20 items from 2013
"Never work with children, animals or Charles Laughton," Alfred Hitchcock once advised, making The Night Of The Hunter, which is bountiful in all three, a no-go area for the Master. But that tongue-in-cheek Hitch advice aside, the standing of Laughton's rural noir continues to grow with every passing year. It's been restored ready for a re-release early in the new year, a perfect opportunity to catch it on the big screen, and has a beautiful new quad poster to help get the word out. If you haven't seen it, Laughton's 1955 thriller married traditional Hollywood filmmaking values with a more jarring German expressionist style to create a Grimm-like fairy tale of two wee'uns and a crazed preacher with sinister hand tattoos and a surprisingly loose adherence to the Ten Commandments.Robert Mitchum's preacher, Reverend Harry Powell, is a villain for the ages. He's heard about a stash of stolen money »
My love of movies comes from watching them, obsessively and probably way too much. No matter how many I manage to watch though, even starting from an early age I’ve still not seen some that are deemed as masterpieces and that annoys me. There are classics out there that deserve to be seen and I do have a list in my head of ones that I will see no matter what it takes and one of these was The Night of the Hunter. When I had the chance to review the Arrow release of the film on Blu-ray I jumped at the chance, there is no better way to see it other than on the big screen. Now having seen it I feel very lucky I did, not just for the movie »
- Paul Metcalf
★★★★★"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." This is the cautionary, biblical advise offered up by Lillian Gish's kindly foster mother at the outset of The Night of the Hunter (1955), Charles Laughton's seminal Depression-era thriller. Not only did this prove to be Laughton's sole directorial endeavour - more's the pity - it would also introduce audiences to Robert Mitchum's predatory preacher Harry Powell, one of cinema's most enduringly memorable antagonists. It's easy, then, to see why it's now been selected as Arrow Academy's latest recruit.
Read more » »
- CineVue UK
Tell us what you enjoyed (or didn't) at the cinema or on TV, plus what's coming up on the site today
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• Thor sequel scores huge $109m global debut
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Elsewhere on the site
• Jeremy Kay has five things to learn from this weekend's Us box office
You may have missed
• As well as all the new cinematic reviews (Kermode's off so Shoard is in the hot seat), plus Philip French on classic The Night of the Hunter and Guy Lodge on the new home entertainment releases, the Observer had an interview with John Waters
• News on the South Africa premiere »
(Charles Laughton, 1955; Arrow, 15)
One of the greatest, most influential directorial debuts in movie history, The Night of the Hunter was a major critical and commercial failure in 1955, and Charles Laughton never directed another film, which was bad for him, bad for us and bad for Norman Mailer, whose The Naked and the Dead was to be Laughton's follow-up project.
Based on Davis Grubb's gothic novel, it's a grim fairytale for adults set in poverty-stricken West Virginia during the depression and centres on a father going to the gallows for murder after concealing some stolen money in his little daughter's doll and swearing her brother to secrecy. An ogre in the form of a psychotic preacher (Robert Mitchum's best, most scary performance), who'd shared a cell with their father, is after the loot. When this monstrous figure of pure evil takes over the impoverished family, the children flee down the Ohio river, »
- Philip French
Director Charles Laughton’s and screenwriter James Agee’s adaptation of the novel The Night of the Hunter has become a reverently admired and extremely influential film in the 60 years since the ‘failure’ of its initial release. The film has placed very highly in many international critical polls, including Cahier du Cinema’s 2007 listing of the ‘100 Most Beautiful Films’, where it sits at #2. Many filmmakers have cited it as a key inspiration, and Steven Spielberg showed it to the crew of E.T. in order to help them understand the child’s perspective from which he wanted the film to be told. It was even re-made as a virtually unwatchable 1991 TV movie with Richard Chamberlain as Harry Powell, and a musical stage version was created in the late ‘90s for which a soundtrack CD is available.
Perhaps the most important indication of the esteem in which the film is now held »
- Ian Gilchrist
Every year, we here at Sound On Sight celebrate the month of October with 31 Days of Horror; and every year, I update the list of my favourite horror films ever made. Last year, I released a list that included 150 picks. This year, I’ll be upgrading the list, making minor alterations, changing the rankings, adding new entries, and possibly removing a few titles. I’ve also decided to publish each post backwards this time for one reason: the new additions appear lower on my list, whereas my top 50 haven’t changed much, except for maybe in ranking. Enjoy!
Written and directed by Samuel Fuller
Shock Corridor stars Peter Breck as Johnny Barrett, an ambitious reporter who wants to expose the killer at the local insane asylum. To solve the case, he must pretend to be insane so they have him committed. Once in the asylum, »
Director: Charles Laughton
Running Time: 93 minutes
Extras: New digital transfer made from 35mm film elements restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive in cooperation with MGM Studios, with funding provided by the Film Foundation and Robert B. Strum, Optional original uncompressed Mono Pcm audio & 5.1 DTS-hd Master Audio, Isolated Music and Effects Soundtrack, Charles Laughton Directs The Night of the Hunter – A two-and-a-half-hour documentary on the making of the film featuring outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage, Archival interview with cinematographer Stanley Cortez, Original theatrical trailer, Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly artwork by Graham Humphreys, Booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic and filmmaker David Thompson.
The words ‘masterpiece’ or ‘classic’ are perhaps bandied about too much these days. Certainly few modern films aren’t deserving of such praise and that’s because, more often than not, they lack originality. »
- Craig Hunter
The mercurial director describes his latest film, Prince Avalanche, as an art movie invaded by a pair of multiplex goofballs – it's a tribute to the wide-ranging films of his adolescence
Prince Avalanche is a poignant comedy featuring tender performances from Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch as mutually antagonistic road-painters working the fire-scorched highways of late 1980s Texas. But as delicious as the film is, cinemagoers with long memories may regard it with justifiable caution. It's the latest movie from the writer-director David Gordon Green, whose work is best approached as the cinematic equivalent of a perpetually spinning coin. If a Green film falls shiny side up, it will transpire to be a lyrical arthouse elegy such as his debut, George Washington, which led to the director being anointed the new Terrence Malick, or All the Real Girls, a faltering love story from that bygone age before its star, Zooey Deschanel, »
- Ryan Gilbey
Former Wild Bunch Distribution boss Jean-Philippe Tirel is joining forces with indie producer Maya Hariri and Orange Studio topper Frederique Dumas to fully-launch his new Paris-based acquisition vehicle, Selective Films.
Under the exclusive pact between Selective Films and Orange Studio, one of France’s deepest-pocketed players, will co-acquire all-rights to approximately five foreign movies a year, in most cases at script stage. Selective Films will then sell the rights to the best-matched distributor.
Tirel said Selective will work hand-in-hand with the distrib on the marketing strategy and will aim at co-distributing films. Tirel’s track record at Wild Bunch Distribution include the successful French release of U.S. independent movies like Tom Hopper’s Oscar-winning “The King’s Speech,” genre movies such as “Paranormal Activity,” and French arthouse pics like Valerie Donzelli’s “Declaration of War.”
- Elsa Keslassy
Jason Reitman's Labor Day, which makes its UK bow at next month's London Film Festival, has a new poster and it's filled to the brim with its three leads, Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin and 14 year-old Gattlin Griffith, all searching for that missing tagline.In case you wondered why they're all looking so perturbed, it's not that one of the aliens from Signs is outside - although possibly that too - but the fact that Josh Brolin's character is a runaway convict who has thrown himself on the mercy of Kate Winslet's depressed single mum and her young son Henry (Griffith). But is Brolin's character the caring soul he seems? He's a convicted murderer, after all, and it takes a big leap of faith by Adele (Winslet) to trust him enough to bring him into their lives. If you've seen The Night Of The Hunter, you'll know how »
A Story of Children and Film
Written by Mark Cousins
Directed by Mark Cousins
A Story of Children and Film is the follow-up to documentarian Mark Cousins’ epic 15-part The Story of Film, his love letter to cinema that’s generally considered a masterwork effort and a radicalized rewrite of cinema history in a style defined by a holistic take pursuing a three-part focus: the personal, the polemic, and the cryptic. Cousins employs a similar approach as he turns his gaze to the child performances and coming-of-age tales that have have left their indelible mark on the changing shape of cinema. The director has always been interested in the topic of children in film. His first project for television was a special on a kid’s festival in Glasgow and his first feature, appropriately titled The First Movie, was about Kurdish children growing up in Iraq during the second Gulf War. »
- Gregory Ashman
I've been thinking about this a lot lately since a podcast listener recently asked about our favorite movies and so many of my favorites were films I saw at home on DVD and/or Blu-ray and not in the theater. We talk about the exalted theater experience a lot and there is no doubt seeing a movie in a theater is a better experience, but is that where we end up seeing most of our favorite filmsc Obviously some of my more recent favorites from Pulp Fiction, Se7en, In Bruges (which I caught the tail end of just last night on HBO), The Matrix, The Dark Knight, Before Sunset and Collateral I've seen on the big screen. It's only natural movie lovers will see current favorites on the big screen a lot of the time, but there are several others where DVD and Blu-ray are the only option. Films »
- Brad Brevet
I probably could have waited to post the following graphic on Monday and had more takers, but I never intended to post it in the first place as it merely came out of the result of me working on a new feature for the site. That said, many of you still got in the game and I had a lot of fun on Twitter last night with people guessing some of the more difficult titles. As it turns out, it was numbers 13, 19, 22 and 23 that gave people the most trouble, 13 proving to be the hardest of the lot as only Andre Marques got that right in the comments (as of 9 Am Pst this morning) and one person on Twitter last night finally guessed it after several hints and attempts. I applaud all of you for your efforts! I was astonished how many people got #33 correct and quite honestly, surprised any of you got #22. That said, »
- Brad Brevet
★★★★☆ An abridged appendix to his five-hour essay The Story of Film: An Odyssey (2011), critic-turned-director Mark Cousins brings his latest documentary to the festival he once curated. A Story of Children and Film (2013) continues Cousins' voyage through the annals of cinematic history, this time focusing on the role of children (due to the medium's tender age in comparison to the other arts) to reflect the form's continuous evolution. An affectionately assembled mosaic of movie snippets, Cousins has collated a smörgåsbord of some of the finest child performances to ever grace the silver screen, all for our viewing pleasure.
After a predictably analytical exposition - establishing the doc's 'way of seeing' through a prologue about how Vincent van Gogh perceived the changing natural scenery outside his hospital window - Cousins' gaze finds a more intimate position sat stationary on the floor of his flat, observing his nephew and niece as they play with marbles. »
- CineVue UK
Having paved the way two years ago with his 15-hour cine-essay “The Story of Film” (and before that, the handsome coffee-table volume of the same name), film critic-cum-director Mark Cousins returns with a 100-minute companion piece focused entirely on the depiction of kids onscreen, a too-easy but still-captivating spinoff, unimaginatively entitled “A Story of Children and Film.” As specialty offerings go, this latest collage of film clips and personal footage shares the earlier project’s principal virtue — namely, its capacity to enrich casual moviegoers’ way of consuming cinema — as well as its harmless little idiosyncrasies.
In the hands of any other guide, such an eccentric offering would surely be relegated to the wee hours of public television, though Cousins’ films have found a home at the very same sprocket operas where the festival gadfly has become a regular fixture (this one premiered at Cannes). One part evangelist for the noble cause of humanist cinema, »
- Peter Debruge
I've mentioned before how several years ago I created a list using Roger Ebert's Great Movies, Oscar Best Picture winners, IMDb's Top 250, etc. and began going through them doing my best to see as many of the films on these lists that I had not seen as I possibly could to up my film I.Q. Well, someone has gone through the exhaustive effort to take all of the films Roger Ebert wrote about in his three "Great Movies" books, all of which are compiled on his website and added them to a Letterbxd list and I've added that list below. I'm not positive every movie on his list is here, but by my count there are 363 different titles listed (more if you count the trilogies, the Up docs and Decalogue) and of those 363, I have personally seen 229 and have added an * next to those I've seen. Clearly I have some work to do, »
- Brad Brevet
I've mentioned before how several years ago I created a list using Roger Ebert's Great Movies, Oscar Best Picture winners, IMDb's Top 250, etc. and began going through them doing my best to see as many of the films on these lists that I had not seen as I possibly could to up my film I.Q. Well, someone has gone through the exhaustive effort to take all of the films Roger Ebert wrote about in his three "Great Movies" books, all of which are compiled on his website and added them to a Letterbxd list and I've added that list below. I'm not positive every movie on his list is here, but by my count there are 362 different titles listed (more if you count the trilogies and Decalogue) and of those 362, I have personally seen 229 and have added an * next to those I've seen. Clearly I have some work to do, »
- Brad Brevet
Readers answer other readers' questions on subjects ranging from trivial flights of fancy to profound scientific concepts
Where, on earth, have more people been than any other place? Throughout all of human history, which piece of land has seen more footprints than anywhere else?
Mecca, probably, and paradoxically, since the non-Muslim majority of humankind is debarred from visiting. The religious duty of pilgrimage has enjoined Muslims to visit Mecca at least once in their life since the foundation of Islam and has become a major annual migration in the last 50 years. Roger Crosskey, London W10
I would say probably the sangam, or confluence, of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers at Prayag (Allahabad) in India. Not only is it the site of the Kumbh Mela, which millions attend, but it is visited every day by many thousands of religious pilgrims and people scattering cremation ashes. Pilgrims have been visiting it for thousands of years. »
Our daily countdown continues with part 18 out of 30 in our list of the 300 Greatest Films Ever Made. These are numbers 130-121.
130) Touch Of Evil (1958) Orsen Wells USA
128) Le Samourai (1967) Jean-Pierre Melville France/ Italy
125) Et: The Extra Terrestrial (1982) Steven Spielberg USA
124) It’S A Wonderful Life (1946) Frank Capra USA
121) L’Avventura (1960) Michelangelo Antonioni France/ Italy
Numbers 120-111 coming next.
film cultureClassicslist300 »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Rob Young)
20 items from 2013
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