ENJOY THE MOVIES
Who wouldn't want to stroll around a movie shop with Brad Pitt?! What an amazing get! During his press tour in Europe for the release of Bullet Train, the French YouTube channel "Konbini" was able to get actor Brad Pitt to stop by a video store to film one of their "Vidéo Club" videos. And it turned out great! This is so much fun. Pitt is joined by Bullet Train director David Leitch as they peruse JM Video. He seems a bit stoned, as he gets excited by almost everything they have on display. Pitt chats about how awesome Jackie Chan is, riffs on Klaus Kinski in Fitzcarraldo, praises Robert Redford in Three Days of the Condor. He also mentions the inimitable Charlton Heston talking the original Planet of the Apes, which he says is "one of his all-time favorites as a kid." He ends with a little story about how Se7en changed his entire career. I'm also amused by how he refers to the many streaming services as "streamers". Watch the full video below.
"I want my audience to experience cinema in its full glory… It's emotional, and I want you to be engaged with not just the scene but with the characters." –James Wan. In 2021, FirstShowing launched a program for membership to support the site and help keep it running for years to come. Thank you to all those who have joined as a member so far. The truth is we don't have much to offer in return, because all of our effort and all of our work goes into what you see on this site already. We want to offer everything for free, nothing will be hidden behind paywalls or membership rewards. It's all right there. We need your help to continue to cover the costs of running a server and managing the day-to-day work that keeps this place going. Last year we revealed banner art for the member page, and now we have a fresh new design to reveal. This latest 2022 banner artwork is created by Portuguese designer Edgar Ascensão (we've been fans of his for a while) and it's another superb design featuring many beloved movie characters. Get a closer look at the new art below.
"We saw the dinosaurs as our heroes. Even the ones that were scary and wanted to eat you — they were icons…" Now playing in theaters is Jurassic World Dominion, the sixth (and supposedly final) movie in the epic Jurassic Park franchise that began all the way back in 1993. Jurassic World Dominion is the second of these dinosaur movies directed by Colin Trevorrow, a filmmaker originally born in San Francisco and raised in Oakland, who worked his way into Hollywood with his indie sci-fi film Safety Not Guaranteed that premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. He went from that indie film, which starred Mark Duplass & Aubrey Plaza, to spearheading the reboot of the Jurassic Park franchise by introducing us to Jurassic World in 2015. I am lucky to get a chance to chat with Colin Trevorrow this year, talking about Jurassic World Dominion and his place as a franchise director / producer working in Hollywood. Everyone knows he almost directed Star Wars: Episode 9, before J.J. Abrams returned - but we didn't have the time to talk about that.
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 75th Cannes Film Festival, after 35 screenings, it's time to present my 2022 list of my Top 10 Favorite Films. This was my 12th year back to this festival, and I still enjoy being there right in the middle of all the craziness and all the crowds and all the hype about new cinema. It's a rush! Every time. And yet there's always more to see, always more to take our breath away. These ten listed below are the ones that connected with me emotionally or intellectually, and I hope you'll consider watching a few when they arrive in your neighborhood. They are worth the wait. It might not have been the best year at Cannes, most of the films were rather mediocre, but I am still glad I could discover a number of gems. This is my final recap of Cannes 2022 - don't miss any of the films below.
"Films are dangerous. You have to be careful what you say when you make a film." Let's take a trip down the cinema rabbit hole with Terry Gilliam (who last made The Man Who Killed Don Quixote in 2018). This fascinating, geeky video comes from France, put together by a YouTube channel called "Konbini" for their "Video Club" series. They were able to convince Terry Gilliam to let them film him while he strolls around an awesome video store located in Paris, picking out random films and talking about them. He discusses his favorite filmmakers, movies that he loves and a few that he does not like, stories about making movies, and so much more… He also talks about a few of the actors he knows, including Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, Robin Williams (RIP), and Robert De Niro. It's so much fun to hear Gilliam just ramble on about any & everything cinema, good and bad, saying some totally crazy stuff, and dropping some smart thoughts, too. View below.
"Imagine if you lived in a world where dinosaurs were roaming wild? What would you do? And what would want to know to keep yourself safe?" Oh this is cool! Universal has launched a fun viral marketing website for Jurassic World: Dominion (in theaters June) called Dinotracker. By now everyone knows that the plot of Dominion involves dinosaurs fully on the loose worldwide (after the end of Fallen Kingdom) and living with humanity. But they need to be tracked! The site is run by the Department of Prehistoric Wildlife (or DPW) - "a global organization that publishes up-to-date reports on dinosaur encounters, user-submitted sightings, and vital information, to facilitate the co-existence of humans and dinosaurs on our planet." So far the website just features an interactive globe with sightings listed and videos included to show us where all these dinos are being found. The videos are all legit - everything looks believable and real, these feel authentic. And, considering it's been 29 years since Jurassic Park, the dino VFX look damn good.
How does Fincher make his movies look so good? Find out more in this video! StudioBinder has posted an entrancing video essay about David Fincher and the way he utilizes colors in his movies. It's titled simply Fincher's Colors and they break down his color choices into three main chapters: desaturation (removing bold colors), characters (attaching color to a character), and settings (lighting each set / location using one particular color). "One could point to any number of impressive techniques used in David Fincher movies, but perhaps one of the most important is his movie color palette. As he himself once said, 'In film, we sculpt time, we sculpt behavior and we sculpt light.'" I appreciate how well put together this video is, not only with clean clips in high definition, but the explanations & references are insightful. I also always enjoy hearing filmmakers & craftspeople themselves talking about their work. I could watch video essays like this all day.
"You want answers?" "I want the truth!" Troy! Kotsur! I loveeee him. Perhaps my favorite Oscar winner from this year is Troy Kotsur, the Deaf actor from the wonderful (Best Picture winner) CODA. In addition to winning Best Supporting Actor at the 2022 Academy Awards, he also won a BAFTA Award & Screen Actors Guild Award this year for his role as the lovable scoundrel, fisherman father. As part of his promotional tour, Kotsur stopped by the Variety offices for an interview. While there they got him to record a fun video "re-interpreting" iconic movie scenes. He takes on Vito Corleone from The Godfather, Benjamin from The Graduate, Brody from Jaws (this is the best one), and Darth Vader from Star Wars. It's fun to watch, though seems a bit awkward because he's just thrown into these scenes and had no time to prepare. Variety also published a very short interview with Kotsur after his big win - both of these videos can be seen below.
Move over Wordle, there's a fun new movie game in town! Inspired by Wordle (which was bought by the NY Times after becoming extraordinarily successful), Heardle and all the other spinoffs - there is a new social media movie game to play called Framed. I've been addicted to playing it over the last few weeks and it seems everyone else I know is enjoying it, too. "A game for cinephiles and casual movie watchers alike!" So how do you play? Visit the website located at framed.wtf and you'll see one frame from a film. You have to guess the film from this ONE frame. If you make the wrong guess (or have no idea) you can unveil up to 5 more frames before it's game over. Just type the title of the film in the box for your guess (correct titles will appear there) and have fun. That's it! The frames have been getting more & more obscure the past few days.
The 2022 Sundance Film Festival wrapped up last week after a series of virtual premieres. Now it's time to present our annual Best of the Fest list. I was able to catch a total of 60 films this year (my full list on Letterboxd), watching online from home (to stay safe and save some money). This is my 16th year in a row covering Sundance, and this fest still has a special place in my heart. I am always excited about the films and filmmakers they bring. I am presenting one big list of my 10 favorite films - a mix of docs and features. All of these below are worth watching, and I highly recommend seeking them out whenever they show up at your local cinema. I am glad Sundance has continued to do their best with a film festival even in this crazy times during an ongoing pandemic, because we all need good cinema like this. Below are my favorites, the films that connected with me and have remained on my mind all the way through the 10 days of the festival.
It's January again, which means it's time for another Sundance Film Festival. The original plan for 2022 was to host a hybrid event - with the usual in-person screenings in Park City, Utah as well as online screenings. But they had to cancel the in-person event again thanks to the pandemic, returning to an entirely virtual / online event like last year. (Along with a few satellite screenings in select cities around the country.) This is our 16th year in a row covering this film festival; I'm always looking forward to returning and watching all the new films premiering at Sundance. Out of the 83 films showing at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, I've picked 10 films that I'm looking forward to seeing the most. To keep things well balanced, I've chosen 5 feature films and 5 documentaries from the line-up. There's a few gems in the line-up already. As usual with Sundance, you never can really tell what'll good or bad before the fest kicks off, but here's my picks anyway.
"The mystery of life isn't a problem to solve, but a reality to experience." Another year, another Top 10. After watching over 460 films throughout 2021 (yes I was keeping track on Letterboxd!) it's time to share my final selection of My Top 10 Favorite Films of 2021. I try to watch as much as I can and give myself time to catch up with any extra films at the end of the year, but I also want to make sure I don't forget about some of my favorites from earlier in the year. 2021 was an invigorating and exciting year - with so many ups and downs. But as always, I'm lucky to have a chance to discover terrific films. this year in cinema took us on journeys to far away places, distant planets, as well as to mountaintops and valleys and deserts around this planet. I'm a sucker for visuals and style; the better a movie looks, the more I enjoy it. But I also need to feel the emotions, and when a good one really gets to me, that's the kind of film that sticks with me all year.