14 items from 2014
You’d be hard pressed to find a company in the film industry that’s as beloved as The Criterion Collection. Pricey though they are, the boutique label remains as popular in the film-loving set as ever. One of those fans is director Mike Leigh (who has three films on the label: "Naked," "Life Is Sweet," and "Topsy-Turvy"), and as part of the press tour for his latest, “Mr. Turner,” the British filmmaker stopped by the Criterion offices and shot a video inside their hallowed closet. It would be easy for filmmakers to grow so hardened and cynical over a career that they lose sight of their love of the art form. That’s why it’s so great when someone retains their passion for cinema like Leigh does in this eight-minute-long video. Barring a reference to the recently released Blu-ray of “A Hard Day’s Night,” all of Leigh »
- Cain Rodriguez
If cinema is itself art, then what better medium to really explore the lives of some of the greatest artists of our time? With cinematographers using their palette of light and shadow, and screenwriters drawing entire worlds with their fine-tipped words, they work together to depict these master painters, as they bestow upon the world some of the most important examples of skill and craftsmanship in history.
Writer-director Mike Leigh is the latest cinematic artist to tackle a biographical tale of a great master, with Mr. Turner heading for theatres soon (October 31st 2014 in the UK, December 19th in the Us). Exploring the life and times of Joseph Mallord William Turner – an especially prolific English romantic landscape painter working in the 1800s – the film premiered at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, where cinematographer Dick Pope won a special jury prize and lead actor Timothy Spall won Best Actor. Often referred to as “the painter of light, »
- Sarah Myles
Best British movies of all time? (Image: a young Michael Caine in 'Get Carter') Ten years ago, Get Carter, starring Michael Caine as a dangerous-looking London gangster (see photo above), was selected as the United Kingdom's very best movie of all time according to 25 British film critics polled by Total Film magazine. To say that Mike Hodges' 1971 thriller was a surprising choice would be an understatement. I mean, not a David Lean epic or an early Alfred Hitchcock thriller? What a difference ten years make. On Total Film's 2014 list, published last May, Get Carter was no. 44 among the magazine's Top 50 best British movies of all time. How could that be? Well, first of all, people would be very naive if they took such lists seriously, whether we're talking Total Film, the British Film Institute, or, to keep things British, Sight & Sound magazine. Second, whereas Total Film's 2004 list was the result of a 25-critic consensus, »
- Andre Soares
The 58th BFI London Film Festival begins today, and this year the event boasts over 245 features, and screenings of 148 live action and animated shorts. It is no doubt that with such a wide selection of films that there is an abundance of international talent. Some notable contributions to this year’s programme include films made by Brits, so it seems fitting to showcase some of the diverse work being presented by British directors at one of their home festivals. With five of these titles featuring as Gala events, and two in Official Competition, the following films are worthy of the hype.
Mike Leigh, raised in the Greater Manchester area, continues to add to his impressive repertoire of films with his most recent addition Mr. Turner. Leigh began his film career in the 1970s when he transitioned between theatre and film. His style, which portrays his subjects in raw intensity and reality, »
- Jazmine Sky Bradley
It wasn’t exactly Lana Turner at the soda fountain, but the manner in which filmmaker brothers Benny and Joshua Safdie happened upon Arielle Holmes, the lead actress and muse for “Heaven Knows What,” their searing tale of drug addiction and homelessness among New York teens, was perhaps even more unbelievable.
After their Spirit Award-winning semi-autobiographical feature “Daddy Longlegs,” the brothers were hoping to mount a genre film set in Manhattan’s Diamond District, titled “Uncut Gems.” In accordance with their almost gonzo style of research, Joshua Safdie and producer Sebastian Bear-McClard were working undercover in the district to gather material, where Safdie spotted Holmes getting on the subway.
“I said to Sebastian, ‘that’s the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen, she’s so unique,’ ” he recalls. “Wearing a dress, very well put together. I went up to her speaking in Russian, assuming she spoke Russian, and she responded with a harsh, »
- Andrew Barker
The Sarajevo Film Festival (Aug 15-24) launched its 20th edition on Friday night and staged a hat-trick of events to mark the occasion.
After the traditional welcome drinks reception on the Festival Square, festival director Mirsad Purivatra took to the stage of the city’s Open Air Cinema in front of an audience of thousands to award Gael Garcia Bernal with the Honorary Heart of Sarajevo.
“Since your appearance in Amores Perros, you have played different characters in many films that have made up part of our programme,” said Purivatra.
“We admire you as an actor, a film director and a person who is trying to change the world. It is an honour to welcome you to Sarajevo and to »
- email@example.com (Michael Rosser)
On June 26, 1974, the first product with a Upc barcode was scanned at a Marsh Supermarkets store in Troy, Ohio. The randomly selected item from a cart filled with varied scannable goods was a 10-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum, and that’s of enough historical significance that the pack is now in the Smithsonian. But that’s not the only part of the story of the retail game changer that’s interesting. The path to the barcode revolution was long, and it involved scientists and grocery executives and some inspiration from the movies. And yet so few films have been inspired by the Upc technology for anything more than barcode tattoos on heads, necks and arms in sci-fi dystopias. Typically those markings are for keeping track of people, but in a classic bit from Mike Leigh’s Naked, David Thewlis’s character goes on about how in the future we’ll have barcodes on our hand »
- Christopher Campbell
According to our Cannes Critics’ Panel, it may not top Topsy Turvy, but Mike Leigh’s 2 plus hour portrait starring Timothy Stall paints a strong portrait of a tortured artist with his fifth trip to the festival and our set of critics responded favorably. Prior to Mr.Turner, his previous entries include, Naked (award for Best Director in ’93), Secrets and Lies (Palme d’Or in ’96), 2002′s All or Nothing and 2010′s Another Year.
Having premiered yesterday and receiving its official red carpet screening today, Abderrahmane Sissako’s Timbuktu is arresting for its combination of humor and deep sorrow. The still very fresh true events, saw the Maurinania born filmmaker broke down during the press conference. While this was his first trip in the Main Comp, the filmmaker has also been to Cannes on four separate visits dating back to Octobre (Un Certain Regard – 1993), La Vie Sur Terre (1998), Heremakono (Un Certain »
- Eric Lavallee
Pete Hammond (Deadline) says Leigh has helmed “another masterpiece” and the film “will be a major Oscar contender in several categories . It’s that good in terms of costume and production design, makeup, music, writing, directing and particularly acting. If there aren’t nominations for star Timothy Spall and supporting actress Marion Bailey then something is terribly wrong with the Academy. Acting just doesn’t get better than this.”
In her Cannes review, Sasha Stone (Awards Daily) writes, “With gorgeous, rich, vibrant art direction and probably the best cinematography you’ll see all year, Mr. Turner is filmmaking old school.” Stone continues, “Mr. Turner »
- Michelle McCue
Welcome back to Cannes Check, In Contention's annual preview of the films in Competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off on May 14. Taking on different selections every day, we'll be examining what they're about, who's involved and what their chances are of snagging an award from Jane Campion's jury. Next up, the first of two British veterans in the lineup: Mike Leigh's "Mr. Turner." The director: Mike Leigh (British, 71 years old). Few filmmakers have essayed the mundane woes (and occasional joys) of Britain's working-to-middle classes with the vivid specificity of Mike Leigh, though given his distinctive vernacular and customarily heightened sense of the everyday, it's not quite accurate to classify him as a kitchen-sink realist. Either way, as both a playwright and filmmaker, he's as significant and influential a figure on the UK cultural lanscape as John Osborne or Alan Bennett. A Rada acting student turned art school graduate, »
- Guy Lodge
Along with fellow British veteran Ken Loach's Jimmy's Hall, Mike Leigh's Mr. Turner (2014) will be in the running for the coveted Palme d'Or in the next fortnight. A biopic of Victorian painter J.M.W. Turner, the film stars Timothy Spall as the famed painter alongside Dorothy Atkinson, Marion Bailey and Paul Jesson. Leigh's previous foray into period drama produced the fascinating Topsy-Turvy (1999), a warts and all look at those other doyens of Victorianism, Gilbert and Sullivan. Leigh has had his share of triumphs at Cannes, picking up the Jury Prize for Naked in 1993 and winning the Palme d'Or three years after with Secrets and Lies (1996). It hasn't all been plain sailing, however, as Vera Drake was passed over by Cannes in 2004, only to pick up the prestigious Golden Lion at rival fest Venice.
- CineVue UK
Jimmy's Hall, directed by Loach, and Leigh's Mr Turner among the 18 films selected to compete at prestigious event this year
Two of the greats of British cinema, Ken Loach and Mike Leigh, are to go head to head at this year's Cannes film festival, more than two decades since they first sparred for one of the most prestigious prizes in the film world.
Continue reading »
- Hannah Ellis-Petersen
Tommy Lee Jones, Bennett Miller, David Cronenberg and Atom Egoyan will duke it out with Jean-Luc Godard, Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Michel Hazanavicius and the Dardenne brothers for the Palme d’Or at the 67th annual Cannes Film Festival, which unveiled its official selection lineup this morning in Paris by fest topper Thierry Fremaux.
The wide-ranging competition slate is typically heavy on French filmmakers, with Olivier Assayas’ international co-production “Clouds of Sils Maria” and Bertrand Bonello’s fashion-designer biopic “Saint Laurent” joining Hazanavicius’ “The Search” and Godard’s 3D experiment “Goodbye to Language.” Fremaux noted that Godard, famously a no-show at the 2010 Cannes premiere of his “Film socialisme,” had “promised he’ll be there — which doesn’t mean he will!”
One of the more intriguing developments of this year’s competition is the unusual dominance of Canadian auteurs. »
- Justin Chang and Elsa Keslassy
A belated festival premiere for Bennett Miller’s “Foxcatcher” and a powerhouse showing for British filmmakers including Mike Leigh and Ken Loach — plus appearances by other usual suspects such as David Cronenberg, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nuri Bilge Ceylan and the Dardenne brothers — are among the strong possibilities hovering over the lineup of the 67th annual Cannes Film Festival.
In recent years, festival topper Thierry Fremaux and his selection committee have tended to push their final decisions to the very last minute under a nearly impenetrable veil of secrecy, defying the intense media scrutiny and endless speculation that always swirl around the Cannes lineup at this time of year. Although anything could change between now and April 17, when the official selection is unveiled — there are still enough hotly anticipated titles in the mix to warrant some educated guesswork about what is shaping up to be a promisingly diverse slate of auteurs. »
- Justin Chang and Elsa Keslassy
14 items from 2014
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