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You wouldn’t expect director Danny Boyle and writer Aaron Sorkin to deliver a conventional biography of Steve Jobs—and they don’t. What we get, instead, is a vivid “imagining” (to use Boyle’s word) of Jobs’ life, told in dynamic, nonlinear fashion. It’s not a stretch to compare it to Citizen Kane, piecing together the puzzle of a high-profile life, although this film focuses on a real-life figure whose narrative has become the stuff of modern mythology. As such, it assumes that we’re already familiar with many of the basics. Sorkin has built his clever screenplay around three turning points in Jobs’ career, all of them product announcements. Much of the drama takes place...
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- Leonard Maltin
So impressive was the output and so titanic was the presence of Chantal Akerman that news of her death, despite being about as current as any such notice could get, has already sent peals of shock, sadness, condolences, and tributes across the film world. How to come to terms with her absence? How to contextualize a force that’s absolutely unprecedented? Born to Auschwitz survivor Natalia Akerman — whose experiences would be a key influence on several efforts, including this year’s No Home Movie — she was, at only 15, inspired to enter the filmmaking fray after a viewing of Pierrot le Fou. Regardless of the extent to which Godard’s film feels like a siren for those who wish to think differently about the form, any influence is hard to comprehend when the art she would go on to create didn’t — still doesn’t; will never — feel like anyone’s predecessor or equal. »
- Nick Newman
The biographical picture is in a state of crisis. At least, so goes the common griping among cinephiles, tired of uninspired retellings of the lives of “important people” in which Significant Moments are triple-underlined, instigators to the Misunderstood Genius of that historical figure. Whether it highlights one being bullied as a child, a breakup with a girlfriend, or merely chronicles the hardships faced by a morally clean individual in troubled times, each of these people-turned-protagonists is given a Rosebud, a single moment that either explains everything or an obviously-defined legacy that one need not even bother decoding. How Citizen Kane, a film from 1941, so perfectly deconstructs tropes of today’s prestige films and biopics, we may never know.
This is not a problem exclusive to the cinema, nor is it a particularly new one. The written autobiography was not (and remains not) without its own conventions and pitfalls, which, in »
- Forrest Cardamenis
No critic is infallible. It’s an open secret that few of them will admit, but would be remiss to deny. As valuable a resource as the informed film critic can provide when appraising a motion picture, we’re prone to the same random prejudices and peccadillos as anyone else. Sure, professionalism dictates that we diligently strive to check them at the door, but few of even the very best films are recognized as classics on first sight, and any number of random factors – including real-life experience – can skew our perception as we weigh the many factors that lead to a film’s ultimate success or failure.
Citizen Kane (1941), The Wizard of Oz (1939), and Blade Runner (1982) were all panned by critics upon initial release, yet today they’re rightfully considered classics. So what stuck in Pauline Kael’s craw when she turned up her nose at The Graduate, and who »
- Jason Buchanan
Charles Brackett ca. 1945: Hollywood diarist and Billy Wilder's co-screenwriter (1936–1949) and producer (1945–1949). Q&A with 'Charles Brackett Diaries' editor Anthony Slide: Billy Wilder's screenwriter-producer partner in his own words Six-time Academy Award winner Billy Wilder is a film legend. He is renowned for classics such as The Major and the Minor, Double Indemnity, Sunset Blvd., Witness for the Prosecution, Some Like It Hot, and The Apartment. The fact that Wilder was not the sole creator of these movies is all but irrelevant to graduates from the Auteur School of Film History. Wilder directed, co-wrote, and at times produced his films. That should suffice. For auteurists, perhaps. But not for those interested in the whole story. That's one key reason why the Charles Brackett diaries are such a great read. Through Brackett's vantage point, they offer a welcome – and unique – glimpse into the collaborative efforts that resulted in »
- Andre Soares
Forget No Holds Barred, Ready To Rumble and The Wrestler. Pretty much every wrestling fan has seen them, for better or for worse, and they’ve penetrated mainstream pop culture through cable reruns and award shows.
However, there’s a whole world of bizarre, terrible and oddly wonderful wrestling films that once seen, cannot be unseen. There’s vanity biopics, Japanese science fiction, and family-friendly dog shenanigans (seriously), but the common thread that stretches between them all is our beloved pseudo-sport.
I’ve included Immortal Dialogue for all of these cinematic treasures, and I want you to know that I didn’t just crib these from an IMDb quotations page. Don’t get me wrong, I totally would have, but most of these movies are so obscure that they don’t even have quotations on their IMDb pages!
Proceed at your own risk, friends. »
- Matt O'Connell
One of three screenplays from the classic masterpiece includes Welles’ handwritten notes and is signed by most of the film’s stars
The three screenplays being offered by Profiles in History on 30 September illustrate the evolution of the classic masterpiece, a landmark in the history of film for its innovative cinematic, lighting and narrative techniques.
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- Associated Press
William Becker, who with a partner acquired Janus Films in 1965, expanded its catalog of arthouse and Hollywood classics and broadened the distribution of that catalog to audiences at universities and to movie fans via DVD, died Saturday from complications of kidney failure in Southampton, N.Y. He was 88.
Becker was a theater critic, a culturally oriented financier and close associate of writers and directors whose passion for the art of film motivated him at least as much as a desire to make money.
Janus, which had been founded in the 1950s by a pair of Harvard alumni, exposed American moviegoers to the then mostly unfamiliar work of groundbreaking directors such as Italians Federico Fellini and Michelangelo Antonioni; Ingmar Bergman; Frenchmen François Truffaut and Robert Bresson; Luis Buñuel; and Japanese masters Akira Kurosawa, Yasujiro Ozu and Kenji Mizoguchi.
After acquiring the company, Becker and his partner Saul J. Turell secured the »
- Variety Staff
One of art cinema’s great champions, William Becker, died on Saturday after complication from kidney failure. He was 88.
Starting out his career as a theater critic, Becker purchased legendary art cinema label and Criterion Collection backer Janus Films in 1965, in turn helping it evolve into the brand that it has become today. Overseeing expansion into realms like university education and eventually home video, Becker was a man with an affinity for intellectual discussion of cinema (he himself was a Rhodes scholar) and also an early adopter of the auteur theory, focusing on legendary filmmakers ranging from Luis Bunuel to Yasujiro Ozu.
He purchased the company with Saul J. Turell, going on to nab rights to films like Citizen Kane and King Kong, putting them alongside legendary art house films and pieces of world cinema, like Renoir’s Grand Illusion. This itself will be his lasting legacy.
I’m not normally one to write obituaries, »
- Joshua Brunsting
In last year's Sight&Sound poll of the greatest films of all time, Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo took the top honour and knocked Citizen Kane out of first place where it had reigned for many decades. However, some critics and fans of the master of suspense (including Steven Spielberg and Wes Anderson) would give the edge to Rear Window instead.
It's a lighter movie than Vertigo -- and more life-affirming even though at least one person dies in it. It's also a master class in filmmaking for budding cinephiles and represents Hitchcock's most seamless blend of style and substance, humor and suspense, and romance and danger, which is why it's returning to Cineplex screens to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Classic Film Series.
Rear Window is a classic, and the kind of movie that doesn't get made these days which is why it still feels fresh so many years later. »
- Joe Frankel
Warner Bros. Pictures
You may think that the key to making immortal cinematic greatness is total and complete originality, but in reality many of film’s most jaw-dropping moments are actually lifted directly from previous greats, sometimes so brazenly it’s a shock the director actually got away with it.
Of course, imitation, pastiche and homaging has been the bread and butter of filmmakers since the time when bread came unsliced and butter was stored in a pantry. Filmmakers are constantly learning from each other and perfecting cinematic style (obligatory Citizen Kane reference), and thus often find it apt to give a shoutout to cinema’s illustrious past; Tommy shoots at Henry Hill at the end of Goodfellas in a homage to The Great Train Robbery; everything from The Untouchables to Ghostbusters 2 has nodded towards Battleship Potemkin’s baby carriage; Zurg reveals he’s Buzz’s father in Toy Story 2 »
- Alex Leadbeater
In this interview clip from a shelved Errol Morris project, businessman and now presidential candidate Donald Trump muses on the meanings of Orson Welles’ classic film, Citizen Kane. Trump doesn’t diverge from critical orthodoxy about the film, but it’s still interesting to hear him take away the standard lesson that money isn’t everything. Still, as Jason Kottke notes, Trump can’t just help himself from throwing in conversation-ending misogynistic aside. From Morris’s site: The Movie Movie, an aborted project, is based on the idea of taking Donald Trump, Mikhail Gorbachev and others and putting them in the movies they most admire. […] »
- Scott Macaulay
For those who subscribe to the generally held view that the late co-founder of Apple was both an iconic visionary and a monster with a silicon chip where his heart should be, rest assured that writer Aaron Sorkin, director Danny Boyle and star Michael Fassbender have given their subject the brilliant, maddening, ingeniously designed and monstrously self-aggrandizing movie he deserves. Blowing away traditional storytelling conventions with the same withering contempt that seems to motivate its characters’ every interaction, “Steve Jobs” is a bravura backstage farce, a wildly creative fantasia in three acts in which every scene plays out as a real-time volley of insults and ideas — insisting, with sometimes gratingly repetitive sound and fury, that Jobs’ gift for innovation was perhaps inextricable from his capacity for cruelty. Straining like mad to be the “Citizen Kane” (or at least the “Birdman”) of larger-than-life techno-prophet biopics, this is a film of brash, »
- Justin Chang
In the 2010 documentary Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy, Wes Craven predicts that when he dies his obituaries will say “Probably best known for inventing Freddy Krueger.” When he passed away last Sunday the New York Times headline read “Wes Craven, Whose Slasher Films Terrified Millions, Dies at 76,” but the second paragraph of his obit did say, “perhaps Mr. Craven’s most famous creation was the serial killer Freddy Krueger, played by Robert Englund, who, with his razor-blade glove, haunted the dreams of high school students in ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ and its sequels.”Though he had been making films for 12 years, starting with the Bergman-inspired Last House on the Left in 1972—not to mention a few years of making porn films before that—it was A Nightmare on Elm Street, a little indie horror film that he both wrote and directed, that made Wes Craven’s fortune. »
- Adrian Curry
How do you get to the bottom of a character like Steve Jobs, a figure so towering and complex that he could arguably serve as the basis of a film as ambitious as Citizen Kane? If you’re a dramatist with the character insight and verbal dexterity of Aaron Sorkin, you make him the vortex of a swirling human hurricane, the puppet master who kept all around him on strings, the impresario of a circus dedicated to the creation and dramatic unveiling of technological wonders that changed the world. Racing in high gear from start to finish, Danny Boyle’s electric direction
- Todd McCarthy
The 'overnight success' is a familiar enough narrative in the movie business. Actors are plucked from obscurity and set on the road to stardom. Directors offered major movie deals after one of their shorts goes viral on YouTube.
Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, on the other hand, has worked his way up through the ranks of the film industry, culminating in his latest movie, Me And Earl And The Dying Girl, a moving and very funny drama which won a Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. Before that, Gomez-Rejon began as an assistant to the likes of Martin Scorsese and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu before moving up to the role of second unit director on movies including Babel and Argo. His work on TV »
Gary Cooper movies on TCM: Cooper at his best and at his weakest Gary Cooper is Turner Classic Movies' “Summer Under the Stars” star today, Aug. 30, '15. Unfortunately, TCM isn't showing any Cooper movie premiere – despite the fact that most of his Paramount movies of the '20s and '30s remain unavailable. This evening's features are Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), Sergeant York (1941), and Love in the Afternoon (1957). Mr. Deeds Goes to Town solidified Gary Cooper's stardom and helped to make Jean Arthur Columbia's top female star. The film is a tad overlong and, like every Frank Capra movie, it's also highly sentimental. What saves it from the Hell of Good Intentions is the acting of the two leads – Cooper and Arthur are both excellent – and of several supporting players. Directed by Howard Hawks, the jingoistic, pro-war Sergeant York was a huge box office hit, eventually earning Academy Award nominations in several categories, »
- Andre Soares
Richard Elfman's (brother to composer Danny Elfman's) Forbidden Zone, is widely considered the most classic of cult classics. The Citizen Kane of underground movies if you will. It's a film where sexy Frenchy falls into an insane underworld ruled by a horny little king and his jealous queen. Where Chicken-boy comes to the rescue, only to have his head cut off by the soul-singing Devil himself--played by Danny Elfman and the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo. I mean, come on!
Now Forbidden Zone is hitting shelves on [Continued ...] »
Lovers of "Marnie," Alfred Hitchcock's 1964 psychosexual pas de deux with Tippi Hedren that placed weirdly high on a recent BBC critics' poll of the best movies ever, are in for a treat at this year's Vienna fest. The quintessential Hitchcock blonde gets her very own tribute, titled Choreography of Desire, including screenings of that film, "The Birds" and her recently re-released film maudit "Roar," co-starring her daughter Melanie Griffith. Read More: 'Citizen Kane' Still the Best American Movie Ever, According to BBC Critics Poll The now-unspooling Viennale lineup also includes an ode to late filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira, who died this year at age 106, presented by fellow Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa. Highlights of the feature film lineup include Sundance titles "Diary of a Teenage Girl," "Dope," "End of the Tour" and "Tangerine," as well as other festival faves such as Alex Ross Perry's "Queen of »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Who says you can’t make money with pirate movies? Well, Geena Davis probably, but Johnny Depp and Disney have proved the unfortunate mess that was Cutthroat Island was something of an anomaly. Or at least that it didn’t have to be the genre killer it seemed to be.
Having amassed an eye-watering amount of box office money over four films to date, it was inevitable that the franchise would continue into the mooted second trilogy. Whether Dead Men Tell No Tales manages to recapture the film-going world’s love of Jack Sparrow remains to be confirmed, but there’s clearly a lot of life left in Johnny Depp’s swaggering, drunken pantomime act as Jack Sparrow.
But despite accusations that that is all Pirates Of The Caribbean is – a vehicle for a single irresistible performance – the franchise actually has a lot more substance to it. In the »
- Simon Gallagher
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