5 items from 2015
Directed by Kristian Levring
Westerns have never recovered from the oversaturation of the genre that killed off viewer interest decades ago, but every now and then a gem pops up. Recent successes like The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, 2007’s 3:10 to Yuma and the Coen brothers adaptation of True Grit all did well because they tweaked the genre slightly, but director Kristian Levring goes with an old school approach. A faithful recreation of those revenge Westerns made so popular in the 1970s, The Salvation envelopes many elements of previous Clint Eastwood classics and wraps it into a tidy package.
The Salvation starts in on the central dilemma, joining Jon (Hannibal‘s Mad Mikkelsen) at the train station where he awaits the arrival of his wife and son. Jon and his brother, Peter (Mikael Persbrandt »
- Colin Biggs
Getting to go to Sundance this year was an incredible experience, the weather was surprisingly not terrible, I had great conversations in line with people, and almost every film of the 20 that I saw was good to great. Some of them will likely stick with me all year and end up on my top 10 of 2015 list. Before we get to my top 5 of Sundance though, I do want to take a moment and give a shout out to some of the films that I hate myself for not seeing.
Films I hate myself for not seeing:
Written and Directed by Robert Eggers
This was the only film at the festival that I wasn’t able to get in through the waitlist. That’s great for the film, but it broke my perfect record and I couldn’t see this film that had the festival going crazy for it. »
- Dylan Griffin
Stumbling across that list of best-edited films yesterday had me assuming that there might be other nuggets like that out there, and sure enough, there is American Cinematographer's poll of the American Society of Cinematographers membership for the best-shot films ever, which I do recall hearing about at the time. But they did things a little differently. Basically, in 1998, cinematographers were asked for their top picks in two eras: films from 1894-1949 (or the dawn of cinema through the classic era), and then 1950-1997, for a top 50 in each case. Then they followed up 10 years later with another poll focused on the films between 1998 and 2008. Unlike the editors' list, though, ties run absolutely rampant here and allow for way more than 50 films in each era to be cited. I'd love to see what these lists would look like combined, however. I imagine "Citizen Kane," which was on top of the 1894-1949 list, »
- Kristopher Tapley
Written and Directed by John Maclean
United Kingdom/New Zealand, 2015
After the film finished, writer and director John Maclean acknowledged how surreal it felt to be premiering a western at Sundance of all places. After all, John Ford filmed many of his classics in the state of Utah, making it a sort of mecca of westerns. This however is very different from the traditional western as it is seen through a foreign lens and with a postmodern knowledge. It calls to mind other revisionist westerns from this century such as The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Proposition and Red Hill. The plot takes place in 1870 and follows 16-year-old Jay Cavendish (Kodi Smit-McPhee), who has traveled from Scotland to the American west to find his love, Rose (Caren Pistorius). Accompanying him is a mysterious and formidable drifter, Silas Selleck (Michael Fassbender).
Kodi Smit-McPhee already »
- Dylan Griffin
Deakins is nominated for the 13th time for the American Society of Cinematographers (Asc) Award, which he has won three times, for Sam Mendes' "Skyfall" (2013), Frank Darabont's "The Shawshank Redemption" (1995) and the Coen brothers' "The Man Who Wasn’t There" (2002). His other nominations include the Coens' "Fargo" (1997), "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" (2001), "No Country for Old Men" (2008) and "True Grit" (2011), Martin Scorsese's "Kundun" (1998), Andrew Dominik's "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (2008), Mendes' "Revolutionary Road" (2009), Stephen Daldry's "The Reader" (2009), and Denis Villeneuve's "Prisoners" (2014). He won the Asc's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. (Read: Bill Desowitz's interview with him here. ) As expected, the nominees are: Roger Deakins, Asc, Bsc for Unbroken Óscar »
- Anne Thompson
5 items from 2015
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