10 items from 2015
"Terminator Genisys" and "Thor: The Dark World" director Alan Taylor is set to direct the pilot for a sci-fi series adaptation of "Roadside Picnic" for Wgn America, Sony Pictures TV and Tribune Studios.
Based on Russian authors Arkady and Boris Strugatsky's famed 1972 novel, the story deals with an alien visitation to Earth whose aftermath has led to the creation of 'Zones' in the areas where the aliens had possibly landed.
Such zones exhibit strange and dangerous phenomena not understood by humans, and contain artifacts with inexplicable, seemingly supernatural properties.
Source: Deadline »
- Garth Franklin
Have you ever wondered what are the films that inspire the next generation of visionary filmmakers? As part of our monthly Ioncinephile profile, we ask the filmmaker (in this case, Norwegian filmmaker Eskil Vogt) to identify their all time top ten favorite films. Worth noting: this was a last minute request on my part, meaning the Scandi helmer did not have much time to reflect on film history in it’s totality — but Eskil was a great sport and kindly obliged. Vogt’s Blind receives its NYC release on September 4th via the Kim Stim folks and receives its VOD release via Fandor. Here is his top ten as of September 2nd, 2015.
Annie Hall – Woody Allen (1977)
“I almost put Desplechin’s “Ma vie sexuelle” here, but I guess even Desplechin would forgive me for replacing him with this. We are so many filmmakers to admire how Allen seemingly effortlessly gave »
- Eric Lavallee
In the new issue of Jacobin, Eileen Jones looks into why Buster Keaton hasn't been alone in his sympathy for the Confederacy. Also in today's roundup: Terence Nance's rap response to Straight Outta Compton, plus essays on Robert Bresson's The Devil, Probably, Michael Ritchie's Prime Cut, George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road, Preston Sturges, Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker, Barbara Steele, and Patrick Wang's The Grief of Others. Book reviews: Jonathan Rosenbaum on Richard Brody's biography of Jean-Luc Godard, the Nyt on Brian Kellow's biography of Hollywood agent Sue Mengers, the Film Stage on a new book on Bill Murray—and more. » - David Hudson »
A slo-mo kaleidoscope of medieval squalor, fear and pandemonium, Alexei German’s three-hour epic isn’t easy to watch, but it is awe-inspiring in its own monumentally mad way
The past is another planet – they do things differently there. This monochrome dream-epic of medieval cruelty and squalor is a non-sci-fi sci-fi; a monumental, and monumentally mad film that the Russian film-maker Alexei German began working on around 15 years ago. It was completed by his son, Alexei German Jr, after the director’s death in 2013. If ever a movie deserved the title folie de grandeur it is this, placed before audiences on a take-it-or-leave-it basis: maniacally vehement and strange, a slo-mo kaleidoscope of chaos and also a relentless prose poem of fear, featuring three hours’ worth of non-sequitur dialogue, where each line is an imagist stab with nothing to do what has just been said.
What on earth does it mean? »
- Peter Bradshaw
As far as the immersive powers of cinematic spectacle go, it’s doubtful any will come close to rivaling the achievements of Russian auteur Aleksei German, a figure many have hailed as the post important director in his country following Tarkovsky. And yet, he is still largely unknown, at least in comparison to the worldly renown of his comparable peers. Over his five decades as a filmmaker, German only produced five films, a perfectionist whose later works far outshine the fastidiousness displayed in the comparable methods of someone like Stanley Kubrick.
Obtaining a serviceable print of his titles often proves difficult (though the tenacious may yet unearth bootleg copies here and there), which hasn’t helped audiences acclimate to his idiosyncratic style. Passing away while working on the finishing touches of his last film, Hard to Be a God, a sci-fi epic taken as representative of the director’s work, »
- Nicholas Bell
Those cool Blu-ray distributors Arrow Films and Video have announced their line-up of releases for September 2015, and once again there are some real gems in the collection, including Milos Forman’s The Fireman’s Ball, the regular edition of Society (which has just had a steelbook collectors edition released this week) and Sean Connery’s space-opus Zardoz. All the details and artwork for the releases are below….
Closely Observed Trains – released September 27th
Shy teenage virgin Miloš gets his first job as a railway dispatcher and is suddenly forced to confront the realities of the adult world, not least the temptations of the opposite sex. But they in turn are more attracted to his more experienced colleague Hubi?ka and his distinctive way with an inkpad and rubber stamp…
This could easily have fuelled a light comedy, but Ji?í Menzel’s bittersweet feature debut is set during World War II in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, »
- Scott J. Davis
Above: 1936 alternative one sheet for Modern Times (Charlie Chaplin, USA, 1936), designer unknown, and Us one sheet for The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, USA, 1980), designer: Saul Bass (1920-1996).As serendipity would have it, the two most popular posters of the past three months of Movie Poster of the Day were these two black and yellow faces, one a little-known 1930s poster by a journeyman designer at a budget print house, the other a very well known 1980s poster by the most recognizable name in movie poster design. Modern Times and Modern Horror. I’m hoping the love they received (over 500 likes and reblogs for each) were just as much about the items they were promoting: one my article on Leader Press, the other the Poster Boys podcast on Saul Bass by fellow movie poster aficionados (and ace designers) Sam Smith and Brandon Schaefer. Another Poster Boys related poster—Drew Struzan’s The Thing—also made the list. »
- Adrian Curry
There's a scene near the exact midpoint of Leviathan where the main characters, their legal troubles apparently over, go for an idyll on the Russian coastline. They tease each other, drink vodka, and create their own makeshift shooting range—first with empty bottles, then with a framed portrait of Brezhnev. There's a tartness to the scene, not just from the booze and guns, but from the fact that just about everyone in the film has a dark, boorish side; corruption on a small scale instead of a large one. But there's a merry populism mixed in as well. One of the true surprises of Leviathan is how, for such a dour film, so much humor can be found in it. These people could just as easily be the townsfolk of Bedford Falls or John Ford's Ireland, and the film feels genuinely fond of them, corruption and all. It's easily Leviathan's funniest, »
- Duncan Gray
Plenty of coverage has come out of the Sundance Film Festival, which wrapped up last week and among our highlights is Wesley Morris's 5-part Sundance Diary for Grantland (Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Another Sundance favorite is Manohla Dargis's festival report for The New York Times:
"Every January at the Sundance Film Festival, a movie or two will pop, exciting a cinematic congregation that descends on this resort town praying for the next big thing and at times finding it. Last year the festival got the party started with “Whiplash,” one of its opening selections, and then sent attendees into raptures with “Boyhood.” No single title has dominated this year’s event, yet after a slow start that had some writing off the event before it really got going, good and great movies — from coming-of-age tales like The Diary of a Teenage Girl and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl to documentaries »
Directed by Aleksey German
“The scholar is not the enemy. The enemy is the scholar who doubts.”
Aleksey German’s Hard to Be a God is in the running for the most disgusting films I’ve ever seen. The film produces an enormously affecting, intricately detailed, and thoroughly realized visceral nightmare, one that never wanes or becomes numbing over its three-hour runtime but instead accumulates into an at-times overwhelming journey into a world run by a phantom regime of hedonist ignorance and reactionary cruelty. Built upon a twist on science fiction that probes fascinating questions about politics, morality, and the myth of the arc of human progress, Hard to Be a God uses this genre framework as a platform to manifest a carnival of depravity and filth. Decades in the making, »
- Landon Palmer
10 items from 2015
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