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With Memorial Day behind us and summer just right around the corner, the horror and sci-fi home releases are really begin to heat up as we’ve got a bunch of great cult classics and new indie genre films to look forward to this Tuesday. Scream Factory is giving fans a double dose of double features with their The Food of the Gods/Frogs and Empire of the Ants/Jaws of Satan Blu-rays and we’ve also got the latest from Dark Sky Films- Let Us Prey- arriving on both Blu-ray and DVD on May 26th.
Anchor Bay is also bringing home Spike Lee’s Da Sweet Blood of Jesus this week, Vinegar Syndrome is giving the cult film Madman a high-def upgrade and Universal is keeping busy as well with their releases of Seventh Son, The Loft and the Orson Welles classic Touch of Evil too. »
- Heather Wixson
Orson Welles is celebrated as one of the foremost visionaries in the history of American filmmaking. He’s also renowned as the perennial artist against the system. While both of these factors make Welles perhaps the ideal auteur – someone satisfied with nothing less than a perfect articulation of his individual vision within the collaborative medium of filmmaking – it also presents some unique problems in examining works that were taken away from him.
The classically celebrated auteurs of studio era Hollywood (e.g., Hawks, Ford, Hitchcock) were known for creating individuated worldviews across their body of work either despite or even because of the strictures inherent in Classical Hollywood filmmaking. This was not Welles, who from his rise to infamy with the 1938 “War of the Worlds” broadcast to his first studio feature made a name by challenging the assumed utilities of a medium. Neither could »
- Drew Morton
"Because of the feeling, fixed by social example, that (Violence) was the only quite correct, the only really decent relief for wounded honor—the only one which did not imply some subtle derogation, some dulling and retracting of the fine edge of pride, some indefinable but intolerable loss of caste and manly face.” —Wilbur Cash, The Mind of the SouthThe first thing we see either in the show or the movies is the fabled warning about the stunts that are about to be performed—which indicates a priestly marking off of sacred space. These are priests or something or other. Only they can do this. This most High Tomfoolery. So there is always that, but what makes Jackass 3D unusually moving, even pathos-ridden, is it’s clear this is a sort of Last Hurrah. This is a movie of wheezing, ancient man-child priests, like Jean-Luc Godard. The gang are clearly »
- Uncas Blythe
Orson Welles was ready to make a comeback with one last movie . with a movie about a director making a comeback with one last movie. It was called The Other Side of the Wind and Welles shot it with a number of actors, including John Huston, but it was never completed due to ongoing financial and legal battles. However, this might all change. A group of producers set up an Indiegogo account and are looking for donations to fund the editing and postproduction for The Other Side of the Wind. Welles completed principal photography, but died before he could finish this process. The legendary filmmaker behind such titles as Citizen Kane, Don Quixote and Touch of Evil attempted to fund the project himself. However, he eventually had to enlist a number of backers, with a number of them backing out. Welles took a number of acting gigs . television, commercials and »
The legal system is a literal maze in Orson Welles' visualization and the disparate locations all lead back to one another. The Trial favors long takes and sustained shots to the fractured editing that defines so much of both the European Othello and the American Touch of Evil, but as we leaves Joseph's familiar world and follow him through the surreal legal labyrinth, the editing becomes faster and more fragmented. The logistics of space is distorted and exaggerated by the editing to show the perverse conspiratorial integration of the incestuous system. Shots between locations, and even within the same scene, are cut together from diverse sources and Welles doesn't match them so much as connect them, using action and momentum and graphic cues to carry us through the incongruities.>> - Sean Axmaker »
A two-month season at the BFI Southbank during July and August, aptly titled "Orson Welles: The Great Disruptor," will feature a wide-ranging selection of Welles’ output in both film and television. The season will be accompanied by a UK-wide theatrical re-release of "Touch of Evil," the theatrical release of Chuck Workman’s 2014 documentary "Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles," and a DVD and limited edition Blu-ray release of the TV series "Around the World With Orson Welles." Watch: Trailer for Orson Welles Doc 'Magician' Geoff Andrew, the BFI’s senior film programmer and a co-curator of the season, commented this morning that “Welles is one of those filmmakers who undoubtedly deserved that much over-used word, ‘genius’. He was a great innovator and a great artist, who repeatedly produced films that were rich, resonant and profound.” The BFI’s selection process was to some extent dictated by the. »
- Demetrios Matheou
He revolutionised theatre, radio, cinema and television, and made what many regard as the greatest film of all time. But Orson Welles was also a successful Vegas magician, prolific newspaper columnist and a potential Un secretary general.
“Every single day of his life contains some almost incomprehensible phenomenon like that,” said Simon Callow, actor and Welles biographer. “I could write a 500-page book about any year of Welles’s life.”
Continue reading »
- Mark Brown Arts correspondent
Orson Welles is one of the greatest filmmakers and actors who ever lived, an icon in Hollywood and (especially later in life) a “massive” presence with myth and legend following him everywhere. Today marks what would’ve been his 100th birthday. Welles died at the age of 70 in October of 1985.
To honor the great actor and director’s life, Indiewire put together a roundup of some of his more surprising quotes and comments. The Wall Street Journal compiled a list of 10 of his essential films. And Variety reported that a screening of Touch of Evil is being shown at the historic Crest Theater as part of his birthday celebration. That film, directed by Welles, is known for an impressive opening long take of a car with a bomb driving along the Mexican/American border crossing.
But most notable as part of his birthday celebration is the anticipation for one of his long lost films. »
- Brian Welk
Happy 100th birthday to Orson Welles, who is looking better than ever thanks to a major new restoration. Welles was born May 6, 1915, and even though he passed away in 1985, he got himself trending on his birthday in 2015. That's when you know you're a #legend.
In honor of Welles' 100th b-day, Rialto Pictures is releasing "The Third Man" in a major 4K restoration. It's the first-ever for the 1949 Carol Reed classic -- considered by many to be one of the greatest movies of all time -- which stars Orson Welles as Harry Lime and Joseph Cotten as Holly Martins. According to a media release, the new restoration will have its world premiere this month in the "Cannes Classics" section of the Cannes Film Festival, with U.S. openings at New York's Film Forum on June 26 (2-week run) and L.A.'s Nuart on July 3. Showings in San Francisco, Washington, DC, Seattle, »
- Gina Carbone
The 1958 film stars the late Welles, Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh and Zsa Zsa Gabor in a tale of murder and kidnapping in a corrupt Mexican border town. The Los Angeles Times’s Kenneth Turan said the film “raises the usual brooding nightmare ambiance of film noir to a level few other pictures have attempted.” He called it “expressionistic in the extreme, filled with shadows, angles and cinematic flourishes.”
The Wisconsin-born Welles died nearly 30 years ago, but his more than 100 films as an actor, nearly 50 as a director and many more as a writer continue to make him a towering figure in the history of cinema.
Welles originally had been pegged only to play the role of police Capt. Hank Quinlan, who »
- James Rainey
Touch of Venice: Messina’s Understated, Observational Debut
There’s much to admire in actor Chris Messina’s assured, astutely observed directorial debut, Alex of Venice. Namely its central performance from Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who carries this understated character study that rather uneventfully charts a workaholic woman’s mildly difficult navigation through the denial that her marriage is over. As written by its trio of writers (with Jessica Goldberg joined by first time screenwriters Katie Nehara and Justin Shilton), its dramatic possibilities are severely downplayed, instead attempting to reflect meaning off intertextual echoes borrowed from Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard (the play being staged within the film).
An attorney for an eco-advocacy group, Alex (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is left reeling when her high school sweetheart husband George (Messina) abruptly announces he’s unhappy with their marriage. A taken-for-granted stay-at-home dad, who cares for both their young son and Alex’s »
- Nicholas Bell
Most cineastes associate Orson Welles with landmark motion pictures like “The Magnificent Ambersons,” “Touch of Evil,” and the granddaddy of them all, “Citizen Kane.” But his 1974 oddity, “F for Fake” — a nifty riff on the notion of deceit and what exactly “artistic license” really means, and also the last picture he would ever direct — is worth seeking out for those who wish to dig into the more obscure corners of the legendary filmmaker’s body of work. A loosely structured, free-form narrative hoax, one that Roger Ebert famously called “fun and engaging [but] minor,” “F for Fake” cannot attest to the almost-unanimous acclaim of Welles’ earlier pictures, but, oddly enough, it plays well today. The film has a prankish, fearless spirit that is as ahead of its time, in its own way, as the films of Jean-Luc Godard (an amusing comparison, if for no other reason than Welles had some not-very-nice »
- Nicholas Laskin
Film noir cognoscente Eddie Muller defines noir as "the flip-side of the all-American success story." On his website he has posted the list 25 Noir Films That Will Stand the Test of Time, a drool-worthy selection of classics that also happen to be some of our own favorites. Thus, in spirit, we present our picks below, including such Muller faves as "In a Lonely Place," "Double Indemnity," "Sweet Smell of Success," "Touch of Evil" and "Detour." For those lovers of more contemporary noir, here are our 15 favorite neo-noirs. From Jacques Tourneur to Humphrey Bogart, What to See at La's Noir City Festival Anne Thompson's Top 5: 1. "Touch of Evil" (1958): Orson Welles' bravura noir starts out strong with a delirious sustained single shot, as newlyweds Mr. and Mrs. Vargas (Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh) stroll across the Mexican border to the sound of Henry Mancini and a ticking bomb, which explodes after. »
Written and directed by Orson Welles
The Lady from Shanghai (1947) didn’t come easily for Orson Welles. No film ever really did after his breakthrough, the great Citizen Kane (1941), the movie that put him on the map and in the crosshairs of the Hollywood establishment. They wanted little to do with this iconoclastic hotshot from New York, and for the rest of his days, Welles struggled to achieve an autonomous artistic vision. That so many astonishing films came out of this struggle, like The Lady from Shanghai, surely says something about his cinematic gift, an inherent talent that could not be restrained or denied.
It took considerable wheeling and dealing for Welles to convince Harry Cohn to back the film. Welles had three features on his directorial résumé, and though Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) were not financially successful, his third film, The Stranger (1946), was. »
- Jeremy Carr
“Border Town Noir”
Most film noir pictures take place in urban centers—New York City, Los Angeles—where the big city is as much a character as the unhappy humans in these often bleak and brutal, sometimes brilliant, Hollywood crime films that spanned the early forties to the late fifties. Film noir peaked in the latter half of the forties, with an abundance of the classic titles released between 1946-1948.
One of the more unique things about Ride the Pink Horse is that the urban setting is gone. Instead, the action is set in a border town in New Mexico, where there is indeed danger, to be sure, but there’s also a little less pessimism among the inhabitants—unlike in the urban noirs in which everyone’s a cynic. Interestingly, one might say that the “border town noir” could be a sub-set of the broader category, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
The Miami International Film Festival (March 6-15) launches this weekend in balmy Florida with a full-bodied slate of international cinema. With its special focus on Ibero-American and Cuban films, the 32nd edition presents many North American premieres alongside hot circuit titles from Sundance, Cannes and beyond. From Sundance, acclaimed docs "Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck," Brett Morgan's portrait of the haunted Nirvana frontman, and "Best of Enemies," Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville's account of the televised sparring wars between William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal, touch down in Miami. Read More: Toronto Critics Go Crazy for Christian Petzold's "Phoenix" Cinephiles should know that the Miami Beach Cinematheque has partnered with the festival to present an Orson Welles retrospective featuring "Citizen Kane," "The Stranger," "The Lady From Shanghai," "Touch of Evil" and "Othello." Read More: Venice »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Taking place at the Curzon Bloomsbury, which reopens on 27th March 2015, the Auteur Film Festival is set to be a week-long celebration of cinema’s greatest directors; and today the full-line-up for the festival has been announced. Tickets for the festival go on sale later today: http://www.curzoncinemas.com/auteurfilmfestival. Intros to the films will be announced in the next few weeks via http://twitter.com/CurzonBbury
A director is considered an Auteur when his or her individual style and complete control over all elements of production give a film a recognisable, personal and unique stamp.
Through its history, the Bloomsbury cinema has been associated with director of singular vision, so it is fitting to reopen the doors with a festival dedicated to their work. The Auteur Film Festival is presented to acknowledge the diversity in world cinema, to celebrate the resurrection of a cultural institution, and reignite debate »
- Phil Wheat
Stumbling across that list of best-edited films yesterday had me assuming that there might be other nuggets like that out there, and sure enough, there is American Cinematographer's poll of the American Society of Cinematographers membership for the best-shot films ever, which I do recall hearing about at the time. But they did things a little differently. Basically, in 1998, cinematographers were asked for their top picks in two eras: films from 1894-1949 (or the dawn of cinema through the classic era), and then 1950-1997, for a top 50 in each case. Then they followed up 10 years later with another poll focused on the films between 1998 and 2008. Unlike the editors' list, though, ties run absolutely rampant here and allow for way more than 50 films in each era to be cited. I'd love to see what these lists would look like combined, however. I imagine "Citizen Kane," which was on top of the 1894-1949 list, »
- Kristopher Tapley
Now this is a list that could result in a lot of fascinating dissection and thanks to HitFix it comes to our attention almost three years after it was originally released back in 2012, celebrating the Motion Picture Editors Guild's 75th anniversary. Over at HitFix, Kris Tapley asks, "Is this news to anyone elsec" Um, yes, I find it immensely interesting and a perfect starting point for anyone looking to further explore the art of film editing. In an accompanying article we get the particulars concerning what films were eligible and how films were to be considered: In our Jan-feb 12 issue, we asked Guild members to vote on what they consider to be the Best Edited Films of all time. Any feature-length film from any country in the world was eligible. And by "Best Edited," we explained, we didn't just mean picture; sound, music and mixing were to be considered as well. »
- Brad Brevet
A random bit of researching on a Tuesday night led me to something I didn't know existed: The Motion Picture Editors Guild's list of the 75 best-edited films of all time. It was a feature in part celebrating the Guild's 75th anniversary in 2012. Is this news to anyone else? I confess to having missed it entirely. Naturally, I had to dig in. What was immediately striking to me about the list — which was decided upon by the Guild membership and, per instruction, was considered in terms of picture and sound editorial as opposed to just the former — was the most popular decade ranking. Naturally, the 1970s led with 17 mentions, but right on its heels was the 1990s. I wouldn't have expected that but I happen to agree with the assessment. Thelma Schoonmaker's work on "Raging Bull" came out on top, an objectively difficult choice to dispute, really. It was so transformative, »
- Kristopher Tapley
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