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Think silent films reached a high point with The Artist? The pre-sound era produced some of the most beautiful, arresting films ever made. From City Lights to Metropolis, Guardian and Observer critics pick the 10 best
• Top 10 teen movies
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• Top 10 documentaries
• Top 10 movie adaptations
• Top 10 animated movies
• More Guardian and Observer critics' top 10s
10. City Lights
City Lights was arguably the biggest risk of Charlie Chaplin's career: The Jazz Singer, released at the end of 1927, had seen sound take cinema by storm, but Chaplin resisted the change-up, preferring to continue in the silent tradition. In retrospect, this isn't so much the precious behaviour of a purist but the smart reaction of an experienced comedian; Chaplin's films rarely used intertitles anyway, and though it is technically "silent", City Lights is very mindful of it own self-composed score and keenly judged sound effects.
At its heart, »
When I really began digging into classic cinema, one of the films I started with was Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal, and it wasn't that long ago. According to Netflix, I returned the disc on January 8, 2008 after returning Bergman's Wild Strawberries about a month earlier (I wrote about them both briefly right here). I'd actually received both discs at the same time, but kept Seventh Seal a little longer because it had so truly captured my imagination. I've written about it a few times since, including a review of the Criterion Blu-ray a little over four years ago. I've found Bergman's work captivating ever since, several as a result of the Criterion Collection including reviewing Smiles of a Summer Night, Summer Interlude and Summer with Monica, Fanny and Alexander and The Magician along with my discovery of Persona two years ago, whose two-shot imagery is repeated in a highly »
- Brad Brevet
Martin Balsam: Oscar winner has ‘Summer Under the Stars’ Day on Turner Classic Movies Best Supporting Actor Academy Award winner Martin Balsam (A Thousand Clowns) is Turner Classic Movies’ unusual (and welcome) "Summer Under the Stars" featured player today, August 27, 2013. Right now, TCM is showing Sidney Lumet’s The Anderson Tapes (1971), a box-office flop starring Sean Connery in his (just about) post-James Bond, pre-movie legend days. (Photo: Martin Balsam ca. early ’60s.) Next, is Joseph Sargent’s thriller The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974). Written by Peter Stone (Father Goose, Arabesque) from John Godey’s novel, the film revolves around the hijacking of a subway car in New York City. Passengers are held for ransom while police lieutenant Walter Matthau tries to handle the situation. Now considered a classic (just about every pre-1999 movie is considered a "classic" these days), The Taking of Pelham One Two Three was »
- Andre Soares
It says a lot about Philip French that after 50 years as the Observer's film critic – five decades in which he has watched more than 2,500 movies, written six books on the subject and received an OBE for his services to film – he is nervous enough about this interview to have researched his answers in advance.
When I arrive at his house in Tufnell Park, north London, I find French poring over a thick reference book at the kitchen table. A cup of coffee is left to cool as he thumbs through the relevant footnotes, anxious to get the facts absolutely right. He will turn 80 in a couple of weeks and says that he occasionally struggles to remember names of directors or actors. »
- Elizabeth Day
The upcoming week is absolutely packed with incredible archival screenings to tell you about, and there are a couple of new releases that are worth making time for as well. First up, let's focus on the Austin Film Society, who are continuing their Johnnie To series with 35mm screenings of 1999's Running Out Of Time this weekend. In advance of the upcoming local opening of Computer Chess, Afs is also hosting Andrew Bujalski on Sunday afternoon for a Q&A at a rare 35mm screening of Funny Ha-Ha. Essential Cinema presents the outrageous pre-code Night Nurse with Barbara Stanwyck and Clark Cable in 35mm on Tuesday night while director Matt Wolf is stopping by on Wednesday for a Doc Nights premiere of his new film Teenage.
The Paramount Summer Classic Film Series has a some tremendously well-programmed 35mm double features on deck this week including Spirit Of The Beehive and Pan's Labyrinth on Sunday, »
- Matt Shiverdecker
Have you seen Kubrick’s top 10?
In 1963, Stanley Kubrick created a list of the greatest films of all time. It has recently resurfaced, and is worth checking out:
I Vitelloni (dir. Federico Fellini, 1953) Wild Strawberries (dir. Ingmar Bergman, 1957) Citizen Kane (dir. Orson Welles, 1941) The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (dir. John Huston, 1948) City Lights (dir. Charlie Chaplin, 1931) Henry V (dir. Laurence Olivier, 1944) La Notte (dir. Michelangelo Antonioni, 1961) The Bank Dick (dir. Edward F. Cline, 1940) Roxie Hart (dir. William A. Wellman, 1942) Hell’s Angels (dir. Howard Hughes, 1930)
Find details, and links to more of the greatest movies of all time here. »
Any time a top ten list is made nowadays it is typically made by movie bloggers born in the late '70s / early '80s and therefore the span of time it covers is frequently limited to just a few years before their birth to modern day. As a result many great films are forgotten simply because it's damn near impossible to see everything. Thankfully, there are others out there to encourage us to see films before our time and expand our cinematic knowledge. Just yesterday I posted Spike Lee's list of 87 Essential Films (see that here) and I've always pointed out and referenced Roger Ebert's list of Great Movies, which you can see in its entirety right here. If you haven't seen these films, add them to a spreadsheet of your own and get to work as today I have ten more for you to consider. Born »
- Brad Brevet
The number of films dealing with age is rising as older people take up more of the cinema-going audience
The world's population is ageing. Today, there are about 600 million older people around the world, three times more than 50 years ago – and by 2050 there should be three times more again. The effect of that is already apparent in almost every sector, including culture, which of course includes the cinema. In the early 20th century, the brand-new film industry symbolised glamour and eternal youth before being relegated to a largely teenage audience, and then being caught up by age in the following century: the age of its audience, its creators, its characters and its subject matter.
The cinema has always found ways of dealing with the subject. For many years it simply skirted the issue in two ways. One was by using farce, with truculent old rogues, as in Frank Capra's »
- Jacques Mandelbaum
Apart from all the shorts and TV movies Ingmar Bergman crafted in his final years and sporadically throughout his filmmaking career, most of his full-length films now have their own releases by Criterion Collection or are part of anthologies they've released. Few filmmakers can boast such a claim, but then again few have produced works that endure quite as well with their story telling devices as Mr. Bergman's. Almost all of his films are shining examples of layered stories that exude more emotion and tone in a single frame than many films today can muster in their entire runtime. Wild Strawberries does this better than many of Ingmar Bergman's films thanks to its story that jumps between an old man's road trip with his daughter-in-law to receive an honorary degree as he's haunted through dreams and memories by his own conscience.
- Lex Walker
Riffing on Terek Puckett’s terrific list of director/actor collaborations, I wanted to look at some of those equally impressive leading ladies who served as muses for their directors. I strived to look for collaborations that may not have been as obviously canonical, but whose effects on cinema were no less compelling. Categorizing a film’s lead is potentially tricky, but one of the criteria I always use is Anthony Hopkins’s performance in Silence of the Lambs, a film in which he is considered a lead but appears only briefly; his character is an integral part of the story.
The criteria for this article is as follows: The director & actor team must have worked together at least 3 times with the actor in a major role in each feature film, resulting in a minimum of 2 must-see films.
One of the primary trends for the frequency of collaboration is the »
- John Oursler
Chicago – Every month, Criterion mixes in a few HD upgrades for films in their collection to sit alongside new releases for the collection. One of those titles this month is spine #139, Ingmar Bergman’s adored “Wild Strawberries” (1957). It’s not one of my favorite Bergman films as I’ve always found its structure more frustrating than enlightening but “Wild Strawberries” has loyal fans who will be satisfied by this strong HD transfer and interesting special features.
The highlights of the Criterion blu-ray release of “Wild Strawberries” are the new, restored 2K digital film transfer that perfectly captures the aesthetic of Bergman’s visually strong film without looking overly polished, and a 90-minute documentary on the legendary director called “Ingmar Bergman on Life and Work.” The stellar HD work and the doc alone make for a solid addition to the collection. As I said though, “Strawberries” is a film that »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Sept. 17, 2013
Price: DVD $29.95, Blu-ray $39.95
The 1978 Swedish film drama Autumn Sonata was the only collaboration between cinema’s two great Bergmans—Ingmar, the iconic director of Wild Strawberries, and Ingrid, the monumental star of Casablanca.
Ms. Bergman, portraying an icy concert pianist, is matched beat for beat in ferocity by the filmmaker’s recurring lead Liv Ullmann (Face to Face) as her eldest daughter. Over the course of a long, painful night that the two spend together after an extended separation, they finally confront the bitter discord of their relationship.
Presented in Swedish with English subtitles, the Criterion DVD and Blu-ray editions of the film »
Chicago – It’s that time of year, the one in which you have to decide if you’re willing to think outside of the tie box when it comes to getting your pop something for Father’s Day. Another pair of socks? Or how about something he’ll appreciate? A movie? A TV series? A box set? Studios have been populating New Releases shelves over the last few weeks with enough product that there’s something for every dear old dad out there. Here’s your guide to some of the latest and greatest.
If Dad’s a TV Fan
Photo credit: Sony
If your pop likes his television in series set form, there are plenty of options this month to tie up his weekend. Want him off your back for a few days? Some of the absolute best programming of the 2012-13 season was recently released »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
Welcome to the latest episode of our official podcast, The Film Stage Show. This week associate editor Nick Newman, writer Danny King, and I discuss Richard Linklater‘s Before trilogy, including Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight. Finally, we take a look at the films/TV shows coming to theaters and DVD in the coming week, which include Wild Strawberries, House [...] »
- Brian Roan
Moviefone's New Release of the Week
"Oz: The Great and Powerful"
Click Here To Enter Our Twitter Giveaway And Win "Oz: The Great & Powerful" On DVD/Blu-ray!
Moviefone's Blu-ray of the Week
"Enter the Dragon" 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition
What's it about? Bruce Lee! Kung-fu fighting!
Why we're In: If getting to see Bruce Lee kick butt in Blu-ray isn't enough of a reason -- which, it should be, because the man was awesome -- it is undoubtedly one of the best action movies of the '70s.
Click Here To Enter »
- Natasha Young
Produced fifty-six years ago, Ingmar Bergman’s Wild Strawberries remains a venerable warhorse in the hallowed halls of Arthouse. But unlike this reviewer, who shares a similar vintage, the film shows no loss of vitality or any sign of imminent creakiness. Despite its strengths, Wild Strawberries often gets a bit lost within the contrasty folds of Bergman’s legendary filmography. Sight and Sound’s vaunted list of The Greatest Films of All Time pegs Wild Strawberries at sixty-three; not exactly a diss but way far behind Persona. The film doesn’t even appear on Roger Ebert’s lengthy List of Great Movies, although the late critic partially compensated by including Bergman’s equally underrated Winter Light.
The inherent silliness of film ranking aside, Wild Strawberries is a stunning cinematic experience. Filled with mystical beauty and chewy philosophical constructs in a tidy, perfectly tailored ninety-two minute package, the film is a »
- David Anderson
House of Cards: The Complete First Season I watched and enjoyed the first season of "House of Cards" (read my review here), but I did so originally thinking it would be the only season. I didn't know they were looking to make a series out if it, which makes it all the better... and worse. The highlight of the show, for me, is the acting with Robin Wright being the true standout and the one character I'm really looking forward to seeing more of. As far as recommendations go, I'm not sure if there is any other way to get this than to buy it or watch it on Netflix and if you have Netflix haven't you already seen itc
The Newsroom - The Complete First Season I reviewed the first four episodes of "The Newsroom" and as the lady of the house has reminded me, that's all we watched. »
- Brad Brevet
Rather than let older films fade from memory or into a state of disrepair, Criterion Collection gathers up works by classic and modern filmmakers that they deem to be culturally or artistically significant and then they remaster them on modern mediums (currently, that's DVDs and Blu-rays). Each month sees a new assortment of 5 or 6 films and this June that includes: Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries, H.G. Wells's Things to Come, Harold Lloyd's Safety Last!, František Vlácil’s Marketa Lazarová, and an expansive 4-disc edition of Claude Lanzmann's look back at the Holocaust in Shoah. For a full rundown on all the extras offered in these release, just keep reading.
- Lex Walker
The typical take on Best Original Screenplay is that it is the weaker of the two writing categories. Particularly before any precursor awards are handed out, pundits usually struggle to scrounge up a roster of even thirty viable candidates for the category. I guess this shouldn’t come as a surprise given originality’s placement on the endangered species list in Hollywood these days, but it’s a shame, because the category has often served as an outlet for the Academy to recognize innovative and daring films that would not be able to call themselves “Oscar nominees” otherwise.
Someone with as a distinct artistic voice as Terry Gilliam, for example, would not be able to declare himself an Oscar nominee had his masterpiece, Brazil, not been nominated for Best Original Screenplay back in 1985. That same year, in the exact same category, another 80′s Sci-Fi classic, Back to the Future, got »
- Christopher Lominac
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
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