4 items from 2016
It's pretty clear where I got the first name of my first son, Toshiro, and he's well aware of the legacy of the artist who inspired that name. While he hasn't seen Seven Samurai yet, he knows who Toshiro Mifune was and that he is an actor I hold in very high regard. What's less immediately clear is that my younger son is also named after one of my artistic heroes, because it's his middle name. He is Allen Miles McWeeny, and sure enough, he is named after one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century, a towering figure whose music has meant more to me than I can ever fully express. Don Cheadle must share some of that same reverence for Miles Davis, and it's certainly clear from his new film as a star and as a writer/director that he embraces the full complexity of Miles, flaws and all. »
- Drew McWeeny
The Slifr Movie Treehouse (the acronym stands in for the title of my blog, Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule) is a place where I like to gather a few of my movie-writing pals and exchange long e-mails on the way the movies shaped up for us in the year just left behind. It’s been a few years since I’ve undertaken this project, but the time felt right again, so I invited the very talented critical voices of Brian Doan, Odie Henderson, Marya Murphy and Phil Dyess-Nugent to take part, and to my great happiness they all agreed. (Bios for each writer can be found at the conclusion of each of their individual posts, which can be accessed by clicking below on the title of each post.)
What follows here are samples from the 16 posts we submitted over the week of January 11-17, and we’ll start »
- Dennis Cozzalio
Each week, the fine folks at Fandor add a number of films to their Criterion Picks area, which will then be available to subscribers for the following twelve days. This week, the Criterion Picks focus on eight films from the Criterion Collection that were later remade.
Don’t have a Fandor subscription? They offer a free trial membership.
A cult classic of gooey greatness, The Blob follows the havoc wreaked on a small town by an outer-space monster with neither soul nor vertebrae, with Steve McQueen playing the rebel teen who tries to warn the residents about the jellylike invader.
- Ryan Gallagher
The extent to which Pixar touts a focus on originality and creativity — or “originality” and “creativity” through whatever means they measure those two qualities — makes it easy to forget their extensive history of reference points. Because you (probably, hopefully) don’t have enough time to go through every title and parse the finer points, allow a video essay from Jorge Luengo Ruiz to break down a significant number of them. In ranging from the obvious — he left this note: “I don’t have include A Bugs’s Life because it is a special case. Whole the plot is a tribute to Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai” — to the rather clever to those I might not cite as specific callbacks (Fargo? Scarface? The Apartment? The Red Balloon?), this melange creates one of the more interesting bits of Pixar-related work I’ve seen in some time.
Of interest, too, is a nifty bit »
- Nick Newman
4 items from 2016
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