awesome filmography in the last 15 years, including box office hits like "Se7en," cult faves like "Fight Club" and award-nominated behemoths like "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." But for those who don't know, he got his start directing music videos for artists like Madonna, Paula Abdul, the Rolling Stones, Iggy Pop and Aerosmith. Some of the clips he turned out in the late-80s and early-90s, in particular, have become iconic and genre-defining.
Below are, in our estimation, Fincher's five most iconic videos.
- John Mitchell
The first item that needs mentioning is Sight & Sound's followup to last week's tweets and sneak peeks, "2011 in review: The full poll," 101 critics and curators listing their top five films and generally reflecting on the year that was. Editor Nick James introduces the bundle.
The second order of business would be the obligatory mention of David Fincher's commenting on the David Denby vs Scott Rudin brouhaha (briefly: the New Yorker critic reneged on his promise not to run a review of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo before the embargo would be lifted on December 13; the producer blew his top). Talking to Rene Rodriguez of the Miami Herald, Fincher naturally comes down on the side of his producer, but also adds: "Embargoes… look, if it were up to me, I wouldn't show movies to anybody before they were released…. But by the same token, when you agree to go »
Martin Scorsese's family friendly fantasy is a cinephile's delight: a beautifully designed homage to the power of the first film-makers
"I would recognise the sound of a movie projector anywhere!" says one of cinema's greatest pioneers, hearing that mechanical, sprockety whirr. It's a climactic moment in Martin Scorsese's new film: a family fantasy adventure in 3D which turns out to be a hi-tech magic lantern presentation on the wonder of early cinema, and its origins in the world of clockwork craftsmanship: toys, games, illusions.
Hugo is pitched as much to cinephile adults as children, and insists, in a fervent if rather pedagogic way, on that magical quality of cinema which children and grownups generally feel without needing to be told. This is a spectacular and gorgeously created film, with allusions to Harold Lloyd and Fritz Lang, and it's an almost overwhelming assault on the senses from the very »
- Peter Bradshaw
"Martin Scorsese's Hugo begins with a vertiginous descent that only gains speed as it follows a train and barrels into the station that will be its main setting," writes Phil Coldiron in Slant. "Leaving the tracks, it continues on its path through the concourse, moving past digital extras, the first of many ghostly presences, before seamlessly entering the realm of the real — that is, the soundstage. The worlds of Lumière (the train: the document of reality) and Méliès (the impossible camera: the spectacle of fantasy) come together, the latter used as a tool to try to restore the long-lost thrill of the former. This is the first moment of Scorsese's career that could accurately be described as Cameronian; it's also the first appearance of Hugo's exceptionally personal cinematic gambit."
Reviewer: Philip Tatler IV
Rating (out of five): ** if you’ve not seen the original /*** 1/2 if you have
Giorgio Moroder’s “restoration” of Metropolis probably began with noble enough intentions. Inspired by the music video’s ascendancy, Moroder decided to resurrect Fritz Lang’s 1927 sci-fi masterpiece for a new generation. His rehabilitation included cutting out most of the intertitles (replacing a few with subtitles), retinting and colorizing the images, and – most significantly – juicing the film with a contemporary soundtrack, replacing the crusty old score with far out offerings from Freddy Mercury, Billy Squier, Loverboy, Adam Ant, Pat Benetar, and Bonnie “Total Eclipse of the Heart” Tyler. »
Exploding heads are great, obviously. And there are some action and horror films that simply wouldn’t be the same without copious bloodletting, broken limbs and flying eyeballs. So while we’ve nothing against cinematic excess, it’s also the case that truly horrific violence can be implied rather than explicitly shown.
To this end, here’s a list of a few particularly noteworthy moments of implied nastiness in cinema. Needless to say, there are dozens upon dozens that we’ve failed to remember, so feel free to chip in with your own favourite moments of off-screen menace in the comments section.
“Just you wait, the nasty man in black will come,” is the first line uttered in Fritz Lang’s unforgettably disturbing 1931 thriller, »
It was less than a few weeks ago that news broke (ever so softly) that the world’s leading film camera manufacturers, Arri, Panavision, and Aaton, have stopped production on all film cameras. While this news may not be surprising — what with the meteoric rise of digital moviemaking – it is disheartening nonetheless if only for romantics with allegiances to cinema as it once was. And so, it may seem only logical that 35mm projection in movie theaters worldwide is in decline. What’s shocking is that the extinction of 35mm projection could come as soon as 2015.
MSNBC (via Gizmodo) cites a report from Ihs Screen Digest Cinema Intelligence Service that declares digital projection has been catching on in a big way over the past few years, and will surpass 35mm projection in popularity (as in the percentage of theaters using it) by 2012. Specifically the report states:
By the end of »
- email@example.com (thefilmstage.com)
Everything old is new again as two of the week’s best DVD releases are for films that are decades old including Giorgio Moroder’s 1984 redo of Fritz Lang’s classic Metropolis with music by Freddy Mercury, Loverboy and other 80s superstars. But don’t fret, there are also some solid new films to check out this week including Bellflower, Griff the Invisible, The Warring States and more. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Three Colors: Blue White Red (Criterion) Krzysztof Kieslowski’s thematic trilogy looks at France’s motto: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. Blue stars Juliette Binoche as a woman who suffers a terrible loss and attempts to free herself from life and its responsibilities with a kind of slow-motion suicide, but she instead finds true freedom through healing. Red features Irene Jacob as a young woman whose solitude is slowly shattered by unexpected friendships. And »
- Rob Hunter
When composer Giorgio Moroder rereleased Fritz Lang’s 1927 masterpiece Metropolis in 1984, it was the best the film had looked in years. At Moroder’s instigation, the film had undergone a three-year restoration process that restored whole sequences not seen in years. How it sounded was another matter. In addition to adding color tinting and replacing intertitles with subtitles, Moroder gave Metropolis a soundtrack that mixed his own synth-driven score with songs by Bonnie Tyler, Adam Ant, Pat Benatar, and others. If anyone had the right, or at least the power, to do such a thing in 1984 it »
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In this week's "Even More" section there is a link to a Tom Cruise Blu-ray Collection, which includes Collateral, Days of Thunder, Minority Report, Top Gun and War of the Worlds for only $34.99. It's a good price and worth a look either for you or perhaps as a Christmas present for someone else. However, until November 17 you can buy it at Fry's for only $19.99! Get on it!
Also, I have two Criterion titles I'm recommending this week, but instead of using the Buy Now links next to each you may want to head over to Barnes and Noble where their 50% off sale is still on for I believe another week. Unless I am mistaken it ends on November 21. So, get to shopping!
Three Colors Trilogy (Criterion Collection) I received Criterion's Blu-ray edition of Krzysztof Kieslowski's Troi couleurs (Three »
- Brad Brevet
Late last year, Shock Till You Drop had the opportunity to visit the Moscow set of the upcoming alien invasion film, The Darkest Hour . In August, we brought you the first part of the set visit, interviewing producers Timur Bekmambetov and Tom Jacobson, which you can check out by clicking here . Glimpsing the headquarters of the Russian Academy of Sciences is to feel doubly removed from reality. Like something out of Fritz Lang's Metropolis , the architecture belongs not only to another time but seemingly to a whole other world. Two conjoined white towers are topped by enormous golden cuboids that themselves appear as if alien vessels have landed and overtaken the institution. Just down the street, a towering statue is dedicated to the first man in space, Russian cosmonaut Yuri »
(Fritz Lang, 1947, Exposure, PG)
Fritz Lang, whose German expressionist movies helped create film noir, saw his disciple Alfred Hitchcock surge ahead of him in Hollywood. With this psychoanalytical thriller incorporating elements of Rebecca, Suspicion and Spellbound, he sought to establish he was Hitch's equal. It proved a critical and commercial disaster but is now widely seen as a key example of Lang's "fantastical realism". A sublime, delirious melodrama, it stars Joan Bennett as a sleepwalking heiress who meets a charming architect (Michael Redgrave) in Mexico, and marries in haste. He turns out to have a bizarre family past and a weird present that includes re-creating in the basement of his New England mansion the rooms where famous murders occurred. Redgrave was cast because of his schizophrenic ventriloquist in Dead of Night. The outstanding photography is by Stanley Cortez, who shot The Magnificent Ambersons and The Night of the Hunter. The »
- Philip French
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