12 items from 2014
★★★★☆Implanting the dark heart of Gothic fiction into his signature cinematic carcass of deadpan humour and beatnik contemplation, indie provocateur Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) is the story of two misanthropic vampires who have been in love for centuries, witnessing the humanist revival of classical art and literature and its sad decline into the vulgar and uncouth yield of contemporary populist culture. Vampires have never seemed as stylish and refined as they do here, inhibiting the poise and self-assurance of a Shoreditch hipster with the style and grace of classically-trained concert pianist. Adam (Tom Hiddleston) is a musician who once gave Schubert a String Quartet, but is now a suicidal romantic.
- CineVue UK
Italian composer Ottorino Respighi (July 9, 1879-April 18, 1936) was a master of colorful orchestration whose evocative symphonic tone poems and suites arranging Baroque material in modern garb have been audience-pleasers since they were first heard.
The son of a piano teacher who gave him lessons on both piano and violin, Respighi excelled on the latter. It was while first violinist in the Russian Imperial Orchestra at St. Peterburg that Respighi was able to study with master orchestrator Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. He may have studied later with composer Max Bruch in Berlin (this is disputed), then returned to Italy, mostly working as first violin in the Mugellini Quintet. He moved to Rome in 1913 to teach and lived there for the rest of his life, which was ended by heart failure at the age of 56.
Luckily for listeners, a high percentage of Respighi's most popular works, in graceful, idiomatic performances, can be found on an »
Toh! has scored a trailer exclusive to the 30th anniversary restoration of Daniel Schmid’s classic music documentary “Tosca’s Kiss,” which centers on the lives and passions of a group of retired opera singers living in the Casa Verdi home in Milan. The re-release is being presented by Dustin Hoffman. The doc holds a special place in Hoffman’s heart; his 2012 narrative film and directorial debut, “Quartet,” was inspired by the real-life characters in the Casa Verdi.Here’s some more background on the founder of the unique retirement home, Giuseppe Verdi, and Swiss director Schmid:Described by composer Giuseppe Verdi as his “finest work,” the Casa Verdi, the world’s first home for retired opera musicians, was founded in 1896 and still stands today on the Piazza Buonarotti in Milan, Italy. In Tosca's Kiss, the Swiss director Daniel Schmid (1941-2006), a friend and colleague of German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder »
- Beth Hanna
Billy Connolly presents the final part of his moving, yet still hilarious, ITV documentary series Big Send Off tonight (May 14).
The Big Yin is best known for his prolific stand-up comedy career over the past six decades, but he has often shown off many different strings to his bow, taking in the world of TV, film, music and charity work.
To mark Connolly's latest excellent project, Digital Spy takes a look at just some of his best moments outside his stand-up work.
1. The Humblebums
Before Billy started his stand-up career, he sang with the late Gerry Rafferty of 'Baker Street' fame in the folk group The Humblebums, along with Tam Harvey. Largely forgotten outside the folk world, they did produce some genuinely brilliant tracks, both moving and funny. Their gigs often featured Connolly chatting to the audience between songs, eventually leading to him giving the comedy thing a go full-time. »
The script was developed by BBC Films, and the co-producers are Parallel Films in Ireland and Item 7 in Canada.
Set in the early 1950s, “Brooklyn” is the story of a young woman who moves from small town Ireland to Brooklyn, New York, where she has the opportunity for work and a romance with an Italian-American, played by Cohen. When a family tragedy brings her back to Ireland, she finds herself absorbed into her old community.
The film will shoot for three weeks in Enniscorthy, Wexford and Dublin, Ireland, before moving in mid-April to Montreal, Canada for a further four weeks.
Hanway Films is handling international sales. »
- Dave McNary
Andrew Haigh has had an impressive few years both writing and directing, initially with the critically acclaimed Weekend and now with his HBO series ‘Looking‘. It’s now been announced by The Bureau Film Company, the BFI, Film4 and Creative England that principal photography will commence his new British film, 45 Years, in Spring 2014.
The film is set to follow Kate Mercer in the five days leading up to her forty-fifth wedding anniversary. The planning for the party is going well, but then a letter arrives for her husband. The body of his first love has been discovered, frozen and preserved in the icy glaciers of the Swiss Alps. By the time the party is upon them, five days later, there may not be a marriage left to celebrate.
- Dan Bullock
• Olivia Wilde (Drinking Buddies) is set to star in and produce the psychological thriller Meadowland. Reed Morano, the cinematographer on Kill Your Darlings and The Skeleton Twins, will make her directorial debut on the film about a woman who developed a relationship with a neglected boy after her own son disappears. Production will begin this summer, after Wilde gives birth. [Deadline]
• Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen will re-team with their 50/50 director Jonathan Levine for an untitled Christmas comedy about a trio of childhood friends who get together every Christmas Eve for a night out in New York City. The third lead has yet to be cast. »
- Lindsey Bahr
Berlin — Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay are set to star in rising British helmer Andrew Haigh’s “45 Years,” which is being repped in international markets by The Match Factory. Haigh is the director and exec producer of the well-received HBO show “Looking.”
“45 Years,” which will start to shoot this spring, follows Kate Mercer in the five days leading up to her 45th wedding anniversary. The planning for the party is going well, but then a letter arrives for her husband. The body of his first love has been discovered, frozen and preserved in the icy glaciers of the Swiss Alps. By the time the party is upon them, five days later, there may not be a marriage left to celebrate.
- Leo Barraclough
Rome-based sales company Adriana Chiesa Enterprises (Ace) will launch sales on Roberto Faenza’s English-language Anita B., about a young Auschwitz survivor trying to re-build her life after the war, at the Efm.
Rising star Sheehan, best known for his roles in TV series Misfits and fantasy feature The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, is also set to star in Tiago Mesquita’s Caesar and Gren Wells’ The World Within this year.
Ace is handling all international rights except for the Us. The picture’s Us co-producer Ron Stein of Four of a Kind Productions is handling North America rights. Stein also co-produced Faenza’s last film Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You »
Which music stars went home with awards at the 2014 Grammy Awards? Find out with this full winners list.
Winners in each category are bolded.
Record of the Year
"Radioactive" -- Imagine Dragons
"Royals" -- Lorde
"Blurred Lines" -- Robin Thick feat. T.I. and Pharrell
Album of the year
"The Blessed Unrest" -- Sara Bareilles
"Random Access Memories" -- Daft Punk
"Good Kid, M.A.A.D City" -- Kendrick Lamar
"Red" -- Taylor Swift
Song of the year
As always, there are biases at play here; my greatest interests are symphonic music, choral music, and piano music, so that's what comes my way most often. There are some paired reviews; the ranking of the second of each pair might not be the true, exact ranking, but it works better from a writing standpoint this way.
1. Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1-4; Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80 Tragic Overture, Op. 81; Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op. 56a; 3 Hungarian Dances; 9 Liebeslieder Waltzes; Intermezzi, Op. 116 No. 4 & Op. 117 No. 1 Gewandhausorchester/Riccardo Chailly (Decca)
It is not easy, at this point in recording history, to match the giants of the baton in a Brahms cycle, but Chailly has done it (this is my fiftieth Brahms cycle, and I have more than another fifty Brahms Firsts, and upwards of thirty each of the other symphonies outside those cycles, so I've got some basis for comparison »
Here's a chart of 2013's thirty highest grossing films tracked by Indiewire's box office charts. While Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" and Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine" were among the only three films to gross over $30 million, it was Lionsgate and Pantelion's massive Spanish-language hit "Instructions Not Included" -- directed and starring by Mexican star Eugenio Derbez -- that led the year's crop. Rounding out the top 10 were "Mud," "The Way, Way Back," "The Place Beyond The Pines," "Quartet," "Enough Said," "Philomena" and "Fruitvale Station." At number 24, "20 Feet From Stardom" was the highest grossing documentary. Notably, last year's highest grossing film -- "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" -- saw its stars Judi Dench and Maggie Smith both represented in this year's top 10 too with "Quartet" and "Philomena" (continuing the significant trend of the "silver dollar"). Comparatively, this year had more $20 million grossers (6 vs. last year's 4), $10 million grossers »
- Peter Knegt
12 items from 2014
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