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UCLA Brings The Festival Of Preservation To NYC; Features Ten New Restorations

  • CriterionCast
This Friday (September 15), The Metroraph in New York City and the UCLA Film And Television Archive team up for what is bound to be one of 2017’s great repertory film series.

As part of their mission statement if you will, the UCLA Film And Television Archive strives to bring back to life some of cinema’s great forgotten masterworks. Be it social activist documentaries from the Civil Rights era or long lost silent masterpieces, the group’s Festival Of Preservation is a bi-annual series and subsequent national tour of new restorations spanning the history of film. With past festivals include titles as wide ranging as Too Late For Tears and God’s Little Acre, these series are some truly exciting restorations and the perfect way to discover your new favorite film.

After a run in La earlier this year, the series is now set to hit The Big Apple this week,
See full article at CriterionCast »

Canon Of Film: ‘Citizen Kane’

In the first edition of Canon Of Film, we take a look at ‘Citizen Kane‘ in honor of it’s 76th birthday earlier this week. You can find the backstory on the inception of Canon Of Film here.

Citizen Kane (1941)

Director: Orson Welles

Director of Photography: Gregg Toland

Screenplay: Howard J. Mankiewicz & Orson Welles

The more one knows about film and filmmaking, the more one will appreciate ‘Citizen Kane‘. That’s not to say that you won’t like it without having a wide knowledge of film, but it seems to help many people, at least those who wonder how it keeps being ranked #1 on practically every greatest film poll for the last 50+ years or so, (Or at least used to until ‘Vertigo’ finally topped it on Sight & Sound’s 2012 list) yet, ‘Citizen Kane’ really is the kind of film that’s more interesting to study than it might be to watch.
See full article at Age of the Nerd »

Why Movies Need Directors Like Phil Lord and Chris Miller More Than Ever

Why Movies Need Directors Like Phil Lord and Chris Miller More Than Ever
A few days ago, my colleague Owen Gleiberman wrote a scathing essay questioning whether Colin Trevorrow was the right choice to direct “Star Wars: Episode IX,” suggesting that the “Jurassic World” helmer’s in-between indie, “The Book of Henry,” is such an abomination we have reason to think he could ruin the franchise that has already weathered the likes of Gungans and Ewoks.

It was a tough essay, so much so that I genuinely feared Trevorrow’s job could be in danger. And then a funny thing happened. “Star Wars” producer Kathleen Kennedy fired the directors on a completely different “Star Wars” movie, axing Phil Lord and Christopher Miller from the Han Solo project. What!?!?

The universe needs directors like Lord and Miller more than ever these days — and not just the “Star Wars” universe, mind you, but the multiverse of cinematic storytelling in general. Lord and Miller represent that rarest of breeds: directors with a fresh and unique vision, backed by the nerve to stand up for what they believe in.

Related

Star Wars’ Han Solo Spinoff: Lord & Miller Fired After Clashing With Kathleen Kennedy (Exclusive)

Just look at their track record: After starting their careers as TV writers (they created the MTV cartoon series “Clone High” and wrote for “How I Met Your Mother”), the duo made their feature directorial debut with “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” a wildly imaginative reinvention of a 32-page children’s book that heralded them as bold, outside-the-box comedy storytellers.

Then they made the jump to live-action, bringing their trademark brand of hip, pop-savvy self-awareness to the feature-length “21 Jump Street” remake. Few animation directors have survived the leap from animation to live-action (just consider the likes of “John Carter” and “Monster Trucks”), but Lord and Miller took to the new medium like naturals (technically, they had experience from their TV writing days — and I remember hearing stories that they’d actually taken a break from “Cloudy” to write an episode of “How I Met Your Mother” just so they wouldn’t lose their Writers Guild insurance benefits, but that’s another story about animators don’t enjoy the same protection in this industry).

“21 Jump Street” took the concept of a tired old ’80s TV show — two baby-faced cops go undercover as high-school students — and rebooted it with a playful twist, turning the ludicrous setup into one giant joke. Then came “The Lego Movie,” in which they cracked one of the weirdest assignments in 21st-century filmmaking — bring the popular line of kids toys to life — in a wholly original way, embracing the fact that Legos had spawned an almost cult-like sub-genre of fan films (to capitalize on the trend, the Lego company had even released a “MovieMaker Set” in 2000, complete with stop-motion camera and Steven Spielberg-styled minifigure) to make the ultimate wisecracking meta-movie.

After that string of successes, Lord and Miller had become two of the hottest names in town, able to pick their projects. But like so many directors of their generation — children of the ’70s whose love of cinema had been inspired by George Lucas’ game-changing space opera, what they wanted was to make a “Star Wars” movie. For a moment, that seemed possible, since the producers were hiring indie directors like Rian Johnson (“Brick”) and Gareth Edwards (“Monsters”) to helm these tentpoles.

On paper, Lord and Miller’s irreverent sensibility seemed like a perfect match for Han Solo, the franchise’s most sardonic character. One has to assume that it was precisely that take Kathy Kennedy and the “Star Wars” producers wanted when they hired the duo. But this is where modern critics, columnists and the fan community at large fail to understand a fundamental change that is happening at the blockbuster level in Hollywood: These directors are not being chosen to put their personal stamp on these movies. They are being hired to do the opposite, to suppress their identity and act grateful while the producers make all the key creative decisions.

Want to know why Trevorrow was picked to direct “Jurassic World” when his only previous credit was a nifty little sci-fi indie called “Safety Not Guaranteed”? It’s because he plays well with others, willing to follow exec producer Steven Spielberg’s lead when necessary. Going in to the assignment, Trevorrow had no experience directing complicated action sequences or overseeing massive-budget special effects. He didn’t need it, because those aspects of the movie were delegated to seasoned heads of department, while Trevorrow focused on what he does best: handling the interpersonal chemistry between the lead characters. (Personally, I hold Trevorrow responsible for the decision to film Bryce Dallas Howard running in high heels, but not the turducken-like gag where a giant CG monosaur rises up to swallow the pterodactyl that’s eating Bryce’s assistant. Surely someone else oversaw that nearly-all-digital sequence.)

Independent schlock producer Roger Corman memorably observed that in the post-“Jaws,” post-“Star Wars” era, the A movies have become the B movies, and the B movies have become the A movies — which is another way of saying that today, instead of taking risks on smart original movies for grown-up sensibilities (say, tony literary adaptations and films based on acclaimed Broadway plays), the studios are investing most of their resources into comic-book movies and the equivalent of cliffhanger serials (from Tarzan to Indiana Jones).

To Corman’s equation I would add the following corollary: On today’s tentpoles, the director’s job is to take orders, while producers and other pros are called in to oversee the complicated practical and CG sequences that ultimately define these movies. It’s an extension of the old second-unit model, wherein experienced stunt and action-scene professionals handled the logistics of car chases and exotic location work — except that now, such spectacular sequences are the most important part of effects-driven movies. Meanwhile, the one ingredient the producers can’t fake or figure out on their own is the human drama, which is the reason that directors of Sundance films keep getting handed huge Hollywood movies: to deliver the chemistry that will make audiences care about all those big set pieces.

How times have changed: In the 1980s, the only one who would make a movie like “Fantastic Four” was Corman, which he did for peanuts, whereas two years ago, Fox dumped more than $125 million into the same property. And the director they picked? Josh Trank, whose only previous feature had been the low-budget “Chronicle.” Let’s not forget that Trank ankled his own “Star Wars” spinoff, which I suspect had everything to do with realizing what happens when forced to relinquish control of a project in which he’s listed as the in-title-only director.

Back in the ’60s, a group of French critics writing for Cahiers du Cinéma coined what has come to be known as “the auteur theory,” a relatively quaint idea that the director (as opposed the screenwriter, star or some other creative contributor) is the “author” of a film. In the half-century since, critics everywhere have fallen for this fantastical notion that directors have creative autonomy over the movies they make — when in fact, as often as not, that simply isn’t the case.

The auteur theory makes for a convenient myth, of course, and one that lazy critics have long perpetuated, because it’s much to difficult to give credit where it’s due when confronted with the already-cooked soufflé of a finished movie. Critics aren’t allowed into the kitchen, after all, and though countless chefs (or heads of department, to clarify the metaphor) contribute to any given film production, it’s virtually impossible to identify who was really responsible for the choices that make the film what it is.

How much of “Citizen Kane’s” creative genius can be attributed to cinematographer Gregg Toland? Would “Jaws” or “Star Wars” have been even half as effective without composer John Williams? Did editor Ralph Rosenblum save “Annie Hall”? And most relevant to the discussion at hand: Is it correct to think of “Rebecca” as an Alfred Hitchcock movie (he directed it, after all), or does the result more thoroughly reflect the hand of producer David O. Selznick?

This is all complicated by the fact that an entire class of filmmakers — the so-called “film-school generation” — seized upon the auteur theory, turning it into something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, as the likes of Coppola, Scorsese, Spielberg, Lucas and so on left their signature on the movies they made. Meanwhile, the Cahiers critics (several of whom went on to become directors, among them Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut) were protected by a uniquely French copyright law dating back to the 18th century, known as the “droit d’auteur,” which entitled them to final cut (a privilege precious few Hollywood directors have).

But these remain the exception, not the rule. In the case of the “Jurassic Park” and “Star Wars” franchises, the director is decidedly not the auteur. To the extent that a single vision forms the creative identity of these films, it’s almost always the producer we should hold responsible. To understand that, we need only look back to the original “Star Wars” sequel, “The Empire Strikes Back,” a movie “directed” by Irvin Kershner, but every bit George Lucas’ brainchild (he reportedly hand-picked Kershner for his strength with character development). The same goes for Richard Marquand on “Return of the Jedi.”

This shouldn’t be a scandalous revelation. It just doesn’t fit with the self-aggrandizing narrative that many directors have chosen for themselves. Yes, the 1989 “Batman” is without question “a Tim Burton movie”: Burton has such an incredibly distinctive aesthetic, and the personality to push it through a system that’s virtually designed to thwart such originality. But when it comes to the incredibly successful “X-Men” franchise, there’s no question that producer (and “Superman” director) Richard Donner deserves as much credit as those first two films’ director, Bryan Singer. Simply put, that franchise owes its personality to both of their involvement.

But when it comes to “Jurassic World,” that movie probably wouldn’t look much different in the hands of someone other than Trevorrow. And the same can almost certainly be said for the “Star Wars” movie he’s been hired to direct, because in both cases, it’s the producers who are steering the ship. When the stakes are this high, it would be downright reckless to give complete autonomy to relatively unproven directors.

That’s increasingly the case in Hollywood these days. Director Dave Green (who’d made a tiny Amblin-style movie called “Earth to Echo”) went through it on a franchise project produced by Michael Bay. He was tapped to helm “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,” only to discover that he had no autonomy. Granted, Green was still wet behind the ears and had no experience with a nine-digit budget or big union crew. But that wasn’t the job, because Bay never expected him to handle everything. Instead, the producer pulled in more experienced professionals to oversee much of the action and visual effects, while Green followed orders and worked his magic with the actors.

You can bet Tom Cruise’s paycheck that the same thing happened on “The Mummy,” in which Alex Kurtzman is listed as director, but the producer-star was reportedly calling most of the shots. How appropriate that a Universal monster movie reboot should be the victim of what amounts to a kind of creative Frankenstein effect.

Likewise, Marvel has had more success (both financially and artistically) forcing directors to conform to an inflexible set of aesthetic guidelines than it did when art-house “auteur” Ang Lee experimented with his own ideas on 2003’s “Hulk.” And though Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón is celebrated for the personal touch he brought to the Harry Potter franchise, it was relatively malleable British TV director David Yates whom writer-producer J.K. Rowling approved to direct four more films in the series.

So where does that leave us with “Star Wars”? On one hand, it’s perfectly understandable that the producers would want Trevorrow to direct Episode IX, since he’s already demonstrated his capacity to play along with the producers. Meanwhile, it’s disheartening — but not altogether surprising — that a directorial duo as gifted as Lord and Miller have been fired from the Han Solo film, since they’ve been known to fight for the creative integrity of their vision.

But it’s a loss to the “Star Wars” world, since Lord and Miller’s previous credits demonstrate the kind of unique take they might have brought to the franchise. Warner Bros. trusted the duo enough on “The Lego Movie” to let them poke fun at Batman — arguably the studio’s most precious IP, previously rendered oh-so-serious in the Christopher Nolan trilogy. Lord and Miller’s minifigure Dark Knight was a brooding egomaniac and the funniest thing about that film, so much so that Warners ran with it, producing a spinoff that stretched the joke to feature length.

Sony Pictures Animation (where Lord and Miller made “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”) was similarly enthusiastic about their input on Spider-Man, greenlighting the pair’s high-attitude idea for an animated movie centered around Miles Morales, the Black Hispanic superhero who took over web-slinging duties after Peter Parker’s death. Though they’re not directing, the script is said to bear their fingerprints — which it seems is exactly what Kennedy and company don’t want on the Han Solo project.

With any luck, Lord and Miller will see the “Star Wars” setback as the opportunity that it is: Rather than being forced to color within the lines of a controlling producer’s vision, they can potentially explore the more individual (dare I say, “auteurist”?) instinct they so clearly possess on a less-protected property. Heck, maybe Sony’s Spider-Man project will be the one to benefit. Or perhaps they’ll be in the enviable position of pitching an original movie. Not all directors have such a strong or clear sense of vision that they can be trusted to exert it over a massive studio tentpole, but Lord and Miller are among the few actively reshaping the comedy landscape. Now is their moment, although as Han Solo would say, “Great, kid. Don’t get cocky.”

Related stories'Star Wars' Han Solo Spinoff: Lord & Miller Firing Is Latest in Long Line of Director Exits'Star Wars' Han Solo Spinoff: Lord & Miller Fired After Clashing With Kathleen Kennedy (Exclusive)'Star Wars' Han Solo Film Loses Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
See full article at Variety - Film News »

The Paradine Case

This isn’t the only Alfred Hitchcock film for which the love does not flow freely, but his 1947 final spin on the David O. Selznick-go-round is more a subject for study than Hitch’s usual fun suspense ride. Gregory Peck looks unhappy opposite Selznick ‘discovery’ Alida Valli, while an utterly top-flight cast tries to bring life to mostly irrelevant characters. Who comes off best? Young Louis Jourdan, that’s who.

The Paradine Case

Blu-ray

Kl Studio Classics

1947 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 125 min. / Street Date May 30, 2017 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95

Starring Gregory Peck, Alida Valli, Ann Todd, Charles Laughton, Louis Jourdan, Ethel Barrymore, Joan Tetzel.

Cinematography Lee Garmes

Production Designer J. McMillan Johnson

Film Editors John Faure, Hal C. Kern

Original Music Franz Waxman

Writing credits James Bridie, Alma Reville, David O. Selznick from the novel by Robert Hichens

Produced by David O. Selznick

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

There
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

‘Dragon Tattoo’ Finally Gets a Follow-up, but without Fincher, Mara

Plus: SXSW reviews and perfect shots.

You’d think someone like David Fincher would have proven their case for autonomy by now. You’d think that by hiring someone as stylistic and accomplished as Fincher, the studio would understand that the best way to help him make the best movie possible is to get out of his way and just let the man work. It’s merely a case of looking at Alien 3 versus Se7en: in the case of the former, the studio meddled, asserted control, and as a result the film was an utter disaster that Fincher doesn’t even like having his name attached to; in the case of the latter, he put his foot down, made the movie the way he wanted it made, and as a result he became an overnight sensation and a powerful new presence in cinema.

But when it came time for the American remake of the international
See full article at FilmSchoolRejects »

Food Network Star Alton Brown Dishes on Oscar DPs

Food Network Star Alton Brown Dishes on Oscar DPs
Why care what longtime Food Network personality Alton Brown thinks about the nominees in the Oscar’s cinematography category? Because he knows lenses, film stock, and formats as well as he knows ingredients, recipes, and cooking techniques.

“I started off as a cameraman when I was still in college, and moved into shooting music videos in the ‘80s, then became a full-time cinematographer and a director-cameraman for TV spots, which I did for about 10 years,” Brown says.

Eventually burnt out by the ad business, Brown saw two choices. “I could either move on to New York or Hollywood and concentrate on shooting, or I could go to culinary school and try to make a food show.”

He chose the latter, resulting in the groundbreaking 14-season series “Good Eats,” which holds up so well that repeats continue airing today. Brown directed 200 of its 250 episodes. He calls his latest show, “Iron Chef Gauntlet,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Witness the Evolution of Cinematography with Compilation of Oscar Winners

This past weekend, the American Society of Cinematographers awarded Greig Fraser for his contribution to Lion as last year’s greatest accomplishment in the field. Of course, his achievement was just a small sampling of the fantastic work from directors of photography, but it did give us a stronger hint at what may be the winner on Oscar night. Ahead of the ceremony, we have a new video compilation that honors all the past winners in the category at the Academy Awards

Created by Burger Fiction, it spans the stunning silent landmark Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans all the way up to the end of Emmanuel Lubezki‘s three-peat win for The Revenant. Aside from the advancements in color and aspect ration, it’s a thrill to see some of cinema’s most iconic shots side-by-side. However, the best way to experience the evolution of the craft is by
See full article at The Film Stage »

Citizen Kane ‘Rescheduled’ for Saturday Morning January 20th at The Hi-Pointe

“That’s all he ever wanted out of life… was love. That’s the tragedy of Charles Foster Kane. You see, he just didn’t have any to give.”

Citizen Kane was supposed to screen at St. Louis’ fabulous Hi-Pointe Theater this weekend as part of their Classic Film Series but becasue of the weather, it’s been pushed back a week. It’s now Saturday, January 20th at 10:30am at the Hi-Pointe located at 1005 McCausland Ave., St. Louis, Mo 63117. The film will be introduced by Harry Hamm, movie reviewer for Kmox. Admission is only $5

Is Citizen Kane the greatest film ever made? On a technical level, it may as well be. It’s at least the most groundbreaking film ever made. On a storytelling level, it’s an amazing achievement itself in that Orson Welles used such avant-garde techniques yet maintained an engrossing story. It’s a film
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Citizen Kane Saturday Morning at The Hi-Pointe

“That’s all he ever wanted out of life… was love. That’s the tragedy of Charles Foster Kane. You see, he just didn’t have any to give.”

Citizen Kane screens at St. Louis’ fabulous Hi-Pointe Theater this weekend as part of their Classic Film Series. It’s Saturday, January 14th at 10:30am at the Hi-Pointe located at 1005 McCausland Ave., St. Louis, Mo 63117. The film will be introduced by Harry Hamm, movie reviewer for Kmox. Admission is only $5

Is Citizen Kane the greatest film ever made? On a technical level, it may as well be. It’s at least the most groundbreaking film ever made. On a storytelling level, it’s an amazing achievement itself in that Orson Welles used such avant-garde techniques yet maintained an engrossing story. It’s a film full of contradictions and works perfectly because of them. Its over-the-top yet subtle, experimental yet accessible,
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Warren Beatty Talks Hollywood Legends, Humanizing Howard Hughes and More in Career-Spanning IndieWire Interview

Warren Beatty Talks Hollywood Legends, Humanizing Howard Hughes and More in Career-Spanning IndieWire Interview
Last month, Warren Beatty hosted an Academy screening on the Fox lot for his new film, “Rules Don’t Apply.” The actor and Oscar-winning director cheerfully greeted new arrivals, but when he introduced his movie it was in his typically controlling fashion: “It’s not a Howard Hughes biopic!”

People can be forgiven for the mistake. Beatty, 79, has wanted to make a movie about the neurotic aerospace and movie mogul since 1973, when he noticed during a stay at the Beverly Hills Hotel that a room was always occupied by two crewcut men in dark suits. The self-protective movie star thought the hotel was spying on him, but a manager told Beatty that the men worked for Howard Hughes, who at the time reserved seven rooms, plus five private bungalows for his girls.

At the time, Beatty was working with Robert Towne on the Oscar-nominated script of “Shampoo” (1975). Hal Ashby directed
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

Warren Beatty Talks Hollywood Legends, Humanizing Howard Hughes and More in Career-Spanning IndieWire Interview

  • Indiewire
Warren Beatty Talks Hollywood Legends, Humanizing Howard Hughes and More in Career-Spanning IndieWire Interview
Last month, Warren Beatty hosted an Academy screening on the Fox lot for his new film, “Rules Don’t Apply.” The actor and Oscar-winning director cheerfully greeted new arrivals, but when he introduced his movie it was in his typically controlling fashion: “It’s not a Howard Hughes biopic!”

People can be forgiven for the mistake. Beatty, 79, has wanted to make a movie about the neurotic aerospace and movie mogul since 1973, when he noticed during a stay at the Beverly Hills Hotel that a room was always occupied by two crewcut men in dark suits. The self-protective movie star thought the hotel was spying on him, but a manager told Beatty that the men worked for Howard Hughes, who at the time reserved seven rooms, plus five private bungalows for his girls.

At the time, Beatty was working with Robert Towne on the Oscar-nominated script of “Shampoo” (1975). Hal Ashby directed
See full article at Indiewire »

"Citizen Kane" 75Th Anniversary Commemorated By Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

  • CinemaRetro
Cinema Retro has received the following press release:

Burbank, Calif., November 3, 2016 – To mark the 75th anniversary of Orson Welles’ cinematic masterpiece “Citizen Kane,”Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (Wbhe) will release a new Blu-ray™ and DVD on November 15, and the American Film Institute (AFI) will mount a special screening of the restored master at AFI Fest presented by Audi, the Institute's annual film festival in Hollywood, on November 13. The screening will take place at the Egyptian Theatre at 1:30 p.m., followed by an AFI Master Class, featuring close personal Welles friend Peter Bogdanovich and a celebrity and academic panel to be announced.

The film’s central character is powerful publisher Charles Foster Kane, who aspires to be president of the United States. Newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst claimed “Citizen Kane” was a thinly veiled and slanderous account of his own life and sought to use his formidable muscle to halt
See full article at CinemaRetro »

Strike Me Pink

Neurotic coward Eddie Cantor decides to defend an amusement park against gangsters, and nothing but fun ensues! Ethel Merman has a small role here, but we're more than entertained by Parkyakarkus, Brian Donlevy, William Frawley, Jack Larue. Plus Sally Eilers, the Goldwyn Girls and a terrific forgotten talent, billed in this movie as Rita Rio. Strike Me Pink DVD-r The Warner Archive Collection 1936 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 100 min. / Street Date August 4,, 2015 / available through the WBshop / 21.99 Starring Eddie Cantor, Ethel Merman, Sally Eilers, Parkyakarkus, Rita Rio (Dona Drake), Brian Donlevy, William Frawley, Jack Larue, Gordon Jones, Helen Lowell The Goldwyn Girls. Cinematography Merritt Gerstad, Gregg Toland Film Editor Sherman Todd Original Music (Alfred Newman) Dance Director Robert Alton Special Effects Gilbert Pratt, Ray Binger, Paul Eagler Written by Francis Martin, Frank Butler, Walter Deleon from the story and novel Dreamland by Clarence Buddington Kelland Produced by Samuel Goldwyn Directed by
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Is Citizen Kane Really the Best Film Ever Made?

  • Cinelinx
This year is the 75th anniversary of the most acclaimed movie of all time. Generally regarded as the cinema’s greatest masterwork, it has topped more critic’s Best Films lists than any other movie. Cinelinx takes a look at the much praised Citizen Kane to see if it really deserves all the accolades it has received.

First some background: The behind-the-scenes story of Citizen Kane (1941) is just as interesting as the film itself. Young filmmaker Orson Welles had been the wunderkind of stage and radio throughout the 1930s—best known at that point for his infamous radio performance of War of the Worlds, which panicked thousands of people who really believed we were being invaded by Martians—and was given a free hand by Rko Pictures to have total creative control over his first film. This was unheard of at the time. Along with co-writer Herman Mankiewicz, director Welles
See full article at Cinelinx »

These Three

Radical changes were required to adapt Lillian Hellman's Broadway play for post-Code Hollywood, to eradicate a theme that in 1934 was entirely taboo. But were audiences really unaware of the subject matter switch? William Wyler excels with this bowdlerized, yet curiously near-perfect, story about the power of scandal. These Three DVD-r The Warner Archive Collection 1936 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 93 min. / Street Date February 9, 2016 / available through the WBshop / 21.99 Starring Miriam Hopkins, Merle Oberon, Joel McCrea, Catharine Doucet, Alma Kruger, Bonita Granville, Marcia Mae Jones , Carmencita Johnson, Mary Ann Durkin, Margaret Hamilton, Walter Brennan. Cinematography Gregg Toland Film Editor Daniel Mandell Original Music Alfred Newman Written by Lillian Hellman Produced by Samuel Goldwyn Directed by William Wyler

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

William Wyler directed half a decade's worth of silent westerns before his big break came. From that point on he made high profile dramas, almost all of which are excellent movies.
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Watch: Celebrate the Greatest Cinematography of All-Time With New Video Essay

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then there will never be a definitive list of the greatest cinematography, but for our money, one of the finest polls has been recently conducted on the matter. Our friend Scout Tafoya polled over 60 critics on Fandor, including some of us here, and the results can be found in a fantastic video essay below. Rather than the various wordless supercuts that crowd Vimeo, Tafoya wrestles with his thoughts on cinematography as we see the beautiful images overlaid from the top 12 choices.

“I’ve been thinking of the world cinematographically since high school,” Scout says. “Sometime around tenth grade I started looking out windows, at crowds of my peers, at the girls I had crushes on, and imagining the best way to film them. Lowlight, mini-dv or 35mm? Curious and washed out like the way Emmanuel Lubezki shot Y Tu Mamá También,
See full article at The Film Stage »

Close-Up on William Wyler’s "The Little Foxes": Family Drama Down South

  • MUBI
Close-Up is a column that spotlights films now playing on Mubi. The Little Foxes is playing on Mubi in the Us February 15 through March 15, 2016.William Wyler and Bette Davis had a good thing going by the time of The Little Foxes (1941). Wyler had three (of his eventually 12) Academy Award nominations and he had directed the star in two Oscar-worthy performances of her own: Jezebel (1938), for which she won, and The Letter (1940), for which she didn’t. Though it would grow increasingly contentious, their association was nonetheless mutually productive, and while Davis may have been reluctant to take on the role played to great acclaim by Tallulah Bankhead in Lillian Hellman’s stage version of The Little Foxes, the resulting feature film trumped the trepidation. Set in the indistinct though suitably decrepit “Deep South” circa 1900, the backdrop is just vague enough to be regionally collective but just specific enough to be wholly unique.
See full article at MUBI »

Close-Up on "Ball of Fire": Screwball Classic Skewers Stuffiness with Snappy Slang

  • MUBI
Close-Up is a column that spotlights films now playing on Mubi. Ball of Fire is playing on Mubi in the Us January 8 through February 7, 2016.To rephrase a popular literary adage, one shouldn’t judge a film by its credits. Many a noteworthy roster of talent has yielded a less than superior motion picture. Such is not the case, however, with the 1941 Samuel Goldwyn production, Ball of Fire. Aside from the legendary producer, who had over 100 movies under his belt by this point in his career, the film boasts an Oscar-nominated story by Thomas Monroe and Billy Wilder, a script by Wilder and frequent co-writer Charles Brackett, a supporting cast of famous faces like Dana Andrews, Dan Duryea, and Elisha Cook Jr., and superb star turns by Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck. Behind the camera, the music is by Alfred Newman, Gregg Toland is the cinematographer, Daniel Mandell is the editor,
See full article at MUBI »

Masterworks of American Avant-Garde Experimental Film 1920-1970

Get your beret and warm up the espresso! Some of the most famous deep-dish art film is here -- in HD -- starting with attempts to translate various art 'isms' to the screen, to graphics-oriented abstractions, to 'city symphonies' to the dream visions of Maya Deren and beyond. The careful remasters reproduce proper projection speeds and original music.   Masterworks of American Avant-Garde Experimental Film 1920-1970 Blu-ray + DVD Flicker Alley 1920-1970 / B&W and Color / 1:33 full frame / 418 min. / Street Date October 6, 2015 / 59.95 With films by James Agee, Kenneth Anger, Bruce Baillie, Stan Brakhage, James Broughton, Rudolph Burckhardt, Mary Ellen Bute, Joseph Cornell, Jim Davis, Maya Deren, Marcel Duchamp, Emien Etting, Oksar Fischinger, Robert Florey, Amy Greenfield, A. Hackenschmied, Alexander Hammid, Hillary Harris, Hy Hirsh, Ian Hugo, Lawrence Janiac, Lawrence Jordan, Owen Land, Francis Lee, Fernand Léger, Helen Levitt, Jan Leyda, Janice Loeb, Jonas Mekas, Marie Menken, Dudley Murphy, Ted Nemeth, Bernard O'Brien,
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Kael Vs. Kane: Pauline Kael, Orson Welles and the Authorship of Citizen Kane

  • SoundOnSight
Part I.

In 1963, Film Quarterly published an essay entitled “Circles and Squares.” It addressed the French auteur theory, introduced to America by The Village Voice’s Andrew Sarris. Auteurism holds that a film’s primary creator is its director; Sarris’s “Notes on the Auteur Theory” further distinguished auteurs as filmmakers with distinct, recurring styles. Challenging him was a California-based writer named Pauline Kael.

Kael attacked Sarris’s obsession with trivial links between filmmaker’s movies, whether repeated shots or thematic preoccupations. This led critics to overpraise directors’ lesser films, as when Jacques Rivette declared Howard HawksMonkey Business a masterpiece. “It is an insult to an artist to praise his bad work along with his good; it indicates that you are incapable of judging either,” Kael wrote.

She criticized auteurist preoccupation with Hawks and Alfred Hitchcock, claiming critics “work embarrassingly hard trying to give some semblance of intellectual respectability to mindless,
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