7 items from 2014
Written and directed by Jacques Demy
Jacques Demy’s The Young Girls of Rochefort is the Oscar-nominated follow-up to his immensely popular and successful The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964), which with all of its dialogue sung was something of a reinvention of the movie musical, an almost experiential musical. Young Girls, on the other hand, is simply a great musical. To be sure, Umbrellas is an excellent film as well (see my take on it here), but while it surely resonates with its tale of love unhappily ever after, and it radiates in attractive Eastmancolor, it’s in some ways hampered by its own novelty. There is of course more to it than merely the fact that everyone sings everything, but to many it’s probably best known as the movie where everyone sings everything. Young Girls is more traditional in that it has dialogue »
- Jeremy Carr
In the summer of 1999 I was a 17-year-old floorboy at a suburban multiplex showing Eyes Wide Shut. There were other movies that caught my attention that summer—Limbo, Election, Summer of Sam, The Blair Witch Project, South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut—but Kubrick’s was the only one of any import. I saw it four times in a week, defended it against my peers’ scorn, and had Jonathan Rosenbaum’s Chicago Reader review practically memorized. For my generation, seeing a Stanley Kubrick film in its original run was a novelty. Sadly, the experience would also be unrepeatable.
1999 was a hard year to be a cinephile. Kubrick vanished in March, and by the time December rolled around the news came in that Robert Bresson had also passed away. I was obsessed with both filmmakers. The previous year I already felt anguished learning about Akira Kurosawa’s death. Looking back, the »
- Gabe Klinger
20th Century Fox is rumored to currently be seeking writers for Die Hard 6, which, according to Latino Review's El Mayimbe, will reunite Bruce Willis as John McClane with his Die Hard: With a Vengeance co-star Samuel L. Jackson as Zeus Carver.
— elmayimbe (@elmayimbe) April 14, 2014
@BrianWCollins@_RyanTurek All I know is that writers are being asked to come up with a take that involves bringing back Zeus.
— elmayimbe (@elmayimbe) April 14, 2014
Back in October 2010, we reported that Bruce Willis plans to retire his iconic John McClane character after Die Hard 6. Then in February 2013, just before A Good Day to Die Hard was released, the actor confirmed that the project is still moving forward. The last we heard about the sequel was in April 2013, when little-known writer Ben Trebilcook »
Writer/director/John Woo junkie Gareth Evans assembled action genre euphoria with The Raid: Redemption, a film that made an artform out of ass-kicking, while utilizing filmmaking that laid hundreds of shakicam movies to shame. In front of the camera, the hero was Rama, a Swat member played by Iko Uwais, who had to fight his way to the top of an apartment complex filled with adversaries. With that film’s well-deserved success, Evans and his Indonesian star Uwais (who also writes the choreography) now return with The Raid 2: Berandal, which was originally intended to be made before The Raid: Redemption.
Uwais has only appeared in four films including The Raid: Berandal. He was discovered by Evans when the filmmaker was making a documentary in Indonesia in 2007. Two years later, the duo c/ollaborated for the first time on Merantau, »
- Nick Allen
The Off animation block was full of great contenders of various animation styles. Snowdysseus played like a stop-motion, nightmare-fueled version of Gravity featuring an astronaut trapped in a land plagued with skeletons; the crowd-pleasing, mannequin-starring Baby Chicken sported a short adventure of a deadly breakfast; the French animated short The Little Blond Boy with a White Sheep favored the use of imagination and frolicking with farm animals to standardized tests; and even a computer-rendered children’s film narrated by George Takei, The Missing Scarf. Yet, of all the shorts presented, the atmospheric A Tangled Tale has managed to make the most lasting impression, mixing mediums of what looks like chalk and watercolor and allowing the music and sound design to tell the story, any visuals being abstract, yet powerful. Rough outlines of color against a black background reveal hints of a body of water, »
- Zach Lewis
Married Life: Sachs’ Latest a Subtle Portrayal of Love, Marriage, and Familial Bonds
Following on the heels of his 2012 film, Keep the Lights On, which documented a rather tumultuous and sometimes toxic relationship between two gay men over the course of a decade, director Ira Sachs delivers what is perhaps his most heartfelt and warmly observed film thus far. While many of the central relationships depicted in Sachs’ works are marked by melancholy and discord, whether that be the arresting loneliness of the superb Dina Korzun in Forty Shades of Blue (2005) or the dark comedy underpinning the extra-marital affair in Married Life (2007), here with Love is Strange, we are graced with a couple played by John Lithgow and Alfred Molina, partners of nearly forty years that have finally taken it upon themselves to exchange overdue marriage vows.
After thirty nine years of living together, Ben (John Lithgow) and George »
- Nicholas Bell
Truth springs from the title and trickles down into every pore of “Love Is Strange,” an uncompromising yet accessible slice-of-life expression from Ira Sachs, one of the most perceptive and personal directors working in American cinema. Here, the helmer branches out beyond his own lived experience to imagine a same-sex relationship 39 years strong as it is tested immediately following the couple’s long-overdue marriage. This beautifully observed ensembler shines on the strength of its two leads, John Lithgow and Alfred Molina, who conjure four decades together as they enter the “for better, for worse” phase of their union.
Keenly aware that it is the “sexual” part of homosexuality that seems to offend the family-values crowd, Sachs has shrewdly focused on an example where hearts lead the way — so much so that the couple’s progressive New York family look to their old gay uncles as role models in romance. That »
- Peter Debruge
7 items from 2014
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