20 items from 2011
Countdown to Top Ten 2K11 is a column with one simple goal: to help you decide what films you need to see before making your end of the year top ten list. Each installment features my thoughts on a critically acclaimed 2011 movie, a sampling of other critics' reactions, the odds of the film making my own list, and the reasons why it might make yours.
Movie: "Certified Copy"
Director: Abbas Kiarostami
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%
Plot Synopsis: The author of a new book about the meaning and importance of authenticity in art (William Shimell) joins a fan (Juliette Binoche) for a tour of the Italian countryside. But their relationship might not be as simple or as casual as it first appears.
What the Critics Said: "[Like] a middle-aged 'Before Sunrise, »
- Matt Singer
George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) has had it with the movies in "The Artist"Over at Fandor's Keyframe blog I'll be musing about the Oscar race on a biweekly basis. This week's topic is the unusual abundance of movies about movies in this year's Oscar race from Marilyn Monroe (My Week With Marilyn) to George Melies (Hugo) to Hollywood's seismic sound shift in the late 20s (The Artist). But one thing I didn't dwell on too much in the article (which I hope you'll go and read!) is the lack of Oscars won for movies about movies.
Everyone predicting a win for The Artist (2011) before the nominations are even announced should consider the following list and sobering fact: No movie about movies has ever won Best Picture.
Movies About Movies: How Do They Do With Oscar?
(Best Picture Nominees are in red)
Janet Gaynor (already an Oscar winner) was nominated again »
- NATHANIEL R
The project: to write about all of Wiseman's films / Cannot be typical / Must start by acknowledging that in every Wiseman movie Content (psychology, comedy, irony, terror, Motive, Idea) registers by the millisecond interval / To exegesize one Wiseman movie—better: to catalog, just to tell it—would demand a monograph of monastic proportions / And yet from one film to the next the essence of the Content can be summarized identically: "Here is the Reality of Things" / No admission of reducability / I write about these films not for any reason but to memorialize traces of seeing, of having seen and heard, »
It goes without saying that Orson Welles has become one of the most iconic cinematic geniuses in film history. Be it Citizen Kane and its continual mentioning as the greatest American film ever put to celluloid, or films like F For Fake or his turn in The Third Man that show just how brilliant this man was.
However, there has always been one film in particular that has been both one of his most talked about projects, and also one of the most difficult to see. Entitled Chime At Midnight, the film is Welles’ take on Falstaff, the Shakespeare character, and now it just got a lot easier to view. The Independent is reporting that the film has finally busted out of its legal shackles, and will premiere a recently restored print at this year’s Screen Arts Festival.
The film has been fodder for crummy DVD releases for years now, »
- Joshua Brunsting
In December of last year I reviewed the initial ten books in the excellent Masters of Cinema collection from Cahiers Du Cinema, published in the UK by Phaidon Press and I’ve been sent two of the next batch to be released. Here Charlie Chaplin and Orson Welles are under the spotlight, the other new books focus on Billy Wilder, Ingmar Bergman and Federico Fellini.
Jérôme Larcher takes us through Chaplin’s extraordinary life, pausing at key points to survey the cinematic and social landscape. His major works have their turn under the spotlight, with Chaplin’s iconic characters deconstructed with The Tramp in particular commented on by Andre Bazin and Chaplin himself.
As Chaplin was at the forefront of cinema through its early development it is the story behind the scenes, battles with outlandish figures from old Hollywood and the discovery of a muse in Edna Purviance there is »
- Jon Lyus
One more reason to be super jealous of our friends in Austin, the announcement of the Paramount’s Summer Classic Film Series 2011 would make any classic film lover think they had died and gone to heaven. Celebrating 36 years and going strong, the place to be during the summer is Austin (as usual). And of course, when there’s classic films being announced at a repertory theater, there’s always a few Criterion connections.
Peter Bogdanovich, who recently entered the Criterion collection himself with his magnificent film The Last Picture Show (which will be screening July 27th – 28th, hosted by Sam Beam of Iron & Wine), will be there at the kick off, on May 20th, where he will be discussing Hollywood history which then is followed by a screening of Casablanca and a film of his choosing. That alone is worth your anticipation, because if anyone has great stories about film, »
- James McCormick
It’s the time again, my friends. When I go through Hulu’s Criterion page and give you what’s new, what’s exciting and what might be a hint at a future release within the collection. There’s even a ton of new supplemental material from various films that are worth getting into. If you like this series of article, please sign up for your own Hulu Plus account. Every little bit counts and is much appreciated.
Let’s just get right to it then. Remember, all the links will be included with each listing. We make it as easy as possible for all of you. First up is a film that isn’t in the collection but I can easily see it being welcomed with open arms.
- James McCormick
Robert here, closing out the first season of my series Distant Relatives, (where we look at two films, (one classic, one modern) related through theme and ask what their similarities/differences can tell us about the evolution of cinema) with the second part of this two part special.
Last week in Part One we discussed how the great sorrow or rejection by God or a loved one in Bergman’s universe is equvalent to rejection by the child owners (god/loved one amalgams that they are) of the Toy Story films. And when those owners have put their childish things aside, what do the toys do? Where do they find meaning in their lives? Now... Part Two.
Hooray, you're old!
As their name indicates, viral videos spread like wildfire. But most videos are fairly benign, whereas the one that crossed my Twitter feed a few hours ago is, like any virus worth its salt, legitimiately pernicious. First the clip: from BuzzFeed via Nerdcore, a "crazy" video of a never-aired interview between Orson Welles and Jim Henson and Frank Oz. It's from the pilot of "The Orson Welles Show," a proposed 90-minute weekly series that never made it off the launching pad.
Certainly, Welles' delivery doesn't inspire the warm-n-fuzzies (though I do love the way he derisively refers to television as "the box"). But the main source of the creep factor -- the weird footage of a lifeless Miss Piggy and a suicidal Kermit the Frog -- is not from "The Orson Welles Show." It's actually an excerpt from a very funny sketch on "Late Night With Conan O'Brian" called "Muppet Faces of Death. »
- Matt Singer
Given the “Carnival Of Life” theme that always pervaded Federico Fellini’s work—his life as an artist almost literally takes the form of a three-ring circus in his autobiographical masterpiece 8 1/2—it was, as Fellini himself admits, inevitable that he would devote an entire movie to the subject. Produced in 1970 for Italian television, The Clowns is a loose, semi-experimental/semi-documentary/semi-fictional essay on circus jesters, their presence in the culture, and their profound affect on Fellini’s way of thinking. Though nowhere near as radical as Orson Welles’ F For Fake three years later, the film »
For an awards show that purports to honor outstanding achievements in film, the Academy Awards seem oddly drawn to the familiar. The movies with the most nominations at this year's Oscar race, for example, are The King's Speech and True Grit -- two films with a great deal of critical acclaim backing them, but ones that are decidely lacking in any grand ambition beyond presenting a traditional, accessible story. The Oscars, it would appear, favor the classically good to the unconventionally good, leaving the latter out to be forgotten in a sea of mediocrity and predictability. This isn't a shocking revelation; the Academy Awards have always favored films that adhere to a certain standard of genre filmmaking. A heart-rending, war-based drama about one man's uplifting struggle against adversity will always win out over the truly innovative, progressive, subversive films of our times. As evidence of this, consider the following Best »
- Adam Quigley
It’s not actually an update, but it’s always good time to talk about Orson Welles, so let’s get started!
You probably already know that there’s an unfinished Welles’ movie, or a masterpiece, that will finally see a theatrical release nearly four decades later.
Titled The Other Side of the Wind, the movie portrays ‘the last hours of an ageing film director attempting to revive his career by making a trippy movie filled with sex and violence…’
Welles started shooting the film in 1972 with John Huston as the star. Apparently, he has told Huston that the movie is: “…about a bastard director… full of himself, who catches people and creates and destroys them. It’s about us, John.”
The Movie Club Podcast  is an irregular roundtable podcast where we select two movies to dissect, analyze and discuss with a group of fellow movie bloggers and film fans. After a landmark year full of documentaries that blur the line between fiction and reality, we thought it would be a good idea to do an episode of The Movie Club Podcast dedicated to this very subject. We started with Orson Welles' 1973 film F for Fake, and chased it down with a pair of 2010 documentaries: Banksy's clever street art doc Exit Through the Gift Shop and the hotly debated internet love story gone awry Catfish. Believe it or not, all three proved to be worthy of some serious in-depth discussion! This month's line-up is a repeat of the previous episode, with Sean and Jay being joined by Kurt and Marina from Row Three , and James from the High and Low »
A not quite finished film from Orson Welles that was shot in 1972 may very well soon see the light of day, according to The Guardian. The film, titled The Other Side of the Wind, is purportedly about the last days of an aging filmmaker, and was shot by Welles while he happened to be in his last days as an aging filmmaker. How Meta. Welles himself described the picture to its star John Huston as being, “about a bastard director… full of himself, who catches people and creates and destroys them. It’s about us, John.” Could it be that this bit of scripted work acts as a sort of companion piece to Welles’ phenomenal documentary F for Fake, which was made around the same time and centered itself around falsehood in the arts, both literally and figuratively? Regardless, I think that anybody could agree that any chance for the world to see another film made by »
- Nathan Adams
The travails of the actor, writer and director Orson Welles are so well known that they are emblazoned on the psyche of movie makers world-wide as a cautionary tale about the penury that industry can inflict upon the conceits of uncompromised auteurism. Welles’ many, ultimately fruitless, battles with various actors, studios, producers and distributors have been retold with such frequency- particularly in their parallels with modern renegades of cinema – that they have almost become cliché; the legends surrounding his battles with money men and legal team are now the stuff of legend.
The number of projects seemingly unfinished or abandon is impressive in a way, seemingly paralleled the peaks and troughs of a manic depressive personality, though more often, the failure of much of his work to reach fruition was a combination of financial mismanagement and arbitrary personal misfortune.
Among the distinguished list of projects unfinished in ells lifetime were: »
- Benjamin Szwediuk
The final movie shot by the legendary Orson Welles will finally be completed after nearly 40 years, according to a report in Bleeding Cool, by way of The Observer.
The Other Side Of The Wind, a chronicle of the last hours of an aging film director played by the great John Huston, has been languishing unedited in various states of legal limbo since filming was completed in 1972. Now, according to Los Angeles lawyer Kenneth Sidle:
“We are in negotiations for the picture, which would lead to the finishing and public exhibition. Hopefully within the next few weeks we will know.”
According to Huston’s actor son Danny (Marie Antoinette, Children of Men), the footage is “absolutely fascinating.” Huston has stated that Welles gave “extensive editing notes” to actor and director (and Welles confidant) Peter Bogdanovich, who appeared in the film and is involved with its restoration and eventual exhibition.
More on »
- Anthony Vieira
The Other Side of the Wind, shot in 1972, could now see the light of day
An unfinished "masterpiece" filmed by Orson Welles nearly four decades ago is finally to reach the screen.
The Other Side of the Wind portrays the last hours of an ageing film director. Welles is said to have told John Huston, who plays the lead role: "It's about a bastard director… full of himself, who catches people and creates and destroys them. It's about us, John."
The unedited film has been hidden away in a vault until now amid doubts that it could ever be shown.
Rumours of its release have surfaced repeatedly since it was shot in 1972, but an ownership dispute has always scuppered any plans. However, a Los Angeles lawyer told the Observer last week that the film will finally be seen.
Kenneth Sidle, a lawyer involved in the dispute over rights to the film, »
- Dalya Alberge
The most common mistake made by first-time directors is to cram every film school trick and cutting edge idea into that debut film. A bloated, pretentious, insufferable and flashy effort is often the result. On the other hand, a great director’s first film is rarely representative of his/her full repertoire of skills and ideas. Even a master like Orson Welles, who’s debut film is hailed in most scholarly circles as the greatest film ever made, was still producing exciting cinema bursting with new ideas three decades later with experiments like “F for Fake” (1974).
If “Monsters” is any indication, first-time director, Gareth Edwards, will be dazzling audiences for years to come. Shot on less than a shoestring budget, with a cast and crew totaling only five, Edwards managed to create a fully realized post-alien invasion world more believable than the one in “District 9,” and more emotionally mature »
- Eric M. Armstrong
This week, David Chen , Devindra Hardawar  and Adam Quigley  discuss whether or not Blu-Ray is an inferior format to DVD, and try to get excited about a Tron: Legacy sequel. Special guest Katey Rich  joins us from CinemaBlend . Also, a big thanks to Colin  for the awesome spoiler sound effect! You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(At)gmail(Dot)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us for our next live broadcast on Sunday, January 30 at Slashfilm's live page  at 10 Pm Est / 7 Pm Pst, where we'll be reviewing The Mechanic. Download  or Play Now in your Browser: [audio:http://traffic.libsyn.com/slashfilmcast/Slashfilmcastep131.mp3] Subscribe to the /Filmcast:   Shownotes Introduction (01:10) Katey Rich joins us from CinemaBlend  What We've Been Watching Katey Rich (02:30): In a Better World, F For Fake Devindra (7:40): Episodes, Shameless, Lights Out David Chen (14:00): Orphan Adam (19:00): Shit Movie of the Week: »
- David Chen
Robert here, with my series Distant Relatives, where we look at two films, (one classic, one modern) related through a common theme and ask what their similarities and differences can tell us about the evolution of cinema. There's a mixed response on the internet in terms of how much of Exit Through the Gift Shop to reveal. Some people will tell you nothing, some will give you a smattering of plot. I'll do the latter, though I won't give away any secrets (for I know none) but I will discuss some of the mysteries.
F for Film
When Orson Welles made F for Fake in the mid-70's his reputation was somewhere between visionary director of the greatest movie ever (he'd won his honorary Oscar a few years earlier) and washed up, indecisive, expatriate. Far removed from the War of the Worlds episode, it's unclear how many people saw him »
20 items from 2011
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