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In David Cronenberg’s world, sex hurts so good; it’s innately disgusting and primeval but at the same time beautiful and becoming. (Kind of like sex in the real world, when you think about it.) Bodies degenerate and mental states corrode under the influence of lust, and yet something new is engendered by the collision of bodies, bodily fluids, the ripping of flesh and the mangling of organs. Through the carrion of ugly comes the attractive flesh, the new flesh. Videodrome, as Jonathan Lethem once quipped, remains Cronenberg’s most penetrative film; he creates a world at once rooted in modernity circa 1983–a world afraid of the advent of television usurping our humanity, over-stimulated times ushering in the end times–and existing in a timeless, placeless vacuum. It’s vast and claustrophobic, prescient and paranoid, of the same lineage as early James Cameron »
- Greg Cwik
L.M. Kit Carson, the Texan film legend best known for David Holzman's Diary, has passed away at the age of 73. For Filmmaker Magazine, Vadim Rizov gathers some valuable insight from Fabrice Aragno, the cinematographer of Jean-Luc Godard's Adieu au langage. Eric Hynes provides an excellent and authentic New Yorker take on Gangs of New York for Reverse Shot's Martin Scorsese Symposium. Above: we're disappointed to hear that Paul Schrader's latest film has been essentially taken out of his hands—in response the filmmaker has disowned the picture. For Film Comment, Violet Lucca interviews Ruben Östlund about his acclaimed film, Force majeure:
"Lucca: Like your previous work, Force Majeure is intended to foster a philosophical debate about what human behavior means or implies. Do you envision that being more of an internal process, or do you want people to talk it out?
ÖStlund: Yeah, in a group. »
While it went home empty handed after competing in Cannes, and was released in dozens of territories before Sundance Selects dropped the title onto the market this past April, Venus In Fur did manage to rack up seven Cesar award nominates back home and netted Roman Polanski the Best Director prize. Dark, playful, and featuring a dizzying performance from Emmanuelle Seigner, the title is destined to be one of the year’s most overlooked gems.
The once quite reticent Polanski quickly returned with yet another adaptation of a popular Broadway play. Working from the same stage title, this followed his 2011 star studded Carnage. Say what you will, but Polanski, who often tends to favor claustrophobic chamber pieces, excels with chatty subversiveness, and detractors of the sometimes forced Carnage should revel in this latest effort, a dark labyrinth of comedic mind games that does with words what something like Lady from Shanghai does with mirrors. »
- Nicholas Bell
It felt like I watched a lot this week, primarily because I spent a lot of time exploring not only the movies, but special features on three Criterion Blu-rays. I already posted my reviews for Roman Polanski's Macbeth (read my review here) and Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita (read my review here) and just last night I watched Shohei Imamura's Vengeance is Mine as well as the 1999 interview with Imamura. As I'm sure you all know, exploring the features on a Criterion release can take some time, almost always more time than watching the movie itself. I'll have my review of Vengeance is Mine this coming week. The only other movie I watched this last week, and another movie I'll have a review of this coming week, is Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Birdman, which did gangbusters this weekend in limited release and I'm really interested in reading some of »
- Brad Brevet
Macbeth was the first film Roman Polanski made following the murder of his wife, Sharon Tate, and friends at the hands of the Manson family. At the time he'd been working on the sci-fi thriller The Day of the Dolphin, which would later be made by Mike Nichols. It was during a skiing trip arranged by Victor Lownes, a subsequent producer of the film, Polanski made the decision Macbeth would be his next film. It was a decision he made feeling his next film "should be something serious, not a comedy... something with some depth." Polanski would team with Kenneth Tynan to write the screenplay and, thanks to urging from Lownes, Hugh Hefner and Playboy would eventually serve as the film's producer after no one else would touch it. As Polanski notes in an included 60-minute documentary on this new Criterion Blu-ray release, to that point there had only been »
- Brad Brevet
In theaters this week I caught Dracula Untold (my review here) and Fury (review coming tomorrow) while at home I ended up watching about 45 minutes or so of Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, All Quiet on the Western Front and about 30 minutes of Criterion's new Blu-ray release of Roman Polanski's Macbeth as I'm hoping to catch up on my Criterion reviews this week. I also have Criterion's Vengeance is Mine and the upcoming La Dolce Vita to take in and for those of you that were around for my first Best Movies entry, you already know how much I love "the sweet life". So let's hear from you, what did you watch this weekendc »
- Brad Brevet
Few directors have touched the level of quality achieved by Roman Polanski in the last half-century of cinema, In spite of his, shall we say, tainted reputation. The man whose life was marred by a childhood spent in Nazi-occupied Poland, the murder of his wife Sharon Tate and his notorious rape case and subsequent exile has also given us some of the most memorable films of all time, including “Knife in the Water,” “Rosemary’s Baby,” and “Chinatown" among others. One of Polanski’s most overlooked and visually ravishing pictures is his adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy “Macbeth.” The film —an uncharacteristically violent and grim period piece— was released in the aftermath of his wife’s gruesome murder and has since been lovingly restored by the great folks at Criterion, who have also commissioned stellar releases of many of Polanski’s cruel, darkly amusing early films (“Cul de Sac,” “Repulsion »
- Nicholas Laskin
Polanski wrought "Macbeth" out of deep despair and psychological depression two years after Sharon Tate was murdered. And this very dark and downbeat version of the Shakespeare tragedy shows us what he was going through. A new Blu-ray of the 1971 film is out now from Criterion, which has excerpted a piece of the making-of doc "Toil and Trouble" in the video below. Watch as Polanski talks the freedom he found in mounting Shakespeare -- and how he casted against type to heighten the film's menacing mood. Actors also talk the late Jon Finch, who plays the title king. Next year we'll see Justin Kurzel's take on the film, with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard in the leading roles. »
- Ryan Lattanzio
“19 January 1990 was a very cold day despite the sun’s weak attempts to emerge from behind dark clouds…’Naara-e-taqbeer, Allah ho Akbar!’ I looked at my father; his face was contorted. He knew only too well what the slogan meant. I had heard it as well, in a stirring drama telecast a few years ago on Doordarshan, an adaptation of Bhisham Sahni’s Tamas, a novel based on the events of the 1947 Partition of India and Pakistan. It was the cry that a mob of Muslim rioters shouted as it descended upon Hindu settlements. It was a war cry…The crowd wanted to turn Kashmir into Pakistan, without the Pandit men, but with their women…Ma rushed to the kitchen and returned with a long knife. It was her father’s. ‘If they come, I will kill her,’ she looked at my sister. ‘And then I will kill myself. And »
- Amitava Nag
Directed by Roman Polanski
Following the success of Rosemary’s Baby in 1968, and prior to what is arguably still his greatest film, Chinatown (1974), Roman Polanski made three curious filmmaking choices. One was the international coproduction and rarely discussed What? (1972), one was the racing documentary Weekend of a Champion (1972), and the third, which actually came before these two, was Macbeth (1971). It is obviously not that a Shakespearean adaptation in itself is unusual, but rather that it so seemingly diverted from the films that were garnering the young Polanski his worldwide acclaim: taut thrillers like The Knife in the Water (1962), Repulsion (1965), Cul-De-Sac (1966), and Rosemary’s Baby. Yet in Macbeth, there are a number of characteristic Polanski touches — in story and style — harkening back to these previous works and in many ways pointing toward those to come.
Don’t be fooled by the Playboy »
- Jeremy Carr
David Cronenberg "isn't moonlighting; he's a real novelist," write Chuck Bowen, reviewing Consumed at the House Next Door. Also in today's roundup of news and views: Blaise Cendrars's foray into cinema, Ashley Clark on Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver, Grady Hendrix on the most obscure works in Takashi Miike's oeuvre, Godfrey Cheshire's "Movie Love Questionnaire," Michael Sicinski on Terry Gilliam, Terrence Rafferty on Roman Polanski's Macbeth, DC's on Patrice Énard and a theory as to what's made this current moment a "Second Golden Age of Television." » - David Hudson »
Neighbors As I wrote in my review of Neighbors, it's a film that "has the odd distinction of being a film that's both very funny and yet, at 96 minutes long, overstays its welcome". I laughed quite a bit watching this movie, but at the same time just couldn't help but feel like it was way too long and for a film that's just over an hour and a half, that's not a good sign.
The Rover The Rover is a film I consider one of the best of the year and said as much in my review. It's a film you need to just let unfold, don't get impatient and you will be rewarded in the end.
Macbeth (Criterion Collection) I have a copy of Criterion's new edition of Roman Polanski's Macbeth, but my schedule has been brutal lately and I haven't yet had a chance to watch his adaptation of the Shakespeare play. »
- Brad Brevet
At a loss for what to watch this week? From new DVDs and Blu-rays, to what's streaming on Netflix, we've got you covered.
New on DVD and Blu-ray
Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen star as a married couple living in a nice suburban neighborhood with their new baby. When a fraternity moves in next door, the Radners struggle with feeling terrible uncool and also having their lives wrecked by a bunch of hard-partying bros. Zac Efron co-stars as Teddy, the head of the frat, with Dave Franco as his right-hand man.
"Halloween: The Complete Collection"
Do you need this 15-disc Blu-ray box set comprised of all of the "Halloween" movies, including the producer's cut of "Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers," Rob Zombie's 2007 and 2009 versions, audio commentary, and lots more? "Need" is such a childish word. You won't literally die if you didn't manage to order »
- Jenni Miller
Launched in 2012, Venice Classics will be presenting 21 new restorations at during the 71st edition of the festival running from August 27 through September 6. Among the highlights: Robert Bresson's Mouchette (1967), Krzysztof Kieslowski's No End (1984), Roman Polanski's Macbeth (1971), François Truffaut's Stolen Kisses (1968), Anthony Mann's The Man from Laramie (1955), Joseph L. Mankiewicz's Guys and Dolls (1955), Marco Bellocchio's China Is Near (1967), Maurice Pialat's Love Exists (1961) and Jack Clayton's The Innocents (1961). » - David Hudson »
The Venice Film Festival has unveiled the 21 restored films – 18 features and 3 shorts - that will screen in its Classics section of restored films.
The section, introduced in 2012, features a selection of classic film restorations completed over the past year by film libraries, cultural institutions or production companies around the world.
Director Giuliano Montaldo will chair the jury of film students which will award the Venice Classics Award for Best Restored Film and for Best Documentary on Cinema.
The 2014 Venice Classics line up:
Bez końca (No End), dir Krzysztof Kieślowski (Poland, 1984, 108’, Colour) restored by: Studio Filmowe Tor with the support of the National Audiovisual Institute (the Multiannual Government Programme Culture +) and the Polish Film Institute
- email@example.com (Sarah Cooper)
London — The Venice Film Festival has unveiled its Venice Classics line-up, which includes Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s “Guys and Dolls” (1955) and Francois Truffaut’s “Baisers voles” (Stolen Kisses, 1968).
The section is devoted to classic films that have been restored over the past year by film archives, cultural institutions or production companies, and documentaries about cinema and its auteurs. The pics compete for awards for best restored film, and best documentary on cinema.
The festival, which runs Aug. 27-Sept. 6, will present 21 restored films in the Venice Classics section, including 18 feature-length films and three short films.
The line-up includes a screening of Marco Bellocchio’s “La Cina e vicina” (China Is Near), winner of the Special Jury Prize at the 1967 Venice Film Festival. Restored by Sony Pictures Entertainment in collaboration with the Cineteca di Bologna, the film is drawn from the collection of Historic Archives of the Contemporary Arts (Asac).
Other films »
- Leo Barraclough
House of Cards will air on UKTV's Drama from Saturday (July 12) - but the star of this four-part serial is not Kevin Spacey's ruthless Us official Frank Underwood, but rather Tory chief whip Francis Urquhart, played with charming malevolence by Ian Richardson.
Adapted by Andrew Davies - writer of Mr Selfridge, Pride and Prejudice and many more - from Michael Dobbs's original novel, the UK iteration of House of Cards was a smash hit on both sides of the Atlantic. Scoring BAFTA and Emmy wins in the early '90s, it went on to inspire the acclaimed Netflix series.
"I feel flattered that Netflix chose to reconstruct it," says Davies. "And I'm delighted that ours has been rediscovered, and that it's going to be shown again on Drama."
Francis vs. Frank
But how does the original House of Cards compare to its modern counterpart? Though in many ways a »
Mighty Aphrodite: Polanski Returns With Spirited Adaptation
The once quite reticent Roman Polanski quickly returns with yet another adaptation of a popular Broadway play, Venus In Fur, which follows his 2011 star studded Carnage. Say what you will, but Polanski, who often tends to favor claustrophobic chamber pieces, excels with chatty subversiveness, and detractors of the sometimes forced Carnage should revel in this latest effort, a dark labyrinth of comedic mind games that does with words what something like Lady from Shanghai does with mirrors.
A dreary, desolate evening sees a desperate theater director, Thomas (Mathieu Amalric) pacing the stage as he bitches angrily on the phone about the miserable auditions he witnessed all day long for the lead in his new play, Venus In Furs, an adaptation of an infamous novel credited with birthing the term masochism. Clearly, the play is a labor of love for the man, and »
- Nicholas Bell
Tomorrow, more than a year after its Cannes Competition premiere, Roman Polanski's "Venus in Fur" finally opens in Us theaters. It's the 20th narrative feature of a career that now spans six decades, so a list themed around the Oscar-winning director's work seemed in order. Given that "Venus in Fur" -- Polanski's third film, after "Death and the Maiden" and "Carnage," to replicate the scale and pace of an intimate stage production -- is based so explicitly around notions of performance, and the push-pull relationship between actor and director, a selection of his most successful actorly collaborations seemed the obvious way to go. Like so many auteurs celebrated for their own idiosyncratic style, Polanski's facility with actors isn't discussed as frequently as his formal abilities and preoccupations, yet he's always had the knack for drawing surprising work out of established stars and newcomers alike -- often casting actors intriguingly out of their element, »
- Guy Lodge
Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Sept. 23, 2014
Price: DVD $29.95, Blu-ray $39.95
In Macbeth, Roman Polanski (Rosemary’s Baby) imbues his unflinchingly violent adaptation of William Shakespeare’s tragedy of ruthless ambition and murder in medieval Scotland with grit and dramatic intensity.
Co-adapted by Polanski and the great theater critic and dramaturge Kenneth Tynan, and shot against a series of stunning, stark British Isle landscapes, this version of Macbeth is among the most atmospheric and authentic of all Shakespeare films.
Criterion’s DVD and Blu-ray editions of Macbeth contain the following features:
• New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed stereo soundtrack on the Blu-ray
• New documentary about the making of the film, featuring interviews with director Roman Polanski, »
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