19 items from 2016
“The Essentials”—A Good Starting Point
Any book that claims to be a collection of the “best” of something—whether it is a listing of movies, music, art, and so forth—has to be taken with a grain of salt. These kinds of things are entirely subjective; although in this case, TCM (Turner Classic Movies) does have a kind of clout and expertise in the matter.
That said, we have this beautifully-designed and illustrated coffee-table trade paperback that contains not 1000, not 100, not 50... but 52 “essential must-see movies.” TCM’s spokesperson, Robert Osborne, explains the criteria in his Foreword—“The Essentials” is a weekly Saturday night event on the television network in which a guest host (the likes of Rob Reiner, Sydney Pollack, Peter Bogdanovich, Drew Barrymore, and more) introduce a picture he or she believes is an Essential. The book is a collection of some of these Essentials, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
By John M. Whalen
Cornell Woolrich is a writer whose work was much loved and cherished by fans of film noir. The Internet Movie Database lists 102 credits for him for both film and TV shows—titles including “Rear Window,” “The Bride Wore Black,” “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes,” “Black Angel,” “Fear in the Night,” and “Phantom Lady,” He didn’t write any screenplays that I know of. The films and TV shows were all adapted from a prolific output of stories written under his Woolrich and William Irish pseudonyms, and under his real name, George Hopley.
While Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, and James M. Cain make up the Big Three in noir fiction, Woolrich carved out a special niche for himself. Chandler, and Hammett wrote about tough guy heroes who usually overcame the web of evil they encountered. Cain’s heroes weren’t always so lucky, but at least »
- email@example.com (Cinema Retro)
The film centers on a young man who is taken in by his best friend’s family after his grandmother dies. Life initially seems idyllic, until he stumbles upon proof that his adopted father may be a violent criminal. Tonally, the film is meant to be a mixture of “Disturbia” and “Rear Window.”
“I’m excited to be working with Awesomeness on a script that is a throwback to suspense thrillers I love,” said Grillo.
Grillo has been in a number of high-profile projects, of late. He anchors the acclaimed Mma fighter series “Kingdom” and reprises his role as Crossbones in this summer’s “Captain America: Civil War.” Other upcoming parts include “The Purge: Election Year” and “Beyond Skyline.”
- Brent Lang
With editors and cinematographers chiming in on the best examples of their craft in cinema history, it’s now time for directors to have a say. To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Directors Guild of America, they’ve conducted a poll for their members when it comes to the 80 greatest directorial achievements in feature films since the organization’s founding in 1936. With 2,189 members participating, the top pick went to Francis Ford Coppola for The Godfather, one of three films from the director making the top 10.
Even with films from nonmembers being eligible, the male-dominated, America-centric choices are a bit shameful (Kathryn Bigelow is the only female director on the list, and the first foreign film doesn’t show up until number 26), but not necessarily surprising when one looks at the make-up of its membership. As with any list, there’s bound to be disagreements (Birdman besting The Bicycle Thief, »
- Jordan Raup
The fact-inspired film Papa: Hemingway In Cuba is a prime example of why a good director matters. As some sage once said, “If it was easy, everyone would do it.”
The film is first American film shot in Cuba since Castro’s 1959 revolution, and there is so degree of thrill in seeing Hemingway’s home and the actual locations he frequented. In fact, the story takes place in 1959, with true-story basis loaded with dramatic potential. Sadly, producer-turned -director Bob Yari fails to put to good use to those elements, along with a strong cast. Only the most determined Hemingway devotees will get much out of Yari’s dull, pedestrian film.
Giovanni Ribisi plays young newspaperman Ed Myers (a stand-in for the real journalist Denne Bart Petitclerc, on whose memoir of his friendship with Hemingway the story is based). Ed writes a fan letter of sorts to his idol Hemingway, whom »
- Cate Marquis
The Little Black Dress—From Mourning to Night is a free exhibit currently at The Missouri History Museum (Lindell and DeBaliviere in Forest Park, St. Louis, Missouri). The exhibit runs through September 5th.
The Little Black Dress – a simple, short cocktail dress—is a sartorial staple for most contemporary women. Prior to the early 20th century, simple, unadorned black garments were limited to mourning, and strict social rules regarding mourning dress were rigidly observed.Featuring over 60 dresses from the Missouri History Museum’s world-renowned textile collection, this fun yet thought-provoking exhibit explores the subject of mourning, as well as the transition of black from a symbol of grief to a symbol of high fashion. You’ll also see fascinating artifacts—from hair jewelry to tear catchers—that were once a regular part of the mourning process. Plus, you’ll have the chance to share your own memories of your favorite »
- Tom Stockman
Filmmaker and self-pronounced cinephile Jacob T. Swinney has a new video essay called 100 Years/100 Shots. The title’s pretty self-explanatory. It’s about the history of Tequila in the 21st century.
Swinney has chosen his most memorable shot from each year in the last 100 and placed them next to each other in chronological sequence. Not only does it fascinatingly chart the evolution of the medium, it also reaffirms why we devote so much of our spare time to the movies. See beneath the video embed below for the full list (in order) used.
100 Years/100 Shots from Jacob T. Swinney on Vimeo.
Birth of a Nation
A Dog’s Life
The Passion of Joan of Arc
- Oli Davis
As one of the biggest Hollywood stars of her era, Princess Grace - before her wedding, she was known around the world as Rear Window star Grace Kelly - wasn't a typical royal bride. And she didn't accessorize like one either. Instead of a tiara, Princess Grace instead wore a beaded Juliet cap with an attached veil for her spectacular wedding to Monaco's Prince Rainier on April 18, 1956. Atop the cap was a layer of lace covered in tiny pearls along with flowers. While it wasn't actually a diamond-covered tiara, the piece was crown-like in appearance, with the pearls and flowers »
- Diana Pearl, @dianapearl_
Girls spent its last couple of episodes letting Marnie, Hannah, and Jessa explore life on their own, but this week the crew reunited for a performance in which only Adam acts, but every character is a player. In its best scenes, Girls provides proof that television can support thoughtful visual storytelling even in the traditional... Girls Recap: Staring Out Of Adam’s Rear Window">Read more » »
- Teo Bugbee
It’s safe to say most filmmakers today have learned something from Alfred Hitchcock, if not been directly influence. The master filmmaker's resumé speaks for itself — “Rear Window,” “Psycho,” “Rebecca,” “Notorious,” “Strangers on a Train,” “Rope,” “The Birds,” “North by Northwest,” “Shadow of a Doubt” and “Dial M for Murder” — and his remarkable grasp on technical prowess in achieving big screen spectacle has been rarely matched. And among the things Hitchcock knew best about filmmaking was how to stage a scene, as broken down and analyzed by Nerdwriter1 in his latest video, “How Alfred Hitchcock Blocks A Scene.” Read More: Watch: 7-Minute Video Essay Explores Ensemble Staging In Bong Joon-Ho's 'Memories Of Murder' Taking a closer look at an early scene in “Vertigo” — the 1958 picture some cinephiles would argue is not only Hitchcock’s greatest work, but also quite possibly the best film of all-time — the nine-minute »
- Will Ashton
Two suburban teenagers use surveillance equipment to torment a disliked elderly neighbor in the suspense drama “The Waiting.” This debut feature for director Kasra Farahani and scenarists Mark Bianculli and Jeff Richard holds interest, though it’s ultimately more depressing than tense or shocking. The lack of real horror content (though the protags try to convince James Caan’s victim that he’s being “haunted”) or box office names makes it a likelier prospect for home-format sales than big-screen exposure.
High schoolers Sean (Keir Gilchrist) and Ethan (Logan Miller) have been besties since Sean recently moved to town, not least because both hail from fatherless broken homes (character basics that could have been made clearer a lot sooner). They spend most of their extracurricular time in Ethan’s bedroom, where they’ve embarked on a project whose pricey required equipment was obliviously bankrolled by Sean’s absentee dad. But its »
- Dennis Harvey
The best picture doesn’t always win Best Picture. Sometimes the best film of the year gets robbed. Cinelinx looks at the movies which should have won Best Picture but didn’t.
Whenever the Best Picture winner is announced at the Oscars, sometimes we say, “Yeah, that deserved to win,” but then again, sometimes we say, “Huh? Are they kidding me?!” There are a lot of backstage politics and extenuating factors in Hollywood that can determine which film wins the big trophy. The worthiest film doesn’t always take the statue home. Going back over the 88-year history of the Academy Awards, we look at which films didn’t really deserve to win and the ones which rightfully should have won.
The Best Pictures and the Better Pictures:
1927-8: The Winner-Wings
What should have won: Sunrise (Sunrise was given a special award for Artistic Quality of Production, but it »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Rob Young)
For a psychothriller on sexual obsession and voyeurism, “While the Women Are Sleeping” comes off as glacial and antiseptic, like “Rear Window” without murder, or “Lolita” without violation. Exploring a creatively blocked novelist’s descent into neurosis after he meets and begins stalking an older man and his teenage squeeze at a Japanese seaside hotel, the film is tinged with Freudian mumbo-jumbo and recycled meta-fictive tropes, and Chinese-American helmer Wayne Wang’s stylishly glum aesthetics and mechanical plotting never get under the characters’ skin — or their sheets — leaving the story’s kinkiness an under-explored domain. The pic boasts festival cachet thanks to its arthouse-friendly leads, Takeshi Kitano and Hidetoshi Nishijima (fresh from their partnership in “Mozu the Movie”), though mainstream domestic response looks drowsy.
The film is adapted from a short story by Spanish writer Javier Marias, exploring a middle-aged man’s ritual of taping his young lover while she »
- Maggie Lee
Martin Scorsese, David Fincher, Wes Anderson, Arnaud Desplechin, James Gray, Olivier Assayas, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Richard Linklater, Peter Bogdanovich and Paul Schrader with a narration by Bob Balaban, come together in Kent Jones' rhythmic Hitchcock/Truffaut, to discuss Alfred Hitchcock and François Truffaut.
John Huston's Let There Be Light, Fincher's The Social Network, Se7en and The Game, Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom narrator and Truffaut's interpreter in Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, the defector in Topaz, Psycho and Janet Leigh, Vertigo and Brian De Palma's commitment to Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow for their film De Palma come to light in my conversation with the New York Film Festival Director of Programming Kent Jones.
Hitchcock/Truffaut makes you »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
January 01, 1954| Credit: John Kobal Foundation
January 01, 1967| Credit: Archive Photos
January 01, 1946| Credit: Hulton Archive
August 01, 1966| Credit: Keystone Features, Getty Images
- Inside Film Correspondent
Article by Jim Batts, Dana Jung, Travis Keune, and Tom Stockman
On February 11th, 1936, Reynolds was born in Waycross, Georgia, before his family moved to Jupiter Florida, where his father served as Chief of Police. Young Burt excelled at sports and played football at Florida State University. He became an All Star Southern Conference halfback (and was earmarked by the Baltimore Colts) before injuries sidelined his football career. He dropped out of college and headed to New York with dreams of becoming an actor. There he worked in restaurants and clubs while pulling the odd TV job or theater role. Burt was spotted in a New York City stage production of Mister Roberts and signed to a TV contract and eventually had recurring roles in such shows as Gunsmoke (1955), Riverboat (1959) and his own series, Hawk »
- Movie Geeks
Sara Hemrajani on Hollywood’s love affair with its Golden Age…
Since there’s no business like show business, it’s unsurprising that one of Hollywood’s favourite topics is itself. The recent wave of award nominations for Trumbo, including a best actor Oscar nod for Bryan Cranston, is fresh evidence of the industry’s fascination with the so-called Golden Age.
In Trumbo, Cranston plays real-life writer Dalton Trumbo who was jailed and blacklisted for his ties to the American Communist Party. Despite the ban, Trumbo and his peers managed to flout the system using pseudonyms and support from eager filmmakers. He went on to write screenplays for classics such as Roman Holiday and Spartacus.
Following swiftly in its steps is Hail, Caesar!, the Coen brothers’ throwback to the glossy studio pictures of the 1940s. The trailer reveals characters reminiscent of Gene Kelly and Esther Williams, as well as producer »
- Sara Hemrajani
What's it all about, Alfie? The master of suspense goes in an unusual direction with this murder mystery with a Catholic background. And foreground. Actually, it's a regular guidebook for proper priest deportment, and it's so complex that we wonder if Hitchcock himself had a full grip on it. Montgomery Clift is extremely good atop a top-rank cast that includes Anne Baxter and Karl Malden. Rated less exciting by audiences, this is really one of Hitch's best. I Confess Blu-ray Warner Archive Collection 1953 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 94 min. / Street Date February 16, 2016 / available through the WBshop / 17.95 Starring Montgomery Clift, Anne Baxter, Karl Malden, Brian Aherne, Roger Dann, Dolly Haas, Charles Andre, O.E. Hasse. Cinematography Robert Burks Art Direction Edward S. Haworth Film Editor Rudi Fehr Original Music Dimitri Tiomkin Written by George Tabori, William Archibald from a play by Paul Anthelme Produced and Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Reviewed by Glenn Erickson »
- Glenn Erickson
Released 75 years ago, Alfred Hitchcock’s Suspicion (1941), his fourth film to be made in the United States, was a departure from his previous films. Unlike The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), The 39 Steps (1935), or The Lady Vanishes (1938), Suspicion eschews the globetrotting and spying that made those films so exhilarating. It’s an intimate affair, a chamber drama (or chamber suspense film) primarily led by Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine, only occasionally breached by other supporting actors. Hitchcock had rarely worked on such a minimal scale before; even in Rebecca (1940); the mansion Manderlay was practically its own character. The isolation of Grant and Fontaine’s marriage is suffocating and without precedent in Hitchcock’s filmography. Though flawed due to Production Code restrictions, Suspicion remains one of Hitchcock’s most fascinating experiments.
Joan Fontaine plays Lina McLaidlaw, a woman presumably more interested in books than men (a woman wearing glasses in a »
- Brian Marks
19 items from 2016
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