Good news for cinephiles: the kind folks at Criterion were kind enough to restore and release (on DVD and Blu-ray, along with the expected goody basket of bonus features) Terrence Malick’s Badlands, which is out this week. It’s mostly notable as Malick’s debut feature, but it was also a cornerstone picture of one of cinema’s most durable subgenres: the “lovers on the run” movie, in which an attractive young couple hits the road, fleeing their unfortunate crimes (and/or committing more), with the law in hot pursuit. If you’re in the mood for a marathon, we’ve got a few suggestions after the jump. … Read More
Gus Van Sant
Fracking is bad. This is not a unanimously held view; like so much of environmental policy in this country, the greasy sway of dirty money has turned what should be a health issue into a political one, and as a result, the issue of hydraulic fracturing has become one of predominately liberal interest, taken up by progressive organizations and left-leaning docs like GasLand. And now it is the subject of Promised Land, a message movie from director Gus Van Sant and writer/actors Matt Damon and John Krasinski that plays less like drama and more like a 106-minute forgone conclusion — and as a warning of the potential pitfalls of narrative political cinema. … Read More
A couple of weeks back, we combed through our favorite quotes and offered up a few words from some of our favorite musicians about why they do what they do. That post was so well liked that we decided to seek out similar thoughts from some of our favorite moviemakers, to find out what drives them, what motivates them, and what pushes them to create. The best are collected after the jump; feel free to add your own in the comments. … Read More
Movie lovers around the world were saddened last week by news of the death of Harris Savides, the acclaimed cinematographer best known for his collaborations with Gus Van Sant (on Milk, Elephant, Gerry, Last Days, Restless, and Finding Forrester), but whose credits also included Zodiac, The Game, Somewhere, American Gangster, Whatever Works, and Birth. Savides was a true artist, one who brought a distinctive eye and sense of craft to his work, and merged his unique sensibility with the directors he collaborated with. But the cinematographer is often an underappreciated and overlooked part of the filmmaking process, their gifts and style too often solely attributed to their directors.
In an attempt to acknowledge some of the other true artists in Savides’ field, we put together a brief survey of some of the most important working cinematographers today; in the interest of keeping it manageable, we’ve confined ourselves to those who work primarily in American film, and those who are still prolific in the industry. Our list is after the jump, and we welcome your favorites in the comments. … Read More
Our ears always perk up at the mention of Gus Van Sant, but they got even perkier than normal when we first saw the trailer for this film, which was co-written by and is co-starring Matt Damon and John Krasinski, plus Frances McDormand and Hal Holbrook to boot. The Promised Land follows the story of two corporate salespeople who show up in a farming town to buy the rights to drill on their property — for millions of dollars. It should be easy, but the town has a few unexpected dissidents. We’ll hold judgement until we see the whole film, but judging from the trailer, it seems like a deeply American story and possibly crucial story of personal integrity, possibility and the way our lives are changing. We’re also betting on some killer performances. Watch the trailer after the jump, and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments. … Read More
Moonrise Kingdom director Wes Anderson is a master at creating quirky, endearing, and gorgeously detailed films, and his latest project with a recently cast Johnny Depp — which we reported this morning — is proving to be no different. So far, we know the upcoming film — likely to also star Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Edward Norton, Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody, Jude Law, and Angela Lansbury — will be set in Europe and that the director is calling it The Grand Budapest Hotel. It’s another whimsical title in a long list of delightfully zany film names like The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling Limited, or… well, take your pick. Anderson is hardly alone when it comes to choosing eccentric titles, and we’ve compiled a list of cinema’s quirkiest movie monikers after the jump. Leave us a note with your favorites below. … Read More
The youngest artist ever to have a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art — way back in 2003, when he was only 25 — Ryan McGinley has been a radical darling of the art world ever since. A chronicler of edgy youth culture, McGinley started out documenting his pals populating New York’s downtown art scene and then broadened his focus with summer road trips that captured free spirited, often-naked, guys and gals running through wide open landscapes, exploring underground caves, jumping off cliffs, climbing trees, and cuddling with creatures of the wild. His young, sexy models are willing to do whatever daredevil tricks deemed necessary to make the photos click.
Capsulizing the whole breadth of his career, Rizzoli has just released a large-scale monograph — titled Whistle for the Wind — that brings together McGinley’s colorful imagery in a visually compelling design and features a chummy conversation between the venturesome photographer and the equally adventurous filmmaker Gus Van Sant. “Whomever I’m photographing, I sort of fall in love with, or rather my camera falls in love with them,” the artist tells Van Sant. “It could be a boy or a girl, because it’s all a fantasy. It’s fiction.” Click through to view some of our favorite fictions from the book — compliments of McGinley’s keen eye and his camera’s loving lens. … Read More
The best of this week’s (admittedly lean) DVD releases is Coriolanus, the sleek and muscular Shakespeare adaptation from star and first-time director Ralph Fiennes. He’s been angling to bring the play to the screen for nearly a dozen years now, since he first played it on the London stage, and when the time came to do so, he did what many a filmmaker before him has done to make Shakespeare tenable to today’s audience: he modernized it. But the text is so open, and his staging is so robust, that the interpretation works; it couldn’t feel more timely and appropriate, with (perhaps intentional, perhaps accidental) allusions to the Tea Party, Congressional dysfunction, and the Occupy movement that land without the clumsiness that so often batters political cinema.
In honor of a job well done, we’ve assembled ten other films that altered the Bard’s plots and texts in a similarly entertaining fashion. Check them out after the jump, and add your own in the comments. … Read More
Welcome to Flavorpill’s streaming movie guide, in which we help you sift through the scores of movies streaming on Netflix, Hulu, and other services to find the best of the recently available, freshly relevant, or soon to expire. This week, we’ve got Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Walter Matthau, Orson Welles, Dustin Hoffman, a Gus Van Sant classic, a serious turn by Will Ferrell, documentaries on sheepherding and gay politicians, and some much-needed levity from the MST3K crew. Check them all out after the jump, and follow the title links to watch them right now. … Read More
Geek god Joss Whedon’s day has come. He’s trading TV slayage and vampires, for filmic mayhem with his horror writing endeavor The Cabin in the Woods, which hits theaters this Friday — the 13th, for added spooky cred. It’s a spoof of sorts on the horror genre, but not in the vein of goofy films like Scary Movie. Think Whedon’s clever brand of humor set in a remote cabin where friends gather for a getaway. The movie also has its share of scares — and hey, Ebert liked it, so that’s something. (Beware of spoilers.)
Whedon’s witticisms have always wooed us, and thanks to an early career as a television writer (Roseanne and Parenthood being his inaugural projects), the filmmaker was able to smoothly segue into a movie career — first with Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 1992 and Toy Story in 1995 — both writing credits. From there, Whedon would flip back and forth from TV and film directing/writing/producing, bringing us gems like Firefly and Serenity, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along, the beloved Buffy television series, and most recently the highly anticipated Avengers movie — which hits theaters on May 4.
What other filmmakers have danced between TV and cinema, and vice versa? We look at a few multitasking creatives past the break. With increases in technology and more elaborate production values on display, TV no longer feels like a nasty two-letter word filmmakers see as beneath them. More and more accomplished moviemakers are spending time on the small screen, and many got their start there like Whedon. Check out our list below, and share any TV/film geniuses we missed in the comments. … Read More