Entries in 10|25|50|75|100 (153)
HMWYBS: Mid Season Finale
Orson Welles burst on to the cinematic scene in 1941 with Citizen Kane, which has led numerous film polls across the decades as the 'Best Film Ever Made'. (Kane's nearest rivals for the title in frequent pollings here and there seem to be Vertigo and The Godfather) It famously lost all but one of its Oscar nominations (Orson Welles and Herman J. Mankiewicz his co-writer took the Original Screenplay prize, Welles' only competitive Oscar) but genius is rarely fully appreciated in its time. Incredibly, the writer/director/actor was only 26 at the time but he was no one hit wonder adding several more classics to his filmography before his death at 70 years of age in 1985. For today's Hit Me With Your Best Shot episode, our midseason finale (the series returns on June 3rd), I asked participants to choose between Citizen Kane (1941), The Magnificent Ambersons (1942, my personal favorite of his), and The Lady From Shanghai (1948) depending on what they felt like watching.
Gawk at beautiful screengrabs from those movies from 10 Best Shot participants. Click on any of them to be taken to the corresponding article singing that shot's praises...
Glenn here. Look, we all know Joseph Gordon-Levitt was a child actor, and a pretty good one, too (that scene where he got skate in the face in Halloween: H20 is very memorable). But let's not kid around here. It wasn't until the release of Gregg Araki's Mysterious Skin in 2005 that most really started to take him seriously. One year later he starred in Brick and he's only continued to rise up the ranks as a popular and critically respected actor. Looking back, I can't recall if his presence was as exciting to me in this film as Michelle Trachtenburg from Buffy, but looking back now he's certainly one of the reasons the film holds up.
It's actually rather appropriate that the 10th anniversary of Mysterious Skin should occur now at around the same time as New York Magazine's article entitled “Why You Should Go to the Movies (and Do Other Stuff) Alone” has been getting shared around on social media. You see, Araki's film was the first film I ever went to see at the cinema by myself. I travelled to Melbourne all on my lonesome, without friends or family who I usually convinced to join me for a day at the arthouse, and caught a screening of the movie that had amassed so much controversy in the local media. There were threats of it being banned after a 'family organization' (code for fundamentalist "won't somebody think of the children" noddies) demanded a review of its already very restrictive R18+ rating which is the Australian equivalent of an NC-17. Given the history of sexually graphic films being banned after similar action - titles like Romance and Baise-Moi - I knew I had to see this film. And fast!
Happy Orson Welles Centennial! - Don't Miss Best Shot tonight
Alexa here. I was honored recently when one of my collage pieces was chosen to be a part of the Orson Welles Centennial celebrations in Woodstock, IL. For those that don't know their Welles history, here are some facts: Welles attended the progressive Todd School in Woodstock from 1926 to 1931, after his parents' divorce and his mother's death. It was there where Welles met his lifelong mentor Roger Hill, the headmaster of the school; Hill essentially developed a curriculum to nurture Welles' interests in art and theater. It was in Woodstock that Welles directed his first play and made his first film. In interviews later in his life, he said that Woodstock was the closest place he had to a real home.
Located about 50 miles northwest of Chicago, Woodstock is holding 3 weekends of centennial celebrations to honor Welles' 100th birthday. Of course there will be screenings: of Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons, and Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles, a new documentary directed by Chuck Workman. There will also be stagings of "Rosebud: The Lives of Orson Welles," a one-man play by Erik Van Beuzekom, and a staging of "War of the Worlds." Oja Kodar, Welles' former girlfriend, is also set to speak, along with many others.
Coinciding with these events will be an exhibit that will include original art and a private collection of memorabilia. I was lucky enough to have festival co-chairman Greg Gantner give me a peek at a few of the items that will be on exhibit before the show opens on the 8th. The Welles nerd in me was very excited and snapped some pictures...
The Dissolve Emily Blunt is finally revving back up her career. After Sicario she's headlining Bronco Belle
Guardian Ryan Gosling, ever the good sport about internet memes, finally eats his cereal, and a cancer fund is created to memorialize the meme creator
Empire the very busy young actor Will Poulter case as Pennywise in the new version of Stephen King's "It"
Awards Watch I was the special guest on their latest podcast defending my first wave of predictions, particularly why I got behind Sicario and am hesitant on Carol.
Film Actually 20 most anticipated performances (I keep forgetting about Ben Foster as Lance Armstrong)
In Contention speaking of Foster, he's got a new film Comancheria, just picked up by CBS Films. Think they'll change the title before release? I'm taking bets.
Playbill If you've never seen Broadway darling and sometime TV & film player Kristin Chenoweth in concert, do NOT miss her tour. I've seen her like four times live and she's magic. It starts in August and she's hitting 17 states so see if any shows are near you!
MNPP who wore it best (skin suits edition): The Vision or Robbie Williams?
The Dissolve has a cute Gremlins filled video about the history of the PG rating.
Variety the rapping Granny from The Wedding Singer has died at 101 years of age
Previously TV Joe Reid guests for a RPDR recap of the "prancing queens' episode. good stuff
/Film Joss Whedon explains that messy Thor in the pool business from Age of Ultron (the more we hear about the making of the movie the more disastrous it sounds from an executive interference level; this can't be a good sign for the movies going forward.)
It's the Black Widow's World. Marvel Just Doesn't Know It Yet.
Washington Post on "Black Widow's Feminist Heroism" - a great response to the weird outrage criticisms despite her film-rescuing place in those movies
Think Progress on further linked e-mails which show Hollywood's absolute sexism and stupidity about female heroes, they think Elektra and Catwoman are the best that can be done? Yikes!
Pajiba also Jeremy Renner doubles down on his sorry not sorry douchery about calling Black Widow a slut
Polygon would watch ScarJo's Black Widow Romantic Comedy via SNL. (as would I)
Showtune(s) to go ~ Happy Alice Faye Centennial
When I revisited the Oscar nominated In Old Chicago (1937) a couple of years ago I was a bit dismissive of Alice Faye, a major 30s film star (who isn't so well remembered today) who played Tyrone Power's conquest. After more investigation the appeal has become far more obvious and since May 5th is her Centennial you definitely have 5 minutes to give her major voice - that's a memorably warm deep contralto. Here she is in two incarnations as a pre-code bad girl singing about 'Fooling with The Other Woman's Man' in Now I'll Tell (1934) looking like a visual inspiration for Madonna's future Breathless Mahoney in Dick Tracy. And then in a more traditionally romantic Technicolor light in Weekend in Havana (1941) with John Payne (Tyrone Power and then John Payne? lucky girl) singing "Tropical Magic"
Tim here. Today's the 75th birthday of Giorgio Moroder, pioneering electronic-dance-pop mastermind, and winner of four Grammys. But this being a film site, what we're interested in is his work in movie scoring, for which he won three Oscars. And what stellar work it is!
Moroder's soundtracks - and even more than that, his songs - are absolutely definitive. Any child of the '70s or '80s can't help but associate Moroder's compositions with a certain kind of glossy, high-concept spectacle. Moroder's sleek, borderline-campy music brought pop-art grandeur to everything from the political drama Midnight Express (his Best Score Oscar) to the smutty musical Flashdance and from the kitschy Superman III to the sparkling black fantasy The NeverEnding Story. His compositions for these films are the opposite of timeless; they are emphatically and proudly mired in a specific period of pop culture history.
But for the same reason, his scores and songs are the best imaginable fit for the giddy, playfully shallow cinema of that decade, bringing the energy and dazzle of the first years of the Blockbuster Era to life with style and flair whose period-specific artificiality is their greatest strength, not any kind of weakness. But let's allow the man's music to speak for itself. Here are my three personal favorite from his 80s soundscapes.
From Cat People (1982): "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)", later used to magnificent effect in Inglourious Basterds
From Flashdance (1983): "Flashdance... What a Feeling" (his second Oscar, the first for Best Song)
From Top Gun (1986): "Danger Zone" (he won his third Oscar for "Take My Breath Away" from the same movie)
What are your favorite Moroder film scores and songs?