The Magnificent Seven
Rarely have so many charismatic actors been used in a film that feels quite as soulless as Antoine Fuqua’s update of The Magnificent Seven.
* 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.
An appreciation of the late, great cinematographer, documentarian and activist Haskell Wexler, plus a transcript of his 2013 conversation about his work on Terrence Malick's "Days of Heaven."
A column on the latest on Blu-ray and DVD, including Criterion editions of Code Unknown & In Cold Blood, The Man From UNCLE, Meru, Ant-Man and more!
A special edition of the Home Entertainment Consumer Guide on Blu-ray releases for 9/23/14, including "Ida," "The Innocents," "Macbeth," "Neighbors," "The Rover" and more.
Is the director's explicit "The Canyons" the nadir of his career—or its climax?
Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, who won a screenwriting Oscar for "The Descendants" talk about "The Way, Way Back," which they wrote, produced, directed, and appear in as actors. They talk about casting Steve Carell as a bad guy, what acting has taught them about directing, using Spotify to pick the songs for the movie, and the very important task they forgot on the first day.
A man said to the universe: "Sir, I exist!" "However," replied the universe, "The fact has not created in me "A sense of obligation." --Stephen Crane
That man can be found at the center of Werner Herzog's films. He is Aguirre. He is Fitzcarraldo. He is the Nosferatu. He is Timothy Treadwell, who lived among the grizzlies. He is Little Dieter Dengler, who needed to fly. She is Fini Straubinger, who lived in a land of silence and darkness since she was 12. He is Kaspar Hauser. He is Klaus Kinski. He is the man who will not leave the slopes of the Guadeloupe volcano when it is about to explode. He is those who live in the Antarctic. She is Juliana Koepcke, whose plane crashed in the rain forest and she walked out alive. He is Graham Dorrington, who flew one of the smallest airships ever built to study the life existing only in the treetops of that rain forest.
"Troops of nomads swept over the country at harvest time like a visitation of locusts, reckless young fellows, handsome, profane, licentious, given to drink, powerful but inconstant workmen, quarrelsome and difficult to manage at all times. They came in the season when work was plenty and wages high. They dressed well, in their own peculiar fashion, and made much of their freedom to come and go.
"They told of the city, and sinister and poisonous jungles all cities seemed in their stories. They were scarred with battles. They came from the far-away and unknown, and passed on to the north, mysterious as the flight of locusts, leaving the people of Sun Prairie quite as ignorant of their real names and characters as upon the first day of their coming."
-- Hamlin Garland, "Boy Life on the Prairie" (1899), epigraph for Terrence Malick's screenplay for "Days of Heaven," revised June 2, 1976
At some point in 1976, "Days of Heaven" was a screenplay that contained conventionally discrete scenes, developed exchanges of dialog and a fairly straightforward (melo-)dramatic narrative structure. Principal photography took place that year in the plains of Alberta, Canada (standing in for the Texas panhandle shortly before World War I), and the movie that emerged in 1978, after two years of editing, did away almost all of it. What the movie became -- as everyone couldn't help but notice at the time of its original release -- is a film in which the "background" (nature, the landscape) moves into the foreground and the human characters recede into macrocosmic expanses of earth and sky, and microcosmic observations of flora and fauna. And bugs.
Terrence Malick's vision is reflected in his process, whereby an enormous amount of material -- scripted and unscripted, A-roll and B-roll -- is pared down, peeled back, opened up.¹ Camera operator John Bailey, in an interview on the Criterion Blu-Ray edition of "Days of Heaven," describes how the so-called "second unit" work. The close-ups of animals or plants, or the pastoral images of trees or streams are "very, very inserty-type shots, and yet they have the same kind of dramatic impact" as the spectacular wide shots -- or, for that matter, the scenes involving the lead actors. Some complained about that at the time -- that the film was gorgeous but insufficiently developed as human drama, that characters were cyphers, that the technique was "intolerably artsy" and "artificial."²
TORONTO--If the 27th Toronto Film Festival closes after two days, it will have shown six wonderful films and one magnificently bloody-minded one--and I do not exclude the possible greatness of entries I have not yet seen.
PARK CITY, Utah - For a century, movies have been projected onto a big screen by a bright light shining through a moving strip of celluloid. If the prophets of the coming digital age are correct, film will disappear from that equation at some point in the next decade, and movies will be recorded and projected by digital means. Already the comfortable old word "photography" is being replaced by "image capture."
The Festival International du Film, held annually in Cannes, France, has become the world's most prestigious film festival—the spot on the beach where the newest films from the world's top directors compete for both publicity and awards.