8 items from 2015
'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
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. I was one of the first to select years for this particular exercise, which probably allowed me to select the correct year. The answer is, of course, 1974 and all other answers are wrong. No matter what your criteria happens to be, 1974 is going to come out on top. Again, this is not ambiguous or open to debate. We have to start, of course, with the best of the best. "Chinatown" is one of the greatest movies ever made. You can't structure a thriller better than Robert Towne and Roman Polanski do, nor shoot a Los Angeles movie better than John Alonzo has done. Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway give the best performances of their careers, which is no small achievement. If you ask »
- Daniel Fienberg
Directed by Jean-Claude Lauzon
Leo Lauzon (Mazime Collin) lives in a crowded Montreal apartment with his largely insane family, but spends most of his time in his imagination as the Sicilian Leolo Lozone, bizarrely conceived by a tomato, and entirely in awe of the world around him.
Léolo is obsessed with body parts and secretions. There’s an emphasis on liquids, fecal matter, and colossus bodies. Characters eat, things squish and slide. It’s a mélange that sometimes verges on the uncomfortable, but is always tangible – it has the feeling of concrete memory, not the stuff of distant nostalgia.
One bit of Léolo’s voiceover sums the film up nicely: “I was always divided by me desire to vomit and my desire to jerk off. »
- Neal Dhand
It’s not clear where this video uploaded by Eyes on Cinema derives from, and there’s no English subtitles, but here’s eight-plus minutes of rare footage of Federico Fellini directing 1974’s Amarcord. There’s fake snow to be packed together and set up, a typically Felliniesque array walking through it (a priest, a nun and a bull) and lots of Fellini slowly and decisively delivering directions on set. »
- Filmmaker Staff
I'm a huge fan of Federico Fellini's films, films that have essentially become part of the the fabric of cinema history. This largely refers to La Dolce Vita, 8 1/2, La Strada, The Nights of Cabiria and Amarcord. Of course, I've also seen and enjoyed I Vitelloni and Juliet of the Spirits while also not particularly loving The White Sheik or Ginger & Fred. I mention this only as a note that I will pretty much devour whatever Fellini feature is placed in front of me, and as much as I was ready to delve into this new Criterion release of his 1969 feature Fellini Satyricon, I can't say the trip was an enjoyable one. Admittedly, Criterion always manages to deliver something intriguing with their releases and this new Blu-ray edition of Fellini Satyricon is no different, but not for the film itself, more for the supplemental material that makes you start to »
- Brad Brevet
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
How would you program this year's newest, most interesting films into double features with movies of the past you saw in 2014?
Looking back over the year at what films moved and impressed us, it is clear that watching old films is a crucial part of making new films meaningful. Thus, the annual tradition of our end of year poll, which calls upon our writers to pick both a new and an old film: they were challenged to choose a new film they saw in 2014—in theatres or at a festival—and creatively pair it with an old film they also saw in 2014 to create a unique double feature.
All the contributors were given the option to write some text explaining their 2014 fantasy double feature. What's more, each writer was given the option to list more pairings, with or without explanation, as further imaginative film programming we'd be lucky to catch »
8 items from 2015
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