9 items from 2011
Our round-up of John Barry’s non-Bond movie scores continues with a look at some romantic compositions from the disco decade…
As we embark on the fourth part of our appreciation of John Barry’s career beyond Bond, we move into a decade renowned for its glitter balls, bell-bottoms and jiggle television. However, this phase of Barry’s career is representative of a burgeoning interest in more emotionally charged, fractured and complex ideas, viewed through the filter of a maturing, mellowing artist.
Even the most vibrant, exotic scores could not disguise the introspection and sensitivity of the man himself. He continued to chase universal themes – and he was still capable of conjuring up worlds of intrigue and drama – but the projects he gravitated towards more in the wake of Midnight Cowboy were those that allowed him to explore more intimate musical textures.
Barry still accepted a range of eclectic assignments, »
Chicago – Self-distributing an intimate, character-driven documentary may seem as daunting a task as bending a penny with your fingers. And yet, first-time feature director Zachary Levy is up to challenge (the former of the two, of course). His 2009 documentary, “Strongman” played to great acclaim at festivals, and is set to kick off a return engagement at the Facets Cinémathèque starting May 11.
Levy’s camera followed the self-touted “strongest man in the world,” Stanley “Stanless Steel” Pleskun for a decade, observing the formidable physical specimen as he struggled with everyday issues—both personal and professional. Hollywood Chicago spoke with Levy about his approach to cinema verité filmmaking, his love of Albert and David Maysles’ 1968 classic “Salesman,” and his advice for filmmakers looking to distribute their own work.
HollywoodChicago.com: How did your experience in cinematography prepare you for your work as a documentarian?
Zachary Levy: Well, in some ways it »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
Production begins today on Gambit, a caper comedy that stars Colin Firth as a London art curator who plans to con England's richest man into buying a phony Monet painting. To do it, he enlists a Texas steer roper (Cameron Diaz) to pose as a woman whose grandfather liberated the painting at the end of WWII. Michael Hoffman is directing, Alan Rickman and Tom Courtenay also star, and it's Firth's first big job since winning the Best Actor Oscar for The King's Speech. And the script was written by Oscar winners Joel and Ethan Coen. Isn't Hollywood great, the way these things just magically come together? Gambit actually took a remarkable 14 years to get to this point, a case study on how impossible it is for producers to succeed without infinite patience and an inability to comprehend the word "no." These Don Quixote types are the only ones in the »
- MIKE FLEMING
There is a curse on any composer rash enough to set Goethe's Faust to music. The German literary genius declared only Mozart capable of adapting his epic drama of damnation, sexual betrayal, witchcraft and freeform philosophic meditation. Selfishly, Mozart had died in 1791, almost 20 years before Goethe completed part one. So forever after, we have been doomed to suffer Faustian adaptations that the author would have disdained.
Perhaps Goethe's curse was issued because of That Thing he had with Beethoven. When Goethe met Beethoven (What a film! Hugh Bonneville as genteel, bewigged Goethe; Russell Crowe as Beethoven, surly and spoiling for a fight), the former bowed like a courtier; the latter didn't even remove his hat. You can see how »
- Stuart Jeffries
Beyond Buñuel, Spanish film-makers struggled to make an international impact – until Franco's death in 1975 liberated an entire generation
Spain embraced the new medium of cinema at the turn of the century as fervently as any of its European counterparts; this film of a religious procession in 1902, by the splendidly named Fructuos Gelabert, is typical of the early amateurs.
In Segundo de Chomón, however, Spain produced a trickster director
to rival France's Georges Méliès.
De Chomón worked mostly in France, and even made An Excursion to the Moon, his own version of Méliès's most famous film.
The early sound period fared little better, as political convulsions in the run-up to the civil war made a settled industry difficult.
After L'Age d'Or (1930), his second French film, »
- Andrew Pulver
The travails of the actor, writer and director Orson Welles are so well known that they are emblazoned on the psyche of movie makers world-wide as a cautionary tale about the penury that industry can inflict upon the conceits of uncompromised auteurism. Welles’ many, ultimately fruitless, battles with various actors, studios, producers and distributors have been retold with such frequency- particularly in their parallels with modern renegades of cinema – that they have almost become cliché; the legends surrounding his battles with money men and legal team are now the stuff of legend.
The number of projects seemingly unfinished or abandon is impressive in a way, seemingly paralleled the peaks and troughs of a manic depressive personality, though more often, the failure of much of his work to reach fruition was a combination of financial mismanagement and arbitrary personal misfortune.
Among the distinguished list of projects unfinished in ells lifetime were: »
- Benjamin Szwediuk
This time last year, Peter Bogdanovich warned that, due to the "mess with who owned what", Orson Welles' final unfinished film may never see the light of day. According to the Observer however, the knots tying up Welles' The Other Side of the Wind may soon be untangled. Well it's only been forty years since production began.The film stars John Huston as a Welles-ish, Hemingway-esque film director, throwing a party on the occasion of his 70th birthday. The narrative flashes backwards and forwards through events in his long life, and encompasses the points of view of journalists present at the party, who are intent on unravelling the director's macho persona. Bogdanovich co-stars (much of the film was shot at his house, where Welles lived for two years), and the cast also includes Dennis Hopper, Claude Chabrol and Welles' long-term partner Oja Kodar.It's one of a number of unfinished Welles projects, »
We’ve already seen Warren Ellis challenge his readers to create Iron Man posters as if Stanley Kubrick had directed the Marvel superhero – but what of a film Kubrick had always wanted to make but despite years of toiling away, never managed to muster the financing to get his epic in front of camera’s?
Kubrick aficionados will be familiar with the unrealized production story of Napoloen, a large scale biography of the French military leader that never came to be and to celebrate (and in a way mourn) the passion of these legendary filmmakers, talented artist Fernando Reza has created four original posters remembering the best of what never was. Think of it as a “What If” series?
- Matt Holmes
Most filmmakers have projects they want to make but never get around to. Maybe they can't get the funding together, maybe they lose the rights or maybe they pass away. There are famous examples of this all the way through history from Stanley Kubrick's Napoleon and Orson Welles's Don Quixote to newer projects like James Cameron's Spider-Man, Tim Burton's Superman and Peter Jackson's Halo. The list goes on and on. Artist Fernando Reza, who also did these cool TV Band posters , asked the question, "What If?" What if Stanley Kubrick finished Napoleon? What is Orson Welles finished Don Quixote? And he answered those questions with his new set of film posters called The Ones That Got Away; Four posters including those two aforementioned films as well as Alfred Hitchcock's Kaleidoscope and David Lean's Nostromo. Read what Reza had to say about the project, »
- Germain Lussier
9 items from 2011
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