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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
Gotham’s Gamechanger Films has already proved it has game. Launched in August 2013, the equity financing fund for female-helmed fiction features came out of the gate with Martha Stephens’ co-directorial debut, “Land Ho!” The Iceland-set road comedy premiered at Sundance in 2014. Picked up by Sony Pictures Classics, it went on to win the Film Independent John Cassavetes Award. And at the recent SXSW, Gamechanger-backed “An Invitation,” above, from Karyn Kusama and “Fresno” from Jamie Babbit premiered. Drafthouse Films just picked up “Invitation.”
Not bad for the first round of funding from 36 equity partners that underwrote a five-film slate.
According to Gamechanger president Mynette Louie: “Our primary challenge is that when the industry and filmmakers hear ‘film fund for women,’ they assume that we make ‘chick flicks’ — not that there’s anything wrong with those, in spite of what most film critics (80% of whom are men) think. There are a »
- Thelma Adams
The distributors are planning to release the film theatrically and will mount an awards push for the two stars.
“James White” centers on a hard-partying young man struggling to take care of his mother after her cancer returns. Arthouse company Memento Films acquired international sales rights to the picture earlier this month.
The film marks the directorial debut of “Martha Marcy May Marlene” producer Josh Mond. It is the latest feature film from Borderline Films, a New York City-based production company formed in 2003 by Tisch film school alums Mond, Antonio Campos and Sean Durkin. »
- Brent Lang
How 'Grey Gardens' Was Restored To its Squalid Glory (And Why You Need To See It) Christmas comes but once a year...but the Criterion Collection adds new titles all the time, which is kind of like Christmas for film lovers. All films are being released on Blu-ray and DVD. See below for the latest additions, synopses courtesy of Criterion, though you'll have to wait until summer to buy them. "The Killers" (1946 and 1964) 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 violent for home audiences and released theatrically instead. »
- Elizabeth Logan
CopAt the ripe age of twenty-six—the two were born within days of each other in 1928—James B. Harris and Stanley Kubrick formed Harris-Kubrick Productions. With Kubrick leading the charge behind the camera and Harris acting as the right-hand-man producer, the duo completed three major critical successes: The Killing (1956), Paths of Glory (1957), and Lolita (1962). But where Kubrick’s subsequent work has achieved a supreme, hall-of-fame stature, Harris’s own directorial career—consisting of five excellent movies made across a four-decade span—remains, despite the valiant effort of a few notable English-language critics (Michael Atkinson, Jonathan Rosenbaum), on the relative sidelines. The latest attempt to boost Harris’s reputation: BAMcinématek’s week-long retrospective of Harris’s producing and directing output, selected by “Overdue” co-programmers Nick Pinkerton and Nicolas Rapold.Harris and Kubrick stopped working together amidst a pre-production disagreement during the making of what would become Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb »
- Danny King
Spring in New York comes alive with Haute Couture on Film featuring the work of Hubert de Givenchy in Stanley Donen's Funny Face, starring Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire and Kay Thompson, presented by Eye For Film's Anne-Katrin Titze on April 7.
See creations by Pierre Cardin in Jacques Demy's Bay Of Angels (La Baie Des Anges) with Jeanne Moreau, Claude Mann, Paul Guers and Henri Nassiet. Emanuel Ungaro made the clothes for Gena Rowlands in John Cassavetes' Gloria with Julie Carmen and Buck Henry. Coco Chanel in Jean Renoir's The Rules Of The Game (La Règle Du Jeu) dressed Nora Gregor, Paulette Dubost, Mila Parély and Odette Talazac. Be dazzled by Christian Dior in Jean Negulesco's How To Marry A Millionaire with Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable, and Lauren Bacall. Yves Saint Laurent's »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
My First R-rated Movie Or…
How I Became The 007 Of Covert Forbidden Film Viewing
By Alex Simon
For those of us who grew up in the suburbs in the pre-home video, pre-cable TV and pre-Netflix coupons 1970s and early ‘80s, there were few dangerous pleasures as heady as sneaking into an R-rated movie at the local multiplex. The multiplex cinema was a ‘70s phenomenon that made regulating children’s viewing habits infinitely more difficult than the old days of stand-alone, single screen theaters. Ironically, the new freedom that filmmakers enjoyed with the advent of the MPAA rating system in late 1968 was almost in perfect synch with the rise of multi-screen cinemas. Some things do happen for a reason.
You never forget your first...
My first R-rated film was during Thanksgiving of 1976. We were visiting my dad’s family in Birmingham, Alabama and the men adjourned after dinner to go see Two Minute Warning, »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
In this exclusive clip from Dave Boyle’s Man From Reno, (Eleven Arts, March 27th) Pepe Serna’s character of Sheriff Paul Del Moral is to say the least, implicated and deeply submerged in a swerving tale of romance and mystery. Nominated for the Indie Spirits’ John Cassavetes Award, Boyle’s fifth feature also stars Ayako Fujitani and Kazuki Kitamura. Here are the screening dates, and clip below.
- Eric Lavallee
An especially fraught Thanksgiving holiday brings a woman’s troubled, booze-soaked history into blistering yet compassionate focus in “Krisha,” an intimate and unnerving character study that marks a ferociously impressive feature debut for 26-year-old multihyphenate Trey Edward Shults. The winner of the grand jury award for narrative features at SXSW (as well as an elaboration of Shults’ prize-winning 2014 short of the same title), this Kickstarter-funded project reveals an elusive, formally sophisticated storytelling approach that neatly sidesteps the usual addiction/dysfunction cliches, its stylistic experimentation anchored by a subtly wounding performance from Krisha Fairchild in the eponymous lead role. More festival berths await, and while commercial prospects look decidedly modest, critical support should spur select arthouse bookings and discerning-viewer interest ahead of VOD play.
- Justin Chang
One of the most anticipated “midnight” movies at this year’s SXSW (South by Southwest) festival, is director Mickey Keating’s Pod, the follow-up to Keating’s Very entertaining 2013 low-budget yet high on thrills film Ritual. While Ritual was a scary and tense film about two people being stalked by a cult, Pod deals with very different subjects and shows Keating’s trend of never making the same kind of films twice. A true cinephile, Keating is a director to look out for, and we were lucky enough to have a chat with the talented filmmaker regarding Pod, Ritual and his next two films, Darling and Carnage Park. Read on!
How’s it going, Mickey?
Hey, how’s it going, man?
I am doing fine, just reading about Harrison Ford crashing his plane into a golf course, what’s up with that?
I know dude, how weird is that? He’s still tickin though, »
- Jerry Smith
Abderrahmane Sissako considering historical novel, which captures adventures of a 15th century Arab diplomat, writer and explorer.
Mauritanian filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako is mulling an adaptation of Lebanese writer Amin Maalouf’s Leo the African, a historical novel based on real-life 15th century Muslim diplomat and explorer Hasan al-Wazzan.
It is one of two projects being considered by Sissako, whose most recent film Timbuktu was Oscar-nominated and won prizes at Cannes 2014.
“I was already working on a project before Timbuktu about the relationship between China and Africa and I’ve also had a proposition to adapt Amin Maalouf’s Leo the African (Léon, l’Africain), which I’m very interested in,” the director told Screen on the fringes of the Doha Film Institute’s Qumra event this week.
Maalouf’s 1986 novel is inspired by 15th century figure al-Wazzan, a Muslim forced to flee his Spanish birthplace of Granada as a child during the inquisition.
He went on »
I love the movies, really, truly I do, I love the movies. Cinema, motion pictures, movies, film, whatever you want to label this peculiar art form that we all cherish here at We Are Movie Geeks, I have loved it ever since the first time I saw a movie on television, in a theater or at a drive-in. I wish I could recall the first movie I ever saw and what the medium was in which I saw it.
One of my earliest memories was the yearly showing of Wizard of Oz on television and my delight at seeing Judy Garland in a different movie, Pigskin Parade, and realizing that actors made a living by appearing in more than one movie or television series.
- Sam Moffitt
We all would like to believe that we have that someone special to look up to for guidance and direction. From time to time we practice the art of worship for the mentor that appears larger than life to us. Whether our designated mentors that we choose to follow are inspirational or insidious it does not matter because that yearning to follow in their footsteps are so great that we blindly give anything to replicate that original blueprint.
Maybe if one dreams of being a famous astronaut you designate Neii Armstrong or John Glenn as your mentoring heroes? Perhaps your foray into film criticism was ignited by Judith Crist, Vincent Canby or Siskel & Ebert? How about emulating your favorite actor or singer and following their paths to success?
In Follow My Lead: Top Ten Mentors in the Movies we will look at some movie characters that served as mentors to »
- Frank Ochieng
First a quick recap... Just over 3 years ago, Nick Cassavetes (son of indie film trailblazer John Cassavetes) signed on to direct a biopic on the life of notorious 1980's drug dealer Rick Ross (not the rapper). The film was to, reportedly, explore Ross's ingenious and complex scheme of the crack cocaine trade in Los Angeles during the early 80's - the height of his success - moving 100 kilograms of cocaine daily, which was distributed across the country - product that he claims was supplied by Nicaraguan rebels/Contras. "My brother was a mercenary. He worked in Central America training the Contras, so in a way the story is personal to »
- Tambay A. Obenson
First a quick recap... Just over 3 years ago, Nick Cassavetes (son of indie film trailblazer John Cassavetes) signed on to direct a biopic on the life of notorious 1980's drug dealer Rick Ross (not the rapper). The film was to, reportedly, explore Ross's ingenious and complex scheme of the crack cocaine trade in Los Angeles during the early 80's - the height of his success - moving 100 kilograms of cocaine daily, which was distributed across the country - product that he claims was supplied by Nicaraguan rebels/Contras. "My brother was a mercenary. He worked in Central America training the Contras, so in a way the story is personal to me... The fact that our government may have been complicit in destroying an entire community of people makes the story personal for everyone," Cassavetes said at the time, adding, "if I had to compare this movie to another that's been »
- Tambay A. Obenson
And the Independent Spirit Awards have revealed the winners and it's looking a lot like the Academy Awards! "Birdman" beat "Boyhood" for the Best Feature trophy but Richard Linklater took away the Best Director award from Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu.
Is this a sign of what's going to happen at the Oscars tonight?
2015 Film Independent Spirit Award Winners (Highlighted) And Nominees
(Award given to the Producer. Executive Producers are not awarded.)
Winner: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Winner: Richard Linklater
1-20 of 57 items from 2015 « Prev | Next »
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