16 items from 2013
At this year’s TCM Classic Film Festival, we had the chance to sit in on a few conversations with the legendary Max von Sydow. As part of the festival’s tribute to the actor, TCM screened two excellent von Sydow films – the existential and cinephile must-see “The Seventh Seal” and the 1970s spy thriller “Three Days of the Condor" (both featured in our The Essentials: 5 Great Max von Sydow Performances). During the introductions to these films, the Swedish actor discussed his career, the directors he had worked with and what’s next on his plate with TCM hosts Ben Mankiewicz and Robert Osborne, respectively. On Ingmar Bergman: “It was a continuous, very inspiring working relationship… He had a talent of making his actors getting into the parts with 100% attention, not always with 100% respect or it was a matter of not being too impressed of this fantastic character you were going to play. »
- Diana Drumm
This is my second year in a row reviewing The TCM Classic Film Festival, which is quickly becoming one of the largest, most important, and most fun fests in Los Angeles. Like last year, I ran from screening to screening, giddy with excitement and wired from the constant stream of images.
The festival ran from Thursday through Sunday. I was only able to attend the last two days, but over the course of the weekend I managed to watch ten feature films and a 90-minute program of Bugs Bunny cartoons.
Usually, when I go to things like this I try to watch as many film noir and pre-code movies as I can. On Saturday, I was determined to make variety my theme of the day, and TCM made this easy for me. At any given time, there were five or six movies playing — everything from silent films and early classics to musicals, »
- Jonathan Weichsel
Tinseltown is ready to greet film fans from around the world again for the 2013 TCM Classic Film Festival.
Beginning this Thursday, April 25 and running through Sunday, April 28 in Hollywood, the festival will open with a gala presentation of the newly restored musical classic Funny Girl (1968).
Over four big days, TCM will welcome legendary stars, award-winning filmmakers and classic movie fans for the cinematic celebration, which this year will center on the theme Cinematic Journeys: Travel in the Movies.
But first on the schedule is Funny Girl!
Legendary superstar Barbra Streisand demonstrates why she’s the greatest star in her Academy Award winning role (Best Actress, 1968) as “Fanny Brice” in the celebrated musical biography Funny Girl. Commemorating its 45th anniversary, the classic film was meticulously restored from the original negative by Sony Pictures Entertainment in 4K at Sony Pictures’ Colorworks.
- Melissa Thompson
Screenwriting isn’t quite as hard as novel writing or literary writing of any kind, but it is still a difficult thing. Forming a character and its words is a most disagreeable endeavour – imagine what Tolstoy went through – but there are some people who have gone a long way in making screenwriting as important as the film itself – almost. The script is as we know a blueprint for what could be a great thing. There are thousands of screenwriters but only a few who have gone on to utter greatness but in my mind there is only one who has never failed, and he ranks at number 1 on this list. That person’s films are so enjoyable that even the bad ones are fun to watch.
Considering a small list like this means considering an awful lot of people and making it a small list – 5 points – makes it that much »
- Quinn Steers
The film-maker Les Blank, who has died aged 77, explored the margins of America's music, capturing and framing idioms such as Louisiana Cajun and zydeco, the norteño music of the Texas-Mexico border, blues, polka, and Appalachian old-time music. He was also fascinated by traditions of eating and cookery, and when screening his film Garlic Is As Good As Ten Mothers (1980) he sometimes created what he called "smellovision" by cooking garlicky dishes in the auditorium.
Blank made more than 40 films, including Burden of Dreams (1982), about the shooting of Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo. While few of his documentaries were known to a wide public, many were admired by other directors. In 2007, he received the Edward MacDowell medal, an annual award for achievement in the arts, only twice before given to film directors, »
- Tony Russell
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
Filmmaker Les Blank has died of bladder cancer, at the age of 77. Blank graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans before moving west and devoting his life to documenting the pleasures of life. He spent most of his long career making movies about music or food, though his best-known work may have been Burden Of Dreams (1982), a making-of documentary that helped shaped the public image of another maverick filmmaker, Werner Herzog. Blank was adrift in his early twenties when he saw Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal and decided to dedicate himself to the art of film. In »
The 2013 TCM Classic Film Festival continues to expand, with newly added appearances by legendary stars at screenings of some of their most memorable films, including Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Mickey Rooney, Jonathan Winters, Marvin Kaplan, Barrie Chase, Polly Bergen,Coleen Gray, Theodore Bikel and Norman Lloyd, as well as producer Stanley Rubin, Clara Bow biographer David Stenn, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) film collections manager Katie Trainor and director Nicholas Ray’s widow, Susan Ray. In addition, TCM’s Essentials Jr. host and Saturday Night Live star Bill Hader will present screenings of Shane (1953) and The Ladykillers(1955).
And The Film Forum’s Bruce Goldstein will present a special screening of Frank Capra’s The Donovan Affair (1929), complete with live voice actors and sound effects to replace the film’s long-lost soundtrack.Mel Brooks is slated to talk about his comedy The Twelve Chairs (1970). Carl Reiner, Mickey Rooney, Jonathan Winters, Marvin Kaplan »
- Melissa Thompson
Pasolini's brilliant Passion play presents the Messiah as emerging from the landscape, and out of Marxist ideology
This brilliant and entirely unforgiving neorealist Passion play from 1964 – revived now as part of a retrospective for the director Pier Paolo Pasolini – looks as if it has been hacked from some stark rockface. It is made in black and white, and uses non-professionals, including the director's mother, Susanna Pasolini, as the older Mary, mother of Christ. The musical score switches sharply from Bach's St Matthew Passion to classic blues. Enrique Irazoqui's Jesus is eerily, almost disturbingly self-possessed, emerging from the landscape like Bergman's Death in The Seventh Seal. His rhetoric is ceaseless and fluent, and his sermonising is persistently presented as a kind of dreamlike montage of inspired insights and mysterious aperçus, with Pasolini's camera jump-cutting from Jesus's face at different places and times. This really is raw film-making, in a political »
- Peter Bradshaw
The 2013 TCM Classic Film Festival is just over two months away, and is slowly unveiling its usual packed slate of classic stars set to make appearances. Included in this year's in-person lineup are Max von Sydow, Ann Blyth and Eva Marie Saint. These three will each appear with landmark films in their careers; Von Sydow will be on hand for Ingmar Bergman's "The Seventh Seal" and William Friedkin's "The Exorcist"; Blyth for Michael Curtiz' "Mildred Pierce" (pictured above with Joan Crawford) and Vincente Minelli's "Kismet"; and Saint for Elia Kazan's Best-Picture-winner "On the Waterfront." Actors Mitzi Gaynor and France Nuyen ("South Pacific") and Jacqueline White ("The Narrow Margin"), along with filmmakers Kevin Brownlow (introducing newly restored silent classic "The Big Parade"), and Jerry Zucker, David Zucker and Jim Abrahams ("Airplane!") are also scheduled »
- Beth Hanna
Odd List Aliya Whiteley Feb 19, 2013
Covering 85 years of cinema, Aliya provides her pick of 25 stylish, must-see French movies...
I’m going to kick this off in best New-Wave style by pointing out that we should be praising each great director’s body of work rather than showcasing favourite movies in a list format; after all, France came up with the concept of the auteur filmmaker, stamping their personality on a film, using the camera to portray their version of the world.
Yeah, well, personality is everything. So here’s a highly personal choice, arranged in chronological order, of 25 of the most individualistic French films. They may be long or short, old or new, but they all have one thing in common – they’ve got directorial style. And by that I don’t mean their shoes match their handbags.
The Passion Of Joan Of Arc (1928)
There are no stirring battle scenes, »
Top 10 Aliya Whiteley Feb 8, 2013
From silent classics to the present, here's Aliya's pick of 10 foreign-language fantasy films you have to see...
It’s easier to say what fantasy isn’t, rather than what it is. It’s not the robots or interplanetary adventures of science fiction, and it’s not the inexplicable and the terrifying creations of horror. All we can say for sure about fantasy is that, within the world on the screen, anything can happen.
So here’s an alphabetical list of some of the more interesting foreign-language films in which the rules no longer apply. There may be strange happenings and mythical beasts but they are not out to scare us, or to confirm our suspicions that we need to be afraid of the new and the strange. Instead they challenge us to look with, as Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio would have it in The Abyss, better eyes than that. »
Just like the rest of America, I take great enjoyment from going into a darkened room with strangers and watching something on a screen that completely defies logic and totally captivates my imagination. This is probably the thing I take the most enjoyment in when I really sit back and think about it.
One of the most exciting things about going to the movies is seeing something on the screen that you’ve never seen before, which leads me to a thought about superhero movies. That thought is are we, as audiences, getting too many of them? I know this may sound like sacrilege on a site like this, but just hear me out.
Think about the lineup of superhero-based films coming out in 2012. There’s Man of Steel, Iron Man 3, Thor 2, The Wolverine and Kick Ass 2, then Captain America 2, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Guardians of the Galaxy, »
- Dolan Reynolds
Our daily January countdown continues with part 23 out of 30 in our list of the 300 Greatest Films Ever Made. These are numbers 80-71.
79) An American In Paris (1951) Vincent Minnelli USA
77) Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid (1969) George Roy Hill USA
73) Beauty & The Beast (1946) Jean Cocteau France
Numbers 70-61 coming next.
film cultureClassicslist300 »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Rob Young)
Movie PRs are increasingly avoiding quotes from critics in favour of lines from filmgoers
Film critics have just endured another blow to their fragile self-esteem. It has long been movie distributors' practice to slather their posters with adoring quotes from reviewers, along with the traditional migraine-rash of stars. But now the trend is just to use praise from regular cinemagoers on Twitter. The press ad for The Impossible, about a tourist family caught up in the 2004 tsunami, uses one critic's quote – from me, since you ask – but the other quotes are Twitter praise: "One of the best films I've seen #incredible #lovedit" – @Browning_33 "Such a great movie, makes you look at what is actually important in life" – @katie_m_kelly.
Critics have only just recovered from the indignity of the "David Manning" affair – Sony Columbia pictures kept quoting Manning's lavish praise, before he was revealed in 2001 to be an imaginary critic they had made up. »
- Peter Bradshaw
16 items from 2013
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