8 items from 2015
Above: David Bordwell drops science on that horrific and longstanding practice we know as "Pan & Scan." Joining President Darren Aronofsky on the International Jury at the Berlinale next month are the following: Daniel Brühl, Bong Joon-ho, Martha De Laurentiis, Claudia Llosa, Audrey Tautou, and Matthew Weiner. For Grantland, Steven Hyden has written a wonderful article on Gene Hackman:
"He couldn’t have planned it this way, but Hackman had aged into a screen persona — he looked like he had spent years driving a truck or working as a doorman before lucking into the movies, because that’s basically what had happened. Hackman might’ve studied the Method under Lee Strasberg (“He played with people’s heads a lot,” he recalled derisively of Strasberg in 2001), but he could just be and be authentic onscreen."
Jafar Panahi's Taxi, the third film of his to premiere since he was banned from directing in Iran, »
A new issue of Jump Cut is always a thumper and #56 is no exception: Mike Budd on Disney "in the era of corporate personhood," Douglas Kellner on 12 Years a Slave and Amistad, Heather Ashley Hayes and Gilbert Rodman on Django Unchained, Milo Sweedler on class warfare in the Robocop movies and Robert Alpert on the "artificial intelligence of Her." And more. Also in today's roundup of news and views: Richard Brody on Amos Vogel, James Schamus's speech "23 Fragments on the Future of Cinema," Stephanie Zacharek on The Palm Beach Story, an exhibition of work by James Benning and Peter Hutton, early word on future projects from Don Hertzfeldt and Jesse Eisenberg and more. » - David Hudson »
One of the greatest, wildest comedies ever made, Preston Sturges's 1942 classic The Palm Beach Story, hits Criterion today in a beautiful new edition packed with extras. The story of a husband and wife (Joel McCrea and Claudette Colbert) who, having hit a rough financial patch, agree to separate but then are thrust back together after she heads to Florida and begins to romance a wealthy playboy (Rudy Vallee), the film is remarkable for its inventive, freewheeling story line; it's the kind of movie that can digress into a 20-minute tangent about a gun-happy hunting club wreaking havoc on a passenger train without batting an eye. One of the most intriguing extras on Criterion's edition features SNL's Bill Hader, who is a huge Preston Sturges fan, discussing what makes the film so special and even reading through parts of the script. We spoke to him about his love of »
- Bilge Ebiri
The Drop I really liked The Drop and it was a little frustrating Fox Searchlight didn't show much interest in raising the film's awareness after the lukewarm response in Toronto. I think this still could have been a hit of sorts if they had shown a little more enthusiasm, but I guess once it was clear it wasn't going to be an Oscar contender they just figured "what's the usec" Nevertheless, check it out now that it's on DVD and Blu-ray, and for my theatrical review click here.
Lucy Solid movie, fun and certain to be quite enjoyable from the comfort of your own home. I have a Blu-ray copy here and I'm going to check it out a second time... at some point.
- Brad Brevet
I recognized the greatness of Preston Sturges when I first saw The Lady Eve (1941). Sturges realizes the absurdity of his stories and he owns those absurdities for the sake of entertainment rather than attempting to twist them into something they aren't. In the case of romantic comedies, today's attempts at the genre find filmmakers over looking their absurdity and to do so, as a filmmaker, is to make a movie that's too heavy-handed, ignoring the necessary tone of such a film. How many times have you been watching a romantic comedy and things are bouncing along -- a joke here, a sexual escapade there -- all leading up to the inevitable misunderstanding or break-up of the central characters you knew was comingc At this point our minds have pretty much been trained to expect these moments and all that comes after them. We know the characters are going to get »
- Brad Brevet
The Criterion Collection has announced the selection of six titles to be released on Blu-ray and DVD in April, 2015. The Criterion editions will feature non-compressed audio files, digital picture restoration and each is accompanied by an essay from a prominent critic. Special edition interviewees and commentators include Martin Scorcese, Noah Baumbach and more. Synopses of the films below are courtesy of Criterion: "Sullivan's Travels"Tired of churning out lightweight comedies, Hollywood director John L. Sullivan ("The Palm Beach Story's" Joel McCrea) decides to make "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"—a serious, socially responsible film about human suffering. After his producers point out that he knows nothing of hardship, Sullivan hits the road disguised as a hobo. En route to enlightenment, he meets a lovely but no-nonsense young woman ("I Married a Witch's" Veronica Lake)—and more trouble than he ever dreamed of. This comic »
- Elizabeth Logan
I'm just slowly working my way into movie watching for the new year it would seem. Once again this more of a laid back week with only three movies watched, the first of which was showing my wife The Usual Suspects for the first time. I'm not entirely sure she was awake for the whole thing, but by the end she was like, "I knew it was him a while ago." I asked if she liked the movie, she said she did, but I was a little disappointed she didn't seem to like it as much as I did the first time I saw it... oh well. After that I saw Taken 3 and we all know how that turned out and then just last night I watched Preston Sturgess' The Palm Beach Story on the new Criterion Blu-ray coming out on January 20. I'd never seen it before and will »
- Brad Brevet
How would you program this year's newest, most interesting films into double features with movies of the past you saw in 2014?
Looking back over the year at what films moved and impressed us, it is clear that watching old films is a crucial part of making new films meaningful. Thus, the annual tradition of our end of year poll, which calls upon our writers to pick both a new and an old film: they were challenged to choose a new film they saw in 2014—in theatres or at a festival—and creatively pair it with an old film they also saw in 2014 to create a unique double feature.
All the contributors were given the option to write some text explaining their 2014 fantasy double feature. What's more, each writer was given the option to list more pairings, with or without explanation, as further imaginative film programming we'd be lucky to catch »
8 items from 2015
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