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It's A Wonderful Life is a Christmas tradition – and the film that has preserved Frank Capra's popularity. It is too easy to dismiss his work as sentimental, prudish and politically naive, argues Michael Newton. Many of his movies are still magical
Of all Hollywood directors, Frank Capra is the most loved and the least respected. From the early 1930s to the mid 40s, as the maker of such classic movies as It Happened One Night (1934), You Can't Take It with You (1938) and Mr Smith Goes to Washington (1939), he achieved fame, won Oscars and found huge audiences. Yet for every film-fan who warms to his work, there's a hard-nosed critic eager to pounce on this purveyor of "Capra-corn". He offers a personal vision, but it's one that has been judged suspect, offering up a sentimental and duplicitous Americanism. To those on the left, he has seemed a fascist; to those on the right, »
Dec 10, 2010
It Happened One Night is the film generally credited with launching the "screwball comedy" genre popular in the 1930s and 1940s. A difficult genre to define, the screwball comedy revolves around the characters' contradictory desires for individual identity and complete union in heterosexual romance. The films pit the couple's erotic moments of courtship against their verbal combats, battles of wit spiced with rapid-fire, brilliant repartee. Because of the resurgence of censorship in 1934 coupled with an American reluctance to be frank about sex, screwball comedies capitalized on the necessity to mask and to express ...Read more at MovieRetriever.com »
I was a guest on this week's /Filmcast, where I joined regular co-hosts David Chen, Devindra Hardawar, and Adam Quigley to discuss Gareth Edwards' indie monster movie "Monsters." I always have fun chatting with the /Filmcasters, but I thought this episode was especially thought-provoking. At least it was for me; half a week later, I'm still mulling over the issues we raised, in particular the question of context in criticism.
Context was already on my mind while I was watching "Monsters." From a technical perspective, the film is a marvel: expansive without being expensive, made for well under a million dollars by a tiny crew (Edwards himself did all of the film's numerous alien special effects on his own computer using off-the-shelf software). It presents a creative and convincing post-apocalyptic world where aliens have landed, taken control of the area around the Us-Mexico border, and human life has, rather believably, »
- Matt Singer
The Academy Awards are such serious business that comedies rarely get recognized. Sure, there are those occasional breakthroughs dating back to the 7th annual awardsfest in 1934 when Frank Capra’s romantic comedy "It Happened One Night" swept the top 5 awards (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and Screenplay). Capra struck gold again four years later with the farcical "You Can’t Take It With You." Since then, several comedies tinged with drama have won the top prize including "Going My Way" (1944), "The Apartment" (1960), "Tom Jones" (1963), "The Sting" (1973), "Annie Hall" (1977), and "American Beauty" (1999). And these films often prevailed in other races too, including those for acting and directing. In the past decade, comedy wins at the Oscar have been restricted to two categories: Supporting Actor -- Chris Cooper ("Adaptation," 2002) and Alan Arkin ("Little Miss S »
The IMDb250. A list of the top 250 films as ranked by the users of the biggest Internet movie site on the web. It is based upon the ratings provided by the users of the Internet Movie Database, which number into the millions. As such, it’s a perfect representation of the opinions of the movie masses, and arguably the most comprehensive ranking system on the Internet.
It’s because of this that we at HeyUGuys (and in this case we is myself and Barry) have decided to set ourselves a project. To watch and review all 250 movies on the list. We’ve frozen the list as of January 1st of this year. It’s not as simple as it sounds, we are watching them all in one year, 125 each.
This is our 40th update, my next five films watched for the project. You can find all our previous week’s updates here. »
- Gary Phillips
Emma Farley tweets from the Cornwall Film Festival, which took place this past weekend...
In absence of any real time for blogging at the weekend, I decided to tweet from the Cornwall Film Festival. I have written an overview of the festival for my film column in the local paper and will be posting various reviews over the next couple of days. I wanted to take a different approach for my Indie-credible column - I thought I’d make it a bit more personal and expand on my tweets. If you’re reading this, you’re clearly a fan of film festivals and independent cinema, like me, so this post will focus on what the festival meant to me.
On the way to Falmouth for the Cornwall Film Festival. Volunteering this afternoon and watching Another Year this evening :)
10:30 Am Nov 5th via Twitter for BlackBerry®
If I can »
The odd-couple cross-country road movie (starting with It Happened One Night and leading on to Midnight Run and Planes, Trains and Automobiles) is here given a sporadically very funny outing by the director of The Hangover. For reasons hardly worth going into, Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr), a successful, easily irritated architect, is forced to drive from Atlanta, Georgia to Los Angeles, in company with the young, obese Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis). Peter wants to get home to be with his wife who is about to give birth to their first child. Ethan is to audition in Hollywood, though Jackass is the only obvious place for his talents. Peter is dislikable in an understandable way; Ethan is an irredeemable monster of obtuse offensiveness. Phillips keeps the horrendous journey moving at a decent pace, the scenery is attractive and there are some amusing cameos, most especially from Danny McBride as an »
- Philip French
Anyone who still needs persuading regarding the potential of 3D to re-energise flagging film brands need look no further than the current success of Lionsgate's Saw 3D. Having peaked in 2006 with Saw III, which opened with £2.52m, debuts for the Halloween staple dipped slightly for the fourth and fifth instalments, before diving to £1.74m with Saw VI. Now episode seven arrives with an opening salvo of £3.6m, including £659,000 in previews. Even with the Thursday takings stripped out, that's comfortably the biggest-ever opening for a Saw movie. Rival studio Paramount will be hoping for a similar uplift when it releases Jackass 3D on Friday.
Considering it distributed the first two entries in the Saw franchise, it must have been moderately galling for the UK's independently owned Entertainment »
- Charles Gant
It's appropriate that in this present depression there should be a National Film Theatre celebration of Frank Capra (1897-1991) and the re-release of six of the movies that established him as the greatest, or at least most celebrated, director of the 1930s Depression. Too often dismissed as an equivocal populist dispensing Capracorn in Roosevelt's New Deal era, he was a master film-maker, and these two newspaper pictures see him at his best. The little-known Forbidden (1932) is that rare oxymoron, a subtle melodrama, starring Barbara Stanwyck as a self-sacrificing woman torn between her married politician lover (father of her child) and a vengeful journalist husband.
It Happened One Night (1934), Capra's greatest film, is a combination of road movie and screwball comedy in which Clark Gable (down-to-earth reporter) accompanies Claudette Colbert (spoilt fugitive heiress travelling incognito) on a cheerful journey across depression America in the hope of getting a scoop. Roman Holiday is virtually a remake, »
- Philip French
Double lesbian motherhood proves to be no less messed up a family set up than any other here, although it does give two great actresses meaty roles, and open up a fresh set of complications when their teenage children track down their biological father (Ruffalo). Sexual politics play a distant second to character dramedy here, and even if it gets mushy, it's a funny, observant study of real, flawed people.
Burke & Hare (15)
The well-filmed tale of Irish bodysnatchers in Edinburgh gets a Laurel and Hardyish treatment courtesy of Pegg and Serkis, with a dash of romantic comedy and plenty of celebrity cameos amid the irreverent corpse-mongering.
Overtones of Östlund's compatriot Roy Andersson in this penetrating, »
- The guide
Welcome to the first Close up, the weekly email from Guardian Film, covering the week's big cinema news, blogs and all the new releases
It is, officially, Autumn. You can tell not because of the leaves falling from the tress, nor the advent of Halloween (nor, even, the slightly opportunistic Clip Joint on fancy dress), but from the fact that the previous season, Film Season, is now over.
From mid-September to mid-October, we went a bit movie bananas. There was the Film & Music Power 100, the DVD giveaways and downloads, Commission Us, the Twitpitch challenge, the "name the films" challenge, the week liveblogging films from the TV. The whole thing ended with guides to the best films in seven genres. I've been really enjoying looking through the comments and reaction, especially the polls we ran for each supplement asking you to rank our choices; so interesting to see where the critics are in-step with general opinion, »
Easy A (15)
There's always room for a smart-mouthed high-school comedy in a Juno/Mean Girls vein – it's just a pity they come along so rarely. This doesn't quite make that grade but it aims for it, tackling issues of virginity and sluttishness through the story of a nice girl who lies about who she's laid and suffers the fallout – especially from the Jesus freaks.
The life of the terrorist serves as a thrilling survey of cold war-era geopolitics in Assayas's swift, stylish, serious biopic, which covers a staggering amount of ground. See feature, p10.
Senior-citizen assassin comedy that gets away with a lot thanks to its cast. As a ride, it's more stairmaster than a rollercoaster. »
- The guide
Sometimes I blame Frank Capra for Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell. Capra's evergreen 1939 melodrama in the form of a civics lesson, Mr Smith Goes To Washington, peddles the notion that our most desirable elected representative isn't the richest, canniest or best-connected professional politician, but the honest, untutored back-country hick with a love for the founding fathers – or, failing that, Jimmy Stewart himself.
It turns out that Capra, the director most closely associated with the 1930s, era of the Great Depression, had mixed feelings about The People whom the majority of his movies celebrate, and who are by and large depicted by him as dignified, funny, resilient and honest. The famous bus ride scene in his masterpiece It Happened One Night, when passengers take turns on verses »
- John Patterson
The Zagat guide is usually good for finding a good restaurant or shop, but it has also become the place to go to find out which movie to watch. The guide has put together a list of the best one thousand movies of all time, which is based on over twenty thousand people who voted on the topic. Zagat then added their 30-point scale, which includes overall quality, acting, story, and production value. "This new survey puts the ratings and reviews of over 20,000 avid moviegoers at your fingertips so that no matter what your age, sex or preference, there's an easy way to find the perfect film for every occasion," said Tim Zagat, CEO and Co-Founder of Zagat Survey. Top films based on Overall Quality: 1. The Godfather (1972) 2. The Godfather Part II (1974) 3. Casablanca (1942) 4. Schindler's List (1993) 5. Lawrence of Arabia (1962) 6. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) 7. Star Wars (1977) 8. The Wizard of Oz (1939) 9. Lady Eve (1941) 10. Singin' in the Rain »
Although the holiday season means time off work for most other industries in the U.S., it means it's awards season for the film business, which in turn necessitates plenty of tributes and accolades to be presented on the East and West Coasts at your local repertory theater in advance of the Oscars where movie stars can be seen and Q & As are conducted. Yet in New York and Los Angeles, there will be a wealth of other options as neighborhood theaters flood their screens with contemporary cinema from other parts of the world, classic movies in their full bigscreen glory, and certain-to-be-fun nods to the holidays, whether it's Halloween or Christmas. If you live in one of these areas or see fit to travel, these are the events worth the trouble over the next few months.
by Stephen Saito
Online & VOD
From coast to coast, »
- Stephen Saito
From animated flicks to epic dramas, Zagat Survey has released The World's Best Movies! 20,773 moviegoers voted and they collectively watched 2.4 million films this year. Wow!
Did your favorite films resonate with the survey participants?
Take a look at the article below taken from Zagat.com:
Make Him an Offer He Can't Refuse: Each film in the guide has been rated on Zagat's signature 30-point scale in four categories: Overall Quality, Acting, Story and Production Values, followed by an editorial review complete with surveyor comments in quotation marks. In addition, the guide boasts over 60 top lists and indexes ranging from genre and year of release to Oscar winners.
"This new Survey puts the ratings and reviews of over 20,000 avid moviegoers at your fingertips so that no matter what your age, sex or preference, there's an easy way to find the perfect film for every occasion," said Tim Zagat, CEO and Co-Founder of Zagat Survey. »
By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: All lists are subjective, and most movie lists are flawed. But if there’s a constant when it comes to compilations, it’s that they always stimulate great debate.
I’m loving the results of a Zagat survey released this morning in support of a new guide titled “The World’s Best Movies.” The guide, according to a release, is based on the input of 20,773 moviegoers who voted on Zagat.com and selected the top actors, actresses, directors and their films.
“This new survey puts the ratings and reviews of over 20,000 avid moviegoers at your fingertips so that no matter what your age, sex or preference, there’s an easy way to find the perfect film for every occasion,” said Tim Zagat, CEO and co-founder of Zagat Survey.
So what did we learn?
The top 20 films of all time, based on overall quality, are: »
- Sean O'Connell
"Do I have your full attention?"
Whilst continuing my "Best in Show" column for Tribeca Film, I decided it was high time to highlight Jesse Eisenberg from The Social Network and this is why. Here at The Film Experience though, it's time for Oscar trivia! Though I would love to see Eisenberg win traction for Best Actor, he has something else working against him besides the subdued performance: his age.
Youngest Best Actor NomineesAnd where Eisenberg would fit in, were he to be nominated.
Disclaimer/Bragging: You won't find info this extensive elsewhere! The Official Oscar site / Wikipedia only offer top tens. However the following info is approximate. Though the Academy's top ten is down to the day of the actual nominations, they don't provide official nomination dates only ceremony dates. Inside Oscar and Wikipedia also only list the ceremony dates so we're just using February 1st, ∞ as a general »
- NATHANIEL R
"The boldest book of our time … honestly, fearlessly on the screen!" That was how the movie posters for From Here To Eternity touted Fred Zinnemann's adaptation of James Jones's bestselling novel dealing with army life in Hawaii before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941.
From Here to Eternity still stands up very well. That's not altogether surprising, given the success of Jones's novel, which required extensive bowdlerisation by screenwriter Daniel Taradash before it could be filmed at all. Its subsequent success at the 1954 Oscars, where it won eight Academy Awards, including best picture, director, screenplay, camerawork and both supporting actor awards, was a sweep not seen since It Happened One Night in 1935 or repeated until One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest in 1976. Its famous sex scene, with macho Burt Lancaster, »
- John Patterson
Chicago – One of the most-beloved films of arguably the most important period in film history hits Blu-ray this week in a lavish “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” courtesy of the studio that does this kind of thing better than anyone else. With unique physical collectibles to go with great special features and a new HD transfer of the 35-year-old film, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” has lost none of its power.
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0
“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” has long been one of those films that I admire and respect more than thoroughly love as much as I do some of its ’70s colleagues. It’s not my favorite film of its era, not my favorite Jack Nicholson performance, and not even my favorite Milos Forman film. And it won Best Picture in a year when that category was Stacked. I simply adore fellow nominees “Barry Lyndon, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
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