14 items from 2016
Sometimes the best way to de-stress after those stressful Thanksgiving dinner conversations is by watching some wholesome, feel-good TV with a mug of spiked cocoa. With the premiere of Netflix’s “Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life” coming Friday (read our review here), the original series is essentially comfort food for the mind, chock-full of intelligence and sharp-tongued wit.
For those who have yet to watch the original and need a crash course, here are the best episodes from each season to get you started. Netflix has all seven seasons available.
Note: This is not a favorites list — these are the episodes that best represent the series as a whole.
Season 1, Episodes 1 & 2 — “Pilot” & “The Lorelais’ First Day at Chilton”
Though technically two episodes, it’s imperative to watch the first two episodes in succession to grasp the show’s true grit. Set in the fictional Connecticut town of Stars Hollow, the »
- Arya Roshanian
Mark Allen chats to Ganzeer about The Solar Grid…
Writer/artist Ganzeer’s first full-length comics project is certainly an ambitious one. His nine-part series The Solar Grid is a sprawling socio-political science fiction story that spans centuries of future history and interplanetary distances, featuring a diverse array of characters each struggling with the state of the world in which they live.
Its themes of surveillance, environmental catastrophe, dystopia and political ambiguity are all reflections of the real world, though Ganzeer’s detailed monochrome art and retro-futurist designs describe a civilisation sprung from both science fiction lore and keen observation of how our own flawed one already functions. It’s an intoxicating, ambitious read, and each installment brings new angles and exciting concepts to the story.
With two distinct chapters already out and a third on the way, we took some time to chat to Ganzeer about his process, the »
- Mark Allen
Happy Labor Day, all! To mark this occassion I will be working very hard today because I have much to accomplish before I leave for Tiff, the best film festival on the planet, according to me, for its ease, it's breadth, and the quality of its movies. Any big plans today, whether or not its Labor Day where you live?
On this day in history as it relates to the movies...
1916 One hundred years ago today the other über famous and influential D.W. Griffith epic, the one its Ok to care about, opened. Intolerance, sometimes subtitled "love's struggle throughout the ages," was three and a half hours long and prominently advertised its then insane budget of $2,000,000. Wouldn't it be funny if today's movies were all "we cost $300,000,000 to make" (and all you get is a glossy commercial for merchandise / sequels)" on the posters? The epic stretched from Ancient Babylon through »
- NATHANIEL R
Being a child star in one of the biggest film franchises of all time can't be an easy feat. However, Daniel Radcliffe, who most may know as Harry Potter, has made bold and beautiful decisions after playing the famous wizard for a decade.
Today, Daniel turns twenty-seven, and we want to celebrate the last five years in which he's put away his wand, and instead has dazzled us in new and exciting ways that we honestly never could have anticipated. A young actor who keeps surprising us with his role choice - as in his latest film, Swiss Army Man, where he literally plays a corpse - Radcliffe has cast his own magical spell on us, and we've been entranced ever since we »
- Adriana Floridia
Since the late 1980’s, editor Laura Israel has spent much of her time as editor for legendary photographer Robert Frank. One of photography’s most intriguing and influential voices since the 1950s, Frank has become synonymous with avant-garde photography and filmmaking, and his recent work owes a great debt to the work of Israel, a filmmaker in her own right. And now, she’s decided to take a leap behind the camera, and give her collaborator the retrospective he so rightly deserves.
A Swiss-born photographer, Frank first truly burst onto the scene with the 1958 masterwork, The Americans a haunting and in many ways medium-shifting meditation on post-wwii America and the poverty and racism that became widespread therein. A groundbreaking work of photojournalism, this is only the launching pad for this new documentary, entitled Don’t Blink – Robert Frank. Israel uses this collection of photographs as an introduction into the world, »
- Joshua Brunsting
Few people are living embodiments of their style. Now that David Bowie and Prince have left us in the same year, even fewer are. Robert Frank, the subject of Laura Israel‘s documentary Don’t Blink – Robert Frank, and his art — striking photographs and film of Americana — reflect one another like those collages of dog owners and their pets. Rather than both having droopy ears or a snooty nose, they crunch like shards of glass beneath boots. Frank and his creations grind against good taste while still being sharp and beautiful. His is an imperfect America, as if Norman Rockwell subjects stepped out of frame for a few drinks and a game of dice, then got lost on their way back home.
Frank is best-known for his 1958 photography collection The Americans, which recorded the photographer’s explorations of social and economic struggle. A documentary about this kind of artist has »
- Jacob Oller
★★★★☆ Along with Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs was one of the most important and influential writers of the so-called Beat Generation, best known perhaps for his novel Naked Lunch. As with so many of his contemporaries, Burroughs life was defined by chaos, intense creativity, narcotic binges and personal tragedy. Filmed over five years, Howard Brookner's 1983 documentary Burroughs: The Movie is an oft-moving portrayal of one of literature's most prominent voices, an intimate and humanising account of a legend of twentieth-century American culture.
- CineVue UK
Our national nightmare is over: After more than a decade of dystopian futures, obtuse love triangles, and weak Charli Xcx singles, Hollywood’s flash-in-the-pan love affair with Ya film adaptations has finally run its course. You can feel it in the air, and you can see it in the dwindling box office returns. The climactic installments of “The Maze Runner” and “The Divergent Series” are still on the horizon, and an unusually promising adaptation of John Green’s “Looking for Alaska” continues to percolate in pre-production, but bodies tend to wriggle for a little while after they’re officially pronounced dead. The fact of the matter is that Voldemort has been vanquished, the people of District 12 have overthrown The Capitol, and Bella Swan has stopped pouting. There will always be movies made for the tween audience, but make no mistake: The Ya world as we know it has come to an end. »
- David Ehrlich
Stewart broke out at Cannes 2012 in Walter Salles’ adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” followed by 2014’s Sundance war drama “Camp X-Ray,” Olivier Assayas’ Cannes competition title “Clouds of Sils Maria,” for which she was the first American woman to win France’s Cesar award, and Kelly Reichardt’s upcoming “Certain Women,” which debuted in Sundance 2016. Stewart was back at Cannes headlining not only Woody Allen opener “Cafe Society” (Amazon), but Assayas’s supernatural Paris mystery “Personal Shopper” (IFC), affirming her reputation for working with a diverse group of brainy directors in films that span genres, budgets and languages.
In other words, Stewart and IFC are both in the smart movie business. “I can’t think of another actress »
- Graham Winfrey and Anne Thompson
After a fall-festival run that earned one fine notice after another, Don’t Blink – Robert Frank will hit theaters this summer courtesy of Grasshopper Film. Laura Israel‘s documentary on the photographer — one of the few living artists who truly earns the word “legendary,” if only for his time with Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and The Rolling Stones, to name but a few collaborators — was praised for its level of access and insight, though those qualities (key for any documentary) are said to be boosted by the director’s unique eye.
A trailer released ahead of Don’t Blink‘s theatrical release gives some taste of this direction, offering a wider variety of forms — from current interviews to archival materials, even down to the type of film stock being employed — than most documentaries do in an entire runtime.
Watch the preview below:
A feature length documentary about the life »
- Nick Newman
"This shot carries a memory within it." Kino Lorber has debuted a trailer for the documentary called Jia Zhangke, A Guy From Fenyang, directed by Walter Salles, taking a look at the life of famed Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke. It looks like a fantastic documentary with some incredible footage of Jia Zhangke in China, and all over the world. Salles last directed the Jack Kerouac adaptation On the Road, but returns to docs to make this stunning feature on another very talented filmmaker/storyteller - Jia Zhangke, of films like A Touch of Sin, Mountains May Depart, Still Life, 24 City, The World and many others. This is a rather beautiful trailer with some poetic imagery, it really makes me want to see this documentary. Watch below. Here's the trailer for Walter Salles' doc Jia Zhangke, A Guy From Fenyang, in high def on Apple: And here's a Q&A »
- Alex Billington
Paris — The head of the jury at the 7th Series Mania, “The Sopranos” showrunner David Chase took to the stage for an extended interview, reflecting on a long and varied career that very nearly took some very different turns. Beginning with his childhood in New Jersey, he revealed that his youth was vital to his later career as a writer, but not for the reasons many expected. “We were one of the last families to get a television set,” he said. “My father didn’t want to do it. He thought I would spend all my time watching television. Which is what I did do once we got the television. He said he was going to put a lock on it, and he never did do that. But I did watch quite a bit on it.”
Describing post-war New Jersey as “sauvage,” painting a picture of an outgoing, outdoorsy child, »
- Damon Wise
Ethan Hawke studied for months to portray jazz musician Chet Baker in the drama “Born to Be Blue,” which opens today. He took lessons in playing the trumpet and singing, talked to some of Baker’s 1950s band mates and watched hours of YouTube videos. But this isn’t just another conventional biopic. The film, directed by Robert Budreau, takes liberties from its source — including a fictionalization of the time Baker almost played himself in a movie — to reimagine the struggles of a celebrated performer and drug addict. Hawke spoke to Variety about the project.
People are calling this one of your best performances.
It’s definitely one of the most challenging.
You have an incredibly mysterious and enigmatic person that’s very difficult to make sense out of. Then you have to try to capture somebody who has a unique relationship to music. And then there’s the music. »
- Ramin Setoodeh
Near the end of his essay for the Criterion release of Dazed and Confused, Kent Jones writes, “[Richard] Linklater has a keen, poetic memory for exactly how we did nothing.” Like the best American directors, Linklater understands that the roots of Americana are in a formless wandering, one that was as often about bullshit as transcendence.
Everybody Wants Some!!, the spiritual sequel to his 1993 feature, is another rumination on transition, following the residents of a baseball house the weekend before classes at an unspecified college in 1980. It’s a weekend bacchanalia filled with rule-breaking parties, masculinity endurance tests, hotboxed bedrooms, closed-door hookups, and the flickers of a romance that could be about more than getting off.
Echoing the platonically ’70s ripples of “Sweet Emotion” in its predecessor, Everybody Wants Some!! opens with the stomping snares of “My Sharona.” It’s the dawn of a new era as the easy-going, sneakily joyful »
- Michael Snydel
14 items from 2016
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