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The Village Voice has polled of 85 critics who've voted in thirteen categories. Once again, Richard Linklater and Boyhood come out on top. Meantime, the Library of Congress has announced its annual selection of 25 films to be named to the National Film Registry. Among the titles slated for preservation: James Benning's 13 Lakes, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen's The Big Lebowski, John Hughes's Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Busby Berkeley's The Gang’s All Here, André de Toth's House of Wax, Arthur Penn's Little Big Man, Howard Hawks's Rio Bravo, Roman Polanski's Rosemary’s Baby, Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan and Mel Stuart's Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. » - David Hudson »
Each year, the Library of Congress selects 25 films to be named to the National Film Registry, a proclamation of commitment to preserving the chosen pictures for all time. They can be big studio pictures or experimental short films, goofball comedies or poetic meditations on life. The National Film Registery "showcases the extraordinary diversity of America’s film heritage and the disparate strands making it so vibrant" and by preserving the films, the Library of Congress hopes to "a crucial element of American creativity, culture and history.” This year’s selections span the period 1913 to 2004 and include a number of films you’re familiar with. Unless you’ve never heard of "Saving Private Ryan," "The Big Lebowski," “Rosemary’s Baby” or "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." Highlights from the list include the aforementioned film, Arthur Penn’s Western "Little Big Man," John Lasseter’s 1986 animated film, “Luxo Jr.," 1953’s “House of Wax, »
- Matt Patches
Spanning the years 1913-2004, the 25 films to be added to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry for 2014 include Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan, Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby, Arthur Penn’s Little Big Man, John Hughes’ Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and the Coen brothers’ The Big Lebowski. The annual selection helps to ensure that the movies will be preserved for all time. This year’s list brings the number of films in the registry to 650.
Also on the list are John Lasseter’s 1986 animated film, Luxo Jr; the original Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory with Gene Wilder; and Howard Hawks’ classic 1959 Western Rio Bravo. Documentaries and silent films also make up part of the selection which represents titles that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant; they must also each be at least 10 years old. Check out the rundown of all 25 movies below:
2014 National Film Registry »
- Nancy Tartaglione
“The Big Lebowski,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Saving Private Ryan” and “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” are among the 25 films saluted by the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in the organization’s annual selection of notable works.
The org says selection will help ensure preservation of these films. This year’s choices bring the registry total to 650, a small fraction of the Library’s vast collection of 1.3 million items. As always, the choices are eclectic, including Hollywood films, indies, documentaries, silent movies and student films.
“The National Film Registry showcases the extraordinary diversity of America’s film heritage and the disparate strands making it so vibrant,” said the Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “By preserving these films, we protect a crucial element of American creativity, culture and history.”
Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, each year the Librarian »
- Tim Gray
While there are several possible good reasons to remake the Depression-set musical “Annie” in 2014, none of them seem to have informed Will Gluck’s overblown yet undernourished treatment. More of a facelift than an update, the pic dusts off some old songs, adds a few desultory stabs at new ones, and stuffs the frame with shiny upscale gadgets that scream “modern.” Featuring a multiracial all-star cast with few pretensions to dancing expertise, the film replaces choreography with metronomic editing, while one-note overstatement drowns out character development. Even without the Sony hacking scandal that caused it to leak online early, “Annie” would seem headed for a lackluster Christmas bow.
The film begins promisingly with a pre-credits sequence wherein Gluck acknowledges the obvious parallel between the Great Depression and the currently widening rich/poor divide: A schoolroom show-and-tell produces a standard-issue, red-haired “Annie A,” only to replace her with an afro’d “Annie B” (Quvenzhane Wallis, »
- Ronnie Scheib
The first time I saw anything from a Godard film, I hated it.
My first encounter with his work was perhaps appropriately abrupt and fragmentary. I was in my first year as a Film Studies major, in an introductory class about the French New Wave. Having grown up on a steady diet of Hollywood classics, I was hoping this would be an exciting new discovery. Mid-lecture, the professor showed a clip from the near the end of Tout va bien, his 1972 film co-directed with Jean-Pierre Gorin. The scene was the famous ten-minute-long tracking shot in which the camera moves laterally along a supermarket’s checkout aisles as student demonstrators wreak havoc. Going in, the professor warned us that we would likely find the scene annoying and overlong, and that that was “the point.”
I watched. I waited for enlightenment.
I was unimpressed.
I did not get it, but I was a quiet, »
- Mallory Andrews
And the holidays have officially arrived! Romeo Beckham's Burberry 2014 Festive commercial, From London with Love, dropped today, complete with all the polished charm that accompany the brand's ads. And this holiday season, it's all about blending a little Singin' in the Rain flare and old school Hollywood allure. The short flick is filled with Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire-esque choreography, with a troupe of trench-coat clad models twirling about the theatrical scene. And in the midst of it all, Romeo gallivants through the all the singin' and dancin', carrying a glitter-filled Burberry box. In a scene straight from the Busby Berkeley playbook, fantastically coordinated dance »
Ok Go have been producing thought-provoking and exceptionally clever videos to accompany their quirky pop-rock for nearly a decade now. Not sure they even have any competition when it comes to how creative they integrate their music into a video narrative, too. This latest video for their latest video single "I Won't Let You Down" from their latest long player Hungry Ghosts puts Busby Berkeley's choreography to shame. Watch it all the way through to truly appreciate the aerial perspective. Well played, lads!
★★★★★When we think of the American musical, our collective consciousness will immediately race to Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, but choreographer turned director Busby Berkeley is the flamboyant, wildcard auteur of the genre. After organising military parades as an army officer in the First World War, he made his name as the creator of some of the most astonishing set pieces in cinema with an unrivalled trio of 1933 pre-Code musicals; The Gold Diggers of 1933, Footlight Parade and 42nd Bacon Street, Berkeley managed to turn the chorus line into an art form. The sequences were sublime but they also tapped into the social issues of the day, from the men lost to war to the depths of The Great Depression.
- CineVue UK
Before R-ratings, anti-heroes and gratuitous violence and nudity in mainstream Hollywood movies, there was the Hays Code. As a form of self-policing the industry, virtually every movie released up until 1968 needed that stamp of approval if it wanted distribution. And while it helped produce all of Old Hollywood’s true classics for several decades, it often included ridiculous rulings like not being able to show or flush a toilet on screen, not allowing married couples to be shown sleeping in the same bad or always making sure criminals, even protagonists of the movie, got punished in the end.
But before the Hays Code was nothing, and it was a gloriously weird, scandalous time for the movies. Certain Hollywood films in the early ’30s as “talkies” were rapidly taking hold have since been labeled “Pre-Code” films that never received Hollywood’s stamp of approval.
Every Friday in September, »
- Brian Welk
Photo courtesy Debbie Reynolds Studios
Debbie Reynolds – actor, singer, dancer, author, champion for the preservation of the artifacts of film history and for the understanding and treatment of mental illness – has been named the 51st recipient of SAG-AFTRA’s highest honor: the SAG Life Achievement Award for career achievement and humanitarian accomplishment.
Given annually to an actor who fosters the “finest ideals of the acting profession,” the union’s highest accolade will be presented to the Oscar, Emmy and Tony-nominated Reynolds at the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, which will be simulcast live on TNT and TBS on Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015 at 8 p.m. (Et), 7 p.m. (Ct), 6 p.m. (Mt) and 5 p.m. (Pt).
SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard praised Reynolds’ artistry over her very accomplished career, saying, “I’m thrilled that SAG-AFTRA is presenting our Life Achievement Award to Debbie Reynolds. She is a tremendously talented »
- Michelle McCue
Dancing is a kind of performance that lends itself incredibly well to cinema. Both art forms are heavily steeped in movement, and a film allows the viewer to get closer to a dancer than they ever could in reality, to study and appreciate the remarkable physical capabilities possessed by any good dancer. In recent years, dancing has flourished in nonfiction media. Besides the numerous documentaries on the subject, there are multiple popular reality television shows involving dance competitions, such as So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars. But in fiction film, dance struggles. We’re far from the heyday of Busby Berkeley musicals and the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers films. There are a few exceptions to this, however, the most notable being the Step Up series. Each film in this franchise has proved financially successful, and Step Up: All In, the fifth installment, is poised to repeat that pattern when it »
After Kelly Reilly came three Calvary men - John Michael McDonagh, Brendan Gleeson and Chris O'Dowd. With McDonagh, I voyage through his many literary references, from Samuel Beckett to Herman Melville, from Albert Camus to James Joyce, and from Philip K. Dick to David Gates' Jernigan. James Cagney's Shanghai Lil with Busby Berkeley's choreography in Footlight Parade reveals Angels With Dirty Faces as another influence.
Peggy Siegal used her magic to snare O'Dowd, who is starring with James Franco on Broadway in John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men with Leighton Meester and Jim Norton, directed by Anna D. Shapiro. Joyce Carol Oates, who sat next to me during lunch, elegantly sums up Calvary.
- Anne-Katrin Titze
Written by Sandy Wilson
Directed and adapted for the screen by Ken Russell
Ken Russell pictures have a way of sneaking up on you. Many a young and not-so-young filmgoers have experienced a kind of shocked dry heave of wonderment after their first, or even seventh, Ken Russell experience. I recall a young man for whom the joy of first seeing The Devils nearly induced an anxiety attack. Talking in tongues is not altogether unlikely, either.
A maximalist by trade, and always as earnest as he is plain hyper and mocking, Russell’s musicals hold a special, especially cult-worthy place. The Boy Friend, his first musical, stands out as a novel, landmark take on musical adaptations. It stirred Roger Ebert’s more nearsighted of woeful jabs, when he called the camera work “joyless” and compared the film’s star, Twiggy, to “a Hummel figurine titled ‘Malnutrition. »
Eureka Entertainment has announced today that Busby Berkeley's 1943 technicolor musical comedy The Gang's All Here will be joining the Masters of Cinema series in a brand new Blu-ray edition on 15 September. I must confess to being something of a Berkeley novice and know precious little about his films other than their famous intricately choreographed dance numbers, which became something of a calling card for the filmmaker. I know Edgar Wright is a fan, as is Spielberg judging by the opening of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, so this new release seems the perfect opportunity to dive into the director's canon.The Blu-ray boasts a new & exclusive full-length audio commentary with critics Glenn Kenny and Farran Smith Nehme and film historian Ed Hulse,...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
You may die from the cuteness. From the YouTube page:
Some time ago, I asked Blake McCarty if he wanted to collaborate on a short film inspired by my “granddaughter” Viv. Viv was adopted at infancy by our friends Michael and Calvin, and because there were no grandparents in her life, she in turn adopted me and my partner as “The Gramps”.
Together, Blake and I co-wrote the screenplay, and asked Michael Biello and Dan Martin if we could use their song “Come Closer” from the musical “The Cousins Grimm” as part of the story. The result is a seven-minute musical short mixing live action and stop motion animation. The story focuses on a 7-year-old girl (coincidentally named Viv) who invents a fairy tale about how her Dads met as a way to entertain her new friend, Henry.
By the end of Viv’s imaginative tale – replete with Busby Berkeley »
- Ed Kennedy
At 87, Mel Brooks has lost none of his edge.
The legendary comic provocateur has phoned me from his Los Angeles office to promote the just-released 40th anniversary Blu-ray of his magnum opus, "Blazing Saddles," but before he submits to an interview, he quizzes me about Moviefone's unique pageviews and other Web traffic statistics, about which he knows more than I do. Having concluded that Moviefone is well-trafficked enough for him to talk to, he says, "Ask away, Susman!"
"Blazing Saddles," which made serious satirical points about racism while also making cinema safe for fart jokes, is certainly one of the most influential comedies ever made. Brooks believes it's the funniest film of all time (followed closely by his own "Young Frankenstein"), and he's still upset with the American Film Institute for disagreeing with him. He's making his case for the film with the Blu-ray (which contains a new making-of documentary, »
- Gary Susman
Often called “The Prince of Darkness” for his tendency to artfully cloak onscreen characters in ominous shadows, cinematographer Gordon Willis was the closest thing Hollywood had to a Rembrandt. His playful visual style, daring use of chiaroscuro, and seemingly effortless ability to conjure a mood of unsettling paranoia made him the ideal Director of Photography for the 1970s — a glorious filmmaking decade when Technicolor artifice was swept aside for New Hollywood naturalism.
- Chris Nashawaty
Ryan Gosling will not appear in “Lost River,” his debut as a writer/director, so he's sent Matt Smith as his emissary to recruit ab-loving fangirls. There's not a lot to be taken, plot-wise, from the first teaser for the movie, which premieres at Cannes, but the one minute clip does give several hints about the film's direction. Also read: Ryan Gosling to Produce, Possibly Star in Busby Berkeley Movie for Warner Bros. Sure, Gosling is known for quirky films like “Lars and the Real Girl” and romances like “The Notebook” and action stuff like “Drive,” but if anything, “Lost River” looks — and. »
- Jordan Zakarin
Written and directed by Jacques Demy
Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Busby Berkeley, Vincente Minnelli, Arthur Freed: names synonymous with the movie musical. Missing from this standard list is a key contributor to the form, the French director Jacques Demy. Perhaps part of the reason for his widespread unfamiliarity, even to those who adore the genre, is that Demy only directed a handful of musicals in his entire career. It’s also likely that the musical is simply thought of as an American type of movie, and therefore, “foreign” practitioners don’t quite warrant similar attention. In either case, Demy did amplify the genre with at least two major works, one of them the recipient of the Palme d’Or at the 1964 Cannes Film Festival. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, which also received four Academy Award nominations (at least some American love there), is not just an exceptional musical, »
- Jeremy Carr
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