I’m a huge fan of HBO and much of its original programming. In addition to the network’s terrific series that I frequently watch, I also watch as many of its miniseries and original movies—most of the newest offerings are sitting on my DVR. Here’s what I have to look forward to …
While most of the US is discovering Benedict Cumberbatch for the first time thanks to his role in Star Trek into Darkness, I’ve long been a fan and am excited to see him opposite Rebecca Hall (another of my favorites) in this five-part miniseries.
Logline (courtesy of IMDb): Revolves around a love triangle between a conservative English aristocrat, his mean socialite wife, and a young suffragette.
Director: Susanna White
Screenwriter: Tom Stoppard
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rebecca Hall, Adelaide Clemens
Runtime: ~ 300 min.
I have been waiting for this film for a very long time. Originally scheduled to be released last year, Gravity will now open on October 4, 2013. Director Alfonso Cuarón is one of my go-to directors. He has an ability to capture a very real and gritty aspect of life and the “human condition” (there’s that term I hate so much). The director worked on this film with frequent collaborator, DP Emmanuel Lubezki, who just happens to be my favorite cinematographer. If only the film were pushed to a November/December release it might stand a better shot at Oscar gold. Here’s hoping it resonates with voters.
Astronauts attempt to return to earth after debris crashes into their space shuttle, leaving them drifting alone in space.
Residents of a coastal town learn, with deathly consequences, the secret shared by the two mysterious women who have sought shelter at a local resort.
It’s not often that I watch a movie and feel compelled to write about it (unless I have to)—that is, write beyond the 140 characters allowed by Twitter. But I recently watched Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines and instantly knew that I had to get the word out. Without knowing much about the film, I knew I wanted to see it (despite a trailer that did not interest me) for two reasons: 1. It’s Derek Cianfrance, and I LOVE Blue Valentine (which topped my annual Top 20 list in 2011), and 2. It stars Ryan Gosling, who, in my opinion, is one of the most talented actors alive today. Now, I watch a lot of movies. A LOT. And it’s hard to come by a truly great film nowadays that can compete with the purity and heart of those from the Golden Age of cinema. So rest assured that I am not half-heartedly slinging around superlatives when I say that The Place Beyond the Pines is one of my all-time favorite movies.
At just 1 minute and 41 seconds, “Fresh Guacamole” is the shortest film ever nominated for an Oscar. It competed this year in the Best Short Film – Animated category, where it lost to “Paperman” (a much more deserving film). Despite the lack of story in “Guac,” the stop-motion animation is inventive and whimsical. Check out more of the short works by director PES on his YouTube channel.
(Re-posted from LimitéMagazine.com)
This Women’s History Month, we’ve spotlighted just some of the contributions to film made by some of the industry’s most interesting and powerful female voices. The first part of the “Film’s Female Powerhouses” series covered some of “The Hollywood Hitmakers,” including such heavyweights as Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight, 2009) and Nancy Meyers (It’s Complicated, 2009). The second part turned attention to “The Indie Darlings,” celebrating the contributions of such directors as Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, 2008) and Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation, 2003) to the independent film scene. In this third—and final—installment, we look at “The International Cineastes,” just some of the contemporaries of famed international female directors as French-born Alice Guy (regarded as the first female filmmaker) and Italian Lina Wertmüller (the first woman nominated for a Best Director Oscar).
Among the 16 women we’ve covered throughout the duration of this series, their films have netted a combined 55 Academy Award nominations and 13 wins, among countless other nominations and wins. More important than awards are the points of view these and so many other female filmmakers bring to the situations and characters that grace our movie and TV screens. It just goes to show us all, “sisters are doin’ it for themselves.”
(Re-posted from LimitéMagazine.com)
Last week, we kicked off our three-part series honoring female filmmakers with some of Hollywood’s biggest hitmakers. This week, we continue our Women’s History Month tribute with some of independent cinema’s brightest stars.
Be sure to join us Friday, March 29 for the final part of our series, “The International Cineastes.”
by Morgan Goldin
History was made in 2010 when Kathryn Bigelow won the Best Director Oscar for The Hurt Locker (2008), becoming the first woman to win this honor. For most of her career, Bigelow has worked in the arena of “masculine movies” and crafted some of the most impeccable action spectacles to hit the big screen. Despite some of her bigger action films, it was her success with breakout, low-budget film The Hurt Locker that places her on this list.
Her talent for crafting taut and lean imagery could be traced to her art school beginnings. She got her start in painting, and later studied film theory and criticism. “The Set-Up” (1978) was a 20-minute avant-garde deconstruction of cinematic violence that was Bigelow’s first short film. This piece lays down the themes that Bigelow returns to throughout her career. The aestheticization of violence is a mode in which Bigelow heavily operates. This style can be traced back to her first feature, The Loveless (1981), a biker-movie that showcased her taste for visual flourishes. Near Dark (1987), her sophomore film, is a neo-horror classic that successfully merges two distinct genres, the western and the vampire movie. A later success is Point Break (1991), about an FBI agent who goes undercover with a group of adrenaline junkie surfers who rob banks in ex-president masks.
Her most celebrated picture, The Hurt Locker, earned its accolades and rightly won Best Picture. An Iraqi war film that strips away the political subtext and focuses on the day-to-day struggles of a bomb diffuser, the film employs handheld camera work that expertly complements the fractured mental and physical states of its soldier protagonists. Her follow-up, Zero Dark Thirty (2012), is no less thrilling and chronicles the days leading up to the locating and killing of Osama bin Laden.
Kathryn Bigelow proves you don’t need a man’s touch when working on action films. Her muscular oeuvre speaks for itself. Future textbooks and scholars will recognize her as a female director succeeding in a typically male province.