11 items from 2015
All week our writers will debate: Which was the greatest film year of the past half century. Click here for a complete list of our essays. It’s perhaps a little quaint to choose a year that I wasn’t even alive during to represent the best year of cinema. I was not there to observe how any of these films conversed with the culture around them when they were first screened. So, although I am choosing the glorious year of 1973, I am choosing not just due to a perusal of top ten lists that year—but because the films that were released that year greatly influenced how I engage with movies now, in 2015. Films speak to more than just the audiences that watch them—they speak to each other. Filmmakers inspire each other. Allusions are made. A patchwork begins. These are the movies of our lives. Having grown up with cinema in the 90s, »
- Brian Formo
All week long our writers will debate: Which was the greatest film year of the past half century. Click here for a complete list of our essays. How to decide in the grand scheme of things which film year stands above all others? History gives us no clear methodology to unravel this thorny but extremely important question. Is it the year with the highest average score of movies? So a year that averages out to a B + might be the winner over a field strewn with B’s, despite a few A +’s. Or do a few masterpieces lift up a year so far that whatever else happened beyond those three or four films is of no consequence? Both measures are worthy, and the winner by either of those would certainly be a year not to be sneezed at. But I contend the only true measure of a year’s »
- Richard Rushfield
Although your humble correspondent missed three days of TriBeCa films in a row due to a back injury, there was no way he could miss Maggie. Director Henry Hobson was able to attract Arnold Schwarzenegger to his low-key zombie project, despite the fact that Hobson was making his feature debut with a budget so small that you could make Maggie two or three times over for the amount that Arnold was paid to appear in Terminator: Genisys. The uniqueness of Hobson’s vision is evident from the first scene, where he is able to establish clearly the particulars of his zombie semi-apocalypse with only the barest minimum of exposition. As society teeters on the edge, both law and medicine struggling to handle the “Necroambulist” virus, Abigail Breslin plays the infected Maggie and Schwarzenegger plays her father, agonizing over the decision of what to do when she turns.
So many »
- Mark Young
Cry of the City, 1948
Directed by Robert Siodmak.
Adapted from the novel The Chair for Martin Rome by Henry Edward Helseth, the film tells the story of a charismatic criminal and his nemesis, Lieutenant Candella…
Remember Barzini? The old-crone who was taken out on the steps of the New York Supreme Courthouse in The Godfather? An unforgettable face in Coppola’s masterpiece, he is [spoilers for The Godfather…] the mob-boss behind Sonny’s murder and the powerful force that manages to convince Tessio to give up Michael Corleone. Actor Richard Conte demands our attention, and carries the menace that could rival – but not overpower – the Don’s empire. It goes without saying that Conte wasn’t plucked from obscurity and was chosen carefully by Coppola. He had an unforgettable career in noir thrillers, including one of his earliest, stand-out roles in »
- Simon Columb
Stars: Tully Banta-Cain, Ben Barnes, Paul Ben-Victor, William Bloomfield, Bonnie Belle Skinner, Ritchie Coster, Damien Di Paola, Armen Garo, Jay Giannone, Toby Jones, Harvey Keitel, Leighton Meester | Written by Emilio Mauro | Directed by James Mottern
You know, Martin Scorsese has a lot to answer for. Years after the likes of Mean Streets, Goodfellas and Casino, budding filmmakers are still churning out New York set mobster-movies – to ever decreasing returns. And so to By the Gun, which stars Scorsese alum Harvey Keitel, and tells yet another story of a wannabe mafioso who finally becomes a made man for it all to fall apart. Remind you of another film? It should!
By the Gun tells the story of Nick Tortano (Barnes), a smooth-talking and ambitious criminal from the streets of Boston. After years spent working and idolizing the Italian gangsters higher up the chain, he has to find a way to prove »
- Phil Wheat
Macbeth is widely considered the darkest of William Shakespeare.s plays. Full of corruption, evil, unchecked ambition, and the consequences thereof, the material sounds like a perfect fit for a filmmaker like, oh, I don.t know, Martin Scorsese. He apparently agrees, as the Oscar-winning director of Raging Bull, Mean Streets, and Taxi Driver is mounting a film version of Shakespeare.s tragedy. While answering a question on BBC Radio.s show Kermode and Mayo.s Film Review, Sir Kenneth Branagh stated that he and Scorsese are indeed teaming up for a big screen adaptation of his acclaimed stage production of Macbeth. When he responded to a query from social media, the Thor director said: We will remount the production and all things being well Mr. Scorsese will direct a film version of that production. This sounds like an ideal match between material and artist to us, and we can »
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
One man was killed and two more injured when a structure on the Taiwan set of director Martin Scorsese's upcoming drama Silence collapsed earlier this week. "There was an unfortunate accident at Cmpc Studios in Taiwan, where the Martin Scorsese film, Silence, is in pre-production," a spokesperson for the film wrote in a statement to Deadline.
"An existing structure on the Cmpc backlot had been deemed unsafe by the production, and accordingly a third-party contractor was hired to reinforce and make it safe prior to any production-related work commencing in this building, »
Director Martin Scorsese and actor Robert De Niro were frequent collaborators throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s starting with the acclaimed crime drama Mean Streets in 1973, and ending with Casino in 1995. Leonardo DiCaprio became the autuer's next muse, beginning with the 2002 period drama Gangs of New York and culminating in 2013's The Wolf of Wall Street. Never before have Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro appeared in the same Martin Scorsese movie together, until now! The duo have finally teamed up, along with Brad Pitt, for the short film The Audition.
Each actor was paid $13 million apiece to star in the short film, which is being used to promote City of Dreams Manila, a new casino in Manila Bay, Philippines. With a budget of $70 million, we get our first look at The Audition in the form of two trailers meant to serve as ads for City of Dreams and Studio City casinos, »
“Oh man, those 1970s directors…they got it”.
The above is a line of dialogue you could expect to hear in any first year film studies class, but, you know what? There’s a lot of truth to the statement.
The film output of the 1970s is of such a consistently high quality that it’s hard to argue that it wasn’t the best decade for the film industry. It certainly was for American film. The inmates were running the asylum after the failure of the studio system and, while they would eventually ruin it for themselves, for a time the director, nay artist, was king.
The 1970s was a decade of experimentation. People were experimenting with sex and drugs, and they were also experimenting with film. It was a time of social change and the films of the era reflect that change. There is a sense »
- Lewis Howse
The two most popular posters—each with over 600 likes—that I have posted in the past three months on Movie Poster of the Day have been unfamiliar takes on very familiar movies. The stunning Italian 55" x 78" poster for Godard’s Breathless, sold by Posteritati this past fall, is strikingly different from the usual poster images of Belmondo and Seberg strolling the Champs-Elysée or smoking in bed. Instead, artist Sandro Symeoni adapts the climactic scene of the film, but gives it a much more noirish feel, with Belmondo’s petty criminal receding into the blackest of nights. Without looking at the names you’d be hard pressed to identify the film from the poster.
The Russian poster for Star Wars, below, created in 1990 for the first Russian release of the film, is even less easily identifiable: a colorful crayon-drawing »
- Adrian Curry
11 items from 2015
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