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The director has never been short of opinions – so why has he become evasive when we catch up with him in Brooklyn?
With the interview over, Spike Lee finally opens up. For 40 minutes the film director has sat in a defensive crouch, with his arms folded and his legs crossed, parrying questions as though they were accusations. More evasive than abrasive, he insists that neither new technology, changes in his personal life or the way that he's perceived have any effect on him or his work. A couple of times he responds as though there was another interviewee in the room.
Asked a perfectly reasonable questions such as: "How does an independent filmmaker like yourself measure success?", he'd say: "It depends who you ask."
"Well I'm asking you," I keep pointing out, hoping, in vain, for a credible answer.
Lee is small, slender and stylish. He is dressed all in black – sneakers, »
- Gary Younge
Fighting, dying, hoping, hating … great sports films are about far more than sport itself. Here Guardian and Observer critics pick their 10 best
• Top 10 superhero movies
• Top 10 westerns
• Top 10 documentaries
• Top 10 movie adaptations
• Top 10 animated movies
• Top 10 silent movies
• More Guardian and Observer critics' top 10s
Lindsay Anderson brought to bear on his adaptation of David Storey's first novel, all the poetic-realist instincts he had been honing for the previous decade as a documentarian in the Humphrey Jennings mould. (Anderson had won the 1953 best doc Oscar for Thursday's Children.) Filmed partly in Halifax and Leeds, but mainly in and around Wakefield Trinity Rugby League Club, one of its incidental attractions is its record of a northern, working-class sports culture that would change out of all recognition over the next couple of decades.
The story of Frank Machin, a miner who becomes a star on the rugby field, »
Buster Keaton appeared in some very weird movies following the advent of sound pictures. There’s that Mexican sci-fi comedy Boom in the Moon I mentioned on Fsr a while back. There’s the Eastman Kodak industrial film The Triumph of Lester Snapwell, in which he plays a clumsy photographer who travels through time so he can experience an easy-use Instamatic camera. And of course all those crazy ’60s beach movies, where he performed silly slapstick involving bikinis, boobs and a politically incorrect portrayal of a Native American. But his oddest has to be Film, the 1965 short he reluctantly starred in, which was scripted by absurdist playwright Samuel Beckett (his only original written directly for the screen), helmed by theatre director Alan Schneider, produced by controversial publisher Barney Rosset, edited by Oscar-nominated documentarian Sidney Meyers (The Quiet One; The Savage Eye) and shot by legendary cinematographer Boris Kaufman (L’Atalante; On the Waterfront). Almost 50 years since its »
- Christopher Campbell
By Mark Pinkert
This is the second article in a three-part series.
Earlier this month, the acclaimed writer/producer/director Joss Whedon spoke at an Equality Now benefit dinner and suggested that the word “feminism” be removed from the English lexicon. According to Mr. Whedon, the word is problematic because it assumes that gender equality is not the “natural state” but something that needs to be achieved. Though several self-purported feminist bloggers have criticized this idea, Whedon’s speech does raise some interesting questions about how prejudice can hide away in the depths of language and rhetoric.
Thankfully, we have reached a point where shouting sexist comments is socially unacceptable and utterly disgraceful; anyone who does becomes ostracized by civil people. But that does not mean gender prejudices have been cured. The most corrosive type of sexism, and the one Whedon was getting at, is the kind embedded in words and institutions, »
- Mark Pinkert
Before we get underway, once again I'll remind you Barnes & Noble is still offering their 50% off Criterion titles through the end of November! I have included some suggested titles along with links to my reviews, including my just posted review of Charlie Chaplin's City Lights from yesterday. Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman Samurai Trilogy (read my review) America Lost and Found: The Bbs Story Roberto Rossellini's War Trilogy (read my review) John Cassavetes - Five Films (Shadows, Faces, A Woman Under the Influence, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie and Opening Night) City Lights (read my review) Frances Ha Tokyo Story The Uninvited (read my review) La Notte (read my review) Eyes Without a Face (read my review) Seconds (read my review) Autumn Sonata (read my review) Safety Last! (read my review) Repo Man On the Waterfront Brazil Godzilla (read my review) 12 Angry Men Rosemary's Baby The Killing Paths of Glory »
- Brad Brevet
Gene Kirkwood is one of those true originals which are hard to come by these days within the film industry. A legend in his own right, he’s produced the likes of Rocky, New York New York, the Pope of Greenwich Village, The Keep and Get Rich or Die Tryin’. Originally an actor, Kirkwood then moved into producing and intends to do it “’til [he] drops”. Recently he and producing partner Ross Elliot folded their production company into Bitesize Networks, with the intention to create cutting-edge new content across a variety of platforms.
Kirkwood’s view on the industry is a refreshing one, and in the interview was prone to go off on tangents this writer was enjoying too much to divert. Read on for an insight into a fascinating personality that celebrates everything British, his admiration of Harvey Weinstein, his slew of exciting new projects and reveals things about the »
- Oscar Harding
Criterion has announced their February 2014 titles and among them is the lone Wes Anderson film that was previously missing from the collection (edit: aside from Moonrise Kingdom and yes, this is Criterion's first animated film, post laserdisc era), Fantastic Mr. Fox, which was previously released by Fox Searchlight, but is now getting the full Criterion treatment. Here's a look at the features: New digital master, approved by director Wes Anderson, with 5.1 surround DTS-hd Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray Audio commentary featuring Anderson Storyboard animatics for the entire film Footage of the actors voicing their characters, puppet construction, stop-motion setups, and the recording of the score Interviews with cast and crew Puppet animation tests Photo gallery of puppets, props, and sets Animated awards acceptance speeches Audio recording of author Roald Dahl reading the book on which the film is based Gallery of Dahl's original manuscripts Discussion and analysis of the »
- Brad Brevet
Before we get to this week's new releases, it's that time of year again and Barnes & Noble is offering tons of Criterion titles for 50% off! I have included a few suggested titles below and in some cases including links to my reviews. The best deal out there right now is for the 25-film Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman DVD/Blu-ray collection, which has a retail price of $224.99, but is on sale right now for $112.49, which is $87 cheaper than Amazon is selling it for right now. If this is at all of interest to you, click through and get a look at this set and I think you'll begin drooling. Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman Samurai Trilogy (read my review) America Lost and Found: The Bbs Story Roberto Rossellini's War Trilogy (read my review) John Cassavetes - Five Films (Shadows, Faces, A Woman Under the Influence, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie »
- Brad Brevet
Here’s the first trailer for Winter’s Tale, which looks like it’s going to be a dark gangster tale and quickly turns into a love story in one of the most bizarre trailers I’ve ever seen!
The movie stars Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt, Eva Marie Saint, Russell Crowe, Ripley Sobo, Mckayla Twiggs and is Directed by Akiva Goldsman. The movie is based on the novel by Mark Helprin and has been adapted into Stage shows and Have a watch of it below and let us know what you think in the comments.
Set in a mythic New York City and spanning more than a century, “Winter’s Tale” is a story of miracles, crossed destinies, and the age-old battle between good and evil. The film stars Colin Farrell (“Total Recall”), Jessica Brown Findlay (TV’s “Downton Abbey”), and Oscar® winners Jennifer Connelly »
- David Sztypuljak
Colin Farrell and Russell Crowe are at odds in an age-old battle between good and evil in this first trailer for Winter’S Tale. Set in a mythic New York City and spanning more than a century, Winter’S Tale is a love story of miracles and crossed destinies.
Bring the hankies – this tear-jerker opens Valentine’s Day 2014. For those not prone to sentimental films of the heart, The Weinstein Company’s Vampire Academy also debuts on February 14th.
The film stars Colin Farrell (“Total Recall”), Jessica Brown Findlay (TV’s “Downton Abbey”), and Oscar winners Jennifer Connelly (“A Beautiful Mind”), William Hurt (“Kiss of the Spider Woman”), Eva Marie Saint (“On the Waterfront”) and Russell Crowe (“Gladiator”). It also introduces young newcomers Ripley Sobo and Mckayla Twiggs (both from Broadway’s “Once”).
- Michelle McCue
The first trailer for writer-director Akiva Goldsman's Winter's Tale adaptation. Based on the Mark Helprin novel, Goldsman's directorial debut centers on a a thief (Colin Farrell) who breaks into the home of a bed-ridden young woman (Jessica Brown Findlay) and ends up falling in love with her. Russell Crowe stars as Pearly Soames, a violent crime lord and leader of the Short Tail gang who is after the thieving protagonist. In charge of tracking him down is Romeo Tan (Kevin Corrigan), Soames’ ruthless right-hand man who acts as his boss’s enforcer in 1916 New York. Also starring Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt, Eva Marie Saint, Ripley Sobo and Mckayla Twiggs, Winter's Tale opens February 14th. Hit the jump to watch the trailer. Watch the first trailer for Winter's Tale below and head over to Apple to watch in HD: Synopsis: Set in a mythic New York City and spanning more than a century, »
- Dave Trumbore
The first trailer for Winter's Tale sets up an epic tale of romance that spans more than 100 years. Colin Farrell stars as Peter Lake, a thief who falls in love with Beverly Penn (Jessica Brown Findlay) in the early 1900s, before he is inexplicably transported to present-day New York City without any memories. Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman makes his directorial debut with this adaptation of Mark Helprin's beloved novel, arriving in theaters February 14, 2014.
Set in a mythic New York City and spanning more than a century, Winter's Tale is a story of miracles, crossed destinies, and the age-old battle between good and evil. The film stars Colin Farrell (Total Recall), Jessica Brown Findlay (TV's Downton Abbey), and Oscar winners Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind), William Hurt (Kiss of the Spider Woman), Eva Marie Saint (On the Waterfront) and Russell Crowe (Gladiator). Winter's Tale also introduces young newcomers Ripley Sobo and »
Every once in a while a studio capitalizes on parallels between one of its awards hopefuls and a classic of the medium that also did pretty well on the circuit by booking a double bill. Fox Searchlight did it with "The Wrestler" and "On the Waterfront," for instance. This year, Paramount is going that route with Alexander Payne's "Nebraska" and Peter Bogdanovich's "Paper Moon." The screening will happen on Sunday, Nov. 10 at the New Beverly Theater in Los Angeles. Will Forte and Bob Odenkirk will be on hand for a Q&A after the screenings, to be moderated by actor Martin Starr. »
- Kristopher Tapley
Oprah Winfrey will win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for “The Butler” for the following reasons: leading role. History has shown us time and time again that size does matter when it comes to the secondary acting categories. Just last year, Christoph Waltz in“Django Unchained” pulled off a somewhat surprising win in a highly competitive Supporting Actor race, probably helped by the fact that he had significantly more screen time than most of his fellow nominees. (How could a semi-cameo role like Alan Arkin’s in “Argo” even compete?) Over the years, the Supporting Actress trophy in particular has gone to countless performances that were arguably leading or semi-leading: Eva Marie Saint in “On the Waterfront,” Patty Duke in “The Miracle Worker,” Goldie Hawn in “Cactus Flower,” Tatum O’Neal in “Paper Moon,” Vanessa Redgrave in &ld »
San Francisco Symphony salutes Alfred Hitchcock: Halloween movies and Hitchcock movie music (photo: San Francisco Symphony and Cary Grant in ’North by Northwest’) The San Francisco Symphony will celebrate Alfred Hitchcock movies and their music scores beginning at 8 p.m. on Halloween eve, October 30, 2013, at Davies Symphony Hall. During Hitchcock Film Week, the San Francisco Symphony will perform the scores for Hitchcock’s Psycho, The Lodger: A Tale of the London Fog, and the world premiere presentation of Vertigo’s full score performed live, in addition to excerpts from To Catch a Thief, Strangers on a Train, Dial M for Murder, and North by Northwest. Alfred Hitchcock’s granddaughter Tere Carrubba will introduce the Psycho presentation on October 30. Hitchcock received his fifth and final Best Director Academy Award nomination for this cheaply made — but highly successful — 1960 thriller starring Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin, and Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee Janet Leigh. »
- Andre Soares
Paul Greengrass puts his ship's captain through hell, shows reservations over Us seafaring might, and has empathy with the Somali pirates' plight
At the heart of Paul Greengrass's Captain Phillips is the story of two eternal seafaring archetypes. The first is the Master Mariner (Conrad's final rank) plying his cargo through the great nautical arteries of global commerce, and the second, the luckless fisherman turned pirate, picking off the stragglers among the gargantuan cargo ships passing too close to the coast of Somalia, the better to ransom their contents back to their owners.
Asymmetrical warfare structures the movie, as the pirates dog a city-sized cargo ship with only two clapped-out skiffs and a threadbare mother-vessel, boarding with a makeshift iron ladder, subduing the bridge, and issuing their demands. The second half sees the pirates and their captain-hostage trapped in the ship's sealed lifeboat, hemmed in by Us Navy frigates and an aircraft carrier, »
- John Patterson
La Ciotat's Eden music hall, built in 1889, tops £5.5m refurbishment with black-and-white movie billing
When the Lumière brothers screened one of their first moving pictures – The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station – at the Eden theatre at the close of the 19th century, it was said that some of those present were so shocked by the life-like images that they leapt from their seats in terror to flee the oncoming steam locomotive.
On Wednesday, more than a century on, these early black-and-white silent films lasting less than a minute were given top billing in the newly renovated Eden, which claims to be the world's first, and oldest surviving, public cinema.
The historic theatre at La Ciotat, 20 miles east of Marseille, which later played host to Edith Piaf and Yves Montand, has undergone a €6.5m (£5.5m) refurbishment that has more than restored its former glory.
Before Hollywood became the »
- Kim Willsher
Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting 2013 finalists announced (photo: post-’Twilight’ Ashley Greene 2013 in ‘Random’) The finalists for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting 2013 competition, selected from a record 7,251 scripts, have been announced. Next, their scripts will be read and judged by the Academy Nicholl Fellowships Committee, which, according to the Academy’s press release, may award as many as five $35,000 fellowships. This year’s finalists, the majority of which hail from California, are the following (listed alphabetically by author): Scott Adams, Menlo Park, CA, "Slingshot" William Casey, Los Angeles, CA, "Smut" Frank DeJohn and David Alton Hedges, Santa Ynez, CA, "Legion" Brian Forrester, Studio City, CA, "Heart of the Monstyr" Noah Thomas Grossman, Los Angeles, CA, "The Cupid Code" Patty Jones, Vancouver, BC, Canada, "Joe Banks" Erin Klg, New York, NY, "Lost Children" Alan Roth, Suffern, NY, "Jersey City Story" Stephanie Shannon, Los Angeles, »
- Anna Robinson
‘Shane’: Alan Ladd stars in classic Western to be screened at the Academy The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present a 60th anniversary screening of George Stevens’ classic Western Shane, starring Alan Ladd as a lone and mysterious gunslinger, at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, October 7, at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. Besides Ladd, Shane, a 1953 Paramount release, also stars Jean Arthur in her last movie role, in addition to Van Heflin, Brandon De Wilde, and Jack Palance. (Photo: Alan Ladd in Shane.) "A gun is a tool, Marian, no better or no worse than any other tool, an axe, a shovel or anything," Alan Ladd’s Shane tells Jean Arthur’s homesteader wife and mother. "A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that." That may sound like your usual National Rifle Association bullshit, but in the »
- Andre Soares
Amazon's Gold Box Deal of the Day are a bunch of fantastic Criterion DVD and Blu-rays for up to 56% off! Included in the sale are The Rules of the Game, The Last Emperor, Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colors: Blue, White, Red, The Blob, The Darjeeling Limited, The Thin Red Line, Badlands, On the Waterfront, and more. If you're a Criterion fan, it's definitely worth checking out. Like all gold box deals, it's only good until supplies run out or midnight tonight. Click here to check out all the movies on sale. »
- Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub
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