7 items from 2015
In the early '50s, Akira Kurosawa had the kind of career-high back-to-back film projects that few filmmakers could even approach, much less compete with. With Ikiru (1952) followed by Seven Samurai (1954), Kurosawa made his two best works. The latter continues to rule the roost as the exemplar of his overall canon, but if we are to divide Kurosawa's output in half - period films and non-period films - I'd argue that Ikiru is the director's zenith for projects set in the present day. That's an enormous accomplishment, and if you consider that Ikiru, in turn, follows immediately upon the director's misguided adaptation of Dostoyevsky's The Idiot, Ikiru becomes even more impressive. (Ikiru, too, is very loosely based on a Dostoyevsky story - The Death...
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Setsuko Hara, a Japanese actress best known for her work in the films of Yasujiro Ozu, died of pneumonia on September 5, her family revealed to the press today. She was 95. Perhaps best known for playing a widow who befriends the parents of her late husband in Tokyo Story, Ozu's 1953 masterwork, Hara also appeared in several other iconic postwar films before retiring from public life at the age of 42.Born Masae Aida in Yokohama in 1920, Hara made her screen debut at 15 in Don't Hesitate, Young Folks (1935), and later starred in the German-Japanese propaganda film The Daughter of the Samurai in 1937. After World War II, Hara worked with Akira Kurosawa, in No Regrets for Our Youth (1946) and Hakuchi (1951) (the director's adaptation of Dostoevsky's The Idiot), and Kozaburo Yoshimura, in A Ball at the Anjo House (1947). In 1949, she appeared in her first Ozu film, Late Spring, which marked the beginning of an artistic »
- Jackson McHenry
"Legendary actress Setsuko Hara, who starred in the Yasujiro Ozu movie Tokyo Story, died of pneumonia on Sept. 5 at a hospital in Kanagawa Prefecture, her family said Wednesday," reports the Nikkei Asian Review. "She was 95." Nick Pinkerton in the Voice in 2011: "Born Masae Aida, Hara was the very image of ravishing fortitude; the actress met the head-on gaze of Ozu’s camera with her headlamp eyes in six films, made four with Mikio Naruse, and played against type in the bad-girl Anastassya role in Akira Kurosawa’s 1951 The Idiot." We're collecting remembrances and tributes. » - David Hudson »
After being a major influence on his work, Martin Scorsese worked with Milestone Films to bring forth a stellar-looking restoration of Luchino Visconti’s 1960 classic drama Rocco and His Brothers. After stopping by various festivals, including Tiff and Nyff, it’ll be released in NYC and Los Angeles next month, followed by hopefully a home release.
We now have a new trailer, which is fairly brief, but gives us a glimpse at the restoration while introducing our main ensemble. Starring Alain Delon, Annie Girardot, and Claudia Cardinale, check out the trailer and gorgeous poster (designed by Lauren Caddick) below for the film which kicks off its three-week run at Film Forum on Friday, October 9.
Joining the tragic exodus of millions from Italy’s impoverished south, the formidable matriarch of the Parondi clan (Katina Paxinou, Best Supporting Oscar winner, For Whom the Bell Tolls) and her brood emerge from Milan’s »
- Leonard Pearce
Chicago – Browsing Dostoyevsky titles with consideration for proper roles for Mark Wahlberg, one might expect the Beantown hero to take on an adaptation of “The Idiot” before anything like “The Gambler.” After all, while Wahlberg has proven to be a diverse screen force - one who has well-grown past his Funky Bunch days - he often leans towards goofy men, or at least goofy men in goofy movies.
Such provides a nice surprise with the drama “The Gambler,” which finds him in a role the utilizes his charisma and acting skills, within a tale that doesn’t involve directors Michael Bay or Seth McFarlane. Playing a college professor who gambles his life away, the film is a showcase of his talents, like his compelling motormouth delivery, or a stable cool that he maintains even when his character is falling apart. Here’s a film that offers a scene of Marky Mark rambling about Camus, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
With more than $8.5 million at the box office over four weekends, writer/director David Robert Mitchell's moody new horror film "It Follows" may not be a sleeper hit on the order of a bona fide blockbuster like "Scream," but since its release in only four theaters in early March, it's transformed into a tidy small-scale success that no one could have predicted just a month ago. Like Wes Craven's 1996 self-aware slasher, the critically-acclaimed fright flick is a true word-of-mouth sensation; it raked in so much money in limited release that distributor Radius-twc put off the film's planned VOD debut and gave it a wide release in over 1,600 theaters. To what can we attribute this unlikely good fortune? For starters, "It Follows" is good -- very good. Along with Jennifer Kent's masterful 2014 supernatural scare machine "The Babadook," "It Follows" has arrived like a breath of fresh air in »
- Chris Eggertsen
When Jim Parsons first strolled the Hollywood Walk of Fame as a teenage tourist from Houston, he didn’t have the sort of epiphany Sheldon Cooper lives for.
“I already enjoyed acting,” Parsons says on a break from shooting “The Big Bang Theory.” But “there was not some sort of sense of ‘maybe one day.’ It did not even enter my mind.”
Parsons is delighted, in his own quiet way, to become a name on Hollywood Boulevard. “I like how all-encompassing it is,” Parsons says. “It could be radio announcers you have never seen before or very, very visible and famous actors.”
The busy thesp is preparing for his third run on Broadway in the spring, but his star is in the TV category for playing the socially maladroit, brilliant physicist Cooper on the mega-hit CBS comedy. During its eight seasons, Parsons has continued to expand the role, though he »
- Jacqueline Cutler
7 items from 2015
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