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The Genius of Leo McCarey

The Notebook is the North American home for Locarno Film Festival Artistic Director Carlo Chatrian's blog. Chatrian has been writing thoughtful blog entries in Italian on Locarno's website since he took over as Director in late 2012, and you can find the English translations here on the Notebook as they're published.Appreciated and admired though he was by the greatest American filmmakers of his time (Frank Capra, Howard Hawks, Ernst Lubitsch), Leo McCarey isn’t held in the same regard today. While far from an obscure director, he isn’t considered a master of comedy by critics and audiences. The man who launched the careers of Laurel & Hardy and Cary Grant, and let the Marx Brothers make their zaniest film (Duck Soup), is not as well known as the performers he worked with. This lack of recognition may be due to the difficulty in finding a through-line in his work. While
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Replacing Anarchy With Satire In ‘Duck Soup’

By Jacob Oller

The Marx Brothers operate within a tight set of rules, irreverent as they may be. e closely tie the wacky happenings of the brothers Marx with the word ‘anarchy’ because of the madness they wreak on screen surrounded by tight-lipped buzzkills. But what a new video argues is, maybe we shouldn’t? The brothers operate in […]

The article Replacing Anarchy With Satire In ‘Duck Soup’ appeared first on Film School Rejects.
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Today in Movie Culture: 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' VFX Breakdown, Batman vs. The Shadow and More

  • Movies.com
Here are a bunch of little bites to satisfy your hunger for movie culture:   FX Breakdown of the Day: Framestore shares the visual effects work they did for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (via io9):   Mashup of the Day: It's pulp hero versus pulp hero in Stryder HD's trailer for a movie pitting Michael Keaton as Batman against Alec Baldwin as The Shadow:   Movie List of the Day: CineFix names Blade Runner 2049 Dp Roger Deakins one of the 10 greatest cinematographers of all time in this chronological video list:   Video Essay of the Day: This video essay from One Hundred Years of Cinema uses the Marx Brothers and Duck Soup to show how satire works:   Film Studies Lesson of the...

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‘The Death of Stalin’ Review: ‘Veep’ Goes to the Soviet Union With Armando Iannucci’s Hilarious Satire — Tiff

‘The Death of Stalin’ Review: ‘Veep’ Goes to the Soviet Union With Armando Iannucci’s Hilarious Satire — Tiff
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.

Enter “The Death of Stalin.” Iannucci’s first adapted work culls from French writers Fabien Nury and Thierry Robin’s graphic novel (Nury has a screenwriting credit,
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1941: A Great Comedy For Slim Pickens Day

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.
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BBC Culture Names the Top 100 Comedies of All Time, From ‘Some Like It Hot’ to ‘Airplane!’

BBC Culture Names the Top 100 Comedies of All Time, From ‘Some Like It Hot’ to ‘Airplane!’
“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,
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The 100 Greatest Comedies of All-Time, According to BBC’s Critics Poll

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.

100. (tie) The King of Comedy (Martin Scorsese,
See full article at The Film Stage »

New to Streaming: ‘Alien: Covenant,’ ‘Shin Godzilla,’ ‘Adaptation,’ ‘Slack Bay,’ and More

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,
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All of the Films Joining FilmStruck’s Criterion Channel this August

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.
See full article at CriterionCast »

‘Despicable Me 3’ Review: A Sequel That Will Disappoint Even Diehard Minions Fans

‘Despicable Me 3’ Review: A Sequel That Will Disappoint Even Diehard Minions Fans
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,
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David Bowie and the Indestructible Metaphors of Mirror Scenes

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
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The 20 Funniest Movies Ever Made

  • Cinelinx
Comedy is very subjective but a great comedy will stand the test of time and continue to make generation after generation laugh. Some people like their humor dry, while some like it shocking and offensive. Whatever your taste, good humor will always be out there. Here are 20 great comedies that will no doubt continue to be appreciated in the future.

20. Fargo: The Cohen Brothers funniest black comedy may not be for everyone's taste, because it is quite violent. However, underneath all that is a droll observation on the human condition, highlighted by a winning performance from Frances McDormand as a very likeable and very pregnant police chief. Her character police chief Marge Gunderson is kind, clever and compassionate. She’s a much more admirable role model than all the recent ‘badass female’ clichés we’ve been inundated with lately. Another standout here is William H. Macy as a two-bit schemer who's plan utterly backfires.
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Movie Poster of the Week: The Marx Brothers in Posters

  • MUBI
Above: 1960s French stock poster for Marx Brothers revivals.This weekend New York’s Film Forum begins a week-long series entitled The Marx Brothers & The Golden Age of Vaudeville which is as good an excuse as any to look at the representation of the greatest sibling comedy team in cinema through movie posters. It has long been a tradition in movie poster illustration to render comedy stars as caricatures—often with oversized heads on small bodies—and Groucho, Harpo and Chico were a caricaturist’s dream. (Zeppo, the straight man, less so, but he left the act after Duck Soup in 1933, and re-release posters for the films he appeared in tend to ignore him, as in the Belgian Duck Soup and the Danish Horse Feathers below). With their distinctive props—Groucho’s oversized greasepaint mustache and cigar, Harpo’s curly blonde wig and Chico’s Alpine hat—the threesome could
See full article at MUBI »

The Horrible Dr. Hichcock

"Death will take you as you sleep! A sleep as deep as Death!" Barbara Steele doesn't realize that her husband is using her to recover a forbidden sexual thrill. Riccardo Freda's film plays games with Alfred Hitchcock's filmography, but it also generates a Euro-horror spell like no other. Outrageous in 1962, it was a Technicolor ode to funereal surrealism. New in this review -- a crazy theory that might upend story assumptions about L'orribile segreto del Dr. Hichcock. The Horrible Dr. Hichcock Blu-ray Olive Films 1962 / Color / 1:78 widescreen / 77 88 min. / Street Date September 13, 2016 / L'orribile segreto del Dr. Hichcock; Raptus The Secret of Dr. Hichcock, The Terror of Dr. Hichcock / available through the Olive Films website / 29.98 Starring Barbara Steele, Robert Flemyng, Montgomery Glenn (SIlvano Tranquili), Teresa Fitzgerald (Maria Teresa Vianello), Harriet White (Harriet White Medin), Spencer Williams, All Christianson, Evar SImpson, Nat Harley. Cinematography Donald Green (Rafaele Masciocchi) Film Editor Donna Christie
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

BFI reveals 2016 Vision Awards

  • ScreenDaily
Twenty-two emerging producers to receive up to £2.2m; almost 500 applicants.Scroll Down For Recipients

The BFI has announced the recipients of its 2016-18 Vision Awards, comprising 22 investments in up-and-coming UK producers.

The awards, generally spread over two years, are designed to enable producers to build and develop their companies, slates and creative relationships.

The BFI had intended to give 20 awards but increased that allocation to 22 in response to the number of strong applications it received. Almost 500 companies applied for the awards, which are backed by a total commitment from the BFI of £2.2m of National Lottery funding.

Fifteen of the awards are to women producers or partnerships, while eight of the companies are based outside of London, located in Belfast, Cardiff, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield and York.

In a bid to foster sustainability, the third iteration of the Vision Awards will include an allowance to cover a producer’s fees and overheads of up to half
See full article at ScreenDaily »

21 Gilmore Girls Episodes Team Logan Fans Must Binge Now

  • TVfanatic
It's been said that Rory Gilmore had the right boyfriend for the right time in her life.

If that's true, then Logan Huntzberger is meant to be the voice that helps guide Rory through making decisions about her future and what she truly wants out of life.

Rory and Logan's love story didn't start with cautious glances or an intense love triangle.When casual hookups stopped being enough for them, Rory and Logan surprised everyone by making it work as a couple...

...and they certainly did make it work.

Through ups and down that included stealing a yacht, a cliff-jumping accident gone awry, the loss of millions of dollars, and a pack of vicious bridesmaids, Rory and Logan weathered the storms with maturity, always coming back to one another, despite glaring indications that they should not from both of their parents.

Logan was never afraid to tell Rory when she was acting childish,
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The Forgotten: Leo McCarey's Rally "'Round the Flag, Boys!" (1958)

The marvelous season of Leo McCarey films at New York's Museum of Modern Art features a few real rarities and a whole passel of acknowledged classics: features like Duck Soup and Make Way for Tomorrow and hilarious shorts programs featuring Laurel & Hardy, Charley Chase and others. Perhaps the rarest item is Part Time Wife, a 1930 rehearsal for the greatness of The Awful Truth, complete with Airedale, but only slightly less obscure is late-career entry Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys! (1958), a strange quasi-satire which folds together several late-fifties concerns without actually addressing them or working out what it is, or what it's for.Whether it's actually true that right-wingers can't do satirical comedy, McCarey certainly lost the fire that made Duck Soup so truly anarchic during the years when he moved away from comedy to make beloved, sentimental and sincere dramas. Returning to broad comedy is something many of his fan probably wished he would do,
See full article at MUBI »

Weekly Rushes. V.F. Perkins, Johnnie To Behind-the-Scenes, "La La Land," Bruce Conner

NEWSFilm scholar V.F. Perkins, author of the essential book Film As Film (1972), has died at the age of 80.The BFI in London has announced Black Star, the UK's largest celebration of black screen actors, to run October 17 - December 31, 2016.Consummate Hollywood director Garry Marshall, best known for Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride and such television productions as Happy Days and Mork & Mindy, has died at 81.Filmmaker and Mubi team member Kurt Walker and filmmaker Isaac Goes are launching online film exhibition space Kinet, "catered to the dissemination of new and boundary pushing avant-garde cinema." Kinet's first program, which begins next week, includes Masha Tupitsyn's epic Love Sounds.Recommended VIEWINGThe feature debut of Canadian director Isiah Medina, 88:88, which received its global online premiere on Mubi last spring, is now streaming for free.An English-subtitled, behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of Johnnie To's excellent thriller, Three.The teaser trailer for
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Dark Passage

Bogie's back and Bacall's got him! Or, at least she's got his voice, and a bundle of bandages. A David Goodis hardboiled crime tale becomes an absurd pile of coincidences and accidental relationships, all wrapped up (literally) in a giant plastic-surgery gimmick. Bogart and his new bride Bacall are charming, but there's a show -stealer at large: the great Agnes Moorehead plays the most entertainingly horrible harpy in film history. Dark Passage Blu-ray Warner Archive Collection 1947 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 106 min. / Street Date May 17, 2016 / available through the WBshop / 16.59 Starring Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Agnes Moorehead, Bruce Bennett, Tom D'Andrea, Clifton Young, Douglas Kennedy, Rory Mallinson, Houseley Stevenson Cinematography Sid Hickox Art Direction Charles H. Clarke Film Editor David Weisbart Original Music Franz Waxman Written by Delmer Daves from a novel by David Goodis Produced by Jerry Wald, Jack L. Warner Directed by Delmer Daves

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Dark Passage
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Book Review: “TCM Presents The Essentials—52 Must-see Movies And Why They Matter” (2016; by Jeremy Arnold; Foreword by Robert Osborne) (Running Press)

  • CinemaRetro
The Essentials”—A Good Starting Point

By Raymond Benson

Any book that claims to be a collection of the “best” of something—whether it is a listing of movies, music, art, and so forth—has to be taken with a grain of salt. These kinds of things are entirely subjective; although in this case, TCM (Turner Classic Movies) does have a kind of clout and expertise in the matter.

That said, we have this beautifully-designed and illustrated coffee-table trade paperback that contains not 1000, not 100, not 50... but 52 “essential must-see movies.” TCM’s spokesperson, Robert Osborne, explains the criteria in his Foreword—“The Essentials” is a weekly Saturday night event on the television network in which a guest host (the likes of Rob Reiner, Sydney Pollack, Peter Bogdanovich, Drew Barrymore, and more) introduce a picture he or she believes is an Essential. The book is a collection of some of these Essentials,
See full article at CinemaRetro »
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