18 items from 2014
Tensions run high in Kevin Macdonald’s dark submarine thriller
Rather than turning to the usual submarine flick canon (from Das Boot to Crimson Tide) director Kevin Macdonald tellingly used William Friedkin’s Sorcerer (a remake of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s The Wages of Fear) as a touchstone for this tale of desperate men and monstrous machines. Jude Law goes for broke as the recently redundant skipper who agrees to pilot a rust-bucket Soviet sub into hostile waters in search of a Nazi U-boat laden with treasure. With a rag-tag team of antagonistic Brits and Russians at one another’s throats in the pressure-cooker environment, the sub runs silent and deep, dropping under the radar with life-threatening consequences. Can the crew find the booty and split the spoils without being detected? Or will the harsh economic realities of “equal shares” (the fewer the survivors, the greater the cut) cause them to »
- Mark Kermode, Observer film critic
Before he spiraled into a critical nose-dive from which he’s yet to recover, M. Night Shyamalan was heralded as the next great American filmmaker. (No, seriously.) Before his gimmickry become obvious–all the twist endings, the important details withheld, trickery in lieu of genuine cleverness–Shyamalan crafted a genuine masterpiece that remains as potent as ever, regardless of the spoiling of its sneaky surprises. Bruce Willis has never approached the grace and subtlety of his performance here; his empathetic, sorrowful turn as a child psychologist searching for redemption deserved an Oscar nod. Maybe he woulda gotten one had this movie not come out in the insanely good movie year of our lord 1999. Willis is matched every step of the way by Haley Joel Osment, giving one of the great childhood performances, and lending credence to lines that could have »
- Greg Cwik
I’ve written a lot about the German designer Hans Hillmann in these pages and elsewhere, and the current exhibition running through September 27 at the Kemistry Gallery is a must-see if you’re in London (there are some great images of the exhibit here if you’re not), but I only recently came across the work of a peer and compatriot of Hillmann’s, Karl Oskar Blase. Born the same year as Hillmann, on March 24, 1925, and now in his late 80s, Blase was, like Hillmann, a professor at the Kunsthochschule Kassel. Art director of the German design magazine Form, Blase designed every cover of the magazine from 1957 to 1968. He is also renowned as a designer of stamps.
Throughout the 1960s Blase also designed film posters for the revival house Atlas Films (as did Hillmann). His posters are mostly a »
- Adrian Curry
Sometimes life doesn’t play out like in the movies, or rather, sometimes the movies don’t play out like in real life. Actor-director Brady Corbet can fondly look back at Olivier Assayas’ Sils Maria as proof (he plays an author courting the A-lister) that Juliette Binoche was his first choice, but due to scheduling conflicts, a Cosmopolis-like reunion between the actress and Robert Pattinson will have no longer be the case. Variety reports that the matriarch role now goes to Berenice Bejo, the Oscar nominated actress who saw her last film (by hubby Michel Hazanavicius) get panned in Cannes, will next be featured alongside Melanie Laurent and Audrey Tautou in Tran Anh Hung’s Eternity. The Childhood of the Leader is now set for a November shoot in Budapest.
- Eric Lavallee
The Sitges Film Festival is typically a feast for horror fans, and this year's event looks to be no different as a big batch of new genre movies has been added to the lineup that's sure to make you drool.
From the Press Release:
The 47th Sitges Film Festival, to be held from 3 to 12 October, will be loaded with films that are all eagerly awaited by fantastic and, especially, horror genre film lovers. Festival Director Àngel Sala has announced the names of a good handful of new films that will be included in Sitges 2014.
These new Festival incorporations have been added to the lineup of an edition that will be opening with Jaume Balagueró’s [Rec] 4: Apocalypse, presenting its Grand Honorary Award to Roland Emmerich, and including presentations of the latest productions from important directors like Jean-Luc Godard, David Cronenberg, Kim-ki Duk, and Takashi Miike. See more details on those »
- Debi Moore
In an odd turn of events, this list has a number of films that don’t have English-language titles. They just go by whatever the original title was. Good for us. What we do see in this portion of the list is a few movies that weren’t really created specifically to be horror films, but their themes and visuals made it so. In addition, we have some heavyweights of non-horror cinema creating horror films that push the genre all the more upward. “Thinking man horror,” if you will.
20. Le locataire (1976)
English Language Title: The Tenant
Directed by: Roman Polanski
Roman Polanski has made one of the greatest horror “trilogies” of all time with 1965′s British production Repulsion, 1968′s American production Rosemary’s Baby, and 1976′s French production The Tenant, completing his “Apartment Trilogy.” Unlike the other two, Polanski actually stars in The Tenant as Trelkovsky, a reserved man renting an apartment in Paris. »
- Joshua Gaul
The Classic French Film Festival celebrates St. Louis’ Gallic heritage and France’s cinematic legacy. The featured films span the decades from the 1920s through the 1980s (with a particular focus on filmmakers from the New Wave), offering a comprehensive overview of French cinema. The Mystery Of Picasso will screen as part of the festival at 7pm Friday, June 20th at the St. Louis Art Museum.
In 1955, Henri-Georges Clouzot, the acclaimed director of “The Wages of Fear” and “Diabolique,” joined forces with artist Pablo Picasso to make an entirely new kind of documentary, a film that could capture the moment and the mystery of creativity. Together, they devised an innovative technique: The filmmaker placed his camera behind a semi-transparent surface on which the artist drew with special inks that bled through. Clouzot thus captured a perfect reverse image of Picasso’s brushstrokes, and the movie screen itself became the artist’s canvas. »
- Tom Stockman
Palais des Festivals at the 2013 Cannes Film FestivalPhoto: RopeofSilicon.com The 2014 Cannes Film Festival begins in just two days and since I won't be able to attend this year I still wanted to do something Cannes-related. I started looking back over the years of the festival, which is celebrating its 67th edition this year. I considered going back and reviewing 15-16 films from a specific year in the past, but I thought of it too late. I then started looking over the history of past winners, and while I realize I haven't seen even half of the Cannes Film Festival winners I thought it would be fun to take a look at a list of the top ten I had seen, assuming readers could add their thoughts in the comments, suggesting some titles I have not yet seen or those you believe belong in the top ten. As we all know, »
- Brad Brevet
Thirty-seven years ago, director William Friedkin knew who was responsible for the critical and commercial failure of his "Exorcist" follow-up, 1977's allegorical action-adventure "Sorcerer": Darth Vader.
"Sorcerer" opened about a month after "Star Wars," replacing it at Hollywood's Chinese Theatre, for instance, only to be pulled a week later (after slow sales) and replaced by "Star Wars." To Friedkin, George Lucas's blockbuster had displaced not just "Sorcerer" but the entire movement of American director-driven cinema that had flourished in the early 1970s, to be supplanted ever-after by assembly-line franchise and action films designed more to make money than to create art.
These days, the 78-year-old Friedkin is more philosophical about "Sorcerer," acknowledging in his 2013 memoir "The Friedkin Connection" the role his own creative decisions played in the film's negative reception. For one thing, his hubris in remaking a classic (Henri-Georges Clouzot's 1953 adventure "The Wages of Fear") earned »
- Gary Susman
I interviewed William Friedkin back in 2012 (read part one here and part two here) and asked about the status of Sorcerer back then, knowing of the legal issues it was facing as Paramount and Universal couldn't seem to decide who owned the rights to the film. Friedkin was suing both studios in order to figure that out and hopefully get a remastered version of, what I believe is best called a "cult classic" at this point, the film released. Two years later, it finally arrives courtesy of Warner Home Video in all its tension laden madness. While Friedkin doesn't like the term, Sorcerer is a remake of French director Henri-Georges Clouzot's Wages of Fear (which itself was based on Georges Arnaud's novel), an amazing movie and one I've written about before, including my 2009 review of the Criterion Blu-ray. I can understand Friedkin's aversion to the word "remake" as »
- Brad Brevet
In the mid-1970s, there were few American filmmakers riding as high as William Friedkin. The French Connection swept the 1971 Academy Awards, nabbing Friedkin a Best Director statuette. The Exorcist, released two years later, broke box office records to become one of the top grossing films of all time. Boasting creative power and freedom that most directors could only dream about, Friedkin opted to film an updated version of French auteur Henri-Georges Clouzot’s classic The Wages of Fear (1953).
The result, 1977’s Sorcerer, became one of the most notorious box office bombs of the decade. Its dark, unrelenting tale of four desperate, disparate men (Roy Scheider, Bruno Cremer, Francisco Rabal, Amidou) who undertake a suicide mission by driving truckloads of nitroglycerine across the rugged South American jungle wasn’t what the changing tide of audience tastes were buying then, »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
What’s my favorite Woody Allen movie? When I was asked, along with several other Variety staffers, to answer that question — long before Dylan Farrow posed it rhetorically to the world — for a 2013 sidebar to my own Allen interview, I picked “Husbands and Wives,” Allen’s raw and formally inventive 1992 drama of two married couples variously parting ways and reuniting amidst a roundelay of infidelities. That movie famously premiered while the director’s separation from Mia Farrow was still playing out daily in the headlines, and had reportedly been shot just as Mia was learning of Woody’s nascent affair with her adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn.
All of this powered “Husbands” — one of Allen’s rare movies to be released nationwide on its first weekend — to above-average box office, but with all the life-imitates-art parallels in the press, the movie’s actual merits got somewhat lost in the shuffle. There were two Oscar nominations, »
- Scott Foundas
For the first time a daily matinee of a classic film will accompany the new films shown in competition at the upcoming City Of Lights, City Of Angels: A Week Of French Film Premieres In Hollywood.
Classic film screenings include restored versions of Jean Cocteau’s Beauty And The Beast, René Clément’s Purple Noon, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s L’Assassin Habitue Au 21 and Otar Iosseliani’s Favourites Of The Moon.
The 18th edition of the festival will run at the Directors Guild Of America headquarters from April 21-28. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeremy Kay)
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will open the 2014 edition of the TCM Classic Film Festival with the world premiere of a brand new restoration of the beloved Rodgers & Hammerstein musical Oklahoma! (1955). TCM’s own Robert Osborne, who serves as official host for the festival, will introduce Oklahoma!, with the film’s star, Academy Award®-winner Shirley Jones, in attendance. Vanity Fair will also return for the fifth year as a festival partner and co-presenter of the opening night after-party. Marking its fifth year, the TCM Classic Film Festival will take place April 10-13, 2014, in Hollywood. The gathering will coincide withTCM’s 20th anniversary as a leading authority in classic film.
In addition, the festival has added several high-profile guests to this year’s lineup, including Oscar®-winning director William Friedkin, who will attend for the screening of the U.S. premiere restoration of his suspenseful cult classic Sorcerer (1977); Kim Novak, who »
- Melissa Thompson
In the words of James McAvoy Filth is a “bold, brave, controversial and a rare and precious film in English speaking cinema.” One could almost be mistaken for thinking that Scotland’s leading man was referring to his own performance, if it were not for that one singular word “film.” Every great actor at the mention of their name has that one singular film that immediately comes to mind, or in the case of Robert de Niro a handful of films that can spark a furious impassioned debate amongst red-blooded cineastes. For James McAvoy the character is Bruce Robertson; the film Filth.
Whilst in my introduction to Jon S. Baird’s interview I stated that Filth “delivered a shock to the system, and shook up the cinematic social consciousness with a bold and courageous piece of filmmaking.” Equally McAvoy’s full blooded performance delivered the same shock and shakes that »
- Paul Risker
This Story Has Been Updated From Our Original Posting Of January 6. The Blu-ray Packaging Art Has Been Added And The Title Is Now Available For Pre-order From Amazon.
Good news for fans of William Friedkin's underrated 1977 classic Sorcerer: after years of false starts, the remastered film will now be available on Blu-ray through Warner Home Video. Check out the press release we've just received from them:
Burbank, Calif., January 6, 2014 – William Friedkin’s Sorcerer, the cult suspense thriller that has been largely overlooked since its 1977 release, has now been acquired and fully restored by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and will make its Blu-ray™ debut on April 22, 2014. The release, also available on DVD, will be packaged as a 40-page Blu-ray book filled with beautiful images from the film and excerpts from the book, “The Friedkin Connection: A Memoir.”
- email@example.com (Cinema Retro)
Finally having all the legal issues settled, Sorcerer, William Friedkin's long buried 1977 remake of Henri-Georges Clouzot's classic suspense piece Wages of Fear, will be available to those outside of the European festival circuit (where it played via a restored print at Venice last year, but few (perhaps no) other cinematic bastions - no Tiff or Nyff or Lightbox or Moma.) Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is releasing the film sans-extras, but in glorious Blu-ray on April 22, 2014.The full Press Release, which includes notes on the restoration, is below:January 6, 2014 - William Friedkin's Sorcerer, the cult suspense thriller that has been largely overlooked since its 1977 release, has now been acquired and fully restored by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and will make its Blu-ray™ debut...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: April 22, 2014
Price: DVD $12.96, Blu-ray $27.98
William Friedkin’s Sorcerer, the 1977 cult suspense thriller will make its Blu-ray debut in a 40-page Blu-ray book filled with images from the film and excerpts from the book Friedkin’s recently published book, The Friedkin Connection: A Memoir.
Sorcerer is derived from the same Georges Arnaud novel that inspired Henri-Georges Clouzot’s 1953 French classic, The Wages of Fear. The film, made following the successes of Friedkin’s The French Connection and The Exorcist, tells the story of four men who end up in a dismal South American town where an American oil company is seeking courageous drivers willing to haul nitroglycerin through 200 miles of treacherous terrain. The four displaced men have nothing to lose so they agree for a small payment of cash.
18 items from 2014
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