20 items from 2015
Mission Impossible Rogue Nation review: Tom Cruise is back in quite possibly the best film in the series. Action-packed, unrelenting, fun-filled and extremely funny, Rogue Nation delivers in spades. Mission Impossible Rogue Nation review
It could be questioned as to why the world needed another Mission: Impossible movie. Tom Cruise and his mates have been churning out these films since the mid-nineties, and with him now knocking on into his fifties, we have to ask if he’s still able to keep up with the best of them.
After securing some pretty major directors for the previous four instalments (Brian De Palma, John Woo, J.J. Abrams and Brad Bird), all stamping their own mark and style on the franchise, number five goes to a former writer turned director (with just two other credits to his name) in Christopher McQuarrie – the man that set the world alight in the mid-nineties with The Usual Suspects. »
- Paul Heath
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
It may seem unusual for a renowned film director to suddenly switch mediums and helm an opera, but such a thing has happened a number of times before: for example, Woody Allen has directed Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi” for the Los Angeles Opera; legendary Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami has helmed Mozart’s “Cosi Fan Tutte” for the Aix-en-Provence Festival; Julie Taymor has directed Mozart's "The Magic Flute" for the Metropolitan Opera in New York, as well as the Broadway musical adaptations of "The Lion King" and "Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark"; Roman Polanski has helmed Verdi's “Rigoletto” for the Bavarian State Opera; William Friedkin has directed a version of Alban Berg’s “Wozzeck”; and Werner Herzog has helmed a number of Wagner productions including “Doktor Faust,” “The Flying Dutchman” and “Parsifal”. Read More: Terry Gilliam: My Life In Eight Movies Terry Gilliam is among this elite group, »
- Timothy Tau
Congratulations to Jules O'Dwyer and her loveable border collie Matisse who won Britain's Got Talent last night (May 31). We must admit we came over a tad teary-eyed when Matisse's three-legged collie companion Skippy made his debut in their final act.
Last night's final prompted us to look back at all eight winners from the ITV talent show to see how they faired after their victories.
From Collabro to Pudsey the dog - which acts have had the most success post-bgt? Here's our ranking below:
1. Paul Potts
Paul Potts stunned the judges, audience and viewers of Bgt alike with his breathtaking rendition of 'Nessun Dorma' on the ITV talent show's first run in 2007. His audition became a YouTube sensation and was later confirmed as the fourth most viewed YouTube video in the UK.
Following his transition from Carphone Warehouse salesman to Bgt winner, Potts released his debut album One Chance »
Wielding the biggest movie production-distribution-sales muscle of any film company outside the U.S., Euro film-tv group Studiocanal has boarded Marion Cotillard starrer “From the Land of the Moon” (Mal de Pierres), an upscale period drama produced by Alain Attal’s Les Productions du Tresor.
Studiocanal will handle world sales rights to “From the Land of the Moon” and distribute it France, the U.K., Germany, Australia and New Zealand, where it runs direct distribution operations.
Cotillard will play opposite Louis Garrel, a French actor who earned a Cesar nom for his perf in Bertrand Bonello’s “Saint Laurent” and made his directorial debut with “Two Friends,” which opens at Cannes’ Critics Week this year.
Witten by Garcia and Jacques Fieschi (“Yves Saint Laurent”) and adapted from Milena Agus’ bestseller “Mal de pierres,” the post-World War II drama is a portrait of a sensitive and wild-spirited woman torn between the »
- Elsa Keslassy
Chinese and English-language versions of “Turandot” are set to be the first two movies produced through a new partnership between Canada’s Stratagem Entertainment and Chengdu Tianyin Culture Communication Co. (Ctccc). The relationship also involves the establishment of a $200 million production fund, expected to back a slate of six to eight films over a five-year period.
The deal is in addition and separate to Stratagem’s recently hatched $800 million deal with China Film Group, New Zealand’s Huhu Studios and China Film Co-Production Corp.
Ctccc is a state-owned enterprise backed by the Chengdu city authorities, Sichuan Province and the Old Silk Road Investment Fund.
The Turandot films are based on the legend of Turan-Dokht, written by Haft-Peykar, in which a determined prince has to solve three deadly riddles in order to marry a disdainful princess. It was previously adapted as an opera by Giacomo Puccini.
Ctccc chairman Chen Yong Ning »
- Patrick Frater
Natalie Portman and husband-to-be Benjamin Millepied on the Red Carpet Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied at the Oscars Best Actress winner Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied (at the time, Portman's husband-to-be)* arrive at the 2011 Academy Awards ceremony held on Feb. 27 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. Portman took home the Oscar for her performance as a mentally unstable ballerina in Darren Aronofsky's psychological drama Black Swan. An international box office hit, Black Swan was also a Best Picture nominee, ultimately losing the Oscar to Tom Hooper's The King's Speech. Besides Natalie Portman and dancer-choreographer Benjamin Millepied, also in the Black Swan cast are Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder, Barbara Hershey, and Vincent Cassel. Portman's fellow Best Actress contenders were: Annette Bening for The Kids Are All Right. Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine. Nicole Kidman for Rabbit Hole. Jennifer Lawrence for Winter's Bone. Natalie Portman had been previously nominated in »
- D. Zhea
Brad Pitt 'Glory Days' costar Nicholas Kallsen Brad Pitt 'Glory Days' costar Nicholas Kallsen dead at 48 Nicholas Kallsen, who was featured opposite Brad Pitt in the short-lived television series Glory Days, has died at age 48 in Thailand according to online reports. Their source is one of Rupert Murdoch's rags, citing a Facebook posting by one of the actor's friends. The cause of death was purportedly – no specific source was provided – a drug overdose.* Aired on Fox in July 1990, Glory Days told the story of four high-school friends whose paths take different directions after graduation. Besides Nicholas Kallsen and Brad Pitt, the show also featured Spike Alexander and Evan Mirand. Glory Days lasted a mere six episodes – two of which directed by former Happy Days actor Anson Williams – before its cancellation. Roommates Nicholas Kallsen and Brad Pitt vying for same 'Thelma & Louise' role? The Murdoch tabloid also »
- Andre Soares
Daredevil signs off its first season with a new suit and an emotionally satisfying finale. How long's the wait until season 2, again?
With the whole series of Daredevil now available on Netflix, the race is on to reach the ending before someone spoils it for you. But that presents us with a problem. How do we approach reviews? It's not much use speculating about the future of the series when it's available at a moment's notice, but watching the whole thing in one go for a single review is impractical for anyone with a day job and personal relationships to maintain – to say nothing of how difficult it is to critically appraise 12 hours of television if you don't savour the instalments properly.
That's why, instead of traditional reviews, we're trying something new. An episode-by-episode unpicking of the show, looking at its techniques, characters and use of the source material. Call them annotations, »
It’s got more marches than “The Music Man,” more battle scenes than “La Forza del Destino,” and it must set a record for the number of gun shots and bomb detonations in a Broadway musical. If all that noise doesn’t inspire an immediate visit to the ear doctor, there’s the score by Michael Korie, Amy Powers and Lucy Simon that’s guaranteed to require it. If that opening paragraph reads like an overly critical assessment of the new musical “Doctor Zhivago,” which opened Monday at the Broadway Theatre in New York, it’s nothing compared to the »
- Robert Hofler
Fillip Cornershop Satiediously, vol. 2 (Unheard Universe) Following up on last year's initial Satie volume, Cornershop now delivers a unique reading of Satie's notorious "Vexations," the one-page piece which Satie said should be performed with repeats until it totaled 840 times through the printed text (or perhaps not; debate has raged since its 1949 publication). Cornershop brings the piece in at a monumental 48 hours (more traditional performances of the 840-times length range from 18 to 28 hours).
As I was wondering how Cornershop could achieve such a performance without the aid of caffeine, which in turn would mitigate against his chosen slow tempo, I noticed a splice after the 168th time through and then, in turn, after the 336th. Shortly after the latter, and concurrent with my wife's threat of divorce, I had to stop listening, but a little math revealed to me that 1 through 168 and 169 through 336 were precisely the same length, so it appears »
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) never left Germany but became internationally respected by his peers during his lifetime and a symbol of pure musicianship for future generations. A virtuoso organist, harpsichordist, and violinist/violist who may have also played lute, as a composer his mastery of counterpoint and fugal writing remain unmatched, yet he was also open to the influences of contemporary Italian and French composers.
Born into a highly musical family in Eisenach, Germany, Bach became organist at the Neukirche in Arnstadt in 1703 at the age of 18. His first major appointment was as court organist to Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Weimar, in 1708; six years later the Duke made him Concertmaster. In 1717 Bach became Kapellmeister and music director to the music-loving Prince Leopold of Anhalt in Cöthen, where Bach wrote much of his greatest secular music. Bach's duties switched to writing choral and organ music for use in church services »
At a loss for what to watch this week? From new DVDs and Blu-rays, to what's streaming on Netflix, we've got you covered.
New on DVD and Blu-ray
This gorgeous Oscar-nominated animated feature is about a girl named Saoirse and her brother Ben, who discovers that the fairy tales his mother told him about selkies -- half human, half seal creatures -- are all too true.
Here's another animated feature, albeit one with a much more modern flair. The bumbling penguins of previous "Madagascar" films are recruited for a wild espionage adventure. Voice actors include Benedict Cumberbatch, John Malkovich, Chris Miller, and plenty of others.
TV Worth Watching
"Dancing With the Stars" (Monday, ABC at 8 p. »
- Jenni Miller
We all know that will.i.am likes to cut it fine on The Voice UK but he took it to new levels this series, waiting until the very final act before completing his team! Read on for your round-up of the 12 contestants batting for Team Will...
1. Andrew Marc
What you need to know: Andrew was the very last contestant to audition - and so the very last member of Will's team! He's a Tina Turner impersonator (he also pays tribute to Shirley Bassey and Sir Tom Jones) who is inspired by his dad.
Blind audition song: 'Super Bass' - Nicki Minaj
We're getting down to the wire on The Voice UK tonight, with those teams looking mighty full. With just one week left of blind auditions after tonight, it is seriously tense in those coaches' chairs...
Sure, there was time for them to have a little fun - we're looking at you, the sequence of Sir Tom Jones saying "yeah" repeatedly (which we loved, obviously) - but they also had to get serious. So congratulations are in order for the six acts that made it through tonight - here's what we made of them...
1. Sheena McHugh
Song: 'Hold On, We're Going Home' - Drake
Team: Team Will (all four coaches turned)
Sheena's not exactly had an easy time of it - she lost her voice for six months after a dreadful car accident in which she ruptured her spleen, tore her intestine, broke her back... I mean, wow. As if that wasn't emotional enough, »
There are only two weeks left of blind auditions, so it's going to take someone pretty special to get those coaches to turn around - they're running out of space on their teams pretty quickly, after all...
There are 12 acts we get to see on Saturday who are hoping that they've got what it takes to impress and make it through to the battle rounds. But if you want a little bit more info on who they are and what they'll be singing, you're in luck - we have all the gossip here...
1. Karl Loxley - 24, Coventry
Song: 'Nessun Dorma' - Turandot
What you need to know: Karl - who studied musical theatre at Guildford School of Acting - works in a supermarket but also performs at residential homes, working men's clubs and festivals. He has a lot of elderly fans, including a friend called Liz in her »
Live television is a high-wire act in the best of times. But on a Grammy telecast, with its mercurial slate of divas and rock stars, even the best-laid plans often go awry.
When that happens, and the show threatens to go off the rails, it’s up to producer Ken Ehrlich to improvise and avert disaster — whether it’s the day before, or the show is already under way.
In 2009, production toppers received word the morning of the show, during dress rehearsal, that Rihanna would not be performing as scheduled. A few acts later in the show order, Chris Brown missed his rehearsal slot. They later learned he was preparing to turn himself in to the police ahead of felony criminal threat charges. With three hours to air, Ehrlich had a 10-minute hole in the show.
“You can’t panic in a situation like that, because once you do, you’ve lost your way, »
- Lisa Schulz
20 items from 2015
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