17 items from 2017
How one classic inspired another.
- H. Perry Horton
At the specialty box office, reviews can have a huge impact. This weekend, “The Book of Henry” (Focus Features), Colin Trevorrow’s return to indie films, was scorched by critics and summoned only a mediocre start in 579 theaters ($1.4 million). On the other hand, the best per-theater-average came from “Hare Krishna” (Abramorama), a documentary the New York Times, normally critical in launching any specialized release, chose not to include among its reviews. It managed over $21,000 in one Manhattan theater.
While IFC’s Northern Ireland political story “The Journey” also delivered a surprisingly strong New York opening, the most encouraging news of the weekend was the impressive expansion for “Beatriz at Dinner” (Roadside Attractions).
The Book of Henry (Focus) – Metacritic: 28
$1,407,000 in 579 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $2,431
- Tom Brueggemann
Italian director and actor (and neorealist luminary) Vittorio De Sica is best known to most stateside audiences for his honorary Oscar winners like “Sciuscià” (the first foreign film to be recognized by the Academy) and his enduring classic “Bicycle Thieves,” but there are still gems from the long-deceased filmmaker for fans to discover.
Like his 1963 comedy “Il Boom,” which has never had a U.S. release…until now! “Il Boom” will finally come to the States — complete with a new restoration — later this month, and we have a fresh trailer to celebrate.
The film’s title refers to the Italian economic “miracle” that took place from the late 1950s until the 1970s after World War II. “Il Boom” follows Giovanni Alberti (Alberto Sordi), a small building contractor who is deeply in debt because »
- Kate Erbland
So much of our lives revolve around food. Whether it’s a date, a happy hour with friends, a hungover brunch or family dinner, a lot of our social time involves eating. In Season 2 of Aziz Ansari‘s “Master of None,” food is not only a central plot point, but almost a character of its own. Scroll through to learn exactly how the food in every episode influenced Dev, Arnold, Denise and the rest of the gang. Episode 1: “The Thief” In a tribute to old Italian films like “The Bicycle Thief,” the premiere of Season 2 is shot in black ad. »
- Ashley Boucher
Liam Hoofe reviews Master of None season 2…
Aziz Ansari has always been an affable presence on screen – his turn as Tom Haverford on Parks and Rec won him a huge audience and his consistent stand-up work helped solidify his name as one of the best comedic talents around. It wasn’t until he was given the chance to write and produce his own show, though, that it become clear just what a talent the 34-year-old really is.
Master of None, the Netflix original about an Indian actor living in New York, debuted on Netflix in 2015 to critical acclaim. The season holds a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and was nominated for several major awards, including a Golden Globe and four Emmys.
The first season of Master of None was pretty much perfect. Ansari’s script was, like his performance, full of intricate little details, humour and an incredibly human look at »
- Liam Hoofe
Season 1 of Master of None was such a pleasant surprise. The series that followed the trials and tribulations of Dev (Aziz Ansari), a 30-year-old Indian actor in New York City, came out of nowhere to steal the hearts of viewers and Emmy voters alike. Season 2 manages to not only retain its signature humor and knack for tackling social and cultural issues facing minorities, but it also pushes the cinematic artistry of the show to new heights. Series co-creator Aziz Ansari is back playing the perfect everyman with his particular sense of humor and never ending appetite for pasta, and surrounding him is another set of incredibly diverse and unique supporting cast members including plenty of guest stars and of course, his main buddies, Arnold (Eric Wareheim) and Denise (Lena Waithe).
The immensely delightful black and white first episode sets the tone for the season, letting viewers know right away to »
- Joseph Hernandez
Welcome to another installment of Movies to Show My Son. This is the blog series were I discuss movies I can’t wait to show my son in the future. I’ll be covering my own personal experience with the movie, movie lessons and life lessons I hope he will learn, and lastly my concerns about showing said film. This week’s film is The Bicycle Thief.
When I was growing up I never watched foreign films. It is not that I avoided them it is more so that I did not realize they existed. At that time I assumed everything was made at Hollywood and by Disney. As I grew older and wiser I realized that was not the case but still tended to stay away. The first time I ended up seeing a foreign film was around 2002 when I saw Yimou Zhang’s Hero in theaters. »
- Dan Clark
Ellen Ripley in all her butt-kicking glory is kicking off today's Horror Highlights. Funko's Ellen Ripley Rock Candy collectible will hit stores soon! Also: details on Splathouse podcast's Hobgoblins (1988) discussion, Alamo Drafthouse and Kodak's first-ever Reel Film Day, and release details for Bigfoot the Movie.
Funko's Ellen Ripley Rock Candy Collectible: From Funko: "A Pop! and ReAction just aren't enough - Ellen Ripley will be joining the Rock Candy line soon!
Splathouse Podcast Presents a Hobgoblins Discussion: From Splathouse: "For your consideration: Our four panelists (Sarah, Mike, John, and Jim) are joined by a Twitter friend (@parkerandcooley), an Academy Award nominee (Christopher Walken), a quiet coyote, and Rick Sloane (writer/director of The Visitants and Vice Academy). Can the gang survive the chaos or will they be seduced by the evil, mind-altering Hobgoblins? Find out this week!
Plus! All the regular bullshit you love: What Do Ya Know? »
- Tamika Jones
If one is looking to experience a dose of astonishing beauty, now in theaters in the Oscar-nominated animation The Red Turtle. A co-production with Studio Ghibli, Michaël Dudok de Wit’s first feature-length film is a humble, patient drama with an emotionally rich finale. To celebrate its theatrical release here in the U.S., we’re highlighting the director’s all-time favorite films, which he submitted to BFI‘s latest Sight & Sound poll. Featuring classics from Kubrick, Cimino, Kurosawa, and more, on the animation side, he makes sure to recognize a Miyazaki masterwork, along with a seminal Disney film.
“Just before the team arrived, Studio Ghibli called me and said, ‘We’ve been thinking about the list of words that are supposed to be spoken in the film and we think you should drop the dialogue entirely,'” the director told us, speaking about the production process of his film. »
- Jordan Raup
We live in a pixelated world. Much of our day is spent staring at watches, laptops, desktops, iPods, and iPads that offer up digitized video, newsfeeds, and Facebook posts. These pixels are even dominating the biggest screens of all, as more and more movie theaters abandon film for the convenience and cost savings of digital projection. But there remain purists, for whom the flicker and luster of film remains a vital component of the movie-going experience. Quentin Tarantino, for instance, once blasted digital projection, dismissing it as “just television in cinema” and predicting it would lead to the death of movies.
Well the “Pulp Fiction” director and his partisans should mark their calendars. Alamo Drafthouse is partnering with Kodak on the first-ever “Reel Film Day,” a celebration of 35mm film. Both companies say they see the advantages of digitization, but they also want to celebrate the look, flavor, and art of celluloid. »
- Brent Lang
Water And Sugar: Carlo Di Palma, The Colours Of Life premiered at last year’s Venice Film Festival.
Adriana Chiesa is selling Water And Sugar: Carlo Di Palma, The Colours Of Life, the new feature doc about the legendary cinematographer (and Chiesa’s late husband), at this week’s European Film Market (Efm) and has reported deals for the UK (Swipe Films) and Spain (Film Buro). Instituto Luce will release the film in Italy this spring.
Directed by Fariborz Kamkari, the documentary profiles Di Palma’s career from being focus puller on Vittorio de Sica’s Bicycle Thieves (1948) to his credits as a cinematographer on films including Blow-Up (1966) and 11 Woody Allen films.
The film screened recently at the Santa Barbara International Festival, which Chiesa reveals that Iranian-born director Kamkari wasn’t able to attend because of the Trump travel ban then in place.
At Efm, Adriana Chiesa Enterprises has also begun sales on They Called Her Maryam »
- email@example.com (Geoffrey Macnab)
“Is it black and white?” At some point, every kid will ask that question, and when it’s geared towards you, you won’t want to answer it. Why? Because chances are the movie in question is a great flick, one that you’re dying to watch, and by answering ‘yes,’ you’re afraid that its credibility will lessen. And that’s a terrible feeling.
What younger audiences always forget is that film started out black and white, and without that “prehistoric” technology, the glossy, explosion-filled action eye-candy they adore would never happen. Black and white films are a powerful art form in themselves, not just a stage before glorious Technicolor. They can emphasize theme, capture feeling and represent an idea (among other uses). Over the years, some directors have opted to make their movie monochromatic even though color was an option; the choice is not always only artistic, sometimes, »
- Luke Parker
Generally speaking, this year’s Sundance Film Festival was a very healthy marketplace that guaranteed many of its highlights will make it to audiences beyond the festival circuit soon. From heavy hitters like “The Big Sick” and “Mudbound” to discoveries like “Thoroughbred,” there was plenty of buyer interest spread throughout the lineup. As usual, though, plenty of worthy titles ended the festival with uncertain futures.
Read More: The 2017 IndieWire Sundance Bible: Every Review, Interview and News Item Posted During the Festival
Here are a few memorable ones that deserve distribution.
There are plenty of stories about domestic housewives who grow tired of their oppressive routines, but none quite like Marianna Palka’s vicious feminist satire “Bitch,” in which the writer-director-star plays a woman who assumes the identity of a wild dog. It’s a blunt metaphor, but Palka transforms the absurd premise into a chilling look at the destruction »
- David Ehrlich, Eric Kohn and Jude Dry
The story of a lower-class father attempting to raise his young son doesn’t sound like groundbreaking material, but “Menashe” puts that bittersweet formula into an exciting new context. Shot exclusively in Brooklyn’s Hasidic community in Borough Park with a script almost entirely spoken in Yiddish, the narrative debut of cinematographer and documentarian Joshua Z. Weinstein has the precision of an ethnographic experiment. The movie exists within the confines of its insular setting, and features a cast of real-life Hasidim riffing on the traditions that govern their everyday lives, but manages to mine a degree of emotional accessibility that extends far beyond the neighborhood’s borders.
The title character is portrayed by Menashe Lustig, a gentle, portly figure whose circumstances inspired the melancholic plot. His performance is so heartbreaking in its authenticity that the movie often borders on documentary, and yet it maintains an engaging pace as it builds »
- Eric Kohn
Close-Up is a column that spotlights films now playing on Mubi. Vittorio de Sica's Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (1963) is playing January 8 - February 6, 2017 in the United States.Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (1963), winner of the 1965 Oscar for Best Foreign Film, is a trio of stories directed by Vittorio De Sica in the omnibus fashion so popular at the time (just the year prior, he had contributed to the similarly structured Boccaccio ‘70, alongside Federico Fellini, Mario Monicelli, and Luchino Visconti). Spearheaded by international super-producer Carlo Ponti—helping to ensure global distribution and award-worthy prestige—the film is, first and foremost, a collaborative compendium of what partially defined the popular perception of its versatile director and its two leads, Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni.The first short, “Adelina,” was written by Eduardo De Filippo and Isabella Quarantotti, the second, “Anna,” by Bella Billa, Lorenza Zanuso, and one of Italian neorealism’s founding fathers, »
1954 / Color / 1:78 widescreen / 130 min. / Street Date December 13, 2016 / Available from the Twilight Time Movies Store 29.95
Cinematography: Jack Cardiff
Original Music: Mario Nascimbene
Written, Produced and Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz
As a teenager, many of my first and strongest movie impressions came not from the movies, but from certain critics. I memorized Robin Wood’s analysis before getting a look at Hitchcock’s Psycho. Raymond Durgnat introduced me to Georges Franju and Luis Buñuel, and I first learned to appreciate a number of great movies including The Barefoot Contessa from Richard Corliss, a terrific critic who championed writers over director-auteurs.
The Barefoot Contessa is a classically structured story, in that it could work as a novel; it’s told from several points of view. »
- Glenn Erickson
‘Toni Erdmann’ (Courtesy: Tiff)
By: Carson Blackwelder
It’s not too often that foreign-language films get recognized for anything at the Oscars beyond the best foreign-language film category — but it does happen. And, believe it or not, it happens more for best original screenplay and best adapted screenplay than many other categories. A prime example of that is Toni Erdmann, Germany’s submission this year that is proving to be a cross-category threat, which could score a nomination — or a win — for its writing.
The story of Toni Erdmann — which has a solid Rotten Tomatoes score of 91% — follows a father who is trying to reconnect with his adult daughter after the death of his dog. It sounds simple enough but, of course, the two couldn’t be more unalike. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2016 and where it won the Fipresci Prize. Since then, it »
- Carson Blackwelder
17 items from 2017
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