A report on some good films coming your way from Telluride and Toronto this year.
Premieres at this weekend's Telluride Film Festival include the latest from Alexander Payne, Errol Morris, Greta Gerwig, Angelina Jolie, Guillermo del Toro and more.
Sheila O'Malley on the art of Joan Crawford, as displayed in a new restoration of 1952's "Sudden Fear."
Sheila writes: The Cannes Film Festival is up and running and Rogerebert.com is there! You can check out Rogerebert.com's full coverage in the Table of Contents for the film festival. That post will be updated as more dispatches come in. There is video footage as well, including a memorable moment when Chaz Ebert asked a question at the "Money Monster" press conference. Finally, "Two Weeks in the Midday Sun," Roger Ebert's 1987 book about the Cannes Film Festival, was re-released in May, just in time for the 2016 festival. The re-release has a foreword written by Martin Scorsese, which you can read here.
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....
Marie writes: It's no secret that most Corporations are evil - or at the very least, suck big time. And while I have no actual proof, I'm fairly certain there is a special level of Dante's Hell reserved just for them. (Map of Dante's Hell.)That being the case, when my younger brother Paul wrote me about a cool project sponsored by Volkswagen, I was understandably wary and ready to denounce it sight-unseen as self-serving Corporate shyte. As luck would have it however, I was blessed at birth with curiosity and which got the better of me and why I took a look. For what I found was nothing less than extraordinary....
Marie writes: It's official. I have died and gone to heaven. For here below, as part of an ongoing series exploring Britain's architectural wonders, the Observer's architecture critic Rowan Moore, introduces a spectacular interactive 360-degree panoramic photograph of "The grand staircase in the St Pancras Renaissance hotel" - which I regard as one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture I have ever seen. I adore this building and always will; it's the stuff of dreams. (Click photo to enlarge.)
Go here to explore a 360 panoramic view of the grand staircase!
View image Gloria Grahame in Fritz Lang's "The Big Heat." A film noir woodcut by Guy Budziak.
"The term itself is vague. For German Expressionism was less a unified style than an attitude, a state of mind." -Horst Uhr, introduction, "Masterpieces of German Expressionism" (1982)
"Film noir is not a genre. It is not defined, as are the western and gangster genres, by conventions of setting and conflict, but rather by the more subtle qualities of tone and mood. It is a film 'noir', as opposed to the possible variants of film gray or film off-white." -Paul Schrader, 'Notes on Film Noir' (1972)
Guy Budziak makes film noir woodcuts in high-contrast black and white. He tops the "Roots of Film Noir Prints" section of his web site with the quotes from Uhr and Schrader above. I'm assuming Guy Budziak is the artist's real name, but even if it isn't, it's an appropriately noirish moniker. And he knows his stuff. Budziak writes: "My woodcuts reach back to the very earliest origins of film noir, insofar as it was the woodcut that most accurately conveyed the German Expressionist sensibility."
His love of noir is rooted in his love of black and white: What's interesting about black and white as opposed to color is this: color more accurately depicts what we all see in visual reality. The same cannot be said of black and white, of course. So in a sense everything filmed in black and white is unreal, or perhaps can be construed as an alternative reality, but not one that we experience naturally.See Budziak's gallery of prints, from such films as "Nightmare Alley," "Touch of Evil," "Out of the Past," "Ossessione," "Le Samourai" (a color noir!) at "Film Noir: Woodcuts by Guy Budziak."