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Thank goodness for Letterboxd. I was originally going to title this article "Hitting My Mark", but I'd rather go with the catchphrase "Always Be Watching" - meaning, simply, always be watching films. New films, old films, big films, small films, just keep watching. It's my mantra and has been for years, since the early days of running this website. If I don't want to watch a film that was just released, there's always (always!) more old films to watch. And there's always something that I haven't yet seen to watch. As someone whose job it is to watch movies, my goal is to fit in a movie every day. It's not always possible, but I try. This year I decided to keep track of all the films I've seen using the wonderful Letterboxd, so I can actually keep count and look back at it all. It's the end of July and I'm already over 200 films. Do I get a medal? Nah, I just need sleep.
"You've changed things… forever. There's no going back." On July 18th, 2008, Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight opened in theaters worldwide and changed everything. The seminal sequel to 2005's Batman Begins would have an indelible impact on pop culture, the superhero genre, and movies in general. Heath Ledger's Oscar-winning performance and tragic passing would send shockwaves throughout the industry. With a groundbreaking marketing campaign leading up to its highly anticipated release, The Dark Knight became an unforgettable big screen experience. In celebration of its 10th anniversary, let's take a look back at how Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight changed things forever and remains a masterpiece to this day.
"We are our choices." -Jean-Paul Sartre. Life is all about choices. The choices we make, or that we don't make, in small decisions, in big decisions. Everything is about these choices and every choice we make, even subconsciously, leads us down one path or another. We can't go back, but we can continue to be aware and learn what influences us to make decisions. This is an endless philosophical discussion with no conclusion, but the concept of "choices" has been on my mind a lot at film festivals - ever since a discussion I had with my friend & fellow critic Pamela Jahn at the Cannes Film Festival. Then it continued while I was at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in the Czech Republic. I chose to go to this festival because I enjoy it, and I really want to catch up with and see more films. I'm very happy I went to this festival, and strangely enough even though a number of my friends were also there we never ended up at the same screenings. This isn't uncommon at film festivals, but it did make me think more about the choices we make - especially at fests.
It all began in 2015. After seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we started messaging each other furiously. For nearly two weeks there was non-stop chatter - on theories, ideas, things to look for, things we noticed, fleeting thoughts, any- and everything related to the movie. Two years went by, and after many many more text message debates like this, Mike and I decided to launch a podcast so we could just talk directly about everything. So in December of 2017, with the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, we launched The First Word Podcast - in-depth discussion, analysis, and interviews about the latest movies, and some old ones, too. We just released our 10th episode this week, so it's time for a recap of all the episodes so far. You know, in case you might've missed one. Or maybe you've never listened? There's no better time to start than now.
What are the best films out of this year's Cannes Film Festival? Which ones should you be taking an interest in? What films should be a priority for you to see? After 12 days at the 71st Cannes Film Festival, after 33 screenings, it's time to present my 2018 list of my Top 8 Favorite Films. This was my 9th time back to this festival, and I love being there in the middle of all, committing fully to seeing as many films as I can. These eight listed below are the ones that I adore, that connected with me emotionally or intellectually, and I hope everyone plans to check them out when they arrive in their neighborhood. They are worth the wait. There were many outstanding films this year, and this is my final recap of the 2018 festival - see all of these.
Looking back on Cannes this year, everything did turn out pretty well. No disasters, nothing bad happened, no big complaints, they actually let us bring in water to the cinemas this year (they didn't last year). At the start of the festival, I wrote about how they were entering a new era and starting out by making some major changes - and who knew how this would all affect us. Now that the 71st Cannes Film Festival is finished, the awards handed out, looking back on the experience - it was a great year. It went smooth, they showed a ton of outstanding films, plus a few bad ones. Even though it wasn't exactly perfect, they seemed to actually be making some good progress getting into a new era and slowly setting a precedent for the next few years. Dare I say, they're making the right steps. Little by little, they're cleaning up their act and still remaining relevant - even without Netflix films (for now). Don't listen to the naysayers, Cannes is as important as ever.
Another year, another Cannes Film Festival. But this year is different. In 2017, Cannes celebrated its 70th anniversary and things went as they usually do. This year, for the 71st Cannes, they're changing things up. In a statement sent to press in the last few weeks, Cannes director Thierry Frémaux explained: "We want to make the most of this new decade to explore, experiment, question our customs and practices." In March, Cannes announced three major changes and new rules for the festival this year: no selfies on the red carpet, no Netflix films (in connection with French distributors upset because of archaic laws about films required to be in cinemas), and no more press screenings before the "public" (they're not really public anyway) world premieres in the evening. With all of these changes, and more, it's going to be a very, very interesting year. I'm sure some press will be pissed, others unfazed, but most of all - no one knows how it's going to play out.
I can't stop thinking about this documentary series. I can't stop thinking about the stories in it. I can't stop thinking about all the people in it. Wild Wild Country, directed by Maclain Way and Chapman Way, produced by filmmakers Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass, is an incredible documentary series from Netflix. I am floored, totally blown away, by everything in it. It's not just the crazy story it tells, it's everything else that goes with it - the questions, the implications, the discussions. I don't want to say my life is changed, but there are definitely things I will never forget. There are big ideas, major philosophical / moral implications, so much to talk about. And I can't help but start writing about it, I have to talk about it, I have to get all of these thoughts out of my mind. I have to rave about how phenomenal this series is and how much I loved it.
The 90th 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 in Hollywood with the esteemed Jimmy Kimmel as our host of the show this year. There are nine excellent Best Picture nominees, and I'm looking forward to finally seeing who wins - no one really knows what it will be. It has been a very interesting awards season, with all kinds of surprises and major moments. It's finally time to find out who is taking home all the Oscars, and who isn't, at the Academy Awards. The full list of nominees below will be updated with winners marked once announced live tonight - refresh for all updates.
Read on for a complete list of #Oscars2018 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.
The complete list of nominees for the 90th Academy Awards, the most prestigious award in Hollywood, have been announced today (via oscar.go.com). The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revealed the nominees this morning via live broadcast. They've nominated many of the best films, and lots of terrific performances from 2017, though there are always more that deserve recognition. There's no need to spend any more time introducing this, let's get right into it! This year, The Academy selected a total of nine Best Picture nominees, including: Get Out, Lady Bird, Dunkirk, and Phantom Thread. History was also made with the first female Best Cinematography nominee ever. So without further ado, here's the full list of noms.
If two of the most anticipated movies from this year – Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049 – have anything in common, it's that they are both science fiction and fantasy movies rich with new ideas. In addition, they are also both polarizing films, garnering a divisive response from both hardcore Star Wars devotees and mainstream audiences. In this editorial, however, I want to examine another common thread that binds both movies: how they both deconstruct decades of shared franchise history to show how a hero can be anyone. Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Blade Runner 2049 have something characteristically in common. You might not have noticed this at first, but both films feature heroes, Daisy Ridley's Rey and Ryan Gosling's Officer K, that are more similar than you might think.
"Hope is a weapon. Survival is victory." One of the standout movies from 2017 is Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan's intense and riveting WWII thriller about the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940 at the beginning of World War II. Nolan put a great amount of effort in recreating the scenes and experiences as accurately as possible, and that can be sensed when watching the movie on a big screen. Editor and cinema lover Titouan Ropert has created a video featuring six minutes of side-by-side examples of photography & archival footage from WWII compared directly to footage from Nolan's Dunkirk. It's actually breathtaking to see how remarkably accurate it is, and makes me appreciate the movie even more. A few comparisons have been made on social media already, but this video shows how incredibly meticulous Nolan was on this movie. It's worth a watch.