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Directed by Anthony Mann
Written by Reginald Rose
Man of the West was director Anthony Mann’s final Western of the 1950s. As such, it stands as something of a cumulative expression of his generic preoccupations and stylistic preferences, preoccupations and preferences that were consistently integrated in a decade’s worth of some of the finest Westerns ever made. What Mann accomplished in this particular genre during a 10-year period is one of the most impressive chapters in American film history, but Man of the West is more than just a summation of the period; it is as good, if not better in many ways, as the extraordinary pictures that came before it.
Taking over the reigns from James Stewart, who had previously starred in five earlier landmark Mann Westerns, is Gary Cooper, another perennial aw shucks leading man. Like with Stewart, Mann upsets this archetypal Cooper screen persona. »
- Jeremy Carr
If Richard Linklater attempted a remake of Val Lewton’s “Cat People,” the end result might resemble “Spring,” an intriguing oddity about an attractive couple who meet in a scenic European locale and quickly chat their way into a close bond, but find their ties tested by the young woman’s propensity for periodically moonlighting as something fantastical. Co-directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (“Resolution,” “V/H/S: Viral”), working from a script credited to Benson, do a clever job of entwining elements of budding romance, mounting dread and indolent vacation in their leisurely paced, handsomely produced indie feature. And while the mix might not be to every taste, venturesome cineastes may heed appreciative reviews and sample “Spring” in various platforms.
Lou Taylor Pucci received a well-deserved Fantastic Fest audience award for his ingratiating performance as Evan, an easygoing but going-nowhere twentysomething who’s looking for a time out somewhere, »
- Joe Leydon
Dennis Lehane has had a more charmed run that most authors, watching his superb novels Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone and Shutter Island get turned into fine movies. Now he’s adapted one of his short stories into the Fox Searchlight drama The Drop, with Bullhead helmer Michael R. Roskam launching the film at Toronto last night and a cast led by Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini, Noomi Rapace, Bullhead‘s Matthias Schoenarts and John Ortiz. Here, Lehane discusses what it’s like to have his dialogue made better by great actors, and what Hollywood owes authors in turning their books into films.
Deadline: You have this gift for creating memorably desperate tough guy characters on the fringes of the criminal world. Where did the inspiration for Animal Rescue come from?
Lehane: It started just with an image. A guy walking in the snow, down a street, and he hears a noise. »
- Mike Fleming Jr
Out of the Past: Ayres’ Neo-noir is a Pulpy Brood
With a little luck, Australian director Tony Ayres’ latest film, Cut Snake will evolve beyond the festival circuit, unlike his accomplished 2007 drama The Home Song Stories with Joan Chen, which still remains unavailable in the Us. A period piece neo-noir, Ayres and screenwriter Blake Ayshford take a familiar premise down a surprisingly knotty path that makes for an intriguing and apprehensively sweaty yarn.
It is Sydney, 1974, and Pommie (Sullivan Stapleton) has just been released from prison. He seems to be looking for someone, showing up on an old woman’s doorstep, looking for an old friend named Sparra (Alex Russell). His friend doesn’t live there anymore, but an underlying uneasiness about Pommie’s insistence convinces us he’s going to find out where he went. Sure enough, he’s next seen staking out Sparra’s new home right outside of Melbourne, »
- Nicholas Bell
The new issue of Cineaste is out, featuring interviews with Joaquim Pinto (What Now? Remind Me) and Andrew Rossi (Ivory Tower). Also in today's roundup of news and views: Henry K. Miller on 1963 as a watershed year for film criticism; an interview with Armond White; Michael Koresky on Terence Davies; David Bordwell looks back on the evolution of archives; Fabrice du Welz (Alleluia) revisits a moment in Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon; R. Emmet Sweeney writes about Jacques Tourneur's Out of the Past; Bob Fosse on All That Jazz; a trailer for a David Lynch exhibition—and more. » - David Hudson »
Just try and keep up: the good folks at Cinema Scope are doing their epic annual Tiff capsule review marathon. Dive in. Martin Scorsese will be returning to Shutter Island to make a prequel for a new television series. For Film Comment, our very own Neil Bahadur has a conversation with Pedro Costa about his award-winning Horse Money:
"Bahadur: I remember you mentioned yesterday [at the press conference] how you’re only just starting to like the movie now. Is it usually that way with your films? Or is it specific to this one?
Costa: I think I like this more now. I only like some of the others, or small moments in the other films. This one came out so tense—I see a kind of tension that was very difficult to get. That’s because of Ventura too. Some people can do it like that [snaps fingers] like Straub. Well, not like that [snaps fingers again] because they work a lot. »
Throughout the summer, an admin on the r/movies subreddit has been leading Reddit users in a poll of the best movies from every year for the last 100 years called 100 Years of Yearly Cinema. The poll concluded three days ago, and the list of every movie from 1914 to 2013 has been published today.
Users were asked to nominate films from a given year and up-vote their favorite nominees. The full list includes the outright winner along with the first two runners-up from each year. The list is mostly a predictable assortment of IMDb favorites and certified classics, but a few surprise gems have also risen to the top of the crust, including the early experimental documentary Man With a Movie Camera in 1929, Abel Gance’s J’Accuse! in 1919, the Fred Astaire film Top Hat over Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps in 1935, and Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing over John Ford’s »
- Brian Welk
Directed by Jacques Tourneur
Written by Daniel Mainwaring
Director Jacques Tourneur knew how to make the most out of a little, particularly when he was working in collaboration with producer Val Lewton (see Cat People, 1942, I Walked with a Zombie, 1943, and The Leopard Man, 1943). So when Rko gave this master of the low-budget picture a comparatively larger budget and a top-notch screenplay (by Daniel Mainwaring—as Geoffrey Homes—based on his own novel, “Build My Gallows High”) the result was one of the finest of all film noir.
Starring Robert Mitchum as Jeff and Jane Greer as Kathie, Out of the Past is built on a premise that is one of the defining characteristics of noir: the inevitability of an inescapable past. Such a device was often integral, with the repercussions of one’s recent deeds coming back to haunt them, but relatively rare was »
- Jeremy Carr
After watching (and writing about) Out of the Past earlier this week, I had an itch to watch a little more film noir. So, last night, before bed, I started doing a little searching and decided on Edgar G. Ulmer's 67-minute feature Detour starring Tom Neal and Ann Savage. It should be said, before Ulmer started directing films he worked in the art department as set designer on Fritz Lang's Metroplis and M as well as assistant art director on F.W. Murnau's silent classic Sunrise. We've also featured a previous film of his here on this site when Matt Risnes wrote about his 1934 classic Black Cat (read that here) a spectacularly dark and eerie feature featuring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, each of them chewing up the big screen, attempting to outdo one another. That aside, when it comes to Detour, like Out of the Past we're talking about another femme fatale, »
- Brad Brevet
Movies such as Out of the Past are what movie blogging should be all about. While it's undoubtedly important to keep up with the new titles hitting theaters, finding hidden gems within the glut of watered-down, mass audience studio releases, it's just as important to look into the past and find the movies that have shaped cinema into what it is today... or, at least a reminder of what great cinema used to be, and is now mostly (un)seen within the confines of independent releases. As someone who only started delving deep into cinema's rich history about eleven years ago I still pay attention to a variety of sites and bloggers, hoping to hear of films I've never heard of or seen, something to shake up the monotony. Typically this comes in the form of a Criterion Collection release, the gold standard (at least domestically) in ensuring classic cinema remains alive, »
- Brad Brevet
It was a great week of movie watching for me that included three films playing the Toronto Film Festival, which means I'll be able to have reviews ready for the fest, opening up my schedule for even more movies. Those three included Leviathan, Wild Things and Whiplash and I've already seen The Guest (a Midnight Madness entry). I also have at least one more to come right before I leave, which will put me five films ahead before I even begin. Also this week I saw Sin City: A Dame to Kill For and we all know how that turned out and I watched Frank (my review here). Then, on Saturday, I went nuts and watched Warner Archive's new Blu-ray for Jacques Tourneur's Out of the Past, which I'll be writing about this week followed by Snatch and then finished off with David Ayer's Sabotage, which was as »
- Brad Brevet
The release of Sin City: A Dame To Kill For inspires James to look back at its film noir roots, and some classic examples of the genre...
We're at the shadowy back-end of the summer blockbuster season and darkness is entering the frame. Here comes ultraviolence, sleaze, crime and death, all beautifully shot in macabre high-contrast monochrome. Just when you thought you'd got yourself clean and were all peppy after some upbeat family-friendly popcorn thrills, here's Sin City: A Dame To Kill For to darken up the doorways. (And it will light up a cigarette in those doorways and spit out some tough dialogue from between its bloodstained teeth while it's lingering there.)
We're back in the Basin City of Frank Miller's graphic novels again, once more brought to vivid screen life by the comics creator »
It may be in 3D this time around, but Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller’s monotone, monochrome comicbook universe feels flatter than ever in “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.” Rare indeed is the movie that features this many bared breasts, pummeled crotches and severed noggins and still leaves you checking your watch every 10 minutes. But that’s the dubious accomplishment of this visually arresting but grimly repetitive exercise in style, set against a sordid neo-noir landscape populated almost exclusively by tormented tough guys and femme-fatale fetish objects. Nearly a decade after the first “Sin City” grossed more than $158 million worldwide, it’s doubtful whether the directors’ overlapping fanbases can muster the same level of excitement for a picture about which the best one can really say is, “It sure beats ‘The Spirit.’ ”
- Justin Chang
This week’s new Blu-ray releases include a wonderfully compelling drama told entirely from the confines of a car, a quartet of older animated Disney films getting an HD upgrade, a new Muppet movie, and more. Briefly: Locke [Blu-ray] - $21.24 (15% off) Muppets Most Wanted (Blu-ray) - $22.99 (43% off) Hercules [Blu-ray] - $17.99 (40% off) Tarzan [Blu-ray] - $17.99 (40% off) Bedknobs & Broomsticks [Blu-ray] - $19.99 (33% off) Out Of The Past [Blu-ray] - $18.69 (15% off) Filth [Blu-ray] - $17.99 (40% off) Disneynature: Bears (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) - $22.99 (43% off) Breathe In - Blu Ray [Blu-ray] - $22.49 (10% off) The Railway Man [Blu-ray + UltraViolet] - $24.96 (29% off) A Haunted House 2 (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD with UltraViolet) - $22.99 (34% off) Batman: Assault on Arkham [Blu-ray] - $16.99 (32% off) The Blacklist: Season 1 [Blu-ray] - $34.99 (54% off)
- Adam Chitwood
Moviefone's Top DVD of the Week
What's It About? Tom Hardy stars as a construction foreman who's driving to London to attend the birth of his child. You really shouldn't have stressful conversations on your cell while driving, but Ivan (Hardy) doesn't care. He has to make sure his big job tomorrow goes as planned, confess to his wife that he cheated on her with a co-worker, and coaching the aforementioned co-worker through the premature birth of their baby. Yikes.
Why We're In: Hardy is more than capable of commanding the screen for the entirety of the movie. Although you hear other characters' voices, it's all Hardy, all the time. Who could argue with that?
Moviefone's Top Blu-ray of the Week
"Love Streams" (Criterion)
- Jenni Miller
Over at The Telegraph, Robbie Collin has chosen to take on the impossible, he's set out to create a list of films that tells the story of Hollywood "in terms of how one picture or director led to the next." It's a daunting task that creates an interesting narrative and he prefaces his ten selections saying: ...none of the individual works is "great" or "important" enough to drown out the others. I've avoided films such as Citizen Kane, Vertigo, Singin' in the Rain, Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, Lawrence of Arabia and The Godfather, not just because we already know they're great, but because their greatness might throw the story off-balance - although I wouldn't hesitate to describe any of the films that are on this list as a masterpiece. So how does his list shape outc Have a look: One Week (1920) - dir. Buster Keaton It Happened One Night (1934) - dir. »
- Brad Brevet
There are at least 26 good reasons to straighten your stocking seams, touch up your lip rouge, and queue up for Film Forum's Femmes Noir series, running from July 18 through August 7. Here are just three: Joan Crawford's long-suffering, pie-making matriarch in Mildred Pierce (July 18, 19 and 31); Gene Tierney's ravishing, murderous schemer — one possessed of the most stunning overbite known to man — in Leave Her to Heaven (July 20 and 21); and Jane Greer's predatory faux angel, who comes shimmering along in a saucer-shaped halo of a hat, in one of the most unsparing and bleakly beautiful of all films noir, Out of the Past (also July 20 and 21).
But of all the femmes vying for our attention here, perhaps the most willful and terrifying is p »
The DC Universe Animated Original Movies line has delivered some absolutely terrific comic book adaptations (Jay Oliva’s two-part Batman: The Dark Knight Returns comes to mind), and also some thoroughly mediocre ones (like most of the Superman entries). It’s impressive how much work goes into animating these direct-to-video titles, but a fair share of them have been unfortunately sidetracked by stilted voice acting and weak writing.
Son of Batman, which loosely adapts Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert’s “Batman and Son” arc, is far from the worst of the Dcu Animated titles, though that’s probably the highest praise I can give it. While the animation is damn-near flawless, and the voice acting is mostly above average, this tonally dissonant offering ends up taking on more story than it can handle.
Opening in grand fashion, Son of Batman introduces us first not to the Caped Crusader, but to his young son Damian, »
- Isaac Feldberg
The video team here at HitFix constantly impresses me with not only the volume of work that they produce, but also the quality. We've gotten very lucky with the people we've hired, and they make any of our collaborations both easy and fun. Last week, they approached me about a new ongoing feature that they wanted to do, and tomorrow, we're going to shoot the first episode of "Ask Drew," which is exactly what it sounds like. I am constantly asked questions via e-mail and Twitter and in our comments section, and I feel like I never fully answer all of them, something that makes me feel terrible. I am grateful for each and every reader of the work we do here at HitFix, and if I can answer something, I try to. To that end, we are going to try something a little different here starting tomorrow. I want »
- Drew McWeeny
Written by Niven Busch
Directed Raoul Walsh
In a small, dilapidated home in the middle of the New Mexico desert, the beautiful but worried Thor Callum (Theresa Wright) arrives to convene with her on-the-run lover Jeb Rand (Robert Mitchum). From whom or what he is fleeing is unclear at first, but he seems convinced that the conclusion to his arduous adventure is near. In the calm before the approaching storm, Jeb recounts the tale from the beginning to fill in Thor and the audience on all the details. As a child, Jeb is adopted by Thor’s mother (Judith Anderson) when the latter found him asleep and alone under a trapdoor in his home, the same place seen in the opening sequence. Unaware of how or why his family died, Jeb is haunted by mysterious visions of the eventful night through much of his life while living on »
- Edgar Chaput
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