12 items from 2017
Mark Allison Apr 18, 2017
10 years ago was was a high watermark in Hollywood - and British - filmmaking. We've been looking at why...
Ten years on, and 2007 must surely be remembered as one of the finest years in English-language film-making, quite possibly the best of this century so far. Like 1939, 1976, or 1994, it was one of those years in which a succession of veritable classics came into being. So many, in fact, that some of the best examples were cruelly overlooked by the hype machine of the day. A decade later, it’s high time to look back at 2007 for both its celebrated landmarks and forgotten masterpieces.
Eddy Gardiner on star ratings…
Star ratings have a habit of ruling film criticism. Bus posters and billboards particularly love their eye-catching nature, and indeed it makes sense to advertise with such a clear visual aid in areas where people will only grab a quick glance at the poster in question. Even if there’s a small quote beneath, it’s the number of stars which stay in the person’s mind. They’re also decent fodder for trailers – we’ll often see blink-and-you’ll-miss flashes of 4 and 5-stars at the end, but rarely be able to discern which outlet actually awarded them. Although that’s nothing compared to the mischief used in the poster for Legend. It was only an eagle-eyed viewer who spotted that The Guardian’s 2-star review had been cleverly positioned to look like the 4-stars surrounding it. Morally ambiguous, perhaps, but certainly clever.
Indeed, they »
- Edward Gardiner
When Ken Russell’s provocative religious horror “The Devils” became available to stream for the first time last week, cinephiles the world over were re-introduced to one of the greatest under appreciated films of all time — one that is surprisingly poignant in our current state of political unease. Infamous for its controversial release (the film was banned in several countries and received an X rating only after Russell cut a handful of the most incendiary scenes), the 1971 epic offers a stylish and scathing parable about the dangerous ways that the powerful can exploit religious zeal to stay that way.
Based on the true story of the trial of Urbain Grandier, a Catholic priest who was executed in 1634 on charges of witchcraft, Russell adapted “The Devils” from John Whiting’s 1960 play and Aldous Huxley’s 1952 novel, The Devils of Loudun. Russell digressed stylistically from his source material, taking a contemporary approach »
- Jude Dry
Simon Brew Mar 21, 2017
How many of us revisit a film, if it didn't work for us first time around?
A bit of clickbait avoidance. The answer to the question posed in the title is: it clearly depends on the film. But I think there’s a bit more to it than that. Hence this article.
Let’s start, then, with Stephen Fry. In his relatively recent memoir More Fool Me, he spends a welcome chunk of the opening section discussing books, and how memories of books can leak over time. He ties it into Guy Pearce’s character in Memento, thus earning a few extra geek points from the jar.
But there’s a sentence he writes, on page 15, that struck me at the time, and has struck me regularly since. For he simply recalls that “A friend of mine pointed out recently how absurd it was that people reread »
Ryan Lambie Feb 26, 2017
First came the five-star reviews, then came the criticisms. Using La La Land as a case study, we look at the anatomy of a backlash...
Reader, you should have seen the queue: it stretched all the way out of the cinema, down the street, round the corner and on for another half a kilometre or so. This was the line for La La Land at the London Film Festival late last year, and there was a definite hum of enthusiasm in the air.
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Hype had already built around the musical since its first screening at the Venice Film Festival a couple of months earlier, and as a result, there were so many people desperate to see the movie »
Simon Brew Feb 22, 2017
How a two hour intervention from Tom Cruise saved Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels from going straight to video...
The film Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels helped launched several careers. Its director, Guy Ritchie, went on to make movies such as Snatch, Sherlock Holmes and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (his King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword is just around the corner). The mighty Statham, meanwhile, got his acting break in the film, as did Vinnie Jones.
Yet for some time, the fate of Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels looked perilous. Vaughn, chatting to Mark Kermode last year for the Radio 4 programme The Business Of Film, admitted that the movie was struggling to find a distributor. The turning point, »
Note: Comments from Paul W.S. Anderson are taken from Lights, Camera, Game Over!: How Video Game Movies Get Made, which is available for pre-order now.
Regular listeners to the Flickering Myth Podcast will know that my movie tastes aren’t the norm when it comes to being a paid ‘film critic’. I have little interest in The Godfather or Citizen Kane, but will happily talk ad nauseam about the Child’s Play series or Friday the 13th. When it comes to Spielberg I’m more Jurassic Park and Raiders of the Lost Ark than Jaws and Schindler’s List, and I loathe the works of Woody Allen and Wes Anderson. I’ve not seen any of the films nominated for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars. Not one. Come to think of it, I didn’t see any of last year’s either. »
- Luke Owen
Simon Brew Feb 1, 2017
Two British directors made two fascinating science fiction films in the 2000s. Danny Boyle gave the world the terrific Sunshine in 2007, and Duncan Jones’ debut feature, Moon, arrived in 2009. The pair, though, have a little link between them, that was unearthed by Mark Kermode.
Ryan Lambie Jan 31, 2017
In the late 90s, two very different filmmakers were still in the (relatively) early stages of their careers. Mexican director Guillermo del Toro had released his first feature, Cronos (1993) to widespread acclaim. The UK's Danny Boyle had captured the zeitgeist with his second movie, Trainspotting, and was about to embark on his next film, A Life Less Ordinary (1997).
Had everything gone to plan, del Toro and Boyle could have wound up directing their own chapters of a three-part anthology movie - the sci-fi equivalent of, say, Amicus Productions' portmanteau horror films of the 60s and 70s, such as The House That Dripped Blood »
Singin’ in the Rain, Carpool Karaoke… In these gloomy days, try the New Review team’s list of guaranteed mood-enhancers
• Tell us your favourite cultural pick-me-ups in the comments below for an alternative list next week
We may have lost Gene Wilder last year, but the sheer joy of his comedy lives on in this endlessly rewatchable treat which he co-wrote with director Mel Brooks. The scene in which Wilder’s Dr Frederick Frankenstein and Peter Boyle’s Monster perform their top-hat-and-tails rendition of Puttin’ on the Ritz is quite simply one of the funniest things I have ever seen, while Madeline Kahn, Marty Feldman and Teri Garr are all at the top of their game. Mark Kermode, chief film critic
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- The Observer
Catherine Shoard (Sex, suicide, torture: is arthouse really so sophisticated?, 5 January) takes a very select view of arthouse films amid her confusing lambasting of fireworks. Chichester Cinema at New Park has recently programmed Embrace of the Serpent, a Mark Kermode 2016 favourite from Colombia, Paths of the Soul, a Tibetan masterpiece and Bridge, an Indian film, a first for its child psychiatrist director, and another tale beautifully told. Sure, there is a would-be suicide in the latter but, in common with all good films that may contain the vexed subjects Catherine decides to take on, it’s how it’s done. And, no, fireworks are not boring as she states. Reach for your inner childlike wonderment, Catherine – and avoid combining two highly disparate subjects.
Chichester, West Sussex
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Mondo and Death Waltz are stepping back into the strange and surreal town limits of a certain small town in Washington with their upcoming vinyl release of Angelo Badalamenti's soundtrack for David Lynch's 1992 film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me.
Alamo Drafthouse will also celebrate the film's 25th anniversary with screenings of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me at select theaters this month. For more information, we have the official press release with full details and a look at the cover art and packaging for the vinyl soundtrack:
Press Release: Austin, TX - Wednesday, January 4, 2017 - Mondo Music label Death Waltz Recording Company announces its release of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me on vinyl for the 25th anniversary »
- Derek Anderson
12 items from 2017
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