5 items from 2014
Feature James Clayton 21 Feb 2014 - 06:09
Editors are a vital yet oft-overlooked part of filmmaking. James takes a closer look at the work of these mystery craftspeople...
Here's a pretty disturbing proposition for you to mentally chop down into easily digestible chunks - Lars Von Trier's Nymphomaniac makes its way into cinemas this week. The controversial Danish director's new ensemble movie revolves around the reminiscence of a sex addict named Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) who's found in the street by an academic (Stellan Skarsgård). Joe proceeds to tell him her personal story and the film plays out in flashbacks across different time periods, fleshed out by an array of well-known actors who engage themselves in graphic carnal activity.
This story first appeared in the Feb. 14 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. David O. Russell digs into a large canvas tote bag, yanking out books, CDs, notepads and pens, straining the seams of his black three-piece suit (one of five identical J.Crew suits he wears each day). There are DVDs of Orson Welles' The Magnificent Ambersons and Stanley Kramer's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner; a paperback called The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness, from the writings of Epictetus; a thank-you card from Russell's lawyer, Bruce Ramer; a half-finished
- Stephen Galloway
The cinema of Orson Welles is defined by compromise -- by funding lost, control wrested away, footage excised and eradicated.
With his debut film, Welles enjoyed unprecedented freedom and authority; his final one has languished uncompleted and unseen for nearly 40 years, embroiled to this day in legal controversy. History portrays his narrative as a strong man's grip gradually loosening. What ought to be remembered, and what's so extraordinary, is that the greatness of his art has survived these concessions: His films endure even as fragments of their author's original vision, from the incomplete historical sweep of The Magnificent Ambersons (a masterpiece undiminished by its studio-mandated elisions) to the maimed and malformed Touch of Evil (assembled p »
The inimitable Terence Davies gets his first Criterion treatment this month with his 1992 title, The Long Day Closes, a superb memory poem drenched in melancholy nostalgia. A follow-up to the much more dark and brutal Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988), Davies returns once more to the memoirs of a ravaged childhood, further expanded upon from his first three short films which comprised The Terence Davies Trilogy (1976-1984). Swimming freely between quiet fantasy sequences and recollections of free associations as we drift in and out of abandoned ramshackle buildings of the past like a restless spirit, there is a delicate and fragile longing in Davies’ second feature, a ruminative exploration absent from the pained dirge of his previous film.
- Nicholas Bell
Rabid fans who delight in the wretched excess — or, if you prefer, excessive wretchedness — of Lloyd Kaufman’s infamous Troma schlock factory will doubtless embrace “Return to Nuke ‘Em High Volume 1” with all the fervent appreciation that a more conventional cinephile might reserve for a fully restored edition of “The Magnificent Ambersons.” Other viewers, especially those unaccustomed to Troma’s output, will likely be befuddled, repulsed, disgusted and/or painfully bored by this aggressively offensive and purposefully cheesy horror romp. Such over-the-top tastelessness is very much an acquired taste, although the Troma fanbase conceivably could push the pic into profit.
The term “freewheeling” does not begin to describe the slapdash, anything-goes quality of the screenplay co-written by Troma mogul Kaufman, who returned to the director’s chair for the first time in eight years to oversee this kinda-sorta sequel to his 1986 “Class of Nuke ‘Em High.” The original film — which »
- Joe Leydon
5 items from 2014
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