A look at the entire career of Daniel Day-Lewis and how his work in "Phantom Thread" feels like the perfect finale.
UPDATED (08/01/12): Scroll to the bottom of this entry to see my first impressions of the newly announced critics' and directors' poll results.
Vittorio De Sica's "Bicycle Thieves" (1948) topped the first Sight & Sound critics' poll in 1952, only four years after it was first released, dropped to #7 in 1962, and then disappeared from the top ten never to be seen again. (In 2002 only five of the 145 participating critics voted for it.) Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane" (1941) flopped in its initial release but was rediscovered in the 1950s after RKO licensed its films to television in 1956. From 1962 to 2002 "Kane" has remained at the top of the poll (46 critics voted for it last time). This year, a whopping 846 top-ten ballots (mentioning 2,045 different titles) were counted, solicited from international "critics, programmers, academics, distributors, writers and other cinephiles" -- including bloggers and other online-only writers. Sight & Sound has announced it will live-tweet the 2012 "Top 50 Greatest Films of All Time" (@SightSoundmag #sightsoundpoll) August 1, and as I write this the night before, I of course don't know the results. But, for now at least, I'm more interested in the process.
Given the much wider and younger selection of voters in 2012, ist-watchers have been speculating: Will another movie (leading candidate: Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo," number 2 in 2002) supplant "Kane" at the top of the list? Will there be any silent films in the top 10? (Eisenstein's "Battleship Potemkin" and Murnau's "Sunrise" tied for #7 on the 2002 list, but the latter was released in 1927 with a Fox Movietone sound-on-film musical score and sound effects.)
Though there's been no rule about how much time should pass between a film's initial release and its eligibility (the Library of Congress's National Film Registry requires that selections be at least ten years old), most of the selections ten to have stood the test of time for at least a decade or two. The newest film on the 2002 list was the combination of "The Godfather" (1972) and "The Godfather, Part II" (1974) -- but they won't be allowed to count as one title for 2012.
Marie writes: Recently, a fellow artist and friend sent me the following photos featuring amazing glass mosaics. She didn't know who the artists were however - and which set me off on a journey to find out! I confess, the stairs currently continue to thwart me and thus remain a mystery, but I did uncover who created the "glass bottle doorway" and was surprised to learn both its location and the inspiration behind it. (click image.)
Congratulations to Cartoon Caption winner Howard DiNatale, whose just won himself a special book prize from Roger! Contact the Grand Poobah to claim it. And thank-you to everyone who submitted a caption and or voted; we're sorry it took a while to announce a winner and appreciate your patience.Ebert: Grace Wang created this mosaic of all of us at our Far-Flung best.note: "right click" on photo and open in new window to see total enlarged imageTom Dark poured forth his Journal entries on Ebertfest, and since the poor sod lacks a blog of his own, I have created a special page for it that resides here..
Ebert: I met Howie Movshovitz in 1970 in my first year at the Conference on World Affairs in Boulder. He was an English major, about to transfer into film studies. We've been friends ever since. He went on to become a film critic for the Denver Post and NPR, a professor at the Univ. of Colorado, a film evangelist who treks to small Colorado towns to hold outdoor screenings of classics, and the head of the Starz Cinema Center in Denver. He was a guest at Ebertfest 2010, and filed this report via Colorado Public Radio Colorado Public Radio.
From Jeff Levin, Rochester, NY:
I’ve never seen an opening tighter or more ingeniously structured than the one for Philip Kaufman’s "Quills." It’s an opening that flips from dreamy to nightmarish and completely changes the nature of what you think you’re initially observing, all the while quickly and efficiently familiarizing viewers with the persona of the of the protagonist.
That protagonist would be a one Marquis De Sade, brilliantly played in the movie by Geoffrey Rush in an Oscar-nominated role. Starting with a black screen, you hear him announce that he has a “naughty��? tale to tell, one “guaranteed to stimulate the senses.��? He then begins by announcing that the tale is about an aristocrat named Mademoiselle Renare, as soft music begins to play and the visage of a dreamy looking young woman appears on the screen. You then see an erotic expression come over her face as the Marquis describes how her sexual proclivities “ran the gamut from winsome to bestial.��?
But suddenly, you see a man’s hand come into the picture … then two hands … then the man himself, a brute wearing a hooded mask. The Marquis continues, “Until one day … Mademoiselle found herself at the mercy of a man every bit as perverse as she. A man whose skill at the art of pain exceeded ever her own.��? The man then begins tying her hands as she pleads for mercy. Looking up at a window, she suddenly notices a figure looking down at the proceedings and it’s … the Marquis himself. It’s at this point that you realize that you’re not seeing a story acted out -- you’re seeing what inspired it in the first place: mass executions during the French Revolution.
Q. In your review of "A Time to Kill," you wrote that it was "a skillfully-constructed morality play that pushes all the right buttons and arrives at all the right conclusions." Okay, close your eyes. Now imagine the two rapists were killed by three hundred white men with a rope. Now imagine the two rapists were black. Does it still arrive at all the right conclusions? (John Lampkins, Los Angeles)