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Despite it being the directorial debut of five times Oscar nominated cinematographer William A. Fraker, 1970’s revisionist Western Monte Walsh isn’t as well remembered as it possibly should be. Prizing characterization over narrative and ignoring the usual set of genre highlights until its third act, it’s a mellow, melancholy bit of nostalgia about the last days of the Old West. Sporting a handsome cast and imbued with the right touch of technical appropriations, it’s a rather humble offering following on the footsteps of iconic juggernauts of the genre, like True Grit or The Wild Bunch, both of which premiered the year prior. Awards glory and controversial depictions of violence launched those films into the zeitgeist, but Fraker’s has remained an obscure item rooted in realistic, low key tendencies.
- Nicholas Bell
Pretty, talented Teresa Wright made a relatively small number of movies: 28 in all, over the course of more than half a century. Most of her films have already been shown on Turner Classic Movies, so it's more than a little disappointing that TCM will not be presenting Teresa Wright rarities such as The Imperfect Lady and The Trouble with Women, two 1947 releases (filmed a couple of years earlier) co-starring Ray Milland, on Aug. 4, '15, a day dedicated to the only performer to date to have been shortlisted for Academy Awards for their first three film roles. TCM's "Summer Under the Stars" Teresa Wright day would also have benefited from a presentation of The Search for Bridey Murphy (1956), an unusual entry – parapsychology, reincarnation – in Wright's movie career and/or Roseland (1977), a now little-remembered movie in director James Ivory's canon. But rest assured that Mrs. Miniver will be on once again… »
- Andre Soares
Exclusive: UK sales outfit to handle Venice-bound thriller starring Richard Dormer.
The Poland-Ireland co-production is Skolimowski’s fourth film to play in competition at Venice and follows the same 11 minutes in the lives of several different characters: young and old, prosperous and destitute.
Essential Killing was also repped by HanWay and played at Venice in 2010, where it picked up the Special Jury Prize, CinemAvvenire »
- email@example.com (Andreas Wiseman)
Scott Foundas, who has served as Variety’s chief film critic for the past two years, will be leaving the publication and the journalism business to join Amazon Studios as a film acquisitions and development executive.
With his appointment effective Aug. 17, he will relocate from New York to Los Angeles to work for Amazon’s recently appointed film chief Ted Hope as the streaming service forges into the feature production and acquisitions business.
“We are going to miss Scott tremendously,” said Variety co-editor-in-chief Claudia Eller. “He has contributed significantly to Variety’s role as an authoritative voice in film criticism. He applied his smarts, insights and exquisite prose to every review he wrote, whether it was an obscure arthouse picture or big Hollywood blockbuster.”
Foundas joined Variety in 2013 just as the venerable publication was relaunching its weekly edition in a new, enhanced format. He worked closely with fellow chief film »
- Variety Staff
BBC Culture has this week unveiled a new list of the top 100 American films, as voted for by a pool of international film critics from across the globe. The format of the poll was that any film that would make the list had to have recieved funding from a Us source, and the directors of the films did not need to be from the USA, nor did the films voted for need to be filmed in the Us.
Critics were asked to submit their top 10 lists, which would try to find the top 100 American films that while “not necessarily the most important, but the greatest on an emotional level”. The list, as you may have guessed, is very different to the lists curated by say the BFI or AFI over the years, so there are certainly a few surprises on here, with Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave (2013), Terrence Malick »
- Scott J. Davis
First off, let's make one thing clear. We're not scratching our heads at Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing" making the BBC's 100 greatest American films. That movie, of which an image accompanies this post, not only made the list, but ranked appropriately at no. 25. It's the rest of the selections that have us scratching and, yes, shaking our heads in disbelief. A wonderful page view driver, these sorts of lists make great fodder for passionate movie fans no matter what their age or part of the world they hail from. There is nothing more entertaining than watching two critics from opposite ends of the globe try to debate whether "The Dark Knight" should have been nominated for best picture or make a list like this. Even in this age of short form content where Vines, Shapchats and Instagram videos have captured viewers attention, movies will continue to inspire because »
- Gregory Ellwood
Leave it to the Brits to compile a list of the best American films of all-time. BBC Culture has published a list of what it calls "The 100 Greatest American Films", as selected by 62 international film critics in order to "get a global perspective on American film." As BBC Culture notes, the critics polled represent a combination of broadcasters, book authors and reviewers at various newspapers and magazines across the world. As for what makes an American filmc "Any movie that received funding from a U.S. source," BBC Culture's publication states, which is to say the terminology was quite loose, but the list contains a majority of the staples you'd expect to see. Citizen Kane -- what elsec -- comes in at #1, and in typical fashion The Godfather follows at #2. Vertigo, which in 2012 topped Sight & Sound's list of the greatest films of all-time, comes in at #3 on BBC Culture's list. »
- Jordan Benesh
Every now and then a major publication or news organisation comes up with a top fifty or one hundred films of all time list - a list which always stirs up debate, discussion and often interesting arguments about the justifications of the list's inclusions, ordering and notable exclusions.
Today it's the turn of BBC Culture who consulted sixty-two international film critics including print reviews, bloggers, broadcasters and film academics to come up with what they consider the one-hundred greatest American films of all time. To qualify, the film had to be made by a U.S. studio or mostly funded by American money.
Usually when a list of this type is done it is by institutes or publications within the United States asking American critics their favourites. This time it's non-American critics born outside the culture what they think are the best representations of that culture. Specifically they were asked »
- Garth Franklin
As sexual-assault allegations regarding Bill Cosby have snowballed, admirers of his work have doubtless experienced hard-to-identify emotions. While those determined to defend the star at any cost appear increasingly foolish and tone-deaf, there should be room for sadness for those who grew up with Cosby now having those memories irrevocably tainted. That feeling of lost nostalgia has nothing to do with empathy for or sympathy toward the architect of all this seemingly horrid behavior.
Cosby is hardly the first public figure whose private behavior has cast clouds over his persona and career; indeed, he’s merely the latest celebrity to reveal the perils of blind hero worship. Still, even compared with, say, the many athletes accused of crimes and misdemeanors during or after their playing days, Cosby represents an unusually uncomfortable situation, thanks in part to the fact his standup act was moored in exaggerated recollections of childhood.
In those early Cosby routines, »
- Brian Lowry
With a Pedro Costa retrospective running in New York through Thursday (to be followed by a week-long run for Horse Money), Ruben Demasure reports in the Notebook on the many conversations Costa had with Thom Anderson at the Courtisane Festival in April. And Film Comment's posted Costa's 1990 piece on Howard Hawks's Land of the Pharaohs. Also in today's roundup: Joshua Oppenheimer's The Look of Silence, Asif Kapadia's Amy, Jonathan Rosenbaum on Rudy Wurlitzer, an oral history of the making of John Boorman's Deliverance and Karina Longworth on Charles Manson, Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski. » - David Hudson »
It’s nice to watch indie filmmakers take a leap and stick the landing. Filmmaker Alex Ross Perry went from the world of micro-indies to bigger budget indies and while that jump may not seem so big to the outsider, his astronomical growth has positioned him as an heir apparent to Woody Allen, Noah Baumbach, Whit Stillman and their ilk thanks to the hyper literate world of last year’s “Listen Up Philip.” But perhaps to show that he’s got lots of tricks up his sleeve beyond just erudite and acidic characters, Perry takes a strong left turn with his latest film, “Queen of Earth.” A psychological drama with caustic humor, Perry takes a page out of the Roman Polanski playbook (think “Repulsion” and “Rosemarie’s Baby”) to create a claustrophobic, paranoid chamber drama about eroding sanity and crumbling friendship between two females mired in class and privilege issues »
- Edward Davis
Elephant Song, 2015.
Directed by Charles Binamé.
A psychiatrist, a patient and a nurse become embroiled in a day of mind games over the disappearance of a doctor.
Open. Over-exposure. Sandy colour palette. Somewhere hot. A woman sings opera, shot with a floating, dreamlike camera. The sound subtly reverberates. A boy runs up to her.
Right. So it’s going to be one of those movies. That was the flashback. The present is clearer, nowhere near as blurry and impressionistic, colder with blues and whites and greys. Now we’re in a psychiatry hospital.
Why we are, exactly, takes 15 minutes to transpire. It’s an awkward opening quarter-hour. There’s not much in the way of obvious plot. The characters are initially chilly. There’s that cliché-ridden opening flashback. One scene has Michael (Xavier Dolan), the young boy in the opening segment now grown up, »
- Oli Davis
Whoopi Goldberg: comedy pioneer, deserving 1991 Oscar winner, and defender of pretty much any terrible thing you can think of. Since taking over as the "View" moderator in 2007, Goldberg has become known for her questionable defenses of such luminaries as Roman Polanski, Chris Brown and -- most recently -- (sigh, alleged) serial rapist Bill Cosby, and "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" has now handily compiled her 10 most surprising apologist moments into a clip montage. God love Whoopi for standing her ground -- even if most of the opinions collected here seem almost entirely viewed through the lens of her own celebrity -- but that Ray Rice defense, in particular? Pretty damning. Oh, and the one about torture too. That one's bad. »
- Chris Eggertsen
Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic — Leading Polish cinematographer Bartosz Prokopowicz makes a stylish feature helming debut in the Karlovy Vary Film Festival’s East of the West competition with the world premiere of “Chemo,” an unconventional love story. Although the narrative in many ways mirrors his own life and marriage to Magdalena, a remarkable woman who founded the Rak’n’Roll Foundation to change the public’s perception of cancer, he insists that the film is not a biopic.
Prokopowicz explains: “This film has been maturing and evolving with the passage of time. I did not want to make a biography, a therapeutic film or a film accounting for the past. I wanted to find a form that in a delicate and subtle way would tell about experiences related to love, life and death. I hope that I made something like a ‘positive guide to dying’ where love is stronger than fear. »
- Alissa Simon
The seventh entry in an on-going series of audiovisual essays by Cristina Álvarez López and Adrian Martin.***At the beginning, we know nothing. And some smart filmmakers (among them Fritz Lang and Samuel Fuller) like to keep us in the dark for the whole of a movie’s opening sequence—often a wordless sequence. There is time enough for verbal explanations in the following, catch-up scene.We know nothing: where we are, what is happening, or who exactly these people are. There are no opening captions, no prologue. We are thrown into a fiction abruptly, driven headlong down a country road, barrelling through a tunnel, entering a city’s limits. Who is at the wheel, exactly, and what is their destination? When the director is Alfred Hitchcock or Stanley Kubrick or Roman Polanski, we will find out soon enough, because we are already wedded to a character’s point-of-view, even »
- Cristina Álvarez López & Adrian Martin
Robert Evans: The Kid Is Alright
I interviewed legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans in 2002 for Venice Magazine, in conjunction with the release of the documentary "The Kid Stays in the Picture," adapted from his iconic autobiography and audiobook. Our chat took place at Woodland, Evans' storied estate in Beverly Hills, in his equally famous screening room, which mysteriously burned down a couple years later. Evans was still physically frail, having recently survived a series of strokes, but his mind, his wit and his charm were sharp as ever, with near total recall for people, places and stories. Many, many stories. Here are a few of them.
It’s a widely-held belief that the years 1967-76 represent the “golden age” of American cinema. Just look at a few of these titles: Rosemary’s Baby, »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
No matter what variety of cinephile you might be, it’s pretty damn hard to settle on a favorite Jack Nicholson performance from his golden run in the late '60s to the early '70s. Some swear by his crazed, magnificent turn as mental patient Randall P. McMurphy in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Next,” while others may be partial to his reefer-mad, conspiracy-spouting lawyer in the seminal outlaw flick “Easy Rider.” My personal pick would have to be Nicholson’s pitch-perfect turn as private dick Jake Gittes in Roman Polanski’s immortal “Chinatown,” but there’s no denying the power and magnetism that he exhibited in “Five Easy Pieces,” the 1970 film for which Nicholson was deservedly nominated for his first Oscar (he lost, but ended up taking one home five years later for his stellar work in 'Cuckoo’s Next'). Bob Rafelson’s drama, about a hard-living »
- Nicholas Laskin
'Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl': Johnny Depp as Capt. Jack Sparrow. 'Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl' review: Mostly an enjoyable romp (Oscar Movie Series) Pirate movies were a Hollywood staple for about three decades, from the mid-'20s (The Sea Hawk, The Black Pirate) to the mid-to-late '50s (Moonfleet, The Buccaneer), when the genre, by then mostly relegated to B films, began to die down. Sporadic resurrections in the '80s and '90s turned out to be critical and commercial bombs (Pirates, Cutthroat Island), something that didn't bode well for the Walt Disney Company's $140 million-budgeted film "adaptation" of one of their theme-park rides. But Neptune's mood has apparently improved with the arrival of the new century. He smiled – grinned would be a more appropriate word – on the Gore Verbinski-directed Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, »
- Andre Soares
As I reflected upon the importance of the Karlovy Vary Intl. Film Festival on the occasion of its 50th edition, which opens with Oren Moverman’s “Time Out of Mind,” starring Richard Gere, I toyed with the idea of detailing what I’ve learned about film festivals, their audiences, filmmakers, the international film business and more in my years attending the festival. Since that would fill a book, I’ve carved that down to five eye-opening moments.
I first attended Karlovy Vary in 1994, shortly after it became a private business enterprise led by the great Czech actor Jiri Bartoska; the current fest team, including artistic consultant Eva Zaoralova, artistic director Karel Och and executive director Krystof Mucha, has consistently been aces at programming and organization.
I’ve had the pleasure of attending what one travel book deemed “the party of the year in the Czech Republic” a dozen times since »
- Steven Gaydos
It may seem unusual for a renowned film director to suddenly switch mediums and helm an opera, but such a thing has happened a number of times before: for example, Woody Allen has directed Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi” for the Los Angeles Opera; legendary Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami has helmed Mozart’s “Cosi Fan Tutte” for the Aix-en-Provence Festival; Julie Taymor has directed Mozart's "The Magic Flute" for the Metropolitan Opera in New York, as well as the Broadway musical adaptations of "The Lion King" and "Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark"; Roman Polanski has helmed Verdi's “Rigoletto” for the Bavarian State Opera; William Friedkin has directed a version of Alban Berg’s “Wozzeck”; and Werner Herzog has helmed a number of Wagner productions including “Doktor Faust,” “The Flying Dutchman” and “Parsifal”. Read More: Terry Gilliam: My Life In Eight Movies Terry Gilliam is among this elite group, »
- Timothy Tau
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