The Good Dinosaur
A film that has some promising elements and which often seems as if it is on the verge of evolving into something wonderful but never…
* 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.
A review of Ridley Scott's "The Martian," starring Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
An overview of the films that will be theatrically released in the 2015 fall season.
The latest in an amazing array of new releases on Blu-ray and streaming media, including Inherent Vice, Selma, Winter Sleep, Mommy, Dancing on the Edge, Halt and Catch Fire, and more.
A dispatch from Sundance including new films by Noah Baumbach, Craig Zobel, and Guy Maddin.
Our most anticipated films of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.
Why DiCaprio doesn't get lucky at the Oscars; Atheism in Hollywood; Famous rejection letters; Wes Anderson as an advertiser; Auteur theory and Kent Jones.
Odie Henderson champions Chiwetel Ejiofor as the Best Actor of 2013.
Erik Childress analyzes the impact of the recently-awarded BAFTAs on the Oscar race.
Links to all the essays about our picks for who deserves Oscars during this week-long event. Updated daily.
The Oscars race has hit a holiday lull. It's a good time to pause and take stock of nominations.
"Tower Prep" was cancelled because it was too girl-centric; the year's 10 best movie quotes; the year's worst movie titles; the real sins of the Welfare Queen; the aptly named Wiseman speaks.
Alyssa Rosenberg considers the women on the big screen and the small screen in the past year.
Omer Mozaffar reflects on "12 Years a Slave."
Alan Zilberman looks at the move to minimalism in musical scores, and how those scores shape our emotional reactions.
That a film as searing and necessary as "12 Years a Slave" is having trouble drawing large audiences is a testament to the power of denial. That so few mainstream films have been made about slavery in America is also a testament to the power of denial.
Dan Callahan looks at the career of Alfre Woodard.
"12 Years a Slave" and "The Butler" are part of a valuable subgenre of American film that dramatizes the fallacy of "Black respectability"—the notion that if African-Americans will only speak, dress and behave in a certain way, discrimination won't affect them, and they'll reap the American dream.
Saturday night is party night at the Toronto International Film Festival, when all the celebs and journalists float from soiree to soiree promoting or being promoted at.
Four standout performances by black actors make the Oscar Best Actor race more interesting this year.
Marie writes: As the dog days of summer slowly creep towards September and Toronto starts getting ready for TIFF 2013, bringing with it the promise of unique and interesting foreign films, it brought to mind an old favorite, namely The Red Balloon; a thirty-four minute short which follows the adventures of a young boy who one day finds a sentient red balloon. Filmed in the Menilmontant neighborhood of Paris and directed by French filmmaker Albert Lamorisse, The Red Balloon went on to win numerous awards and has since become a much-beloved Children's Classic.
Marie writes: Last week, in response to a club member comment re: whatever happened to Ebert Club merchandize (turned out to be too costly to set up) I had promised to share a free toy instead - an amusement, really, offered to MailChimp clients; the mail service used to send out notices. Allow me to introduce you to their mascot...
I had the privilege of watching Mischa Webley's curiously entertaining first film, "The Kill Hole" (2012), at the Black Harvest Film Festival in Chicago. This carefully crafted movie has begun winning awards at festivals across the country, and rightly so. Its director and producer Zach Hagen is congenial and it is a very good movie. It keeps leading you in one direction, in order to sneak up on you in the other.
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.
Marie writes: you've all heard of Banksy. But do you know about JR...?(click to enlarge image)
The Grand Poobah writes: "be there or be square...."(click to enlarge)