A packed column on the latest on streaming, DVD, and Blu-ray, including American Made, Brad's Status, Brawl in Cell Block 99, Stronger, The Mountain Between Us, and more!
The latest and greatest on Blu-ray and streaming services, including The Infiltrator, Cafe Society, Blood Father, and a Criterion edition of Boyhood.
Marie writes: The unseen forces have spoken! The universe has filled a void obviously needing to be filled: there is now a font made entirely of cats. Called Neko Font (Japanese for "cat font") it's a web app that transforms text into a font comprised of cat pictures. All you need to do is write something in the text box, press "enter" on your keyboard and Neko Font instantly transforms the letters into kitties! Thanks go to intrepid club member Sandy Kahn for alerting the Ebert Club to this important advancement in typography. To learn more, read the article "There is now a font made entirely of cats" and to test it out yourself, go here: Neko Font. Meanwhile, behold what mankind can achieve when it has nothing better to do....
It's simple, really: Trailer for Adam Sandler's "Jack and Jill" (Dennis Dugan, 2011) + memorable scene from "Hardcore" (Paul Schrader, 1979) in which George C. Scott discovers that his missing daughter has been making porno movies. Instant movie magic.
(tip: Pat Healy)
Marie writes: the ability to explore an image in 360 degrees is nothing new, but that doesn't make these pictures any less cool. In the first of a series, the Observer's architecture critic Rowan Moore introduces spectacular interactive 360-degree panoramic photographs of Britain's architectural wonders. "You are put in the middle of a space, and using your computer mouse or dragging your iPad screen - you can look in any direction you choose: up, down, sideways, diagonally, in any direction in full 360 degree turn, in three dimensions."
Go here to explore St Paul's Cathedral, London, built 1675-1711.
There are great movies and there are others which can only be described as special; movies with philosophies we can't help but apply to our daily lives. Robert Rossen's "The Hustler" for me is such a movie.
A film with a great, main subject (pool) that is secondary in importance to character. A film with unforgettable characters who have unforgettable names. A film with more classic lines than you can count. A film that made me feel disappointed about the hero over and over until the moment arrived when I couldn't feel any prouder.
It has four great performances: Paul Newman, George C. Scott, Jackie Gleason and Piper Laurie, all in top form and all four nominated for Oscars.
I can't see Sarah Palin as vice president, but I have no trouble imagining her as an Emmy winner. I'm not being satirical. She and John McCain kicked butt on Saturday Night Live. They were terrific. How good were they? They were better than Tina Fey and Darrell Hammond.
View image"The Shining": A bug under a microscope.
The most superficial and shopworn cliché about Stanley Kubrick is that he was a misanthrope. This is up there with calling Alfred Hitchcock "The Master of Suspense," and leaving it at that. The cliché may contain a partial truth, but it's not particularly enlightening. It's just trite.
In the free Seattle weekly tabloid The Stranger, Charles Mudede writes about a local Kubrick series, and begins by stating: "Kubrick hated humans. This hate for his own kind is the ground upon which his cinema stands." This is a nice grabber -- particularly for readers who don't know anything about Kubrick, or who want to feel the thrill of the forbidden when reading about him. ("Imagine! He hated humans!")
Unfortunately for readers, this is Mudede's thesis, and he's sticking to it. Here's his summary judgement of "2001: A Space Odyssey": As is made apparent by "2001: A Space Odyssey," his contempt was deep.
It went from the elegant surface of our space-faring civilization down, down, down to the bottom of our natures, the muck and mud of our animal instincts, our ape bodies, our hair, guts, hunger, and grunts. No matter how far we go into the future, into space, toward the stars, we will never break with our first and violent world. Even the robots we create, our marvelous machines, are limited (and undone) by our human emotions, pressures, primitive drives. For Kubrick, we have never been modern. OK, that's one interpretation (though it gets the direction of the movement entirely wrong), but I think it's a facile misreading of the film. Is there really something un-"modern" about portraying the raw, simple fact of evolution, with a little otherworldly nudge?
And why does Mudede have such contempt for apes and "animal instincts"? Is he going to apply "Meat is Murder" morality to primates? (Besides, they're so dirty!) Or does he not feel the awesome and primal beauty in the whole "Dawn of Man" sequence? If he doesn't, I suppose it's no wonder he sees no wonder in the rest of the movie.
First, the facts: "Patton" (1970) is not only one of the best American movies, but one of the best uses ever made of 70mm widescreen photography. A newly-restored 70mm print of "Patton" has been created by 20th Century-Fox. Here comes the crucial part: The only non-festival booking it will have in the country begins July 3 at the Music Box Theater, 3733 N. Southport. This is a rare opportunity to see a great film in a spectacular presentation.
Rod Steiger, who lived with a laugh that filled a room and a depression that consumed a decade, died Tuesday. The actor, who played more than 100 roles over 55 years and won an Oscar and two nominations, was 77. The cause of death, pneumonia and kidney failure, would have disappointed him: "I want to die in front of the camera," he liked to say.
In his new movie "Small Time Crooks," opening Friday, Woody Allen plays an ex-con who dreams up a bank heist. It involves tunneling into a vault from a basement down the street, and he installs his wife (Tracey Ullman) to run a cookie store as a cover. The cookies make them millionaires, the money goes to her head, and she hires a British art expert (Hugh Grant) to tutor her on culture, while her husband misses his old pals and their card games.
Conventional wisdom has it that the Motion Picture Academy likes to honor Feel Good films with its Oscars. Gritty and violent movies may be nominated for the best picture award, but the winner will be a movie that embraces traditional values and leaves us with a warm glow. That theory has certainly held true over the past 10 years, during which the only really Feel Bad movie that won as best picture was "Platoon." I do not count such Feel Good About Feeling Bad movies as "Terms of Endearment."