15 items from 2015
Based on a novel published in 1978, "The World According To Garp" was released in 1982, and yet watching the film on the recently-released Blu-ray from Warner Archive, I was struck by how timely and even urgent the material felt, and how much more adult and daring it is than most of the movies released by studios today. Not only do they not make them like this anymore, but I'd offer the opinion that they never really did. How can a film from 1978 have a better handle on the times we're living in right now than most of the films coming out this year? After all, much of John Irving's novel is a direct reaction to the late '70s and what Irving thought of the social landscape at that particular moment. How relevant could it be today, since we've obviously progressed so much since then? You'd be surprised. For those »
- Drew McWeeny
More propulsive than many a car chase and as bone-crunching as any chopsocky fistfight, the pro-cycling races that drive Dante Lam’s “To the Fore” rep a feat of action choreography and virtuoso lensing seldom seen in a Hong Kong sports movie. Shot in locations all over Taiwan and Asia, the film merges diverse cycling styles with the stunning terrain to evoke the raw excitement of a live sports program. Plot and character, however, are stiffly shoehorned into a plethora of setpieces, and for all the film’s upbeat, motivational feel, the three protags’ conflict between camaraderie and personal glory comes off as formulaic. Still, the film is dynamic and entertaining enough to pedal its way to great B.O. gains in Chinese-speaking markets.
The Cantonese title, “Por Fung” (which unintentionally translates as “breaking wind” in English), refers to the cyclist’s need to push aside the air in front of him. »
- Maggie Lee
Director Marcus Nispel might be primarily known for helming 2003’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and 2009’s Friday The 13th remakes, as well as being in my opinion, one of the best music video directors of all time, but this week sees the release of Exeter, a film that has went through three years of shuffled release dates and name changes. Originally titled Backmask, Exeter is a breath of fresh air when it comes to the exorcism subgenre, a film that knows what its audience is, and revels in that self aware approach.
Nispel was nice enough to chat with us for a bit, regarding the long journey of Exeter and its do it yourself approach, the difference between a film like this and a big studio reboot, and…Charles Manson? Read on for one entertaining conversation with one of the nicest filmmakers working today, and catch Exeter when it hits »
- Jerry Smith
This week on Off The Shelf, Ryan is joined by Brian Saur to take a look at the new DVD and Blu-ray releases for the week of June 30th, 2015, and chat about some follow-up and home video news.
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Episode Links & Notes Top 5 Of 2015 (So Far)
5. Wolfen (Warner Archive)
4. River’s Edge (Kl Studio Classics)
3. Sullivan’s Travels (Criterion)
2. Blood and Black Lace (Arrow)
5. 3-D Rarities (Flicker Alley)
3. Thunderbirds (Shout! Factory)
2. Classics From The Van Beuren Studio (Thunderbean Animation)
1. Watership Down (Criterion Collection)
- Ryan Gallagher
We're just 9 days away from the launch of another Smackdown Summer. Rather than announce piecemeal, we'll give you all five lineups in case you'd like more time to catch up with these films (some of them stone cold classics) over the hot months. Remember to cast your own ballots during each month for the reader-polling (your 1979 votes are due by June 4th). Your votes count toward the final Smackdown win so more of you should join in.
These Oscar years were chosen after comment reading, dvd searching, handwringing, and desire-to-watch moods. I wish we had time to squeeze in a dozen Smackdowns each summer! As it is there will be Two Smackdowns in June, a gift to you since this first episode was delayed.
Sunday June 7th
The Best Supporting Actresses of 1979
- NATHANIEL R
1979 is our "Year of the Month" and this post was way way too much fun to research. Before the main course of the Supporting Actress Smackdown (pushed to June 7th), let's marinate a little in the year that was.
original print ad for Kramer vs. Kramer (available on eBay)
Best Movies According To...
Oscar: Kramer vs Kramer*, All That Jazz, Apocalypse Now, Breaking Away, and Norma Rae were the best pictures nominees but they also loved La Cage Aux Folles, The China Syndrome, Manhattan, Being There and The Black Stallion
- NATHANIEL R
HitFix's recent spate of "Best Year in Film History" pieces inevitably spurred some furious debate among our readers, with some making compelling arguments for years not included in our pieces (2007 and 1968 were particularly popular choices) and others openly expressing their bewilderment at the inclusion of others (let's just say 2012 took a beating). In the interest of giving voice to your comments, below we've rounded up a few of the most thoughtful, passionate, surprising and occasionally incendiary responses to our pieces, including my own (I advocated for The Year of Our Lynch 2001, which is obviously the best). Here we go... Superstar commenter "A History of Matt," making an argument for 1968: The Graduate. Bullit. The Odd Couple. The Lion in Winter. Planet of the Apes. The Thomas Crown Affair. Funny Girl. Rosemary's Baby. And of course, 2001, A Space Odyssey. And that's only a taste of the greatness of that year. "Lothar the Flatulant, »
- Chris Eggertsen
Those seeking a groove-tastic immersion in a gritty 1970s crime drama will want to pop Criterion’s new burn of The Friends of Eddie Coyle into the nearest blu-ray player. Directed with a cool efficiency by master storyteller Peter Yates, the film is a tale of small time hoods and the sketchy federal marshals who pursue them. Told under the gray, heavy skies of Boston, it depicts a working class world of tiny clapboard houses and chain link fences, with massive land yacht automobiles cruising its wet, glistening streets. With Dave Grusin’s funky yet foreboding score providing Fender Rhodes twinkles and wah-wah pedal counterpoint, The Friends of Eddie Coyle unfolds as a fine example this decade’s unique sub genre: Disco Noir.
- David Anderson
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. How to decide in the grand scheme of things which film year stands above all others? History gives us no clear methodology to unravel this thorny but extremely important question. Is it the year with the highest average score of movies? So a year that averages out to a B + might be the winner over a field strewn with B’s, despite a few A +’s. Or do a few masterpieces lift up a year so far that whatever else happened beyond those three or four films is of no consequence? Both measures are worthy, and the winner by either of those would certainly be a year not to be sneezed at. But I contend the only true measure of a year’s »
- Richard Rushfield
It's decided. After listening to your comments and perusing the lists again we've narrowed down which years we'll be doing this summer. The next Supporting Actress Smackdown will be 1979... So get to watching out there for maximum enjoyment when it arrives. And your enjoyment comes before that if you do because, Bonus, this is a good batch of films even beyond these talented ladies.
P.S. This also means that 1979 will be our unofficial 'year of the month' so we'll have other '79 related bits and bobs for you in May. Please to enjoy. Any requests? »
- NATHANIEL R
We’re sort of wishing the great Murray Walker would be available to commentate on this news story. Because just when Robert De Niro and the producers behind Ferrari were thinking they might have the track to themselves when it comes to biopics of car racing legend Enzo Ferrari, Here Comes Michael Mann, What A Surprise Contender, Breaking Away From The Pack To Turn This Into A Real Chase… Sorry, got carried away in true Murray style.But it’s true: Mann is now attached to guide a competing, as-yet-untitled biopic about Ferrari, who redefined the high-powered Italian sports car and was partly responsible for kick-starting Formula 1 racing. Mann has taken two existing scripts, one by The Italian Job’s Troy Kennedy Martin and another from Out Of Africa’s David Rayfield and put them through a Seth Brundle-style merging process to come out with one script. Everything is based »
Review: ‘The Last Man on Earth’ Detours From Network Norms, And We Love ThatCast: Will Forte, Kristen Schaal, January Jones, Mel Rodriguez, Cleopatra Coleman. The premiere episode airs at 8 p.m. Sunday on FOXThis review is based solely on the premiere.Bottom Line: Breaking away from formulaic sitcoms and network comedy is risky and quite brave, considering how much money (and how many jobs) is at stake to get a show developed these days. But NBC took a huge chance on “Welcome To Sweden,” a decidedly un-network-y comedy that works (very well in my opinion), so Fox goes with this interesting, […] »
- April Neale
Ben Rayner reviews Decay: The Mare…
Point and click games have seen somewhat of a revival in recent years, both from retro titles seeing re-releases and newer imaginings of the genre, most notably the recent swathe of games that simply demand you click everything in sight until you’ve hit the right item to progress. No, the latter isn’t a great representation of the genre but unfortunately exists.
The beauty of true point and click games however, is the breathing space you’re given. Breaking away from solid action, you’re drip fed story at a pace that works with your own learning curve so what better genre to mix with point and click, than horror!
This is something that Decay: The Mare is looking to throw your way, dropping you knee-deep into a psychological thriller with the concepts of murder, suicide and the supernatural all blended together as you’re hunted by… »
- Ben Rayner
Specialty Blu-ray label Twilight Time continues to show their deep love for film with a continually growing and constantly eclectic selection of releases. The next few months will see Blu-ray titles as varied as To Sir With Love, U-Turn, The Night of the Generals and Zardoz. There were five titles on last month’s slate (released on 1/20) including a great American underdog tale in Breaking Away, an Indian biopic of uprising and war with Bandit Queen, Francois Truffaut’s female-driven revenge film The Bride Wore Black, Woody Allen’s surreal ode to the cinema in The Purple Rose of Cairo and a 30th Anniversary release of Fright Night. That last title — the only one not covered below — was actually released by the label once before with a far slimmer selection of special features. It immediately became a collector’s item, and now, barely three weeks after its re-release, this anniversary edition is already fetching ridiculous sums from »
- Rob Hunter
The Little 500 bicycle race that takes place in Bloomington, In is known for two things: for being one of the craziest times for parties on a college campus, and for being one of the most exciting college sporting events in the country. Both amount to the title “The World’s Greatest College Weekend.”
For Indiana University alums like myself, memories of Little Five strike a chord. The movie Breaking Away, a fictional account of local riders (or “Cutters”) participating in the race, is essential viewing for Iu students. And the 200 lap, 50 mile, relay bike race is a thrilling experience, perhaps only second to the real Indy 500.
So we were thrilled to discover that a documentary, One Day in April, was being made about the race and that the film would be getting its World Premiere at the upcoming Cinequest Festival on February 28. Directed by Thomas Miller, a former Iu student, »
- Brian Welk
15 items from 2015
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