5 items from 2015
'Munich' movie cover 'Munich' movie review: Steven Spielberg tackles political time-space continuum in wildly uneven but ultimately satisfying thriller Alternately intriguing and irritating, thought-provoking and banal, subtle and patronizing, the biggest surprise about Steven Spielberg's Munich is that it – however grudgingly – works. The film, which Spielberg himself has referred to as a "prayer for peace," follows five men contracted by the Israeli government to avenge the massacre of that country's athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. Sizable chunks of this political thriller with a Message (capital "M") are simplistically written, clumsily acted, and handled with the director's notoriously heavy touch, but the old adage – blood begets blood – even if somewhat muddled, is too timely not to make an impact. Complex 'Munich' movie plot Based on George Jonas' 1984 book Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Team, whose veracity has been questioned in some quarters, Munich begins as »
- Andre Soares
There's a good case to be made for this being the silliest Bond of them all, but Moonraker's still a lot of fun...
Well, we’ve come a long, long way since From Russia With Love. Moonraker: a film that redefined the possibilities of the Bond franchise if only by sheer scale of stupidity. The space bits are relatively by-the-numbers (other than being in space). However, the script was probably written in crayon. Chases happen without explanation, people randomly bump into each other, the utterly implausible is presented as mundane. Purists think of Istanbul and weep. But treat the whole thing as a comedy – perhaps a gentle spoof – and you’ll actually enjoy yourself. A plot-hole drinking game will get everyone plastered.
The Villain: Weirdly good. The master of the dry putdown – “James Bond. You defy my attempts to devise an amusing death for you” – Hugo Drax almost steals the film. »
Big news via Blu-ray.com. Carlotta Films and Carlotta Films Us will send a new 2K restoration of Jacques Rivette's Out 1 (1971), with Juliet Berto, Bernadette Lafont, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Michael Lonsdale and Bulle Ogier, out to theaters before releasing a Blu-ray edition in France and the Us later this year. More silver discs under review: Ignatiy Vishnevetsky on Jean Renoir's The River, J. Hoberman on Orson Welles's The Lady of Shanghai and Robert Montgomery's Ride the Pink Horse, Carson Lund and Jeremy Carr on a total of four films by Yasujiro Ozu, Imogen Sara Smith on Carol Reed's Odd Man Out and Howard Hampton on Vincente Minnelli’s The Band Wagon. » - David Hudson »
Manoel de Oliveira, the oldest living active filmmaker, with a career that spanned nine decades from the silent era to the present, has died. He was 106. News of Oliveira’s death was confirmed on the website for the city of Porto, Portugal, where the director was born in 1908.
As impressive as his longevity was, Oliveira is most highly regarded as the dean of Portuguese cinema and the filmmaker most responsible for heightening the prestige of his country’s film culture on the world stage.
His work drew considerable accolades — he received no fewer than 12 career achievement prizes from major film festivals, including a career Venice Golden Lion and a special jury prize (for 1991’s “The Divine Comedy”) as well as a Cannes jury prize for his 1999 film “The Letter” — but distribution of Oliveira’s films, especially in the U.S., was relatively limited given his well-honed practice of adapting highly literary texts, »
- Robert Koehler
Nearly two decades into a career that has since spanned nearly seven, Jeanne Moreau had already worked under the direction of Godard, Malle, Welles, Antonioni, Demy, Ophüls, Frankenheimer and Buñuel, among others, by the time she collaborated again with François Truffaut, who had previously helped make her a star with Jules and Jim. Their third collaboration (the first being 400 Blows), The Bride Wore Black, a psycho-thriller inspired by the work of his hero Alfred Hitchcock again put her in the spotlight, this time as a vengeful seductress to which Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman’s Bride of Kill Bill is much indebted to (though the homage crazed auteur claims to have never seen the film). With incredible bipolar turns, Moreau plays Julie Kohler, a widow on a mission to take revenge on the five men (including Claude Rich, Michel Bouquet, Michael Lonsdale, Daniel Boulanger and Charles Denner) responsible for the death of her husband. »
- Jordan M. Smith
5 items from 2015
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