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In this excitingly nasty but ultimately confused action picture, Pierce Brosnan plays a retired government hitman drawn out of retirement to untangle a global political…

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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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* 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.

#60 April 27, 2011

The Grand Poobah shared the following recently and which struck me as just the thing to put in here - for it amounts to someone inventing a moving still akin to those seen on the front page of Harry Potter's famous newspaper."You know how people sometimes say that jazz is the only truly American art form? Animated GIFs are like the jazz of the internet: they could only exist, and be created and appreciated, online. That said, PopTart Cat is not exactly on par with Thelonious Monk. But photographer Jamie Beck and motion graphics artist Kevin Burg may have finally found a way to elevate the animated GIF to a level approaching fine art, with their "cinemagraphs" -- elegant, subtly animated creations that are "something more than a photo but less than a video." - fastcodesignAnd sadly, they won't work in here; Movable Type doesn't like animated gifs. It's easily solved however, just visit Far Better Than 3-D: Animated GIFs That Savor A Passing Moment to see an assortment in play!

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Once is in!

View image We're in.

After an investigation on the eve (literally) of the official Oscar ballot mailing, the executive committee of the Academy's music branch "has met and endorsed the validity of 'Falling Slowly' [from 'Once'] as a nominated achievement. The committee relied on written assurances and detailed chronologies provided by the songwriter of 'Falling Slowly,' the writer-director of 'Once' and Fox Searchlight" [the film's US distributor]. For details, see "Is Once ineligible for Best Original Song Oscar?" below.

The issue centered on whether the song was actually written for "Once" (as Academy rules require), or for the 2006 Czech film "Kráska v nesnázích" ("Beauty In Trouble"), or in some other context. In addition to its performance by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova in "Once," "Falling Slowly" appeared in various versions on three 2006 albums: Hansard and Irglova's "The Swell Season," the "Beauty in Trouble" soundtrack album (also sung by Hansard and Irglova), and "The Cost" by Hansard's band The Frames.

According to David "The Carpetbagger" Carr at the New York Times, music branch chairman Charles Bernstein released a statement about the evolution of "Once" and "Falling Slowly":

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Is Once ineligible for Best Original Song Oscar?

The Oscar-nominated song "Falling Slowly" (the only one not from "Enchanted" or "August Rush") may have been recorded for a Czech film -- and appeared on two albums in 2006, before "Once" was finished.

Not sure why this has become an issue now (does nobody at Fox Searchlight or the music branch of the Academy do any research until the last minute -- or beyond?), but Dublin film critic Paul Lynch passes along this report from his Sunday Tribune critical colleague Una Mullally:

The Sunday Tribune understands that the Academy query relates to whether the song, from the John Carney-directed movie "Once," was written specifically for the film, as the eligibility rules for the Best Original Song category demand.

"Falling Slowly" was originally recorded by the film’s co-stars Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova when Czech director Jan Hrebejk asked the two musicians to contribute songs to his 2006 film "Kráska v nesnázích" ("Beauty In Trouble"). Hansard and Irglova ended up recording the album "The Swell Season," of which "Falling Slowly" was a key track. That album was released in April 2006. Hansard’s band, The Frames, then rerecorded the song for their September 2006 album "The Cost. "Beauty in Trouble" was released in October 2006, with "Falling Slowly" played almost in full over the film’s trailer [above].

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LAFCA: There Will Be... more 2007 critics awards

Dillon Freasier (great!) and Daniel Day Lewis (... BIG!) in "There Will Be Blood."

The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (my former homies) have announced their collective choices for best achievements of 2007 and... well, for now, I'll just say that I doubt most of them would even be on my short list of runners-up for this year. (I haven't seen "Sweeney Todd" or "Diving Bell and the Butterfly" yet, though.) I'm glad that some honorees are getting recognition: Milestone Films, Sarah Polley, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova (from "Once": music as dialog/acting), Jack Fisk (to whom I will always be grateful for, among other things, the prom in "Carrie," the house in "Days of Heaven," and pulling the lever in "Eraserhead" -- yes, that was him), "Persepolis" and "Ratatouille" (tied for best animated feature), Vlad Ivanov (for negotiating the trickiest of roles) and a few others. But I know how misleading these group-ballot things can be. LAFCA's list does leave the impression that they felt "Blood" (and, perhaps, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly") tower the rest of the year's releases. I wonder if that's really the overwhelming majority opinion, or if it's another case of second- or third-choice consensus carrying the day. Too many of these seem like Academy-style picks to me (Most Noticeable Acting, Most Obvious/Intrusive Score, etc.). More about that later on in the month...

UPDATE (12/10/07): LAFCA member Robert Koelher writes to Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere: "I've cited to both Anne Thompson and David Poland the various fictions they've written about re. LAFCA's awards, namely that our pick for 'TWBB' had to do with going against National Board of Review (Anne) or the Academy (David). And now you say we were generally flying the contrarian flag. [...]

"By a wide margin, LAFCA felt... that 'There Will Be Blood' was the best American film of the year. That's all. No chess work, no calculations, no triangulation -- nothing but a matter of taste based on seeing more movies over the year than anybody else.

"And Jeff, the group judgement was based -- with perhaps no exceptions, since there was simply no time for most or all of us to view it more than once -- on a single viewing of 'TWBB.' It's a great movie on the first viewing."

[NOTE: In my post I did not surmise that LAFCA was intentionally striking any groupthink contrarian pose. I know from experience that it doesn't really work that way -- and, besides, LAFCA is the first crix group to vote, so what's to react against? But I wondered about the margin of victory, a legitimate question regarding the results of any balloting or committee decision-making procedure -- including the Oscars. Koehler's letter helps clarify that. I'm glad to know I disagree with some genuine majority sentiments rather than some statistical flukes. I disagreed with some choices when I was a member of the group, too -- and I don't know anyone who didn't, from time to time. It's a group of critics, you know....]

The LAFCA 2007 awards:

PICTURE: "There Will Be Blood" RUNNER-UP: "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"

DIRECTOR: Paul Thomas Anderson, "There Will Be Blood" RUNNER-UP: Julian Schnabel, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"

ACTOR: Daniel Day-Lewis, "There Will Be Blood" RUNNER-UP: Frank Langella, "Starting Out in the Evening"

ACTRESS: Marion Cotillard, "La Vie en rose" RUNNER-UP: Anamaria Marinca, "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days"

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Vlad Ivanov, "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" RUNNER-UP: Hal Holbrook, "Into the Wild"

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Amy Ryan, "Gone Baby Gone" and "Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead" RUNNER-UP: Cate Blanchett, "I’m Not There"

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