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by Bill Gibron

18 Sep 2015

Photo: Film Camera via Shutterstock.

It was a season so front loaded that, by August, audiences had already forgotten it was supposed to be a Summer of popcorn fun. Things really did fade fast after Avengers: Age of Ultron and Jurassic World promised a billion-dollar payoff at the box office. Of course, both film did breakthrough to that new blockbuster barrier, but did so not with superior filmmaking and entertainment value, but with a renewed focus on the foreign markets. Instead of providing outstanding creativity, Hollywood has just perfected the art of selling eye candy to the world.

This doesn’t mean that there weren’t great films this summer. It just means that the mediocrity outshined the few masterworks. It was the same with the worst. Something like The Gallows should definitely be present here, but a choice like that (lame found footage horror film) would be like celebrating one of those fish that we always seem to be hunting in barrels. Instead, the 11 films below (an honorary mention and choice of five for both categories) were a true test of filmmaking tolerances. Both pro and con, they all wanted to be part of your May to August fun. Some were. Most weren’t.

by Alex Ramon

16 Sep 2015

The 12 months since last year’s memorable Gdynia Film Festival have been hugely successful ones for Polish cinema, especially on the international stage. The awarding of the 2014 Best Foreign Language Film BAFTA and Oscars to Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida (the latter a win predicted here last year), plus documentary Oscar nominations for Aneta Kopaz’s Joanna and Tomasz Śliwiński’s Our Curse, must count as the most significant events.

In addition, the recent scooping of the Best Direction prize by Andrzej Zuławski for his long-awaited Witold Gombrowicz adaptation, Kosmos at Locarno and the awarding of the Silver Bear to Małgorzata Szumowska for Body/Ciało at Berlin also testify to a renewed interest in Polish cinematography abroad. So, too, does the extended Kinoteka Festival held in London over April and May.

by Steve Leftridge

15 Sep 2015

Steve Leftridge: For the 21st installment of our Double Take series, the big randomizer landed on our first Hitchcock film. With The Lady Vanishes, we find the director at the tail end of his run of early British films, just before embarking on his American career, when he would soon be making far more opulent movies and would establish himself as, arguably, the most influential filmmaker of the 21st century.

I want to try to identify some cinematic characteristics in this film that would later become Hitchcockian staples. While we’re at it, I also want to see if we can find any political undertones or evaluate some social codes in the film. But first, I’m going to cut right to the chase: Do you like this movie?

by Stephen Mayne

15 Sep 2015

Now we really are all done. Finito, le fin, kaput. The awards ceremony for the 72nd Venice International Film Festival brought another year to a close with the usual collection of leftfield decisions. I swear festival juries, particularly in Venice, go out of their way to be controversial. But hey, at least it’s never dull.

Before we started, the Golden Lion seemed destined to be a fight between Alexander Sokurov’s Francofonia, Amos Gitai’s Rabin, the Last Day, Marco Bellocchio’s Blood of My Blood and Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson’s Anomalisa. In the end, only Anomalisa walked away with anything, picking up the Grand Jury Prize, essentially second place. The others headed home empty-handed as Alfonso Cuarón and his jury sent the Golden Lion to From Afar (Desde Allá), the first Venezuelan film to win the prize, and the first Venezuelan film to even compete for it.

by Stephen Mayne

14 Sep 2015

Go With Me

My, how the time has flown. It seems like only yesterday I was waving a scrap of paper in front of a confused security guard in a bid to get access to the press accreditation counter.

A week and a half, and 29 films later, and it’s all come to an end. Actually, that’s not quite true. We still have the awards to come, next post.

//Mixed media

Because Blood Is Drama: Considering Carnage in Video Games and Other Media

// Moving Pixels

"It's easy to dismiss blood and violence as salacious without considering why it is there, what its context is, and what it might communicate.

READ the article