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2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2006 | 2004 | 2003 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1994

11 items from 2016


Whit Stillman’s Top 10 Films

13 June 2016 11:25 AM, PDT | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

“It kind of freed me from a lot of criticisms people have from my other films,” Whit Stillman told us at Sundance earlier this year, speaking about adapting Jane Austen‘s epistolary novel Lady Susan, which became Love & Friendship. “Things can work really well and not be entirely realistic and often they can be better than realism. We love the old James Bond films. They weren’t realistic, but they’re delightful. And the great 30s films. The Awful Truth with Cary Grant and Irene Dunne. It’s not realistic; it’s just perfect.”

To celebrate Stillman’s latest feature becoming his most successful yet at the box office, we’re highlighting his 10 favorite films, from a ballot submitted for the most recent Sight & Sound poll. Along with the aforementioned Leo McCarey classic, he includes romantic touchstones from Preston Sturges, Ernst Lubitsh, and François Truffaut. As for his favorite Alfred Hitchcock, he fittingly picks perhaps one of the best scripts he directed, and one not mentioned often enough.

We’ve covered many directors’ favorites, but this is one that perhaps best reflects the style and tone of an artist’s filmography. Check it out below, followed by our discussion of his latest film, if you missed it.

The Awful Truth (Leo McCarey)

Big Deal on Madonna Street (Mario Monicelli)

The Gay Divorcee (Mark Sandrich)

Howards End (James Ivory)

Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (Preston Sturges)

The Shop Around the Corner (Ernst Lubitsch)

Stolen Kisses (François Truffaut)

Stranger than Paradise (Jim Jarmusch)

Strangers on a Train (Alfred Hitchcock)

Wagon Master (John Ford)

See more directors’ favorite films.

»

- Jordan Raup

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The Forgotten: Hobart Henley's "The Big Pond" (1930)

14 April 2016 6:47 AM, PDT | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

I find it impossible to believe anyone called Hobart Henley could ever be a great film director, but on the other hand, I also find it impossible to dislike a film director called Hobart Henley. It's too much fun reading his name in a credits sequence.Henley had been an actor, which seems to account for his preposterous, alliterative name, except it seems that really was his name, not a stage contrivance. He directed numerous silent films from the teens on, all of them obscure, but his late-career outpouring of a few cute pre-Codes is better remembered. Night World (1932) is enjoyable, and Roadhouse Nights (1930) is remarkable for being the only official adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's Red Harvest (unofficial source material for Yojimbo, A Fistful of Dollars, Last Man Standing...), only you wouldn't know it because it reached the screen as a Jimmy Durante musical. The only thing it has »

- David Cairns

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Hail, Caesar! review – George Clooney bigger, broader, zanier in classic Coen caper

3 March 2016 4:09 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

The Coen brothers put their signature quirky deadpan to good use in this gloriously watchable period caper about the golden era of Hollywood

The lost empires of Hollywood and Rome form a quaint backdrop to the Coen brothers’ very enjoyable new movie. It’s a crazy, if lugubrious, caper about the golden, postwar age of Tinseltown, like a Hollywood tale that PG Wodehouse might have written, but with that ominous deadpan, quirky-Coeny quality where the cheeriness would otherwise go. There are some stunningly realised pastiche set-pieces.

Woody Allen would have made this with exactly the same cast, but picked up the pace by 20% and made Scarlett Johansson’s grumpy Esther Williams-style diva his leading lady. As it is, the Coens give a recurring central-cameo role to George Clooney, playing Baird Whitlock, a pampered middle-aged movie star and none-too-bright alcohol enthusiast, who is drugged and kidnapped by a mysterious group calling themselves the Future. »

- Peter Bradshaw

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Hail, Caesar! review – George Clooney bigger, broader, zanier in classic Coen caper

3 March 2016 4:09 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

The Coen brothers put their signature quirky deadpan to good use in this gloriously watchable period caper about the golden era of Hollywood

The lost empires of Hollywood and Rome form a quaint backdrop to the Coen brothers’ very enjoyable new movie. It’s a crazy, if lugubrious, caper about the golden, postwar age of Tinseltown, like a Hollywood tale that PG Wodehouse might have written, but with that ominous deadpan, quirky-Coeny quality where the cheeriness would otherwise go. There are some stunningly realised pastiche set-pieces.

Woody Allen would have made this with exactly the same cast, but picked up the pace by 20% and made Scarlett Johansson’s grumpy Esther Williams-style diva his leading lady. As it is, the Coens give a recurring central-cameo role to George Clooney, playing Baird Whitlock, a pampered middle-aged movie star and none-too-bright alcohol enthusiast, who is drugged and kidnapped by a mysterious group calling themselves the Future. »

- Peter Bradshaw

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25 great movie comedies that run for 90 minutes or less

2 March 2016 1:52 PM, PST | Den of Geek | See recent Den of Geek news »

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Need a good laugh, but only got an hour and a half? Might we recommend this little lot...

I’m of the firm belief that films work most effectively when their runtime is 90 minutes or less. It forces an economy of story and dialogue which propels the film into its best self. No bloated middle, extended ending, or wasted stories here. This goes double for comedies. They should never outstay their welcome. But they seem to be getting longer, as we recently pointed out here.

So to refresh your movie comedy palette, here are 25 films that are 90 minutes or under. I’ve tried to avoid the more obvious ones, and shine a light on those comedies which might have gone a bit unappreciated over the years, but are well worth a hour and a half of your time. This lean runtime isn’t a guarantee of greatness of course, »

- simonbrew

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Preston Sturges: how a master of daftness conquered Hollywood

12 February 2016 7:00 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Sturges’s screwball comedies play with big ideas and serious themes. So what makes them some of the funniest films ever made?

It was a sprint worthy of his greatest farces: between 1937 and 1944, Preston Sturges made some of the funniest films Hollywood ever produced, including The Great McGinty, The Lady Eve, Sullivan’s Travels, The Palm Beach Story, The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek, and Hail the Conquering Hero. Then suddenly, as if his frantic, frenzied comedies had exhausted not only himself but his form, Sturges ran out of steam. Blending the comical and serious, farcical and cerebral, high and low, Sturges found catalytic energy in mixing formulas like a madcap scientist; as if he had released actual kinetic energy, he went ricocheting through Hollywood cinema, until he fell to earth with a thud. Happily, the BFI season celebrating Sturges offers audiences the chance to rediscover golden-era Hollywood’s minister of misrule. »

- Sarah Churchwell

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BFI Review – The Lady Eve (1941)

10 February 2016 12:50 AM, PST | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

The Lady Eve, 1941.

Directed by Preston Sturges.

Starring Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda.

Synopsis:

A con-woman, and her family, have their eyes on a rich man who joins their cruise ship. But love is in the air…

We know Eve. The temptress seducing Adam to take a bite out of the apple in the Garden of Eden. Preston Sturges The Lady Eve, starring Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda, takes this temptress and places her in America, whereby an affluent and naïve chap is the Adam to the money-hungry Eve. The Lady Eve takes some of the memorable screwball comedy clichés of the era, including some pratfalls from the silent comedians, and mixes it together as a sprightly concoction of romance and wealth amongst the elite members of society.

He is the son of a successful ale merchant, travelling back from South America to New York after researching snakes. She is »

- Simon Columb

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The Lady Eve Saturday Morning at The Hi-Pointe

9 February 2016 10:11 AM, PST | WeAreMovieGeeks.com | See recent WeAreMovieGeeks.com news »

“I need him like the ax needs the turkey!”

The Lady Eve screens this Saturday morning, February 13th at The Hi-Pointe Theater (1005 McCausland Ave., St. Louis, Mo 63117) as part of their Classic Film Series.

Barbara Stanwyck should have been court-ordered to keep a safe distance from any future cast member of My Three Sons. In Double Indemnity she cons the future Pa Douglas (Fred McMurray) into a deadly scheme. In the 1941 Preston Sturges comedy The Lady Eve, she messes with William Demarest, Uncle Charley himself, by whisking gullible Henry Fonda from under his protective glare.

Fonda plays the young heir to the Pike’s Pale Ale brewery fortune, who prefers spending his time chasing snakes in South America while his guardian Muggsy (Demarest) looks on. On a boat for home, young Pike catches the eye of Jean Harrington (Stanwyck) who sets out to scam the boy but winds up falling in love with him instead. »

- Tom Stockman

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This week’s new film events

5 February 2016 5:00 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Let All The Children Boogie | Unfaithfully Yours: The Comedies Of Preston Surges

Few directors wrote their own material in the 1940s, but Preston Sturges was an exception in every way. He sold his script for The Great McGinty for $10 in exchange for the chance to direct it, and he clearly knew what he wanted, which is about the same things audiences today want: polished repartee, energetic screwball comedy, cheese-free romance and sharp social satire. This season showcases his work, from his masterpiece, Sullivan’s Travels – as fine a film about film-making as has ever been made – to those that tested the boundaries of the era audaciously. In The Miracle Of Morgan’s Creek, a woman can’t remember who she’s married (and she’s pregnant). In The Palm Beach Story, a woman marries someone richer in order to bankroll her first husband; and in McGinty itself, a homeless »

- Steve Rose

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Why so serious? The directors ditching the daft for the dramatic

28 January 2016 11:05 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

A raft of Hollywood film-makers are forsaking the likes of Austin Powers and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 for true stories about blacklisted communists and arms dealers in Afghanistan

Preston Sturges’s immortal 1941 Sullivan’s Travels fulfils its own premise brilliantly. Its hero, John Sullivan (Joel McCrea), is an archetypal Hollywood hack, purveyor of racy comedies such as Hey Hey in the Hayloft and Ants in Your Pants of 1939. But now he yearns to make his personal, meaningful important movie, O Brother Where Art Thou? (The Coens imagined their movie was the type of thing Sullivan would have made next.) “I want to hold a mirror up to life. I want this to be a picture of dignity! A true canvas of the suffering of humanity!” Sullivan tells his studio bosses.

“But with a little sex in it,” they add. They’d rather he made Ants in Your Pants of 1941. Being a pampered Hollywood director, »

- Steve Rose

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Notebook's 8th Writers Poll: Fantasy Double Features of 2015

4 January 2016 6:41 AM, PST | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

How would you program this year's newest, most interesting films into double features with movies of the past you saw in 2015?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 2015—in theatres or at a festival—and creatively pair it with an old film they also saw in 2015 to create a unique double feature.All the contributors were given the option to write some text explaining their 2015 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 »

- Notebook

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11 items from 2016


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