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It's a Criterion Christmas! I'll be using Meeting the Criterion as a convenient way of reminding you of many of the Criterion Collections great releases from the last year. Whether your Criterion Collection is organized by spine number, title or director there's a good chance you'll see some releases that are bound to end up on your must remember to get list. Nominated for 9 Academy Awards All That Jazz (1979) was the next to last film made by the legendary creative Bob Fosse. I say creative rather than simply dancer, choreographer, director or writer, because over the course of his career he excelled in all those things. Those skills all came together here in a seemingly effortless blend of dramaturgy, truly spectacular song and dance...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
All Dogs Go to Heaven is one of the classic also-rans of the quote-unquote "golden age of animation." While its theatrical release was pre-empted by an unassuming Disney flick called The Little Mermaid, the film found a second life on home video, eventually becoming one of MGM/United Artists' highest-selling video titles. The film turned 25 on Nov. 17, and in celebration, we're taking a closer look at its production and legacy. 1. All Dogs Go to Heaven was produced by Don Bluth, who also made The Land Before Time, An American Tail and The Secret of Nimh.Bluth enjoys a kind »
- Alex Heigl, @alex_heigl
It's that time of year again and it's time to update the list for the second half of 2014 as Barnes & Noble has just kicked off their 50% off Criterion sale and as impossible a task as it is to cut things down to just a few titles, I have done my best to break Criterion's titles down into a few categories. Hopefully those looking for box sets, specific directors or what I think are absolute musts will find this makes things a little bit easier. Let's get to it... First Picks I was given the Zatoichi collection for Christmas last year and being a collection that holds 25 films and another disc full of supplementary material it is the absolute definition of a must buy when it comes to the Criterion Collection. It is, once again, on sale for $112.49, half off the Msrp of $224.99, and worth every penny. I spent the entire year going through it. »
- Brad Brevet
London — Camerimage Film Festival, which is dedicated to the art of cinematography, is to open with Gala Screenings of “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” and “The Imitation Game” on Nov. 15.
The director of photography on “Birdman,” which is directed by Alejandro G. Inarritu, is Emmanuel Lubezki, who won an Oscar with “Gravity,” and was Oscar nommed for five other films, most recently for “The Tree of Life.”
“Birdman” is a black comedy that tells the story of an actor (Michael Keaton) famous for portraying an iconic superhero as he struggles to mount a Broadway play. In the days leading up to opening night, he battles his ego and attempts to save his family, his career, and himself.
- Leo Barraclough
In David Cronenberg’s world, sex hurts so good; it’s innately disgusting and primeval but at the same time beautiful and becoming. (Kind of like sex in the real world, when you think about it.) Bodies degenerate and mental states corrode under the influence of lust, and yet something new is engendered by the collision of bodies, bodily fluids, the ripping of flesh and the mangling of organs. Through the carrion of ugly comes the attractive flesh, the new flesh. Videodrome, as Jonathan Lethem once quipped, remains Cronenberg’s most penetrative film; he creates a world at once rooted in modernity circa 1983–a world afraid of the advent of television usurping our humanity, over-stimulated times ushering in the end times–and existing in a timeless, placeless vacuum. It’s vast and claustrophobic, prescient and paranoid, of the same lineage as early James Cameron »
- Greg Cwik
Somehow I haven't gotten around to talking to legendary costume designer Albert Wolsky in my time, but "Birdman" presented the opportunity and here we are. With seven Oscar nominations and two wins, Wolsky is one of the titans, with a legacy on both stage and screen. Alejandro González Iñárritu's latest, then, was a fascinating project for him in that it bridged the gap between those two disciplines. But as Wolsky says in the lengthy interview below, the work in movies like this is "invisible." By design, of course, but often that leads to a lack of appreciation for what goes into outfitting a movie like this. Nevertheless, Wolsky has tried his hand at a number of extravagant productions in his day, so of course we carved out plenty of time to talk about some of those. From Bob Fosse's "Lenny" and "All That Jazz" to Sam Mendes' »
- Kristopher Tapley
Legendary costume designer Albert Wolsky was tasked with outfitting Alejandro González Iñárritu's latest film, "Birdman." But perhaps the film's most stand-out piece of wardrobe ended up landing in a different industry realm: special effects. Mike Elizalde is the owner of Spectral Motion, a creature and prosthetic makeup design studio in Glendale, CA that has plenty of experience in the superhero realm. The company was behind distinct looks in films like "X-Men: The Last Stand" and "Fantastic Four," and Elizalde himself picked up a Best Makeup Oscar nomination for his work on Guillermo del Toro's "Hellboy II: The Golden Army" in 2008. It was that connection to del Toro, in fact, that got him the gig on "Birdman" as his team was tasked with creating the Birdman costume actor Benjamin Kanes wears as a young Riggan Thompson in the film. If you're interested in hearing what a titan like Wolsky »
- Kristopher Tapley
Heaven help me, I’ve taken to using lyrics from the Broadway musical Chicago in my recap headlines for The Voice. (Sample comment from my husband, reading over my shoulder, “I don’t get that reference. At all.” #GayCardRevoked)
But I swear, there’s good reason for my flight of fancy. After all, Season 7’s Blind Auditions yielded exactly one promising jazz vocalist — and yet after a Battle Rounds process that whittled the field from 48 down to 32 contestants, that chica is as extinct as the dodo emu, as defunct as the Walkman in your “shame-shame closet,” as mopped up as »
By Anjelica Oswald
Hollywood films portraying the world — including the troubled side — of show business have garnered best picture nominations for years. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) could be a serious Oscar contender and features Michael Keaton as a former film star known for his portrayal of a superhero named Birdman. He attempts to renew his career by writing, directing and performing in a Broadway play. The film hit theaters Friday. Here are ten best picture Oscar-nominated films about show business (in chronological order):
1. The Red Shoes (1948)
The film is a tragic story about a young ballet dancer (Moira Shearer) who is forced to choose between her future dance career and the composer she falls in love with. The film was nominated for five Oscars and won two.
2. All About Eve (1950)
Anne Baxter stars as Eve, an aspiring, conniving actress who »
- Anjelica Oswald
Steven Awalt – author interviewed by Todd Garbarini
“Well, it’s about time, Charlie!”
Dennis Weaver utters these words in my favorite Steven Spielberg film, Duel, a production that was originally commissioned by Universal Pictures as an Mow, industry shorthand for “movie of the week”, which aired on Saturday, November 13, 1971. The reviews were glowing; the film’s admirers greatly outweighed its detractors and it put Mr. Spielberg, arguably the most phenomenally successful director in the history of the medium, on a path to a career that would make any contemporary director green with envy. Followed by a spate of contractually obligated television outings, Duel would prove to be the springboard that would catapult Mr. Spielberg into the realm that he was shooting for since his youth: that of feature film directing. Duel would also land him in the court of Hollywood producers David Brown and Richard Zanuck and get him his »
- email@example.com (Cinema Retro)
All the news stories we didn't get to and/or articles we like with a wee slant toward the stage this morning... itching to see a show again.
Guardian on the homophobic charges against the MPAA. That über obnoxious organization has struck again. Pride is the second gay movie this year without sex scenes or nudity to be slapped with an R rating.
/Film The Twilight Saga may well be back after some short films. When I first heard this news I groaned and rolled my eyes but then I read the plan and it's sort of a support young female filmmakers thing so it sounds kind of cool, actually. Pit that Twilight is so obnoxious
The Playlist ranks all 35 of David Fincher's music videos. I used to be so obsessed with him because of Madonna. It's possible that I already linked this? I don't know. But their rankings are fairly good. »
- NATHANIEL R
By Anjelica Oswald
The 87th Academy Awards could see a collection of familiar names in the costume design category, from Oscar winner and 10-time nominee Colleen Atwood to one-time nominee Michael Wilkinson. When It comes down to securing nominations for costumes, it doesn’t matter how well the film has fared in other Oscar categories. Films such as Jane Eyre (2011), Mirror Mirror (2012) and The Invisible Woman (2013) were only nominated for costume design.
Atwood could receive nominations for Disney’s Into the Woods and Tim Burton’s Big Eyes during the upcoming awards cycle. Of her 10 nominations to date, she’s won three: best picture winner Chicago (2002), Memoirs of a Geisha (2005) and Burton’s Alice in Wonderland (2010). Atwood has designed the costumes for nine of Burton’s films: Edward Scissorhands (1990), Ed Wood (1994), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Planet of the Apes (2001), Big Fish (2003), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), Alice in Wonderland »
- Anjelica Oswald
“All That Jazz” is perhaps the best feel-good, feel-bad, semi-autobiographical musical about death you will ever see. It’s also probably the only one. Bob Fosse’s gleefully morbid musical takes on his own impending death, inspired by his real-life hospitalization due to the exhaustion he suffered while directing "Chicago" on stage and editing "Lenny" for the big screen. It's honest, brutal, daring, endlessly creative and a bona fide masterpiece from that golden age we call '70s Hollywood. Die-hard fans of "All That Jazz," this writer included, had a lot to be joyful about this year, since The Criterion Collection recently released a gorgeous Blu-ray transfer of the film, along with a treasure trove of documentaries. If that wasn’t enough, Criterion’s YouTube account also posted a visual essay on Fosse’s non-linear editing style from Rogerebert.com editor Matt Zoller Seitz. The essay was supposed to be included on the Blu-ray, »
- Oktay Ege Kozak
The Criterion Blu-ray edition of Bob Fosse’s iconic 1979 showbiz drama All That Jazz hit shelves recently, but for diehard fans, there's even more Fosse-related goodness that didn't make it onto the disc. Over on RogerEbert.com, Vulture’s Matt Zoller Seitz writes about how his video essay about the editing of the film was cut by Criterion over concerns about rights clearances. Though a legal challenge was unlikely, Seitz says the video was axed because "if one did happen, and if Criterion either went to court and lost or decided to fold before it came to that, they'd have to physically recall all the discs and reprint them with a reedited version of my piece (or without the piece). And that would be very expensive." Thanks to the power of the internet, you can watch "Fosse Time" in full right here. »
- Anna Silman
All That Jazz is a masterpiece. The film transcends genre, as it’s a perfect blend of musical, dark comedy, biopic and fantasy. It’s a self-portrait, really, of co-writer and director Bob Fosse, and it’s made all the more impressive by the fact that it marked the second to last feature film from the man who had already helmed films like Cabaret, Sweet Charity, and Damn Yankees—talk about going out with a bang. It’s a seminal piece of cinema that is both wildly entertaining and introspective, ruminating on life and death in unique fashion, and the film has now been given the grand Criterion Collection treatment. It’s an absolute must-own for any serious film fan. Read my full All That Jazz Criterion Blu-ray review after the jump. The Film All That Jazz is largely based on the life of Fosse himself, drawing inspiration from the »
- Adam Chitwood
By Anjelica Oswald
The Academy has a long and complex relationship with musicals, particularly with their ability to secure best picture nominations. The best picture nomination for Les Miserables (2012) at the 85th Academy Awards marked the first time since Chicago’s (2002) nomination and win that a musical was nominated in that category, and as of this moment, there aren’t many options that could break into the category this year.
Since premiering at Toronto, The Last 5 Years — the film adaption of the off-broadway musical written by Jason Robert Brown — has been receiving decent reviews but nothing that would propel it to best picture status. The Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney said both Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan bring “confidence and depth of feeling” to their songs and “shift back and forth between rom-com breeziness and full-blown passion, be it the soaring highs or the heartsick lows” with ease, »
- Anjelica Oswald
The new issue of Cineaste is out, featuring interviews with Joaquim Pinto (What Now? Remind Me) and Andrew Rossi (Ivory Tower). Also in today's roundup of news and views: Henry K. Miller on 1963 as a watershed year for film criticism; an interview with Armond White; Michael Koresky on Terence Davies; David Bordwell looks back on the evolution of archives; Fabrice du Welz (Alleluia) revisits a moment in Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon; R. Emmet Sweeney writes about Jacques Tourneur's Out of the Past; Bob Fosse on All That Jazz; a trailer for a David Lynch exhibition—and more. » - David Hudson »
Recently taking stock of his career, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu began to wonder if he might have gotten stuck in a creative rut of his own making.
“It was like I was on a ladder, and I was getting a little too comfortable,” says the 51-year-old filmmaker as he holds out two clenched fists, miming the grip on that ladder. “I was just doing my work. It was a habit. I was stuck, half out of fear and half out of safety. And I said to myself, ‘I’m going to let go of the ladder.’ ”
For Inarritu, letting go meant taking a stab at his first full-fledged comedy, albeit one with a strong undercurrent of existential despair. In the director’s self-reflexive “Birdman,” Michael Keaton stars as an actor once famous for playing a superhero, now trying to save his »
- Scott Foundas
This week’s new Blu-ray releases include the latest season of one of the most popular shows on TV, a musical classic on Criterion, one of the year’s underseen dark comedies, and more. Check them out below: The Walking Dead: Season 4 [Blu-ray] - $29.99 (63% off) The Walking Dead: Season 4 Limited Edition [Blu-ray] - $79.99 (38% off) The Double [Blu-ray] - $12.26 (59% off) All That Jazz (Blu-ray + DVD) - $35.96 (10% off) Normal Heart [Blu-ray] - $21.24 (15% off) Sons of Anarchy: Season 6 [Blu-ray] - $29.99 (57% off) Blended (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD UltraViolet Combo Pack) - $22.99 (36% off) Belle [Blu-ray] - $19.99 (29% off) Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return [Blu-ray] - $15.00 (50% off)
- Adam Chitwood
All That Jazz (Criterion Collection) I've only seen Bob Fosse's All That Jazz once and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it a lot for its excellent photography, but I'm not sure I feel any need to purchase it. I didn't even ask for a review copy, but I will say were it to come on television I'm pretty sure it would be an easy movie to sink back into. One thing I will add, however, is Roy Scheider crushes this performance; a stand out, dripping with intensity performance that's certainly worth seeing. This new Criterion release comes loaded to the gills, here are the features: New 4K digital restoration, with 3.0 surround DTS-hd Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray Audio commentary featuring editor Alan Heim Selected-scene audio commentary by actor Roy Scheider New interviews with Heim and Fosse biographer Sam Wasson New conversation between actors Ann Reinking and Erzsebet Foldi »
- Brad Brevet
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