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Goodbye to Language

Jean-Luc Godard's latest free-form essay film may be, more than anything else, a documentary of a restless mind.

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The Great Invisible

Winner of the SXSW Grand Jury Prize for Documentary, the film is strongest when it focuses on the micro rather than the macro. How the…

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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Cast and Crew

* 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.

#112 April 25, 2012

Marie writes: I recently heard from an ex-coworker named Athena aka the production manager on an animated series I'd painted digital backgrounds for. She sent me some great photos she'd found on various sites. More than few made me smile and thus inspired, I thought I'd share them with club members. I've added captions for fun but if you can come up with something better, feel free to submit your wit by way of posted comment. Note: I don't know who the photographers are; doesn't say. (Click pics to enlarge.)

"I want a peanut for every photo you took of me..."

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#77 August 24, 2011

Marie writes: the following moment of happiness is brought to you by the glorious Tilda Swinton, who recently sent the Grand Poobah a photo of herself taken on her farm in Scotland, holding a batch of English Springer puppies!

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#75 August 10, 2011

Marie writes: I attended three different elementary schools; St. Peter's, Our Lady of Mercy (which was anything but) and finally St. Micheal's; where I met my Canadian-Italian chum, Marta Chiavacci (key-a-vah-chee) who was born here to Italian immigrants. We lost touch after high school, moving in different directions til in the wake of a trip to Venice and eager to practice my bad Italian and bore friends with tales of my travels abroad, I sought her out again.We've kept in touch ever since, meeting whenever schedules permit; Marta traveling more than most (she's a wine Sommelier) living partly in Lucca, Italy, and happily in sin with her significant other, the great Francesco. I saw her recently and took photos so that I might show and tell, in here. For of all the friends I have, she's the most different from myself; the contrast between us, a never-ending source of delight. Besides, it was a nice afternoon in Vancouver and her condo has a view of False Creek...smile...

(click images to enlarge)

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Toronto #8: 'Sleuth' finds itself a Pinter film

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TORONTO, Ont. -- Everyone, including me, was under the impression that Kenneth Branagh’s new film “Sleuth” was a remake of the 1972 film. Same situation: Rich thriller writer is visited in his country house by man who is having affair with his wife. Same outcome: They argue, man is killed. Same visit: Police detective. Same so forth and so on.

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Gérard Brach, 1927 - 2006

Collaborator with Roman Polanski on "Repulsion," "Cul-de-Sac," "Fearless Vampire Killers," "The Tenant," "Tess," "Frantic," "Bitter Moon" and others. From The Guardian: "Cul-de-Sac" (1966) had echoes of "Waiting for Godot," but was more directly influenced by Harold Pinter, not only in the casting of Donald Pleasence, who had triumphed in Pinter's "The Caretaker" a few years previously, but also in the portrayal of sexual humiliation and in the relationship of the two gangsters. However, the depiction of a married couple's sexual tensions that erupt into violence when an outsider intrudes on their world was a favourite theme developed in the Polanski-Brach screenplay.... [...]

Throughout their partnership, Brach did most of the writing. "We talk and then he writes it," Polanski explained. "Then he comes back into the room and we change it together."

Besides his work with Polanski, Brach co-wrote screenplays for several of the most notable films of the 1980s, mostly for non-French directors: "Identification of a Woman" (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1982), "Favourites of the Moon" (Otar Iosseliani, 1984) and "Maria's Lovers" (1984) and "Shy People" (1987), both by Andrei Konchalovsky. Nevertheless, his most acclaimed screenplays were for Frenchmen: Berri, the two-part Marcel Pagnol adaptation, "Jean de Florette" and "Manon des Sources" (1986); and Jean-Jacques Annaud, "The Name of the Rose" (1986), "The Bear" (1988), "The Lover" (1992) and "Minor," currently being shot in Spain.

Brach was agoraphobic, and for almost the last 10 years he hardly ever left the Paris apartment where he lived alone, rarely receiving visitors, except for the occasional director.

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Opening Shots: 'Accident'

View image: It starts here...

View image ... and ends here. And nearly everything that happens, except for a slow movement in on the house, happens off-screen.

From Richard T. Jameson, Editor, Movietone News, 1971-81; Editor, Film Comment, 1990-2000:

The opening shot of Joseph Losey's "Accident" (1966) begins under the main-title credits and runs for a minute or so after they have concluded. We're looking at the front of a good-sized but hardly palatial house in the English countryside -- the home, as it happens, of an Oxford don whose academic career has been less than stellar. It's nighttime, tangibly well into the wee hours. No lights are burning, no activity within is apparent. The credits roll without musical accompaniment. On the soundtrack we detect an airplane passing overhead; onscreen, a slight alteration of perspective on the surrounding tree boughs makes us aware that the camera is slowly nudging closer to the house. After a moment, there is the sound of an automobile approaching. The noise grows loud; the engine is racing. Then, a screech of tires and the sound of impact and shattering glass, abruptly cut off. There is a further pause. Then the front door of the house opens, only a hint of light glimmering in the interior. Hesitantly, a man steps out, then begins advancing into the night. Cut to several murky shots impressionistically marking his progress as he moves toward the scene of the titular accident.

The shot, though plain as, uh, day, is remarkable for several reasons. One, of scant concern to most of us, is that with it the director and his first-time cinematographer Gerry Fisher achieved their goal of shooting a color scene that actually looks like what it's supposed to be: a nighttime exterior as seen by moonlight, rather than a day-for-night fakeroo or some other conventional attempt to imitate nighttime via filters and technical trickery. Losey and Fisher went to extreme pains with the film lab to get the shot to look exactly as they wanted it -- even though, as Losey ruefully observed in interview, they knew most theaters would bathe the screen with mauve houselights for the benefit of late-arriving seat-takers, and in any event a few passes in front of the projector's carbon arc would soon alter the image on the emulsion.

So, technically, a real, if effectively unnoticed and ephemeral, coup.

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Opening Shots Pop Quiz: Answers

Here goes. For the time being, I'm just going to offer up the answers to the Opening Shots Pop Quiz, without further elaboration or analysis in most cases -- because these shots are so great they deserve full Opening Shots treatments of their own. (And you, by the way, are welcome to provide them if you are so inclined!)

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Harold Pinter

NEW YORK - The situation was so incongruous I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Here I was at one of those New York "press openings" for a new movie. The format was pretty standard. A hotel ballroom was filled with a half-dozen round tables, and each table held a half dozen movie critics. The producer, director, writer and star of the new film moved from table to table, answering questions for 15 minutes before it was time to switch.

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Interview with Max J. Rosenberg

A producer of horror films doesn't actually need fangs and little points on his ears, but it would help. He doesn't need to quaff blood at every meal, but...cole slaw? Dishes and dishes of cole slaw? This is a horror movie producer?

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David Hemmings, ready for his "Blow-Up"

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HOLLYWOOD - Out in Devil's Gulch on the back lot at Warner Brothers, where Josh Logan is making "Camelot" with the whole studio hanging over his shoulders, David Hemmings sits in his dressing room and waits. It is a good time of year for waiting, not too hot, 65 or 70, the sun falling lazily on the green hills of Hollywood. Hemmings came out here four months ago to play Mordred, King Arthur's illegitimate son, and in that space of time he has worked, oh, maybe four days. The wait has given Hemmings an opportunity to feel out Los Angeles, to shape the dimensions of this strange new world, and to grow his own wispy beard to replace the makeup man's.

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