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Filmmakers are very crafty storytellers. The best ones know how to use the visual medium known as cinema to not only tell a story, but make us feel emotions of all kinds, and empathize with characters and people we have never met before. Filmmakers are also adept enough to link themes and patterns in the story through visual cues. In this video essay from Jacob T. Swinney titled First and Final Frames, he shows us how important the opening and closing shots are in every movie. At first you may think they have no connection, but it'll really hit you when you see the Gone Girl moment and it builds from there. This montage of over 50 films, showing the opening/closing shots side-by-side, also features the music "Any Other Name" by Thomas Newman from the American Beauty soundtrack. It's much more mesmerizing than I was expecting.
Let's discover something new. Kicking off this week in New York City is one of my favorite under-the-radar film festivals, called New Directors/New Films. Co-presented by both the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art (two of the best places for movies in the city anyway!), the fest highlights first-time filmmakers and their incredible feature debuts. This is my second year attending, and it's really all about the films, and the spirit of discovery, and first time introductions to filmmakers we'll be hearing about for many years to come. If you want to feel like you're ahead of the class, or you want an early start learning about which filmmakers are on the rise, take a closer look at this festival and its selection. They found them.
A few weeks ago we ran a post featuring some of the artwork from Canadian artist Jason Edmiston that he made for a show Mondo is hosting called "Eyes Without a Face". It features prints created by Edmiston in 3:1 aspect ratio, inspired by the field of vision of a standard rearview mirror in a car, showing only the eyes of pop culture characters of all kinds. It's an amazing, amazing show with some incredible work and tons of favorites. If I had the money, I would've bought a few of these. And the originals are now on sale via Mondo for those who do have the cash. In addition to the batch we featured a few weeks ago, I've tossed up a few other favorites from the show this weekend (including the Medusa one that involves a mirror). Take a look!
"Do I look old to you?" Local New York-based filmmaker Noah Baumbach has two new films coming out this year, the first being the wacky While We're Young about a couple growing older (see the trailer), and the other being Mistress America, a sort-of-sequel to his 2012 film Frances Ha. In honor of the upcoming release of While We're Young this spring, a nationwide screening series has launched called "Growing Up Baumbach" recapping at least four of his indie gems from the past decade. This includes The Squid and the Whale (still my favorite Baumbach film so far) and Kicking and Screaming, plus a few other films. Read on.
They'll never leave… Our good friend and producer/co-host of The Golden Briefcase podcast Tim Buel has completed his first feature film, titled In Residence, and it's now available to watch online for free. Early last year we supporter his Kickstarter for the project, which billed the film as a "shoestring horror flick" that they would shoot on their own for $5000. They got all the funding, and now little more than a year later, they've completed work. And to show it off they've released the entire horror film online for free for your viewing pleasure. Just don't forget to support the guys who made this - Tim and Cody Rhyse, since they put everything into this. And it's truly an independent, shoe-string budget film made by passionate filmmakers.
Congratulations Birdman director Alejandro González Iñárritu, winner of the Oscar for Best Director! This is now four years in a row that I've interviewed the Best Director winner. Though at the time, I wasn't thinking about awards or anything else besides what to ask about the film and their process as a filmmaker. In an industry that loves data and obsessing over success, I can't help but notice a bit of a pattern here. Not that I am any indicator or predictor or grand wizard of the Oscars, but if anything I have my eye trained on very talented filmmakers and outstanding films. With Iñárritu winning this year, that makes four years in a row of winners interviewed, including Alfonso Cuarón, Ang Lee, even Michel Hazanavicius (of The Artist).
The 87th Academy Awards are upon us and it's time to watch the show and discover the winners of the most prestigious award in Hollywood. The Oscar ceremony is being broadcast live from the Dolby Theatre with the always-entertaining Neil Patrick Harris as our host this year. With a line-up of eight Best Picture nominees, everyone is anxious to find out if Boyhood will beat Birdman, and if Selma will get any love, or if American Sniper or The Grand Budapest Hotel or even The Imitation Game will sneak in for the win. It's finally time to find out who is taking home an Oscar, and who isn't, at the Academy Awards this year. The full list below will be updated with winners marked as they're announced live tonight - refresh for updates.
Read on for a complete list of #Oscars2015 nominees & winners. Let us know what you think of the results!
This will be updated throughout the night to reflect the winners as revealed. Additionally, I might be adding a small bit of editorial commentary beneath each category. Winners are highlighted in BOLD below.
Do you love film scores? Do you love listening to soundtracks all day? Is John Williams or Ennio Morricone or Danny Elfman or Hans Zimmer your favorite musician? If you answered yes to any of those questions, this is a documentary for you. Longtime readers will know that I am a huge fan of scores myself, and I love discovering new work and enjoying old favorites. There's a brand new documentary called SCORE: A Film Music Documentary that just launched a Kickstarter page to get the final bit of funding it needs to finish up. We've been pitched on this one via email as well, and it honestly sounds like the kind of doc that we'll be excited to see once they're ready to premiere it. Until then, it needs our (financial) support to be completed.
A film festival is more than the films they play. It's all the people who attend, the atmosphere, the venues, the markets, the celebrities, the onlookers. As a member of the press attending festivals to see films, that's usually the focus of our coverage (and most coverage out there). But when I attend festivals there's so much more going on around me and I love these festivals because of the feeling in the air. The love for film that wafts through the air, the decorations and cinematic quirks hidden on every street, the crowds and people, the elegant venues turned into movie palaces. Obviously it's best to just come to the festival and experience it yourself, but I always try to capture this feeling in photos during the festival. Here's a look at Berlinale.
My second year attending the Berlin Film Festival has come to an end. I caught another 14 films, which combined with the 32 I saw at Sundance, puts my tally at 46 brand new 2015 films screened in three weeks (yea I'm a bit exhausted, suffice it to say). But I saw some great films in the last week, including Terrence Malick's latest and Pablo Larraín's latest. Berlinale has been stepping up their game these last two years, bringing in a robust selection of top notch features to see and hosting an exciting festival for movie fans of all ages. I'm glad I could make it back, and I hope to keep returning (even with Sundance in January). So which films did I see and which were the best? Here's my final breakdown of all 14 films I saw at Berlinale.
The Man Behind The Myth. It's another story about Sherlock Holmes starring Ian McKellen as the iconic detective. I can't wait to see this. Premiering at the Berlin Film Festival, which just kicked off, is the new film from Bill Condon (director of Dreamgirls, The Fifth Estate, Breaking Dawn) starring the legendary Ian McKellen as an "aged, retired" Sherlock Holmes. The festival description says that Holmes undertakes "one final big journey, experiences a botanical miracle and resolves to tell a compassionate lie." It's a simple but sleek and effective poster, plus another good reminder that the movie is finally premiering at Berlinale.
After a long haitus, Tim and Jeremy have returned for The Golden Briefcase: Version 2.0! With the new format, the guys abandon segments (with the exception of the beloved Pick of the Week) and instead move towards a roundtable discussion. This is where we really want you, the listener, to come in! In the past, emails have been a fun way to keep in contact with you all but now we are really asking for you to join in and even create discussion. The new format allows for those glorious rabbit trails and deep discussions about the fascinating world of cinema and we love those moments and want to embrace them! Send us topic suggestions, arguments, links, or whatever you want, and we will do our best to talk it through on the show.
The 2015 Sundance Film Festival has finally come to an end and to put a wrap on things and finalize our nearly two weeks of coverage, it's time to present our Best of the Fest. We're doing things a bit different this year and presenting combined favorites between Ethan and I (since we loved so many of the same movies). Instead of one big list, like year's past, we're splitting up our favorites between the best 7 Feature Films we saw and the best 7 Documentaries we saw. We obviously couldn't see every film playing, but did catch over 40 between us and felt like these films below deserve to be highlighted for standing out over the others. As our final recap of Sundance 2015, which has now concluded, we present our 7 favorite documentaries.
The 2015 Sundance Film Festival has finally come to an end and to put a wrap on things and finalize our nearly two weeks of coverage, it's time to present our Best of the Fest. We're doing things a bit different this year and presenting combined favorites between Ethan and I (since we loved so many of the same movies). Instead of one big list, like year's past, we're splitting up our favorites between the best 7 Feature Films we saw and the best 7 Documentaries we saw. We obviously couldn't see every film playing, but did catch over 40 between us and felt like these films below deserve to be highlighted for standing out over the others. As our final recap of Sundance 2015, which has now concluded, we present these 7 favorite feature films.