6 items from 2015
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
An oldie, but a goodie. Open Culture resurfaced this list (below) sent from director Martin Scorsese to a budding young filmmaker. Let's appraise it. Italian directors are well-represented but this list needs some Bertolucci ("The Conformist," for one, though his early "Before the Revolution" makes the cut) and Pasolini ("Salo" or "Teorema" for weaker stomachs). What about Antonioni's "L'eclisse"? The last ten minutes or so, when neither Alain Delon or Monica Vitti show up for their appointed date at a water fountain, are a formally radical must-have for aspiring directors. And no Fellini? Bergman? Come on Marty. There's a real dearth of women on here. Where's Chantal Akerman, director of the mind-blowing "Jeanne Dielman"? Or Agnes Varda, whose "Cleo From 5 to 7" and others have inspired innumerable present-day indie filmmakers. Scorsese seems to be limiting himself to two films per director -- though Godard (why »
- Ryan Lattanzio
If Alex Ross Perry’s previous film, “Listen Up Philip,” aspired to the kaleidoscopic narrative density of a John Fowles or William Gaddis, his new “Queen of Earth” carries the spiky intensity and tart aftertaste of a John Cheever short story, as it observes the psychological breakdown of a young woman coping (badly) with a series of abrupt life changes. An unnerving, acidly funny work that fosters an acute air of dread without ever fully announcing itself as a horror movie, Perry’s fourth feature may unfold on a smaller canvas than the expansive “Philip,” but is every bit as sure of what it wants to do and how to get there, built around an utterly fearless central performance by Elisabeth Moss. Audiences who found Perry’s earlier work misanthropic won’t want to touch “Queen” with a 10-foot pole, but heartier souls — and connoisseurs of uncompromising auteur cinema — should rise to the occasion. »
- Scott Foundas
The Museum Of Modern Art and the Film Society Of Lincoln Center announced the first nine films in the long-lived showcase for new work. They include Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s winner of the Critics’ Week grand prize at Cannes, which is set in a Ukrainian school for deaf and mute coeds and is told entirely in sign language, with no subtitles. The Tribe is one of four films that will make their way to Manhattan from Park City, Utah, where they’re also on the Sundance roster: Charles Poekel’s Christmas, Again, about a heartbroken Christmas-tree salesman; Rick Alverson’s Entertainment, a follow-up to The Comedy, about a broken-down comedian doing stand-up across the Mojave Desert and Kornél Mundruczó’s White God, winner of the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes about a dog’s journey back to its owner after being abandoned in the city.
Representing 11 countries from around the world, »
- The Deadline Team
The fifth entry in an on-going series of audiovisual essays by Cristina Álvarez López and Adrian Martin.
Inside every narrative film is a non-narrative film struggling to get out. A film of details, of in-betweens, of atmospheres; of nothing-much-happening and everyday banality. A film of redundant repetition and obligatory scene-setting. A film where glances fall into the void rather than guiding a drama; where gestures and actions happen for their own sakes rather than for the symbolic or thematic meaning they project. A film where the background surges forward and becomes the foreground; where rooms and objects for once really do become (as that lousy reviewing cliché loves to say) ‘characters in their own right.’
A film without intrigue. Or, at any rate, only the most minimal filigree of intrigue, perhaps a single turning point or shock. In their great and too-little-known 1998 book To Dress a Nude: Exercises in Imagination, »
- Cristina Álvarez López & Adrian Martin
How would you program this year's newest, most interesting films into double features with movies of the past you saw in 2014?
Looking back over the year at what films moved and impressed us, it is clear that watching old films is a crucial part of making new films meaningful. Thus, the annual tradition of our end of year poll, which calls upon our writers to pick both a new and an old film: they were challenged to choose a new film they saw in 2014—in theatres or at a festival—and creatively pair it with an old film they also saw in 2014 to create a unique double feature.
All the contributors were given the option to write some text explaining their 2014 fantasy double feature. What's more, each writer was given the option to list more pairings, with or without explanation, as further imaginative film programming we'd be lucky to catch »
6 items from 2015
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