Tony Scott’s death hit me harder than I might have expected - suicides always do. It pulls me down with it in even a moment’s contemplation. But the man himself, who had a career so wildly variant that it could contain what I would call one of the worst films I’ve ever seen (Domino) and yet bear all the hallmarks of a capable director, left behind fiery signature works. Under the circumstances, I set to work clearing my backlog pile.Read more
It’s rare that I see a shorts program that I enjoy all the way through, which is what made the third installment of James McNally’s Shorts That Are Not Pants so surprising – this was a really well-manicured night at the movies. He showed nine films in all, and of them, none fell flat. There were the usual ups and downs of achievement and ambition, of course, but I came away profoundly energized – by the madcap animated bliss of A Morning Stroll and (Notes On) Biology (“Ro-bot-ele-phant!”); or the furiously dark awesomeness of Tumult; but most of all by the yes-South-Korea-continues-to-kick-ass luminance of Guest. If French and Japanese cinema were my foreign languages of choice while I was an “up-and-comer,” Old Man Matt Brown is deeply into Scandinavia and South Korea. I spent some time during the Shorts/Not/Pants program seriously considering whether one can engage in some kind of cultural immersion/enrichment program to really come to know a foreign cinema – absconding to one of the regions in question for a year or two and just crawling my way through their movie theatres. But of course, that’s a needless gesture; I live in Toronto, for chrissakes. The world of cinema comes here.Read more
Live from the Aroma Cafe in Champaign, IL, we continue to recap Ebertfest as it happens. Today we discuss the beautiful film Terri, a terrific program of shorts accompanied by the Alloy orchestra, and our thoughts on a panel about VOD vs. the future of theatrical moviegoing.
If you haven’t had enough Phantom Menace mumbo-jumbo out of me today, here I look at how the film completely changed filmmaking forever. Deal with it.
I’ve always assumed the long-mooted, never arriving Wonder Woman feature film was a logistical impossibility for no greater reason than that I simply didn’t believe any human woman could be found who could play her; or at least, I didn’t believe it until I was watching Gina Carano ass-hand her way through Haywire.
Proving once again that people in animal costumes are the actual most cinematic things in history. (c/f Dave Tebby)
War Horse is oldschool filmmaking par excellence. My eyes swept back and forth along that wide, gorgeous, cinemascope frame like a parched man drinking up water. That War Horse is a great film is, I admit, a bit of a surprise; that it is the most traditionally Spielbergian film (and yet not, at the same time) that the director has made in nearly two decades pretty much left my jaw on the floor. This is an enchanting return to form from the filmmaker I grew up with.
With Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol, our fight begins to take back the cinema. Never a stranger or more improbable sentence have I typed. I may yet be proven wrong. But this, and its Dark Knight Rises teaser prologue, are a one-two punch, and they’ve left me drunk. They are an answer to two long years of empty-headed Hollywood groupthink.