A reprint of Roger Ebert's review of Monster, with an introduction from Sarah Knight Adamson.
The final Blu-ray guide of the year highlights 10 special edition and 4K releases, everything from The Wolf of Wall Street to Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge.
An interview with the great Aubrey Plaza, who has directed an episode of Showtime's Cinema Toast.
Roger's Favorites: Sally Potter, writer/director of "Yes."
First impressions of the new Amazon pilots, including "One Mississippi" and "Good Girls Revolt."
Yes, but is it Art? Marcell Duchamp's famous "Fountain" aka urinal
David Cronenberg's "The Dead Zone" (1983) is my favorite adaptation of a Stephen King horror novel. Some parts from "The Shawshank Redemption" are terrifying in a different way, and are better classified in other genres. I'm also fond of some of the other films his works have inspired. "Carrie" and "The Shining" were mostly outstanding, but the casting of adults as teens in the first and the absence of an everyman feel to the lead protagonist in the second are the main reasons why I place "The Dead Zone" above them. The latter films were made by exceptional directors (DePalma and Kubrick), but Cronenberg's taste for the unusual, turned out to be a more adequate fit for King's material.
"The Moth Diaries" is now available via IFC On Demand, Sundance Now, iTunes and other outlets. It opens in theaters April 20th.
A secret co-star of "The Moth Diaries" is cinematographer Declan Quinn. He brings to this tale of supernatural incidents at a girl's boarding school a palette of navy, teal and black to match the school uniforms, and pale flesh tones out of Vermeer. No great innovation there, but quite striking in the service of the story. Director Mary Harron makes sure these images don't overwhelm the drama by casting young ladies with powerful presences.
Model-actress Lily Cole's broad face and wide set eyes are terrifyingly beautiful, or maybe just terrifying. Either way, her turn as Ernessa, the mysterious new girl on campus, gives the "The Moth Diaries" a more solid reason for being than its familiar, "Twilight"-tinged plot. She's a head taller than the rest of the girls, striking an improbable balance between willowy and robust. Her famously red hair is dyed a deep brown (or covered in a masterfully applied wig), providing a stark frame for that porcelain doll face. In one scene, without the aid of special effects, her fleshy yet spindly arms seem to stretch out of proportion, like some Tim Burton creation. (It's easy to imagine Burton tripping over himself to add her to his gallery of living 19th century humanoids, alongside Lisa Marie, Christina Ricci and Helena Bonham-Carter.) The mystery: Is Ernessa some kind of vampire, witch, ghost or... what?
Marie writes: I was browsing the 2010 National Geographic Photography Contest Galleries and came upon this amazing shot - click to enlarge!
The Birth Of Earth: Photo by Terje Sorgjerd"Getting close or getting too close? Photo taken of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruption that would grind most of europe air traffic. This is the scariest moment in my life, and also the most beautiful and frightening display of raw force I have ever seen." - Terje Sorgjerd
"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
Marie writes: Allow me to introduce you to Bill and Cheryl. I went to Art school with Bill and met his significant other Cheryl while attending the graduation party; we've been pals ever since. None of which is even remotely interesting until you see where they live and their remarkable and eclectic collection of finds. (click to enlarge images.)
Marie writes: Some of you may have noticed that I have a soft spot for surfing videos. It's not the sport itself - though I do admire it - so much as the camerawork it inspires, and because I have a translucency fetish; I take great pleasure in seeing light pass through something else. There's an ethereal and other-worldly quality to it which elevates my soul; sunlight pouring through a humble jar of orange marmalade enough to make me think I'm looking at God; smile.And so needless to say, when Club member Lynn McKenzie submitted a link to Paul McCartney's stunning new music video called "Blue Sway" - I was utterly captivated. (click image to enlarge.)
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...
"Synecdoche, New York" is the best film of the decade. It intends no less than to evoke the strategies we use to live our lives. After beginning my first viewing in confusion, I began to glimpse its purpose and by the end was eager to see it again, then once again, and I am not finished. Charlie Kaufman understands how I live my life, and I suppose his own, and I suspect most of us. Faced with the bewildering demands of time, space, emotion, morality, lust, greed, hope, dreams, dreads and faiths, we build compartments in our minds. It is a way of seeming sane.
The mind is a concern in all his screenplays, but in "Synecdoche" (2008), his first film as a director, he makes it his subject, and what huge ambition that demonstrates. He's like a
I was born in London on February the 29th (leap year) 11 minutes before my twin brother. After birth, I stayed in the UK for five years and then moved to my home country, Egypt. I've been living in Cairo ever since.
My passion for cinema started at a very young age when my father gave me an old video cassette of "Jaws" as a birthday gift. The viewing of that movie triggered a movie watching frenzy and I've been reading about film ever since. Many people in Egypt simply know me for my film collection for it includes hundreds of titles (which may be normal elsewhere yet is very uncommon among Egyptians).
View image She's got them radiator blues again.
Roger Ebert reviews "Black Snake Moan": The girl is Rae (Christina Ricci); it is no coincidence that Jackson's character is named Lazarus, and Lazarus determines to return her from near death or whooping cough, one or the other. No saint himself, he wants to redeem her from a life of sluttery.
His technique, with a refreshing directness, is to chain her to a radiator. Good thing he lives way out in the wilderness. Lazarus and Rae have no sex per se, but they do a powerful lot of slapping, cursing and chain-rattling, and the reaction of the blue-collar town on Market Day is a study. I think the point is that Lazarus and Rae somehow redeem each other through these grotesqueries, a method I always urge be used with extreme caution.
JE reviews "An Unreasonable Man":If the collapse of presidential candidate Ralph Nader's reputation has been a "tragedy" of Shakespearean dimensions, as his friend Phil Donohue says near the beginning of "An Unreasonable Man," then it's reasonable to ask: What is the nature of that tragedy?
Is it that Nader, a consumer advocate who once stubbornly fought for progressive reforms that saved lives and held corporations and government accountable for their actions, has been treated as a pariah since the 2000 presidential election? Or is it that, having entered partisan politics, Nader has just as stubbornly placed the importance of his symbolic candidacy ahead of the real-world reforms he once struggled to bring about?
JE reviews "Tears of the Black Tiger"The term "eye-popping" could have been coined to describe Thai writer-director Wisit Sasanatieng's "Tears of the Black Tiger," not only for its retina-smacking colors, but because some eyes actually get popped. And some brains and lungs and other viscera, too. Bloody and syrupy, tragic and silly, this retro pastiche stands with its right foot in melodrama and its left in camp, shifting its weight woozily from one side to the other like a drunken Sergio Leone gunslinger straddling the camera.
Ebert's Best Film Lists 1967 - present
SALT LAKE CITY--Fans of the Sundance Film Festival's opening nights make bets with first-timers that Geoffrey Gilmore, the festival's director, will walk onstage and use these exact words: "It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to this year's Sundance Film Festival."
I was there before the beginning, young fellow. And now it's after the end. -- Mr. Bernstein in "Citizen Kane" TORONTO--This is a meditation on mortality. "I made a conscious decision to work all the time while I was growing up," Christina Ricci told me. "I didn't want people to see me in a movie and be shocked that I wasn't a kid anymore. I wanted to grow up onscreen."