A film that sentimentalizes and softens what was clearly a very difficult situation, turning something that should be effective and honest into something that too…
Read her answers to our Movie Love Questionnaire here.
Sheila writes: Steven Soderbergh may be retired from movies, but he continues to be a very busy man, primarily with his Cinemax show "The Knick." But in the last couple of weeks, he also launched a conversation-starter on his own site, about the issue of "staging" scenes in film. Soderbergh writes that staging "(roughly defined) refers to how all the various elements of a given scene or piece are aligned, arranged, and coordinated." To show what he means, Soderbergh took a film with a high level of visual staging, "Raiders of the Lost Ark," stripped its sound, made it black-and-white, and overlaid the whole thing with the Trent Reznor/Atticus Finch synethized scores for David Fincher films. The result is a fascinating experiment in visual style. Soderbergh writes, "I operate under the theory a movie should work with the sound off." You can watch Soderbergh's "Raiders" experiment at his site.
Sheila writes: Susan Wloszczyna and Brian Tallerico, from Rogerebert.com, were both at the 39th annual Toronto Film Festival. So many films to see in so little time! I look forward to checking out many of the titles. You can check out all of the reviews here, listed out in the Table of Contents. Rogerebert.com's Odie Henderson also attended the festival and he sent in a a dispatch of his favorites. What films are you looking forward to the most this fall?
An obituary for iconic comedian Joan Rivers, who died Thursday, September 4th, at age 81.
Sheila writes: Some long takes in cinema are gratuitous and flashy, some connect themselves to the theme of the movie, but all of them are fun to pick apart and deconstruct. The technological challenges are daunting and it's fun to see film-makers rise to those challenges. I came across a video analyzing 12 long takes in cinema, and it should be a fun jumping-off point for discussion. What are your favorite long takes?
Sheila writes: In lieu of the recent release of "Get On Up," the James Brown biopic (check out Odie Henderson's review on Rogerebert.com, and you can also check out the video interview with star Chadwick Boseman and director Tate Taylor), I went scrolling through Youtube the other day, enjoying various James Brown clips. I came across this delight: James Brown giving a dance lesson.
Sheila writes: What a sad week this has been already. We lost both Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall, and the tributes have been flooding the Internet. We have included some link round-ups below with tribute pieces and obituaries, including the two beautiful pieces running on Rogerebert.com. The response has been overwhelming. In case you missed it, here is David Simon's remembrance of a day on the set of "Homicide" with Robin Williams. Please share your favorite roles, favorite moments, favorite memories of these two beloved performers.
Sheila writes: Nelson Carvajal and Jed Mayer, over at Press Play, present a video and an essay about the "scary summer" of 1979. It's a beautiful blend of autobiography and cultural and film memories from that particular summer. Jed Mayer writes: "As tag-lines go, George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead sports a pretty good one: 'When there’s no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the earth.' I stared for weeks at the lurid poster bearing these ominous words. It hung in the front windows of the Maplewood Mall multiplex. Looking back, I think a more fitting tag-line might have come from a speech given by President Jimmy Carter later that same summer: 'Often you see paralysis and stagnation and drift. What can we do?'" Well worth a look!
Sheila writes: Author John le Carré wrote a gorgeous and painful reminiscence of Philip Seymour Hoffman in the New York Times. Le Carre wrote, in part: "... His intuition was luminous from the instant you met him. So was his intelligence. A lot of actors act intelligent, but Philip was the real thing: a shining, artistic polymath with an intelligence that came at you like a pair of headlights and enveloped you from the moment he grabbed your hand, put a huge arm round your neck and shoved a cheek against yours; or if the mood took him, hugged you to him like a big, pudgy schoolboy, then stood and beamed at you while he took stock of the effect."