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There are few directors who polarise audiences quite like Wes Anderson. While there are many who love and admire the work of the American auteur, there are also those who aren’t quite as enamoured by his whimsical, creative approach to filmmaking. However his latest production, The Grand Budapest Hotel, may just a defining piece for him, as though certainly faithful to his cinematic fervour, and full of the quirks and nuances that make him so popular – it’s an emotionally driven piece, and perhaps somewhat more tender than we’ve ever seen before.
When in Berlin, where this picture opened the prestigious film festival, we had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with Anderson to discuss his latest piece. Just upon walking into the room, instantly you see the man behind the camera, as there’s a sophistication and elegance to his well-kept appearance, matching that of the hand-crafted universe that he creates. »
- Stefan Pape
There’s no two ways about it — a set of finely sculpted abs or a proclivity for crashing expensive cars can go a long way in making people forget that every once in a while, an action star is actually a legitimate actor in his or her own right. Sure, right now you can only see them firing off guns and one-liners with alarming alacrity, but that’s just something they fell into. Maybe they went to acting school. They do Shakespeare in between blockbusters. They insist that someday they’d really like to direct, citing their affinity for Billy Wilder or King Vidor.
Today’s action films require so little from their stars in terms of acting. Oftentimes an intensive workout regimen, a willingness to do stunt work, and a certain steely-eyed glare will do the trick. So it’s easy to forget that these high octane action stars »
- Audrey Fox
Before our very early screening of "Mr. Peabody and Sherman," the new 3D adaptation of the Jay Ward characters that originated on "The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show," director Rob Minkoff addressed the audience (comprised mostly of children). He told us that we were one of the first audiences to see the movie, then told a rambling story about the time he met Billy Wilder in the airport. At some point he revealed that this was his first animated feature since directing "The Lion King" for Disney in the early nineties. It was about the only time in his intro that the kids in the audience actually reacted. And once the movie started, one thing became very clear: "Mr. Peabody and Sherman" is no "Lion King."The basics from the "Peabody's Improbable History" sections of the beloved sixties cartoon are here, with Mr. Peabody (here voiced by sitcom star Ty Burell, who replaced Robert Downey, »
- Drew Taylor
French women filmmakers may be under-represented in the competition lineup of Cannes Film Festival, but they’re surely gaining ground in recent years, accessing high-profile casts and delivering singular, often emotional films that spark international critics’ enthusiasm.
For its annual Rendez-Vous in New York, French promo org UniFrance has chosen to turn the spotlight on these up-and-coming helmers standing on the frontline of this new wave.
“These new filmmakers are showing international audiences that French cinema isn’t limited to a few directors and actors’ names: They dare to portray every aspect of our society in a modern and creative way and tackle serious topics,” says Isabelle Giordano, UniFrance’s managing director.
“The films of this latest French new wave are notable for their freewheeling energy and immediacy, and for their willingness to tackle head-on the complexities and contradictions of 21st-century France,” says Dennis Lim, Lincoln Center Film Society head of programming. »
- Elsa Keslassy
• How the night unfolded
• Gravity pulls all night
• Full list of winners
• 10 things we learned
This year's Academy Awards was a very good year, pretty well a vintage year in fact, with excellent films of very different genres being recognised. For a critic it is gratifying to see them rewarded, though baffling in other ways to watch the spectacle of so many others being ignored. Well, that is what happens in this quasi-Superbowl. As ever, the Oscars revealed themselves to be purely enjoyable only for the observers, the journalists and the big winners with the majority of the actual participants undergoing what I suspect is a terrible ordeal and the majority going away under a cloud of disappointment. »
- Peter Bradshaw
Did you know that only one other Oscar ceremony has ever been held on a March 2nd? That'd be March 2nd, 1944 which crowned Casablanca 1943's best picture. Let's hope Oscar chooses as well tonight.
May your favorites lose tonight ... if they're different than mine! Kisses.
Though Casablanca is one of those rare pictures that virtually everyone loves, it actually only won three of its eight Oscar nominations that night: Picture, Director (Michael Curtiz), and Screenplay. Only Hitchcock's Rebecca (1940) won fewer Oscars among the Best Pictures of the 1940s with just two statues. So I don't wanna see any online snarking if 12 Years a Slave goes home with only a 2 or 3 statues including the big one. Spreading the wealth is not a new thing and i'd argue it's a healthier thing for the movies, too.
- NATHANIEL R
One of the most critically-aclaimed French helmers of all time, Resnais directed such arthouse masterpieces as “Hiroshima Mon Amour,”a flagship pic of the New Wave, which earned writer Marguerite Duras an Oscar nom for original screenplay in 1961, and “Last Year at Marienbad,” a major influence on such directors as David Lynch.
Resnais, who began his career with a number of art documentaries and then broke through with the gripping 1955 “Night and Fog,” about the Jewish Holocaust in WWII, was one of the more intellectually rigorous members of the new wave of filmmakers who overturned the French film industry in the late ’50s.
The French cinema world is mourning Resnais today as critics, industryites, festivals’ toppers and fans pay him homage.
- Elsa Keslassy
The writer, director and actor Harold Ramis, who has died aged 69 from complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, was responsible for one masterpiece and several influential smash-hits. In each of his creative capacities, he was the eternal quiet man. In front of the camera, his blithe and undemanding presence often disguised his comic skill or made it appear effortless; he seemed happy to hang back and surrender the limelight to more demonstrative and dynamic collaborators, such as his Ghostbusters co-stars Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd. In his writing and directing he was adept at capitalising on an audience's love of coarseness without resorting to cruelty or sacrificing his compassion.
- Ryan Gilbey
Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: May 4, 2014
Price: Blu-ray/DVD Combo $39.95
Kirk Douglas (Paths of Glory) gives the fiercest performance of his career as Chuck Tatum, an amoral newspaper reporter who washes up in dead-end Albuquerque, happens upon the scoop of a lifetime, and will do anything to keep getting the lurid headlines.
Also starring Jan Sterling and Bob Arthur, Wilder’s follow-up to his ominously alluring Sunset Boulevard is an even darker vision, a no-holds-barred exposé of the American media’s appetite for sensation that has gotten only more relevant with time.
Criterion’s Blu-ray/DVD Combo edition of the movie contains the following features, the bulk of them ported over from »
Y tu mama tambíen
There comes a point in everybody’s lives when the awareness of their own mortality becomes apparent. For myself, it came when I was walking to class on a particularly snowy morning and saw a bus slam into a conveniently placed guardrail on a bridge. Snow related accidents are common enough but what happened next is not -- a man in an oversized Santa Claus costume exited the bus, choosing that moment in his life to dabble in the art of traffic enforcement, directing the chaotic traffic away from his fellow passengers as they escaped to a shabby Dunkin Donuts across the street.
Life is a fragile thing and few directors understand this as well as Alfonso Cuarón.
Tenoch, Julio and Luisa (who is very aware of her mortality) are driving to a »
- Adam Armstrong
As we continue to move forward through the list, let us consider: how do you define an original screenplay? In theory, everything is based on something. Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine is basically a modern A Streetcar Named Desire. But, somehow, Jasmine is classified as an original screenplay. When a film is wholly original, nothing like it had been done before, and others have tried to copy it since. Plenty of original screenplays (some in this list) take on tired genres, but flip the script. But the ones that really catch the audience by surprise are the ones that feel imaginative, creative, and different.
40. Spirited Away (2001)
Written by Hayao Miyazaki
That’s a good start! Once you’ve met someone, you never really forget them. It just takes a while for your memories to return.
- Joshua Gaul
Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they think subversively about Billy Wilder‘s men-in-dresses comedy Some Like It Hot since everything seems to have a “secret gay agenda” these days. And because you can’t bend genders without making romance a little interesting. In the #43 (tied) movie on the list, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon play musicians who foolishly witness the Valentine’s Day Massacre. Trying to hide out, they get into drag to join an all-female band traveling to sunny Miami »
- FSR Staff
Criterion Collection has added a list of films -- a mix of classics, indies and contemporaries -- that are scheduled for a May release. With the John Wayne and Montgomery western "Red River" as a special highlight, Criterion also revealed the following films that makeup their lineup (Descriptions provided by Criterion Collection). "Ace in the Hole" (1951) Director: Billy Wilder Billy Wilder’s "Ace in the Hole" is one of the most scathing indictments of American culture ever produced by a Hollywood filmmaker. Kirk Douglas ("Spartacus") gives the fiercest performance of his career as Chuck Tatum, an amoral newspaper reporter who washes up in dead-end Albuquerque, happens upon the scoop of a lifetime, and will do anything to keep getting the lurid headlines. Wilder’s follow-up to "Sunset Boulevard" is an even darker vision, a no-holds-barred exposé of the American media’s appetite for sensation that has gotten only more relevant with time. »
- Eric Eidelstein
Bright and early this morning they announced that Bette Midler will be performing at the Oscars for the first time. That's shocking to type since she's had so many great movie musical moments in her career and she's obviously been to the Oscars as a nominee or to present. But, alas, her material was generally not original* and thus unnominated in the one category that regularly prompts performances.
Though it seems highly likely that they'll have her as underscore songstress for the In Memoriam visuals (zzz. Love that segment but it's never about the singer so they're interchangeable... something you can't usually say for Bette Midler) It's more fun to fantasize about recreating one of her musical moments from a movie on the main stage. So... vote!
poll by twiigs.com
* A Shocking Memory
Yes, it's true. The classic "The Rose" from The Rose (1979), written by Amanda McBroom, was Not »
- NATHANIEL R
Criterion has announced their lineup of new releases for May 2015 and leading the way is Howard Hawks' Red River (5/27) starring John Wayne and Montgomery Clift. I've only seen Red River once and it was not an impressive transfer so I'm really looking forward to seeing what Criterion has done with this new 4K digital restoration of the original theatrical release version, plus a 2K restoration of the longer version, though the original is said to be Hawks' preferred cut. Additionally the release includes new interviews with Peter Bogdanovich, critic Molly Haskell and western scholar Lee Clark Mitchell and more. Get the full details here. The next release I'm most interested in is Stuart Cooper's 1975 film Overlord (5/13), which is getting a Blu-ray upgrade after being released on Criterion DVD back in 2007. The film apparently interweaves archival war footage and a fictional narrative as it follows one twenty-year-old's journey from »
- Brad Brevet
The Criterion Collection has announced two new titles and three Blu-ray upgrades set for release in May. Check out the new cover art along with a full list of extra features for each in the gallery viewer below! Debuting in the collection are both Howard Hawks and Arthur Rosson 1948 western classic Red River and Abbas Kiarostami's 2012 drama Like Someone in Love while HD upgrades of earlier Criterion releases include Billy Wilder's Ace in the Hole , Stuart Cooper's Overlord and Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (the only film left from the director that hasn't been issued in HD). Special features for the new releases are listed as follows: Red River - New 4K digital restoration of the rarely presented original theatrical release version, the »
Have you voted on the polls yet? I feel like you haven't voted on the polls yet. Supporting Actress and Supporting Actor, in particular, have been bereft of your attention. While you're there check out the new "how'd they get nominated?" analysis on both of those categories
Did "Katniss" help Jennifer Lawrence win a nomination for "Rosalyn" and how much did "Plunging Necklines" factor into each of the American Hustle nominations? The percentages are cooked up in my very own science oven. They're 100% accurate!
16 Days - Irene Sharaff's 16 nominations
18 Days - Meryl Streep's 18th nomination
19 Days - Julianne Moore's awards history
20 Days - Flashback '93 Oscars: Age of Innocence, Farewell My Concubine, The Piano
21 Days - What's your favorite Billy Wilder? »
- NATHANIEL R
Plot isn't what matters to Wes Anderson – his movies care more about lush palettes and playfulness. Seitz's collection of essays and interviews with the director reveals a rare film-maker who isn't afraid to take risks
In Wes Anderson's 2001 film The Royal Tenenbaums, an insensitive father fails to appreciate his daughter's childhood attempt at writing and staging a play. There's no narrative, he complains, and as for characters, "What characters? It's a bunch of little kids dressed up in animal costumes." You might be tempted to dismiss Anderson's films in similar terms: the stories don't always add up to much, and while we know we're watching grownups (played by major Hollywood actors such as Bill Murray, Anjelica Huston and Ralph Fiennes), they often behave more like children dressed in their parents' clothes.
This quality of Anderson's cinema is captured in Max Dalton's paintings for a lavishly illustrated recent book, »
- Jonathan Romney
The Austin Film Society's Godard Vs. Truffaut series continues on this weekend with a 35mm print of Godard's A Woman Is A Woman tonight and Sunday afternoon at the Marchesa. There's also an austin premiere on tap Sunday afternoon for The Big Shootout with director Mike Looney, Edith Royal and members of the 1969 Ut football team in attendance. The Q&A will be moderated by Klbj's Ed Clements.
On Monday night, you can head back over to the Marchesa for "An Austinite's Guide To The 2014 SXSW Film Festival." It will feature a Q&A with festival programmers Janet Pierson, Jarod Neece and Claudette Godfrey as well as a happy hour and a filmmakers' chat about how to make the most of the fest. On Wednesday, Richard Linklater will be hanging out with a 35mm print of Sam Fuller's White Dog and Essential Cinema is bringing you a newly restored »
- Matt Shiverdecker
When I was four years old, my mother combed my untidy brown hair into sixteen imperfect ringlets every morning. By lunchtime, it was always tangled beyond even a mother’s ability to repair. It is hard today to understand or to exaggerate the hold Shirley Temple had over children growing up in the 1930s and 1940s. And her hold over their parents. I was, luckily, too young to be given her name, but my schools were filled with somewhat older girls named Shirley.I have published more than two dozen obituaries in the New York Times, including front page obits of movie titans Paul Newman and Billy Wilder. Yet what has happened in the last two days is light years beyond the response to any other obit. Friends and strangers -- from the Schulman boys, who decided that the oldest brother would be the one to marry Shirley Temple because »
- Aljean Harmetz
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