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There are a few titans of narrative cinema - Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee come first to mind - who make documentaries that rival their feature film work. Another example is Werner Herzog, a filmmaker whose non-fiction films are still celebrated, but it's his docs that (deservedly, in my opinion) get the lion's share of praise. From the same school of filmmakers as the iconoclastic Herzog, Wim Wenders shares his compatriot's ability to seamlessly switch between doc and feature. If the only non-fiction film Wenders ever shot was Buena Vista Social Club, than he'd be rightly lauded as one of the best non-fiction directors of the last half century. In The Salt of the Earth, Wenders, along with his co-director (and son of the subject)...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
Gazing into the crystal ball, Screen rounds up its Cannes predictions.
With the unveiling of Cannes Film Festival’s Official Selection now exactly three weeks away buzz over the titles that Thierry Fremaux and his team will select for the 68th edition is hitting fever pitch.
Earlier the week, Cannes unveiled its poster featuring Ingrid Bergman to mark the centenary of the late big screen’s birth and it was announced that Stig Bjorkman’s documentary Ingrid Bergman – In Her Own Words would show in Cannes Classics as part of the commemorations.
For the rest of the Official Selection, except perhaps the opening film which is traditionally revealed in advance, Cannes watchers will have to wait for the announcement press conference in Paris on April »
Over the course of four decades, German filmmaker Wim Wenders has directed more than 30 feature-length films of all different types. There’s the Palme d'Or-winning “Paris, Texas,” the Criterion-minted “Wings of Desire,” and he's a three-time Oscar nominee for the documentaries “Buena Vista Social Club,” the visually striking 3D “Pina,” and his upcoming film, “The Salt of the Earth,” about Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado, which opens this weekend (our review from Telluride). Overshadowed to some degree by Werner Herzog, as they came of cinematic age during the 1970s German New Wave movement, Wenders has been getting his due recently thanks to a gigantic retrospective of his work at Moma that just finished. Underappreciated gems getting a second look there were "The American Friend" starring Dennis Hopper, the director's long form cut of "Until The End Of The World," and the documentary about dying filmmaker Nicholas Ray, “Lightning »
- Rodrigo Perez
'Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation' star Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt 'Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation' trailer: Movie stunt combo "Desperate times. Desperate measures," says Tom Cruise aka Ethan Hunt in the Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation trailer aka the Mission: Impossible 5 and/or MI5 trailer. Whatever you call it, that particular line could be read in a number of ways: Tom Cruise's superstardom is in the doldrums – at least that's what we hear from those who see reality only through U.S.-focused lenses – and he needs all the box-office help he can get. Hence, MI5. Hollywood is in dire need of a mammoth domestic blockbuster following a year of mediocre-performing tentpoles at the U.S. box office. Hence, MI5. The world's socioeconomic fabric is about to unravel. Hence, MI5 – so humankind can go with a bang. Not only with a bang, but with mirth as well. »
- Andre Soares
To mark the occasion, Digital Spy has unearthed 25 fascinating facts about the beloved 1990 film. Read on to find out why Vivian is a Disney princess, how Superman himself Christopher Reeve almost played Edward and the film's straight-to-the-point title in China.
1. The original script for Pretty Woman was titled $3,000 and was a dark drama about prostitution in La. Vivian was a drug addict trying to go clean to save up money for a trip to Disneyland. Disney-owned Touchstone Pictures developed the idea into a more conventional romantic comedy, meaning Vivian is something of an edgier Disney princess.
Hollywood is not exactly a warm and fuzzy place where everyone gets along like best friends. That’s why so many film sets are hotbeds for drama. But no drama is more intense than the art-infused feuds between actor and director, because Art!
Here are some of the biggest and best actor-director fights in film history.
Let’s start with the most recent. After Mo’Nique won an Oscar for her role in Precious, she says Daniels told her she was blackballed for not playing the Hollywood game. Then recently she announced that she’d been offered roles in both The Butler and Empire, but never heard anything more until she learned Oprah and Taraji P. Henson were respectively playing what she’d been led to believe were her roles. Despite the struggles, Mo’Nique says she “could work with Lee Daniels tomorrow.”
- Courtney Enlow
Film-maker to receive Irving M. Levin Directing Award at upcoming edition of festival.
Guillermo del Toro will receive this year’s Irving M. Levin Directing Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival.
The Mexican film-maker will be presented with the award at the San Francisco Film Society (Sffs) Awards Night on April 27, and will also be honoured at An Evening with Guillermo del Toro on April 25 with an onstage interview and a screening of The Devil’s Backbone.
Noah Cowan, executive director of Sffs, commented: “This award is a tribute to his boundless imagination and to his deep understanding of cinema history. Del Toro is both a great teacher and a boisterous communicator of why movies matter; we are going to have a very fun night with him here indeed.”
Made possible by Irving’s son and current Sffs board member Fred M. Levin and his wife Nancy Livingston, the award was »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Ian Sandwell)
The trophy will be presented to del Toro at the San Francisco Film Festival’s awards night April 27 at the Armory. He will also be honored at “An Evening With Guillermo del Toro” on April 25 at the Castro Theatre with an interview, selection of clips, a sneak peek at upcoming projects and a screening of “The Devil’s Backbone.”
“Guillermo del Toro’s remarkable ability to shift between intimate political drama and blockbuster action is shared with only a very few select filmmakers at the top of the field,” said Noah Cowan, executive director of the society, in a statement. “This award is a tribute to his boundless imagination and to his deep understanding of cinema history. Del Toro is both a great teacher and a boisterous communicator of why »
- Dave McNary
Despite Roger Ebert‘s premonition on Werner Herzog‘s demise, the director is moving forward with his next project, a “supervolcano thriller” titled Salt and Fire. We recently got word that the project will be led by Veronica Ferres as Laura, “a scientist in South America who clashes with the head of the corporation responsible for an ecological disaster.” In […] »
- Jordan Raup
It’s been a week since “Parks and Recreation” ended. In my review of the series finale, I said that I put off my usual post-season interview with Mike Schur at the time because he was otherwise occupied. (He did, though, offer an answer of sorts as to the question of who is Potus in the year 2048.) Over the last few days, though, we emailed some questions and answers back and forth on leftover bits of business from the finale and the final season, including the show finally identifying Leslie’s party affiliation, which guest stars Schur didn’t manage to squeeze into the final season, Ron and Leslie’s brief estrangement, the religious background(s) of the all-important Lerpiss family, and more. So if you haven’t tired of Schur after the two-part interview we did before the finale, here’s us talking “Parks” one last time (sigh)… Was »
- Alan Sepinwall
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
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