16 items from 2014
Written and directed by Jennifer Kent
The Babadook contains DNA from such disparate influences as Roman Polanski, Joe Dante, Georges Méliès, German expressionism, and Roald Dahl, but Australian writer-director Jennifer Kent’s very impressive feature debut is an intensely emotional horror film that feels completely unique in the current film landscape. It’s an allegory on grief, love, loss, and maternal trauma, and is as consistently unnerving as many a Polanski movie (and is the scariest thing with Roald Dahl blood since Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).
Plagued by memories of a car crash that killed her husband six years prior, former writer and single mother Amelia struggles with an unrewarding new job and the disruptive, often insufferable behaviour of her six-year-old son, Samuel. (Husband Oskar was killed while driving Amelia to the hospital to give birth to Samuel.) One night, for the boy’s bedtime story, »
- Josh Slater-Williams
A heightened psychological horror drama about a distressed widow named Amelia (played by Essie Davis) and her disturbed young son Samuel (played by Noah Wiseman), The Babadook concerns a haunting specter (the title creature) that preys on Samuel, and then, gradually on his mother who learns of it through a mysterious book that tells its tale in storybook fashion. As The Babadook feeds on their fears and begins to swallow their hope and change their perspectives, the film darkens and unleashes its horrors upon the audience. Writer / director Jennifer Kent (a former actress) managed to deliver a strikingly competent genre film, while imbuing it with style, reminiscent of classic horror films from yesteryear.
- Gary Collinson
Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, whose title alone in reference to the director’s name equals cinematic moxie, has the makings of a filmmaker putting his direction, vision and ideas to the test, where a running time of 169 minutes set in milieus that rocket from one plane of existence to the titular other — the interstellar, infinite void — becomes a creative challenge, which every director, who thinks as big as Nolan does, at some point in their careers confront.
Blockbuster directors, all of whom auteurs in one way or another, like the late great pioneer Georges Méliès, the aquatically keen James Cameron, the master of lens flares Michael Bay, the attentively adjusted Riddley Scott, the perfectionist Stanley Kubrick, or the wondrously curious Steven Spielberg have all communed with — or taken the trip to — the cosmological land, all with different results.
Most certainly, it is a place not only of sublimity, but, more importantly, »
- Fiman Jafari
Christopher Nolan makes films for the big screen. In an era in which many other directors have lowered their ambitions and the argument is frequently made that the best filmed drama is to be found on Netflix or HBO, he retains a child-like faith in cinema as spectacle. Nolan shares the desire of early movie pioneers such as Georges Méliès or Dw Griffith to astound and entrance audiences. »
As Interstellar arrives in cinemas, James salutes those films that take us, well, somewhere else...
(Note: this article discusses the ending of Gravity and 2001: A Space Odyssey and it will also hurl you into the void of outer space. Don't panic, and remember: "In space no one can hear you scream".)
We're going Interstellar. Finally, one of the most-eagerly awaited films of the year has landed in cinemas to pick us up and take us beyond the stratosphere and out of Earth's orbit. Interstellar will then, as the title suggests, propel us even further and push us beyond the outer reaches of the Solar System.
That's an exhilarating prospect but, putting the conceptual idea aside for a moment, Interstellar is exciting simply because it's a Christopher Nolan movie. For his first feature since The Dark Knight trilogy's finale he's assembled a cast of high-calibre stars (Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, »
There's no getting around it. Science fiction provides the bedrock for pretty much all of the biggest blockbusters Hollywood is producing at the moment.
Sci-fi moved quickly as Hollywood developed new visual effects to tell vastly different stories. From the transcendent 2001: A Space Odyssey to the galaxy-hopping soap opera of Star Wars, right through to horror Alien and the thrill-ride of Gravity, the genre has proved to be more malleable than any other.
Just this year, we've seen Marvel infuse the superhero movie with a dose of sci-fi in Guardians of the Galaxy - a movie that currently sits on top of the 2014 worldwide box office with a staggering $650 million in ticket sales.
The BFI are also launching »
John Malkovich photos: How to look like a model, from Marilyn Monroe to Albert Einstein (image: John Malkovich as Marilyn Monroe in Bert Stern's 1962 portrait 'Marilyn in Pink Roses') Whether you found Spike Jonze's 1999 mind-invading comedy Being John Malkovich a pretentious bore or the most innovative motion picture since Georges Méliès' The Man with the India-Rubber Head, you'll probably enjoy Sandro Miller's series of John Malkovich photos, in which the two-time Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nominee becomes the real-life characters in some of the most celebrated (and mostly pop, U.S.-made) photographs ever taken. Malkovich's various guises will be featured in the exhibit "Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich: Homage to Photographic Masters," which runs from November 7, 2014, to January 31, 2015, at the Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago. In Being John Malkovich, the likes of John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, and Catherine Keener discover an escape from their drab lives »
- Andre Soares
Sometimes it’s just a joke, sometimes it has hidden meaning, and sometimes it’s simply the director showing off their eclectic taste in all things celluloid (read: Quentin Tarantino). But one thing’s for sure: the annals of cinema history are littered with movie-in-movie moments.
The granddaddy of movie-in-movie moments comes from The Shawshank Redemption – released twenty years ago today. So in honour of its anniversary, we thought we’d go all “meta” by looking back at ten of the most memorable movie-in-movie moments to grace the multiplex.
Though it’s probably a little bit cruel to show prison inmates Rita Hayworth at her finest, this 40’s classic plays a prominent role in the film’s plot as Andy later uses a poster from the 1946 noir to cover the entrance to the tunnel that he’s painstakingly carved out of the prison walls.
- Daniel Bettridge
To categorise an entire country’s cinematic output in a single article is a seemingly impossible task, and one that will likely leave a cavalcade of audiences wondering where their favourite releases are located.
This feature however is designed as a tool to guide and inform viewers who perhaps aren’t as well-versed in the incredible range of motion pictures available worldwide, and to point them in the right direction so they can experience some truly remarkable content; to find a hidden gem.
The country that opened one’s eyes to the unfathomable range, beauty and quality of cinema was our geographically-near cousins France; the filmic culture thrives in amongst the quaint Parisian apartments, the swelling cigarette smoke and the existential conversations shared. Cinema’s rich history really began in France; revolutionary auteurs such as Georges Méliès, the Lumière Brothers and Luis Buñuel paved the way for the plethora of »
- Chris Haydon
We return with another edition of the Indie Spotlight, highlighting recent independent horror news sent our way. Today’s feature includes first details from Kadence and soon-to-be feature length film, Headless, a new Phantasmagoria poster, a teaser video for Bad Kids Go 2 Hell, a review of The Well, and more:
First Details on Kadence: “Still reeling from the loss of his mother, a damaging and complex relationship with his father, and a relentless battle with his own inner demons, Kadin’s  grip on reality is loosening by the day. Amid this struggle comes an enigmatic and brazen new neighbor, Marissa , who, along with the promise of a budding new friendship gives Kadin an ancient voodoo doll. Her reassurance is seductive and the promise of a brighter future leads Kadin to make a sinister choice.
Kadence, a short film blending psychological horror with a chilling character drama that could »
- Tamika Jones
Just over a week ago, Ok Go premiered the video for their new single “The Writing’s on the Wall”. Appropriately, the Internet responded with the expected “oohs” and “ahhs”. But, of the dozen or so articles I checked out regarding the video, said articles were no longer than a couple hundred word blurbs that briefly mentioned that Ok Go makes cool videos and this was another one of them. I would not call myself a music connoisseur by any means, but I do adore music and I adore music videos. I think we should talk about them with more respect. Let’s talk about their relationship to film, both formally and textually. Let’s talk about how film informed music video aesthetic and how, subsequently, music video informed film aesthetic. Let’s talk about how directors have jumped back and for between the medium and how that’s affected their overall style. »
- Kyle Turner
Crime, Costumes, And Masks
Apparently the French had their own Batman-like character in the early days of silent film. Created by Louis Feuillade and Arthur Bernède, Judex (“judge” in Latin) was a crime-fighting avenger that appeared in silent serials in 1916-17. The character was resurrected once in 1934 in a sound feature, and once again in 1963 by celebrated director Georges Franju. The Criterion Collection has seen fit to release Judex, this later version, on Blu-ray and DVD in a dual format package. The results are splendid.
Judex doesn’t bother to disguise his face when he’s in character. He wears a black cape and a Zorro-like hat. You could say he’s kind of like The Shadow. By day, though, he applies old-age makeup and assumes the role of Vallieres, the right-hand man to an evil banker. Judex is in love with the banker’s daughter, Jacqueline, »
- email@example.com (Cinema Retro)
The biopic is an age-old Hollywood tradition. Dating back to at least legendary French director Georges Méliès’ 1899 version of Joan of Arc, the glammed-up spectacle of a famous person’s life story has become a staple of movie genres. Within that genre is a more self-absorbed sub-genre: the life of a movie star.
Or at least, a celebrity connected to Hollywood. The past few years have seen Sir Anthony Hopkins take on the role of the great Hitchcock, Nicole Kidman played Grace Kelly in Grace of Monaco, and now Oscar-winner Kevin Kline will portray perhaps the most iconic action star of the Golden Age of cinema Errol Flynn, in The Last of Robin Hood.
Based on a true story, the film’s trailer (above) follows the 50-year-old Flynn – his time as a major star behind him – as he takes up with then-17-year old ...
Click to continue reading ‘The Last »
- Anthony Vieira
The 2014 Le Conversazioni literary festival celebrating the relationship between art, architecture, literature, and film took place at the Morgan Library & Museum on Thursday, May 8 in New York. Artistic Director of Le Conversazioni, Antonio Monda, discussed with Isabella Rossellini and Salman Rushdie films that influenced their lives and work.
Isabella Rossellini chose Charlie Chaplin's The Circus (1928), Roberto Rossellini's Stromboli (1950), A Trip To The Moon (Voyage Dans La Lune,1902) by Georges Méliès and Billy Wilder's Some Like It Hot (1959).
Salman Rushdie picked François Truffaut's Jules Et Jim (1962) and three of the most influential science fiction movies from the second half of the 20th century, two of them directed by Stanley Kubrick. Dr Strangelove (1964) and his 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). His fourth selection was Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (1982).
Dancing In The Dark from The Bandwagon
Eight clips, »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
Having long-operated cinematically as part of Sofia Coppola’s usual ensemble, the electronic group Air has recently taken to a range of other left-field projects. First it was a soundtrack in 2010 to Georges Méliès’ “A Voyage To The Moon," then accompaniment to the documentary “Corman’s World” more recently. Now the French duo are continuing that streak with a musical role in Norwegian director Erik Skjoldjaerg’s latest film, and we’ve got our first taste of the result. Via Empire, a series of six soundtrack cuts have hit the web from “Pioneer” the latest work by Skjoldjaerg (who directed “Prozac Nation” and the original “Insomnia”), and they offer Air’s signature sound transferred to the film’s tale of intrigue. Set in the 1980s during the Norwegian Oil Boom, the plot throws an ensemble including Aksel Hennie, Wes Bentley and Stephen Lang into political rivalries as they race to »
- Charlie Schmidlin
The latest slice of broody Scandinavian quality drama, Pioneer, is already touted for a Us remake. Like The Abyss without all the bothersome alien space tubes, it tells of a group of civilian divers who encounter the perils of the deep first-hand when they're sent to help construct a new oil pipeline deep below the surface of the North Sea. To add the requisite atmosphere and mood, French band Air have stepped up to deliver a score that is rich in both. There's no official soundtrack per se, but the band has composed a series of unnamed cues for the film and Empire is happy to be able to share six of them with you right here.Air, of course, have a rich film pedigree. They scored Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides and supplied tracks for Lost In Translation and Marie Antoinette, and in 2010 composed a new score for Georges Méliès great silent sci-fi, »
16 items from 2014
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