Posts tagged movies
Posts tagged movies
Whatever you thought of Ebert’s taste — I certainly did not always agree with him — he was an outstanding, prolific writer and a perceptive, lucid critic. His reviews were always an absolute joy to read, even if I took a completely different tack on the film in question.
The link here is to a wonderful obit in the Chicago Tribune — the rival of Ebert’s Sun-Times and former home of fellow critic Gene Siskel. But what makes this death so saddening and shocking is that just two days ago Ebert published that he was taking a “leave of presence” and had, it seems, a ton of projects on deck.
My heart goes out to wife Chaz and to his family. Perhaps it’s s small comfort that Ebertfest is coming up soon and the whole community he built will get a chance to mourn together.
Review In Peace, Roger Ebert.
Adam Schickling created this rockin’ concept poster of what the original cast members of Star Wars might look like reprising their roles.
Completely unofficial obviously but something along these lines could be kinda sweet?
We finally have photographic proof that Obama is Indiana Jones.
Wide-ranging feature from Devin Leonard in BusinessWeek. Covers a lot of ground. Leonard profiles both Lucas — including Lucas’s initial decision to retire, how he went about selling Lucasfilm, the pre-acquisition development of Episode VII — and Disney CEO Bob Iger. Really, really great stuff — read it all.
(But what’s up with those weirdo pull quotes? Why are they in Arial? Why are the W, D and sometimes O glyphs replaced with ones from the Walt Disney logo mark? Why are the baselines all jacked up? Just another unsolved mystery…)
Melissa Ryzik writing on the New York Times’s Carpetbagger blog:
There’s a high-stakes fight brewing here, between the digital artists who create the movie-magic effects that many blockbusters depend on and the studios that employ them. Audiences got a taste of it on Sunday, when Bill Westenhofer, a visual effects winner for “Life of Pi,” was played off the Oscar stage with the “Jaws” music, just as he was talking about the bankruptcy of the film’s effects house, Rhythm & Hues.
In a related protest, more than 400 people, many of them laid-off Rhythm & Hues workers, demonstrated just a few blocks from the theater where the Oscars were taking place, voicing their grievances against the industry. According to Deadline.com, they protested working conditions (long hours without equivalent pay) and the foreign subsidies that draw jobs overseas. Some talked of unionizing. A plane bearing the banner ““BOXOFFICE + BANKRUPT = VISUAL EFFECTS VFXUNION.COM” was scheduled to fly over the Dolby Theater during the Oscars red carpet.
VFX artists should unionize.
Headhunters 2011 — ★★★★
I love action movies. I can’t get enough of them. They’re our modern day version of ritualized combat. There’s a kind of ancient, tribal connection that gives the action movie its power. It’s the power to make us believe in the impossible, for just about two hours or so. Headhunters is fully aware of that tradition and moreover delivers with outstanding verve.
Askel Hennie, a sort of Scandinavian Nic Cage, delivers an outstanding performance as a corporate headhunter moonlighting as an art thief whose double lives whirl around him as they both collapse. I honestly could not tell where the film was going next, and I think a lot of that had to do with Hennie’s wide range. He, and director Morten Tyldum, shift tone from moment to moment — here bored-yet-enthralled by corporate, male swordfighting; there resolute and intense in the face of an unpleasant deed that must be done; here edge-of-your-seat, hair trigger suspense; there genuine, naked, revelatory emotion.
John Andreas Andersen’s photography deals mostly in cool pastels — this compliments the film’s visual semiosis including a striking rushing / flowing water motif. Speaking of the mise en scène, the film’s world and side-characters (I’m thinking of a certain beblued, Thomson and Thompson–esque pair) are very deep and very entertaining. Considering it’s based on a novel by one of Scandanavian noir’s stars, Jo Nesbø, this should hardly be surprising.
Sure, there’s a Hollywood remake coming. And maybe they’ll get someone of David Fincher’s caliber to direct it. Though if you pressed me, the American film I think this most resembles, despite Headhunters being its tonal opposite (bright and full of roiling life rather than Kitano bleak and empty) is Drive (2011), directed by fellow Scandinavian Nicolas Winding Refn. Plus, in the mean time, you can always watch Hennie and Tyldum dance their little dance one more time. I will be.
Originally posted on Letterboxd
I watched this documentary (on Netflix) about how each episode of South Park is made in just six days. Really fascinating, especially for anyone in a creative profession. Also has some great flashbacks to some of the early seasons of South Park, which made a Chicxulub-sized impression on my friend group in 6th grade.
Here’s the trailer for Hana-bi (1997). Written, Directed, Edited and Starring “Beat” Takeshi Kitano. Hana-bi is a bleak movie. Kitano’s Nishi, a brilliant, still-waters-run-deep good-cop detective, is stuck in a sea of grief — his best friend is injured on a case and is paralyzed; a fellow cop is killed and he blames himself; his wife, still reeling from the death of their child, develops leukemia — and unable to move on — his best friend lives a miserable, broken existence; he continues to support his dead co-worker’s family; he visits his wife in the hospital and they both sit, silently, not looking at each other.
In talking to ‘Ili about the film, I feel he cut right to the heart of it when he said that it “looks and feels so empty and bleak, yet he tells a whole story through the editing.” It really is through Kitano’s editing that the film comes alive. As I said earlier, the film is an extended meditation on the nature of grief. The stories of Nishi and his partner, Hirobe, are intercut as they both try to process their grief and move on with their life after some serious, awful traumas. ‘Ili again: “Nishi deals with [grief] by destroying, Horibe deals with it by creating. Kitano deals in really shocking violence, but Hana-bi especially kind of makes me wonder what he actually thinks about it. If any of his films had a ‘this is not the way’ statement, it’s that one.”
I’ll close this out with a quote ‘Ili found from an interview with Kitano:
I think my way of showing violence is different from that of other filmmakers. When I show it, it hurts. I don’t want people to think it’s just a game, because violence is painful. I’m often asked whether I like violence, but I don’t think that’s the case at all. If you compare my films to something like Die Hard, the death toll in my films is pretty low.
Kitano is a personal favorite of both ‘Ili and myself; if you want to see cinema pushed to its absolute limits, you’d be hard pressed to find someone doing that more adroitly than Kitano.
Here’s the trailer for “A Few Dollars More”. I rewatched it recently and was blown away yet again by the amazing photography. I’m still up in the air on the plot. On the one hand, it’s complex and twisty and yet all the characters navigate through it with consistent motivations. On the other hand it may be so complex that it leaves little room for subtext.
In any case, this is a minor quibble. There’s enough interesting going on, visually, to make every subsequent viewing a chance to catch something new. This time around I noticed how smoking is frequently mapped to when a character is lying or otherwise fronting. Not an uncommon cinematic trope but it’s deployed a lot here.
One great scene for that is when Lee Van Cleef’s character and Clint Eastwood’s character are talking for the first time. I won’t spoil anything but just take careful note of when each character is smoking and not smoking.
Definitely one to look for on Blu-Ray.
Nice obit by ABC News. What an incredible loss.