Johnny Depp. Rebecca Hall. Paul Bettany. Kata Mara. Morgan Freeman. Cillian Murphy. And above them all, Wally Pfister.
After a terminally ill scientist downloads his mind into a computer, he discovers unimaginable powers. Depp sheds the heavy makeup for this sci-fi action pic, which doesn’t usually bode as well for his films’ box office receipts. However, this time he has Wally Pfister, the Oscar-winning cinematographer behind Christopher Nolan’s films, to guide him in Pfister’s directorial debut. After standing behind the camera for dozens of critical and box office favorites, it should be interesting to see how much of Nolan’s influence—if any—bears on Pfister’s turn in the director’s chair.
Transcendence is slated for an April 18 bow.
In light of the Olympic Winter Games and TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar, it seems appropriate to draw focus to the classic film Chariots of Fire. Set during the 1924 Olympic Games, one Jewish and one Christian track athlete—both British—compete against each other in this epic story of sportsmanship. Directed by Hugh Hudson, the 1981 film went on to capture four Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Costume Design, and its now Olympics-synonymous score. Other nominations were earned for the film’s directing, editing, and supporting performance by Ian Holm.
Transport yourself back to 1924 and the Olympic games and take a listen to this iconic, Oscar-winning score:
Straight from the fucked-up mind who brought us Pi (1998), Requiem for a Dream (2000), and Black Swan (2010), comes the epic Biblical story (which Biblical stories aren’t epic?) of Noah and his famous ark. Auteur Darren Aronofsky and his mustache take us back to the days when a storm could flood the earth with such apocalyptic might that only a monstrous boat could save a man and his family.
Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly reunite after 2001′s A Beautiful Mind, and along with Emma Watson, Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, and rising star Logan Lerman, their characters will try to defy the impossible in Noah, which is due to surge into theatres this March 28.
These are my top 20 films of 2013–my 12th annual list! I went to the movies 48 times last year. This list comprises the 20 top films I saw last year in a movie theatre or screening room. Some of the films were released in 2012, but I did not see them until early 2013.
For all top 20 lists from 2002 to the present, click on “Top 20 Lists” at the top navigation. For my brief movie reviews and ratings, follow me on Twitter (@dan_quiterio).
What are your top films of 2013? Let me know in the comments section.
A continuation from my last post …
Here are the questions the Academy posed during Academy Fan Appreciation Week, along with my responses.
I’d probably stand in silent disbelief for a few seconds before saying, “I’ve been fantasizing about this moment for most of my life. I’m so grateful to be standing here, welcomed by this honorable community. For me, film isn’t about the awards–though I gladly accept this Oscar–it’s about the magic that stretches through the screen and reaches each wide-eyed dreamer sitting in the audience–myself included. For some, an Oscar represents the culmination of a long, amazing career, but for me, it represents my inclusion with this industry that I love and respect so much. I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the worthy nominees in this category, because it’s when I watch films like [INSERT FELLOW NOMINATED FILM TITLES] that I’m reminded why I love movies so damn much. Thank you for this honor. This is the greatest moment of my life.”
When I visited LA a couple of years ago, I met Barbara, a tour guide at the then-Kodak Theatre. She took my friend Stephanie and me on a tour of the hallowed grounds that are the home of the Academy Awards. It was an amazing experience being in that building and getting Barbara’s insider’s perspective. She told us about the Red Carpet bleacher seats and how the Academy chooses lucky fans via lottery to occupy those seats. (I suspect one would have an easier time getting into Harvard then winning one of these highly sought-after seats.) Ever since then, I had hoped that perhaps one day I’d get the chance, but I didn’t expect it to happen so soon …
(Re-posted from LimitéMagazine.com)
Award-winning filmmaker Lynn Shelton had her breakthrough with 2009′s Humpday, a comedic “romp” about a bromance taken to the next level. And aside from the occasional TV gig (directing the “Hands and Knees” episode of Mad Men), the director-writer-producer-editor-actress remains a fixture in today’s independent film scene. Her 2011 release Your Sister’s Sister, starring Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt, won multiple awards and nominations, including a Gotham Award for its cast and the Directors to Watch Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.
The festival darling’s latest release is Touchy Feely, a 2013 Sundance selection that was released this past September and is available on DVD today. Starring an ensemble cast of both veterans and new actors alike, the story focuses on Abby (DeWitt), a masseuse who delves into a depression upon developing an aversion to bodily contact, and her brother Paul (Josh Pais), a rather dull dentist whose practice experiences an overnight surge of interest from new patients. Ellen Page, Scott McNairy, Allison Janney, Ron Livingston, and newcomer Tomo Nakayama round out the cast.
I had the opportunity to speak with the multi-hyphenate filmmaker about her latest film and her process.