19 items from 2015
Ambition and authenticity can be at great odds with one another, especially as one tries to find their identity in the disorienting velocity and volume of New York. In Noah Baumbach’s latest effort, the dizzying screwball farce “Mistress America,” these disparate intentions collide with emotional force. A distant cousin of “Frances Ha,” also co-written by Baumbach and co-star Greta Gerwig, “Mistress America” may also have a female protagonist as its focal point, but ultimately it’s a picture with different concerns, certainly delivered in a vastly dissimilar form. Nevertheless, Baumbach’s breezy hot streak continues with another contemporary classic New York tale. Doing his best Peter Bogdanovich impression, filtered through John Hughes and ‘80s touchstones like the wackier elements of “Something Wild," Baumbach’s latest is like a millennial riff on “His Girl Friday,” with a rapid-fire delivery, minus the traditional romance. However, ‘America’ certainly has its own »
- Rodrigo Perez
"The enjoyment of a work of art, the acceptance of an irresistible illusion, constituting, to my sense, our highest experience of "luxury," the luxury is not greatest, by my consequent measure, when the work asks for as little attention as possible. It is greatest, it is delightfully, divinely great, when we feel the surface, like the thick ice of the skater's pond, bear without cracking the strongest pressure we throw on it. The sound of the crack one may recognise, but never surely to call it a luxury." —Henry James, from The Preface to The Wings of the Dove (1909) "[The critic’s] choice of best salami is a picture backed by studio build-up, agreement amongst his colleagues, a layout in Life mag (which makes it officially reasonable for an American award), and a list of ingredients that anyone’s unsophisticated aunt in Oakland can spot as comprising a distinguished film. This prize picture, »
- Greg Gerke
BBC Culture has this week unveiled a new list of the top 100 American films, as voted for by a pool of international film critics from across the globe. The format of the poll was that any film that would make the list had to have recieved funding from a Us source, and the directors of the films did not need to be from the USA, nor did the films voted for need to be filmed in the Us.
Critics were asked to submit their top 10 lists, which would try to find the top 100 American films that while “not necessarily the most important, but the greatest on an emotional level”. The list, as you may have guessed, is very different to the lists curated by say the BFI or AFI over the years, so there are certainly a few surprises on here, with Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave (2013), Terrence Malick »
- Scott J. Davis
First off, let's make one thing clear. We're not scratching our heads at Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing" making the BBC's 100 greatest American films. That movie, of which an image accompanies this post, not only made the list, but ranked appropriately at no. 25. It's the rest of the selections that have us scratching and, yes, shaking our heads in disbelief. A wonderful page view driver, these sorts of lists make great fodder for passionate movie fans no matter what their age or part of the world they hail from. There is nothing more entertaining than watching two critics from opposite ends of the globe try to debate whether "The Dark Knight" should have been nominated for best picture or make a list like this. Even in this age of short form content where Vines, Shapchats and Instagram videos have captured viewers attention, movies will continue to inspire because »
- Gregory Ellwood
Leave it to the Brits to compile a list of the best American films of all-time. BBC Culture has published a list of what it calls "The 100 Greatest American Films", as selected by 62 international film critics in order to "get a global perspective on American film." As BBC Culture notes, the critics polled represent a combination of broadcasters, book authors and reviewers at various newspapers and magazines across the world. As for what makes an American filmc "Any movie that received funding from a U.S. source," BBC Culture's publication states, which is to say the terminology was quite loose, but the list contains a majority of the staples you'd expect to see. Citizen Kane -- what elsec -- comes in at #1, and in typical fashion The Godfather follows at #2. Vertigo, which in 2012 topped Sight & Sound's list of the greatest films of all-time, comes in at #3 on BBC Culture's list. »
- Jordan Benesh
Every now and then a major publication or news organisation comes up with a top fifty or one hundred films of all time list - a list which always stirs up debate, discussion and often interesting arguments about the justifications of the list's inclusions, ordering and notable exclusions.
Today it's the turn of BBC Culture who consulted sixty-two international film critics including print reviews, bloggers, broadcasters and film academics to come up with what they consider the one-hundred greatest American films of all time. To qualify, the film had to be made by a U.S. studio or mostly funded by American money.
Usually when a list of this type is done it is by institutes or publications within the United States asking American critics their favourites. This time it's non-American critics born outside the culture what they think are the best representations of that culture. Specifically they were asked »
- Garth Franklin
Hou Hsiao-hsien’s “The Assassin” will play as the opening of next month’s Cine Fan Summer International Film Festival (Siff), a popular spin off event of the Hong Kong International Film Festival. Woody Allen’s “Irrational Man” will close the festival that runs Aug 11-25.
In between, the Siff will play a further 30 films, including “Wild City,” the return to Hong Kong of top local director Ringo lam, who has not made a Hong Kong film for over 10 years.
Contemporary Japanese films screening include “Love & Peace,” by Sono Sion, “Yakuza Apocalypse,” by Miike Takashi, “Prophecy,” by Nikamura Yoshihiro and “Flying Colors,” directed by Doi Nobuhiro.
- Patrick Frater
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage was very much front and center at Friday night’s premiere of “Jenny’s Wedding” at the Directors Guild of America as part of Outfest.
“I get very emotional and I cried,” recalled Katherine Heigl on the red carpet. “I was very grateful — grateful that our country has seen the light and is encouraging others to do the same.”
Heigl portrays the titular Jenny in the film, playing a buttoned-down Cleveland social worker who is openly gay — except with her family — and decides to marry her roommate, played by Alexis Bledel. IFC is releasing the movie on July 31.
“I loved making out with Alexis,” Heigl said.
The film, shot two years ago, was selected for Outfest several weeks prior to the Supreme Court ruling.
“Doing this at Outfest feels like the right time and the right place,” Heigl noted. “I »
- Dave McNary
“Superman is so boring,” they whine. “He’s too powerful! He can never die or even get hurt! How can you tell an interesting story about him?” Well comic nerd straw man, there’s a lot of ways to counter that argument. For one thing, all protagonists are protected by a magical set of plot armour that keeps them from dying. Batman’s just a human being, but he’s just as invincible and Supes. DC are never gonna kill him…at least, no permanently.
For another, Superman totally can be killed. In fact, he has been. Numerous times. Whilst the Man Of Steel is widely believed to be near-invulnerable – in fact, he’s very close to being god-like in his power – the guy has his weaknesses. Mainly His Girl Friday reporters and fellow superheroes, but also Kryptonite (in all its shades) and magic can mess with him. »
- Tom Baker
Paul Feig and Melissa McCarthy comedy “Spy” will open the 41st annual Seattle International Film Festival, organizers announced Wednesday. Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated actress McCarthy stars as Susan Cooper, an unassuming, deskbound CIA analyst who is the unsung hero behind the Agency’s most dangerous missions. When her partner (Jude Law) falls off the grid and another top agent (Jason Statham) is compromised, she volunteers to go deep undercover to infiltrate the world of a deadly arms dealer and prevent a global disaster. See video: From ‘His Girl Friday’ to ‘The Heat': The Evolution of Female Comedies The ensemble cast »
- Joe Otterson
To mark the occasion, Digital Spy has unearthed 25 fascinating facts about the beloved 1990 film. Read on to find out why Vivian is a Disney princess, how Superman himself Christopher Reeve almost played Edward and the film's straight-to-the-point title in China.
1. The original script for Pretty Woman was titled $3,000 and was a dark drama about prostitution in La. Vivian was a drug addict trying to go clean to save up money for a trip to Disneyland. Disney-owned Touchstone Pictures developed the idea into a more conventional romantic comedy, meaning Vivian is something of an edgier Disney princess.
I wanted to write about word balloons, which I’m pretty sure hasn’t been talked about here at ComicMix before, at least since I arrived here, is it coming on three years already? And now I’m incredibly frustrated and possibly going crazy.
I got the idea from seeing a piece in Entertainment Weekly featuring an interview with Scott McCloud in which he talked about the use of word balloons in comics. I thought I set the magazine aside to use as a reference – and I’ve been tearing about the house for over an hour looking for it. Can’t find it anywhere…and I even went through my recycle bin. And I went to EW’s website, but have you been there recently? It’s H-o-r-r-i-b-l-e! Supposedly it was “redesigned,” but it looks more like it was hacked into by The Onion’s staff, or maybe the »
- Mindy Newell
Sometimes (Ok, frequently) the Academy drops the ball. Cary Grant gave his fair share of pantheon performances ("His Girl Friday," "Bringing Up Baby," "The Awful Truth"), none of which garnered him a nomination for Best Actor (he was instead honored for "Penny Serenade" and "None But the Lonely Heart"). Ingrid Bergman's work in "Casablanca," "Notorious" and "Stromboli" was similarly ignored. This year's Oscar candidates are no different, and with that in mind, here are the 15 best performances from the current acting nominees that weren't nominated for an Oscar. Patricia Arquette, "Lost Highway" (1997)"Lost Highway" is sometimes overshadowed by David Lynch's later masterpiece "Mulholland Drive," but it's a rewarding film in its own right, a nightmarish look at repressed guilt, barely-hidden jealousy and self-deception. Arquette (giving a canny double-performance as »
- Max O'Connell
"Time passes. That's for sure."
2015 is 1/12th done and we haven't even fully wrapped up 2014 yet. Slow down, geez. Here are some highlights from that month that was. Please to enjoy icymi
Unjust Pride DVD Sony has put the gay heroes in the closet
Up Close at the Critics Choice Awards Jessica Chastain & more
Tangerine, Grandma, It Follows and The Witch -Our favorite Sundance films
SAG Fashions the pretties
Why Wes? Why Grand Budapest Hotel?
When u think of costumes... do u think of Watts?
The Five Stages of Grief via Oscar nominations
Fairy Tales and Oscar Streep is the first storybook kind of witch (though not the first literal witch)
Best Actress 1977 A short detour discussion
Julianne Moore's Top Ten Pre-Alice Performances - how does your list vary?
Excuuzzzzze Me it's the 75th »
- NATHANIEL R
Ambition and authenticity can be at great odds with one another, especially as one tries to get a foothold of their identity in the disorienting velocity and volume of New York. And in Noah Baumbach’s latest effort, the dizzying screwball farce “Mistress America,” these disparate intentions collide with emotional force. A distant cousin of “Frances Ha,” also co-written by Baumbach and co-star Greta Gerwig, “Mistress America” may also have a female protagonist as its focal point, but ultimately it’s a picture with fairly different concerns, certainly delivered in a vastly dissimilar form. Nevertheless, Baumbach’s breezy hot streak continues with another contemporary classic New York tale. Doing his best Peter Bogdanovich impression filtered through John Hughes and ‘80s touchstones like the wackier elements of “Something Wild,” Baumbach’s latest is like a millennial riff on “His Girl Friday,” with a rapid-fire delivery minus the traditional romance. However, ‘America’ certainly has. »
- Rodrigo Perez
Director Barry Levinson offers his thoughts on what’s behind the growing outcry for more diversity in Hollywood films.
Are we a racist country? Yes. But we are getting better. For certain. And while that battle for absolute equality is being played out, an odd controversy about the racial injustice in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has emerged. The Oscar nominations of 2015 are being questioned as racially prejudicial. There are those who say a black woman, who directed “Selma,” was overlooked because of racial bias, and the actor who played Martin Luther King Jr. was also overlooked because he was black. The film was nominated by the Academy, but these individuals were not. I would tend to agree with these accusations if I thought the Academy had a great record of selecting the best nominees each year, but they don’t. It is impossible to pass through a single awards season without hearing, »
- Barry Levinson
Arriving on Blu-ray just prior to the Academy announces its nominations, where the film is sure to pick up some nominations despite going home empty handed (zero in four) from the Golden Globes, the opening Nyff Gone Girl has become one of the year’s most talked about titles. Certainly standing as one of the most notable studio directed auteur features of the year, released October 3rd to brisk business pulling in more than his previous two films, a rewatch enhances its inescapably pulpy fervor. This is well produced neo-noir, with a dash of subtle camp and a star making performance from Rosamund Pike (who was cited by dozens of critic associations including a Globe nom) that recalls studio era dames that had more than enough steely backbone to railroad their male counterparts with energy and appeal to spare. Hardly a mutation of feminist ideals, the realm of the privileged »
- Nicholas Bell
Walter: Now, look Bruce. You persuade Hildy to do the story and you can write out a nice fat insurance policy for me.
Today is the 75th Anniversary of the premiere of Howard Hawks classic His Girl Friday (1940). Here's a double sided bitchy moment to savor in which Walter Burns has dangled an insurance policy carrot for Bruce, who doesn't bite but Hildy does, eyeing the green while milking Walter for a bigger payday. Walter feigns objection, while egging Hildy on...
- NATHANIEL R
A little over a week ago, I got an e-mail from Stuart Zakim, a publicist I've heard from a few times in the past, and I scanned it, as I try to scan everything that hits my e-mail box. Here's where I'm going to give you a look at how the sausage gets made. For the most part, I write based on instinct and time and opportunity. I would like to write ten times the material I write at the moment, because there are that many things I'd like to share with you. There are that many things worth discussing. And every time I feel the moment to discuss something slip by, and I don't get a chance to write about something, it drives me crazy. So one of the things I try not to get pulled into is what I like to call "other people's priorities." That sounds heartless, »
- Drew McWeeny
19 items from 2015
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