1-20 of 23 items from 2010 « Prev | Next »
It took a single film to turn Michael Powell from one of Britain's greatest directors to a pariah in the movie business. Xan Brooks asks what it takes to kill a film-making career
The tale of Peeping Tom is the tale of a man who made a film that ate him up, like Frankenstein with his monster, or an X‑rated riff on The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Before its release, Michael Powell was an ageing lion of the British film establishment, the revered director of The Red Shoes, Colonel Blimp and A Matter of Life and Death. Afterwards he was a pariah, an exile. All it took was one movie to kill his career stone dead.
Fifty years on, Powell's achievement looks all the more remarkable. Failure, of course, is a given in the film industry. Jobbing directors make a flop film and never work again; it happens all the time. »
- Xan Brooks
Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1953
When Henri-Georges Clouzot took on a genre, it generally led to a classic: so Les Diaboliques is one of the most frightening pictures ever put on screen; The Mystery of Picasso is among the most outstanding films exploring the work of an artist; and The Wages of Fear has no superior in the field of action-suspense. Set in an unnamed south American country, the action starts in a small town with an airfield where we are introduced to four shady characters anxious to get out, but minus the money for a plane ticket. A very venal oil company offers them $2,000 each to drive trucks loaded with nitroglycerine over rough mountain roads to an oilfield that is on fire. The roads are awful. The hazards are unlimited. And the nitro, sweating in the heat, itches to explode long before it gets to the oilfield.
The way Clouzot films this »
- David Thomson
The IMDb250. A list of the top 250 films as ranked by the users of the biggest internet movie site on the web. It is based upon the ratings provided by the users of the Internet Movie Database, which number into the millions. As such, it’s a perfect representation of the opinions of the movie masses, and arguably the most comprehensive ranking system on the Internet.
It’s because of this that we at HeyUGuys (and in this case we is myself and Gary) have decided to set ourselves a project. To watch and review all 250 movies on the list. We’ve frozen the list as of January 1st of this year. It’s not as simple as it sounds, we are watching them all in one year, 125 each.
This is our 37th update, my next five films watched for the project. You can find last week’s update here. »
- Barry Steele
The artistry of food and cooking competition has become a new unofficial sport in recent years. Adding a certain level of competition made reality TV shows like Top Chef, Hell’s Kitchen and The Food Network’s Iron Chef a popular, viable and highly entertaining option when watching television. Which brings us to the new documentary, Kings of Pastry, opening this Wednesday at The Film Forum in New York City. This is the new film by legendary documentary filmmakers Chris Hegedus (The War Room and Startup.com) and D.A. Pennebaker (Don’t Look Back and Monterey Pop) is an insightful and intense look at the competitive and stressful world of the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France, the highest honor for French pastry chefs. And when I say stressful and intense, I mean it. This is the Hurt Locker or The Wages of Fear of French pastry documentaries.
The film follows pastry chef, »
- Rudie Obias
Chicago – What truly defines a master of suspense? Is it the skill of keeping an audience’s attention rapt with slick pacing, elaborately designed set-pieces, and a whopper of a twist ending? Or is it simply the ability to viscerally convey the psychological trap of a character until the audience feels confined within it, and every onscreen gasp, scream and shiver becomes the viewer’s own?
Henri-Georges Clouzot is one of the few filmmakers in cinema history who not only warrants comparison to the legendary Master of Suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock, but deserves to be considered his equal (both men were greatly fond of storyboards). Though he only made a quarter as many pictures during his career, which spanned nearly four decades, he made some of the most influential and spellbinding thrillers ever made, including two renowned masterpieces, 1953’s “The Wages of Fear” and 1955’s “Diabolique.” The latter film certainly »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
Georges Simenon described his creation Jules Maigret, the gruff, pipe-smoking, Parisian police inspector, thus: "His build was plebeian. He was enormous and bony. Hard muscles stood out beneath his jacket… Above all, he had his very own way of planting himself in a spot… He was a solid block and everything had to break against it." Simenon could have been describing the French actor Bruno Crémer, who has died of cancer aged 80. Crémer, who played Maigret on French television in 54 episodes over 14 years (from 1991 to 2005), had hard acts to follow in Pierre Renoir, Jean Gabin and Jean Richard in France, but the role fitted him as perfectly as the hat and heavy overcoat he wore most of the time.
Maigret was the hero of 75 novels, 28 short stories, many films and endless TV series in numerous languages, including Japanese. In the two British series, »
- Ronald Bergan
[Update 8/27/10 - I went back to InstantWatcher.com to check on the status of upcoming expiring Criterion films, and it appears that this entire list has disappeared from their listings. I checked on a few of the titles, and it looks like their streaming end dates have been extended! I will be updating this post later, with the correct dates, but it looks like something happened between this post going up, and now.]
Some sad news to report, on the streaming side of things today. I just learned, via the excellent website InstantWatcher.com, that more than a few Criterion Collection films will be expiring from Netflix’s Watch Instantly service on September 22nd.
In total, 66 films from the Criterion Collection will be removed from the line-up, but don’t go canceling your account just yet. Over the past year, on several monthly occasions, a number of Criterion films were added, allowing viewers to stream some of the best titles that Criterion had at their disposal. Netflix has never claimed that everything on Watch Instantly would last forever, and there may be a number of reasons why these titles are going away. Some theories I’m kicking around:
Criterion and Netflix set up a deal, and that deal is coming to an end. Pretty simple. Criterion may be looking at moving more of these titles to Hulu, »
- Ryan Gallagher
Few directors exerted such exacting control over the medium as Henri-Georges Clouzot. In films like Quai Des Orfèvres, The Wages Of Fear, and Diabolique, Clouzot made every element work in harmony, from the remarkable work he coaxed from his cast to a command of suspense techniques that rivaled Alfred Hitchcock’s. A demanding perfectionist who, by some reports, never slept, Clouzot held tight to the reins. In 1964, those reins slipped from his hands while he was working on L’Enfer (Inferno), a story of obsessive jealousy that would have found Clouzot using experimental techniques of a sort never »
The series follows a group of truckers who drive 18-wheelers over a 350-mile highway made of ice to supply diamond miners working in the tundra of Canada's Northwest Territories.
Moore is currently working on a "The Wages of Fear"-esque 'mission' storyline for the film with an unnamed writer. "It is very much a tough guy movie. Here's a bunch of characters who tackle problems by getting in there and getting things done. We'll turn it into a mission movie that harkens back to Towering Inferno, Jaws, or The Guns of Navarone. You got a problem, go solve it" says Moore. »
- Garth Franklin
For the ambitious music industry intern Aaron Green (Jonah Hill) in Get Him to the Greek, the task was supposedly easy: Escort a musician from London to a concert date in La. What Aaron didn't count on was one of the prime rules of movie storytelling: If you plan to go from point A to point B, rest assured that, in actuality, you'll be visiting point U, point M, point X, and (if this is an indie film) point 5b, before finally winding up at your destination. We've managed to dig up 10 other especially daunting movie cargos — human and otherwise — that have made getting there twice the fun ... for the audience, at least.
See Top 10 "Hazardous Cargo" Movies >>
Link | Posted 6/4/2010 by reelz
- reelz reelz
With the Cannes Film Festival kicking off its 63rd annual run this past week, Time Magazine has done something quite interesting, and tasked film critic Richard Corliss with the task of taking a look at the festival’s legendary past.
The result; a top 10 list of the festival’s best films, and I must say, it’s a murderers row of brilliance:
The Third Man (1949) The Wages of Fear (1953) La Dolce Vita (1960) Taxi Driver (1976) Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978) Sex, lies and videotape (1989) Farewell My Concubine (1993) Pulp Fiction (1994) A Taste Of Cherry (1997) 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007)
Personally, it’s hard to argue with this set of films. Three of them are currently available on the Criterion Collection (The Third Man, The Wages of Fear, and A Taste Of Cherry) and the bookends of that collective happen to be two of my all time favorite films. Throw in films like Pulp Fiction, »
- Joshua Brunsting
New Delhi, May 16 – U.S. Time magazine has ranked a list of “Top 10 Cannes Film Festival Movies” of all time.
The “Top 10 Cannes Film Festival Movies” of all time are, according to the mag:
1. The Third Man, 1949
2. The Wages of Fear, 1953
3. La Dolce Vita, 1960
4. Taxi Driver,. »
Creamed corn and the Technicolor yawn ... when did vomiting cease to be a movie taboo?
You might not want to read this over breakfast. Not long ago, in the course of a single day, I watched four films. The first three featured projectile vomiting, while the fourth showed a woman throwing up into a toilet bowl, after which she had to fish her mobile phone out of the puke. And, as an afterthought, her chewing gum as well.
Vomit has become such a recurring motif in today's cinema that it has almost ceased to make an impact, unless it comes with a gimmick, like the turbo-powered, Pepto-Bismol-coloured puke in Gentlemen Broncos, or someone being sick on a squirrel in Hot Tub Time Machine.
At what point did vomiting cease to be a movie taboo? The first instance of explicit vomiting I could think of was in The Wages of Fear »
- Anne Billson
To celebrate May 1st, otherwise known as May Day, also known as International Workers Day, I decided to round up 5 films from the Criterion Collection that you should all watch.
Class struggle and tension are found throughout the entire Criterion Collection, as they are filmmaking devices that we all relate to, whichever side we may fall on. From striking coal miners to door-to-door salesmen, the life of the lowly worker is often more compelling than the upper class, or royalty with their luxuries and quite petty inconveniences. The lower class are constantly working for their very survival, while at the same time finding great satisfaction in the little things in life.
Below you’ll find links and trailers to 5 films in the Criterion Collection that present the working class, so take the day off work, crack open a beer, and watch a great movie.
Add Days of Heven to your Netflix Queue. »
- Ryan Gallagher
For art and entertainment, 'making of' films can rival the movies they document, says Mark Kermode
Every now and then, a documentary about the making of a film rivals its subject for both art and entertainment. Take Les Blank's extraordinary Burden of Dreams which, arguably, documents obsession and the search for "ecstatic truth" as effectively as Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo. "I live by this movie, I die by this movie!" declares Herzog with a conviction which would shame Klaus Kinski's titular madman and which Blank backs up with breathtakingly confrontational on-set footage.
Or what about Hearts of Darkness, in which Martin Sheen suffers a heart attack and Francis Ford Coppola mutates into a modern-day Colonel Kurtz while filming Apocalypse Now? "My movie is not about Vietnam, my movie is Vietnam!" says Coppola with Brandoesque bravado, before admitting: "We had too much equipment, too much money and little by little we went insane. »
- Mark Kermode
Fans of the great French director of Les Diaboliques and The Wages of Fear will find much of interest in this documentary about the film that never was. Inferno was elaborately storyboarded with endless tests for experimental camerawork using op art and distorted visuals to denote his lead character's obsessive jealousy. With free experimentation and an "unlimited" budget, the 1964 production sounds like a dream come true, but Clouzot was an insomniac described by fellow workers as "anxious and nervous". He also had a history of being hard on actors, and it all ended tragically, but the footage here suggests this might have been a film to rank with his best.
DocumentaryDVD and video reviewsRob Mackie
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to »
- Rob Mackie
Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno
DVD, Park Circus
In 1964 Clouzot, best known for French classics such as Les Diaboliques and The Wages Of Fear, was given an "unlimited budget" from Hollywood to make his next film. It was to be the intimate tale of a man consumed with jealousy over his wife (Romy Schneider). Clouzot wanted the film to employ his new, experimental notions of what film and sound could accomplish. The 300-page script was more concerned with mood than story, and was full of sequences where the pain and anxiety of the paranoid spouse distorted his perception of reality. If you've ever wondered what a producer does, then watch this. L'Enfer didn't really have one. Clouzot held the title, along with director and writer, but completely neglected the role. He had no one to argue with. No one to remind him of the realities of the job, no one to »
- Phelim O'Neill
The films of director Allan Dwan—whose career was one of the longest and most fruitful in Hollywood history, ranging from 1911 to 1961—have multiple virtues to recommend them. But the one I tend to value most is Dwan's unhurried, confident storytelling style. It's exemplified, to a fair extent, in a pair of shots from 1954's Silver Lode, arguably the best of several Westerns Dwan made in the mid-'50s for Rko and producer Benedict Bogeaus. They occur in the opening sequence. It's a bright sunny day in the film's eponymous town, and some kids are playing. Benignly—these aren't the deprived/depraved ragamuffins of The Wages of Fear, they're good American kids, damnit! But the sound of approaching horses makes them look up, and move back in fear. Whoever's approaching isn't going to ride around them.
Pretty much any other director would cut to a direct reverse shot, probably from a low angle, »
A Prophet: Césars for Best Picture, Director, Actor Emmanuelle Devos was the Best Supporting Actress César winner for Xavier Giannoli’s In the Beginning, a well-received drama that also played at Cannes. In the film, Devos plays the mayor of a small town in the north of France suffering from high unemployment rates. A teary-eyed Mélanie Thierry was the Best Female Newcomer for her young alcoholic in Le dernier pour la route (One for the Road). Never mind the fact that Thierry has been around for more than a decade. Serge Bromberg and Ruxandra Medrea’s L’enfer d’Henri-Georges Clouzot (Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Hell), about the Diaboliques and The Wages of Fear director’s unfinished 1964 effort L’enfer starring Romy Schneider and Serge Reggiani, was [...] »
- Steve Montgomery
We ask our film critics and former winners for their view of the nominees for next weekend's ceremony, and Jason Solomons reflects on Bafta history and the future of the awards
Long gone are the days when the Bafta ceremony was as vital as a Rotarian dinner, when the same few British redoubtables – Attenborough, Mills, Bogarde, Forsyth (Bill and Bruce) – clapped each other on the back with a "Well done, old chap", mainly for still squeezing into their black tie.
The Baftas used to take place in April or early May, way after the Oscars. Splitting the film and television awards in 1998 provided an instant injection of glamour, and in 2002 the film Baftas were moved to February, cannily placing them as the last staging post en route to Oscar glory for many American films. I remember the red carpet foaming up in the rain and ruining Julia Roberts's shoes, »
- Jason Solomons, Philip French
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