ENJOY THE MOVIES
"I wasted time, and now doth time waste me." We have officially launched our 2023 Release Schedule page (being added to the button bar once we jam our way into the New Year), featuring listings throughout the year 2023 now that we're days away from sliding into 2022. This is our annual release update, to keep everyone informed about release dates in 2022 and 2023 looking ahead. We always launch the next calendar at the end of each year, and only update two years out as it gets seriously sketchy beyond that. Earlier this year, we announced that the schedule has some changes regarding additional listings of VOD/streaming releases, as well as a clear indicator of which films will be opening in theaters. It seems the industry has settled into a 45-day theatrical window, for now, and will continue pumping content into all the streaming services: led by Disney+, Netflix, Prime Video, HBO Max, with Paramount+ & Discovery+ also on the rise.
It's that time of the year again - time to discuss everyone's favorite films of the year, all the best of the best that cinema brought us in 2021. The UK-based film magazine Little White Lies has published their The 30 Best Films of 2021 list, made up of selections from all of the various critics that write for them. Included with this end of the year reveal is a video countdown, edited together by Luís Azevedo (we've featured many of his video essays). This countdown contains footage from all 30 of the great films featured on their list, including many of our faves - Titane, Summer of Soul, Annette, The Lost Daughter, Dune, C'mon C'mon. Even if the films on here aren't your jam, it's still quite lovely to see a visual recap of the last Year in Film. It's always a terrific way to process and admire all we've been graced with as cinephiles over these 12 months. Enjoy the "annual countdown of the year’s finest silver screen offerings. How many have you seen?"
"This task was appointed to you, and if you do not find a way, no one will." On December 19th, 2001, the world of movies changed forever - Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring opened in theaters. The rest is history. To celebrate this 20th anniversary, editor Joel Walden put together this lovely tribute video taking us back to the unforgettable glory of this epic trilogy. It's a must watch for any and every LOTR fan. I LOVE these movies more than I love just about anything else. Watching them in the sold out movie theaters during those three years was a powerful and formative experience for me, and I get seriously emotional just thinking about how beautiful these movies are. There's nothing like them. There never will be. I am sure there are many great tributes out there for this anniversary, but this is one of the best - using some of my favorite quotes and shots edited so nicely. Catch up with Sam & Frodo again below.
Film geeks! This one is for you! A projectionist recently uploaded a video of his work in the projection booth threading a 70mm print of Paul Thomas Anderson's new film Licorice Pizza. The video was shot at the Alamo Drafthouse Brooklyn and follows Yves (in POV) as he threads the giant 70mm film reels and prepares them for projection in the cinema. Yay! It's like watching those decadent cooking videos where they make the most incredible food. But with cinema! Ah… the lost art of threading film and running projectors. There are only a few cinemas left that still have film projectors, and even less that are now 70mm-compatible. But people like Yves help keep this art alive! I always like seeing how it all works + how to thread film properly.
"These are not just worthwhile films to see. These are the instances of forgotten films which truly belong within the highest echelon that the art has to offer. This is a celebration of cinema." There is always more to watch! Always. But have you seen these films? Probably not. While every movie website prides itself on finding & highlighting the best films you haven't seen, there's always more. Lost in the mix, forgotten by most, but not by everyone. The Greatest Films You Don't Know is a video essay made by "The Cinema Cartography". They highlight nine great films, and includes a brief intro and discussion about each one (and why they're so special). Out of all of these, I've only ever heard of one before: The Cremator, directed by Czech filmmaker Juraj Herz. I actually was lucky to see this one at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival a few years back during a retrospective. The rest are all new to me! Dive in and learn about cinema history below.
Each year, I am incredibly lucky and privileged to return to the spectacular city of Venice in Italy to attend the Venice Film Festival and catch the latest films premiering there. Venice is over and looking back at the line-up, it's time to present my quick picks of my favorite films from Venice 2021. This was my fifth year in a row back to Venice, I even stopped by last year during the pandemic, and I spent every single day at screenings all day. They always show two new films in the morning, along with lots of other screenings in the evening to catch. In total, I watched 28 films at Venice this year, and while it wasn't the best selection, I'm always glad to have the chance to watch them anyway. The fest kicked off with Pedro Almodóvar's latest, Parallel Mothers (watch the trailer), which I didn't care much for. Then continued on for another 10 days, and I was there right up until the end. You probably already know what I flipped for, but let's recap anyway.
A chat with Adam & Cariño. One of my favorite films of 2021 is this wonderful little gem called Language Lessons, directed by and starring Cuban-American actress / filmmaker Natalie Morales, and co-starring Mark Duplass. I first saw this at the Berlin Film Festival earlier in the year and instantly fell for it, writing a glowing review back in March. I've been raving about it all year, telling everyone else to watch it and enjoy it. I would go so far as to say it's the best pandemic-inspired Zoom-screen film out of any made in the last two years. Mostly because the story is a meaningful story about connection, and it's not just using Zoom as a gimmick. I haven't done any new interviews in a long time, but when I was offered the chance to talk with Natalie and Mark - I couldn't pass up the opportunity. I did this interview the day I arrived in Venice for this year's Venice Film Festival, and I still took the time to chat with them and ask them about making this film.
We love cinema, you love cinema, let's all celebrate our love for cinema! A few months back we launched a FirstShowing membership program with Steady (check it out - become a member) in hopes of stepping forward into the future with the direct support of our readers. So far, a fair amount of readers have become members and your support means everything to us. This funding helps us keep our servers running, and the lights on. Our membership page on Steady has a space for an image, so we commissioned one of our favorite cinema designers - a Ukrainian artist named Liza Shumskaya - to create an image celebrating our love of movies. And the result is this wonderful tribute to the power of cinema: to bring us all together and to make us laugh and cry and smile. We are excited to unveil this exclusive art as we head into the fall movie season.
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 74th Cannes Film Festival, after 30 screenings, it's time to present my 2021 list of my Top 10 Favorite Films. This was my 11th year back to this festival, and I love being there in the middle of the buzz, seeing films all day every day non-stop. 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. Even after cancelling the fest last year due to the pandemic, there were many impressive films in Cannes this year. I'm glad I could be there and catch up with cinema again. This is my final recap of Cannes 2021 - don't miss any of these below.
"Cinema is not dead," proclaimed Thierry Frémaux during the announcement of the official selection for the 2021 Cannes Film Festival a few months ago. He was right, of course, but we already knew that. Cinema will never die! It just took a little break during the 2020 pandemic year, with cinemas closed worldwide. But filmmakers were still working on films - finishing up post-production from their homes, or even filming new projects when they were finally allowed to resume production (with masks required along with extensive safety protocols). Aside from the 2020 Venice Film Festival held last September, which still took place in-person despite no vaccines available yet, the 2021 Cannes Film Festival is technically the second major film festival to resume "normal operation" following years of shut downs and pandemic restrictions worldwide. They wanted to get back to how it used to be, with 100% full cinemas, and thankfully nothing bad happened.
A technical update for followers of FirstShowing who have been subscribed to our email newsletter already. Google's Feedburner service has officially shut down (as of July 2021) and after more than a decade of using this service, we've switched to a different email service. FirstShowing is now using Follow.it - visit our FS feed here. You can subscribe on the website and/or subscribe to updates via email, too. This will replace our Feedburner daily newsletter emails and we have imported all the "active" subscribers from Feedburner into Follow.it. If you're already getting this emails, everything will continue as normal. You don't need to change anything. If you'd prefer to get an email every day with each day's posts, then subscribe here and that's it.
Please support us! Anything you can spare makes a huge difference. Just like many other websites before us, we're diving into the membership world. FirstShowing.net originally launched back in June of 2006 (believe it!), so this marks our 15th year and we're still going strong despite many ups & downs. We've changed and evolved over the years, we've grown and shrunk, and our focus now is different than it was 10 years ago. But more than anything: we love movies. Always and forever. And we want to share our love of movies with everyone else who loves movies. If you're a regular reader, if you visit this site to check the release schedule or latest trailers or new short films, please consider supporting the website so we can continue to operate as one of the finest independent movie blogs around. We really want to stick around here for another 15 years.