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Entries in running times (7)

Friday
Dec262014

The Less Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Or, "Try Harder Next Time You Talented So & Sos!"

Our Worst of the Year feature "Cinematic Shame" has shrunk in size. This is not because movies are better. This is because your host (Nathaniel R) has somehow become less jaded and more appreciative of the cinema over the years. In fact, he often can be seen crinkling his brow when faced with reminders that a lot of people who write about the movies don't like very many of them. Even more casually evident: lots of people who write about awards season don't like awards season. (A solemn promise to the disgruntled: there are plenty of other topics worth writing about - pitch those to your editor and TRUST that this topic will be amply covered, and all over the place, in your absence!)

But let's not distract ourselves.

 In the lists that follow as we gently spank famous people on their virtual bottoms we remember that they can turn right around the following year and wow us, thereby humbling us for doubting them. History is full of examples. We all have our "off" years or... um...decades. 

Uncomfortable segueway to Tim Burton...  [*cough*]

But look how cute this Big Eyes sketch he drew is! [Tomato stained lists are after the jump]

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Nov232014

Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Michael C here with what I suppose is part one of my review of Mockingjay.

“I wish she were dead,” says Finnick Odair at the start of the third entry in the Hunger Games series. “I wish they were all dead and we were too,” he adds to include himself, Katniss, and all the tributes that remain in the clutches of the Capitol after the events of Catching Fire

If that seem like a dispiriting way to start an action blockbuster rest assured it perfectly establishes the tone of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, a grim, disjointed film that is short on thrills and long on misery. Francis Lawrence’s sequel progresses from torture to bombs dropped on hospitals to the wreckage of towns strewn with skulls, all of it scrubbed down to a bloodless PG-13. Our big reward for wading through this suffering is to see our beloved Katniss strangled within an inch of her life. 

I expect fans of the series will like it a lot...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Oct072014

138 days til Oscar: That's your Best Picture length!

138 is a magic number. It's the average length, in minutes, of a Best Picture winner. Here are the running times of all winnners from longest to shortest. You'll see that the majority of winners are over 2 hours long which has caused no end of padding in "serious" movies but alas, not enough padding for tender buttocks watching the interminable movies. 

Here are your Best Picture winners from longest film to the shortest.

  1. Gone With the Wind (1939) 238 minutes
    Just two minutes shy of four hours, but worth every second. Lots of Gone With the Wind discussion here. Did you see its recent two day theatrical screening?
  2. Lawrence of Arabia (1962) 216 minutes
  3. Ben-Hur (1959) 212 minutes
    Currently in the process of being remade because that's how Hollywood do. Although this film was itself a remake so... we'll let it pass. Still there is no way its signature scene, the chariot race, will be as thrilling with CGI.
    ˆˆˆ over 3½ hours ˆˆˆ
  4. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) 201 minutes
  5. The Godfather Part 2 (1974) 200 minutes
  6. Schindler's List (1993) 195 minutes
  7. Titanic (1997) 194 minutes
  8. Gandhi (1982) 191 minutes
  9. The Deer Hunter (1979) 182 minutes
  10. Dances With Wolves (1990) 181 minutes
    ˆˆˆ over 3 hours ˆˆˆ

    other long ass movies and how it relates to this year after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Sep252014

"Malkolink Malkolink Malkolink!"

NY Daily News truly absurd photos of John Malkovich recreating famous images of Marilyn Monroe, Bette Davis, and less glitzy iconic art, too, like Piss Christ and American Gothic
Slate great piece on why we need less reboots and more original genre fiction - interesting points made that aren't just the usual bitching
Pink is the New Blog Channing Tatum inviting fans to be part of Magic Mike XXL
The Film Stage an interview with director Pawel Pawlikowski on his Polish hit Ida
Interview talks to the director of Wild Tales, which I loved at TIFF, Damián Szifrón
Shark Robot Avengers as cold cereal t-shirts. The best ones are clearly Thorrios and Loki Charms 'bifrosted!"

 

In Contention another reason to love Virginia Madsen besides that immortal wine monologue from Sideways - she loves the classic Network. She loves it lots
Variety Looks like it's Rachel McAdams, Vince Vaughn, Colin Farrell and Taylor Kitsch as the four leads directing by Justin Lin for True Detective Season 2. Vaughn is a crime boss, the rest are cops. I love Farrell but this does not excite me as much as the promise of Cary Fukunaga directing Harrelson, McConaughey and Monaghan but we'll see
Twitter ...if you must know my general feeling on Rachel McAdams
Variety Julie Delpy's next effort as a triple threat is a French language comedy called Lolo. She's asked the very funny actress Karin Viard to co-star
Awards Daily Freida Pinto's latest vehicle, Desert Dancer, will open the Santa Barbara Film Festival
Rope of Silicon Interstellar is Chris Nolan's longest film yet. This always worries me with directors. If your films get progressively longer it's often indicative of hermetically sealed bubble trouble. Or believing your own hype and forgetting about the actual story you're telling.
Coming Soon ... speaking of. New stills from the film
The Film Stage listen to the score for Gone Girl
NY Daily News Rumors abound that Quentin Tarantino wants Viggo Mortensen for Hateful Eight. So weird that no cast is in place yet given that we've already had a teaser

Today's Must Read/Watch
Extension 765 Steven Soderbergh is goofing around with Raiders of the Lost Ark - it's now a black and white silent - to teach film staging

I value the ability to stage something well because when it’s done well its pleasures are huge, and most people don’t do it well, which indicates it must not be easy to master (it’s frightening how many opportunities there are to do something wrong in a sequence or a group of scenes. Minefields EVERYWHERE....

Oh and remember that time when people were talking up a Costume Design nomination (which of course didn't happen) for Fantastic Mr Fox? Now there's coverage of the costumes for The Boxtrolls. Hey costume designers are needed on stop motion films.

Awardage
In Contention Casting Society of America nominations and honors. The weird part is that Rob Marshall who just generally casts big stars whether or not they're right for musicals, is being honored. But on a happier front, for the TV Pilot honors Looking was nominated and that show was definitely well cast.
Variety The Cinematographer's Guild are honoring a handful of folks too

P.S.
I had myself a final getaway last weekend to Fire Island before I am chained to the computer and Oscar coverage for the next four months. While I was there I met Robert Chang who was a lot of fun and we argued* about this article he wrote on Hunger Games and Gary Ross's use of breaking the 180 line. It's an interesting argument but it personally drives me crazy when directors break rules largely because they can. It always looks sloppy to me. Still the argument is interesting that it's only used for emotional reasons rather than action reasons which is where you usually see it. What'cha think? Maybe if there was only that and the action sequences were actually well filmed I'd like it.

* I know you're probably not supposed to debate film theory when you socialize with the gays on Fire Island but I am who I am.

Friday
Dec202013

Linkies

Empire Bryan Singer and his writing team working on X-Men: Apocalypse already. My only objection to this article is the conditional phrase for X2 "one of the best of the franchise" I'm sorry... one of... I think they meant to type "the best by such a significant margin it's actually kind of embarrassing"
Pajiba wonders if movie reviews matter anymore 
The Wire plays goldilocks with Martin Scorsese classics and their running times: "too long, not enough or just right?"
Dorkly imagines George RR Martin (Game of Thrones) as Santa Claus  

In Contention I neglected to share the London Film Critics Circle nominations because I forgot that unlike virtually every other critics organization, they don't announce their winners a few days after the nominations and instead save it for their actual ceremony... (which begs the question: how do they get the recipients to show up? tipped off?) so in case you missed it, read away 
Deadline on the struggle to shift the dialogue on August: Osage County. I have to say that I find this piece both telling and bizarre. Telling because Tracy Letts himself refers to Barbara (Julia Roberts) repeatedly as the "protagonist"  (and yet she's "supporting?" oy!) and even how he beefed up her role to justify the new ending. Bizarre because the piece ends with the implication that Streep is doing more promotional work for this film than she usually does (I see no evidence of this but, okay?) culminating in this absolute untruth: 

...when Streep shows up for a film that has her in Oscar contention, she usually wins.

The great lady has won 3 times out of 17. And it's not like she didn't "show up" for a number of those other 14 Oscar nominated films. She is as good as any big star at promoting her work.

The Gays
People awww, Sharon Needles and Alaska from RuPaul's Drag Race broke up. But very amicably it seems so good on them
David Kawena [NSFW] the popular web artist is at it again with his Disney characters as underwear hunks. This time it's Kristoff from Frozen. What would Jonathan Groff think of this?!
Theater Mania on the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 7 Carol Channings 

List-Mania
Buzzfeed 23 most important 'selfies' of the year
Hey U Guys 10 Best Comic Book Movie Moments of 2013
i09 thinks these are the best comic books of the year
The Wire Joe Reid's top ten list and...The Act of Making Them
The Dissolve's top ten list. I like seeing All is Lost and Gravity together with All is Lost slightly higher. They really do make good companion pieces. Neither will make my list so I'm not a champion of either really but I prefer the Redford. As for Her. You know, it's funny. As soon as I knew the subject matter long before we'd seen a frame of it, I just knew it would be a huge deal on critics top ten lists, topping many of them. I should've written a prediction piece on that so you could all marvel at my psychic ways.

Monday
Aug192013

Notes on the NYFF Main Slate

The full lineup of the New York Film Festival's Main Slate was released today. Though the film festival is famously curated and thus exclusionary (I still haven't forgiven them for thinking Rachel Getting Married, the best movie of 2008, was beneath us) this year's lineup is quite a bit larger than usual. Are their standards loosening or was there just too much quality to deny? In honor of the bigger than usual lineup, I thought I'd attempt 35 thoughts on the lineup but I ran out of time. Herewith 29 bullet points...

• Can The Wind Rises save this year's sure-to-be-dismal Best Animated Feature race that Oscars? It's been over ten years since the Japanese master Hayao Miyazaki won the Oscar for Spirited Away (2001). His newest film is a biopic, excuse me a "visionary poem", about Jiro Hirokoshi, the man who designed the Zero fighter. 

• Some titles just roll off the tongue. Consider... When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism, a film from the director of Police, Adjective, which is about the life of a film director when the cameras aren't rolling. Except, we hope, the camera filming this movie because staring a blank screen wouldn't do.

• They describe that one as "fascinatingly oblique" which could well be film festival speak for "__________" (that's for you to fill in in the comments)

Click to read more ...