1-20 of 87 items from 2015 « Prev | Next »
"The enjoyment of a work of art, the acceptance of an irresistible illusion, constituting, to my sense, our highest experience of "luxury," the luxury is not greatest, by my consequent measure, when the work asks for as little attention as possible. It is greatest, it is delightfully, divinely great, when we feel the surface, like the thick ice of the skater's pond, bear without cracking the strongest pressure we throw on it. The sound of the crack one may recognise, but never surely to call it a luxury." —Henry James, from The Preface to The Wings of the Dove (1909) "[The critic’s] choice of best salami is a picture backed by studio build-up, agreement amongst his colleagues, a layout in Life mag (which makes it officially reasonable for an American award), and a list of ingredients that anyone’s unsophisticated aunt in Oakland can spot as comprising a distinguished film. This prize picture, »
- Greg Gerke
Directed by Antoine Fuqua.
Boxer Billy Hope turns to trainer Tick Willis to help him get his life back on track after losing his wife in a tragic accident and his daughter to child protection services.
If Antoine Fuqua has succeeded in any way by making Southpaw, it’s confirmation that we do not need another boxing drama anytime soon – or at the very least not one as lifeless, predictable and uninspired as this. It sullies the name of the great ones to even mention Southpaw in the same review.
Having said that, there is no easy way around the pitfalls of the movie without drawing comparisons as to why similar pictures work so well; after all, our appreciation of such stories is driven by what we’ve seen before and »
- Gary Collinson
Despite the extra beef, Jake Gyllenhaal fails to connect in this by-the-numbers boxing flick
The boxing movie is the ultimate temptation for screen actors keen to prove their macho mettle. Playing a pugilist can be faked, but if you want to look really convincing, you have to pump up – and, if things are done authentically, you can never be sure that your pretty face won’t be irreversibly modified in the process. The main draw of Antoine Fuqua’s Southpaw is the metamorphosis undergone by Jake Gyllenhaal, who spent five months in training to transform himself into a lumbering, mumbling slab of battered meatloaf.
Gyllenhaal is as intense as you might expect playing champion bruiser Billy Hope, who has it all, loses it all, then hits that much-slogged Hollywood highway Redemption Road. Despite some ferociously Scorsese-esque effects in the showdowns that bookend the film, Southpaw is closer to Rocky than to Raging Bull, »
- Jonathan Romney
In Southpaw, out Friday, Gyllenhaal needed to play a light heavyweight boxing champ, Billy "The Great" Hope.
"He said, 'He's the wrong guy, you picked the wrong guy,'" said Fuqua.
Gyllenhaal could hardly be blamed. He'd never boxed and Fuqua was looking for something specific.
As a lifetime boxing student and devotee, the Training Day director wanted realism in his movie. He'd never directed a film about the sport he loved so dearly and he really didn't want to make just another boxing movie.
Between Rocky and Raging Bull and a number of lesser imitators, the cinema is a not so secret fan »
- Cineplex.com and contributors
Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a boxer at the top of his game. After a tragic accident which sees his wife (Rachel McAdams) die, his world spirals from under him. He then must start the gruelling take of pulling himself back together for the sake of his young daughter (Oona Laurence).
As Jake Gyllenhaal gets older it seems that he approaches projects from a more mature angle. In the last few years he has appeared in some of the best indie movies going, with both Prisoners and Nightcrawler showcasing just how strong a performance he can give. Now comes Southpaw, directed by Training Day director Antoine Fuqua, in which Gyllenhaal gives one hell of a performance.
In Southpaw he plays Billy Hope, a one time orphan who is now »
- Kat Smith
Ever since two men slipped on gloves and sparred in a squared space, boxing has been a popular subject for mass media. I mean it’s a perfect venue, one man battling another, for everything from the legitimate theatre (the stage classic “Golden Boy”) and comic strips (“Joe Palooka” was a media sensation). But it seems to have been tailor-made for cinema, since it can cross over from “sports flick” to many other genres. It’s been a setting for laughs with screen comedians from Buster Keaton to Kevin James dancing about the canvas (plus The Main Event was a boxing “rom com”). And there are boxing biographies from Gentleman Jim to Ali. One modestly-budgeted 1976 smash turned into a huge franchise with Rocky (which will soon continue with Creed). But boxing’s biggest impact may be in prestige dramas, with Wallace Beery earning an Oscar as The Champ to the »
- Jim Batts
Written by Kurt Sutter
Directed by Antoine Fuqua
All boxing films come down to three storylines, or all three wrapped in one—get beaten, get angry, get back to the top. Eighty years have passed since Wallace Beery made The Champ and Southpaw doesn’t try to rewrite the formula. It’s not a surprise, Barton Fink broke himself that way. Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) is the light heavyweight champion of the world, but it wasn’t always the high life. Billy was raised dumped from one foster home to the next because of his mother’s incarceration, but he eventually met his wife Maureen (Rachel McAdams) in a Hell’s Kitchen orphanage and turned it all around.
- Colin Biggs
Movies about boxers enjoyed a revival in the 1970s, marked by the popularity of Rocky, a well-made tale about an underdog getting a shot at the title, and the artistry of Raging Bull, which depicted the savagery of the sport and its participants both inside and outside the ring. Between those two high points, very few boxing movies have rung the bell, as far as quality or endurance are concerned. Southpaw, originally conceived as a star vehicle for pop star Marshall Mathers (aka Eminem) by writer Kurt Sutter, falls solidly into the middle, neither sufficiently rousing nor markedly distinctive to satisfy those who are not boxing fanatics. As directed by Antoine Fuqua, Southpaw is never less than a watchable enterprise. Mauro Fiore's cinematography is a...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
BBC Culture has this week unveiled a new list of the top 100 American films, as voted for by a pool of international film critics from across the globe. The format of the poll was that any film that would make the list had to have recieved funding from a Us source, and the directors of the films did not need to be from the USA, nor did the films voted for need to be filmed in the Us.
Critics were asked to submit their top 10 lists, which would try to find the top 100 American films that while “not necessarily the most important, but the greatest on an emotional level”. The list, as you may have guessed, is very different to the lists curated by say the BFI or AFI over the years, so there are certainly a few surprises on here, with Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave (2013), Terrence Malick »
- Scott J. Davis
First off, let's make one thing clear. We're not scratching our heads at Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing" making the BBC's 100 greatest American films. That movie, of which an image accompanies this post, not only made the list, but ranked appropriately at no. 25. It's the rest of the selections that have us scratching and, yes, shaking our heads in disbelief. A wonderful page view driver, these sorts of lists make great fodder for passionate movie fans no matter what their age or part of the world they hail from. There is nothing more entertaining than watching two critics from opposite ends of the globe try to debate whether "The Dark Knight" should have been nominated for best picture or make a list like this. Even in this age of short form content where Vines, Shapchats and Instagram videos have captured viewers attention, movies will continue to inspire because »
- Gregory Ellwood
Leave it to the Brits to compile a list of the best American films of all-time. BBC Culture has published a list of what it calls "The 100 Greatest American Films", as selected by 62 international film critics in order to "get a global perspective on American film." As BBC Culture notes, the critics polled represent a combination of broadcasters, book authors and reviewers at various newspapers and magazines across the world. As for what makes an American filmc "Any movie that received funding from a U.S. source," BBC Culture's publication states, which is to say the terminology was quite loose, but the list contains a majority of the staples you'd expect to see. Citizen Kane -- what elsec -- comes in at #1, and in typical fashion The Godfather follows at #2. Vertigo, which in 2012 topped Sight & Sound's list of the greatest films of all-time, comes in at #3 on BBC Culture's list. »
- Jordan Benesh
Every now and then a major publication or news organisation comes up with a top fifty or one hundred films of all time list - a list which always stirs up debate, discussion and often interesting arguments about the justifications of the list's inclusions, ordering and notable exclusions.
Today it's the turn of BBC Culture who consulted sixty-two international film critics including print reviews, bloggers, broadcasters and film academics to come up with what they consider the one-hundred greatest American films of all time. To qualify, the film had to be made by a U.S. studio or mostly funded by American money.
Usually when a list of this type is done it is by institutes or publications within the United States asking American critics their favourites. This time it's non-American critics born outside the culture what they think are the best representations of that culture. Specifically they were asked »
- Garth Franklin
Pounded into form with blunt repetition that’s usually reserved for making horseshoes, Southpaw is an early potential awards contender that’s trained under the best. From Rocky, it’s picked up the hardscrabble fight of an inner city underdog; from Raging Bull, a temper that burns hot enough to self-immolate. What Southpaw fails to showcase is any technique in its skillset worth calling its own. Every move is one that’s been practiced and perfected countless times already by other entrants in a crowded genre, with Southpaw boiling the sweet sciences of boxing and sports drama down to their crudest formula.
Resembling a scarecrow less than a year ago for Nightcrawler, a now marble-cut Jake Gyllenhaal stars as prizefighter and undefeated light heavyweight champion Billy Hope. Like his entourage and wife, Maureen (Rachel McAdams), Billy grew up on the streets of New York a ward of the state. Unloved and violent as a youth, »
- Sam Woolf
20th Century Fox
Hollywood is packed to the brim with actors desperate to prove just how dedicated they are to their craft, which is why so many of them ultimately choose to go “full-on method” when it comes to certain roles. They want you to know how serious acting is, okay?
Each to their own, we guess. And that’s a notion – “each to their own” – that really resonants when you look at some of the truly strange ways in which some actors allowed themselves to get into character for famous films and TV shows. You have to ask: were a lot of these approaches really necessary, or were said actors just wasting time?
10. Robert De Niro Insisted On Wearing The Same Silk »
- Sam Hill
I interviewed James Coburn in late 1998 for the cover story of the February 1999 issue of Venice Magazine. I had grown up watching Coburn on the late show, but also seeing him on the big screen, first-run. Meeting him was a thrill as he entered the living room of his manager, the late Hilly Elkins', home in Beverly Hills. Coburn was elegant, charming and had the grace of a cat. The only thing that revealed the health problems that had nearly done him in were his gnarled hands, the result of severe arthritis. We spoke about his role in Paul Schrader's newest film, "Affliction," which would earn him a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award. Later, as I walked Coburn to his Acura Nsx sport coupe, he bid me a warm farewell.
Several months later, I encountered him again at The Independent Spirit Awards, in Santa Monica. I went up »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
Last week's MPAA bulletin had two titles and both were notable releases, this week has nine titles and only one of them really moves the dial... at all. That one being Stonewall, which I'm sure most people drooling over Roland Emmerich's current project, Independence Day: Resurgence, forgot all about. Well, if you're in that camp, let me remind you. Stonewall is a drama centered on the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York, an event widely considered the starting point for the modern gay civil rights movement. The movie stars Jeremy Irvine, Caleb Landry Jones, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Ron Perlman, Joey King and Karl Glusman. Here's the synopsis: Kicked out of his own home, young Danny Winters (Jeremy Irvine) flees to NY, leaving behind his beloved sister (Joey King). Homeless and destitute, he befriends a group of street kids who soon introduce him to the watering hole of the local drag queens, »
- Brad Brevet
Directed by Bob Rafelson
Five Easy Pieces follows along an existential strain of American cinema that began with films like The Graduate (1967) and Easy Rider (1969), where, in the latter example, two men went looking for America and, as its tagline states, couldn’t find it anywhere, and continued through the vehement introspection that emerged from the tormented minds of Martin Scorsese’s anti-heroes, like Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver ) and Jake La Motta (Raging Bull ). Somewhere in between these two manifestations of anguish is Jack Nicholson’s Robert Eroica Dupea, the main character of Bob Rafelson’s 1970 feature. Disenchanted with life and the people who surround him, and utterly aimless in his restless, insatiable quest for self-contentment, Bobby is continually disheartened by the realization that his ideals of happiness and unhappiness don’t apply to everyone else, and may not even be applicable to himself. »
- Jeremy Carr
"Inside Out" is an emotional, sometimes devastating look at a young girl's emotions as illustrated through five dynamic creatures: Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler), Anger (Lewis Black), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), and Fear (Bill Hader). Fear is the rubberiest member of the quintet, a nervous and jittery fellow whose eyes always seem ready to burst of his head. Naturally Bill Hader is a fine fit for the part. His time on "SNL" proved his greatest strength is playing characters who are soulfully weird. We caught up with Hader to discuss how he got the part of Fear in "Inside Out," how "The Skeleton Twins" changed his life, and why Martin Scorsese is so meaningful to him. Can you see yourself in the physical movements of your character? Is that disturbing? Not disturbing, but it's there. I watched it with my wife at this cast-and-crew screening, and my wife said, »
- Louis Virtel
20th Century Fox
Sometimes, to really pull off a role, it’s necessary to go ‘method’. This usually involves an actor making a direct physical or psychological connection with his or her character in order to portray them, often living as the character or at last echoing their mannerisms as closely as possible in their private life.
Actors famously associated with method acting, making huge physical or emotional sacrifices for their art, include cinema heavyweights such as Robert De Niro and Daniel Day-Lewis. De Niro famously became a boxer for his role as Jake Lamotta in Raging Bull, going through a rigorous physical regime and even entering three fights (he won two) while being trained by the man himself. He then gained 60lbs to portray the physical deterioration of Lamotta in later life.
Crazy stuff, but De Niro, Day-Lewis and others have all been honoured by the acting community for their dedication to the craft, »
- Adam Thompson
Oscar winning producer Robert Chartoff, who shared an Academy Award win with his producing partner Irwin Winkler for 1976’s Rocky, has died aged 81. Chartoff, who was battling pancreatic cancer, died on Wednesday.
He had been partnered with Winkler for many years, and was behind such films such as They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, The Gambler, True Confessions and Point Blank. The duo would win an Oscar for their work on Rocky, and were also Oscar-nominated for Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull and The Right Stuff, directed by Philip Kaufman.
More recently, Chartoff had worked on Ender’s Game, Sylvester Stallone’s upcoming film Scarpa, and the latest entry into the Rocky franchise Creed, which stars Michael B. Jordan (Fantastic Four) as the son of famous fighter Apollo Creed who is trained by Rocky, and is due for release in 2016.
Chartoff-Winkler produced all of the Rocky films, with the first earning 10 Oscar nominations, »
- Scott J. Davis
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