6 items from 2015
'The Beginning or the End' 1947 with Robert Walker and Tom Drake. Hiroshima bombing 70th anniversary: Six movies dealing with the A-bomb terror Seventy years ago, on Aug. 6, 1945, the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb over the city of Hiroshima. Ultimately, anywhere between 70,000 and 140,000 people died – in addition to dogs, cats, horses, chickens, and most other living beings in that part of the world. Three days later, America dropped a second atomic bomb, this time over Nagasaki. Human deaths in this other city totaled anywhere between 40,000-80,000. For obvious reasons, the evisceration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has been a quasi-taboo in American films. After all, in the last 75 years Hollywood's World War II movies, from John Farrow's Wake Island (1942) and Mervyn LeRoy's Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944) to Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan (1998) and Michael Bay's Pearl Harbor (2001), almost invariably have presented a clear-cut vision »
- Andre Soares
An expert cast and dynamic direction lend momentum to this pointed Whitehall drama about the fallout of a missile strike
The latest collaboration between writer Jack Thorne and director Tom Harper (The Scouting Book for Boys) very smartly updates Fail Safe from 1964. A group of Whitehall mandarins gather under no-nonsense Sophie Okonedo to role play the national security consequences of a Pakistani nuclear strike on India; inevitably, what begins as a jolly lunchtime skive soon turns deadly serious.
Theatricality looms, but the variation of voices and viewpoints among the expert cast generates a rat-a-tat momentum: Thorne crafts rhetorical flourishes for veteran Antony Sher, agonised lefty Shaun Evans and a shellshocked Kerry Fox. Harper’s framing is always dynamic, and often pointed: each glimpse of life passing blithely by this room’s only window provides a sobering reminder of the extent to which we’re at the mercy of those who would govern us. »
- Mike McCahill
Stanley Kubrick was a sucker for order, so he might have appreciated the desire to catalogue his career. However, since his films often warn against placing too much faith in systems, perhaps he knew that this way madness lies.
Frankly, most of his films have fair claim to being number one, so establishing first amongst equals means some hard choices have been made along the way - just try not to trigger the doomsday device or start swinging the axe if you don't agree.
So without further ado, let's open the pod bay doors and enter the enigmatic, exceptional work of Stanley Kubrick.
13. Fear and Desire (1953)
Even a genius has to start somewhere. Already a successful magazine photographer and documentary maker, 24-year-old Kubrick directed his debut about a military mission on limited funds - it was shot silently with sound added later.
Plagued by difficulties, Kubrick later called it "a completely inept oddity, »
In Nancy Buirski's By Sidney Lumet, the director "shares great insights on Dog Day Afternoon and Network and on how his army experiences influenced Fail Safe and The Hill," notes Ben Kenigsberg at RogerEbert.com. "Lumet notes that he took knocks from auteurists for working in a wide variety of subjects and genres, yet he sees a common question at the core of all his films: 'Is it fair?'" For the Hollywood Reporter's David Rooney, the documentary "sheds light on the profoundly moral and inherently democratic sensibility that shaped his output, in which questions of justice and fairness provide a thematic bedrock, albeit one that Lumet claims was formed more by accident than design." We're collecting more reviews. » - David Hudson »
His films don't necessarily have the hip reputations of some of his contemporaries, he wasn't as precious about the work as some other auteurs, and he never won a Best Director Oscar (though he received an honorary one in 2005). But there can be no question that Sidney Lumet was one of American cinema's finest filmmakers, as anyone who has read his seminal book "Making Movies," or just seen one of his many great films, can attest. Over a 50-year career, and almost as many movies (here's our retrospective of his work), Lumet undeniably made some duff films ("The Wiz," "A Price Above Rubies" and "Gloria"), but for every questionable picture, there were two solid classics. Read More: Watch: Sidney Lumet's 1955 Rejected TV Pilot 'The Challenge' Starting with his 1957 debut "12 Angry Men," and ending with the brutal, powerful "Before The Devil Knows You're Dead," with works like "Fail-Safe, »
- Oliver Lyttelton
April 9th will mark the four year anniversary of director Sidney Lumet's passing, at age 86. Lumet was the first director I interviewed whose one-sheet posters hung on my wall as a kid. He was an idol, an icon, and an inspiration. I wasn't yet 30 in April 1997, when I met him at The Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills for our interview at the press junket for "Night Falls On Manhattan," one of his solid, authentic urban dramas that blended crime, politics and personal revelations that became his signature.
Lumet immediately put any butterflies I had at ease. Diminutive, but with the infectious energy of a teenager, his was a disarming presence. He paid me a compliment on my sportcoat, saying that I looked a bit like the young Mickey Rourke (which I still don't see, but what the hell), then went on to regale me for an hour with »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
6 items from 2015
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