Synecdoche, New York
If we don't "go to the movies" in any form, our minds wither and sicken.
* 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.
An article about the July 14th gala honoring Chicago International Film Festival founder and CEO Michael Kutza.
A look back at Robert Zemeckis' half-animated classic, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, on its 30-year anniversary.
The latest on Blu-ray, including Den of Thieves, Paddington 2, All the Money in the World, and The Virgin Suicides.
The latest on Blu-ray and DVD, including "Gold," "Heat," 'Age of Shadows," 'Serial Mom" and more!
On the occasion of a new "Serial Mom" Blu-ray from Shout! Factory, director John Waters talks about the film, the death of cult cinema, the body odor of scream queens and more.
Chaz Ebert highlights films with the potential to get us through the confusing political times of the Trump presidency.
An excerpt from the May 2016 issue of Bright Wall/Dark Room about "The Man with Two Brains" and "All of Me."
A recap of the awards winners of the 2014 Chicago International Film Festival.
The Roger Ebert Award will be presented at the 50th Chicago International Film Festival Friday, October 17th.
"Rainer on Film: Thirty Years of Film Writing in a Turbulent and Transformative Era" is a remarkable collection of reviews and essays from critic Peter Rainer. This essay on film noir and neo-noir is excerpted from the book.
Marie writes: Welcome to "Good Books", an online bookseller based in New Zealand. Every time you buy a book through them, 100% of the retail profit goes directly to fund projects in partnership with Oxfam; projects which provide clean water, sanitation, develop sustainable agriculture and create access to education for communities in need. To increase awareness of Good Books' efforts to raise money for Oxfam, String Theory (New Zeland based agency) teamed up with collaborative design production comany "Buck" to create the first of three videos in a digital campaign called Good Books Great Writers. Behold the award winning animated Good Books Metamorphosis.
When I first started watching "Dynasty", I didn't know what the word 'dynasty' meant. Aaron Spelling's oil-and-soap opera first aired in Poland in July 1990, nine years after its American premiere and a mere year after the fall of the Berlin wall. It was the latter event that had exposed my native land to the consumerist ravishment we all secretly craved. I was eight, the world became new, and even though McDonald's was still stalling, "Dynasty" was here already: airing every Wednesday and gluing the entire nation to its old-type tube screens.
Marie writes: Not everything is what is seems...(Click images to enlarge.)
Marie writes: Behold a truly inspired idea...Age 8: Eileen's pink creature It started with a simple idea: to make a recognizable comfort toy for her 4 year-old son Dani, based on one of his drawing. His school had asked the children to bring in a toy from home; an emergency measure in the event of a tantrum or crying fit. Fearing he might lose his favorite, Wendy Tsao decided to make Dani a new one. Using a drawing he often made as her guide, she improvised a plush toy snowman. Five years later, Wendy Tsao has her own thriving home-based craft business - Child's Own Studio - in which she transforms the imaginative drawings of children into plush and cloth dolls; each one handcrafted and one-of-a-kind. She receives requests from parents all over the world; there's 500 people on waiting list. Note: kudos to club member Sandy Kahn for submitting the piece.
"Legend of the Millennium Dragon" is available on DVD/Blu-ray and via iTunes and Amazon Instant. In Japanese with English subtitles.
When a movie jumps from one culture to another, especially one with a different language, expect some things to be lost in translation. If you're not up on Japanese history and folklore, you might be a bit mystified by director Hirotsugu Kawasaki's 2011 "Legend of the Millennium Dragon." Based on a two-book novel by Takafumi Takada (with screenplay by Naruhisa Arakawa and Hirotsugu Kawasaki), this engrossing animation with beautifully detailed background paintings whisks us into an ancient war between gods in Heian Japan.
Names are important in this quick-moving adventure. Shakespeare wrote that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but his historical tragedies would hardly make any sense to one who thinks the "War of the Roses" involves Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. "Holinshed's Chronicles and "Bulfinch's Mythology" won't help you here. Much of what happens in "The Legend of the Millennium Dragon" harks back to two ancient tomes: "Kojiki" and the "Nihonshoki."
The original title, "Onigamiden," means "Legend of the Demon God," but dragons are probably more attractive to an English-speaking audience than demons. A dragon does appear, but the story involves finding courage and a sacred sword. Then there's that age-old question: Just who are the demons?
I've had to defend myself for loving "The War of the Roses" so much. The majority of people I've discussed it with found it too mean-spirited. I realize it deals with an ugly subject but this is a prime example of a movie being great at how it is about its core subject, no matter how touchy. This is one of my all-time favorite films.
When I observed the lifestyle of Ryan Bingham in Jason Reitman's wonderful movie "Up in the Air" early in this year, Lawrence Kasdan's 1988 movie "The Accidental Tourist" came to my mind. Like Ryan, Macon Leary (William Hurt) knows a lot about traveling around by plane. He can tell you how to pack your bag as small as possible.
Q. I've read enough of your writing to gather that you admire, or did admire at one time, the film "Pink Floyd - The Wall." This is one of my all-time favorite films, and you are my all-time favorite film writer. I've read enough of your reviews and commentary to pick up on multiple references to this film, always positive, but have never read your actual full length review of the film. I assume there must be one. Maybe there isn't. I can't find it on IMDb.com or your own website.
A man who has received a large sum of money hires people to re-enact scenes from his own life, staged on the actual locations and on sets he has constructed for the purpose.
That's a selective synopsis of the premise of "Remainder," a 2005 novel by Tom McCarthy. As I was sitting through "Synecdoche, New York," I couldn't help feeling that I'd somehow seen this done before (yeah, I know -- the movie is in part about that feeling)... and then I remembered "Remainder." The first-person narrator, who has suffered brain damage in an accident, becomes obsessed with meticulously reconstructing the events surrounding it. Having turned his apartment building, and the blocks around it, into a living set -- available round the clock for command performances, he stages a run-through of one sequence in a warehouse at Heathrow:
I'd had a raised viewing platform built, a little like an opera box, because I'd enjoyed watching the action in my building from above and wanted a similar option here. I'd established that I might roam around the re-enactment area itself, and that the re-enactors shouldn't be put off by this. I chose to begin watching the re-enactment from the platform, though.
Later, he describes his living role as actor, director and audience, revising and perfecting the re-enactment, which becomes a more-or-less permanent project:
SAVANNAH, Ga. – The chair moves. It truly does. It may not seem like a big deal to you, because you are a reasonable person who is not obsessed with “Citizen Kane,” but I have seen the movie perhaps 100 times, and analyzed it shot-by-shot in at least 30 sessions at festivals and in class, and I thought it contained no more surprises for me. The beauty of the shot-by-shot approach is that the theater is filled with other eyes watching the screen.
CANNES, France -- Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," a documentary denouncing the presidency of George W. Bush, won the Palme d'Or here Saturday night as the best film in the Cannes Film Festival. It was the first documentary to take the Palme since 1956, and was a popular winner; at its official screening it received what the festival director said was the longest ovation in Cannes history.
CANNES, France -- Quentin Tarantino, Charlize Theron, Tom Hanks, Michael Moore, Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Shrek are converging on this balmy Riviera resort town today, and there may be trainloads of striking French show-biz workers to picket them. The 57th Cannes Film Festival is open for business.
CANNES, France -- Spike Lee's "Summer Of Sam" has the right title. It isn't a film about David Berkowitz, the serial killer who named himself Son of Sam - but about the summer of 1977, when his bloody string of murders coincided with a heat wave and skirmishes in the ongoing American cultural war.
Jim Thompson has been dead for 15 years now, and he never got much notice when he was alive, but all of his books are in print again--with covers showing the broads with low necklines, the desperate guys with their cigarettes and three-day beards, and always in the foreground the bottle of booze.
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