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2011 was one of the best years for film in recent years. There are about 25 films that could have made my top ten list and each film in my top 5 could be my number one. I saw about 100 films this year and I still wish I could have seen more. I feel very comfortable with my top ten and I feel like it was a good representative of the year in film. However I do feel that people looking at this article should go over to Sound On Sight and see all the staff’s individual lists, as well as the honorable mentions that just missed my list. You will find a great collection of films on those lists.
Directed by Sean Durkin
I saw Sean Durkin’s directorial debut in August and knew as soon as the last frame came up that this was the best picture of the year. »
- Josh Youngerman
Each week within this column we strive to pair the latest in theatrical releases to worthwhile titles currently streaming on Netflix Instant Watch. This week we offer alternatives to War Horse, Pariah, & A Separation.
With the Academy Awards eligibility deadline about to hit, three Oscar hopefuls do battle at the box office, including Steven Spielberg‘s latest epic, a gritty indie from Brooklyn, NY, and an Iranian thriller that’s drawing worldwide notice.
Based on Michael Morpurgo’s children’s novel and its resulting Broadway hit, Spielberg’s War Horse centers on the bond between a young man and his horse. With its posh pedigree, this drama is looking to win more than audience attention. [Full Review.]
Oscar loves a good war story:
The English Patient (1996) This epic World War II-set romance scored 12 Oscar nominations and took home nine, including honors for writer-director Anthony Minghella and star Juliette Binoche, not to mention Best Picture. »
- email@example.com (thefilmstage.com)
Long-time Steven Spielberg collaborator, production designer Rick Carter, is preoccupied with "the nature of conscience and the Goya-esque disasters of war." It began with Spielberg's "War of the Worlds" (a gritty metaphor for the destruction of the World Trade Center) and continued with "Munich" (terrorist reprisal),"Avatar" ("The Wizard of Oz" meets "Apocalypse Now"), "Sucker Punch" (war as a means of escaping insanity), "War Horse" (land and life laid waste during the Great War), and the upcoming "Lincoln" (putting a human face on the 16th President's crucible to win the Civil War and end »
In October of 2010, Sound on Sight asked me to do my first commemorative piece on the passing of filmmaker Arthur Penn. I suspect I was asked because I was the only one writing for the site old enough to have seen Penn’s films in theaters. Whatever the reason, it was an unexpectedly rewarding if expectedly bittersweet experience which led to a series of equally rewarding but bittersweet experiences writing on the passing of other filmdom notables.
I say rewarding because it gave me a nostalgic-flavored chance to revisit certain work and the people behind it; a revisiting which often brought back the nearly-forgotten youthful excitement that went with an eye-opening, a discovery, the thrill of the new. Writing them has also been bittersweet because each of these pieces is a formal acknowledgment that something precious is gone. A talent may be perhaps preserved forever on celluloid, but the filmography »
- Bill Mesce
In Paddy Considine’s directorial debut “Tyrannosaur,” Peter Mullan (“War Horse”) and Olivia Colman (“The Iron Lady”) play Joseph and Hannah, two troubled souls trapped in destructive home lives that manage to connect and find hope in the other. The two characters meet after Joseph, a bitter widower who’s just killed his dog, stumbles into a Christian charity run by Ms. Colman’s unhappily married wife, »
- Michelle Kung
As a film critic, I see a disquieting truth in this tale about a solitary cinemagoer – that no matter how much we write about films, we can never truly share how they make us feel
One of the most notable tales is the last, entitled The Starveling, and features a man living in New York, apparently in a state of advanced middle age, who is called Leo Zhezelniak – "it took half a lifetime before he began to fit into the name".
He shares an apartment, entirely amicably, with his ex-wife Flory who is an actor and radio announcer. As for Leo, he appears not to need to work for a living, and has cultivated the art of solitude. »
- Peter Bradshaw
Miami Vice, 2006.
Directed by Michael Mann.
Two Miami Vice detectives go undercover to bring down drug traffickers.
“When I first read Tony Yerkovich’s screenplay for the original Miami Vice [NBC, 1984 to 1989] pilot, my first instinct was to make this as a feature film,” revealed moviemaker Michael Mann who decided to revisit the idea. “It's all Jamie's [Foxx] fault because he talked me into this, starting in 2002, at [Mohammad] Ali's birthday party.” Mann was creatively inspired by the Emmy-winning television show. “If I took you through the first two years' episodes, which I consider to be the real core of Miami Vice, these are exactly the kind of stories that were being told. They were poignant, [and] emotional; they weren't happy endings.” What was really enticing about the project »
One director brought the smell of napalm in the morning to our screens. Another took us to a Galaxy far, far away. One brought Dinosaurs back to life and into our cinemas. We all know who they are: Coppola, Lucas and Spielberg. All of them seen above, minus Marty, have cracking beards, but that’s not the point. With the man holding the smaller Golden man, Martin Scorsese, having recently released the critically acclaimed Hugo into the cinematic realm we’re left to wonder; what’s happened to the rest of them? Their once almighty talents now seem to be focused upon diminishing their own legacies, the desire they once had to create and maintain their filmic reputations seem to be diminishing with every new feature they release. With Spielberg about to unleash his disappointing technological imagining of the Euro-centric Tintin on the American market this Christmas.
Let’s start with Coppola, »
- Dan Lewis
Jason Momoa is bloody tall and covered in muscles. As such, I rather hope he doesn’t read this review, track me down and flay me like the filthy pig-dog I am, because it’s not going to be pretty… After several minutes of narrated mumbo-jumbo about evil warlords and masks made of bones and barbarian hordes and etc, we are introduced to a very hairy Ron Perlman, who faced with his dying pregnant wife on a battlefield does as any right-thinking barbarian chief would and performs a snap caesarean and thus Conan is born and held aloft for all to see (there’s a lot of holding things aloft going on in this film, usually accompanied by manly bellowing).
Years later, Conan »
- Jack Kirby
Director/writer: Evan Glodell.
Bellflower is one of those films that are hard to describe. Surreal in some parts, meandering in others, this is a film that looks at heartbreak from a masculine perspective and the results are not always pretty. This film was well received at Sundance 2011 and Evan Glodell's first film as director is a little Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, a little bit of Apocalypse Now and even a bit of 1981's The Road Warrior.
Two friends, Woodrow (Evan Glodell) and Aiden (Tyler Dawson), have moved from Wisconsin to Los Angeles for their love of film. They truly adore Mad Max: The Road Warrior as Aiden quotes lines from Lord Humungus. So, they build a flamethrower and a car to prepare for a never coming apocalypse. Meanwhile Woodrow falls for Milly (Jessie Wiseman). Their multi-day trip to Texas and back is full of adventure and romance. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Allen)
This week sees the release of Andrea Arnold’s latest film Wuthering Heights: an affecting and starkly beautiful film which contradicts the old adage that great novels don’t translate into great films.
However, the two principal reasons for the success of this disturbing, gritty and highly idiosyncratic adaptation are Arnold and screenwriter Olivia Hetreed’s willingness to liberate themselves from the letter of the text, and to achieve the same ends as Bronte’s brooding, melancholic yet hauntingly beautiful prose through filmic techniques, rather than linguistic ones. The tender naiveté of Heathcliff and Cathy’s doomed romance is portrayed through physicality and gesture, such as their heavily symbolic wrestling in the mud, and her sensual licking of the wounds on his back. »
Editor’s Note: As part of our week-long Guide to The Muppets, Gwen Reyes takes a look at one of the funniest, most intimate and lovely scenes from the 1979 classic. Setting the Scene: 1979 was a pivotal year for cinema. Not only did modern classics like Alien, Apocalypse Now, and Caligula (!!) make their way into local movieplexes, but in the summer a little green frog and his lovable band of merry men (and pig) leaped from American homes to the big screen. Thanks entirely to the popularity of The Muppet Show Jim Henson’s iconic Muppets were in high demand. Considering how Hollywood obsessed Kermit and company were on their TV series, it only made sense the first film in a long line of Muppet features would be about the crew’s showbiz aspirations. Intentionally self-aware, the film begins with Kermit (voiced by Henson) introducing the final cut of The Muppet Movie in a private studio screening room »
- Gwen Reyes
After discovering over 50 interviews conducted by Charles Lippincott between 1975 and 1978 with the likes of George Lucas, John Barry, Gary Kurtz, and John Dykstra, author J.W. Rinzler saw a unique opportunity to definitively chronicle the behind-the-scenes sage involved in producing the original Star Wars (1977). “Reading the Lost Interviews was the giant first step in the rediscovery of a fascinating story and many half-forgotten stories,” writes Rinzler in the introduction for The Making of Star Wars which was published in 2007 to mark the 30th anniversary of the landmark movie. “Together, Lucas and his collaborators overcame health-shattering obstacles – storms, crises, an implacable studio, technical limitations, high stress, and bitter disappointment.”
Community, Season 3, Episode 8 “Documentary Filmmaking: Redux”
Airs Thursdays, 8pm Est on NBC
Before I start my review, let me address the elephant in the room. Yes the show was benched from the January lineup this week and it was a real shame to get that news. While it didn’t come as a huge shock to learn given the low ratings, it’s something that we all had hoped would never actually happen.
What I will say about it is this. The fans backlash at NBC for benching the show has been great so far. From starting petitions, to writing NBC letters about how much they love the show, to live tweeting #SaveCommunity and #sixseasonsandamovie during the episode to show how much we want the show to stay on the air. It’s not ideal that the show will go missing from the air for a few months but my »
- Yiannis Cove
There are some movies that are all right for remaking, and then there are some that shouldn’t even be thought of as needing a reboot. Hopefully Hollywood will heed this list as a very strong suggestion not to touch these 10 films: #10 “Apocalypse Now”: The 1979 film is one of the seminal films involving the Vietnam War. Not only does it show the harrowing side of war, but it also shows how the mindset of war can warp the mindset so totally that you aren’t the same anymore. It’s also the film that garnered the catchphrase “I love the smell of napalm in the morning!” If this is remade, »
Community: “Documentary Filmmaking: Redux – Recap
For the second time this year, Community has to live up to itself as it attempts a similar concept already explored in a previous episode. Last season, “Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking” explored the show as if a documentary crew were filming it, much the same way The Office and Modern Family are shot. It was a very successful experiment, hitting some great emotional beats for characters like Jeff and Pierce. “Documentary Filmmaking: Redux” let’s you know by the title alone the show is well aware it’s been down this road before. For the first chunk of the episode I was pretty unimpressed by anything that was going on. Redoing the whole fly-on-the-wall thing felt lazy. If the drive of the episode had rested entirely on Abed’s filming, Community would have been in a very bad place. Thankfully the actual story, Dean Pelton »
- Brody Gibson
In April 1979, Francis Ford Coppola threw a characteristically grandiose bash to celebrate the completion of Apocalypse Now, the picture that had threatened to become his Waterloo. It was at the apogee of the 1970s Hollywood renaissance, whose directors were suspended in that delightfully rarified moment after their biggest blockbusters and before their flops – and they all had at least one gargantuan flop ahead of them.
Coppola, as usual, was ahead of the game, or so it seemed. Apocalypse Now's chequered production history had produced wild press rumours of directorial overindulgence, perhaps even of a full swandive into film-making insanity, and the film's subsequent lofty place in the cinematic firmament was then far from secure. The film historian Peter Biskind, in his book Easy Riders, »
- John Patterson
What’s Dean got to do with it? In the case of this Thursday’s Community (8/7c, NBC), Greendale’s hairless fearless leader has everything to do with it.
Dean Pelton will soon be thrust into the spotlight when his attempts to revamp the college’s local commercial go terribly awry, and Abed is (once again) on hand to document the travesty (à la Apocalypse Now‘s true-to-life companion piece Hearts of Darkness).
Here is what Dean’s portrayer Jim Rash tells TVLine about his well-meaning character’s star-making moment, last week’s memorable Seal duet and much more. (Note: »
- Megan Masters
In our writers' favourite film series, Paul Hamilos swots up on Wes Anderson's ode to obsession and the geeks who never inherit the earth
• Grade Rushmore's efforts and attainments in your own review here, or prepare for bee-battling and brake-cable-slashing in the comments
I remember going into the cinema to watch Rushmore with no expectations. I hadn't read any reviews, nor had I seen Bottle Rocket, director Wes Anderson's first film. But as soon as the opening scene started rolling, and we settled down to watch Max Fischer completing "probably the hardest geometry equation in the world" (before having that whipped from under our feet as we realise he's only dreaming), I knew I was going to love it.
For starters, there's the cast. Bill Murray. Here he's on magisterial form as self-made millionaire industrialist Herman Bloom ("Take dead aim on the rich boys. Get them in »
- Paul Hamilos
Originally published in our Web Exclusives section on June 8, 2007.
It is entirely without hyperbole to introduce Vittorio Storaro as one of the most singular and influential cinematographers in the progression of modern motion pictures. His color palette on films such as The Conformist and Apocalypse Now is without peer, and long-lasting collaborations with directors Bernardo Bertolucci, Francis Ford Coppola and Warren Beatty have been recognized with three Oscars for Best Cinematography (Apocalypse Now (1979), Reds (1981) and The Last Emperor (1987)).
Storaro’s latest film is Caravaggio, screening this week as part of Lincoln Center’s series “Open Roads: New Italian Cinema” (June 6-14). He considers Caravaggio to be part of a new period for him as an artist; the first started in the late 1960′s and lasted until Apocalypse Now,; the second phase continued through The Last Emperor; the third culminated with The Sheltering Sky (1990); most recent, his collaboration with director Carlos Saura served as yet another. »
- Jason Guerrasio
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