The House That Jack Built
Ultimately, it’s more of an inconsistent cry into the void than the conversation starter it could have been.
* 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.
Matt writes: The 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, which wrapped on September 16th, had so many enticing selections guaranteed to be major contenders this awards season, and RogerEbert.com was there to cover them all.
Claire Denis accepts the Golden Thumb at the 2018 Ebert Tribute at TIFF.
A compilation of Roger's thoughts on the Toronto International Film Festival.
The 20 films world premiering at the Toronto Film Festival that you can expect to find covered here over the next week, among many others.
A list of films and special events to check out when attending this year's Chicago International Film Festival.
Matt writes: This month has marked the fiftieth anniversary of Arthur Penn's 1967 masterpiece, "Bonnie and Clyde." While many critics at the time were baffled and offended by the picture, Roger Ebert awarded it four stars, writing, "This is pretty clearly the best American film of the year. It is also a landmark. Years from now it is quite possible that 'Bonnie and Clyde' will be seen as the definitive film of the 1960s, showing with sadness, humor and unforgiving detail what one society had come to. The fact that the story is set 35 years ago doesn't mean a thing. It had to be set sometime. But it was made now and it's about us." Later that year, he wrote a piece taking on the film's naysayers, and in 1998, Ebert inducted "Bonnie and Clyde" into his Great Movies series. To commemorate the film's anniversary, writers at RogerEbert.com offered their reflections on the film's legacy.
An interview with the director of "Beach Rats" and "It Felt Like Love."
Filmmaker Ira Sachs ("Forty Shades of Blue," "Little Men") talks about the impact of his first feature, “The Delta,” on his life and career, and the lessons he drew from its production.
Claire Denis's "Bright Sunshine In" opened Directors' Fortnight, a parallel festival, which also presented Werner Herzog with an honorary award.
A recap of the 2017 True/False Film Festival.
RogerEbert.com critic and The Unloved video essayist is competing for distribution with his 15th film, "The House of Little Deaths."
A reposting of Tina Hassannia's article from Movie Mezzanine, and the response it received from Peter Becker, president of the Criterion Collection.
A look at the devolving marketplace in America for foreign language films.
So tired of slave movies; Abuses in NYC ticketing industry; Rosenbaum on "La belle noiseuse"; Hollywood's Westmore family; Studios push for digital screeners.
An interview with writer/director/editor Stephen Cone about "Henry Gamble's Birthday Party."
A tribute to Isabelle Huppert as the 2014 Chicago International Film Festival plans to do the same this weekend.
Malala Yousafzai wins Nobel Peace Prize; 10 greatest vampire movies; Shonda Rhimes interview; Christianity Today hates "Left Behind"; Genius of nudity in "Gone Girl."
Sheila writes: The glamorous days of air travel were already on their way out by the time I first stepped foot on an airplane (Aer Lingus, 1980) so I have always been fascinated by glimpses of what traveling by plane used to be like: the linens, the cocktail glasses, the curtains, the elegance! I came across a piece about a man, Anthony Toth, who had such a sense of nostalgia for those bygone days that he built a partial replica of a Pan Am 747 in a warehouse in Redondo Beach, where he lives. At first, the replica was in his garage, but then he realized he needed to build an upper level, so he moved the entire thing to a warehouse, where it still sits today. The local press picked up on the story, and it created such interest that you can now visit and have dinner, Pan Am style.
When Chaz has gone to Cannes without Roger in the past, she has written about the festival in the form of letters and postcards to Roger. These are the postcards she sends to him this year.
Steven Soderbergh's "Behind the Candelabra" disappoints, Claire Denis's "Bastards" baffles, and Mahamat-Saleh Haroun's "Grisgris" is a mixed bag. So it goes sometimes at Cannes.
Marie writes: Remember Brian Dettmer and his amazing book sculptures? Behold a similar approach courtesy of my pal Siri who told me about Alexander Korzer-Robinson and his sculptural collages made from Antiquarian Books. Artist's statement:"By using pre-existing media as a starting point, certain boundaries are set by the material, which I aim to transform through my process. Thus, an encyclopedia can become a window into an alternate world, much like lived reality becomes its alternate in remembered experience. These books, having been stripped of their utilitarian value by the passage of time, regain new purpose. They are no longer tools to learn about the world, but rather a means to gain insight about oneself."
Marie writes: The countdown to Christmas officially begins the day after Halloween, which this year lands on a Wednesday. Come Thursday morning, the shelves will be bare of witches, goblins and ghosts; with snowmen, scented candles and dollar store angel figurines taking their place. That being the case, I thought it better to start celebrating early so we can milk the joy of Halloween for a whole week as opposed to biding adieu to the Great Pumpkin so soon after meeting up again...
"A man can be an artist ... in anything, food, whatever. It depends on how good he is at it. Creasey's art is death. He's about to paint his masterpiece." -- Rayburn (Christopher Walken), "Man on Fire" (2004)
While I've never been a fan of the late Tony Scott or Christopher Nolan, a few thoughtful articles in recent days have helped me see them in new lights, and got me to thinking about their resemblances as well as their dissimilarities. Several appreciations of Scott (especially those by Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, Bilge Ebiri, David Edelstein and Manohla Dargis), along with David Bordwell's incisive essay on Christopher Nolan ("Nolan vs. Nolan") got me to thinking about the common assumptions about these popular filmmakers, both of whom are known for quick, impressionistic imagery, intercut scenes, slam-bang action and a CGI-averse insistence on photographing the real world.¹ Regardless of what you ultimately make of their work, there's no question they've done it their way.
This is an attempt to look at both filmmakers through the prism of others' points of view, refracted in critical appraisals like the above.
Of course, Scott and Nolan have passionate admirers and detractors. Until Scott's shocking suicide last week (from a bridge, a landmark that figures hauntingly in the climaxes of several of his movies), I wasn't aware of many critics who championed his movies, but with a few exceptions the obits seem to have been more admiring than the reviews over the years -- understandably, under the sad circumstances.
Those who applaud Scott and Nolan's films see them as genre boundary-pushers (thrillers, action pictures, science-fiction, superhero movies); those who denigrate them see them as symptomatic of the debasement of resonant imagery in modern Hollywood movies. Both have been subjected to that worst of all critical insults, comparisons to Michael Bay:
"'Inception' may have been directed by Christopher Nolan, but Nolan's dreams are apparently directed by Michael Bay." -- Andrew O'Hehir, "Inception: A clunky, overblown disappointment"
"If it sounds like I'm describing Michael Bay, that's because I sort of am. What we like to think of today as the Bay/Jerry Bruckheimer aesthetic was, in fact, originally the Tony Scott aesthetic (often deployed in films made for Bruckheimer and his late partner Don Simpson). Only back then there was a lot more art to it." -- Bilge Ebiri, "To Control Something That's Out of Control: On Tony Scott"
One of Scott's notable defenders has been The New York Times' Manohla Dargis. She identifies him as a "maximalist" who used "a lot of everything in his movies: smoke, cuts, camera moves, color. This kind of stylistic, self-conscious excess could be glorious, as in his underappreciated film 'Domino' (2005)," which Roger Ebert also somewhat grudgingly admired, quoting a character to describe the movie itself as having "the attention span of a ferret on crystal meth." Dargis writes:
Things in movies that made me feel as if my head would explode, in joy or disgust or both, during 2010.
Shot of the year: That's part of it, up there. "Sweetgrass" (Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Ilisa Barbash)
Best opening shot: "Mother" (Bong Joon-ho)
Best final shot: The terrifyingly comedic/nihilistic ending of "The Ghost Writer" (Roman Polanski). It all comes down to this: meaningless chaos, scattered and swirling in the wind...
Most astounding shot: A slow zoom-in on a mountainside that outdoes the opening of Werner Herzog's "Aguirre, the Wrath of God": "Sweetgrass"
Best movie-star shot: The one on the Staten Island Ferry that glides up behind Angelina Jolie and turns into a magnificent profile close-up. "Salt" (Phillip Noyce)
"35 Shots of Rum". Two couples live across the hall in the same Paris apartment building. Neither couple is "together." Gabrielle and Noe have the vibes of roommates, but the way Lionel and Josephine love one another, it's a small shock when she calls him "papa." Lionel (Alex Descas) is a train engineer. Jo (Mati Diop) works in a music store. Gabrielle (Nicole Dogue) drives her own taxi. Noe (Gregoire Colin) claims only his much-loved cat is preventing him from moving to Brazil.