9 items from 2017
If you’re a baseball fan, particularly if you’re a Dodgers, Astros, Cubs or Yankees fan, the real baseball season started this past Friday with the inauguration of the American and National League Championship Series. I’m a Dodgers fan, which means I’m among that group who, arguably, have gone the longest without the satisfaction/excitement/nail-biting terror of seeing their team in the World Series, the next step for whoever wins in the Nlcs. The Dodgers last appeared in the World Series in 1988, capping a memorable run with a championship by beating the Oakland A’s. That was 29 years ago. The Cubs are the reigning Mlb champions, having won last year’s World Series after a 107-year drought. And the Yankees, a mainstay of the World Series around the turn of this century, last appeared in an October championship series in 2009.
The only team to come close »
- Dennis Cozzalio
“All the films in this book share an air of disreputability… I have tried to avoid using the word art about the movies in this book, not just because I didn’t want to inflate my claims for them, but because the word is used far too often to shut down discussion rather than open it up. If something has been acclaimed as art, it’s not just beyond criticism but often seen as above the mere mortals for whom its presumably been made. It’s a sealed artifact that offers no way in. It is as much a lie to claim we can be moved only by what has been given the imprimatur of art as it would be to deny that there are, in these scruffy movies, the very things we expect from art: avenues into human emotion and psychology, or into the character and texture of the time the films were made, »
- Dennis Cozzalio
We are knee-deep into a summer of dreary sequels, kids’ fare, and a few whip-smart outliers. If you’ve already seen the likes of The Beguiled and Baby Driver, perhaps staying home with a book is a better idea than trekking to the cinema. Let’s dive into some worthy film-centric reads.
Wonder Woman: The Art and Making of the Film by Sharon Gosling (Titan Books)
Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman is one of the biggest superhero success stories, and it deserves that designation. The classification makes reading a book like Wonder Woman: The Art and Making of the Film feel like a celebratory affair. After a brief account of the character’s comics history, we delve into designs for Themyscira, concept art of Dr. Maru’s laboratory, and somber depictions of battle. What stands out, however, are drawings and photographs showing the film’s winning costume designs. It is illuminating, »
- Christopher Schobert
Welcome to “Playback,” a Variety podcast bringing you exclusive conversations with the talents behind many of today’s hottest films.
The Sundance Film Festival wrapped up six months ago, but many of the films from this year’s lineup are finally making it into theaters this summer. “The Hero” and “Beatriz at Dinner” have arrived, while others like “Landline” and “To the Bone” are on the horizon. This week, David Lowery’s “A Ghost Story” lands, and it may be the best film of the year so far.
It’s a tough one to talk about, though, because it starts to unravel as you explain it, inevitably failing to do it justice. Lowery describes it simply as the story of “a ghost haunting one space for a long, long time.” But it deals with big metaphysical ideas, all the while drilling them down to an intimate space.
Listen to this week’s episode of “Playback” below. New »
- Kristopher Tapley
The United States is “my country, right or wrong,” of course, and I consider myself a patriotic person, but I’ve never felt that patriotism meant blind fealty to the idea of America’s rightful dominance over global politics or culture, and certainly not to its alleged preferred status on God’s short list of favored nations, or that allegiance to said country was a license to justify or rationalize every instance of misguided, foolish, narrow-minded domestic or foreign policy.
In 2012, when this piece was first posted, it seemed like a good moment to throw the country’s history and contradictions into some sort of quick relief, and the most expedient way of doing that for me was to look at the way the United States (and the philosophies at its core) were reflected in the movies, and not just the ones which approached the country head-on as a subject. »
- Dennis Cozzalio
Charlie Bronson cashed in big with this lightweight action thriller co-starring Jill Ireland and Robert Duvall. Did Duvall get involved because the original concept was a serious look at political scandals between big business, the CIA and Chile? The clues from the real source story are still there.
Region B + A Blu-ray
Koch Media / Explosive Media (De)
1975 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 96 min. / Street Date January 17, 2017 / Der Mann ohne Nerven / Available from Amazon.de Eur 15,99
Cinematography: Lucien Ballard
Editor: Bud Isaacs
Original Music: Jerry Goldsmith
Directed by: Tom Gries
Charles Bronson seems to have been an unhappy »
- Glenn Erickson
“He was an icon of his craft of motion picture sound re-recording, recognized with the highest honors of his field,” his daughter Jennifer Portman wrote on her Facebook page. “He was eccentric, irreverent, and real.”
Portman received two Oscar sound nominations in 1973 for Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather” and Michael Ritchie’s “The Candidate.” He was also double-nominated in 1974 for Peter Bogdanovich’s “Paper Moon” and Mike Nichols’ “The Day of the Dolphin.”
Portman received his first nom in 1971 for “Kotch,” directed by Jack Lemmon. He was also up for Oscars for Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein,” Herbert Ross’ “Funny Lady,” Michael Apted’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter, »
- Dave McNary
Michael Caine had an interesting run of genre flicks starting in the late ‘70s. The Swarm (1978) was laughed off the screen, Dressed to Kill (1980) was enjoyed by audiences and critics alike, and The Hand (1981) dropped his batting average once again. Nestled in between all those was The Island (1980), a killer pirate movie from the author of Jaws and directed by the man behind The Bad News Bears. What could go wrong? Well, everything, according to most folk. It’s an odd one to be sure, but the wild tonal shifts that prevent the ship from staying on a clear course make it a fascinating treasure that gets better with each viewing.
Released in June by Universal, The Island had a surefire pedigree for success; the Jaws juggernaut of producers Zanuck and Brown and author Peter Benchley (here, adapting his own novel) promised a good time to be had by all. »
- Scott Drebit
Above: Mondo poster for The Graduate (Mike Nichols, USA, 1967); artist: Rory Kurtz; lettering: Jay Shaw.On my daily movie poster Tumblr I don’t make a habit of posting fan art or art prints—call them what you will—because I’m most interested in the intersection of commerce and art that is the theatrical movie poster. But I make an exception when something stands out, and nothing stood out last year quite like Rory Kurtz’s beautiful, elegant and unexpected Mondo illustration for The Graduate, which quite rightly racked up over 200 more likes than even its nearest competitor. But its nearest competitor was fan art too: a brilliant poster for Badlands by the insanely talented Adam Juresko, whose art poster for In the Mood for Love (featured in my Maggie Cheung article) was also in the top four. What makes art posters easy to like—beyond their extraordinary artistry »
9 items from 2017
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