5 items from 2011
"Damn you, Spielberg, for getting me choked up with your Au Hasard Blockbuztar," tweets Aaron Hillis. Search for "War Horse" on Twitter and you could spend quite a while combing through the results before you'll find one that doesn't mention tears, weeping or outright blubbering. Though it doesn't open until Christmas Day, Steven Spielberg's War Horse is being shown to the media and industry now because, suggests Anne Thompson, the New York Film Critics Circle, like a state eager to draw early attention to its Republican primary, has moved its day of voting to this Tuesday. In other words, the Nyfcc will be announcing its awards for the best film of the year, performances and so on, with a full month of 2011 yet to go.
But at Deadline, Pete Hammond suggests that the "unusual strategy" Dreamworks and distributor Disney are pursuing isn't hinging on a single band of critics. »
Seven soundtracks from the 50s, when jazz was the musical element that defined film noir. From Ziggy Elman's lubricious trumpet at the start of A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) to Jim Hall's sparse guitar notes at the close of Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), it's an enthralling collection. Other scores include Elmer Bernstein's The Man With the Golden Arm (1955) and Ellington's superbly bravura Anatomy of a Murder (1959). The notes, by compiler Selwyn Harris, are a model of clarity and insight. All on five CDs in a box, which should make any jazz-fan film-buff's Christmas.
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- Dave Gelly
"It's all in the eyes," Robert Ryan once said of film acting. "That's where you do most of your work."
But was it true of Ryan himself? His own narrow and heavily lidded brown eyes often registered as black disks in the lighting schemes of the late 40s and early 50s—that is, when they weren't overwhelmed by his massive forehead and his thick tangle of dark hair, or a pair of tragic eyebrows that threatened to merge with the numerous crags in his face as he entered middle age. Not to mention his lanky, extremely powerful physique. Take a close look at Ryan in The Set-Up or On Dangerous Ground and you'll get a sense of the relative frailty and delicacy of most male movie stars. In the post-war era, only Burt Lancaster was as physically imposing (Kirk Douglas was always fit but he was self-contained and self-motivated, even »
It's amazing how your perspective on movies changes the more you see and the more you open your mind to different kinds of films. In June 2009 I bought Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Samourai as a blind buy. I loved it, and it remains my favorite Melville film to date. Since then I have seen Le Doulos, Army of Shadows and, of course, Le Cercle Rouge. All are films that change your perspective on filmmaking, and strangely, while Melville was obsessed with American films during his day, his films would turn an audience off today as quickly as they captured audiences attention over 60 years ago.
Case in point, Anton Corbijn's The American, a film improperly sold to audiences as a thriller in the same vein as the Bourne franchise, but instead finds more of a relation to Melville's cold and calculated features. In my review I referenced Le Samourai, »
- Brad Brevet
I started a spreadsheet this year to track all of the movies I watch. This includes just watching a movie out of the blue, at a screening, for DVD/Blu-ray review, etc. I've never done this before, but I've been wondering recently just how many movies I actually watch each year. So far, after 15 days I've watched 20 movies in 2011. In honesty, the number shocked me at first, but the more I thought about it I really don't think a day goes by that I don't watch a movie.
A movie usually serves as my night cap once the day is done and I'm ready to call it quits. I may not finish it that night, but by the end of the next day it's done. So the fact I've already seen five more movies in 2011 than there have been days isn't as surprising as it may seem. After all, it is my job. »
- Brad Brevet
5 items from 2011
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