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How New Movies Are Redefining Our Understanding of Family Life

  • Indiewire
The following essay was produced as part of the 2017 Locarno Critics Academy, a workshop for aspiring film critics that took place during the 70th edition of the Locarno Film Festival.

Locarno isn’t just home to a major European film festival. It’s also an ideal place for many Swiss and foreign families to travel in summer and enjoy its hot weather, pleasant cuisine, and serene lake. This makes it a terrific place for contemplating new movies.

Ironically, during the 70th edition of the Locarno Film Festival, many of the films outwardly questioned the value of traditional family life. Many viewers encountered the puzzling contrast of watching subversive movies, leaving the screening rooms, and watching very conventional heterosexual families enjoying their vacations. But this only made the power of these movies stand out.

“C’est moi” says Fanny Ardant, a transgender women, in “Lola Pater,” the film by the Franco-Algerian director Nadir Mokneche,
See full article at Indiewire »

The 100 Greatest Comedies of All-Time, According to BBC’s Critics Poll

After polling critics from around the world for the greatest American films of all-time, BBC has now forged ahead in the attempt to get a consensus on the best comedies of all-time. After polling 253 film critics, including 118 women and 135 men, from 52 countries and six continents a simple, the list of the 100 greatest is now here.

Featuring canonical classics such as Some Like It Hot, Dr. Strangelove, Annie Hall, Duck Soup, Playtime, and more in the top 10, there’s some interesting observations looking at the rest of the list. Toni Erdmann is the most recent inclusion, while the highest Wes Anderson pick is The Royal Tenenbaums. There’s also a healthy dose of Chaplin and Lubitsch with four films each, and the recently departed Jerry Lewis has a pair of inclusions.

Check out the list below (and my ballot) and see more on their official site.

100. (tie) The King of Comedy (Martin Scorsese,
See full article at The Film Stage »

One, Two, Three

Some like their comedy hot and some like it cold. Billy Wilder opted to step on the joke accelerator to see what top speed looked like. One of the most finely tuned comedies ever made, this political satire crams five hours’ worth of wit and sight gags into 115 minutes. The retirement-age James Cagney practically blows a fuse rattling through Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond’s high-pressure speeches, without slurring so much as a single syllable.

One, Two, Three

Blu-ray

Kl Studio Classics

1961 / B&W / 2:35 widescreen / 115 min. / Street Date May 30, 2017 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95

Starring James Cagney, Horst Buchholz, Pamela Tiffin, Arlene Francis,

Howard St. John, Hanns Lothar, Lilo Pulver

Cinematography Daniel L. Fapp

Production Designers Robert Stratil, Heinrich Weidemann

Art Direction Alexander Trauner

Film Editor Daniel Mandell

Original Music André Previn

Written by Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond from the play by Ferenc Molnar

Produced and Directed by Billy Wilder

How
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Review: "The Vampire Bat" (1933) Blu-ray Special Edition From Film Detective

  • CinemaRetro
By Hank Reineke

The Vampire Bat (1933) was a staple of TV late-night movie programming well into the 1980s. Too often the running time of this maltreated film was irreverently trimmed or stretched to accommodate commercial breaks or better fit into a predetermined time slot. With black-and-white films almost completely banished from the schedules of local television affiliates by 1987, TV Guide disrespectfully dismissed The Vampire Bat as a “Dated, slow-motion chiller.” That’s an unfair appraisal. But with the MTV generation in the ascendant and Fangoria gleefully splashing the lurid and blood-red exploits of such slice-and-dice horror icons as Michael Meyers, Jason Voorhees, and Freddy Krueger on its covers, it’s somewhat understandable why the other-worldly atmospherics of The Vampire Bat were perceived as little more than a celluloid curio – an antiquated footnote in the annals of classic horror.

The Vampire Bat is hardly original. The film was, no doubt, conceived
See full article at CinemaRetro »

Rushes. Jonathan Demme, Cannes Jury, Reactionary French Comedy, Academy Museum

  • MUBI
Get in touch to send in cinephile news and discoveriesNEWSJonathan Demme with Anthony Hopkins on the set of The Silence of the LambsWe are very saddened to learn that the American director Jonathan Demme has died at 73. Demme won a Best Director Academy Award for The Silence of the Lambs, but that hardly summarizes or rewards the remarkable extent of his beautiful filmmaking. Just last year he released one of his very best works, the concert film Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids. Below is his 1985 music video for New Order's "The Perfect Kiss":Last year's jury for the Cannes Film Festival was lambasted as misguided after awarding the Palme d'Or not to Maren Ade's Toni Erdmann but to Ken Loach's I, Blake. The 2017 jury, headed by Pedro Almodóvar, has been announced and seems an attempt to make up for last year's kerfuffle: directors Maren Ade, Agnès Jaoui,
See full article at MUBI »

‘To Be or Not to Be’: Ernst Lubitsch’s Comedy of (T)Errors

Ernst Lubitsch’s To Be or Not to Be, that controversial World War II farce/satire/dark comedy about a group of ham actors who go on a mission to save Polish resistance from the Gestapo – and, in the course of doing so, ridicule the Nazi war machine as well as Adolf Hitler himself – recently turned 75, and is one of those films that age like good wine.

“Shall we drink to a blitzkrieg?” seems precisely the kind of question you should not put into one of your actors’ mouth in a farcical comedy shot at the beginning of 1940s, when the Nazis were gradually turning Europe into a wasteland. “I prefer a slow encirclement” would be, then, a perfect illustration of a witty repartee every director making movies at that time ought to stay away from. Yet Ernst Lubitsch, that German virtuoso of sophisticated American comedy who taught millions of viewers how to use allusion,
See full article at The Film Stage »

Invisible Ghost

Bela Lugosi fan alert! This Monogram horror opus is yet another narrative-challenged fumble of unmotivated, incomprehensible characters… but Bela’s great in it, in a central role. He’s a sympathetic, non- maniac this time, if you don’t count his tendency to go into trances and smother random houseguests. Savant’s review has the lowdown on the interesting cast; Tom Weaver’s commentary has the authoritative lowdown on whole show.

Invisible Ghost

Blu-ray

Kl Studio Classics

1941 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 64 min. / Street Date March 21, 2017 / available through Kino Lorber / 24.95

Starring: Bela Lugosi, Polly Ann Young, Clarence Muse, John McGuire, Betty Compson, Ernie Adams, Terry Walker, George Pembroke .

Cinematography: Harvey Gould, Marcel Le Picard

Film Editor: Robert Golden

Original Music: hahahahah, good one.

Written by Helen Martin & Al Martin

Produced by Sam Katzman

Directed by Joseph H. Lewis

Horror movie fans come in two varieties, obsessive and dangerously obsessive. Back
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

"Mauvaise Graine": Billy Wilder's Swift and Satisfying Directorial Debut

  • MUBI
Mubi is exclusively showing Billy Wilder and Alexander Esway's Mauvaise Graine a.k.a. Bad Seed (1934) in the United States and most countries around the world from August 18 - September 16, 2016.In light of his illustrious Hollywood career to follow, Billy Wilder’s obscure directorial debut, Mauvaise Graine (1934), may seem like a mere curiosity. Making the film as he was passing through France by way of Germany en route to America, Wilder regarded the work with little adoration. For him, the experience was one rife with difficulty; it wasn’t fun, there was tremendous pressure, and he simply wasn’t accustomed to have such sweeping control over a production. But the writing was on the wall by 1933, and Wilder, like so many others, was keen to get out of Berlin while the getting was good. Arriving first in Paris, he met other film professionals seeking refuge from the burgeoning Nazi party,
See full article at MUBI »

Silk Stockings

It's in glorious Technicolor Metrocolor, CinemaScope and StereoPhonic Sound! Fred Astaire's final MGM musical gives him Cyd Charisse and a Cole Porter score, plus some nice Hermes Pan choreography. The script and Rouben Mamoulian's direction aren't the best, but the combined magic of the musical and dancing talent saves the day. Silk Stockings Blu-ray Warner Archive Collection 1957 / Color / 2:40 widescreen / 117 min. / Street Date July 12, 2016 / available through the WBshop / 21.99 Starring Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Janis Paige, Peter Lorre, George Tobias, Jules Munshin, Joseph Buloff, Wim Sonneveld Cinematography Robert Bronner Art Direction Randall Duell, William A. Horning Film Editor Harold F. Kress Original Music Cole Porter Written by Abe Burrows, Leonard Gershe, George S. Kaufman, Leueen MacGrath, and Leonard Spigelgass Produced by Arthur Freed Directed by Rouben Mamoulian

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

On the Town?  The Pajama Game?  Damn Yankees?   The Warner Archive Collection's next musical up for the
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Oberon on TCM: Actress with Mystery Past Wears Men's Clothes, Fights Nazis

Merle Oberon movies: Mysterious star of British and American cinema. Merle Oberon on TCM: Donning men's clothes in 'A Song to Remember,' fighting hiccups in 'That Uncertain Feeling' Merle Oberon is Turner Classic Movies' Star of the Month of March 2016. The good news: the exquisite (and mysterious) Oberon, whose ancestry has been a matter of conjecture for decades, makes any movie worth a look. The bad news: TCM isn't offering any Oberon premieres despite the fact that a number of the actress' films – e.g., Temptation, Night in Paradise, Pardon My French, Interval – can be tough to find. This evening, March 18, TCM will be showing six Merle Oberon movies released during the first half of the 1940s. Never a top box office draw in the United States, Oberon was an important international star all the same, having worked with many of the top actors and filmmakers of the studio era.
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

6 Days til Oscar. Trivia Party

We're less than a week from Hollywood's High Holy Night. Are you excited yet?

For today's trivia party we'll look at the only people to win exactly six Oscars. Four men. It's always men (sigh). Only 11 people have won more Oscars than these four men. I did not include confusing cases like Visual FX guru Dennis Murren -- IMDb argues exactly 6 but that depends on how you count them since his prizes are many and a confusing jumble of technical achievements, special Oscars, and regular competitive statues. (Unfortunately I couldn't find photographs of the set decorators) 

Gordon HollingsheadGORDON Hollingshead (1892-1952)

This producer won more Oscars in the short film categories than anyone other than the legendary Walt Disney and Frederick Quimby (of Tom & Jerry fame) but he won them for live action films. His first Oscar, though, was in the inaguaral year (1933) of a category called "Best Assistant Director" which
See full article at FilmExperience »

Lubitsch Pt.II: The Magical Touch with MacDonald, Garbo Sorely Missing from Today's Cinema

'The Merry Widow' with Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald and Minna Gombell under the direction of Ernst Lubitsch. Ernst Lubitsch movies: 'The Merry Widow,' 'Ninotchka' (See previous post: “Ernst Lubitsch Best Films: Passé Subtle 'Touch' in Age of Sledgehammer Filmmaking.”) Initially a project for Ramon Novarro – who for quite some time aspired to become an opera singer and who had a pleasant singing voice – The Merry Widow ultimately starred Maurice Chevalier, the hammiest film performer this side of Bob Hope, Jim Carrey, Adam Sandler – the list goes on and on. Generally speaking, “hammy” isn't my idea of effective film acting. For that reason, I usually find Chevalier a major handicap to his movies, especially during the early talkie era; he upsets their dramatic (or comedic) balance much like Jack Nicholson in Martin Scorsese's The Departed or Jerry Lewis in anything (excepting Scorsese's The King of Comedy
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Remembering the Light Lubitsch Touch in Our Age of In Your Face Moviemaking

Ernst Lubitsch: The movies' lost 'Touch.' Ernst Lubitsch movies on TCM: Classics of a bygone era Ernst Lubitsch and William Cameron Menzies were Turner Classic Movies' “stars” on Jan. 28, '16. (This is a fully revised and expanded version of a post published on that day.) Lubitsch had the morning/afternoon, with seven films; Menzies had the evening/night, also with seven features. (TCM's Ernst Lubitsch schedule can be found further below.) The forgotten 'Touch' As a sign of the times, Ernst Lubitsch is hardly ever mentioned whenever “connoisseurs” (between quotes) discuss Hollywood movies of the studio era. But why? Well, probably because The Lubitsch Touch is considered passé at a time when the sledgehammer approach to filmmaking is deemed “fresh,” “innovative,” “cool,” and “daring” – as if a crass lack of subtlety in storytelling were anything new. Minus the multimillion-dollar budgets, the explicit violence and gore, and the overbearing smugness passing for hipness,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Fox Offers 100 Films Digitally to Celebrate Century Mark, With Help From Martin Scorsese

Fox Offers 100 Films Digitally to Celebrate Century Mark, With Help From Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese will present a restored version of the Ernst Lubitsch comedy “Heaven Can Wait” at the New York Film Festival on Thursday.

In an interview, the director of “Goodfellas” and “Casino,” said the film was a perfect candidate for an appreciation because Lubitsch, whose other credits include “Ninotchka” and “To Be or Not to Be,” was “a great artist,” one who taught him about film structure.

“Everything in a Lubitsch film counts: every gesture, every word, every design choice for every set, every angle, every second,” Scorsese wrote in an email. “He was absolutely remarkable. And like many of the directors that came out of the silent era, he understood form so perfectly.”

He went on to praise “Heaven Can Wait,” which marks the director’s first color effort, as “like an ancient cathedral: the beauty and the integrity of the form are one and there’s not a stone out of place.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Nasty Politics and Eyebrow-Raising Gossip During Hollywood's Golden Age: Brackett's Must-Read Diaries

Charles Brackett ca. 1945: Hollywood diarist and Billy Wilder's co-screenwriter (1936–1949) and producer (1945–1949). Q&A with 'Charles Brackett Diaries' editor Anthony Slide: Billy Wilder's screenwriter-producer partner in his own words Six-time Academy Award winner Billy Wilder is a film legend. He is renowned for classics such as The Major and the Minor, Double Indemnity, Sunset Blvd., Witness for the Prosecution, Some Like It Hot, and The Apartment. The fact that Wilder was not the sole creator of these movies is all but irrelevant to graduates from the Auteur School of Film History. Wilder directed, co-wrote, and at times produced his films. That should suffice. For auteurists, perhaps. But not for those interested in the whole story. That's one key reason why the Charles Brackett diaries are such a great read. Through Brackett's vantage point, they offer a welcome – and unique – glimpse into the collaborative efforts that resulted in
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Top Screenwriting Team from the Golden Age of Hollywood: List of Movies and Academy Award nominations

Billy Wilder directed Sunset Blvd. with Gloria Swanson and William Holden. Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett movies Below is a list of movies on which Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder worked together as screenwriters, including efforts for which they did not receive screen credit. The Wilder-Brackett screenwriting partnership lasted from 1938 to 1949. During that time, they shared two Academy Awards for their work on The Lost Weekend (1945) and, with D.M. Marshman Jr., Sunset Blvd. (1950). More detailed information further below. Post-split years Billy Wilder would later join forces with screenwriter I.A.L. Diamond in movies such as the classic comedy Some Like It Hot (1959), the Best Picture Oscar winner The Apartment (1960), and One Two Three (1961), notable as James Cagney's last film (until a brief comeback in Milos Forman's Ragtime two decades later). Although some of these movies were quite well received, Wilder's later efforts – which also included The Seven Year Itch
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

A Unique Superstar: 20th Century Icon Garbo on TCM

Greta Garbo movie 'The Kiss.' Greta Garbo movies on TCM Greta Garbo, a rarity among silent era movie stars, is Turner Classic Movies' “Summer Under the Stars” performer today, Aug. 26, '15. Now, why would Garbo be considered a silent era rarity? Well, certainly not because she easily made the transition to sound, remaining a major star for another decade. Think Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, William Powell, Fay Wray, Marie Dressler, Wallace Beery, John Barrymore, Warner Baxter, Janet Gaynor, Constance Bennett, etc. And so much for all the stories about actors with foreign accents being unable to maintain their Hollywood stardom following the advent of sound motion pictures. A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer star, Garbo was no major exception to the supposed rule. Mexican Ramon Novarro, another MGM star, also made an easy transition to sound, and so did fellow Mexicans Lupe Velez and Dolores del Rio, in addition to the very British
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Leigh Day on TCM: From Southern Belle in 'Controversial' Epic to Rape Victim in Code-Buster

Vivien Leigh ca. late 1940s. Vivien Leigh movies: now controversial 'Gone with the Wind,' little-seen '21 Days Together' on TCM Vivien Leigh is Turner Classic Movies' star today, Aug. 18, '15, as TCM's “Summer Under the Stars” series continues. Mostly a stage actress, Leigh was seen in only 19 films – in about 15 of which as a leading lady or star – in a movie career spanning three decades. Good for the relatively few who saw her on stage; bad for all those who have access to only a few performances of one of the most remarkable acting talents of the 20th century. This evening, TCM is showing three Vivien Leigh movies: Gone with the Wind (1939), 21 Days Together (1940), and A Streetcar Named Desire (1951). Leigh won Best Actress Academy Awards for the first and the third title. The little-remembered film in-between is a TCM premiere. 'Gone with the Wind' Seemingly all
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

'Sunset Blvd.': 15 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About the Hollywood Classic

  • Moviefone
Long before the lurid "E! True Hollywood Story" series, there was "Sunset Boulevard" -- maybe the darkest, most cynical movie ever made about what Hollywood is really like.

Released 65 years ago this week (on August 10, 1950), director Billy Wilder's classic explored fame from the perspective of those who had it and lost it (like Gloria Swanson and her "waxwork" friends, playing lightly fictionalized versions of themselves) and those who never quite made it, like the struggling young screenwriter (William Holden) and the failed actress-turned-script reader played by Nancy Olson.

Even if you haven't seen "Sunset Boulevard," you may feel like you have, whether because of the popular Andrew Lloyd Webber musical it spawned, the movies that copied it (particularly "American Beauty," with its narration from beyond the grave), and the countless parodies of Swanson's final "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up" scene. In honor of the film's anniversary,
See full article at Moviefone »

Astaire Dances Everywhere Today on TCM

Fred Astaire ca. 1935. Fred Astaire movies: Dancing in the dark, on the ceiling on TCM Aug. 5, '15, is Fred Astaire Day on Turner Classic Movies, as TCM continues with its “Summer Under the Stars” series. Just don't expect any rare Astaire movies, as the actor-singer-dancer's star vehicles – mostly Rko or MGM productions – have been TCM staples since the early days of the cable channel in the mid-'90s. True, Fred Astaire was also featured in smaller, lesser-known fare like Byron Chudnow's The Amazing Dobermans (1976) and Yves Boisset's The Purple Taxi / Un taxi mauve (1977), but neither one can be found on the TCM schedule. (See TCM's Fred Astaire movie schedule further below.) Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musicals Some fans never tire of watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing together. With these particular fans in mind, TCM is showing – for the nth time – nine Astaire-Rogers musicals of the '30s,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »
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