8 items from 2015
Scorpio Becomes Electra: Noé’s Sex Scenes from a Marriage
The last time we were caught in provocateur Gaspar Noé’s crosshairs it was back in 2009 with Enter the Void, which ended on an orgasmic crescendo by literally fucking the audience. He’s back with more of that kind of sex stuff with Love, a memory poem as sexual odyssey/obsession told via the nostalgia of its tortured protagonist. Sexually explicit, but not necessarily distasteful, Noé is simply showing the general mechanics of people having sex. The rest of the narrative, seeking to explore the undoing of a passionate, youthful relationship, is nothing new as it explores the mundane inevitability of monogamy and how solving such an issue in a union based mostly on sexual attraction proves to be difficult. For those not titillated by a generous helping of spurting fluids and erect penises (including another vagina-cam shot), it’s »
- Nicholas Bell
'Fanny and Alexander' movie: Ingmar Bergman classic with Bertil Guve as Alexander Ekdahl 'Fanny and Alexander' movie review: Last Ingmar Bergman 'filmic film' Why Ingmar Bergman's Fanny and Alexander / Fanny och Alexander bears its appellation is a mystery – one of many in the director's final 'filmic film' – since the first titular character, Fanny (Pernilla Allwin) is at best a third- or fourth-level supporting character. In fact, in the three-hour theatrical version she is not even mentioned by name for nearly an hour into the film. Fanny and Alexander should have been called "Alexander and Fanny," or simply "Alexander," since it most closely follows two years – from 1907 to 1909 – in the life of young, handsome, brown-haired Alexander Ekdahl (Bertil Guve), the original "boy who sees dead people." Better yet, it should have been called "The Ekdahls," for that whole family is central to the film, especially Fanny and Alexander's beautiful blonde mother Emilie, »
- Dan Schneider
Whenever I sit down to review an Ingmar Begman movie I tend to bounce over to IMDb just to see how many of his films I've seen. Obviously when you're talking about Bergman we all pretty much start with the well known classics (The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, etc.) and then slowly begin to explore his lesser known films. Well, having now finally seen Cries & Whispers, what very well may be the last of his well known classics I had left to see (except for "Scenes from a Marriage"), I feel there are only lesser known corners of his oeuvre for me to explore. However, with over 65 films credited to him as a director on IMDb it would seem I've still only scratched the surface as I've only 14 of his films under my belt. Criterion's new Blu-ray release of Cries and Whispers is an upgrade from their 2001 DVD release, arriving »
- Brad Brevet
Criterion repackages one of its earlier Ingmar Bergman inclusions this month, restoring his brilliant, enigmatic 1972 masterpiece Cries and Whispers for Blu-ray release. Financed with Bergman’s own money, the auteur had difficulty securing an American distributor, eventually finding an unlikely champion in Roger Corman, of all people, who had recently established his own releasing company, New World, and was in search of prestige titles to build artistic merit.
Rushed to theatrical release to qualify for Academy Awards consideration, it would secure five nominations, including for Best Picture and Director, winning Best Cinematography for Sven Nyqvist, before going on to be selected to play out of competition at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival (awarded the Vulcain Prize of the Technical Artist). In Bergman’s illustrious filmography, it’s unnecessary (and incredibly difficult) to endow any one title as his best from a body of work that sports a myriad of celebrated examples spanning seven decades. »
- Nicholas Bell
Very clearly of the independent American cinema of the moment, and the New York scene in particular, Alex Ross Perry has nevertheless distinguished himself from his contemporaries with three singularly biting comedies—and now has set himself further apart with his latest: Queen of Earth, an intense dramatic departure. Viewers of Impolex, The Color Wheel, and most recently Listen Up Philip will recognize certain trademarks, among them a cast of entitled characters who treat each other horribly, as well as Sean Price Williams's stunning Super 16 cinematography, which here captures the damaged mental state of the film's protagonist with a blend of grainy pastel blues and greys contrasted with the earthly colors that make up the terrain surrounding its lake house setting. Taking cues from Polanski, Bergman, Fassbinder, and Kubrick, Perry imbues the film with an unsettlingly violent tone, made all the more discomforting in its restraint (this bubbling violence never manifests physically, »
- Adam Cook
Chicago – The title event of “Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem” is a prison sentence with no predictable day of release. The prisoner is Viviane (a fascinating Ronit Elkabetz), a soft-spoken middle-aged woman well beyond the point of a content unhappiness. She is trapped to a farce, as the divorce laws of Israel demand that a husband agree to the divorce before it can be finalized, with three rabbis and a lawyer each to discuss the event.
Viviane’s desire to start a new life away from her current husband Elisha (Simon Abkarian) becomes a hell on earth as he proves an unmovable object, a warden with no empathy who refuses to show up for many of the hearings (he doesn’t really have to unless it gets really bad, according to law). It takes him about a year and a half to finally appear first time, and even »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
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
Everyone knows Woody Allen. At least, everyone thinks they know Woody Allen. His plumage is easily identifiable: horn-rimmed glasses, baggy suit, wispy hair, kvetching demeanor, ironic sense of humor, acute fear of death. As is his habitat: New York City, though recently he has flown as far afield as London, Barcelona, and Paris. His likes are well known: Bergman, Dostoevsky, New Orleans jazz. So too his dislikes: spiders, cars, nature, Wagner records, the entire city of Los Angeles. Whether or not these traits represent the true Allen, who’s to say? It is impossible to tell, with Allen, where cinema ends and life begins, an obfuscation he readily encourages. In the late nineteen-seventies, disillusioned with the comedic success he’d found making such films as Sleeper (1973), Love and Death (1975), and Annie Hall (1977), he turned for darker territory with Stardust Memories (1980), a film in which, none too surprisingly, he plays a »
- Graham Daseler
8 items from 2015
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