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Looking for a bit of inspiration about how to make a timeless action scene? Watch this stellar shot-by-shot breakdown video of the "Desert Chase" scene from Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark, made by Greek editor / filmmaker Antonios Papantoniou. Papantoniou makes many of these shot-by-shot breakdowns, but this is one of the best videos for a truly iconic action scene. The chase occurs in Raiders roughly halfway through when the Nazis try to take off with the Ark, and Indy (Harrison Ford) goes after them. This is a very intense, detailed breakdown discussing literally every last aspect - the shots, lenses, movements, everything. Dang, after this video, I just want to watch all the Indiana Jones films in a back-to-back marathon. Classics.
"If you only knew how little I really know about the things that matter…" It was a year of masterpieces, another outstanding year of films big and small, funny and serious, that I fell madly in love with. It's time to present my personal list of my Top 10 Favorite Films of 2017. Admittedly, it's always a challenge for me to put together a Top 10 list, just because there's never enough time to watch (and rewatch) everything. So I just have to go with what I feel in my gut. This year, my #1 film is one that could not be topped for the entire year - I first saw it at the Sundance Film Festival in January, and it remained my #1 for the next 11 months. As for the rest of my picks, I've included two documentaries because they both made me unabashedly happy.
Are you ready to kick off 2018?! For a quick preview of the year ahead, check out this movie trailer mashup video made by JoBlo's Nick Bosworth, the same editor behind the Final Cut mashup retrospective year-end videos. There have only been a handful of trailers released for movies in 2018 so far, but there's quite a few exciting ones releasing in the summer that have already been teased - including Avengers: Infinity War, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Sicario 2: Soldado, and Alita: Battle Angel. We haven't seen any footage from Solo, Ant-Man, or The Predator yet - but hopefully sometime soon. If you're not yet excited about this year, this video should get you in the right mood for some big screen entertainment coming your way soon.
Get a load of this, movie fans. Whether you are happy with the movie or not, there's no denying that Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049 is one of the most visually astounding movies of this year. Part of this is thanks to master cinematographer Roger Deakins and the entire crew who designed and developed the movie, building giant practical sets along with massive, complex lighting rigs. The other part of the visual experience comes from the extraordinary, seamless visual effects (aka VFX) that make the world complete. VFX studio Rodeo FX, based mostly out of Montreal, has released a breakdown video showing off their work on the movie. It also gives a behind-the-scenes look at how big all the sets were, and how much VFX work went on top of them to make it all seem so real. I love watching these kind of videos. Sit back, relax & enjoy.
Looking ahead at 2018, it's going to be another exciting, spectacular year for the science fiction genre. With a few weeks to go until the New Year, Looper put out a video previewing some of the most anticipated sci-fi movies opening in 2018. They call the video "Sci Fi Movies That Will Completely Blow You Away In 2018," though that's some epic hype. I'm just happy to see this much sci-fi, it means the genre is truly in a new era of brilliance with so many boundary-pushing films on the horizon. The video profiles most of the major sci-fi movies coming out in 2018, like The Predator, Ready Player One, Annihilation, and A Wrinkle in Time, but misses one big one - the Cloverfield movie, currently set for February 2nd though that might change. This is a good video to watch to get you in the mood for some awesome movies to anticipate in 2018.
It's here! Time to start figuring out which films are the best of the year, so get watching. One of the annual must-see best of the year lists is actually a video countdown made by my colleague David Ehrlich (follow him @davidehrlich). He counts down his 25 best films of the year in a video edited together with footage and music from each of the films. This is such an entertaining way to count down the best cinema of 2017, and it always makes me want to watch each one of these (even the ones I've seen already). Ehrlich pretty much nailed it this year - Call Me By Your Name is my #1 as well, and his Top 10 is almost perfect. Dive in.
"Sometimes you need luck as a director. We always think it's all about control and it is a lot about control when you direct a movie, but it's also about things that you can't foresee." There's a film now playing in theaters titled The Divine Order, from Swiss writer/director Petra Volpe. The film is Switzerland's entry in the Oscars this year and it's obvious why when you see it. This very entertaining, exciting, engaging film tells the story of a woman in a mountain town in Switzerland who rallies other women to join in the fight for the right to vote. Swiss women only passed a law in 1971. I had a chance to talk with writer & director Petra Volpe and I'm so happy I did - she's a joy to talk with and had much to say about making empowering films.
"Where is that money, Piotrek?" We're proud to exclusively debut an award-winning short film online, titled Everything Will Be Nice, or Wszystko Bedzie Fajnie in Polish. This short, directed by and starring Polish actor/filmmaker Jan Kutrzeba, touches on immigration, love, trust, poverty, and loneliness. It was made out of love by a handful of immigrant filmmakers and two talented Polish actors living in New York. Kutrzeba "wanted to share the story of what it's truly like for immigrants trying to make it to the next day in the city, surviving solely on the love the characters share with each other." It was shot and it's presented as one long, single-take involving a Polish couple arguing at the morning in their apartment in the city. This is an impressive short, that played at a number of film festivals last year. It's worth taking a moment to watch.
There's an adorable little beach town, about a half hour south of Barcelona, called Sitges. Every year, this town hosts a film festival in October called, of course, the Sitges Film Festival. Officially it's known as the Festival Internacional de Cinema Fantàstic de Catalunya (website here). Sitges is a "genre" festival, in the same vein as Fantastic Fest, screening horror, action, sci-fi, thrillers, and any other wacky, weird little features they find around the world. This year Sitges celebrated its 50th year, and for that reason I decided to finally attend this festival that I've been hearing about for a while. Oh my goodness, it's amazing. One of the best festivals in the world, almost so good that I don't want to tell you about it, because part of it what makes it perfect is that it isn't overrun with people (yet). But, it is my job, so I will reveal a little bit about it.
"It's the multiplication of brains and [all] the people that you have to tune to make sure that they are all dreaming in the same direction." He's a master filmmaker and continues to deliver some of the best films of this decade - Denis Villeneuve. Born in Quebec, Villeneuve has been an acclaimed filmmaker for many years but finally got his foot into Hollywood's door after making Incendies in 2010. He followed that up with Prisoners, as well as Enemy released the same year, before making Sicario and Arrival. His latest is Blade Runner 2049, a highly anticipated, long-awaited sequel to the sci-fi cult hit from 1982 starring Harrison Ford as a cop named Deckard. I didn't get to chat with Villeneuve for Arrival last year (it was one of my favorite films), so I chased him this time for Blade Runner and got to spend a few minutes talking with him.
The fall film festival season rages on…! Up next are two more film festivals in Europe. I'm stopping by the Sitges Film Festival in Spain, a prestigious genre/horror festival celebrating its 50th year. And then I'm heading up to London to catch the second half of the London Film Festival, celebrating its 64th year. Both festivals kick off this week and continue through next week for a total of 10 days (I love that festivals continue to run for 10 days, it's always invigorating to stay and watch films for that long). This is my first time attending both festivals, which makes me anxious but it's also exciting. Attending a film festival for the first time is always daunting, but once I figure everything out and settle in for screenings, all is well again.
We're in the thick of the fall movie season now, with the Toronto Film Festival finishing up this weekend. I attended my first Venice Film Festival this year (read about my experience at the fest) and saw a total of 26 films across 10 days. There are still many scenes floating through my mind, many great moments from these films. To wrap up my coverage of Venice, let's recap my favorite films of the festival as well as my two of favorite performances. I only had a chance to see three documentaries (Human Flow, Jim & Andy, The Rape of Recy Taylor) this year, so I won't be singling out one of them. Instead, I'll be talking about my two favorite films and a few others that stood out. As always, there's plenty to discuss. Let's begin, shall we?