1-20 of 125 items from 2015 « Prev | Next »
Now that the busy winter fest schedule of Sundance, Rotterdam and the Berlinale has concluded, we’ve now got our eyes on the likes of True/False and SXSW. While, True/False does not specialize in attention grabbing world premieres, it does provide a late winter haven for cream of the crop non-fiction fare from all the previously mentioned fests and a selection of overlooked genre blending films presented in a down home setting. This year will mark my first trip to the Columbia, Missouri based fest, where I hope to catch a little of everything, from their hush-hush secret screenings, to selections from their Neither/Nor series, this year featuring chimeric Polish cinema of decades past, to a spotlight of Adam Curtis’s incisive oeuvre. But truth be told, it is SXSW, with its slew of high profile world premieres being announced, such as Alex Gibney’s Steve Jobs »
- Jordan M. Smith
On the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Simon Columb revisits Shoah…
A 9-hour film, Shoah is the definitive documentary on the holocaust. There is no effort to contextualise the “Final Solution” in World War II, and instead it focuses on reiterating the inhumanity. Akin to The Act of Killing, Claude Lanzmann takes us back to the train lines and locations. He even asks a survivor to sing the songs he sang to the SS, while sat on a boat floating down a river he sailed forty years prior. Black steam trains loudly travel the same routes that carried countless Jews to their fate. Natives of Poland talk about life before and after the Holocaust. Filmed over eleven years, Lanzmann leaves no stone unturned, ensuring that interviewees range from Holocaust survivors, SS Guards and civilians who were local to the extermination camps. Their testimonies narrate these vast, isolated locations. »
- Simon Columb
Last year proved to be an extraordinary one for feature-length documentaries about art and artists. 2014 saw the release of Tim’S Vermeer (a holdover from 2013), For No Good Reason, Jodorowsky’S Dune, all dealing with masters of pen, ink, and brush while Life, Itself explored the writing of Roger Ebert and Glen Campbell: I’LL Be Me offered an intimate portrait of the acclaimed musician. Barely two months into 2015, we’re now treated to an exceptional film which immerses us into the world of classic dance. Now, the ballet has been the backdrop for many classic dramatic films, from the fantasy world of The Red Shoes to the psychological terror of Black Swan. But there’s little back stage melodrama here. Director Jody Lee Lipes let’s us peek behind the curtain, past the tights and tutus for the sweat, strain, and stress for Ballet 422.
So, what’s with the number? »
- Jim Batts
The 2015 Berlin Film Festival wasn’t an auspicious one for the storied veterans of the 1970s New German Cinema (notably Wim Wenders and Werner Herzog), and that downward trend continued apace with Margarethe Von Trotta’s “The Misplaced World.” A middle-aged soap opera that strains credibility so often as to make Nicholas Sparks seem a master of neorealism, Von Trotta’s sudsy tale of long-lost loves and unearthed family secrets swirls around the director’s trademark themes of sisterhood and female solidarity, but never comes to life on a dramatic or psychological level. It’s not the world that’s been misplaced here, but rather a once-great director’s judgment.
Von Trotta was inspired to make “The Misplaced World” by her own late-in-life discovery of an adult half-sister, though the movie she’s ended up with feels more contrived than an entire month’s worth of “Days of Our Lives »
- Scott Foundas
Cult favourite Nicolas Cage has carved out an eclectic and brilliant career spanning the decades and across genres, with forays into action, drama and comic book adaptations to name but a few. To celebrate the release of his latest film, Dying of the Light, out on Blu-ray and DVD from the 2nd March 2015 courtesy of Signature Entertainment, we take a look back at some of his greatest roles.
Dying of the Light (2015)
This brilliant thriller, directed by Paul Schrader and executive produced by cinematic wunderkind Nicolas Winding Refn, stars Cage as Evan Lake, a desk-bound Langley CIA agent, forced into retirement by signs of early onset dementia. At the same time he discovers that his former nemesis, Jihadist Muhhamed Banir (Alexander Karim – Zero Dark Thirty, TV’s Tyrant), is not dead as has been assumed for the last two decades, but alive and receiving experimental medical treatment. Banir’s exact »
- Phil Wheat
Below you will find our total coverage of the 2015 Berlin International Film Festival. New interviews will be added to the index as they are published.
Between Adam Cook and Daniel Kasman
Introduction by Daniel Kasman
Adam Cook continues the festival introduction
Actors and directors have always clashed – it’s part of the process of filmmaking to butt heads over creative decisions, with director and star often having their own individual interpretations for how a movie should play out. Star and director artistically duking it out is normal on a film set, but only rarely does the process actually lead to full-blown arguments, much less physical fights.
There have, of course, been instances where actor/director partnerships have proven volatile. Faye Dunaway famously threw a cup of urine in Roman Polanski’s face in reaction to his harsh treatment of her on Chinatown, while Robert Downey Jr. has said David Fincher’s relentless tactics for drawing the performances he wanted from actors on Zodiac had him consider “garroting” the director.
With others, it should’ve been predictable from the off that things wouldn’t necessarily go smoothly – though Werner Herzog »
- Brogan Morris
Life Itself, 2014.
Directed by Steve James.
Documentary detailing the life and career of movie critic and social commentator Roger Ebert.
Life Itself isn’t just the story of Roger Ebert and his rise from newspaper writer through to arguably the best-known film critic in the world; it’s also a testament to the human spirit and about making the most of the time we have. A message that we should all know already you may think, but seeing Ebert in his final days before he succumbed to the cancer that caused his disfigurement and the loss of his speech is quite possibly one of the most inspiring examples of courage that you’ll ever see, and it never hurts to be reminded about what is important in this thing we call life.
But before we get »
- Gary Collinson
Director: Steve James
Running Time: 121 Minutes
Going into Life Itself, I was expecting a poignant celebration of the most adored film critic in history. I wasn’t expecting to be taken on a deeply personal journey that would have me in floods if tears throughout.
The film begins five months before Roger Ebert’s death as he undergoes treatment for various ailments associated with his battle with cancer. Here we find one of the great cultural wits of our time in high spirits despite being physically weak and rendered unable to talk. The narrative cuts between current footage of Ebert’s hopeful recovery with his wife Chaz to the story of his life. Indeed the title Life Itself is lifted from Ebert’s memoir of the same name and key passages are narrated over »
- John Sharp
Andrei Tarkovsky belongs on a very short list with a group of directors that includes Werner Herzog, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Alejandro Jodorowsky and Kenneth Anger: shit-kicking rebels who brought ruthless and transgressive art cinema into the second half of the twentieth century. These men simultaneously destroyed and re-defined the boundaries of what was, at the time, considered to be a traditional cinematic narrative. Their weapon of choice was celluloid. Ingmar Bergman once proclaimed the Soviet-born Tarkovsky as “the greatest [director] of them all… the one who invented a new language” (Bergman’s cinematographer Sven Nykvist lensed Tarkovsky’s last feature “The Sacrifice,” about a man who makes a bargain with God to save the world) and although I’ve only seen three of his seven features – “Ivan’s Childhood,” a tone poem to war and youth; “Andrei Rublev,” a stark and brilliant evocation of 15th-century Moscow; and his epochal “Solaris »
- Nicholas Laskin
Yesterday, I published the first half of a long email exchange with “Parks and Recreation” co-creator Mike Schur looking at the origins and evolutions of some of the show’s most memorable supporting characters and running gags. That discussion concludes today with talk of DJ Roomba (who came very close to never being a part of our lives), Li’l Sebastian, Burt Macklin and a lot more. But we start out with the first — and last — appearance of Pawnee’s greatest mystery man. I know you had talked in the past about wanting to get Bill Murray to play the occasionally-mentioned but never-seen Mayor Gunderson. How did that actually come about? And if he had said no, was there a back-up Gunderson plan, or would he have simply remained a mystery forever? Mike Schur: We wanted to do an episode in the final season where someone died. We settled on Gunderson, »
- Alan Sepinwall
"Parks And Recreation" is saying goodbye with their seventh and final season, and so the show is bringing out the big guns. Werner Herzog has already stopped by, and last night a Ghostbuster made the most of what may be a very, very small appearance, but still is one that you'll still want to check out. Bill Murray stepped into play the oft mentioned but never seen Walter Gunderson, mayor of Pawnee, In. It may seem odd to wait this long to reveal the man everyone is working under at City Hall, but in season three, the show apparently tried to get Arnold Schwarzenegger for the gig. “He was very nice about it, and he really wanted to do it, but it just couldn’t work,” writer/creator Mike Schur told EW. “So at that point we were like, ‘just forget it. It’s cooler to mention the mayor but never see him. »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Hot projects new to Screenbase include Nicolas Winding Refn feature The Neon Demon, Pope Francis biopic Francisco, Brady Corbet’s directorial debut The Childhood Of A Leader and a new adaptation by Wim Wenders.Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon
Principal photography will begin in Los Angeles on March 30. Gaumont and Wild Bunch are co-selling the title.
Brady Corbet’s [link »
- email@example.com (Maud Le Rest)
“When I was a kid, I used to draw directly on the film frames and do animations, so I could use the expensive film much less, and be busy longer with it. The first thing I learned about filmmaking is that when you shoot in real time, all the film is gone so quickly, and you have to buy more...,” cinematographer Peter Zeitlinger told me during an informal chat we had in the lobby of his hotel, a couple of days before his “Measuring the Space” masterclass in the Berlinale Talents program during the Berlin International Film Festival.
Many years have passed since Zeitlinger's first, no-budget experiments with the medium of cinema: now he is one of the most sought-after cinematographers in the film business, and Werner Herzog's right-hand man since his TV documentary Gesualdo: Death for Five Voices (1995).
Using the Berlinale Competition entry Queen of the Desert (2015) as a case study, »
- Michael Guarneri
Erotic drama Fifty Shades of Grey proved the most buzzed-about film at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, according to Way to Blue.
Close to 9,700 comments were made across Twitter, news sites, blogs and forums from Feb 5-15, the duration of the festival.
The film received its international premiere in Berlin, which contributed nearly 2,000 comments to its total figure.
Anton Corbijn’s Life, starring Dane DeHaan as James Dean and Robert Pattinson as the Life magazine photographer assigned to snap the Hollywood icon, had to settle for second place with more than 5,100 comments.
Werner Herzog’s Queen of the Desert and [link »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Rosser)
Brûle la mer
From your letter, It sounds like I missed quite a film with Counting. That's the curse of even the most active festival-goer: there's always another film playing somewhere else, the promise of an unknown quality and potential. I am no stranger to that twinge of anxiety that the film playing next door is really the one to see, and I just missed its last screening. This conjures another negative kind of energy, too, not just the fear but the hope a film is bad, a film you've written off or missed. Ah, the existentialist dilemmas of the cinephile, how small and privileged they are!
In a way, the event I went to a few days ago exemplifies this somewhere else, some other time, some other film ghost which haunts all festivals. Thursday was the opening night of the very first edition of a kind of breakaway festival in Berlin, »
- Daniel Kasman
Critics rank Andrew Haigh’s double Silver Bear winner the best film in competition at the Berlinale.Click here to download the Jury GridClick here to view the Jury Grid on Screen
Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years has topped the Screen Jury Grid at this year’s Berlin Film Festival (Feb 5-15), scoring 3.4 out of a possible 4.
The film, which explores the strain placed on an old married couple, saw co-stars Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling pick up Silver Bear’s for best actor and best actress at the Berlinale awards ceremony on Saturday.
On the Jury Grid, 45 Years secured a rare ‘four star’ score from Screen’s hard to please critic Dan Fainaru.
It also saw off competition from the 18 other contenders scored by international critics for Screen.
I'm glad you speak of the small things that stand out, separate from the overall quality of a film. In a festival drowning with content, sometimes it's hard to remember the particular details that struck us, especially in the late-going where we find ourselves now. In Werner Herzog's Queen of the Desert, a film otherwise lacking the filmmaker's eccentric touches, a short sequence involving a vulture is the best in the entire picture. Known for his penchant for filming animals, and moreover, filming them with a strange, alien gaze, Herzog brilliantly stages a romantic scene between Nicole Kidman and James Franco. The couple are climbing a winding stairway to the top of a tower (which Franco's character describes as being a place where the dead are brought), and waiting for these whimsical lovers is an intimidating vulture chewing on hot, rotting flesh. The abrupt cut from their »
- Adam Cook
Yet another Valentine’s Day is almost here, dear readers. Enjoy the holiday, and hopefully none of you will be dragged to see Fifty Shades of Grey by your significant others. In the meantime, this week’s Trailer Trashin’ column is a change of pace from the last couple weeks, with a look at the upcoming indie drama Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter.
Premise: Struggling twenty-something Kumiko (Rinko Kikuchi) lives in utter solitude in a cluttered, cramped apartment in Tokyo with her pet rabbit, Bunzo. She works a dead-end job under an awful boss, is intimidated by her well-off peers, and nagged incessantly by her overbearing mother. The only joy in her life comes from a grainy VHS tape – an American film in which a man buries a satchel of money in the snowy plains of the Midwest. Kumiko becomes convinced that this treasure is real, and obsesses over its discovery. »
- Timothy Monforton
Editor's Note: RogerEbert.com is proud to reprint Roger Ebert's 1978 entry from the Encyclopedia Britannica publication "The Great Ideas Today," part of "The Great Books of the Western World." Reprinted with permission from The Great Ideas Today ©1978 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
It's a measure of how completely the Internet has transformed communication that I need to explain, for the benefit of some younger readers, what encyclopedias were: bound editions summing up all available knowledge, delivered to one's home in handsome bound editions. The "Great Books" series zeroed in on books about history, poetry, natural science, math and other fields of study; the "Great Ideas" series was meant to tie all the ideas together, and that was the mission given to Roger when he undertook this piece about film.
Given the venue he was writing for, it's probably wisest to look at Roger's long, wide-ranging piece as a snapshot of the »
- Roger Ebert
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