His time has come. The great, the legendary, the iconic, the one-and-only Stan Lee has sadly passed away. Earlier this year, he was taken to a hospital for a heart-related health scare, but came out okay. Now it's being reported that he has died at the hospital in Los Angeles at the age of 95. His wife for 69 years, Joan, died last year in July, also at the age of 95. Stan Lee will always be a great legend, creator of so many iconic comic book heroes, and often described as a "real life superhero" due to his philanthropic work through his charity the Stan Lee Foundation. He's also earned himself a place in history for the ways he has created his own identity, appearing in every single Marvel movie in an amusing, always brief memorable cameo. He co-created characters including Spider-Man, the Hulk, Doctor Strange, the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Black Panther, the X-Men, and – and with co-writer Larry Lieber – the characters Ant-Man, Iron Man, and Thor.
The 75th Venice Film Festival wrapped up this weekend on the Lido, and the awards were handed out. The top prize at Venice is a Golden Lion (in honor of the iconic lion that is the symbol of the city) and it's one of the greatest achievements in cinema, along with the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. This year's big winner is Alfonso Cuarón's Roma taking the Golden Lion, his epic new B&W drama that floats through Mexico in the 1970s, taking us back to his youth. This is also a big win for Netflix, which produced and will be releasing the film later this year. I was rooting for Jennifer Kent's The Nightingale to win, but it at least received a Special Jury Prize which makes me happy. The full list of Venezia 75 winners can be found below.
"It comes with a mystery attached." Infamous Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn has launched a brand new cinema website, open to the public today, called byNWR.com. The new website is essentially a specialized streaming service, available entirely for free, where Refn handpicks and highlights "meticulously restored" films. This has been his own personal hobby already that he has decided to let the public in on. And he insists there's no catch, or gimmick, or anything else, he just wants to offer up these films and enrich the world of cinema (and the internet) with these rare, long-lost gems. There is a new release every quarter, divided into three monthly chapters. For the first volume, Refn invited acclaimed biographer and journalist Jimmy McDonough to be the initial guest editor for "Regional Renegades" - all three films available now.
Big news, horror fans!! The Italian rock band Goblin has announced that they will be playing special live-score shows of Suspiria throughout America (and in the UK) this fall. This is clearly in connection with the release of Luca Guadagnino's upcoming remake of the original witch horror Suspiria, directed by Italian horror master Dario Argento, and first released in 1977. Amazon Studios has Guadagnino's new Suspiria scheduled for release in theaters starting November 2nd later this fall. Goblin has announced a tour that begins on August 5th in the UK, continuing in the US beginning on October 28th in Baltimore, MD at the "Days of Darkness Festival". They will then play shows throughout October and November, touring around.
"I've been expecting you, Mr. Bond…" There's a brand new, one-of-a-kind cinematic installation now open on the top of a mountain in Austria and it's amazing. Open to the public today (July 12th) in Sölden, Austria is 007 Elements, a new James Bond museum/experience that is a spectacular, sleek, thrilling permanent adventure into the world of 007 and its 56-year history. This installation has been under construction for two years, and it's finally open. I was lucky enough to visit Sölden earlier this week and get a sneak preview inside of 007 Elements, joining a group of the most die-hard 007 fans from other Bond websites/fan clubs all over the world. We were all very seriously impressed. Sölden's 007 Elements installation is even better than I expected, entirely worth the trek into the mountains and up to the top of Gaislachkogl to experience.
Congrats Kore-eda! Winners of the 2018 Cannes Film Festival awards, including the coveted Palme d'Or, were revealed at a glamorous ceremony in Cannes, France this weekend. The big winner this year is beloved Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda, whose new film Shoplifters won the Palme out of 21 films in competition. One of my other favorite films of the festival, Nadine Labaki's powerful drama Capharnaüm, won the Jury Prize (essentially third prize) which is a relief at least. Spike Lee's superb BlacKkKlansman won the second prize Grand Prix award. All three of these top winners are very strong, and they're excellent films worthy of the attention. I wanted Capharnaüm to win the Palme, but at least many of the best films from the fest did earn accolades in other categories (except for Burning). All of the winners are listed below.
"The life that we had is gone. These guys are here to stay.." A full trailer has debuted for an Australian sci-fi alien invasion thriller titled Occupation, from writer/director Luke Sparke. The film is about a small group of town residents who have to band together after a devastating ground invasion from alien invaders. As they struggle to survive, they realize they must stay one step ahead of their attackers, and work together for a chance to strike back. The big Aussie cast includes Temuera Morrison, Stephany Jacobsen, Dan Ewing, Rhiannon Fish, Zachary Garred, Izzy Stevens, Charles Terrier, Charles Mesure, Felix Williamson, Jacqueline McKenzie, and Bruce Spence. This looks cool, though it seems like standard invasion sci-fi action. Almost a bit like Red Dawn meets Beyond Skyline, if that interests you. Check it out.
Every year, cinephiles wake up early to watch the announcement from France of the films playing at the Cannes Film Festival. For the 71st Cannes Film Festival taking place this May, they've thrown a bit of a curveball with an entirely unexpected selection of films playing this year. The selection includes new films from Jafar Panahi (Three Faces), Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War), Alice Rohrwacher (Lazzaro Felice), Matteo Garrone (Dogman), Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman), David Robert Mitchell (Under the Silver Lake), along with Jean-Luc Godard, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Jia Zhang-Ke, plus Wim Wenders' Pope documentary. And then there's the Star Wars movie, of course, which kind of makes this a very mixed bag. But there's no Suspiria, or Terry Gilliam, or Lars von Trier? And all the Netflix films are gone. It's a shame, this seems like a very light selection so far. Possibly with a few extra additions coming last minute. See the full list below.
It's a big day for Oats Studios! Neill Blomkamp's experimental sci-fi filmmaking lab has officially launched a new crowdfunding website option to get enough financing to develop a feature-length version of the short film Firebase (as seen here). The site and funding platform is open today. From Oats: "We want to build a 21st century studio that is funded directly by fans. The more people online that support us the more content we will put out. We want to create an ecosystem where we are directly fueled by the community. Our goal now is the next Firebase film. Help fuel us here. We want to grow and expand, but we need the community’s help." If you've always wanted to support Oats and help them really make more, now is the time to step up.
"It's all in the mind, y'know…" Get your psychedelic drugs ready, it's time to take a trip back into the wacky world of The Beatles' Yellow Submarine. The classic, wacky animated movie Yellow Submarine, released in 1968 as The Beatles' fourth feature film, is returning to theaters/cinemas in the US and UK. Abraorama has announced the re-release for the 50th anniversary, which will feature a brand new 4K digital restoration of the film. The restoration was done carefully frame-by-frame in order to maintain the delicate nature of the original hand-drawn artwork. It also features a completely new mix in 5.1 stereo surround sound. As always, when a film like this heads back to the big screen, it's the best time to catch it and experience it the way it was meant to be seen. This is one of those films I still haven't watched, so I'm looking forward to this.
50 years ago, one movie changed all movies forever. The first movie premiering at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival has been revealed! Cannes has announced they will host the world premiere of an unseen, newly restored 70mm print of Stanley Kubrick’s groundbreaking science fiction epic, 2001: A Space Odyssey. The screening will be introduced by filmmaker Christopher Nolan, who will be attending the Festival de Cannes for the first time. Nolan will also participate in a Cannes Masterclass, set for Sunday, May 13th, in which he'll discuss Kubrick's films in addition to his own. After this event, Warner Bros will re-release the new 70mm print of 2001: A Space Odyssey in select US theatres starting on May 18th. The Ultimate Trip.
The Independent Spirit Awards are an annual award given in the name of independent film, featuring plenty of those little indie films which deserve the honor and recognition that they usually don't receive - celebrating their 33rd year. The 2018 winners of the Spirit Awards were announced Saturday before the Oscars at a ceremony out in Santa Monica. The main winner this year was Get Out, winning Best Director and Best Film, the two top prizes. The rest of the winners include a good mix of some of our favorites, like Call Me By Your Name and Faces Places. These are always a nice counter-balance to the Oscars, especially this year with a nice mix of smaller films getting awards. Read on for the list of Indie Spirit Awards results.