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Entries in Francis Ford Coppola (6)

Monday
May062019

Beauty vs Beast: Napalm Mornings

Jason from MNPP here with this week's "Beauty vs Beast" -- Francis Ford Coppola's film Apocalypse Now has been coming up in conversation a lot lately, and not just because my boyfriend kept accidentily getting the title of Gregg Araki's TV show Now Apocalypse backwards. The film is celebrating its 40th anniversary this Friday, and besides doing a screening and conversation about the film at the Tribeca Film Fest last week Coppola's putting out what he's calling a "Final Cut" in August, in theaters and on blu-ray. It falls somewhere between the original release and the 2001 Redux cut, apparently. But no matter the cut it's the tension between Captain Benjamin L. Willard (Martin Sheen) and Colonel Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando) that remains the the backbone of the film, and that's what we're investigating today...


 

PREVIOUSLY Two weeks back most of us still hadn't seen Avengers Endgame, and now two billion dollars worth of us have. But all that money couldn't help Chris Pratt, who lost the contest against Thanos 70 to 30%. Suck it, Star-lord. Said Tom G:

"Just like Jennifer Lawrence ran circles around [Pratt] in Passengers, Brolin literally ran galaxies around him."

Monday
Nov132017

The Furniture: 25 Years Trapped in Castle Dracula

"The Furniture," by Daniel Walber, is our weekly series on Production Design. You can click on the images to see them in magnified detail. 

Bram Stoker’s Dracula turns 25 years old today. It is, appropriately, not dead. Not that a film can die, exactly, but this one has held onto its toothy vigor with particular success. Even the ridiculous way Keanu pronounces “Bewdapest” still charms. Eiko Ishioka’s Oscar-winning costumes seem simultaneously ancient and way ahead of their time. The same goes for the Oscar-winning makeup, which transforms Gary Oldman across centuries with bewildering commitment. The visual effects, which went unnominated, remain thrilling, a dizzying phantasmagoria of cinematic shadow-puppetry.

But I’m here to rave about the only nominated category that the film didn’t win. Production designer Thomas E. Sanders and art director Garrett Lewis were nominated, but they lost to Howards End. Hard to argue with that, of course. Yet their work on Bram Stoker’s Dracula is just as worthy in its complexity, engaging with the material deep within the extravagance and color. Sanders and Lewis demonstrate a creativity well beyond the Gothic castles and thick cobwebs of the genre’s lesser films, shining a newly bloodstained light on this most famous of vampire stories.

The home of the monstrous count itself is a perfect example. Dracula lives in a decaying tower, but a fraction of his former seat of power. It hovers over a cliff in a remote corner of Transylvania, all but removed from the eyes of the living. It cascades upwards, every story more mangled than the last...

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Monday
Nov142016

The Furniture: How Subtly Is Paris Burning? (Not Very)

"The Furniture" our weekly series on Production Design. Here's Daniel Walber

This week marks 50 years since the release of Is Paris Burning? (not to be confused with documentary classic Paris is Burning) an epic that hasn’t quite stood the test of time. In the tradition of The Longest Day, it harnesses a cast of thousands to tell the story of a single, crucial moment of World War Two: The liberation of Paris. French stars like Jean-Paul Belmondo and Alain Delon take roles in the Resistance, while the likes of Kirk Douglas and Glenn Ford play American generals. There are cameos from Simone Signoret, George Chakiris and Anthony Perkins, to name only a few.

 

Directed by René Clément with a script by Gore Vidal and Francis Ford Coppola, you’d think it would be more popular. Still, it’s worth revisiting, and not only for its two Oscar nominations (art direction and cinematography).The film’s visual ambition is often astonishing. Its commitment to accuracy caused at least one unlucky Parisian passerby that the Wehrmacht had actually returned. Everything is bold, nothing subtle.

Production designer Willy Holt, an American who mostly worked in France, later worked on Julia and Au revoir les enfants. Art director Marc Frederix designed for films as disparate as Moonraker and Love and Death, while his colleague Pierre Gufroy won an Oscar for Roman Polanski’s Tess. Clearly, the talented group was more than up to the task of winding back the clock 20 years on one of the world’s most recognizable cities.

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Saturday
Oct292016

Oscar Horrors: The Makeup of "Bram Stoker's Dracula" (1992)

Boo! It's "Oscar Horrors". Each evening we look back on a horror-connected nomination until Halloween. Here's Chris Feil on Bram Stoker's Dracula's makeup...

Bram Stoker's Dracula is as drenched in blood as it is in design excess. Nearly 25 years on, the film is surely one of Francis Ford Coppola's strangest in his filmography. Opulent while utilizing practical effects, the film is smartly-made eye candy that flashes both its brain and budget. Imagine a lavish and gruesome horror film for adults being dropped on today's audiences during the holiday/awards months - stranger yet, imagine it being a hit and nabbing some Oscars too, including for it's makeup design.

Part of the film's goal is establishing a vision somewhat closer to that gothic romance of Bram Stoker's original novel, including that of the titular monster...

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Tuesday
May102016

Doc Corner: 60 Years Since The Silent World's Historic Palme d'Or

Glenn here. Each Tuesday we bring you reviews and features on documentaries from theatres, festivals, and on demand. In celebration of not just the Cannes Film Festival, which launches this week, but also the release of my book Cannes Film Festival: 70 Years out now through Wilkinson Publishing, we're looking at the first documentary to win the Palme d'Or. The book is a glossy trip through history, looking at the festival's beginnings, the films, the moviestars, the fashions and the controversies. You better believe I convinced my editors on a double-page Nicole Kidman spread!

Despite the belief that documentaries are as rare among the Cannes line-up as rain in the desert, the Cannes selectors of old were particularly fond of them. Especially so through the 1950s and 1960s. That just happens to be where we find the first documentary winner of the Palme d’or, The Silent World, or Le monde du Silence.

The documentary is a collaboration between explorer Jacques Cousteau and a pre-fame Louis Malle, who was just 23 years old at the time and was only two years away from delivering the noir masterpiece (so says me) Elevator to the Gallows. In The Silent World, Cousteau and Malle are able to capture images of natural wonder that 60 years later continue to thrill and take the breath away and sing with poignancy while putting our place among nature into perspective. More after the jump...

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Saturday
Apr302016

TCMFF Honors Francis Ford Coppola

Anne Marie here, bringing you the concrete facts from TCM Film Festival.

Francis Ford Coppola was honored twice at TCM Film Festival today. First, the legendary director added his hands and feet to the stars imprinted in the cement outside the TCL Chinese Theatre. Son Roman Coppola, wife Eleanor, and fellow director and friend Peter Bogdonavich were also in attendance to honor the 77 year old legend at the ceremony.

Later, Coppola sat down at the TCL Chinese Theatre with TCM host Ben Mankiewicz before a special screening of The Conversation. Mankiewicz and Coppola discussed the director's full 50 year career, and his (in)famous struggles to get his now-iconic films made in the first place. From fighting studio casting vetoes during The Godfather to self-financing Apocalypse Now, there seems to be no film in the director's oeuvre that he didn't have to fight for in some way. Quipped Mankiewicz, "Your stories don't really reflect well on the Paramount management."

When the interview turned to The Conversation, Coppola had much more passionate things to say. Inspired by Blow Up, Coppola actually wrote the script a year and a half before shooting The Godfather. In fact  Coppola freely admitted that The Conversation never would have been made if not for his most gangster film, though he suspects he was only hired for The Godfather because he was cheap, Italian, and could be pushed around. Still, Coppola stated that he was grateful for those who left their legacy on his work: director Irving Kershner, who encouraged him to write, and TCM, who keeps all of his movies in the cinematic conversation