Sometimes, it feels as if we are eavesdropping on day-to-day conversations rather than just hearing the usual litany of platitudes and regrets.
* This filmography is not intended to be a comprehensive list of this artist’s work. Instead it reflects the films this person has been involved with that have been reviewed on this site.
Sam Elliott on typecasting; Why Paul Dano almost quit acting; R.I.P. Gill Dennis; Writing crime fiction changes your POV forever; Why people in old movies talk funny.
A report from the Athena Film Festival 2015.
A report from the 2015 Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
"Selma" is more than fair to L.B.J.; "American Sniper" increases threat against Muslims; Struggle over Vivian Maier's photos; When racism can't be ignored; Johnny Depp was never a movie star.
The true tragedy of "American Sniper"; Can America handle the truth on race?; Collapse of the Catholic right; Films that raise accuracy questions; 8 Oscar-worthy performances by Julianne Moore.
Open-office trend destroys workplace; Dark day for women in Hollywood; Matt Zoller Seitz on Wes Anderson; Hollywood absent from Oscars; Michael Phillips on "American Sniper."
Predictions for the eight major categories in the 87th Annual Academy Awards.
A video interview with Angelina Jolie.
Bill Cosby: fame, narcissism and sexual violence; Chris Kyle's unverifiable legacy; Godard's rarest film; The last true hermit; Why "Unbroken" tells the wrong tale of triumph.
Lists from our critics and contributors on the best of 2014.
A piece on the first wave of critics groups awards and some predictions for SAG and the Golden Globe nominees.
Chris Rock on Hollywood; Being big, black and scary; Terry Kilburn on "A Christmas Carol"; Filming in Death Valley; Ava DuVernay on "Selma."
A piece about how differently "Fury" and "The Imitation Game" transport viewers to World War II and what that says about film in 2014.
A recap of the new releases on Netflix, On Demand, and Blu-ray/DVD, including "Snowpiercer," "Maleficent," "Nightbreed," "F For Fake" and "La Dolce Vita."
On the eve of its 10th anniversary, a new version of Oliver Stone's Alexander on Blu-ray demands a reappraisal.
Major outlets call the man who assaulted America Ferrera at Cannes and Brad Pitt in Hollywood a "prankster." They're wrong to do so.
Craig D. Lindsey remembers his brother Daryl; Beauty and the beast within; Revisiting "Americathon"; A primer on Harlan Ellison; A kung fu fantasy featuring Richard Nixon.
She-Hulk is a feminist hero; Tasteless souvenirs at The 9/11 Museum; Remembering Sam Greenlee; Is Mary Barra standing on a glass cliff?; How to sell a film at Cannes.
Gerardo Valero looks at George Lazenby's only outing as James Bond, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service".
Erik Childress analyzes the impact of the recently-awarded BAFTAs on the Oscar race.
At their big D23 Expo event, Disney unleashed some stars and a lot of tantalizing info about live action films.
Marie writes: The unseen forces have spoken! The universe has filled a void obviously needing to be filled: there is now a font made entirely of cats. Called Neko Font (Japanese for "cat font") it's a web app that transforms text into a font comprised of cat pictures. All you need to do is write something in the text box, press "enter" on your keyboard and Neko Font instantly transforms the letters into kitties! Thanks go to intrepid club member Sandy Kahn for alerting the Ebert Club to this important advancement in typography. To learn more, read the article "There is now a font made entirely of cats" and to test it out yourself, go here: Neko Font. Meanwhile, behold what mankind can achieve when it has nothing better to do....
Marie writes: remember "The Heretics Gate" by artist Doug Foster? Well he's been at it again, this time as part of an exhibit held by The Lazarides Gallery - which returned to the subterranean depths of The Old Vic Tunnels beneath Waterloo Station in London, to present a spectacular group show called The Minotaur. It ran October 11th - 25th, 2011 and depending upon your choice (price of admission) dining was included from top Michelin-star chefs.Each artist provided their own interpretation of the classical myth of Theseus and the Minotaur and as with The Heretics Gate before it, Cimera, Doug Foster's new and equally as memorizing piece made it possible to project whatever comes to mind onto it, as images of body forms and beast-like faces take shape and rise from the bowels of earth. (click image to enlarge.) Photo by S.Butterfly.
Chaos Cinema Part 1 from Matthias Stork on Vimeo.
Matthias Stork, a German film scholar now based in Los Angeles, has created a most stimulating two-part video essay on a subject near and dear to my heart: "Chaos Cinema." At Press Play, it's given the sub-head "The decline and fall of action filmmaking," while an analysis at FILMdetail considers it from the angle of technology: "Chaos Cinema and the Rise of the Avid." Stork, who also narrates his essay, describes his premise this way:
Rapid editing, close framings, bipolar lens lengths and promiscuous camera movement now define commercial filmmaking.... Contemporary blockbusters, particularly action movies, trade visual intelligibility for sensory overload, and the result is a film style marked by excess, exaggeration and overindulgence: chaos cinema.
Chaos cinema apes the illiteracy of the modern movie trailer. It consists of a barrage of high-voltage scenes. Every single frame runs on adrenaline. Every shot feels like the hysterical climax of a scene which an earlier movie might have spent several minutes building toward. Chaos cinema is a never-ending crescendo of flair and spectacle. It's a shotgun aesthetic, firing a wide swath of sensationalistic technique that tears the old classical filmmaking style to bits. Directors who work in this mode aren't interested in spatial clarity. It doesn't matter where you are, and it barely matters if you know what's happening onscreen. The new action films are fast, florid, volatile audiovisual war zones. [...]
Most chaos cinema is indeed lazy, inexact and largely devoid of beauty or judgment. It's an aesthetic configuration that refuses to engage viewers mentally and emotionally, instead aspiring to overwhelm, to overpower, to hypnotize viewers and plunge them into a passive state. The film does not seduce you into suspending disbelief. It bludgeons you until you give up.
It seems to me that these movies are attempting a kind of shortcut to the viewer's autonomic nervous system, providing direct stimulus to generate excitement rather than simulate any comprehensible experience. In that sense, they're more like drugs that (ostensibly) trigger the release of adrenaline or dopamine while bypassing the middleman, that part of the brain that interprets real or imagined situations and then generates appropriate emotional/physiological responses to them. The reason they don't work for many of us is because, in reality, they give us nothing to respond to -- just a blur of incomprehensible images and sounds, without spatial context or allowing for emotional investment.
Nearly every frame in this movie is a low-angle shot, looking up in awe and curiosity. At times, we gasp at the complex beauty of galaxies and supernovas. At times we stare closely at expressions of children that seem no less complex, no less beautiful, and no less valuable. At times we look to the sky, hoping to see what our characters see. Terrence Malick's wondrously abstract "The Tree of Life" has very little dialogue, but is not at all a silent movie.