7 items from 2014
As we spend a month looking at the great Stanley Kubrick, we can also look at the filmmakers who were clearly influenced by Kubrick. “Kubrickian” films tend to exercise incredible control of the camera, are extremely ambitious, tend to deal with much weightier themes, and always maintain a sense of mystery, like a there’s an invisible fog always hovering over the film. This list could be sharply focused on about five directors working today but, though a number of these filmmakers appear in this list of 40, we’re spreading the wealth a bit. Let’s get to it.
40. Watchmen (2009)
Directed by Zack Snyder
What makes it Kubrickian? It’s surprisingly cold and detail-oriented, unlike most of Zack Snyder’s other work (well, detail-oriented in a positive way). Watchmen is based on the acclaimed graphic novel of the same name by David Gibbons and Alan Moore, about a desolate alternative »
- Joshua Gaul
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
As if his British films weren’t evidence enough of his talent, Alfred Hitchcock made quite the impression when he came to Hollywood in 1940. His first picture in the states, Rebecca, was nominated for Best Picture at the 1941 Academy Awards. So was his second, Foreign Correspondent, also released in 1940. While Rebecca would ultimately win, many – then and now – consider the achievement as belonging more to producer David O. Selznick than to the director. This is not without some justification. Though Rebecca bears more than a few notably Hitchcockian touches, between the two features, Foreign Correspondent looks and feels more appropriately like Hitchcock’s previous and later works. The Criterion Collection, recently very kind to Hitchcock on Blu-ray, now gives this latter feature a suitably well-rounded treatment, with a documentary on the film’s visual effects, an »
- Jeremy Carr
Criterion adds another illustrious Alfred Hitchcock title to the collection this month with Foreign Correspondent, which followed hot on the heels of Rebecca in 1940, the beginning of the director’s American period. Though not a perfect film, it does register as one of his most unfairly overlooked films, even as it shows various signs of outside tampering as a film belonging very much to the period in which it was made. Though suffering from the effect of too many cooks in the writing kitchen, it’s a title as filled with plot twists as it is wit, as well as Hitchcock’s signature elaborate set pieces.
Opening with a dedication to the bravery of those foreign correspondents and others that risk their lives in war time, we enter into the realm of a Us newsroom where frustration is running high at the lack of actual coverage worthy news filtering in from the correspondents. »
- Nicholas Bell
Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent is exactly the kind of film that benefits from a Criterion Collection release. I don't consider this to be one of Hitch's "best", but at the same time it's got the elements that make his films fascinating, and, most importantly, entertaining. And Criterion always does a great job bringing a focus to some of Hitchcock's less discussed gems. Add to that, Foreign Correspondent carries an additional weight as a result of its place in history as a propaganda film, emphasized most in Joel McCrea's speech at the end of the film amid the bombing of London, warning those back in the U.S. just what exactly Germany was up to. The scene was added after filming had already wrapped, just over a month before the film would actually hit theaters. Following Rebecca, Foreign Correspondent was Hitchcock's second American feature. Both would be nominated for »
- Brad Brevet
Cinema history has a few great double-up years: 12-month periods in which a classic filmmaker had not one but two great films. Mel Brooks may be the most notorious, releasing two of the best comedies of all time in 1974 (“Blazing Saddles” & “Young Frankenstein”) and Steven Spielberg has arguably done it a few times, inarguably in 1993 (“Jurassic Park” & “Schindler’s List”) and he would double-up again in 2002 (“Minority Report” & “Catch Me If You Can”) and 2011 (“Tintin” & “War Horse”).
One of the most-often forgotten double-up years was Alfred Hitchcock’s first year as an American filmmaker — 1940, which saw the premiere of “Rebecca” in April and “Foreign Correspondent” in August. The former has been a Criterion inductee for years and the latter joins the most important club in Blu-ray/DVD history this week in a finely-transferred and wonderfully accompanied release.
“Rebecca” has the higher historical pedigree, largely because it’s less dry »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
Happy birthday to the glamorous Kim Novak, who is 81 today. It’s impossible to think of Novak without remembering her shock blonde super-coif in Vertigo (not to mention the way she werrrrrked Edith Head‘s form-sucking pencil skirts), and thus, it’s impossible to think of Novak without remembering the great female roles in Hitchcock movies. Here are my picks for the 10 best.
This is sort of a gonzo first pick, but give it up: The Lady Vanishes rules and Dame May Whitty, with all her grandmotherly charms, is just a subversive ol’ hoot as the bad-ass spy who sets up the intrigue of the story. This is the kind of role Margaret Rutherford would win an Oscar for. You underestimate the depth of how much she kicks ass.
Is it wild? Oh, yes. Is it sometimes a little embarrassing? »
- Louis Virtel
Robert Osborne is used to interviewing screen legends, but now he knows how it feels to sit in the other chair.
As Turner Classic Movies begins its 20th-anniversary year, its principal host -- who was an actor before he became a Hollywood columnist and historian -- recounts how his career began and progressed in a new "Private Screenings" special at 8 p.m. Et/5 Pt Monday (Jan. 6). Alec Baldwin, who hosted the Saturday-night TCM film series "The Essentials" with Osborne from 2009 to 2011, asks the questions.
"It never occurred to me," the ever-genial Osborne tells Zap2it of becoming a "Private Screenings" guest. "Way back, Dwayne Hickman [the former star of TV's 'The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis'] said, 'You know, you come into everybody's living room every night, and they don't know you. They like you, but they don't know much about you. Sometime, you should do a documentary about yourself.'
"I think that was even before we had a 'Private Screenings' franchise, »
7 items from 2014
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