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I’ve spoken to many people in my time, but few (if any) have the same credentials as Walter Murch, whose résumé would be amazing if it was only for the collaborations with Francis Ford Coppola: editing and / or audio work on all three Godfather films and The Conversation, truly groundbreaking sound design on Apocalypse Now, editing the terribly ignored Youth Without Youth and Tetro — even being around for the early days of The Rain People and lesser-seen oddities such as Captain Eo. But that’s not the half of it, really, since he’s also been instrumental in proving how consumer-grade editing software can be as effective as high-end systems. And then there’s the work that helped George Lucas getting his career started. And the cult sensation that is his only directorial effort, Return to Oz. Or his book, In the Blink of an Eye, which is »
- Nick Newman
Walter Murch is extraordinary even within his own field, four times Oscar-nominated for film editing, three times nominated for sound mixing, achieving a landmark double when he won both for his work on 1997 movie “The English Patient.” This week, he attends the Camerimage film festival, which is devoted to the art of cinematography, to receive the Special Award to an Editor with Unique Visual Sensitivity.
In a career that spans over 40 years, Murch is perhaps best known for his collaborations with Francis Ford Coppola, beginning in 1969 with “The Rain People.” After working with George Lucas on “Thx 1138” (1971), which he co-wrote, and “American Graffiti” (1973), Murch returned to Coppola for 1974’s “The Conversation,” receiving his first Academy Award nomination as a result. Murch’s pioneering achievements were acknowledged by Coppola on his follow-up, the 1979 Palme d’Or winner “Apocalypse Now,” for which he was granted, in what is seen as a film-history first, »
- Damon Wise
Camerimage, the International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography, celebrates its 23rd edition with seven special awards for artists and technicians whom they identify as possessing a “unique visual sensitivity.” From Hollywood comes renowned editor and sound designer Walter Murch, whose diverse and award-winning credits include “The Conversation,” “Apocalypse Now” and “The English Patient,” as well as this year’s summer sci-fi fantasy “Tomorrowland.”
The U.K. is represented by costumer designer Sandy Powell and production designer Eve Stewart. Powell is no stranger to awards — her outfits for films such as “Shakespeare in Love,” “Gangs of New York,” “The Aviator” and “The Young Victoria” have brought regular invitations to the Oscar ceremony in the last 20 years. Similarly, Stewart’s period work with Mike Leigh, plus her collaborations with Tom Hooper for Oscar favorites “The King’s Speech” and “Les Misérables,” has brought multiple nominations as well as a BAFTA win for the latter. »
- Damon Wise
Brian De Palma has become the directorial litmus test of cinephiles everywhere. To supporters, he stands as a startling visual genius with a penchant for set pieces and lurid subject matter. To naysayers, he remains a lowbrow imitator who spends his studio budgets chasing the ghosts of Alfred Hitchcock and Jean-Luc Godard. Great director or high class hack? Inconsistent misogynist or Master of the Macabre? Much like his fractured narratives, the answer is never an easy one to attain.
Both sides provide ample support for their case. De Palma’s resume is riddled with enough hollow imitations (Sisters , Raising Cain ) and bloated commercial flops (The Bonfire of the Vanities , The Black Dahlia ) to sink any director. But even in misfires such as these, an undeniable attention to detail remains.
The split screen cover-up of Sisters or the heartbreaking screen tests of The Black Dahlia are breathtaking in scope and execution, »
- Danilo Castro
The Conversation is a feature at PopOptiq bringing together Drew Morton and Landon Palmer in a passionate debate about cinema new and old. For their eleventh piece, they discuss Mathieu Kassovitz’s gritty yet sleek portrait of life on the margins of Paris, La haine (1995).
There’s a moment within the first act of Mathieu Kassovitz’s La haine (1995) that finds the film’s central trio – Vinz (Vincent Cassel), Hubert (Hubert Koundé), and Saïd (Saïd Taghmaoui), three young male descendants of immigrants living in the housing projects of outer Paris – confronted by a news crew. In the protests and riots following the brutalization of a friend, Abdel Ichaha (inspired by the real-life killing of Makome M’Bowole while in the custody of Parisian police in 1993), the news crew voyeuristically inquires into the opinions of those who very well may be the first group of “locals” their excursion encounters, »
- Landon Palmer
Veteran comedy actor Steve Guttenberg is starring in the indie comedy “Lookin’ Up,” currently shooting in Los Angeles, Variety has learned exclusively.
Guttenberg portrays a bank teller who loses his job to an Atm and decides to murder his wife who’s cheating on him, his mother-in-law and his daughter, who has sold his beloved dog. His plans fail but he winds up being blamed when the women wind up dead in a series of bizarre mishaps.
The script was written by 88-year-old actor-writer Marvin Kaplan (“It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” and the “Alice” series). Johnny Crear is the producer. The director is T.J. Castronova (“Tales of The Dark Side”).
- Dave McNary
Halloween's here and some of us have had our fill of knife-thrusting psychos and inarticulate zombies. (Though if you want a list of the 100 best horror movies, you're not going to do any better than this.) Here's what to stream on Netflix this All Hallow's Eve in case you're in the mood for classic suspense and haunting paranoia. "Chinatown" Let's get one thing straight about Halloween: It's not really about spookiness; it's about eeriness. I'd argue there's no eerier movie of the 1970s than "Chinatown," which manages to be 100% suspenseful even though its plot is simple and its protagonist is a classically perturbed private eye. Though there are a couple of scares (namely the cameo of director Roman Polanski), you mostly find yourself awed by the lingering weirdness of the story at hand. What is going on here? What's Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) really on to? And what »
- Louis Virtel
The Conversation is a feature at PopOptiq bringing together Drew Morton and Landon Palmer in a passionate debate about cinema new and old. For their tenth piece, they discuss Guy Maddin’s fusion of silent-era horror and dance, Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary (2002).
Every autumn, I treat Halloween the way some Midwestern moms obsess over Thanksgiving or Christmas. Horror novels (last year, I finally read Joe Hill’s Heart-Shaped Box and loved it), true crime documentaries, and an abundance of films make up the majority of my media diet for about six weeks. Over the past week, I’ve been re-reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula and re-watching the glut of adaptations out there. I think I’ve finally dialed in my three favorite translations…in no particular ranking! Obviously, F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu (1922) has a certain advantage from being the “first,” but it has »
- Landon Palmer
The career of Steven Spielberg “has been almost as exhaustively media-documented as D.W. Griffith’s,” Variety once wrote. In 2015, that would be a pretty obvious statement, but this observation was made on Oct. 29, 1974, when his resume consisted of a half-dozen TV episodes, three TV movies and one feature film.
Forty-one years later, Spielberg’s latest, “Bridge of Spies” starring Tom Hanks, opens Friday, already garnering good reviews and Oscar buzz. It’s just the latest confirmation that the media was right to be fascinated with him all those decades ago; even from the beginning, it was clear that the kid had something special.
His first mention in Variety was on Dec. 12, 1968, when Universal signed him and actress Pamela McMyler to exclusive contracts, based upon their work in his short film “Amblin,” which had caught the eye of McA’s Sidney J. Sheinberg.
One of his first assignments was to direct »
- Tim Gray
Special Mention: Shock Corridor
Written and directed by Samuel Fuller
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Shock Corridor stars Peter Breck as Johnny Barrett, an ambitious reporter who wants to expose a killer hiding out at the local insane asylum. In order to solve the case, he must pretend to be insane so they have him committed. Once in the asylum, Barrett sets to work, interrogating the other patients and keeping a close eye on the staff. But it’s difficult to remain a sane man living in an insane place, and the closer Barrett gets to the truth, the closer he gets to insanity.
Shock Corridor is best described as an anti-establishment drama that at times is surprisingly quite funny despite the dark material. The film deals with some timely issues of the era, specifically the atom bomb, anti-communism, and racism. It features everything from a raving female love-crazed nympho ward, »
- Ricky Fernandes
Francis Ford Coppola makes a lot more wine than he does movies nowadays. We haven’t seen a film from the iconic director behind The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, and The Conversation for four years now. His last picture, Twixt, came and went. Over the past decade Coppola has been directing some of his most experimental work, not what he calls “factory movies,” which […]
The post Francis Ford Coppola Doesn’t Want to Make “Factory Movies” appeared first on /Film. »
- Jack Giroux
By Lee Pfeiffer
It's rare that a feature included as a bonus in a Blu-ray release of a classic movie would rate having us provide a separate review. However, director Richard Shepard's acclaimed documentary "I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazle" merits exceptional treatment. The 2009 movie gained considerable praise when first released but suffered the fate of most documentaries in that it was not widely seen outside of the art house circuit and a DVD release the following year. Fortunately, Warner Home Video had the good instincts to include it in their 40th anniversary Blu-ray release of "Dog Day Afternoon" (click here for review) , a film in which Cazale stole the show despite sharing the screen with some of the most talented actors on the planet. The documentary packs a great deal into it's all-too-brief 40 minute running time and sheds much light on the career of Cazale, perhaps »
- email@example.com (Cinema Retro)
Francis Ford Coppola is, quite possibly, the director of some of cinema’s finest moments, with the three ‘Godfather’ films and “Apocalypse Now.” And, while the magnitude of these works ought to never be overlooked, the fact of the matter is that some of his other (and in one case, in this writer’s opinion, better) films often end up buried in the periphery of the praise that has slowly amassed over the decades. Said better film? The 1974 Gene Hackman espionage thriller “The Conversation.” Wedged right in there between “The Godfather” and “The Godfather Part II,” the flick was undervalued — but surely never forgotten — for quite some time, but has seen a resurgence in recent years (thank you Netflix). Now, a new video essay from the folks over at The Discarded Image has taken on the rather incredible opening sequence for their newest installment. Read More: Retrospective: The Films of Francis Ford Coppola “The Conversation, »
- Gary Garrison
Nothing was a more American celebration of armistice and peace on Memorial Day weekend 2015 than Shia LeBeouf's intentionally open-source James Franco-esque feaux art (f'art for those of you keeping score) motivational speech-y green screen "Do It!" performance. With videos like MillerWa4's 'Damn It, Shia' we thought we'd seen the best of them. So, we had a good laugh and filed that one under "Never Think About Again." But, perhaps the overwhelming sense of helpless longterm compulsion a la Gene Hackman's turn as Harry Caul in Coppola's Godfather follow-up The Conversation makes Ilka Da's 'Daft LeBeouf' take the cake. The video's description alone is a haunting tale which grows a new pair of legs every time I think about it. We really do hope you're in a healthy state, Ilka. See tortured brilliance below: »
- Dick Schulz
I’m a massive fan of heist films. There’s just something so entertaining and gripping as sitting down and watching films like Heat, Reservoir Dogs, or in this case, Dog Day Afternoon. Easily one of my favorite subgenres of film, films like the ones mentioned above were all able to not only tell a very tightly wound tale, but offered their viewers characters that leaped off of the screen Every Single Time you revisited them. Sidney Lumet’s 1975 classic Dog Day Afternoon gave its viewers a wild ride of a film, and one that offered its audience something entirely different, from its ability to sympathize with its antagonists all the way to its true story of a man robbing a bank to pay for his lover’s sex change. It’s a completely unique and lasting film, and not only does Warner Bros.’ new 40th Anniversary Bluray give fans »
- Jerry Smith
Screenwriters and filmmakers are among those set to receive Pen Center USA honors on November 16, 2015, in Beverly Hills. Francis Ford Coppola will accept the organization’s 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award. The inimitable Coppola's body of work spans over five decades as a director, producer and screenwriter. He's one of few filmmakers to win two Palme d'Ors, for "The Conversation" and "Apocalypse Now," and he's won Academy Awards for films including "Patton" and "The Godfather" series. Meghan Daum, Claudia Rankine, Noah Hawley and screenwriter Graham Moore (Oscar winner for "The Imitation Game") are among winners of the Pen Center's 2015 Literary Awards, who will receive $1,000. Read More: Watch: Francis Ford Coppola on the Future of Cinema, Marlon Brando and Regrets The 2015 award winners include: Meghan Daum (Creative Nonfiction Award for "The Unspeakable"); Victor Lodato (Drama Award for "Arlington"); Robert »
- Ryan Lattanzio
This year, the legendary Walter Murch received a “Vision Award — Nescens” from the just-completed Locarno Film Festival, and this neat short film was presumably made to accompany the presentation. Director Niccolò Castelli places Murch in a warehouse very much like Harry Caul’s setup in The Conversation. Murch plays with previously recorded analogue tape of him talking about how we’re introduced to the concept of music while in the womb, then talks about the process and history of the manipulations he just executed on the Revox. It’s a typical combination of Murch’s trademark bigger-picture thinking and acute technical knowledge. »
- Vadim Rizov
Christopher Nolan recently announced a new project entitled Quay, a documentary short about two British stop-motion animators. Set to premiere next week, it’s a far cry from Nolan’s blockbusters in both scope and subject matter. Yet it’s clearly a personal project, with Nolan using his clout and money to promote two obscure filmmakers.
Every artist – director, star, screenwriter – has some project that they want to make above all. A deeply personal, original idea; an autobiographical story; a favored story or hero they wish to celebrate. If a filmmaker is successful or lucky enough, they get a chance to produce them. Yet sometimes the reaction isn’t what they expect.
Francis Ford Coppola started his career directing exploitation films for Roger Corman, notably the horror film Dementia 13 (1963). Then he toiled as screenwriter and occasional director, helming the musical Finian’s Rainbow (1968) and the more personal The Rain People »
- Christopher Saunders
There are few real-life figures more beloved in American cinema than Steven Spielberg. He’s earned that adoration without question, but his worship retards the dialogue around his work. Like his buddy Colonel G. Lucas, Spielberg is a brand first, a businessman second, and a filmmaker last.
It’s time to loosen up the conversation. Spielberg is less an auteur and more Hollywood’s greatest journeyman, a master craftsman whose natural talent allows him to tackle almost any material. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t common themes that run throughout his work. A lot of breath has been devoted to his sense of wonder and awe, his parent’s divorce, his love of children. But there’s a darker current to his work, one that appears less subtly in thrillers like The Conversation, Three Days of the Condor, and other conspiracy films of the New Hollywood era. It’s a sense of paranoia, »
- Nathan Smith
BBC Culture has this week unveiled a new list of the top 100 American films, as voted for by a pool of international film critics from across the globe. The format of the poll was that any film that would make the list had to have recieved funding from a Us source, and the directors of the films did not need to be from the USA, nor did the films voted for need to be filmed in the Us.
Critics were asked to submit their top 10 lists, which would try to find the top 100 American films that while “not necessarily the most important, but the greatest on an emotional level”. The list, as you may have guessed, is very different to the lists curated by say the BFI or AFI over the years, so there are certainly a few surprises on here, with Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave (2013), Terrence Malick »
- Scott J. Davis
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