Film

Why Do Cinematographers Make Such Lousy Directors?

Wally Pfister has been in it for a minute. He started out in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, first as a camera operator and then cinematographer for straight-to-VHS erotic thrillers and horror films with titles like Animal Instincts II, Secret Games 3, and Amityville: A New Generation. But in 2000, he hooked up with director Christopher Nolan for Momento, and he’s shot every Nolan film since (along with Moneyball, The Italian Job, and a few others). Now he moves into the director’s chair, orchestrating a high-caliber cast in the big-budget sci-fi thriller Transcendence (out today). But even if you view it without this thumbnail bio in the back of your head, you might guess the pedigree, because it’s a terrible movie that looks amazing. … Read More

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‘Time Is Illmatic’: Why Nas’ Classic Album Is More Relevant Than Ever

There’s a moment in One9 and Erik Parker’s excellent documentary Time is Illmatic, which opened the Tribeca Film Festival last night, that sticks in the memory. Nas and his brother Jabari are discussing a photo that was taken in 1994, not long before the album release. It was snapped outside the building in the Queensbridge projects where the brothers grew up, and eventually appeared in the CD booklet. It captures a moment when friends and foes alike united behind a local boy who’d made them proud. There are maybe 20 people in the photo, some in their late teens, some little more than boys. Jabari points at face after face: “He’s doing life. He’s doing 20 years. He got shot. He just got out after doing a long time.” Nas is silent, although his eyes betray his horror. Eventually, he sighs, and speaks to the camera. “That’s fucked up.” … Read More

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13 Great New-to-Netflix Movies to Stream This Holiday Weekend

Well, friends, spring is in the air (occasional lingering thundersnow aside), and Easter weekend is upon us, which could mean several things for you: participation in some sort of egg hunt, consumption of massive quantities of chocolate and sugar, a biannual visit to some sort of house of worship. Or it might just mean hanging out on the couch/in bed all weekend like it’s any other weekend. Your Flavorwire can’t help much with the first batch of items, but if you’re vegging out this holiday weekend, we’ve got a handful of noteworthy titles that have arrived (either for the first time, or for a return stint) over the past couple of weeks over at Netflix. Click through, fill your queue, and clear a day or two. … Read More

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Watch This Gorgeous Trailer for Pawel Pawlikowski’s ‘Ida’

In less than two minutes, the chilling trailer for Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida exemplifies the tenuousness of cultural and religious identity.… Read More

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‘Captain America’ Star Anthony Mackie Is Right: Kids Deserve More Diverse Superhero Movies

Anthony Mackie is one of those underrated and substantially gifted actors who livens up just about any movie he shows up in, and his unique fusion of genuine warmth and unflappable cool is particularly welcome in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. But his most important contribution to the comic-book movie universe may well have occurred off-screen, at a recent promotional roundtable, when he said this about playing a black superhero: “When I first got this role I just cried like a baby because I was like, ‘Wow, next Halloween, I’m gonna open the door and there’s gonna be a little kid dressed as the Falcon.’ That’s the thing that always gets me. I feel like everybody deserves that. I feel like there should be a Latino superhero. Scarlett does great representation for all the other girls, but there should be a Wonder Woman movie. I don’t care if they make 20 bucks, if there’s a movie you’re gonna lose money on, make it Wonder Woman. You know what I mean, ’cause little girls deserve that.” Or, to put a more cynical spin on his comment: why are all the comic book superhero movies about white guys? … Read More

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Haim Played a Darth Vader Prank on Each Other on April Fool’s Day

In addition to mentioning that they’re already writing their next record on the road, the sisters of Haim told the … Read More

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25 Incredibly Tough Movies for Extreme Viewers

We’ve been talking a lot about Lars von Trier lately, prompted by the release of Nymphomaniac, and now Criterion Collection has given us one more reason to think about his work: their new special edition of his 1996 masterpiece Breaking the Waves. It’s a key entry in the von Trier filmography, its themes echoing throughout Nymphomaniac and Melancholia, but it takes something big like the Criterion release to warrant a revisit; Breaking the Waves is both a masterful movie and one that’s incredibly difficult to subject yourself to. We’ve looked previously at great books and important albums that are just plain hard to take; here’s a few movies that warrant the same kind of… Read More

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Jim Jarmusch’s ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ and the Tragedy of Time in Artistic Lives

Mortality has its own way of haunting everyone, but for me it often manifests as vague anxiety about running out of time. In the short term, that means constant, low-level resentment over the inability to write or travel or even sleep as much as I’d like. What upsets me more, though, is when I get to thinking about the half-century or so I have left on this planet (if I’m lucky), and I remember that even if I dropped all my responsibilities and started devouring them in earnest, I could never read all the great books that have ever been published. I won’t ever finish watching every brilliant film or hear every transcendent piece of music or take in every masterpiece of visual art, either. And what if I had any ambitions about adding to that canon? … Read More

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