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If one were to speculate about fiercely independent filmmaker Les Blank’s politics, via the worldview presented in his wondrously luminous documentaries, it would quickly come down to one option: libertarianism. Distilled down to their essence, Blank’s offbeat, yet inconspicuous and low-key documentaries, indebted to cinéma vérité without being purist about it, were often concerned with capturing the natural simplicity of unencumbered life, following those with the liberty to explore the fundamentals of existence and to self-express. Perennially fascinated with music, food, and marginalized cultures, Blank’s casual, unobtrusive films are primal in the sense that they seem built for the very reason the camera was invented: to capture images that would otherwise be unseen for the purpose of communicating back something new and vivid to the rest of the world. Perhaps best described to a newcomer as a kindred spirit to Werner Herzog—a friend and colleague he. »
- The Playlist Staff
We're very excited that Lola, one of our favorite film journals, has started to roll out its 5th issue entitled "Shows." The pieces published so far include Joe McElhaney on German filmmakers in Hollywood, Lesley Stern on the "Ghostliness of Gesture", and Dorian Stuber & Marianne Tettlebaum on To Be or Not to Be. Still to come: "essays on Claire Denis, Eduardo Coutinho, anime, Blade Runner, the filmic object, film criticism, and more ... plus a special interview with James Benning." The Museum of the Moving Image's "First Look" lineup has been announced and includes new films by Ulrich Seidl, Ken Jacobs, and Gina Telaroli. The series will be running between January 9th and 18th. For Criterion, Farren Smith Nehme writes on Frank Capra's It Happened One Night:
"An ideal romantic comedy doesn’t ignore reality; it converses with it. The Depression may be softened by moonlight and shining eyes, »
You have to respect a kids’ cartoon that kicks off with a Werner Herzog joke — even one so willfully, wondrously stupid and lighthearted as Penguins of Madagascar. The latest installment in Dreamworks Animation’s surprisingly lucrative, globe-hopping, talking-animal franchise is refreshingly devoid of subtlety or emotional resonance or even proper story structure. Its most nuanced joke is its very existence: The penguins were always the best part of the Madagascar series, so now they have their own movie, and the other animals are not particularly pleased about it.Specifically, the penguins’ popularity has driven one particular creature, Dave the Octopus (voiced by John Malkovich), mad with jealousy and resentment. The new film is a James Bond–ian adventure involving the Dr. Evil–like Dave’s deviously inane plan to kidnap and turn New York’s penguins into gruesome monsters, thus extinguishing their cuteness and, hopefully, their public appeal. Along the way, »
- Bilge Ebiri
Penguins of Madagascar, out Wednesday and with a voice cast of John Malkovich, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom McGrath, Werner Herzog, Chris Miller, Conrad Vernon and Christopher Knights, follows the fun foursome of secret agents that offered comical scenes in the previous Madagascar installments as they finally gets their own feature. See more 'Penguins of Madagascar' Secret-Agent Backstory Revealed in New Trailer The 20th Century Fox title, co-directed by Eric Darnell (the three previous Madagascar films) and Simon J. Smith (Bee Movie), is one of many family films hitting the holiday box office this season, and is expected to post a solid
- Ashley Lee
First, let's state the obvious and get it out of the way. This is a crass piece of corporate product, an animation studio working more as an IP farm than as a storytelling unit, and it exists so that Dreamworks Animation can continue to wring money out of the "Madagascar" franchise. It is a perfect example of marketing driving the machine. It's also a profoundly silly movie that really isn't even trying to play by the conventional rules of family animation. They nod to creating a sentimental arc between Private (Christopher Knights) and Skipper (Tom McGrath), but they don't dwell on it, and they handle it with a fairly deft touch. The main goal of the movie is just to be ridiculous, and it does that in spades. The film starts with the penguins in their natural habitat, being filmed by a documentary film crew complete with the actual Werner Herzog narrating. »
- Drew McWeeny
Gabe Polsky’s new film Red Army (check out Matt's review) is an exhilarating documentary about the Cold War on ice and how an incredibly oppressive system produced one of the greatest teams in sports history: the Red Army Hockey Team of the late 70’s and 80’s. The story is told from the perspective of its former captain and star defenseman, Slava Fetisov, who was at the center of an extraordinarily talented group of players – Sergei Marakov, Vladimir Krutov, Igor Larionov and Alexei Kasatonov – known as the Russian Five. Fetisov’s impressive career took him from national hero to political enemy to Russian Minister of Sport under Vladimir Putin. In an exclusive interview, Polsky spoke about using hockey as a window into a larger personal and political story, what inspired him to structure his documentary around the legendary Red Army Hockey Team and one of its greatest players, why Fetisov was an interesting interview subject, »
- Sheila Roberts
For many families, the most stressful part of Thanksgiving isn't figuring out a way to keep turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, yams, and Parker House rolls hot all at the same time. Instead, it's finding the perfect post-tryptophan-overdose, pre-nap viewing—something capable of entertaining your hyperactive-five-year-old, your too-cool teenage nephew, your weird aunt, and your 94-year-old Great-Grandma Dot... all at the same time. Just call it a quest for the White Whale of movies—or at least the cinematic equivalent of the traveling pants. That's where we come in. EW's brain trust has come up with a few »
- Hillary Busis
The New Yorker Anthony Lane on Mike Nichols
Playbill congratulations to Chicago which became the 2nd longest running Broadway show of all time tonight surpassing Cats
Screen Crush bitches about the long uneventful Part 1s of modern franchise culture as I've been bitching about forever. But as long as audiences keep buying tickets, why should Hollywood stop? They make double the money this way.
Critic Wire the terrifying children's book in The Babadook (opening Friday!) is now a real book you can buy
Vanity Fair since I officially stopped watching How To Get Away With Murder I said goodbye by reading / enjoying / giggling through this post on the "who killed Sam" episode
Empire more new projects for Channing Tatum and »
- NATHANIEL R
Life Itself, 2014
Directed by Steve James
Documentary about the life of master Film Critic, Roger Ebert.
Writing for the first time in 2008, I remember the initial advice I was given: read Roger Ebert. Of course, I knew of Roger Ebert. Unlike our friends across the Atlantic, watching Siskel and Ebert wasn’t easy and my knowledge of him was primarily through special features on DVD’s I’d seen. Nevertheless, the more I read, the more I realised how important his voice was. His writing was personal, yet profound. He managed to weave into his work talk of literature and drama seamlessly into film discourse. That’s not to say that his writing required an informed audience – film was accessible and fun, and so was his words. Cinema didn’t have to be high-brow or elitist, »
- Simon Columb
Chicago – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 40 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the new animated comedy “Penguins of Madagascar” starring John Malkovich and Benedict Cumberbatch!
“Penguins of Madagascar,” which opens on Nov. 26, 2014 and is rated “PG,” also stars Werner Herzog, Ken Jeong, Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Christopher Knights, Annet Mahendru, Peter Stormare and Conrad Vernon from directors Eric Darnell and Simon J. Smith and writers John Aboud and Michael Colton.
To win your free “Penguins of Madagascar” passes courtesy of HollywoodChicago.com, just get interactive with our social media widget below. That’s it! This screening is on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014 at 11 a.m. in downtown Chicago. The more social actions you complete, the more points you score and the higher yours odds of winning! Completing these social actions only increases your odds of winning; this doesn’t intensify your competition!
Preferably, use your »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
In today's roundup of news and views: Adrian Martin on Robert Bresson, Sarinah Masukor on Jean-Luc Godard, Chris Luscri on Jacques Rivette, Jonathan Rosenbaum on Bertrand Tavernier, Erich von Stroheim and Emile de Antonio, J. Hoberman on Chris Marker and Léon Poirier, Jesse Barron and John Semley on Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice, Michael Wood on Jacques Tati, Michael Atkinson on Monte Hellman, Agata Pyzik on Walerian Borowczyk, Sean Axmaker on Orson Welles, Erich Kuersten on Werner Herzog, Robert Moeller on Harun Farocki and much, much more. » - David Hudson »
Elegy To Connie screens Saturday, Nov 15 at 6:30pm at St. Louis University as part of The St. Louis International Film Festival. It is a Free event.
Elegy To Connie is a touching and unique documentary by local artist and filmmaker Sarah Paulsen that employs stop-motion animation to address the events leading up to and following the 2008 Kirkwood City Council shooting. The troubling incident is retold in interviews with a group of unintentional women activists who are bound together by their friendship with slain Councilwoman Connie Karr, and the animation amplifies their voices through striking visuals that sometimes illustrate their comments directly but frequently offer metaphoric counterpoint. Made in collaboration with these women, the film addresses the complicated issues surrounding the shooting – citizen representation, disenfranchisement, white privilege and black alienation, post-tragedy healing – and celebrates Connie’s legacy as a leader.
Sarah Paulsen took the time to talk to We Are Movie Geeks about her film. »
- Tom Stockman
Legendary American film critic Roger Ebert gets a loving tribute in the form of documentary Life Itself. It's a fitting match between filmmaker and subject - director Steve James is the man behind Hoop Dreams, a film Ebert championed and named his best of the year in 1994.
Using Ebert's 2011 memoir as a jumping off point, Life Itself follows the writer from his formative years at the University of Illinois, to his hard-drinking newspaper days at the Chicago Sun-Times and on to TV fame with Gene Siskel on syndicated show At the Movies.
James's film picks up with Ebert in the final months of his life - he's wheelchair-bound having undergone a succession of surgeries and treatments for papillary thyroid cancer. As a result, large sections »
The Friends of Cinefamily Weekend
presents Truth And Soul Inc.,
a celebration of the films of Robert Downey Sr.
For Immediate Release, Los Angeles, November 12, 2014 - The Friends Of Cinefamily announced today that it will present a weekend celebration of the films of legendary filmmaker Robert Downey Sr. on December 5th - 8th. This inaugural fundraiser event for The Cinefamily, presented by the newly formed Friends Of Cinefamily, will include never before seen rarities, new prints, special appearances, and newly restored versions of his most acclaimed films.
Events include a career spanning conversation between father and son, Robert Downey Sr. and Robert Downey Jr. with a 35mm restoration screening of his breakthrough underground hit, Chafed Elbows; an intimate Q&A with filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson and screening of a new 35mm print of Greaser's Palace that will include a cast & crew reunion and tribute to the music of Robert Downey Sr., »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
Director: Steve James
Running Time: 118 Minutes
Synopsis: The life and career of the renowned film critic and social commentator, Roger Ebert.
Life Itself reveals and unravels the life of legendary Chicago film critic Roger Ebert and in a sense, or possibly as a precise emphatic fact, he’s the reason many of us have the opportunity to watch and critique films in the way we do today. From starting out on the smaller side of town with the Chicago Sun Times, his endeavour, knowledge and belief in talking about the movies in an open and accessible way would eventually become an influential part of our modern media.
The documentary is based on Roger’s memoirs and I originally feel it was intended to join him as he recovered from throat cancer and started to talk again but, »
- Dan Bullock
Das Gespenst (1982)
“I always have a simple story, but I tell it so fanatically and wildly and tenderly and cursingly and on fire and in need of being loved that you’ll find a slice of life in front of you.”
The first time I saw Herbert Achternbusch he was hypnotizing a chicken in Werner Herzog’s The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser. Anybody who has seen the film might recall the chicken, but who is Herbert Achternbusch? It is a question that cannot be simply answered. Achternbusch captions his entire artistic output with a paradox: ‘You don't have a chance, but use it’. Trying to make sense of his work, this epigram sounds appropriate.
Matters are not helped by the unavailability of most of his films on DVD. In Germany, a boxset devoted to Achternbusch is now out of print, although two key works—Heilt Hitler (1986) and Das Gespenst (1982)—remain in circulation. »
- Yusef Sayed
Christian Bale has always been equally at home in blockbuster fare like Christopher Nolan's billions-grossing Batman trilogy and in barely-seen yet noble indie efforts such as Werner Herzog’s “Rescue Dawn.” Along the way, he has become one of the most admired actors of his generation. But this holiday season, the 40-year-old Englishman will fulfill his destiny as the chosen one to play Moses in Ridley Scott’s biblical epic “Exodus: Of Gods and Kings,” which opens Dec. 12. Watch the new trailer below. Why is Bale the perfect pick for the Old Testament prophet who led the Israelites to the Promised Land? Here are 10 Commandants that prepared him to take on this challenge. 1.Thou shalt be the standout at an early age in a Steven Spielberg movie. Spielberg's then-wife Amy Irving suggested Bale, her co-star in a 1986 TV movie “The Mystery of Anna," for the lead role in his 1987 “Empire of the Sun. »
- Susan Wloszczyna
After a couple of months off, Full Disclosure is back, with an exploration of the work of a true cinematic maverick, Werner Herzog. In a career spanning 50 years, the uniquely accented German filmmaker has gifted us dozens of feature films and documentaries exploring all manner of different topics, characters and themes. Team Twitch looks back over one of cinema's most varied and stimulating filmographies, seeking out some of Herzog's numerous gifts to cinema, and considering them for the very first time. Enjoy!...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
You’ve probably already seen at least one trailer for DreamWorks’ new ‘toon Penguins Of Madagascar, and a clip from the film’s opening sequence arrived last month. Now imagine what would happen if you mashed them both up? That’s right, utter anarchy the new promo from the film.Get ready to experience both the first meeting of all four Penguins – Skipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chris Miller), Rico (John Dimaggio) and Private (Christopher Knights) – back in their younger days, and learn a little more about the animal espionage experts they’re currently assisting/annoying, the North Wind.Together, these mismatched squads will have to tackle a mad octopus villain named Dave (John Malkovich), who appears to have something of a past with our flightless friends. The North Wind gang, meanwhile, are led by a wolf (Benedict Cumberbatch) whose name is classified. So everyone calls him “Classified." And yes, it »
Billy Ray is directing the film, which centres around a retired attorney who sets out to write a book about an unsolved case and the unrequited love for his former superior.
The process unlocks secrets buried for decades.
Juan Jose Campanella directed the original Secret in Their Eyes, which won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 2010.
1-20 of 413 items from 2014 « Prev | Next »
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