17 items from 2014
Memo: To George Clooney
Your Clooney movie machine is purring along smoothly, George, with “Gravity,” which you co-produced, poised to reap further largesse from the Oscars. You will shortly start “Tomorrowland,” a sci-fi megapic from director Brad Bird. And “Monuments Men” has opened to respectable numbers in the U.S., and aspires to stronger ones overseas.
But before we gloss over that last movie. … As a filmmaker who has feasted off worshipful reviews for most of your career, George, the critical whiplash that greeted “Monuments Men” surely took you by surprise. I hope so anyway, because this might be a good moment for you to reassess a key aspect of your filmmaking strategy.
The WWII-set film, which you wrote, directed and starred in, offers a compelling story, a noble message and an inspired cast. Trouble is, it’s a dark war movie haphazardly married to an unwieldy comedy caper. It »
- Peter Bart
In spanning eight decades, Marcel Ophuls’ filmed autobiography “Ain’t Misbehavin’” incorporates a wide array of approaches: nostalgia-filled interviews with celebrated contemporaries, whimsical excerpts from Hollywood films, samplings from his own and his father’s oeuvres, and jaunts to the sites of past traumas and triumphs. Ophuls obviously greatly relishes his role as cosmopolitan raconteur, but his spontaneous delivery can feel over-rehearsed, his focus erratic. Film buffs will doubtless appreciate his imaginative use of free-associative film clips and anecdotes about Preston Sturges, Marlene Dietrich and Francois Truffaut, but “Misbehavin’” ultimately seems too patchy to resonate with wider audiences.
Ophuls’ remembrance of his early life offers a nearly miraculous confluence of personal, cinematic and world history. As the son of famed German-Jewish director Max Ophuls, who left Germany for France and from there escaped to Hollywood, young Marcel found himself at the center of international film production as well as the Holocaust, »
- Ronnie Scheib
Dallas Buyers Club (15)
What McConaughey loses in body mass he gains in compassion in this drawn-from-real-life drama, which cleverly disguises its awards-friendliness beneath thespian commitment and non-issue-movie storytelling. Diagnosed with Aids in 1980s Texas, McConaughey's rodeo-loving electrician takes matters into his own hands and devises his own grey-market treatment programme for the ravaged gay community (in partnership with Leto's lovable transgender cohort, Rayon). The authorities don't approve; the Academy probably will.
The Invisible Woman (12A)
Working to Claire Tomalin's biography, Fiennes gives us a tale of two Dickenses: the charismatic literary celebrity and the self-absorbed love rat. But the passion of his secret affair with Jones's teenage actor is smothered by repression, »
- Steve Rose
Directed by François Truffaut
In François Truffaut’s debut feature, The 400 Blows, widely seen as the flagship production of the French Nouvelle Vague, or “New Wave,” he was able to convey a representation of youth in a very specific era and, at that time, in a very unique way. Autobiographical as the 1959 film was, it also featured a notable vitality and honesty, two traits that would distinguish several of these French films from the late 1950s and into the ’60s. While The 400 Blows was an earnest and refreshing portrayal of adolescence, in some ways, Truffaut’s 1962 feature, Jules and Jim, his third, feels even more youthful, in terms of stylistic daring and energetic exuberance. Though dealing with adults and serious adult situations, Jules and Jim exhibits a formal sense of unbridled glee, with brisk editing, amusing asides, »
- Jeremy Carr
Louis Malle's brash debut, now on rerelease, about a wealthy married woman who hatches a criminal plot is a brilliant, preposterous slice of noir suspense
Two years before Breathless, before Godard was talking about needing a girl and a gun, 26-year-old Louis Malle unveiled this brash debut: a brilliant, preposterous slice of noir-suspense realism and Highsmithian mistaken identity, imbued with the poetry of romantic despair, mostly voiced directly into the camera by Jeanne Moreau – a captivating kind of choric-fatale, with dark sensuous shadows under the eyes. She is a wealthy married woman, Mme Florence Cabala, who in this era when capital punishment (the "scaffold") was very much on France's statute book, hatches the imperfect crime with her lover, ex‑paratrooper Julien (Maurice Ronet). Chaotically, their paths cross with gamine florist's assistant, Véronique (Yori Bertin), and her teen boyfriend, Louis (Georges Poujouly). They are the younger generation, contemptuous of their »
- Peter Bradshaw
I don't remember the first time I watched Fran?ois Truffaut's Jules and Jim, but I remember appreciating it though not loving it. Watching it again on Criterion's new Blu-ray release (buy it here) I feel a greater level of respect, but the film almost feels clinical to me more than anything else. As Truffaut tells the story of a love triangle between Jules (Oskar Werner), Jim (Henri Serre) and the free-spirited Catherine (Jeanne Moreau) I couldn't help but feel that each scene is a masterclass in filmmaking, though almost to a fault. Frequently cited as one of the best films ever made, and I assume many would argue Truffaut's best film, though I'm sure admirers of The 400 Blows would beg to differ, Jules and Jim is an adaptation of Henri-Pierre Roche's novel, which Truffaut clearly adored as evidenced by the multitude of interview segments included on this disc. »
- Brad Brevet
Moviefone's Top DVD of the Week
What's It About? Based on a true story, "Dbc" stars Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodroof, a good old boy diagnosed with HIV and given 30 days to live. He begins importing non-fda approved drugs into the Us to treat himself and begins selling them to other people living with HIV as part of a buyers club. Jared Leto plays his business partner and friend Rayon, a transgender woman who also has HIV.
Why We're In: Although "Dbc" has been criticized for some of its more liberal interpretation of the facts, strong performances have earned this movie six Oscar nominations.
Moviefone's Top Blu-ray of the Week
"Jules and Jim" (Criterion)
Why We're In: The movie »
- Jenni Miller
Directed by Louis Malle.
A self-assured business man murders his employer, the husband of his adulterer, which unintentionally provokes an ill-fated chain of events.
The stuck-in-a-lift plot device grabs your attention. The opening action-sequence of Speed; Emilio Estevez’s short-lived role in Mission: Impossible and the Shyamalan-penned Devil. The claustrophobic, metallic space automatically creates a sense of urgency and tension. The silver-box, hanging by a taught, tight wire seems so fragile and yet it remains the spine of the modern skyscraper – who would walk up so many flights of stairs and remain, effortlessly cool?
- Gary Collinson
Rereleased this week, Louis Malle’s Lift to the Scaffold remains an enduring example of the invigorating cinema produced in France during the late 1950’s. A sophisticated noir, punctuated by a vivacious score courtesy of jazz legend Miles Davis, Lift to the Scaffold is teeming with the type of aesthetic and narrative innovations that would contribute to the future development of French cinema.
Ex-paratrooper Julien Tavernier (Maurice Ronet) is seen leaving his office, not conventionally through the door, but instead out of the window. Dexterously clambering up the side of the building like a cat burglar, he breaks into the office of Carala (Jean Wall) his boss and the husband of his lover Florence (Jeanne Moreau). Julian kills him with little fuss and sets about making the incident look like a suicide. However, whilst clambering into his car he realizes he has left a rope dangling out of the window. »
- Patrick Gamble
Dallas Buyers Club Pretty solid week of new releases starting with one of the better films of 2013 and one we're sure to be talking about more leading up to the Oscars, Dallas Buyers Club featuring a pair of great performances from Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto and a strong performance from Jennifer Garner as well.
About Time Richard Curtis' About Time is one of the year's better romantic comedies along with the likes of Best Man Holiday. I'm sure there was at least one more, but those are the two that come to mind and with the unlikely pairing of Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson the movie comes as a nice little surprise. Oh, and it has The Wolf of Wall Street star Margot Robbie. So, that's a little bonus.
- Brad Brevet
Is there any movie that's more perfectly French, more perfectly Parisian, and more perfectly 1950s than Louis Malle's debut Lift To The Scaffold? Melville's Bob Le Flambeur, perhaps, or Cocteau's Orphée, but there is also in Malle's movie a strong indication of the new directions French cinema would soon take. Although Malle was never officially a part of La Nouvelle Vague, Lift To The Scaffold contains many of the innovations that would later become more closely associated with the Cahiers du Cinéma generation.
This movie made Jeanne Moreau, whose iconic beauty was newly revealed here after Malle got her to ditch the makeup she'd hitherto relied on. She went on to become one of the banner faces of the New Wave, most famously for Truffaut in Jules Et Jim, »
- John Patterson
Jane Campion, who remains the only female director to win the Palme d’or (for 1993′s The Piano), will head the jury at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. ” is a mythical and exciting festival where amazing things can happen, actors are discovered, films are financed, careers are made,” said Campion. “I know this because that is what happened to me!”
“We are immensely proud that Jane Campion has accepted our invitation,” said Thierry Frémaux, Cannes’ general delegate. “Following on from Michèle Morgan, Jeanne Moreau, Françoise Sagan, Isabelle Adjani, Liv Ullmann and Isabelle Huppert in 2009, she is the latest distinguished »
- Jeff Labrecque
The New Zealand-born director, screenwriter and producer succeeds Steven Spielberg in the role for this year's event, which takes place from May 14 to 25.
"Since I first went to Cannes with my short films in 1986 I have had the opportunity to see the festival from many sides and my admiration for this queen of film festivals has only grown larger," Campion said.
"At the Cannes Film Festival they manage to combine and celebrate the glamour of the industry, the stars, the parties, the beaches, the business, while rigorously maintaining the festival's seriousness about the art and excellence of new world cinema."
She added: "It is this world wide inclusiveness and passion for film at the heart of the festival which makes the importance of the Cannes Film Festival indisputable.
"It is a mythical and »
New Zealand director, producer and scriptwriter Jane Campion will preside over the Jury of the 67th Festival de Cannes, which will take place from 14 to 25 May 2014.
Campion said, “Since I first went to Cannes with my short films in 1986, I have had the opportunity to see the festival from many sides and my admiration for this Queen of film festivals has only grown larger. At the Cannes Film Festival they manage to combine and celebrate the glamour of the industry, the stars, the parties, the beaches, the business, while rigorously maintaining the festival’s seriousness about the Art and excellence of new world cinema.”
Jane Campion has been announced as the jury president of the 67th Cannes Film Festival, running May 14-25, 2014. The unusually early announcement (last year it came at the end of February when Steven Spielberg was set as president) makes Campion the first female jury president since Isabelle Huppert in 2009, and the 10th in the festival's history (following Huppert, Olivia de Havilland, Sophia Loren, Michèle Morgan, Françoise Sagan, Ingrid Bergman, Jeanne Moreau, Liv Ullmann and Isabelle Adjani). Campion, notably, is the only female director to ever win the Palme d'Or at Cannes. Full press release below: The New Zealand director, producer and scriptwriter Jane Campion is to preside the Jury of the next Festival de Cannes, which will take place from 14 to 25 May 2014. "Since I first went to Cannes with my short films in 1986 – Campion says - I have had the opportunity to see the festival from many sides and my »
- Peter Knegt
The New Zealand director, producer and scriptwriter will preside over the jury of the 67th Festival de Cannes, set to run from May 14-25.
“Since I first went to Cannes with my short films in 1986 I have had the opportunity to see the festival from many sides and my admiration for this queen of film festivals has only grown larger,” said Campion.
“At the Cannes Film Festival they manage to combine and celebrate the glamour of the industry, the stars, the parties, the beaches, the business, while rigorously maintaining the festival’s seriousness about the art and excellence of new world cinema.”
Campion remains the only female director to win the Palme d’Or, for The Piano in 1993. She won the short film Palme d’Or in 1986 for Peel.
“Once upon a time there was an unknown young director from Down Under who was no doubt proud enough that the Festival de Cannes was going to present »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeremy Kay)
The organizers of the Cannes Film Festival have announced Jane Campion will preside over the Jury of the 67th Cannes Film Festival, taking place from May 14-25. Campion is the only female director to have ever won the Festival's Palme d'or when she won for The Piano in 1993. The New Zealand director who is currently earning kudos for her television series, Top of the Lake, which is nominated for two Golden Globe Awards and two Screen Actors Guild Awards, will follow in the footsteps of Steven Spielberg who served as the head of the jury last year where the much talked about Blue Is the Warmest Color won the Palme. Quoted in the press release Campion said, "Since I first went to Cannes with my short films in 1986, I have had the opportunity to see the festival from many sides and my admiration for this Queen of film festivals has only grown larger. »
- Brad Brevet
17 items from 2014
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