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Each week we pick a film and ask brave cinephiles to choose what they think of as its Best Shot. Next Tuesday is Ingmar Bergman's Oscar winner for Best Cinematography Cries & Whispers (1973) but before we get to that dying sister merriment, let's travel to Scotland where Scarlett Johansson is luring men to their doom. Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin is mysterious enough that it need multiple eyes to decipher it. And the film even repeatedly suggests you do the looking what with it's eyeball construction (?), predatory gaze, and actual dialogue.
Do you want to look at me?
We do, Scarlett, we do.
I normally show the choices in chronological order within the context of the film but given Under the Skin's brooding enigmatic events and telling repetitions, the articles are displayed in the order they were brought to my attention from the Best Shot club members.
- NATHANIEL R
Formless void and darkness. And then light, blinding light. Jonathan Glazer and his gifted cinematographer Daniel Landin present them in that Biblical order. They toy with them for the remainder of Under the Skin, separating them like they're playing god.
Perhaps they are since this haunting film begins, as far as I can tell, with Creation, or a creation of sorts. Is it our protagonist being formed (?) or, rather, assuming a new form complete with vocal exercizes to play the role. (The mystery woman is never named in Under the Skin, and none of the men she entices and lures into her formless void, ever think to ask her for it so we'll refer to her as "She" or "Her" since it's Scarlett Johansson we're talking about). What She needs language for is something of a mystery. She seems to communicate best telepathically in the eery repeated shots »
- NATHANIEL R
#10. The Grand Budapest Hotel
Without a doubt, Anderson’s darkest film to date, this also has to be the richest and most complex of his films. A starry supporting cast whirls around the delectable Ralph Fiennes, treading throughout the director’s glorious off beat style. By now, many perhaps take Anderson’s visual mastery for granted, or even dismiss him, yet his work has only become more thrillingly accomplished.
A film completely set in a moving car with only the visage of Tom Hardy to interact with disembodied voices (one of which is Olivia Colman)? Abandon all fear of tediousness as you experience one of the most inventive and engaging experiments you’ll see this year. Hardy, if you’ve seen Bronson, obviously has no hard time sharing the screen with himself, and while it’s a more subdued performance here, this one’s not to miss.
#8. Burning Bush »
- Nicholas Bell
Directed by acclaimed British filmmaker Jonathan Glazer (whose previous stellar outings include Sexy Beast and Birth), Under the Skin (2013) features an absolutely mesmerising performance from American actress Scarlett Johansson as a seductive alien temptress preying upon lonely male hitchhikers in Scotland. To celebrate the home entertainment release of Under the Skin this coming Monday (14 July), we have Three Blu-ray copies of Glazer's unforgettable sci-fi offering to offer out to our readers courtesy of the fine folks at UK distributors StudioCanal. This is an exclusive competition for our Facebook and Twitter fans, so if you haven't already, 'Like' us at facebook.com/CineVueUK or follow us @CineVue before answering the question below.
- CineVue UK
★★★★★The term 'alien' is originally descended from the Latin expression 'alienus', roughly translating into modern English as something 'belonging to another'. This points us firmly towards the direction of tonal enlightenment offered in Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin (2013). There's a Trojan horse-like nature to its formal audacity; are we watching an alien traipsing the streets of Glasgow and attempting to tempt and trick its male denizens into her perambulator lair of the mythical white van, or is Glazer instead trying to peer among the base questions of existence? To the naked eye, Under the Skin follows Scarlett Johansson's unnamed alien as she traps men before they're absorbed into black nothingness.
- CineVue UK
Over the last several years, Scarlett Johansson's output has been impressive in its variety: The Avengers, Hitchcock, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on Broadway, Don Jon, Her, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Under the Skin. This weekend, she stars in the Luc Besson–directed action movie Lucy as a drug mule who finds herself able to access increasingly large portions of her brain's capacity. Vulture spoke with Johansson about playing hyperintelligent beings, avoiding her own acting tics, and her favorite sandwich. The first question I like to ask everyone I interview is: Why this movie now? Why this movie now? [Laughs.] That’s interesting. When I first met Luc, I was doing a Tennessee Williams play that was visceral and raw and this project seemed so abstract. It was challenging in a different way because the character is in this constant state of transition and struggles to hold »
- Jesse David Fox
#10. The Grand Budapest Hotel
Had I not revisited this upon its blu-ray release earlier this summer, it’d have been at #5 on this list. This is in large part due to the fact that Anderson’s sense of humor only really works for me when I’m watching his films in a theatre, surrounded by people who get off on it; their laughter is contagious enough that I’m able to stop wincing at its awkwardness and join in. Viewed in solitude, it’s just the same old strained, self-conscious dead pan that sign posts its cuteness to the point that I’m more an observer than a participant to the jokes. The Royal Tenenbaums never had this problem, because it’s more than just a (very impressively produced) set of winks and gags. Still, it’s undeniably entertaining and immaculately constructed as a throwback caper, and Tilda Swinton’s »
- Blake Williams
This month on Blu-ray and DVD, Jason Bateman spews out some Bad Words, Lars von Trier turns Shia Labeouf into a Nymphomaniac, animated sequel Rio 2 flies to 3D, alien Scarlett Johansson gets Under The Skin, heads explode in Criterion.s edition of Scanners, Johnny Depp reaches Transcendence, Robin Williams becomes The Angriest Man In Brooklyn, Arnold Schwarzenegger plans Sabotage, Shout! Factory pays tribute to a legendary German filmmaker with the 16-title Herzog: The Collection, David »
- Mathew Plale
July's heat has slowed us down a bit here at Tfe (I'm actually at the beach as you read this) but if you haven't been popping in each day you might've missed some goodies. Herewith a baker's dozen of the most popular and/or best posts from the past couple of weeks.
Just One of the Guys Annie Hathaway
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - reviewish
Catwoman and The Joker - the two best performances ever to grace a superhero movie
Kate with a Side of Bette - a special edition of the podcast w/ Nick & Anne Marie
Flashy Title Sequences, TV - we looked at an undersung Emmy category
Exodus Tease - More of a Cock Block, really
Robin Hood - Disney's »
- NATHANIEL R
What's on your cinematic mind? Discuss as I finish a few more Oscar charts.
Anyone know which Manhattan movie theater this is? I thought Film Forum at first but the building next to it looks wrong.
I woke up thinking about Ingmar Bergman movies because in Summer Wishes Winter Dreams (1973) Joanne Woodward and her mother Sylvia Sidney take in Wild Strawberries. Joanne immediately falls asleep which you should never do at great movies. Bad Joanne, bad! But how funny is it that one of the Oscar nominated films of 1973 has a Bergman scene in it in the same year that the Academy went wild for Cries and Whispers? And then I thought about how evil it was for me to program two awesome but gruellingly enigmatic movies in a row for Best Shot (Under the Skin then Cries & Whispers) but they are going to make such amazing 'hit me with your best shot' episodes. »
- NATHANIEL R
This week’s new Blu-ray releases include a very different kind of Scarlett Johansson sci-fi film, a David Cronenberg addition to the Criterion Collection, an animated sequel, the second season of a beloved BBC America sci-fi series, and more. Briefly: Under the Skin [Blu-ray] - $17.49 (30% off) Scanners (Blu-ray + DVD) (Criterion Collection) - $33.96 (15% off) Rio 2 (3D Blu-ray) - $22.99 (54% off) Road to Paloma Blu-Ray - $17.96 (40% off) Open Grave [Blu-ray]- $17.98 (28% off) Orphan Black: Season 2 (Blu-ray) - $19.99 (43% off) Hell on Wheels: Season 3 [Blu-ray] - $24.99 (50% off) Black Dynamite: Season 1 [Blu-ray] - $35.99 (10% off)
- Adam Chitwood
Hit Me With Your Best Shot returns from its June hiatus for a 75th celebration of the masked vigilante with a thing for winged rodents (here's the future schedule - next week is Under the Skin). We asked anyone who wanted to play to pick a theatrically released Batman film (there are 9 of them) and choose its best shot. Here's what the participants saw when they looked at these pictures.
Click on the photos to read the corresponding articles. It's the Same Bat-Time on Same Different Bat Channels.
Best Shots In Batman Film Franchise
29 images selected from 9 films by 17 participants
- NATHANIEL R
Under the Skin - A24 Films - Blu-ray and DVD Director: Jonathan Glazer Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Antonia Campbell-Hughes,Michael Moreland. Full cast + crew Considering it's about an alien (Scarlett Johansson) who visits the remote countryside of Scotland, most people are calling Under the Skin a sci-fi movie. And that's certainly fair game, but that doesn't really sell how utterly terrifying Jonathan Glazer's film is at times. It's not strictly a horror movie, but some of the scenes and imagery here are more bone chilling and unforgettable than anything I've seen in a strict horror movie so far in 2014. Beautiful and haunting, Under the Skin is a hard film to enjoy, but an easy film to appreciate. Certainly recommended...
- Peter Hall
Our resident VOD expert tells you what's new to rent and own this week on the various streaming services such as cable Movies On Demand, Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, and, of course, Netflix. Cable Movies On Demand: Same-day-as-disc releases, older titles and pretheatrical exclusives for rent, priced from $3-$10, in 24- or 48-hour periods The Congress (psychological sci-fi; Robin Wright, Harvey Keitel, Jon Hamm; pretheatrical release; not rated) Teenage (documentary; voices: Jena Malone, Ben Whishaw; not rated) Under the Skin (surreal sci-fi; Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams; rated R) Video Games: The Movie (documentary about gaming history and culture; narrator: Sean Astin; available on Mod and in theaters; not rated) Streaming/Digital Download: Rent from...
- Robert B. DeSalvo
Moviefone's Top DVD of the Week
What's It About? That's a very good question. Scarlett Johansson plays a mysterious woman who drives around the Scottish countryside looking for male hitchhikers. To reveal more would be a disservice to the movie... and difficult, since this atmospheric science-fiction film is open to interpretation.
Why We're In: Director Jonathan Glazer's very, very loose adaptation of the Michel Faber novel is disturbing and sexy. Plus, they used hidden cameras to film Johansson luring clueless hitchhikers into her big white van.
Moviefone's Top Blu-ray of the Week
What's It About? "Scanners" are humans with special telepathic gifts, and the giant corporation ConSec wants to use them for their own nefarious purposes. It becomes a gruesome war of the scanners when one gang decides to go rogue.
Why We're In: David Cronenberg's most famous head-popping horror movie finally gets the Criterion treatment. »
- Jenni Miller
With the arrival of one of our favorite films of the year thus far, Jonathan Glazer‘s Under the Skin, starring Scarlett Johansson, on Blu-ray this week, we’ve teamed with A24 to give away one (1) Blu-ray to our readers. One (1) winner will receive one (1) copy of Under the Skin on Blu-ray. See how to enter below and all entries […] »
- TFS Staff
Scanners (Criterion Collection) My review copy of Scanners arrived late yesterday afternoon so all I've had a chance to do is remove the cellophane wrapper and admire the artwork, but I will be diving into it soon enough not only to see how well the film holds up and the features, but to check out the inclusion of Stereo (1969), David Cronenberg's first feature film, which in-and-of-itself should answer the question, "Why are Criterion Blu-rays so expensivec" P.S. Remember, this one is 50% off at Barnes & Noble right now, $14 cheaper than the Amazon price.
Under the Skin I wasn't as impressed with this as other critics were, ending my theatrical review writing, "I'm happy to have seen Under the Skin, but any future viewings will most likely necessitate a Blu-ray commentary track, otherwise I don't really see the point." Guess what the Blu-ray doesn't have...
Rio 2 Here's another one »
- Brad Brevet
Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. The Last Days Marc is living in the office building he used to call his place of employment, and he’s not alone. Humanity worldwide has fallen victim to a deadly form of agoraphobia. Walk outside, and you’re dead within seconds from fear. Three months into the epidemic Mark and another survivor manage to set out via the sewers in search of Marc’s pregnant girlfriend, but their journey reveals a species on the brink of extinction. This Spanish production tackles a familiar subject — the post apocalyptic world — and imbues it not only with a fresh premise but also with real heart and character. It looks good too as special effects and production design come together to create a believably devastated world, and all of it is enhanced with a script that manages to »
- Rob Hunter
After a smashing festival run and an equally heralded mini-theatrical presence, I made damn sure I wasn’t going to miss Under The Skin on Blu-Ray, being my last shot to weigh in on Scarlett Johansson’s sultry sci-fi pic. From everything I’d heard, writer/director Jonathan Glazer redefined the image of an American sweetheart, while taking audiences on a self-reflecting extraterrestrial journey – but that was nothing but hype. Cheap, infuriating hype.
I’m not one for über-minimalist filmmaking – exemplified by my disregard for movies like Drive - which essentially set me up for failure as soon as I’d realized Johannson’s only lines involved her asking horny men for directions. Under The Skin attempts to skate by on visual artistry alone, as Glazer plunges men into dark pools of blue jello and then turns them into floating skin-sheets, but while mesmerizing our eyes through a flurry of »
- Matt Donato
Criterion is releasing a brand new Blu-ray/DVD combo of the horror classic Scanners and Scream Factory is continuing their Summer of Fear with their latest release, Deadly Eyes, as well. Jonathan Glazer’s stunning sci-fi film Under the Skin is also getting its home release on Tuesday and, for all you shark movie fans out there, Anchor Bay’s put together a fun four pack of some recent shark-related titles perfect for a camp-tastic marathon one night.
Scanners (Criterion Collection, Blu-ray/DVD Combo & DVD)
From Criterion Collection comes the Director- Approved Dual-Format Blu-ray and DVD Special Edition Feature of Scanners which includes a new, restored 2K digital film transfer, supervised by director David Cronenberg, »
- Heather Wixson
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