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If You Don't, I Will

What happens to a marriage once the early ardor cools? That's the central question in this likable drama starring Mathieu Amalric and Emmanuelle Devos as…

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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.

#122 July 4, 2012

Marie writes: If you're anything like me, you enjoy a good book cover as much as a good story; the best often speaking to inspired graphic design. Indeed, I know I'm not alone in my admiration...Welcome to "The Book Cover Archive" for the appreciation and categorization of excellence in book cover design; edited and maintained by Ben Pieratt and Eric Jacobsen. On their site, you can gaze lovingly at hundreds of covers complete with thumbnails and links and even the name of the type fonts used. Drool....

{click image to enlarge]

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#115 May 16, 2012

Marie writes: Behold a truly inspired idea...Age 8: Eileen's pink creature It started with a simple idea: to make a recognizable comfort toy for her 4 year-old son Dani, based on one of his drawing. His school had asked the children to bring in a toy from home; an emergency measure in the event of a tantrum or crying fit. Fearing he might lose his favorite, Wendy Tsao decided to make Dani a new one. Using a drawing he often made as her guide, she improvised a plush toy snowman. Five years later, Wendy Tsao has her own thriving home-based craft business - Child's Own Studio - in which she transforms the imaginative drawings of children into plush and cloth dolls; each one handcrafted and one-of-a-kind. She receives requests from parents all over the world; there's 500 people on waiting list. Note: kudos to club member Sandy Kahn for submitting the piece.

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Desert island DVDs (Matt's & mine & yours)

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Matt Zoller Seitz devotes his final Friday Night Seitz slideshow at Salon (he's starting as New York Magazine's TV critic Monday -- most deserved congrats!) to a list of his "Movies for a desert island." His rules: ten movies only, plus one short and one single season of a TV series, for a total of 12 titles. "Part of the fun of this exercise," he writes, "is figuring out what you think you can watch over and over, and what you can live without."

Matt's titles include "What's Opera, Doc?," Season One of "Deadwood," Bob Fosse's "All That Jazz," Terrence Malick's "The New World" (surprise!), Terrence Davies' "The Long Day Closes" (my #1 film of 1992), Joel & Ethan Coen's "Raising Arizona" (a movie I like, but consider among their lesser efforts) and Albert and David Maysles' "Salesman." Click here to see the complete list and Matt's comments.

OK, I'm game. So, the challenge, as MZS sets it up, is not just to pick "favorites," but to choose pictures that will stand up to repeated viewing since nobody is going to get you (or vote you) off the island and "It is assumed that you'll have an indestructible DVD player with a solar-recharging power source, so let's not get bogged down in refrigerator logic, mm'kay?"

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A Master Emerges: Conrad Hall and "The Outer Limits"

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• "The Outer Limits" (original series) is available on Netflix (DVD), Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant Video. • "In Cold Blood" is available on Netflix (DVD and Blu-ray) and Amazon Instant Video. • "Cool Hand Luke" is available on Netflix (DVD and Blu-ray) and Amazon Instant Video. • "American Beauty" is available on Netflix (DVD and Blu-ray) and Amazon Instant Video. • "Road to Perdition" is available on Netflix (DVD and Blu-ray).

by Jeff Shannon Eyes Wide Open: A Single Artist's Vision

Ask anyone who's devoted their life to the study and appreciation of movies and they can probably tell you exactly when they were "bitten by the movie bug," that moment of personal epiphany that sparked an all-consuming passion for what is arguably the greatest, most powerful medium of artistic expression.

In my case, it was Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" that literally changed my life. That's an influential milestone I share with many cinephiles who came of age in the 1950s and '60s, especially those "movie brats" (among them James Cameron, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg) who were drawn to imaginative visions of the future. Because I'd spent most of my childhood outdoors or casually enjoying Disney films and other kid-friendly fare, I didn't see Kubrick's visionary masterpiece until it played a return engagement at Seattle's glorious Cinerama Theater, in 1971, when I was nine years old.

(With its huge, curved Cinerama screen, the Cinerama is still the only theater in Seattle capable of showing "2001" as Kubrick intended. It exclusively hosted the film's original 77-week Seattle run beginning in April 1968, and the fully restored 70-millimeter print of "2001" had its world premiere there, appropriately enough, in 2001, two years after the aging cinema was purchased and beautifully renovated by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. It's now one of only three theaters in the world -- along with the Cinerama Dome in Los Angeles and the Pictureville Cinema in Bradford England -- equipped to exhibit three-panel Cinerama, requiring three synchronized projectors for the only seven films created in the three-strip Cinerama process, including 1956's "This Is Cinerama" and 1962's "How the West Was Won." Starting this week [Sept. 30th] and running through mid-October, Seattle's Cinerama is hosting a "70mm Festival" of 15 films, including "2001," that originally premiered there.)

Like no other film before it, "2001" opened my eyes to the power of a single artist's vision and led me to understand the supremacy of a great director. I didn't know it then, but I'd discovered the basis of auteur theory, and while it would be foolish to deny that film is (to echo that award-acceptance cliché) the most collaborative of all art forms, it's no contradiction to embrace the Kubrick quote that greets all visitors to kubrickfilms.com, Warner Bros.' authorized Kubrick website: "One man writes a novel. One man writes a symphony. It is essential for one man to make a film." (Disregard "man"; Kubrick would've been the first to include female filmmakers in his statement.)

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#34 October 27, 2010

Welcome to a special Halloween edition of the Newsletter! Marie writes: the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise in Paris is considered one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world, in addition to being the final resting place of many a famous name. From Édith Piaf, Sarah Bernhardt and Chopin to Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison and Georges Méliès, the well-known sleep on the tree-lined avenues of the dead and which you can now explore in a virtual 360 degree tour...

ENTER Père-Lachaise

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#23 August 11, 2010

From the Grand Poobah: Time passes twice now, first as real time, then as remembrance of things past, as I search my memory for my memoir. As my eyes lift up from my keyboard, they stare sightlessly straight ahead and old faces and places pass in review. So I take a photo of where I'm looking, in order to record what I see. When the picture was taken, Gene and I were in the Brown Derby at Disney World while taping an Oscar special; I'd like to say I have no idea of who came up with the idea for that composition, but I do, and it was yours faithfully, the Poobah.

(click to enlarge and read book spines; smile.)

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CIFF 2009: The winners! And our reviews

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Tina Mabry's "Mississippi Damned," an independent American production, won the Gold Hugo as the best film in the 2009 Chicago International Film Festival, and added Gold Plaques for best supporting actress (Jossie Thacker) and best screenplay (Mabry). It tells the harrowing story of three black children growing up in rural Mississippi in circumstances of violence and addiction. The film's trailer and an interview with Mabry are linked at the bottom.

Kylee Russell in "Mississippi Damned"

The winner of the Audience Award, announced Friday, was "Precious" (see below). The wins came over a crowed field of competitors from all over the world, many of them with much larger budgets. The other big winner at the Pump Room of the Ambassador East awards ceremony Saturday evening was by veteran master Marco Bellocchio of Italy, who won the Silver Hugo as best director for "Vincere," the story of Mussolini's younger brother. Giovanna Mezzogiorno and Filippo Timi won Silver Hugos as best actress and actor, and Daniele Cipri won a Gold Plaque for best cinematography.

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TIFF 08: The buzz and the poop

It's the question you dread, at least from total strangers, but it's unavoidable at a film festival -- kind of like "What's your major?" in college:

"Seen anything you like?"

My dulled response while immersed in this cinematic maelstrom (my brain runneth over) is to say something like: "Yeah..." and then forget where the hell I am in time and space. But I like listening to other strangers trade views on what they've seen, whether I have a clue as to what they're talking about or not. (Yes, I like to eavesdrop: Film is a voyeur's medium.)

The other night at dinner, for example, some French (French Canadian? Belgian?) fellows were sitting behind us on a rooftop patio. A little mist was falling, but we were protected by table umbrellas. I turned just in time to hear one of them say, I a heavy accent, "Yes, but then the two protagonists..." I can't really tell you why I liked that so much, but I keep thinking (as I often do): "Oh, that would be so great to put in a movie!" I have loads and loads of fleeting images and snatches of conversation that need to be stuffed into some kind of Altmanesque tapestry someday.

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North by Northwest: Long shots as close-ups (Part 1)

View image An extreme close-up -- up Thomas Jefferson's nose, that is. Wee Roger O. Thornhill and Eve Kendall are in long shot.

For the Close-Up Blog-a-thon at The House Next Door:

When is a long shot a close-up? When it's part of an Alfred Hitchcock cliffhanger sequence on Mount Rushmore in 1959's "North by Northwest," that's when.

View image Full profile of Roger on right, as Eve drops right out of the bottom of the picture. The most prominent facial feature in the shot is Jefferson's schnoz (this could almost be microphotography, if you thought of it on that scale), with Abe Lincoln looking on in semi-Bergmanesque three-quarter profile from below his predecessor's nostril.

View image Mr. Washington is ready for his close-up now, with a teeny henchman standing to the left of his cheek and miniscule Roger and Eve hanging out between him and Jefferson.

View image Mr. Lincoln. And Leonard. (That would be a tiny Martin Landau.)

Hitchcock is having so much fun with scale and perspective here that I chuckle with delight (even as I tense up) every time I see the, uh, climactic sequence, which ends with an insertion shot -- both long shot and close-up, depending on how you look at it -- that's so naughty, so pornographic it will have to wait until after the jump....

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Don't tell me you didn't see this one coming

Dustin Hoffman doing a real Robert Evans impression in "Wag the Dog" (not at all like what Martin Landau did in "Entourage," which could never be mistaken for Evans).

It's enormously frustrating and stressful trying to live in three places at once, especially when they're: 1) the "reality-based community"; 2) the arena of critical thinking; and 3) America in the 21st century. So, who was surprised by this headline?

Prosecutors drop case in Ramsey slaying Prosecutors abruptly dropped their case Monday against John Mark Karr in the slaying of JonBenet Ramsey, saying DNA tests failed to put him at the crime scene despite his insistence he sexually assaulted and strangled the 6-year-old beauty queen.

Just a week and a half after Karr's arrest in Thailand was seen as a remarkable break in the sensational, decade-old case, prosecutors suggested in court papers that he was just a man with a twisted fascination with JonBenet who confessed to a crime he didn't commit. The only difference between this story and innumerable others (like, say the non-case for invading Iraq) is how quickly and easily it unravelled (or, rather, evaporated), after the press and the public suddenly realized they'd never had any good reason to accept it as legitimate in the first place.

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Movie Answer Man (06/09/1996)

Q. The plot of "Mission: Impossible," which you said was confusing, could have been worse. Martin Landau recently said that the original "M:I" television cast was contacted to appear in the first 10 minutes of the movie so that they could get killed off. (Steven Bailey, Jacksonville Beach, Fla.)

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Mission Probable: Oscar for Landau

The biggest upset at the Academy Awards tonight will come if Martin Landau does not win the Oscar for best supporting actor. It's this year's sure thing. Although the movie he's been nominated for, Tim Burton's "Ed Wood," didn't set records at the box office, Landau's performance as the broken-down horror star Bela Lugosi was widely admired: He got the look right, and then added whole dimensions of pathos and dignity.

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