BAMcinématek’s A Pryor Engagement retrospective, which we told you about a couple of weeks back, is unfortunately coming to an end this week — but not before tonight’s screening of a film that most consider not only lesser Pryor, but a fairly middling and forgettable effort in general. Your film editor disagrees. The picture is called Brewster’s Millions, a 1985 comedy that pairs up Richard Pryor and John Candy, and it’s not just a funny kick of a buddy movie (though it is that); it is, we contend, nothing less than the quintessential American 1980s motion picture. We’ll explain why in due course. In the meantime, inspired by this particular take on Millions, we decided to comb through the annals of cinema history and determine which films were most specifically of their decades. We’re not saying that these are the very best films of their time (though some were); rather, we feel that each is specific to their time, and summed it up in a unique way. We’ll go from the 1920s to the 2000s, and explain our choices along the way. … Read More
Francis Ford Coppola
“RETIREMENT IS FOR SISSIES!” roar the posters for The Last Stand (seriously? “Sissies?” In 2012? But I digress…), the first starring role for Arnold Schwarzenegger since stepping away from the silver screen for a, shall we say, problematic stint in the California governor’s mansion. Its mid-January release date doesn’t exactly scream box-office or critical confidence, but who knows; Mr. Schwarzenegger has been underestimated before, and usually comes out ahead. Either way it goes, we thought it would be interesting to run down some of the other big-name actors who hit rough or absent patches and tried to work their way back into the spotlight with a well placed role; after the jump we’ll take a look at five comeback vehicles that took, and five that didn’t quite get the job done. … Read More
A five-film Francis Ford Coppola Blu-ray set arrives in stores today, perfectly timed with some exciting news that the Godfather director shared in a recent interview about his 53-year-long career with EW. Recently, it was announced that the legendary filmmaker would be moving his office to the Paramount lot. Coppola filmed several works there, including his iconic mafia movie The Godfather, The Conversation, and Tucker: The Man and His Dream. We had visions of the director returning to his roots and the grandiose epics that made him famous, taking a left turn from the small-scale, intimate features he’s been creating lately. It seems that we will indeed be seeing a new Coppola movie that recalls the greatest hits of his 1970′s filmography. He told EW: … Read More
With storyboards on our mind lately thanks to their use in both the opening sequence and the climax of Argo, we decided to put together a gallery of our favorites from iconic… Read More
This Friday marks the theatrical release of V/H/S, a chilling and genuinely effective found-footage anthology from directors Adam Wingard, David Bruckner, Ti West, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg, and Radio Silence. (It’s available on demand now.) As scary and unnerving as it is, however, it does fall prey to the seemingly inevitable pitfall of a multi-director anthology film: there are a couple of sections that simply aren’t as good as the rest of the film. When you think about it, it’s bound to happen; even if the filmmakers assembled are all talented, there’s a pretty good chance at least one participant will have difficulty conforming to the short form, or will have trouble measuring up to the others, or just might be off their game. As a result, very few completely great anthology movies have been made — most at least have a couple of segments that don’t fit.
But that’s the joy of DVD: in your living room, you can do the editing job that their fellow filmmakers were too polite to perform. After the jump, we’ll take a look at a few of the best-known multi-director anthology movies, and offer up some viewing suggestions for them. … Read More
We live in a movie universe where the Michael Bays and James Camerons of Hollywood are crafting their on-screen worlds with the help of incredible computer-aided technology. These filmmakers create works where anything seems possible, and while it’s often stunning to behold, many moviegoers are already tired of watching disaster porn and motion capture performances that aim to be real, but never truly feel like the tangible celluloid of yore. What many of those audiences don’t realize, however, is that several big-budget films have stuck to their practical effects-loving guns and have dodged the CGI monster at every… Read More
About halfway through Looper, Rian Johnson’s electrifying new time travel actioner, Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who play the same man thirty years apart, sit at a diner and try to hash out their situation. The younger version of “Joe” starts asking questions about how his actions will affect his elder version, particularly now that they’re both in the same place, but before that conversation can get anywhere, Willis shuts it down: “If we start talking about it, we’re gonna be here all day, talking about it, makin’ diagrams with straws.”
It’s a fair point: it seems like every time travel movie — and there are plenty of them — is required to throw in a scene where some egghead tosses around a lot of jargon about the “space-time continuum” or something in order to explain how time travel works. Other movies keep it simpler: “This is what makes time travel possible: the flux capacitor!” Whatever your preference, we’ve pulled clips from over two dozen time travel movies to present this month’s video essay, “How Time Travel Works.” Check it out after the jump. … Read More
Last fall, Francis Ford Coppola went to the Toronto International Film Festival to unveil Twixt, his latest feature film. It didn’t go well — in fact, it went so poorly that there was some question as to whether the picture (unattached to a distributor) would see a release at all. It finally will, this weekend, with a single-theater engagement in San Francisco, but that seems like quite a fall for the director of The Godfather (even if his more recent work hasn’t exactly wowed us).
Meanwhile, a film that’s been in limbo for far longer than Coppola’s is inching towards a release: Dark Blood, the contemporary Western thriller from director George Sluzier (The Vanishing) that River Phoenix was working on when he died clear back in 1993. Sluzier put out a trailer back in May; last week, the film’s long-awaited premiere was announced for September’s Netherlands Film Festival. Those two resurrections got us thinking about other unreleased movies that we’re still itching to see; they’re collected for your reading (and partial viewing) pleasure after the jump. … Read More
We’re always keeping track of what our favorite authors, artists, and pop culture heroes are obsessed with at the moment. After exploring the favorite films of famous filmmakers, we wanted to dig into the cerebral movie files of famous actors. Some of these picks are extremely personal for our list of screen stars — and who can explain why better than someone with a camera constantly pointed at them? Skip past the break to check out a few favorites, and then let us know if any surprise you in the comments below. … Read More
It’s no secret that filmmakers are an obsessive bunch. Just look at Stanley Kubrick, who kept over one thousand boxes filled with photos, clippings, notes, and other items that he referred to. The exhibition Persol Magnificent Obsessions: 30 Stories of Craftsmanship in Film at the Museum of the Moving Image — the second in their series of three exhibits — uncovers more stories behind the crafting of ten painstakingly detailed films. One of a kind artifacts, production notes and artwork, costumes, and more are currently on display through August 19 — providing a rarely seen view into the creative processes of some of the world’s greatest filmmakers. If you can’t make it to New York to visit this fascinating show, we’ve got a few items from the exhibit to whet your filmic appetite. … Read More