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Marrakech, Morocco — James Gray had the audience in the palm of his hand during a two-hour masterclass conducted at the 13th Marrakech film festival that ended with the audience demanding an encore. “I just travelled 6000 miles on three different flights to get here,” quipped the American independent helmer. “I don’t mind answering a few more questions.”
While insisting that the word “master” should be reserved to directors such as the late Kurosawa or “Maestro Scorsese,” Gray provided an entertaining insight into his own working methods, filled with anecdotal episodes and responded to wide-ranging questions including the last chestnut: “What’s the future of American cinema?”
“I’m very bad at directing actors,” Gray said to the audience’s amusement. »
- Martin Dale
The director has never been short of opinions – so why has he become evasive when we catch up with him in Brooklyn?
With the interview over, Spike Lee finally opens up. For 40 minutes the film director has sat in a defensive crouch, with his arms folded and his legs crossed, parrying questions as though they were accusations. More evasive than abrasive, he insists that neither new technology, changes in his personal life or the way that he's perceived have any effect on him or his work. A couple of times he responds as though there was another interviewee in the room.
Asked a perfectly reasonable questions such as: "How does an independent filmmaker like yourself measure success?", he'd say: "It depends who you ask."
"Well I'm asking you," I keep pointing out, hoping, in vain, for a credible answer.
Lee is small, slender and stylish. He is dressed all in black – sneakers, »
- Gary Younge
Robert Redford is one of the movie stars of our time, yet I would contend that he’s always been an underrated actor. There are a host of reasons for that, and they feed into each other in subtle, at times mythic ways. You could say, on the one hand, that Redford was too golden-boy pretty (always a surefire way to not get nearly the respect you deserve), or that he was too understated as a screen presence, or that he was too openly skeptical of the Hollywood game. Redford had his first major big-screen role in 1965, in Inside Daisy Clover, »
- Owen Gleiberman
What’s new, what’s hot, and what you may have missed, now available to stream on Netflix, Lovefilm, blinkbox, BBC iPlayer, Curzon on Demand.
cool moustaches to wrap up Movember
The Godfather: epic saga about Marlon Brando and his moustache ruling the criminal underworld [my review] [at Netflix] O Brother, Where Art Thou?: George Clooney and his moustache on a bona fide quest for Dapper Dan hair pomade [my review] [at Netflix] Nacho Libre: Jack Black and his moustache do Mexican wrestling and save an orphanage [my review] [at Netflix] Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl: Johnny Depp and his moustache sail the high seas in search of adventure [my review] [at Netflix] There Will Be Blood: Daniel Day-Lewis and his moustache corner the early oil markets [my review] [at Netflix]
new to stream
- MaryAnn Johanson
Speaking to several hundred DreamWorks employees on Tuesday, President Obama touted the entertainment industry as a “bright spot” in the American economy, but also said showbiz had a responsibility on such issues as gun violence.
“We have got to make sure we are not glorifying it,” he said in his remarks. He cited Vice President Joseph Biden’s meeting in January with representatives from the industry in the wake of the Newtown gun massacre.
“Those conversations need to continue,” he said from the courtyard of the DreamWorks campus in Glendale. “The stories we tell matter. And you tell stories more powerfully than anybody else on the Earth.”
In the crowd listening to the speech, in perfect Southern California weather, were a handful of studio chiefs, including Warner Bros. Kevin Tsujihara and Universal’s Ron Meyer. Each attended a closed-door meeting with the president beforehand. Mellody Hobson, chairwoman of DreamWorks Animation »
- Ted Johnson
<Warning: Slight spoilers ahead>
Scott Cooper is an actor’s director.
That term may be thrown around a lot, but the actor-turned-writer-director-producer truly fits the bill. After an “unremarkable career as an actor” (“I wasn’t going to have Matt’s career, Ben’s or Jude’s or all those one-named actors that we all know”), Cooper decided to follow in the footsteps of his favorite thesps, including his mentor Robert Duvall, who had all happened to have made that transition to the other side of the camera.
His background as an actor helped him draw out “realistic and truthful performances” from Christian Bale, Casey Affleck and Woody Harrelson, he told audiences following Nov. 25’s Variety Screening Series showing of his film “Out of the Furnace.”
“I think actors, when they are directed by actors — because we speak the same language — I think they feel safe, I think they feel like they can take risks, »
- Maane Khatchatourian
Beginning in the 1960s with the shock of the new Hollywood, the waves of cultural sea change in the U.S. were reflected onscreen. The cinematic renderings of our fears and desires at this moment in time took on many shapes. But perhaps the best gift that moviemaking heyday gave us was the paranoid thriller, a genre that took on a life of its own in confronting political conspiracy, social alienation and self-deception. So without further ado, here are six that any self-respecting film fan must see.1. "The Conversation" Dir. Francis Ford Coppola (Netflix) Though everyone says "The Godfather" is Coppola's masterpiece, he was admittedly working for hire to make such smaller-scale art films as "The Conversation" two years later, a quiet study in alienation starring Gene Hackman as San Francisco surveillance expert Harry Caul. Hackman was the go-to man for urban paranoid thrillers in the 1970s -- a real »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Bruce Dern’s phone hasn’t stopped ringing since he returned home to Pasadena from the Cannes Film Festival in May.
The first call, which abruptly woke him, turned out to be his daughter Laura. She’d heard from director Alexander Payne that good news was on its way. “I said, ‘Laura, don’t shit me,’ ” Dern recalls, with his typical histrionic flair. Twenty minutes later, she called back to tell him he was the festival’s best actor winner.
At 77, Dern delivers a career-best performance in Payne’s “Nebraska,” a story about a confused old man on a road trip with his son (played by Will Forte). Dern says it’s the first time in his long career he’s had the chance to fully display his chops, which he fine-tuned at the Actors Studio in New York, working with Elia Kazan.
Film Review: ‘Nebraska’
“I guess I felt »
- Ramin Setoodeh
Review Matthew Giordano 13 Nov 2013 - 07:07
With just three episodes of this season to go, Matthew is becoming impatient for some real Sons Of Anarchy mayhem...
This review contains spoilers.
6.10 Huang Wu
With the reopening of the repair shop, Jax showing restraint but not attacking Tara, Nero being back in business, and Katey Segal's angelic voice guiding us while we check in with the major players, Sons of Anarchy gives the impression that new beginnings are possible as well as the hope that things are finally looking up for everybody now that the truth is exposed. I am sure that most people were expecting a massive confrontation between Jax and Tara and I think it was wise not to jump right into that potential catastrophe. Once again though, remember moments of calm on Sons of Anarchy are pretty much always followed by complete and utter mayhem. How fitting that the »
We like to celebrate the great ‘70’s tough guys at Super-8 Movie Madness at The Way Out Club. We’ve had past shows highlighting the careers of Charles Bronson, Clint Eastwood, Lee Marvin, and Burt Reynolds. On Tuesday, November 5th, we’re offering a double dose of ‘70s Macho Man Madness with Super-8 James Brolin/James Caan Movie Madness!
That’s right, to honor the career of James Brolin (aka: Mr. Barbara Streisand) we’ll be showing, on Super-8 Sound film in condensed format (average length: 15 minutes) Westworld, The Car, Capricorn One, and The Amityville Horror. To hail the filmic career of James Caan (aka: Buddy the Elf’s Dad) we’ll be showing Brian’S Song, Rollerball, and a 2-reel, 40-minute cut of The Godfather.
- Tom Stockman
Peter Pan says, in the legendary book by J.M. Barrie, “To die will be an awfully big adventure.”
I agree; it is the one mystery that we will never solve, while we are alive. Some people believe they know the answer from their religion, other people trust in karma, while many refuse to give it any thought at all.
Raised Catholic, rejected Catholic, and curious about other religions and spiritual beliefs, I’ve read many views on this subject. In life, logic always serves me well, but after-death is matter of pure blind faith.
I love The Godfather movies, but it always annoyed me when, in #3, the Don (Al Pacino) confesses his long list of sins to the Cardinal and receives absolution. In theory, this means that he will go straight to Heaven, but a baby dying before being baptized will get tossed into limbo = not fair and not logical, »
- Yvonne McLeod
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather, Apocalypse Now) and starring Val Kilmer (Top Gun, Batman Forever), Bruce Dern (Coming Home, Django Unchained) and Elle Fanning (We Bought a Zoo, Super 8), Twixt is set for release on DVD here in the UK on October 28th and to celebrate, we have three copies of the film to give away to our readers courtesy of Metrodome; read on for a synopsis and details of how to enter...
A writer, whose career is in decline arrives in a small town as part of his book tour and gets caught up in a murder mystery involving a young girl. That night in a dream, he is approached by a mysterious young ghost named V. He’s unsure of her connection to the murder in the town, but is grateful for the story being handed to him. Ultimately, he is led to the truth of the story, »
- Gary Collinson
In the world of horror cinema, the best way to fight a monster–be it supernatural, human, or natural one–is with a character that possesses special knowledge and skills. These experts, recruited into battle by other characters or colliding with the conflict intentionally, are the savants of the horror world.
Examples of savant characters include David Warner’s bat expert Phillip Payne in Nightwing, Zelda Rubinstein’s spiritual medium Tangina in Poltergeist, Matthew McConaughey’s dragon slayer Denton Van Zan in Reign of Fire, Lin Shaye’s paranormal investigator Elise Rainier in Insidious, and Otto Jespersen’s monster killer Hans in Trollhunter.
This article, divided into three sections based on what type of monstrous force is being fought, focuses on the greatest savant characters the horror genre has to offer.
Vs. The Supernatural
- Terek Puckett
A whole mess of factors goes into what projects a director takes on. A young up-and-comer might be happy just to get his first directing credit, regardless of what it might actually be about. A director who's been around the block might pick up a project way outside of their wheelhouse just for the experience. And the promise of a couple bucks doesn't hurt, either.
In other words, sometimes you just can't pin a filmmaker down. Here are some rather odd and unexpected director-movie pairings.
Between "12 Angry Men," "Network," "Dog Day Afternoon" and "Serpico," it's fair to call the late Sidney Lumet an all-time great. But considering most of Lumet's career was dedicated to crime and drama, "The Wiz," a musical "The Wizard of Oz" adaptation set in Harlem (and, later, Oz), is a definite oddball in his canon. Starring such powerhouses of African-American culture as Michael Jackson, »
- Adam D'Arpino
Odd List Greg Foster 18 Oct 2013 - 06:16
We look at 20 former A-list actors, and the interesting film choices they've made...
There comes a time in every A-list actor's life when they gather their thoughts and take a step back into smaller budget or more leftfield fare - and for a variety of reasons. They may want to work with a certain director or an emerging directing talent. They might be taken by a fantastic script. They might fancy a new artistic direction. They may even have a spiritual epiphany and decide to eschew Hollywood and all its decadent trappings, or they may simply just not have a choice, since the big roles have long since dried up for them.
The reason for this list then, is to look at some of those shining lights, the household names, and at the films they took up as proof of their artistic integrity. »
Jackson Ball looks at five essential scenes where Al Pacino turns up the volume...
Subtlety: it’s an asset you will find in many of history’s finest actors. Sometimes a performance requires a little bit of restraint, and knowing when to dial it back a notch is what can separate the cream of the Hollywood crop. On the other hand, some of the most memorable scenes from the best performances feature a real lack of subtlety, opting instead for all-out explosiveness.
There can be few doubts that the king of cranking up the volume is Mr. Al Pacino. For decades now, ‘Shouty Al’ has been raising the decibels to create some of his most famous scenes. Here’s some our favourites.…
Michael Corleone begins to crumble before our »
- Gary Collinson
This morning, the Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded to François Englert and Peter W. Higgs for their discovery of the Higgs boson, aka the elusive "God Particle." In timely fashion, the stateside theatrical distribution of documentary "Particle Fever" has been announced, kicking off a week run at Film Forum on March 5, 2014. The doc follows the inside story of the six scientists who made the discovery of the Higgs boson at the Large Hardron Collider, one of the most significant scientific breakthroughs in history. "Particle Fever" is helmed by Mark Levinson ("Prisoner of Time") and edited by Oscar winner Walter Murch ("Apocalypse Now," "The Godfather" trilogy). This marks Murch’s first foray into documentary features.The film, which had its North American premiere at this year’s Telluride Film Festival, sold out its Nyff screenings and won the Sheffield Doc/Fest Audience Award. Abramorama and Bond Strategy and Influence will handle the distribution and marketing. »
- Beth Hanna
A documentary following six scientists who discovered the Higgs boson (aka “the God particle”) will be distributed and marketed by Abramorama and Bond Strategy and Influence, the companies announced today, the same morning when two of the scientists involved were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics.
The doc, titled “Particle Fever,” will open in New York at Film Forum on March 5, 2014, later expanding to additional cities across the country.
“’Particle Fever’ explores the stories of the people behind the experiment,” said director Mark Levinson. “We look forward to bringing the film to audiences beyond the scientific community, to anybody who might have an interest in learning about this momentous event.”
Producer David Kaplan added, “We’re very excited to be working with Abramorama and Bond in »
- Daniel Goldblatt
Francis Ford Coppola‘s Rumble Fish is turning 30 years old this Monday. While its theatrical release was October 21, 1983, the film made its debut at the New York Film Festival earlier in the month, on the 7th. Since then, it has taken on more of a cult status rather than joining the classic ranks of The Godfather and Apocalypse Now. That’s a pity, because it’s arguably as good as Coppola’s most well-respected hits. The teen angst picture stars Matt Dillon as a kid trying to live up to the reputation of his brother, “The Motorcycle Boy” (Mickey Rourke). And it has always been a favorite of mine. In fact, the sole poster framed in my apartment is a one-sheet from the film. It’s just that great. At the time, it was Coppola’s most experimental movie. It’s a bizarre trip into this hellish place where everything is soaked in dread and smoke. The »
- Jack Giroux
James Gray's reception in North America is a little bewildering, regardless of which side you stand on. To some, including this author, Gray's qualities as a filmmaker are obvious. Decidedly at odds with the trends of contemporary cinema since he made his debut with Little Odessa in 1994 (something discussed in the following interview), Gray's so-called "classical" style is invested in things seemingly forgotten in American movies. He stands outside of the present, yet it is far too simple to say he comes out of the past. Aside from Clint Eastwood, is there another director working in Hollywood making subtle, emotional, expertly-crafted dramas while also maintaining a delicately mannered mise en scène? Because of this, Gray seems out of place. Maybe that explains the lack of Cannes awards on his shelf (despite four trips to the festival's competition), the dissenting reviews (which don't even appear to be written on the »
- Adam Cook
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