12 items from 2015
Film noir cognoscente Eddie Muller defines noir as "the flip-side of the all-American success story." On his website he has posted the list 25 Noir Films That Will Stand the Test of Time, a drool-worthy selection of classics that also happen to be some of our own favorites. Thus, in spirit, we present our picks below, including such Muller faves as "In a Lonely Place," "Double Indemnity," "Sweet Smell of Success," "Touch of Evil" and "Detour." For those lovers of more contemporary noir, here are our 15 favorite neo-noirs. From Jacques Tourneur to Humphrey Bogart, What to See at La's Noir City Festival Anne Thompson's Top 5: 1. "Touch of Evil" (1958): Orson Welles' bravura noir starts out strong with a delirious sustained single shot, as newlyweds Mr. and Mrs. Vargas (Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh) stroll across the Mexican border to the sound of Henry Mancini and a ticking bomb, which explodes after. »
Directed by Peter Godfrey
*It should be noted that the following review contains spoilers pertaining to the film’s plot, including an important revelation on which most of the drama hinges. Readers have been forewarned.
Defence Attorney Craig Carlson (Raymond Burr) sits alone in his office late one night. Having turned on a recording machine he begins to narrate to a fellow lawyer that he is surely to be killed within the hour. At that moment the film flashbacks to some months ago when Craig approaches a dear old friend, Joe Leeds (Dick Foran) with terrible news: Joe’s wife and him have fallen in deeply in love. Joe appears visibly disappointed, but, curiously, less angry than one might expect. He implores Craig to give him time to mull over the situation. Shortly thereafter Joe returns home to see his wife, »
- Edgar Chaput
Oscar-nominated animation wizard Bill Plympton's drew his latest film "Cheatin'" entirely by hand in pencil sketches colored digitally to watercolor-like effect. Plympton's seventh animated feature, this cartoon film for adults was inspired by the work of noir fiction writer James M. Cain ("Double Indemnity," "The Postman Always Rings Twice"). Jake and Ella meet-cute after a bumper car collision, falling wildly in love until a scheming "other woman" drives a wedge of jealousy into their courtship. Aided by a magician and his mysterious and forbidden "soul machine," Ella exacts revenge by assuming the form of Jake's numerous lovers as they try to recapture what they lost. Considered to be the first person to hand draw a feature film, Plympton has worked with Madonna, Kanye West and Weird Al on music videos and book projects. »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Here’s a first look at the new trailer and poster for Cheatin,’ the award-winning, surreal animated adult tale of love, jealousy, revenge, and murder.
The film screened at the St. Louis International Film Festival in November 2014. In his Sliff review, Jim Batts called the film, “a wonderful, imaginative featuree animated film,” adding Plympton is, “at the zenith of his artistic powers here, with a long-form film that captures all of the charm of his quirky shorts.”
In a fateful bumper car collision, Jake and Ella meet and become the most loving couple in the long history of Romance.
But when a scheming “other” woman drives a wedge of jealousy into their perfect courtship, insecurity spells out an untimely fate.
With only the »
- Michelle McCue
Written by Kenneth Gamet
Directed by Jack Bernhard
A wedding day is a joyous occasion to celebrate the unison between two people deeply in love with one another, ready and willing to spend the remainder of their lives together until death do them part. Claire Cummings’ (Leslie Brooks) understanding of what a wedding represents renounces most of those delightful thoughts, only retaining and applying the part about death. Claire is a vixen, a conniving, duplicitous witch who spends her energy on marrying wealthy, important people, only to concoct their demise shortly thereafter, reaping the benefits of fanciful wills in the process. Her matrimonial reunion to a powerful businessman in the film’s opening scene irks polite, clean-cut Les Burns (Robert Paige), with whom Claire to used to work at a newspaper. Deep down he loves Claire, naively unaware of her true intentions. When her hubby »
- Edgar Chaput
As computer-animated movies continue to become more prevalent, does it ever seem to you like they're all becoming one homogenous cartoon, where the faces and aesthetics all look weirdly similar? At least you'll never mistake the hand-drawn animation of Bill Plympton for anything else. You may recognize Plympton's iconic work from films like I Married a Strange Person and his collaborations with Kanye West and Madonna, and Vulture can exclusively premiere the trailer for the award-winning animator's new film, Cheatin’. Inspired by the works of Double Indemnity author James M. Cain, it's a story about love, lust, and jealousy, but the trailer is also a spellbinding tribute to hand-drawn creativity, and it might be the prettiest, most unusual thing you watch today. Cheatin' is out in theaters April 3. »
- Kyle Buchanan
Simone Simon in 'La Bête Humaine' 1938: Jean Renoir's film noir (photo: Jean Gabin and Simone Simon in 'La Bête Humaine') (See previous post: "'Cat People' 1942 Actress Simone Simon Remembered.") In the late 1930s, with her Hollywood career stalled while facing competition at 20th Century-Fox from another French import, Annabella (later Tyrone Power's wife), Simone Simon returned to France. Once there, she reestablished herself as an actress to be reckoned with in Jean Renoir's La Bête Humaine. An updated version of Émile Zola's 1890 novel, La Bête Humaine is enveloped in a dark, brooding atmosphere not uncommon in pre-World War II French films. Known for their "poetic realism," examples from that era include Renoir's own The Lower Depths (1936), Julien Duvivier's La Belle Équipe (1936) and Pépé le Moko (1937), and particularly Marcel Carné's Port of Shadows (1938) and Daybreak (1939). This thematic and »
- Andre Soares
Love can be a many splendid thing…both in triumph and sometimes in tragedy. The emphasis of this sentiment is mainly on the latter as tragedy can be defined in various degrees of despair. Consequently, we have endured all sorts of conflict between lovers in cinema throughout the history of frequenting the movies.
In You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling: Top Ten Tragic Lovers in the Movies we will look at a selection of films where the tragic circumstances have shaped the foundation of film lovers convincingly. The tragic overtones come in all varieties: marital discourse, criminal activity, fraud, addiction, etc. Granted that there are probably bigger and better choices for lovey-dovey antagonism that could be cited in You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling but hey…the outcome remains the same: hampered relationships that are creatively rooted in turmoil.
The spotlight of “lovers” are open to discussion in the realm of combative married couples, »
- Frank Ochieng
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
The American Film Institute is probably best known for those lists of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time (y'know... if it's an American production in some way). Well, every year they hold their own awards, because every group of people has to have awards. They recognize the ten best films (for this year, it's eleven due to a tie) and the ten best television programs of the year. There are not winners in these categories, but each one gets celebrated. On that front, I kind of like the AFI approach to awards. Along with the awards, AFI has put together this four and a half minute montage chronicling the last 120 years of film. Now, it would be ridiculous to cover every single year. Instead, they start with 1894's Strong Man and jump every ten years, showcasing films like Rear Window, The Godfather: Part II, Pulp Fiction, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind »
- Mike Shutt
Loretta Young films as TCM celebrates her 102nd birthday (photo: Loretta Young ca. 1935) Loretta Young would have turned 102 years old today. Turner Classic Movies is celebrating the birthday of the Salt Lake City-born, Academy Award-winning actress today, January 6, 2015, with no less than ten Loretta Young films, most of them released by Warner Bros. in the early '30s. Young, who began her film career in a bit part in the 1927 Colleen Moore star vehicle Her Wild Oat, remained a Warners contract player from the late '20s up until 1933. (See also: "Loretta Young Movies.") Now, ten Loretta Young films on one day may sound like a lot, but one should remember that most Warner Bros. -- in fact, most Hollywood -- releases of the late '20s and early '30s were either B Movies or programmers. The latter were relatively short (usually 60 to 75 minutes) feature films starring A (or B+) performers, »
- Andre Soares
40. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Lost to: Silence of the Lambs 1991 was the first time an animated film ever grabbed a nomination for Best Picture with Disney’s version of “Beauty and the Beast.” The film also picked up nominations for sound, Original Score (for which it won) and three – count ‘em Three – for Best Original Song, the Oscar going to the title song. The film never really had a chance of winning (though this was one rare year where the Academy went exceedingly dark with their winner), but its inclusion was the first step toward a wider range of films getting a chance and the creation of the eventual Best Animated Film category.
39. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Lost to: How Green Was My Valley
1941 would one day become one of the most notorious Oscar upsets, but not because of this film, however brilliant it is (the other film is much higher »
- Joshua Gaul
12 items from 2015
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