Efficient, nasty action scenes can't overcome mostly bland characterizations and a half-baked story.
* 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 tribute to the late actor Michael Parks.
A tribute to the late Chuck Berry.
A list of films and special events to check out when attending this year's Chicago International Film Festival.
FFC Gerardo Valero discusses the devolution of Quentin Tarantino by comparing The Hateful Eight to Pulp Fiction.
With "The Hateful Eight," Quentin Tarantino betrays the female fans he's until-now supported.
A chronological commentary celebrating the performances of Gena Rowlands.
The pink ghetto of social media; Phil Joanou on Ennio Morricone; "Driving Miss Daisy" and "Do the Right Thing"; Memories of "Quick Change"; The Judy Greer effect.
A review of NBC's "The Slap."
Lists from our critics and contributors on the best of 2014.
Ten underrated female performances from 2014 worthy of Oscar consideration.
The right kind of 90s nostalgia; Cynthia Rothrock: Expendabelle; Favorite Fincher moments; Ten underrated 2014 performances; Chatting with Whit Stillman.
Barbara Scharres reports on the winners at the Cannes Film Festival.
Marie writes: Now this is really neat. It made TIME's top 25 best blogs for 2012 and with good reason. Behold artist and photographer Gustaf Mantel's Tumblr blog "If we don't, remember me" - a collection of animated GIFs based on classic films. Only part of the image moves and in a single loop; they're sometimes called cinemagraphs. The results can be surprisingly moving. They also can't be embedded so you have to watch them on his blog. I already picked my favorite. :-)
Marie writes: I may have been born in Canada, but I grew-up watching Sesame Street and Big Bird, too. Together, they encouraged me to learn new things; and why now I can partly explain string theory.That being the case, I was extremely displeased to hear that were it up Romney, as President he wouldn't continue to support PBS. And because I'm not American and can't vote in their elections, I did the only thing I could: I immediately reached for Photoshop....
(Click image to enlarge.)
Yes, but is it Art? Marcell Duchamp's famous "Fountain" aka urinal
"I love music so much and I had such ambition that I was willing to go way beyond what the hell they paid me for. I wanted people to look at the artwork and hear the music." - Alex Steinweiss
Arriving in Cannes by bus from the Nice airport provides a thumbnail tour of the town, from the more seedy homes on the outskirts to the swanky hotels on the waterfront. The palms lining the Croisette, the festival's de facto main drag, may be the ubiquitous symbol of city, but a few blocks away the plane trees, cypresses, and the prolific climbing roses of Provence are a more common sight. Walk a short distance from the Festival Palais and there are conspicuously un-chic restaurants where local cops congregate for dinner in the back room and retired couples hang out for a smoke and an evening beer, more often than not, with a fluffy mutt under the table.
In a way, my first reminders yesterday of everyday life in everyday France were a bracing counterpoint to this morning's press screening of Woody Allen's romantic fantasy "Midnight in Paris." The festival's opening night film is a colorful valentine to Paris, indulging and gorgeously illustrating the director's every memory and cherished illusion of the city. I've never been a big Woody Allen fan, but "Midnight in Paris" is loads of fun.
The film opens with a morning-to-night sequence of views of the city's most iconic sights: Montmartre and the Moulin Rouge, the Seine, the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Elysees, the narrow streets of the Left Bank, and the Eiffel Tower. That opening alone is a tourist board's dream. At the press conference later, a journalist asked Allen, who mentioned that he thought of the title long before he had a story, whether these postcard-worthy views were his own impressions of Paris, or were meant to represent the point of view of his characters. Perhaps the French questioner was hoping for the latter, but Allen replied, "I learned about Paris the way all Americans do--from the movies. I wanted to show the city emotionally, not realistically, but through my eyes.
Marie writes: They call it "The Shard" and it's currently rising over London akin to Superman's Fortress of Solitude and dwarfing everything around it, especially St. Paul's in front. I assume those are pigeons flying over-head and not buzzards. Ie: not impressed, but that's me and why I'm glad I saw London before they started to totally ruin it.Known as the "London Bridge Tower" before they changed the name, when completed in 2012, it will be the tallest building in Europe and 45th highest in the world. It's already the second highest free-standing structure in the UK after the Emley Moor transmitting station. The Shard will stand 1,017 ft high and have 72 floors, plus another 15 radiator floors in the roof. It's been designed with an irregular triangular shape from base to top and will be covered entirely in glass. The tower was designed by Renzo Piano, the Italian architect best know for creating Paris's Pompidou Centre of modern art with Richard Rogers, and more recently the New York Times Tower. You can read an article about it at the Guardian. Here's the official website for The Shard. Photograph: Dan Kitwood.
Q. I met you in the bathroom of the Varsity Cinema in Toronto, during the festival in September, 2000. We both had to take a leak at the same time during a screening of "Dancing at the Blue Iguana." I was a film buyer from Canada, you were, well... you. After spending what seemed like an inordinate amount of time standing in close proximity to you whilst doing our business, we both walked to the sink at the same time, and I asked you what you thought about the film.
Jordan Gray -- a graphic designer, filmmaker and scanners reader -- has posted his choices for the Worst Movie Posters of the Decade. (Others' picks for the best of the decade can be found here, here and here.)
To the right is his choice for the second-worst one-sheet design of the '00s. JG writes:
Just try to look at this and not laugh. It's not even remotely convincing that these 3 actors were in the same region of the world when their photos were taken. Look at the alignment of the billing block. What? Absolutely nothing about this makes any sort of design sense.
Three attractive (though not necessarily recognizable) faces and a poster that's ugly in every way. The positioning of the names at the top is likely somebody's awkward solution to a contractual obligation that Uma Thurman receive top billing. Relative size and arrangements of faces and names are often written into all parties' contracts these days, presenting designers with... nightmares like this. Who could possibly have approved such flagrantly bad work?
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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.
The Chicago International Film Festival is celebrating its 45th anniversary in better form than ever, I think. The festival, which opened Thursday, will be presenting 145 films from 45 countries. That's fewer than Toronto or Cannes but more, I believe, than any other American festival -- and besides, can you see 10 films a day?
"When I'm making a movie, the world goes away and I'm on Mt. Everest. Obama is President? Who cares? I'm making my movie." -- Quentin Tarantino, Village Voice interview (2009)
A wily WWII Looney Tunes propaganda movie that conjures up 1945's "Herr Meets Hare," (in which Bugs Bunny goes a-hunting with Hermann Goering in the Black Forest; full cartoon below) and the towering legends of Sergio Leone's widescreen Westerns -- and about a gazillion other movies and bits of movie history from Leni Riefenstahl to Anthony Mann to Brian De Palma -- Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" is a gorgeous and goofy revenge cartoon, a conceptual genre picture about the mythmaking power of cinema. Re-writing history? That's missing the point by several kilometers. This is pure celluloid fantasy -- an invigorating wallow in the vicarious pleasures of movie-watching by someone who would rather watch movies than do anything else in the world. Except maybe talk about them.
I spent the last week preparing for "Inglourious Basterds" by watching the two Tarantinos I'd missed: both volumes of "Kill Bill" and "Death Proof." (I came to think of it as the Foot-Fetish Film Festival.) So, with that in mind, I thought I'd begin by taking a general look at how I think Tarantino's movies work -- what they do, and what they don't do -- because, although I haven't read more than a few brief passages from other "Basterds" reviews yet, people seem to think there's been a lot of misrepresentation and/or misinterpretation going around (starting with Newsweek and The Atlantic). Some clearly wanted or expected the movie to be something else. A morality lesson, perhaps. But those other movies would not be ones Quentin Tarantino has ever shown any interest in making. "Inglourious Basterds," love it or hate it (and I think it puts most contemporary American filmmaking to shame), it is what it is because it's exactly the way Tarantino wants it to be. Let's consider...
I'll be in the hospital most of Friday for my AV node ablation (see my latest film -- a little thing I like to call "Biventricular Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator" -- at right), but should be out this evening, when I will make an effort to approve comments. So, please, keep 'em coming in.
Meanwhile, although it might not have been the natural choice on the eve of a surgical heart procedure, I watched "Kill Bill Volume 1" last night, an experience I found thrilling (Tarantino and Robert Richardson know how to create images), though not at all involving. But that's the kind of movies Tarantino makes. They are abstract art, not strong stories, not emotional experiences. I thought of Hitchcock, who said his films are not slices of life but slices of cake. Tarantino makes candy necklaces, tasty chunks strung together -- little climaxes without much overall dramatic shape. Sometimes it's a little like ADD De Palma (love that split-screen sequence in the hospital), but Tarantino does not waste a single shot. Every single image has a place, a reason to exist in that particular context (see Dogme 09.8 #1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10), and it's so satisfying in contrast to the random mish-mash action editing of... well, you know the movies I'm talking about. Tarantino's eye makes me delirious with movie love.
Best of all, in Volume 1 there's not much stilted, wordy dialog to distract from the excellence and exuberance of the filmmaking. I'd like to see Tarantino do a silent film someday -- only music on the soundtrack. His music selections, as always, are dynamite, though sometimes too short and inconsequential (see Dogme 09.8 #6 about "segues using snippets of pop tunes that fade out just as they're getting started"). I'd like to see him really stretch out and develop more whole sequences around a piece of music instead of just a tiny piece of a piece of music. (Only reservation: the music during the first part of the fight in the snow between Uma Thurman and Lucy Liu was too slight and slick to fit the gravity of what should have been the climactic confrontation of Volume 1.)
More on Volume 1, Volume 2, "Inglourious Basterds" and other topics of interest after my ablation. (Sing along with the Ramones: "I wanna be ablated!")
JE: Back from hospital, in recuperation mode. I'm feeling much better... Not dead yet!
From Matthew Kerchner, Bloomington, IN: