This week marked the trailer release for Lukas Moodysson’s We Are the Best!, which chronicles the alienation and joys of outcast tween girls in 1980s Stockholm as they form a punk band. Also this week, Criterion celebrates a misunderstood boy’s quest for freedom in Paris during the 1950s with the Blu-ray release of François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows. Since teen angst is in the air, we felt compelled to round up films that tackle the topic — movies that offer a different perspective from the well-worn American Pies of Hollywood. … Read More
Gus Van Sant
Based on Michel Faber’s novel of the same name, Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin invites audiences into a parallel alien world where Scarlett Johansson plays an otherworldly seductress luring unsuspecting men into a van. Much has been made that Glazer had the actress perform this erotic stunt in reality, adding a fascinating layer to Glazer’s murky, hypnotic world. Eventually the entranced men were made aware of the truth and consented to be part of the film, which explores constructs of desire and power. It’s one of the stranger ways non-professional actors have been used in cinema. Here are ten other films starring non-actors in strange roles to rival it. … Read More
Run the title King of the Hill by most people, and you’ll get a big smile for Mike Judge’s long-running animated series. But it’s also the title of a lesser-known entry in the Steven Soderbergh filmography — his excellent 1993 adaptation of A.E. Hotchner’s memoir, a film so widely ignored that it never even saw a DVD release. Until now, that is; Criterion has released King in a fantastic new DVD/Blu-ray edition, with bonus features including a whole other Soderbergh movie that’s even less celebrated. Click through for some thoughts on that film, and a few more unjustly ignored movies by our favorite… Read More
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
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