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18 items from 2015


Why 1974 was the best year in film history

29 April 2015 11:00 AM, PDT | Hitfix | See recent Hitfix news »

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

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Review: "The Bandit Queen" (1994), Blu-ray Release From Twilight Time

1 April 2015 11:04 AM, PDT | Cinemaretro.com | See recent CinemaRetro news »

By John Whalen 

An eleven-year old Indian girl is sold by her father to a thirty-year-old man for a cow and a rusty bicycle. Torn from her mother’s arms the child is taken home, beaten, raped and turned into a slave, all the while being abused and taunted by the local villagers because she is from a lower caste. She runs away and tries to go home, but is looked upon as an outcast.  In a society where women are considered lower than cattle, she grows up enduring terrible punishment, including more beatings, rapes and eventual homelessness. She is kidnapped by bandits falls in love with the bandit leader and becomes a legend known throughout India as “Bandit Queen,” stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. She kills the 21 men she accused of gang-raping her, and surrenders to authorities before a crowd of 10,000 supporters. She serves 11 years in prison and when freed, »

- nospam@example.com (Cinema Retro)

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Daily | Lola, Kurosawa, Glawogger

23 March 2015 9:31 AM, PDT | Keyframe | See recent Keyframe news »

With today's round of essays, the fifth issue of Lola, edited by Adrian Martin and Girish Shambu, is now complete. Among the new additions are pieces on Blade Runner, Claude Lanzmann's The Last of the Unjust and Shane Carruth's Upstream Color. Also in today's roundup: Nadia Awad on Jean-Luc Godard and the evolution of Palestinian filmmaking, Locarno artistic director Carlo Chatrian on Sam Peckinpah, Italo Calvino's memories of cinema-going, celebrations of Akira Kurosawa's 105th birthday, Chris Randle on Dennis Hopper's Catchfire with Jodie Foster, Neil Young and Bob Dylan, Abel Ferrara's war of words with IFC and Wild Bunch, a first viewing of Michael Glawogger's final film—and more. » - David Hudson »

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Daily | Lola, Kurosawa, Glawogger

23 March 2015 9:31 AM, PDT | Keyframe | See recent Keyframe news »

With today's round of essays, the fifth issue of Lola, edited by Adrian Martin and Girish Shambu, is now complete. Among the new additions are pieces on Blade Runner, Claude Lanzmann's The Last of the Unjust and Shane Carruth's Upstream Color. Also in today's roundup: Nadia Awad on Jean-Luc Godard and the evolution of Palestinian filmmaking, Locarno artistic director Carlo Chatrian on Sam Peckinpah, Italo Calvino's memories of cinema-going, celebrations of Akira Kurosawa's 105th birthday, Chris Randle on Dennis Hopper's Catchfire with Jodie Foster, Neil Young and Bob Dylan, Abel Ferrara's war of words with IFC and Wild Bunch, a first viewing of Michael Glawogger's final film—and more. » - David Hudson »

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Locarno Blog. Sam Peckinpah: The Wild Genius

22 March 2015 3:10 PM, PDT | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

Editor's Note: We're proud to announce that we are now the North American home for Locarno Film Festival Artistic Director Carlo Chatrian's blog. Chatrian has been writing thoughtful blog entries in Italian on Locarno's website since he took over as Director in late 2012, and now you can find the English translations here on Notebook as they're published. To kick things off, we're posting his piece on Sam Peckinpah, who was recently announced to be the subject of the festival's epic retrospective this year. The Locarno Film Festival will be taking place August 5th to 15th. ***The life of Sam Peckinpah sits like a splendid diamond set between two glorious eras for American cinema, one already on the decline and the other still to come. Retracing his career means looking as much at the great classical tradition that preceded him as at the new directors currently leaving their mark on the imagination. »

- Carlo Chatrian

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Hard Times and the Charles Bronson Exhibit April 1st at Schlafly Bottleworks

17 March 2015 7:32 PM, PDT | WeAreMovieGeeks.com | See recent WeAreMovieGeeks.com news »

“I suppose you’ve been down the long, hard road?”

“Who hasn’t?”

You never know what’s brewing at Webster University’s Strange Brew cult film series. It’s always the first Wednesday evening of every month, and they always come up with some cult classic to show while enjoying some good food and great suds. The fun happens at Schlafly Bottleworks Restaurant and Bar in Maplewood (7260 Southwest Ave.- at Manchester – Maplewood, Mo 63143).

This month, they’re brewing up some Bronson! Hard Times screens at Schlafly Bottleworks Wednesday, April 1st as part of Webster University’s ‘Strange Brew’ Film Series. The ‘Charles Bronson Exhibit’, a collection of movie paper, figures, models kits, toys, and other odd memorabilia will be on display that night at Schlafly.

No one could touch Charles Bronson in terms of global popularity throughout the 1970’s and Hard Times (1975) was his best film from that decade (my favorite for cinema, »

- Tom Stockman

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20 Most Outrageously Violent Movies Since 2000

4 March 2015 1:14 AM, PST | Obsessed with Film | See recent Obsessed with Film news »

Showbox

Ever since the early days of cinema and the 1903 short film The Great Train Robbery, filmmakers have had a fascination with violence. As production codes and the surrounding censorship relaxed over the passing decades, more movies began to emerge which pushed the boundaries of on-screen violence.

Throughout the twentieth century movies have unleashed all manner of carnage on the silver screen: from the slow motion shoot outs of Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch and Arthur Penn’s Bonnie And Clyde through to the horror excesses of the 1970s and onwards – when the term “video nasties” emerged as a perfect summary of an era of gory cinematic oneupmanship – violence at the movies went from one extreme to the next.

The turn of the twenty-first century certainly hasn’t seen an about turn either in the lengths filmmakers will go to shock or the desire for such thrills from movie lovers – indeed, »

- Andrew Dilks

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"American Sniper": 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly'

22 February 2015 9:25 AM, PST | SneakPeek | See recent SneakPeek news »

From "The Good The Bad and The Ugly.Ca, Sneak Peek 'the good, the bad and the ugly' in director Clint Eastwood's "American Sniper" starring Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller:

Michael Stevens For 'The Good':

"In this pulse-pounding action feature, actor Bradley Cooper, eerily inhabits the role of patriotic Navy Seal 'Chris Kyle', with a steely determination in his eyes that gives way to a Wtf expression whenever he pauses to think about what his dangerous job entails...

"...embodying his father's flashback wish for him to be a protective 'sheepdog', rather than a predator wolf preying on the weak, or an innocent sheep waiting to be led to slaughter.

"Director Eastwood deftly drops the viewer into the heart of darkness on several tours of duty with Kyle, as we share his moral responsibilities in the use of deadly force and power, plus the struggles veteran soldiers »

- Michael Stevens

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The Noteworthy: On Sundance, Carpenter Speaks, Peckinpah in Locarno

4 February 2015 3:13 AM, PST | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

Plenty of coverage has come out of the Sundance Film Festival, which wrapped up last week and among our highlights is Wesley Morris's 5-part Sundance Diary for Grantland (Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Another Sundance favorite is Manohla Dargis's festival report for The New York Times: 

"Every January at the Sundance Film Festival, a movie or two will pop, exciting a cinematic congregation that descends on this resort town praying for the next big thing and at times finding it. Last year the festival got the party started with “Whiplash,” one of its opening selections, and then sent attendees into raptures with “Boyhood.” No single title has dominated this year’s event, yet after a slow start that had some writing off the event before it really got going, good and great movies — from coming-of-age tales like The Diary of a Teenage Girl and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl to documentaries »

- Notebook

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Locarno to Pay Tribute to Sam Peckinpah With Complete Retro

28 January 2015 8:39 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Rome — The Locarno Film Festival will pay tribute to Sam Peckinpah with a complete retrospective of the maverick Hollywood director’s works, which include landmark Western “The Wild Bunch,” once called the “Citizen Kane” of the Vietnam generation, and other groundbreaking films such as “Straw Dogs,” “Ride the High Country” and “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.”

The Swiss festival dedicated to indie cinema will present Peckinpah’s complete filmography – with several films screened in newly restored prints – and a selection of his efforts for television ranging from works he wrote, produced or co-directed to those in which he performed as an actor. The screenings will be accompanied by discussions and a roundtable led by invited critics and filmmakers.

The retro is curated by Italian film programmer and historian Roberto Turigliatto.

Co-organizers are the Cinémathèque suisse in Lausanne, and the Cinémathèque française in Paris, which will host the entire program in September. »

- Nick Vivarelli

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Review: Cop Car (Sundance 2015)

27 January 2015 7:17 AM, PST | JoBlo.com | See recent JoBlo news »

Plot: Two ten-year-old boys steal an idle cop car, only to find themselves hunted by the car's owner, a corrupt local sheriff. Review: Cop Car is the kind of movie Sam Peckinpah would have made if he'd ever gone to work for Amblin' Entertainment. It's so crazy in that it mixes a kind of boys' own adventure with seedy noir-style that wouldn't seem out of place in a Jim Thompson novel. It's hard to imagine who the audience will be for this in that it's about 1000x too rough for the »

- Chris Bumbray

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Class Disparities and Prostitution Tackled in Early Female Director's Drama

23 January 2015 5:01 PM, PST | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Pioneering woman director Lois Weber socially conscious drama 'Shoes' among Library of Congress' Packard Theater movies (photo: Mary MacLaren in 'Shoes') In February 2015, National Film Registry titles will be showcased at the Library of Congress' Packard Campus Theater – aka the Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation – in Culpeper, Virginia. These range from pioneering woman director Lois Weber's socially conscious 1916 drama Shoes to Robert Zemeckis' 1985 blockbuster Back to the Future. Another Packard Theater highlight next month is Sam Peckinpah's ultra-violent Western The Wild Bunch (1969), starring William Holden and Ernest Borgnine. Also, Howard Hawks' "anti-High Noon" Western Rio Bravo (1959), toplining John Wayne and Dean Martin. And George Cukor's costly remake of A Star Is Born (1954), featuring Academy Award nominees Judy Garland and James Mason in the old Janet Gaynor and Fredric March roles. There's more: Jeff Bridges delivers a colorful performance in »

- Andre Soares

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"American Sniper": 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly'

19 January 2015 1:58 PM, PST | SneakPeek | See recent SneakPeek news »

From "The Good The Bad and The Ugly.Ca, Sneak Peek "...the good, the bad and the ugly..." in director Clint Eastwood's "American Sniper" starring Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller:

Michael Stevens For 'The Good':

In this pulse-pounding action feature, actor Bradley Cooper, eerily inhabits the role of patriotic Navy Seal 'Chris Kyle', with a steely determination in his eyes that gives way to a Wtf expression whenever he pauses to think about what his dangerous job entails...

...embodying his father's flashback wish for him to be a protective 'sheepdog', rather than a predator wolf preying on the weak, or an innocent sheep waiting to be led to slaughter.

Director Clint Eastwood deftly drops the viewer into the heart of darkness on several tours of duty with Kyle, as we share his moral responsibilities in the use of deadly force and power, plus the struggles veteran »

- Michael Stevens

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John Ostrander: Walking Tall On the Small Screen

18 January 2015 5:00 AM, PST | Comicmix.com | See recent Comicmix news »

I was not always a big fan of Westerns. My knowledge/memory of them were largely drawn from TV shows of my childhood – and not always the best ones. They were dominated by The Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry (although I was never a big Autry fan) and shows like them. Westerns dominated TV in those days in ways that I don’t think any genre dominates any more.

It was my late wife, Kimberly Yale, who really schooled me in movie Westerns and the difference between a John Ford Western, ones by Howard Hawks, and Budd Boetticher’s Westerns. I finally learned and grasped what powerful movies they were, Just a few years ago, I got to see John Ford’s masterpiece The Searchers on the big screen and it was only then that I really understood how powerful it was and why its star, John Wayne, was such an icon. »

- John Ostrander

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‘SK1’: A Film Which Asks: ‘How Does One Live With Evil?’

15 January 2015 9:00 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Paris – Shot with a wavering hand-held camera, “SK1” leaves an indelible impression that the homicide squad offices at Paris’ celebrated 36 Quai des Orfevres police headquarters, at least in the 1990s, needed a far better interior decorator. Their airless drabness, capturing the mind-numbing work of the film’s protagonist, rookie homicide squad inspector Franck Magne is just one part of debutant director Frederic Tellier’s artistic arsenal. Making its world premiere at the Angouleme Festival, and sold by Snd-M6 Group at the 17th UniFrance Rendez-vous, “SK1” never depicts the horror of the violent murders committed by serial killer Guy Georges, which terrorized much of eastern Paris in the 1990s. Rather it is a portrait of the horror of their impact – on Magne, a victim’s father, even Georges himself – and of a France, here its police force, which is understaffed, under-budgeted, and reluctant to give up old traditions, in the interests, »

- John Hopewell

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Two of Redford's Biggest Box-Office Hits on TCM Tonight

6 January 2015 5:20 PM, PST | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Robert Redford movies: TCM shows 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,' 'The Sting' They don't make movie stars like they used to, back in the days of Louis B. Mayer, Jack Warner, and Harry Cohn. That's what nostalgists have been bitching about for the last four or five decades; never mind the fact that movie stars have remained as big as ever despite the demise of the old studio system and the spectacular rise of television more than sixty years ago. This month of January 2015, Turner Classic Movies will be honoring one such post-studio era superstar: Robert Redford. Beginning this Monday evening, January 6, TCM will be presenting 15 Robert Redford movies. Tonight's entries include Redford's two biggest blockbusters, both directed by George Roy Hill and co-starring Paul Newman: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, which turned Redford, already in his early 30s, into a major film star to rival Rudolph Valentino, »

- Andre Soares

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Review: “St. Ives” (1976) Starring Charles Bronson And Jacqueline Bisset; Warner Archive Streaming Service

2 January 2015 3:07 AM, PST | Cinemaretro.com | See recent CinemaRetro news »

By Don Stradley

Charles Bronson was 55 at the time of “St Ives” (1976). He was just a couple years past his star-making turn in “Death Wish”, and was enjoying a surprising run of success. I say surprising because Bronson had, after all, been little more than a craggy second banana for most of his career. Now, inexplicably, he had box office clout as a leading man. In fact, Bronson reigned unchallenged for a few years as the most popular male actor in international markets. Yes, even bigger than Eastwood, Newman, Reynolds, Redford, or any other 1970s star you can name. Many of Bronson’s movies were partly financed by foreign investors, for even if his movies didn’t score stateside, they still drew buckets of money in Prague or Madrid. Some have suggested that his popularity on foreign screens was due to how little he said in his movies (there was »

- nospam@example.com (Cinema Retro)

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Chris Melkus’ Best of 2014

1 January 2015 8:54 AM, PST | Destroy the Brain | See recent Destroy the Brain news »

Throughout the final days hours of 2014, we will be highlighting each of our contributor’s “Best of 2014″ on an individual basis. This isn’t limited to movies & television either. No, no, this bleeds over into memorabilia, music and so much more. Without further ado…

The Raid 2

Twitch, the film blog, deserves the credit for getting me really psyched about this movie. I mean, I absolutely loved The Raid but the idea of a sequel was not welcome; the ending was suitably climactic and had a pleasing dramatic punch I didn’t want diluted by what seemed like a cash-in, an assumption not alleviated by The Raid director/writer Gareth Evans’ locked-in distribution contract with Sony long before filming had even begun. But as Twitch devotedly pursued every scrap of information Evans’ fed to them during filming (there was quite a bit, a refreshing change from the usual hush of »

- Chris Melkus

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18 items from 2015


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