9 items from 2015
If you were looking for a primer on Jean-Luc Godard, you couldn't do much better than J. Hoberman's latest piece for the Nation. Also in today's roundup of news and views: Matthew Asprey Gear on the conspiracy thriller Orson Welles never got around to making, Imogen Sara Smith on Jacques Tati's Playtime, Julien Allen on Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's A Matter of Life and Death, Adam Nayman on George Stevens’s Shane, Robert Cashill on Richard Fleischer's Che!, Christopher Sharrett on Roger Corman's Bloody Mama, Leonard Quart on Nicholas Ray's The Lusty Men, interviews with Martín Rejtman, Andrei Zvyagintsev, Matt Porterfield, David Robert Mitchell (It Follows), Daniel Wolfe (Catch Me Daddy)—and much more. » - David Hudson »
In today's roundup of news and views: David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson on Jacques Tati's Playtime, Godfrey Cheshire on D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation, Caveh Zahedi on the day he met Robert Bresson, Max Goldberg on the influence of Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, Bilge Ebiri on Ousmane Sembene, J. Hoberman on Clint Eastwood and American Sniper, Gilberto Perez on Jean Renoir's A Day in the Country, Jonathan Rosenbaum on Luis Buñuel's The Young One, Howard Hampton on Nicolas Roeg and Don’t Look Now (1973), Olivier Assayas on John Carpenter’s The Fog—and lots more. » - David Hudson »
Everyone gets excited about movies for different reasons. There are plenty of times that something is announced and I look at Twitter or Facebook and see that people are going nuts for it, and I'm left cold by the news. Sometimes it's because a nostalgia button's been pushed, sometimes it's because of the creative elements involved. And there are plenty of times I put up a piece of news here and I'm thrilled about it and there reaction from you guys is a sort of deafening silence. So when I say that this is the most exciting film news that I've heard so far in 2015, I accept that my own excitement level may be pitched somewhere different than yours. But there's no way I can downplay the dopamine rush I got when I read that Leos Carax is deep into development of a new movie musical that will feature music by Sparks. »
- Drew McWeeny
Sean Penn: Honorary César goes Hollywood – again (photo: Sean Penn in '21 Grams') Sean Penn, 54, will receive the 2015 Honorary César (César d'Honneur), the French Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Crafts has announced. That means the French Academy's powers-that-be are once again trying to make the Prix César ceremony relevant to the American media. Their tactic is to hand out the career award to a widely known and relatively young – i.e., media friendly – Hollywood celebrity. (Scroll down for more such examples.) In the words of the French Academy, Honorary César 2015 recipient Sean Penn is a "living legend" and "a stand-alone icon in American cinema." It has also hailed the two-time Best Actor Oscar winner as a "mythical actor, a politically active personality and an exceptional director." Penn will be honored at the César Awards ceremony on Feb. 20, 2015. Sean Penn movies Sean Penn movies range from the teen comedy »
- Steve Montgomery
Paul Thomas Anderson learned to make movies by watching movies. Each of his films bears the ghostly fingerprints of his masters and mentors: the obsession and one-point perspective of Kubrick; the tough-guy veneers and fetid societies that sated the first decade of Scorsese’s career; the intense meditative stares of Jonathan Demme, constantly reminding us that we are, of course, watching a film—we’re immersed in it, but we are spectators, non-participants, in the hands of an artist. Anderson has never created voyeuristic or naturalistic films, never approached Cinéma vérité, and he’s never tried to feign an amateur aesthetic. He crafts films indebted to the grand ambience of New Hollywood, rendered unnaturally lucid and diligently composed. To watch one of Anderson’s films is to get a condensed lesson on the artisanship and history of American cinema.
But Anderson’s most obvious early influence—one he has name-checked, »
- Greg Cwik
I'm just slowly working my way into movie watching for the new year it would seem. Once again this more of a laid back week with only three movies watched, the first of which was showing my wife The Usual Suspects for the first time. I'm not entirely sure she was awake for the whole thing, but by the end she was like, "I knew it was him a while ago." I asked if she liked the movie, she said she did, but I was a little disappointed she didn't seem to like it as much as I did the first time I saw it... oh well. After that I saw Taken 3 and we all know how that turned out and then just last night I watched Preston Sturgess' The Palm Beach Story on the new Criterion Blu-ray coming out on January 20. I'd never seen it before and will »
- Brad Brevet
I am slowly coming out of vacation mode and it's not easy. Christmas and New Year's need to happen on Thursday every year because it really makes taking time off very easy while still allowing time to do a little work here and there. My first press screening of 2015 is still yet to happen as there wasn't a screening of Woman in Black 2 scheduled and I have yet to receive an invite to see Taken 3. The first film I'm scheduled to see is Paddington on Saturday, but there's a little thing called a Seahawks game at the exact same time and I don't think Paddington will be interfering with that. With that, the first movie I actually watched in 2015 was Jacques Tati's Mr. Hulot's Holiday as part of the Criterion Collection set I received for Christmas. It wasn't, however, the first film I watched this week as Tati's »
- Brad Brevet
Not many people can say they’ve witnessed a bank robbery, but Ruben Ostlund has. Prior to the incident in question, the provocative Swedish helmer had seen plenty of stick-ups in the movies.
“When I suddenly saw it in the street, I couldn’t use that reference at all,” he recalls. “The reality started to look surreal because I had such an expectation of what it should look like.”
Ostlund’s entire filmography could be viewed as an attempt to dismantle — or at the very least to question — how cinema shapes our view of the world. In response, the director decided to re-create the real-time scene as an 11-minute short film, “Incident by a Bank.” “I actually wanted to start a debate in the Swedish papers to discuss the way we are affected by the images we are producing,” he explains.
For that project, Ostlund set up a 5K digital »
- Peter Debruge
The two most popular posters—each with over 600 likes—that I have posted in the past three months on Movie Poster of the Day have been unfamiliar takes on very familiar movies. The stunning Italian 55" x 78" poster for Godard’s Breathless, sold by Posteritati this past fall, is strikingly different from the usual poster images of Belmondo and Seberg strolling the Champs-Elysée or smoking in bed. Instead, artist Sandro Symeoni adapts the climactic scene of the film, but gives it a much more noirish feel, with Belmondo’s petty criminal receding into the blackest of nights. Without looking at the names you’d be hard pressed to identify the film from the poster.
The Russian poster for Star Wars, below, created in 1990 for the first Russian release of the film, is even less easily identifiable: a colorful crayon-drawing »
- Adrian Curry
9 items from 2015
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