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Director Marcus Nispel might be primarily known for helming 2003’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and 2009’s Friday The 13th remakes, as well as being in my opinion, one of the best music video directors of all time, but this week sees the release of Exeter, a film that has went through three years of shuffled release dates and name changes. Originally titled Backmask, Exeter is a breath of fresh air when it comes to the exorcism subgenre, a film that knows what its audience is, and revels in that self aware approach.
Nispel was nice enough to chat with us for a bit, regarding the long journey of Exeter and its do it yourself approach, the difference between a film like this and a big studio reboot, and…Charles Manson? Read on for one entertaining conversation with one of the nicest filmmakers working today, and catch Exeter when it hits »
- Jerry Smith
“We’Re Gonna Kill The Swede”
The Criterion Collection gave us the DVD versions of these two excellent crime thrillers twelve years ago. The company has now seen fit to upgrade the release to Blu-ray.
Based loosely on a short story by Ernest Hemingway, both versions of The Killers begin with the author’s premise and then take off from there in very different directions. It’s interesting to see how the respective screenwriters adapted the story and then created two disparate feature-length tales out of it. In Hemingway’s piece, two hit men arrive in a small town looking for “the Swede.” They terrorize the owner, cook, and a customer in a diner in an attempt to find the guy. After the killers leave in frustration, the customer runs to the Swede’s boarding house and finds him in bed with his clothes on. He warns the Swede about the men, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
★★★☆☆ What could have easily been a glib provocation turns out to be rigorous examination of masculinity in crisis in the hands of Swedish director Ruben Östlund. Force Majeure (2014) tests the limits (or troughs) of masculinity in the post-liberal age, charting the effects of decades of progression and asks: what is left of the hunter-gatherer in 2015? It's a fascinating inverse of the traditional narrative of the unreconstructed male ego that is so common in cinema - pictures like John Cassavetes' Husbands (1970) or Ted Kotcheff's Wake in Fright (1971) - but what ultimately fascinates is that both strands end up in the same place - cowardice.
- CineVue UK
With Carol Reed's The Third Man (1949) now screening in New York, London and other cities, the Independent has posted Martin Scorsese's thoughts on the classic—and on Reed, "a wonderful film artist." At Hyperallergic, John Yau writes about collages by John Ashbery and Guy Maddin. Curator Ed Halter considers the films of William Klein. Calum Marsh previews the Vittorio De Sica retrospective in Toronto. This week, London's Close-Up will re-open with a series of six films by John Cassavetes. And in the London Review of Books, Michael Wood writes about Bob Hoskins in John Mackenzie's The Long Good Friday. » - David Hudson »
Rushes collects news, articles, images, videos and more for a weekly roundup of essential items from the world of film.Above, the trailer for Denis Villeneuve's thriller Sicario, which premiered in competition in Cannes.Cinema Scope #63 is about to hit newstands, but a lot of it can be read online: Mark Peranson on Cannes and Miguel Gomes, Adam Cook talks with Corneliu Porumboiu, Jordan Cronk on The Assassin, Chuck Stephens on Gregory Markopoulous, Christoph Huber on Mad Max: Fury Road, and more.Author William Gibson recounts his encounters with Chris Marker's La Jetée.James Horner, the composer of scores for such Hollywood films as 48 Hrs, Aliens, and Titanic, has died at the age of 61.Federic Babina has made a series of "Archidirector" illustrations, imagining houses designed in the style of filmmakers like David Lynch and Stanley Kubrick.Sight & Sound has exclusive images from the production of Ben Rivers' new movie, »
Written by Ales Kot
Art by Will Tempest
Published by Image Comics
Material #2 is a non-traditional comic that transcends genre boundaries while staying in the rhythm of a nine panel grid, thanks to artist Will Tempest. It tells four separate stories and weaves them together through a shared theme. The four plots feature a college professor struggling with the negative effects of capitalism on society, a former Guantanamo prisoner with Ptsd, a young African-American man who was illegally detained after protesting police violence, and an actress trying to make a comeback with the help of a director, who is a modern mash up of filmmakers John Cassavetes and Jean Luc Godard . At this point, the character’s plot threads are still far apart, but writer Ales Kot uses Soren Kierkegaard’s idea of the “leap of faith” to connect them together. As sort of sub-ideas, Kot also looks at »
- Logan Dalton
Los Angeles' Bendix Building. Photo by Jordan Cronk.The bats have left the bell towerThe victims have been bled Red velvet lines the black boxBela Lugosi's dead —BauhausBela-Bonkers Brit Bloke Brazenly Boosts Bendix-Building Black Bandana!In the annals of Los Angeles crime, it was hardly an episode to titillate James Ellroy. Was it even really a crime? I was on the short stairwell that connects the 11th—the top—floor of the Bendix Building, a Garment District block on the corner of Maple St and 12th St, when I spotted the square of white-patterned black cotton. Into my pocket it rapidly went, compensation for the fact that my quest for rooftop access had been stymied. An orange plastic sign across the door up ahead, warning (bluffing?) of alarms that would ring out if opened, dissuaded further progress. I wasn't too disheartened—my unplanned visit to the Bendix Building had yielded sufficient delights. »
- Neil Young
Sabzian has posted "Toward a Social Cinema," a lecture Jean Vigo delivered in Paris almost exactly 85 years ago on the occasion of the second screening of his first film, À propos de Nice. Also in today's roundup of news and views: Ilpo Hirvonen on John Cassavetes's Love Streams, Phelim O'Neill's interview with Peter Strickland, new writing in the Los Angeles Review of Books on True Detective and on Star Trek and Mad Max, Trey Edward Shults (Krisha) on Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s The Tribe, David Thomson on Elizabeth Banks in Bill Pohlad's Love & Mercy, a discussion about Jonathan Demme's Stop Making Sense—and more. » - David Hudson »
Days Go By: Cassavetes Returns with Industry Commentary
It’s a tale as old as cinema itself, the dismissive and apathetic attitude towards ageing women in a youth obsessed, commodified film industry. And yet, director Zoe Cassavetes manages to make her own worthwhile entry with Day Out of Days, a project conceived, developed, and co-written with lead actress Alexia Landeau. As impossibly difficult as the landscape is for an actress, the female director suffers comparable obstacles in sustaining a lucrative filmmaking career, and it’s been eight years since Cassavetes made her stunningly eloquent debut with 2007’s Broken English, a film featuring Parker Posey in a career best turn. Whatever the cause of the hiatus (though she’s turned out several short films in the interim), this sophomore feature is a more than welcome return from a director with a particular knack for capturing characters at a difficult crossroads. A »
- Nicholas Bell
There's at least one name you might know in the Los Angeles Film Festival's Muse lineup: Zoe Cassavetes, daughter of John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands, who makes her first film since 2007 breakout "Broken English" with "Day Out of Days." The Hollywood-set comedy follows a middling actress, now 40, who struggles to navigate the cutthroat world of Tinseltown while trying to relaunch her career. When given an unusual chance to return to the spotlight, the film takes strange, humiliating turns. "Day Out of Days" premieres Sunday night at Laff. The cast includes Alexia Landeau, Eddie Izzard, Melanie Griffith, Cheyenne Jackson, Alessandro Nivola, Brooke Smith, Bellamy Young, Vincent Kartheiser, Matt Letscher and Josh Stamberg. It is currently seeking Us distribution. »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Ales Kot is one of the freshest, most cerebral voices in comics. He cut his teeth on DC Comics’ Suicide Squad with a run focused on the demented serial killer Jim Gordon Jr. before taking his talents to Marvel. Kot wrote two of their quirkiest titles, namely, Secret Avengers, which made supervillain Modok a full-fledged Avenger and had a good mix of references to Jorge Luis Borges and Nick Fury Jr. and Agent Coulson having existential crises in the middle of space. Speaking of space, he has also written Bucky Barnes, Winter Soldier, which followed the titular character’s trippy adventures on distant planets depicted in the style of Heavy Metal by artist Marco Rudy.
But Kot has also worked on creator owned comics as part of the Image Comics renaissance. Zero is an espionage series created by him and his Secret Avengers collaborator Michael Walsh and has found critical and commercial success. »
- Logan Dalton
Jazz music has long expressed its capacity to borrow from various, sometimes contradictory sources in order to create something which in every sense transcends the original elements. Since the earliest days of jazz as a musical form, it has been inspired by military and funeral marches; has stylishly interpreted popular songs; and even brought the classical intricacies of Wagner into the domain of swinging brasses and reeds. This multiculturalism and eclecticism of jazz likens it to cinema which, in turn, has transformed pop culture motifs into something close to the sublime and mixed ‘high’ and ‘low’ artistic gestures to remarkable effect.In the history of jazz, the evolution from ragtime or traditional tunes, to discovering the treasure trove of Broadway songs was fast and smooth. The latter influence was shared by cinema, as the history of film production quickly marched on. The emergence of ‘talkies’ in the United States meant rediscovering Broadway, »
- Ehsan Khoshbakht
Go figure the Safdie brothers, whose "Heaven Knows What" is a gritty 16mm-looking addiction drama with an in-your-face documentary attitude, love John Cassavetes. That 20th-century indie film pioneer's fingerprints are all over the Safdies' new film (which opens today). For "Heaven Knows What," they plucked nonprofessional actors off the street and put a camera in front of them. Cassavetes also took a punkishly impromptu approach to directing, throwing friends and family and non-actors in a tight space and letting them run rampant. Read More: How the Safdies Made "Heaven Knows What" with a Real-Life Ex-Junkie Cassavetes films are "film school for a hundred bucks, Josh writes. "We watch the master turn actors into people and vice versa, and hold the feeling above anything else." Which is exactly what he and his brother do in their must-see heroin romance. In their Criterion top 10, the New York-based Safdie brothers also tip »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Paul Risker chats with actor Stelio Savante…
The short film Once We Were Slaves to the upcoming docu-dramas American Genius and The Making of the Mob have seen actor Stelio Savante journey from the ancient world to the modern world. But time is not the only aspect to this journey as he steps into the shoes of two men who are world’s apart: pioneer of television and radio David Sarnoff and underworld mobster Joe Masseria. Speaking with Savante he explained: “Working is indeed a privilege and I’ve been blessed to do it for many years now, albeit in NY theatre for the first fifteen years.” Currently playing the festival circuit, Once We Were Slaves earned Savante the Marquee award for Best Actor at The American Movie Awards. His upcoming projects include: Windsor (Jury Award Winning Best Feature at The Garden State Film Festival), Selling Isobel that sees Savante »
- Gary Collinson
Running June 10-18 in downtown La, Film Independent's Los Angeles Film Festival 2015 program includes its second annual Muse lineup of films set in, inspired by or shot in Los Angeles. Below, we reveal an exclusive video series documenting the making of these films. The 2015 La Muse lineup consists of three documentaries and seven fiction films; five films are by first time directors. All the films are having their world premiere at the Festival. You may recognize one name: Zoe Cassavetes, daughter of John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands, who makes her first film since 2007 breakout "Broken English." “La is one of the most creative cities in the world –it’s where stars and rebels are born,” Roya Rastegar, Associate Director of Programming and Curated Content. “From Inglewood to Laurel Canyon, Venice Beach to Little Armenia, the films in the La Muse section feature the triumphs and tribulations of ballet dancers, Hollywood actresses and improv comedians, »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Sometimes the hardest thing in life is to recognize that a relationship has run its course — or more difficult still, that the match may not have been healthy in the first place. In her fourth film as director, French actress-turned-helmer Maiwenn is concerned first and foremost with her characters, who rank among the most vividly realized of any to have graced the screen in recent memory, but behind that is the pain and heartache of fighting for a love that’s ultimately damaging to both parties. Despite a well-deserved track record in Cannes (where her previous feature, “Polisse,” won the Jury Prize), Maiwenn remains under-appreciated by the critical community, but that will change after the world experiences “Mon roi,” a movie that may sound anti-romantic, but is just the opposite: boldly ultra-romantic, of the sort that has turned French pics (like “Jules and Jim” or “A Man and a Woman”) into worldwide hits before. »
- Peter Debruge
All week long our writers will debate: Which was the greatest film year of the past half century. Click here for a complete list of our essays. I was one of the first to select years for this particular exercise, which probably allowed me to select the correct year. The answer is, of course, 1974 and all other answers are wrong. No matter what your criteria happens to be, 1974 is going to come out on top. Again, this is not ambiguous or open to debate. We have to start, of course, with the best of the best. "Chinatown" is one of the greatest movies ever made. You can't structure a thriller better than Robert Towne and Roman Polanski do, nor shoot a Los Angeles movie better than John Alonzo has done. Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway give the best performances of their careers, which is no small achievement. If you ask »
- Daniel Fienberg
Morton Hock, who spent five decades in marketing and advertising for Broadway and the motion picture industry, died at his home in New York on April 25 after a long struggle with leukemia. He was 85.
He did a stint with Broadway impresario David Merrick in the late 1950s. During the 1960s, he was advertising manager at United Artists and later VP and global marketing director for Paramount, overseeing campaigns for films such as “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Barbarella,” “Goodbye, Columbus,” “Love Story” and the original “True Grit,” for which he orchestrated the Academy Awards campaign that resulted in the only Oscar for John Wayne.
Later, while working for the producer Ray Stark, Hock created the campaign for “The Way We Were,” and then worked with the independent filmmaker John Cassavetes on “A Woman Under the Influence,” for which Hock received a Clio Award.
Hock stayed in New York despite many attempts by »
- Carmel Dagan
The Boys in the Choir: Polk’s Antiquated Rendition of the Rural Gay Narrative
The blatant underrepresentation of black gay characters in film, whatever letter they’re placed into on the inclusive Lgbt spectrum, is simply not reason enough to appreciate the elemental contrivances of Patrik-Ian Polk’s Blackbird, an independent film rife with cliché in its euphemistic depiction of the rural queer experience that does little to elevate the film’s archaic nature.
The title has been inadvertently thrown into a higher caliber pop culture zeitgeist thanks to its distinction as Mo’Nique’s first post-Oscar role since her 2009 win for Best Supporting Actress in Precious. The significant media coverage concerning potential fallout between herself and director Lee Daniels should enhance the film’s shelf-life beyond the trappings of a niche market. Produced by the actress and her agent/husband Sidney Hicks, the project feels very much like the »
- Nicholas Bell
The Criterion Collection has announced its new release line-up for June with five new titles set for a Blu-ray release in June.
On July 7, it will release Robert Siodmak’s The Killers (1946) and Don Siegel’s The Killers (1964). On July 14, it will release Alain Resnais’ Hiroshima mon amour, Jan Troell’s Here’s Your Life, and Carroll Ballard’s The Black Stallion. And on July 21, it will release Stephen Frears’ My Beautiful Laundrette and Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom.
Ernest Hemingway’s simple but gripping short tale The Killers is a model of economical storytelling. Two directors adapted it into unforgettably virile features: Robert Siodmak, in a 1946 film that helped define the noir style and launch the acting careers of Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner; and Don Siegel, in a brutal 1964 version, starring Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, and John Cassavetes, that was intended for television but deemed too »
- Scott J. Davis
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