12 items from 2015
BBC Culture has this week unveiled a new list of the top 100 American films, as voted for by a pool of international film critics from across the globe. The format of the poll was that any film that would make the list had to have recieved funding from a Us source, and the directors of the films did not need to be from the USA, nor did the films voted for need to be filmed in the Us.
Critics were asked to submit their top 10 lists, which would try to find the top 100 American films that while “not necessarily the most important, but the greatest on an emotional level”. The list, as you may have guessed, is very different to the lists curated by say the BFI or AFI over the years, so there are certainly a few surprises on here, with Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave (2013), Terrence Malick »
- Scott J. Davis
First off, let's make one thing clear. We're not scratching our heads at Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing" making the BBC's 100 greatest American films. That movie, of which an image accompanies this post, not only made the list, but ranked appropriately at no. 25. It's the rest of the selections that have us scratching and, yes, shaking our heads in disbelief. A wonderful page view driver, these sorts of lists make great fodder for passionate movie fans no matter what their age or part of the world they hail from. There is nothing more entertaining than watching two critics from opposite ends of the globe try to debate whether "The Dark Knight" should have been nominated for best picture or make a list like this. Even in this age of short form content where Vines, Shapchats and Instagram videos have captured viewers attention, movies will continue to inspire because »
- Gregory Ellwood
Leave it to the Brits to compile a list of the best American films of all-time. BBC Culture has published a list of what it calls "The 100 Greatest American Films", as selected by 62 international film critics in order to "get a global perspective on American film." As BBC Culture notes, the critics polled represent a combination of broadcasters, book authors and reviewers at various newspapers and magazines across the world. As for what makes an American filmc "Any movie that received funding from a U.S. source," BBC Culture's publication states, which is to say the terminology was quite loose, but the list contains a majority of the staples you'd expect to see. Citizen Kane -- what elsec -- comes in at #1, and in typical fashion The Godfather follows at #2. Vertigo, which in 2012 topped Sight & Sound's list of the greatest films of all-time, comes in at #3 on BBC Culture's list. »
- Jordan Benesh
Every now and then a major publication or news organisation comes up with a top fifty or one hundred films of all time list - a list which always stirs up debate, discussion and often interesting arguments about the justifications of the list's inclusions, ordering and notable exclusions.
Today it's the turn of BBC Culture who consulted sixty-two international film critics including print reviews, bloggers, broadcasters and film academics to come up with what they consider the one-hundred greatest American films of all time. To qualify, the film had to be made by a U.S. studio or mostly funded by American money.
Usually when a list of this type is done it is by institutes or publications within the United States asking American critics their favourites. This time it's non-American critics born outside the culture what they think are the best representations of that culture. Specifically they were asked »
- Garth Franklin
At Reverse Shot, Fernando F. Croce previews "The Essential John Ford," a series at New York's Museum of the Moving Image that's "an invaluable overview of the artist’s often paradoxical moods, ranging from the spacious buoyancy of Young Mr. Lincoln/tag> to the claustrophobic bleakness of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance/tag>. The canon classics are there (including Stagecoach/tag>, The Grapes of Wrath/tag>, and The Searchers/tag>), and so are lesser-known titles (the thorny maternal journey of Pilgrimage/tag>, the travelogue surrealism of Mogambo/tag>, the rowdy theatrics of Upstream/tag>) ready to be rediscovered." Writing for Artforum, Nick Pinkerton argues that "Ford is one of the mightiest figures in international cinema, and one of the greatest American artists in any medium, full stop." » - David Hudson »
Songs On Screen: All week HitFix will be featuring tributes by writers to their favorite musical moments from TV and film. Check out all the entries in the series here. When we talk about underrated directors, it's hard not to mention Walter Hill. Hill is an underrated director, the way Michael Ritchie and Peter Yates were underrated directors, the way Roger Donaldson, Joe Dante, and Fred Schepisi are underrated directors. They’re all underrated because it’s only when you look at their filmographies that the numbers start to total up and you realize, boy, he directed a lot of really good movies. In Hill’s case, that list includes "The Warriors," "48 Hours," "The Long Riders," "Southern Comfort,: "Hard Times," "Trespass," and "Wild Bill." Some great. Some solid. (My personal favorite of those is Hard Times, a pulpy film about bare-knuckle boxers in the Great Depression.) There were clunkers »
- Michael Oates Palmer
Hondo (1953), which is set to play June 13 - July 4 at the Museum of Modern Art as part of their "3-D Summer" series, was John Wayne's first Western in three years. It was produced by his own Wayne/Fellows Productions (later named Batjac), founded just the year prior by Wayne and producer Robert Fellows. And James Edward Grant, who had already written several Wayne features and had a particular flair for writing classic John Wayne dialogue, penned the screenplay. All told, one gets the sense that everything about this exemplary return to the genre was a carefully conscious decision by the iconic American star. Hondo is a definitive Western. Moreover, it's a definitive John Wayne Western.When Wayne made Hondo, his masculine persona was already firmly established. After viewing the film at one point, Wayne supposedly declared, "I'll be damned if I'm not the stuff men are made of." Such a comment, »
- Jeremy Carr
It's fitting that Clint Eastwood and John Wayne both have the same birthday week. (Wayne, who died in 1979, was born May 26, 1907, while Eastwood turns 85 on May 31). After all, these two all-American actors' careers span the history of that most American of movie genres, the western.
Both iconic actors were top box office draws for decades, both seldom stretched from their familiar personas, and both played macho, conservative cowboy heroes who let their firearms do most of the talking. Each represented one of two very different strains of western, the traditional and the revisionist.
As a birthday present to Hollywood's biggest heroes of the Wild West, here are the top 57 westerns you need to see.
57. 'Meek's Cutoff' (2010)
Indie filmmaker Kelly Reichardt and her frequent leading lady, Michelle Williams, are the talents behind this sparse, docudrama about an 1845 wagon train whose Oregon Trail journey goes horribly awry. It's an intense »
- Gary Susman
John Ford's The Searchers is a film that has had many interpretations placed upon it since it was released in 1956. Some would say it's a plea for tolerance. Others would point out that some scenes contain a less forgiving message. The key element of Glenn Frankel’s book takes a different stance. It starts with surprising fact – that The Searchers is, in fact, based on a true story, taking its inspiration from events that played a huge part in the way settlers viewed Native Americans in the nineteenth century, and beyond.
The Making Of An American Legend charts the way that truth can become legend, and legend can become film. Of course, John Ford loved these sorts of distinctions; 'When the legend becomes fact, print the legend' »
I don’t know when the term revisionist Western came into widespread use, but it’s time we retired it. Even when it meant something, it was a bit of an overstatement; most of the great Westerns bucked convention in one way or another. But starting around the 1960s, it seemed like every entry in the genre pointedly tried to rewrite our collective dream of the West. The unmaking-of-a-myth in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, or the heightened violence in The Wild Bunch, or the anti-romance in McCabe & Mrs. Miller, or the ugliness of justice in Unforgiven — they all told us, “It’s not like you thought it was. It’s not what the movies have told you.”But the movies haven’t been telling us much for some time. And now we’ve finally gone through the looking glass with The Salvation, which is about as conventional and »
- Bilge Ebiri
Editor's Note: RogerEbert.com is proud to reprint Roger Ebert's 1978 entry from the Encyclopedia Britannica publication "The Great Ideas Today," part of "The Great Books of the Western World." Reprinted with permission from The Great Ideas Today ©1978 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
It's a measure of how completely the Internet has transformed communication that I need to explain, for the benefit of some younger readers, what encyclopedias were: bound editions summing up all available knowledge, delivered to one's home in handsome bound editions. The "Great Books" series zeroed in on books about history, poetry, natural science, math and other fields of study; the "Great Ideas" series was meant to tie all the ideas together, and that was the mission given to Roger when he undertook this piece about film.
Given the venue he was writing for, it's probably wisest to look at Roger's long, wide-ranging piece as a snapshot of the »
- Roger Ebert
By Anjelica Oswald
With Michael Keaton winning the Golden Globe for best actor in a musical or comedy and Eddie Redmayne winning for best actor in a drama, both men continue establishing themselves as the frontrunners in this year’s lead actor race at the Oscars.
Though not new to films, Redmayne starred in Oscar-nominated films such as Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2008) and Les Miserables (2012). His performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, however, propelled him to widespread acclaim and put him on the radar. He is one of four best actor nominees — along with Keaton, Benedict Cumberbatch and Steve Carell — to receive their first nomination this year.
For most of his career, Keaton was known for his comedic roles, such as Mr. Mom (1983) and Beetlejuice (1988), and for his turn as Batman in Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992). These roles earned Keaton praise and »
- Anjelica Oswald
12 items from 2015
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