10 items from 2017
Remember “Cop Out,” 2010’s less-than-momentous clash of the action-comic stylings of Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan? If the answer is “no,” you’d be entirely forgiven, yet Willis himself appears to regard it with some measure of fondness. That’s the most plausible explanation for his headlining presence in “Once Upon a Time in Venice,” a similarly negligible but rather more chaotic caper from Mark and Robb Cullen, the fraternal duo behind the “Cop Out” screenplay. Assuming directing as well as writing duties this time, the Cullens prove no heirs to the Coens as conductors of oddball underworld mayhem, with much of their glib quippery soured by gauche minority stereotyping. What scant charms this direct-to-video-style Nineties throwback has belong mostly to Willis, as a grizzled Venice Beach gumshoe juggling a number of shaggy-dog cases, chief among them the abduction of his own literal mutt. The back alleys of ancillary and streaming await. »
- Guy Lodge
Film critic Charles Taylor’s first collection of essays, “Opening Wednesday at a Theater or Drive-in Near You: The Shadow Cinema of the American ’70s,” explores the rich history of ’70s-era American filmmaking through a unique lens, opting to highlight some of the period’s underseen and often underappreciated gems. As one of the most fruitful times in American filmmaking, Taylor understands why certain features — including offerings from such respected filmmakers as Jonathan Demme, Walter Hill, and Irvin Kershner — didn’t quite make it big at a crowded box office, but he’s also eager to give them their due.
Told with an eye towards the current state of cinema — a blockbuster-driven machine that Taylor calls “nonsensical” and contributing to “the destruction of the idea of content” — the book is a loving look at some forgotten gems and the power of moviemaking that can often be ignored. In our excerpt from the book, »
- Indiewire Staff
Joaquin Phoenix stumbles through every scene in Lynne Ramsay’s “You Were Never Really Here” as if he overslept, dashed out of bed, and accidentally rushed into the abandoned set of a film noir, then forgot what he was supposed to do. The results are thrilling and frustrating, often within the constraints of a single scene. It’s an enticing challenge for the writer-director to develop a stylish mood piece out this flimsy material, adapted from a Jonathan Ames novella as a series of textured moments. The movie is an elegant homage to a mold of scrappy detective stories that often collapses into a concise pileup of stylish possibilities.
That’s nothing new for the British director, whose 2002 feature “Morvern Callar” showed a penchant for grim genre exercises that treasured mood over plot and mysteries over solutions; her 2011 thriller “We Need to Talk About Kevin” suggested the prospects for expanding »
- Eric Kohn
Chicago – An original voice, in an original conceptual movie, is a rare category of cinema art. Director and lead actor Pat Healy, working from a script from Mike Makowsky, has fashioned “Take Me,” a thriller about kidnapping and having the tables turned.
Healy is Ray, a kind of loser who stumbles upon a new business… providing kidnapping scenarios for willing clients. Business is bad – there is an hilarious opening with Ray trying to get a loan from a local bank – until a new client emerges (Taylor Schilling of ‘Orange is the New Black’), who wants more from the service than the faux kidnapper had ever provided. The film, rich with tones of darkness and redemption, is exquisitely fashioned by Pat Healy, in his first feature length film as a director.
Photo credit: The Orchard
Pat Healy has been a journeyman actor, »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s films have grossed $1.9 billion in North America. Among his classics are James Cameron’s 1984’s “The Terminator”; 1991’s “The Terminator 2: Judgment Day”; and 1994’s “True Lies,” as well as such hits as 1987’s “Predator” and 2012’s “The Expendables 2.”
His movie catch phrases such as “I’ll be back”; “Hasta la Vista, Baby”; and “Get to the chopper” have become part of the pop culture lexicon.
But would he have been as big a star — let alone as governor — without his breakout role in John Milius’ “Conan the Barbarian”? The violent, erotic R-rated sword-and-fantasy adventure based on the stories of 1930’s pulp fiction writer Robert E. Howard opened in 1,400 theaters on May 14, 1982. Though reviews were decidedly mixed — Variety »
- Susan King
Author: Dave Roper
With Actors, Directors, Actresses and Screenwriters under our collective belt and Cinematographers still to come, we presently turn our eye towards Composers, whose music lends so much to the films they work on.
As with the other lists, credit is given for not merely one or two sterling scores, but rather a consistently excellent body of work with specific stand-out films. To be blunt, this is a trickier prospect than it at first appears. Just because a film is terrific or well-loved doesn’t necessarily mean that the score is itself a standout. We begin with perhaps the most obvious and celebrated film composer of them all…..
Goodness me. The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno, Earthquake, Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Long Goodbye, Catch Me If You Can, Star Wars, Close Encounters, Star Wars, Superman, Et, Born on the Fourth of July, »
- Dave Roper
Celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, Edinburgh International Film Festival is looking to the future by highlighting the classics of the past with three retrospective strands entitled "Great Britain," "Scotland" and "The Western World of The Future". Great Britain Billed as "a timely reflection of British culture past" the Great Britain strand explores the works of ex-Beatle George Harrison's HandMade Films and feature such cult classics as Time Bandits, Withnail & I and The Long Goodbye Friday. Also celebrated here is the work of Matt Johnson of legendary post-punk group The The, and his director brother Gerard Johnson. 1987's The The: Infected - The Movie will play here alongside the UK Premiere of new documentary The Inertia Variations, which focuses on Matt's life and work....
[Read the whole post on screenanarchy.com...] »
Get in touch to send in cinephile news and discoveriesNEWSRadley Metzger's The Lickerish QuartetRadley Metzger, whose groundbreaking erotic films helped set standards of style for both mainstream and arthouse cinema, has died at 88. His classics Camille 2000 (1969) and The Lickerish Quartet (1970) were featured on Mubi last year. Critic and programmer Steve Macfarlane interviewed the director at Slant Magazine for the Film Society of Lincoln Center's 2014 retrospective devoted to Metzger.Recommended VIEWINGThe Cinémathèque française has been on a roll uploading video discussions that have taken place at their Paris cinema. This 34 minute talk is between Wes Anderson and director/producer Barbet Schroeder.The Criterion Collection has recently released a new edition of Michelangelo Antonioni's masterpiece Blow-Up, and has uploaded this stellar clip of actor David Hemmings speaking on a talk show about making the film.Recommended READINGHoward Hawks' ScarfaceHow does Chicago intertwine itself with crime and the culture created in the mix of the two? »
Liam Neeson has confirmed that he’s attached to star in Marlowe, an in-development gumshoe drama based on the novel The Black-Eyed Blonde. William Monahan (The Departed) is adapting the book, with the project under the auspices of production company Nickel City Pictures and Gary Levinson. Neeson will be playing iconic detective Philip Marlowe, who was a fixture on cinema screens between 1942 and 1978 and was most famously played by Humphrey Bogart in The Big Sleep (though I’m a fan of Elliot Gould’s interpretation in 1973’s The Long Goodbye).
This’ll mark Philip Marlowe’s first appearance in a major motion picture since 1978, with the story coming courtesy of Irish writer John Banville (writing under the pen name of Benjamin Black). His 2014 novel is an attempt to produce a convincing interpretation of Raymond Chandler’s character, with the book (and presumably the film) set in early 1950s Los Angeles, »
- David James
A satisfying mystery usually involves more engagement from various puzzle pieces than the way they fit together, and Aaron Katz’s playful L.A. neo-noir “Gemini” falls right into that tradition. It pits the elements of a scrappy whodunit against the backdrop of film industry satire, keeps us guessing the whole way through, and arrives at a solution that’s beside the point. Revisiting the genre innovations of his 2010 feature “Cold Weather,” Katz delivers another minimalist addition to the canon of shaggy dog detective stories stretching back to “The Long Goodbye,” filtered through his own indelible poetic gaze.
At first glance, Katz’s movies are slight character studies with little to offer beyond endearing situational humor and a complimentary atmosphere. His first two features, “Dance Party, USA” and “Quiet City,” were delicate mood pieces in which plot took a backseat to a handful of emotionally-charged exchanges. With “Cold Weather,” Katz »
- Eric Kohn
10 items from 2017
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