A Matter of Life and Death (aka Stairway to Heaven) (4K restoration) movie review: paradise on Earth

MaryAnn’s quick take… One of the most beloved British films ever is now even more lush, more gorgeous, more humanist in a glorious new restored edition. I’m “biast” (pro): loved the movie before it was restored

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

A Matter of Life and Death, from the legendary writing and directing team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, is one of the most beloved British films ever made. And it’s easy to see why: It’s a deliciously preposterous romance between two gorgeous people whom you cannot help but root for as their love is threatened. It’s a profoundly humanist fantasy about our place in the universe and the importance of living a full life. And it’s a dazzling visual spectacle that is deeply viscerally satisfying even as it deals with big ideas and big emotions.
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A Matter of Life and Death review – timely rerelease of sublime celestial romance

Powell and Pressburger’s wartime drama, starring David Niven as an erroneously alive bomber pilot, is visually extraordinary and politically topical

A Matter of Life and Death is the utterly unique, enduringly rich and strange romantic fantasia from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. You could put it in a double bill with It’s a Wonderful Life or The Wizard of Oz, though its pure English differentness would shine through. It was released in 1946, the same year that Winston Churchill coined the term “special relationship” – an idea that the film finds itself debating. With that concept now under pressure, 2017 is a good time for this classic to be rereleased in UK cinemas.

The film begins with a sensational flourish: a nuclear explosion that destroys a solar system. We start by drifting through outer space, accompanied by a droll narrative voice, commenting on its vastness and noticing a sudden supernova way
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Revisiting A Matter Of Life And Death

Rachel Meaden Dec 8, 2017

It’s 71 years old and considered one of the best British films ever made. Rachel takes a look at the wonderful A Matter Of Life And Death.

This article contains spoilers for A Matter Of Life And Death

It never made sense to me that they changed the title of A Matter Of Life And Death for American cinemas (it was thought that Us audiences wouldn’t go and see a film with the word ‘death’ in the title); Stairway To Heaven feels wrong for a couple of reasons. Not to be pedantic but technically it’s an escalator, also it’s never explicitly referred to as 'Heaven' in the movie. But mainly, it's far too imposing a title. Part of the film does explore the afterlife (and it doesn't get much more imposing than that...), but what's so brilliant about A Matter Of Life And Death
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Thelma Schoonmaker on the Technicolor magic of A Matter of Life and Death

Powell and Pressburger’s 1946 film, about a man who has to convince the angels that he deserves to remain on Earth, has a special place in the heart of Scorsese’s Oscar-winning editor – not least because she married its director

One of the most romantic movies ever made began its life in a government office. In 1945, the Ministry of Information suggested to Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, who had recently scored a success with A Canterbury Tale, that they might make a film to soothe fractious Anglo-American relations. Although Brits and GIs fought alongside each other in the war, American soldiers stationed in the UK had gained the unwelcome reputation of being “oversexed, overpaid and over here”.

Continue reading...
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Powell & Pressburger’s ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ Gets Heavenly Trailer for Theatrical Restoration

With a filmography of full-hearted movies with bold innovation when it comes to both their aesthetic touch and narrative ideas, one of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s finest films, A Matter of Life and Death, has recently been restored and is now returning to theaters. Ahead of the run, a new trailer has now arrived courtesy of Park Circus.

“A romantic, daring and beautifully realized allegorical fantasy – one of the best of the Powell/Pressburger movies,” says Martin Scorsese, a great admirer of the directing duo, who is quoted in the trailer. A Matter of Life and Death returns to UK theaters on December 8 and opens at NYC’s Film Forum for a one-week run on December 29. See the synopsis and gorgeous new trailer and poster below.

Fantastical and romantic, A Matter of Life and Death stars David Niven as an Raf pilot who must appeal to a celestial
See full article at The Film Stage »

Rushes. Abel Ferrara's "Siberia", Two New Restorations, "Solaris" Concept Art

  • MUBI
Get in touch to send in cinephile news and discoveries. For daily updates follow us @NotebookMUBI.NEWSSharunas Bartas has been accused of sexual misconduct by two past collaborators. Read the full story at The Hollywood Reporter.On the positive news front: Abel Ferrara has secured funding for his previously delayed production Siberia, starring Willem Dafoe, Isabelle Huppert, and Nicholas Cage.Recommended VIEWINGThe trailer for the gorgeous new restoration of the Jacques Rivette masterpiece La belle noiseuse.Watch a rare in-depth discussion with Bela Tarr for the Morelia International Film Festival.Another beautiful restoration trailer—this time for Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger's A Matter of Life and Death.Somehow we missed this: a trailer for a new Kiyoshi Kurosawa TV series. If anyone has further information on this, we're all ears!Recommended READINGIn the event of Grasshopper's forthcoming Blu-ray release, Straub-Huillet scholar & filmmaker Ted Fendt offers a new essay on
See full article at MUBI »

Made in England: Three Classics by Powell and Pressburger

  • MUBI
Mubi is showing Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's The Small Back Room (1949), The Tales of Hoffmann (1951) and Michael Powell's Peeping Tom (1960) in November and December, 2017 in the United States in the series Powell & Pressburger: Together and Apart.The story goes that when they were casting their first flat-out masterpiece together, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger sent a letter to an actress outlining a manifesto of their production company, called "the Archers." At the time, the Archers was freshly incorporated, with Powell and Pressburger sharing all credit for writing, directing, and producing, and their manifesto had five points. Point one was to ensure that they provided their financial backers with "a profit, not a loss," which may raise eyebrows among those who are used to manifestos burning with anti-capitalist fire—but then, in a system like commercial cinema, profitability buys freedom.
See full article at MUBI »

*Updated* George A. Romero to be Honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

  • DailyDead
A cornerstone and true gentleman of the horror genre who is unfortunately no longer with us, George A. Romero's legacy will live on forever through his seminal work and infectious good nature, and those priceless traits will be commemorated today when the late Master of Horror receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Updated: We've now been provided with official details on the Walk of Fame ceremony, which will include guest speakers Edgar Wright and Greg Nicotero, as well as a statement from Romero's manager and friend, Chris Roe, who was instrumental in ensuring that Romero received the star that he truly deserves.

Here's what Roe, who is the director of the Romero Star Campaign, had to say about the ceremony:

"It has been a very long journey to make this day happen and so many have given their support. With George’s star ceremony on Hollywood Blvd.
See full article at DailyDead »

12 Movies with the Best Color Cinematography of All-Time

12 Movies with the Best Color Cinematography of All-Time
These days, major cinematographers like Emmanuel Lubezki and Ed Lachman are as much of a draw to serious moviegoers as the directors they work with. Currently, Roger Deakins’ masterful work in the visually stunning “Blade Runner 2049” has led to one recurring question above all: Will Roger finally win the Oscar? Among the more striking aspects of Deakins’ accomplishment is the use of color: Virtually every shot has a different palette.

It feels like something we’ve never seen before, but have we? How does today’s best cinematography stack up against the great color films of the past?

Since the early 20th century, there have always been experimentations with color cinematography, but it wasn’t until the late ’30s, with the massive success of “The Wizard of Oz” and “Gone with the Wind,” that color films became a staple of international cinema. With films stretching from 1947 to 2011, from masters like Jack Cardiff to Lubezki,
See full article at Indiewire »

Tales Of Hoffmann (1951) Screens This Weekend at Webster University

“Pour out the wine for drinking is divine!”

Tales Of Hoffmann (1951) screens Friday September 1st through Sunday September 3rd at Webster University’s Moore Auditorium (470 East Lockwood). The movie starts each evening at 7:30pm.

This a film version of the 1881 opera by Jacques OffenbachThe Tales of Hoffmann”, however it is Not just a film of a staged performance. ‘Michael Powell’ & Emeric Pressburger work their usual magic here. The opera dramatizes the three great romances in the life of the poet-hero presented in a series of flashbacks. Hoffmann’s tales depict the struggle between human love and the artist’s dedication to his work. Hoffmann loses each of the women he loves but gains instead poetic inspiration — the ability to transform painful experiences into art.

Tales Of Hoffmann is an anthology of fantastic and romantic adventures, recounted by the fableist Hoffmann (Robert Rounseville) and featuring Moira Shearer (The Red Shoes), Ludmilla Tchérina,
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The Battle of the River Plate

Powell & Pressburger’s big-scale historical epic is perhaps the best show ever about an old-school naval encounter between battleships. The first half depicts the showdown between England and Germany in the South Atlantic, and the second half a tense diplomatic game in the neutral country of Uruguay. Peter Finch, Bernard Lee and Anthony Quayle shine as sea captains.

Panzerschiff Graf Spee (The Battle of the River Plate)

Region B Blu-ray

ITV Studios Home Entertainment (Germany)

1956 / Color / 1:78 widescreen / 119, 106 117 min./ Pursuit of the Graf Spee / Street Date 2010 / Available from Amazon UK £16.90

Starring: Peter Finch, Bernard Lee, Anthony Quayle, John Gregson, Ian Hunter, Jack Gwillim, Lionel Murton, Anthony Bushell, Peter Illing, Michael Goodliffe, Patrick Macnee, Christopher Lee.

Cinematography: Christopher Challis

Production Design: Arthur Lawson

Film Editor: Reginald Mills

Original Music: Brian Easdale

Written, Produced & Directed by Michael Powell & Emeric Pressberger

The best way so far to see the impressive The Battle of the River Plate
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

All of the Films Joining Filmstruck’s Criterion Channel This July

Each month, the fine folks at FilmStruck and the Criterion Collection spend countless hours crafting their channels to highlight the many different types of films that they have in their streaming library. This July will feature an exciting assortment of films, as noted below.

To sign up for a free two-week trial here.

Saturday, July 1 Changing Faces

What does a face tell us even when it’s disguised or disfigured? And what does it conceal? Guest curator Imogen Sara Smith, a critic and author of the book In Lonely Places: Film Noir Beyond the City, assembles a series of films that revolve around enigmatic faces transformed by masks, scars, and surgery, including Georges Franju’s Eyes Without a Face (1960) and Hiroshi Teshigahara’s The Face of Another (1966).

Tuesday, July 4 Tuesday’s Short + Feature: Premature* and Ten*

Come hitch a ride with Norwegian director Gunhild Enger and the late Iranian master
See full article at CriterionCast »

26 new UK TV shows to look out for

Louisa Mellor Jun 1, 2017

Some exciting new UK drama and comedy commissions are making their way to TV over the next year or so…

We know, we know. You still have two episodes of Fargo season two before you can think about starting season three. You’ve already fallen behind on American Gods. Your planner memory is chock-a-block with Big Little Lies and that Oj Simpson thing and some Spanish prison series your workmate bullied you into recording. You’re struggling to make time for Twin Peaks. New Game Of Thrones is just around the corner. And guess what, Netflix UK have just added a whole new season of It’s Always Sunny, those sods. You need a list of new TV show recommendations like you need a hole in the head.

See related Metroid: Other M Nintendo Wii review

And yet, as long as they keep making them, we’ll keep recommending them.
See full article at Den of Geek »

BBC Orders Adaptations of ‘War of the Worlds,’ ‘Little Women’ for New Drama Slate

BBC Orders Adaptations of ‘War of the Worlds,’ ‘Little Women’ for New Drama Slate
The BBC has ordered up 11 new high-end dramas, including new television versions of “The War of the Worlds,” “Little Women,” and “Black Narcissus.” The three titles are the latest classic novel adaptations to be commissioned by BBC Drama, which is currently in production on a new four-part adaptation of E.M. Forster’s “Howard’s End” (pictured) by Oscar-winner Kenneth Lonergan for BBC One and Starz.

Also in the lineup are the first-ever screen adaptation of Vikram Seth’s 1993 novel “A Suitable Boy” and three-part true-story drama “A Very English Scandal,” written by Russell T. Davies and directed by Stephen Frears.

The new slate was unveiled Thursday at an event in London co-hosted by BBC Director General Tony Hall and new controller of BBC Drama Piers Wenger.

“It feels to me a special moment for drama. What really excites me is I think we’ve shaken off all preconceptions about what stories people will come to,” said
See full article at Variety - TV News »

Scott’s TCM Fest Dispatch, Part Three: Psychology

It’s not exactly remarkable that cinema has been around long enough to chart the rise of modern psychology. The first century of film covers society’s entire 20th, a hundred-year span rife with innovation in a great many fields. But as art is keen on investigating the psyche, it’s little surprise that cinema would try to keep pace in some way with the study and expression of it. From the psychological thriller to the psychodrama to most horror films, the study of the mind onscreen sometimes unfolds perfectly naturally, and other times feels like a stiff lecture from somebody who read a really fascinating article in Time the month before. Look no further than Psycho for an example of both, but look to three films that played at the TCM Classic Film Festival for some pretty wild takes.

Based on a novel by a prominent psychologist (once president
See full article at CriterionCast »

AMC to Undertake Major Refurbishment of London’s Iconic Odeon Leicester Square (Exclusive)

AMC to Undertake Major Refurbishment of London’s Iconic Odeon Leicester Square (Exclusive)
London – AMC Theaters is set to undertake a multimillion-dollar refurbishment of the U.K.’s iconic Odeon Leicester Square in London’s West End, AMC CEO Adam Aron said Tuesday.

“We want to restore its former glory as the No. 1 site in Europe,” Aron said of the 80-year-old cinema, which is the regular venue for U.K. movie premieres. The theater has hosted the annual Royal Film Performance since 1946, starting with Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s “A Matter of Life and Death,” and is also the headline venue for the annual London Film Festival.

Speaking after an event to announce a 25-theater deal between AMC and IMAX, Aron told Variety that the refurbishment would see major investment of as much as £10-15 million ($12.5-18.5 million).

The site houses an original Compton Organ from the silent era, known as “The Duchess,” and Aron said he was aware of the site
See full article at Variety - Film News »

A Tcmff 2017 Preamble

“It’s the most wonderful time/Of the year…” – Andy Williams

Well, yes and no. There is, after all, still about a week and a half to go before we can put the long national, annual nightmare of the tax season behind us. But it’s also film festival season, which for me specifically means the onset of the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival, the eighth iteration of what has become a perennial moviegoing event. More and more people flock to Hollywood Boulevard each year from all reaches of the country, and from other countries, to revel in the history of Hollywood and international filmmaking, celebrate their favorite stars (including, this year, beloved TCM host Robert Osborne, who died earlier this year and whose presence has been missed at the festival for the past two sessions) and enjoy a long-weekend-sized bout of nostalgia for the movie culture being referred to when
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Walerian Borowczyk's Theater of the Body

  • MUBI
Mubi's retrospective The Many Sins of Walerian Borowczyk is showing February 12 - June 18, 2017 in the United States and in many other countries around the world.The late 1970s marks a stylistic departure for Walerian Borowczyk, as the Polish director moved away from a controlled, painterly style and toward a ‘corporeal’ style, wherein changes in aesthetic choices allowed him to explore the human body in greater depth than in his previous films. While the liberal portrayal of sex and sexuality (lending itself to the liberal portrayal of bodies, human or otherwise) is present in Borowczyk’s live-action films as early as his anthology Immoral Tales from 1973, the preoccupation with the body specifically comes to the fore with the films Behind Convent Walls (1978), Immoral Women (1979), L’armoire (1979), Lulu (1980), and The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Miss Osbourne (1981). It is in this four-year period that the viewer will notice Borowczyk's moving away
See full article at MUBI »

Horror Highlights: Funko’s Ellen Ripley Rock Candy Collectible, Hobgoblins on Splathouse Podcast, Reel Film Day, Bigfoot The Movie

Ellen Ripley in all her butt-kicking glory is kicking off today's Horror Highlights. Funko's Ellen Ripley Rock Candy collectible will hit stores soon! Also: details on Splathouse podcast's Hobgoblins (1988) discussion, Alamo Drafthouse and Kodak's first-ever Reel Film Day, and release details for Bigfoot the Movie.

Funko's Ellen Ripley Rock Candy Collectible: From Funko: "A Pop! and ReAction just aren't enough - Ellen Ripley will be joining the Rock Candy line soon!

Coming soon!"


Splathouse Podcast Presents a Hobgoblins Discussion: From Splathouse: "For your consideration: Our four panelists (Sarah, Mike, John, and Jim) are joined by a Twitter friend (@parkerandcooley), an Academy Award nominee (Christopher Walken), a quiet coyote, and Rick Sloane (writer/director of The Visitants and Vice Academy). Can the gang survive the chaos or will they be seduced by the evil, mind-altering Hobgoblins? Find out this week!

Plus! All the regular bullshit you love: What Do Ya Know?
See full article at DailyDead »
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