8 items from 2017
Armando Iannucci is one the world’s greatest living satirists. His hilarious depictions of governmental dysfunction give a cartoonish gloss to the hectic nature of real-life leadership. The British satirist’s two rambunctious TV shows — BBC’s “The Thick of It” and HBO’s “Veep” — along with his Oscar-nominated “In the Loop,” show a consistent knack for exposing deranged bureaucracies and the power-hungry, backstabbing lunatics who think they own the place.
In Iannucci’s tilted world of feuding diplomats and narcissistic leaders, scathing one-liners meet the bitter pill of lost causes. He anticipated the modern era of political corruption and remains its greatest truth-teller, so it was only a matter of time before he applied that same uncompromising humor towards earlier periods hobbled by the same authoritarian problems.
- Eric Kohn
On Monday, August 28, 2017, Turner Classic Movies will devote an entire day of their “Summer Under the Stars” series to the late, great Louis Burton Lindley Jr. If that name doesn’t sound familiar, well, then just picture the fella riding the bomb like a buckin’ bronco at the end of Dr. Strangelove…, or the racist taskmaster heading up the railroad gang in Blazing Saddles, or the doomed Sheriff Baker, who gets one of the loveliest, most heartbreaking sendoffs in movie history in Sam Peckinpah’s Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.
Lindley joined the rodeo circuit when he was 13 and soon picked up the name that would follow him throughout the length of his professional career, in rodeo and in movies & TV. One of the rodeo vets got a look at the lank newcomer and told him, “Slim pickin’s. That’s all you’re gonna get in this rodeo. »
- Dennis Cozzalio
“Well, nobody’s perfect,” may be the last line of “Some Like It Hot,” but BBC Culture’s newest list of the 100 greatest comedies of all time comes pretty darn close. Billy Wilder’s cross-dressing buddy comedy earned the most votes, but the rest of the list is as robust and varied as one would hope, containing slam dunk smash hits as well as lesser known hidden gems.
Read More:The 25 Best Comedies of the 21st Century, Ranked
The survey included responses from 253 film critics internationally, with freelancers writing in from Syria, Azerbaijan, and Montenegro. For a deeper dive into your favorite critics’ comedic tastes, each individual top ten list is also available for perusal. IndieWire’s Eric Kohn, David Ehrlich, and Kate Erbland participated; their number one picks were “City Lights,” “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” respectively.
Read More:Jerry Lewis, King of Comedy, Dies at 91
“Dr. Strangelove, »
- Jude Dry
After polling critics from around the world for the greatest American films of all-time, BBC has now forged ahead in the attempt to get a consensus on the best comedies of all-time. After polling 253 film critics, including 118 women and 135 men, from 52 countries and six continents a simple, the list of the 100 greatest is now here.
Featuring canonical classics such as Some Like It Hot, Dr. Strangelove, Annie Hall, Duck Soup, Playtime, and more in the top 10, there’s some interesting observations looking at the rest of the list. Toni Erdmann is the most recent inclusion, while the highest Wes Anderson pick is The Royal Tenenbaums. There’s also a healthy dose of Chaplin and Lubitsch with four films each, and the recently departed Jerry Lewis has a pair of inclusions.
Check out the list below (and my ballot) and see more on their official site.
- Jordan Raup
With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit platforms. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.
Adaptation (Spike Jonze)
It’s almost depressing to rewatch Adaptation in 2016, because it’s a reminder of how strong an actor Nicolas Cage is when he actually invests himself in good projects. It was soon after this that his career went off the rails, but he’s remarkably impressive here, playing the dual roles of Charlie Kaufman and his fictional twin brother, Donald. As much a mind-fuck as any other Kaufman screenplay, »
- Jordan Raup
Each month, the fine folks at FilmStruck and the Criterion Collection spend countless hours crafting their channels to highlight the many different types of films that they have in their streaming library. This August will feature an exciting assortment of films, as noted below.
To sign up for a free two-week trial here.
Tuesday, August 1
Tuesday’s Short + Feature: These Boots and Mystery Train
Music is at the heart of this program, which pairs a zany music video by Finnish master Aki Kaurismäki with a tune-filled career highlight from American independent-film pioneer Jim Jarmusch. In the 1993 These Boots, Kaurismäki’s band of pompadoured “Finnish Elvis” rockers, the Leningrad Cowboys, cover a Nancy Sinatra classic in their signature deadpan style. It’s the perfect prelude to Jarmusch’s 1989 Mystery Train, a homage to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and the musical legacy of Memphis, featuring appearances by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Joe Strummer. »
- Ryan Gallagher
It’s clear from the opening minutes of “Despicable Me 3” that the popular Illumination Entertainment franchise has lost the thread on what makes the series so appealing to its target audience (you know, kids). The latest film in the expanding canon of “Despicable Me” features — which has grown to include a Minion-centric spinoff, plus more to come — gamely opens with a fart-laden studio logo before introducing the series’ newest villain, a cast-off has-been television star literally named Evil Bratt. Voiced by Trey Parker, the balding Bratt is a weirdo riff on classic ’80s TV characters like Small Wonder and Punky Brewster, complete with a sassy robot friend and a keytar he uses to play such jams as “Sussudio” and “Take on Me,” a role entirely dependent on the audience’s knowledge of the kind of roles he’s skewering. He seems unlikely to appeal to — or amuse — the younger set, »
- Kate Erbland
A video essay examines our most private moments.
Strap on your thinking caps for this one, film fans, because it’s a doozy.
According to director Nicolas Roeg (The Man Who Fell to Earth, Don’t Look Now, The Witches), mirrors are cinema in all its glory and in fact the essence of the medium. See, mirrors are the only time we truly look at ourselves; photographs of us are from other perspectives, for other people or posterity, and as such we don’t show our real faces in them, we show projections of who we think we should be or how we think we should feel in a certain situation. But the mirror isn’t public, it’s private, it is us alone with ourselves and thus the way we look into mirrors, into ourselves, is different from every other face we show the world.
The mirror is an eye, Roeg »
- H. Perry Horton
8 items from 2017
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