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19 articles

Cry Me a River: The Radical and Revolutionary Power of Melodrama

19 hours ago

Within the first ten minutes of Nicholas Ray’s unimpeachable classic Rebel Without a Cause Jim Stark (James Dean) wails, “You’re tearing me apart!!!!!” This is not an instance where the film crescendos with an emotional breakdown, but begins. Jim Stark is a staggering portrait of apocalyptic masculine adolescence ripping apart a young body through expectations put on him by society and his own self-imposed fears that he could turn into his passive father. Jim Stark is one of the defining characters of cinematic melodrama with his unbridled emotional honesty laid bare for the world to see. He physically cannot keep himself from gnashing, wailing, and screaming in the face of emotions that bubble to the surface. Melodrama opens the lid on these reactions and rides that feeling to cinematic honesty and authenticity. Melodrama is realer than real; a hyper-stylized evocation of feelings that we’re all familiar with as human beings. »

- The Film Stage

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‘The Shape of Water’ Cinematographer Dan Laustsen on Capturing Guillermo del Toro’s Fantastical World

15 December 2017 2:15 PM, PST

It’s good to speak with the central creative forces behind a film you enjoyed — for instance, Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, which I’d count as his best film since Hellboy II and generally one of his most well-rounded achievements. Less ideal is when I speak to them before I’ve seen it at all — for instance, when I sat down with cinematographer Dan Laustsen at this year’s Camerimage International Film Festival.

Laustsen is, as the film itself will show, a great practitioner of his craft and, to boot, rather friendly, and the working process on a project of this scale is always going to interest me, nuts-and-bolts-wise, so the result is, to my mind, still a proper overview of what went into the Cold War fantasy romance.

The Film Stage: So here’s a funny thing: the film screens on Saturday, which means I haven’t seen it. »

- Nick Newman

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The Best Double Features of 2017

15 December 2017 10:22 AM, PST

Few things are more sublime than finding back-to-back features that hit some specific thematic sweet spot. Drive-in theaters may not be the popular viewing spot they once were, but with the overwhelming accessibility we now have, one can program their own personal double bill. Today, we’ve run through the gamut of 2017 films to select the finest pairings and tried to sway from the most obvious (i.e. a combination of Dunkirk, Darkest Hour and The Finest Hour). Check out list the below, and we’d love to hear your own picks, which can be left in the comments.

Lady Bird and Princess Cyd

On paper, too easy a pairing: coming-of-age stories that are too intelligent to propose that this, here, is the end of a journey; characters (titular characters, no less) whose impulsiveness, close-mindedness, and selfishness are, of course, part of what makes them so empathetic; portraits in miniature »

- The Film Stage

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Review: ‘The Ballad of Lefty Brown’ is a Hollow, Half-Hearted Western

15 December 2017 9:58 AM, PST

Some obligatory credit is due to those ambitious (or, depending on the results, naive) enough to establish their name as a feature film director in 2017 on the basis of a genre-faithful western. The hazards of such an approach are not insignificant: take an earnest stab at crafting a film that belongs to a genre with an 80-year-long development trajectory — one that peaked as a self-contained narrative form well over 50 years ago, and has since hypertrophied into a self-aware meditation upon itself, replete with the postmodern, self-reflexive interrogations of the black-and-white moral worldview that forms the very meat-and-bones of the original films — and you run the risk of succumbing to unintentional parody in apparent disregard towards the historical developments of the genre you hope to submit to your vision. On the other hand, when executed with a slight, unostentatious nod to history and just the right touch of contemporary remixing, the rewards can be bountiful. »

- The Film Stage

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New to Streaming: ‘Dunkirk,’ ‘Phoenix,’ ‘Wormwood,’ ‘The Unknown Girl,’ and More

15 December 2017 6:15 AM, PST

With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit platforms. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.

Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan)

In the hours since viewing Dunkirk – the newest film from surprisingly divisive blockbuster director Christopher Nolan – one sensory recollection has stuck out above all others. Every time that British spitfire pilot Farrier (Tom Hardy) accelerates or banks his plane, the soundtrack fills with the noise of metallic rattling, an uncomfortable chorus of knocks and pings that lets you know exactly how much stress and force are »

- The Film Stage

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NYC Weekend Watch: International Melodrama, ‘L’eclisse’ & More

15 December 2017 5:58 AM, PST

Since any New York City cinephile has a nearly suffocating wealth of theatrical options, we figured it’d be best to compile some of the more worthwhile repertory showings into one handy list. Displayed below are a few of the city’s most reliable theaters and links to screenings of their weekend offerings — films you’re not likely to see in a theater again anytime soon, and many of which are, also, on 35mm. If you have a chance to attend any of these, we’re of the mind that it’s time extremely well-spent.

Film Society of Lincoln Center

If you’re emotionally prepared, the massive 62-film series “Emotion Pictures: International Melodrama” has begun featuring In the Mood for Love, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Letter from an Unknown Woman, The Housemaid, and more this weekend.

Museum of Modern Art

An all-inclusive Michelangelo Antonioni retrospective is still underway.


“Goth »

- Nick Newman

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‘Good Time’ Tops Film Comment’s 20 Best Films of 2017; Safdies to Remake ’48 Hrs.’

15 December 2017 5:40 AM, PST

One of the most electrifying, thrilling, and funny films of the year was Safdies’ Good Time, featuring Robert Pattinson in a career-best performance. While it didn’t exactly ignite the box-office, as the crime drama is now available to stream we hoped it would spur more year-end conversation and that looks to be the case. It’s now topped Film Comment’s best films of 2017, an eclectic list which also includes personal favorite such as A Quiet Passion, Nocturama, Personal Shopper, Dawson City: Frozen Time, Phantom Thread, and more.

In related news, Benny and Josh Safdie have found a new major project. THR reports the duo will remake Walter Hill’s 1982 buddy comedy 48 Hrs., which starred Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte. Scripting the project will be Josh Safdie, frequent collaborator Ronald Bronstein, and Jerrod Carmichael. There’s no word yet on casting or how updated the plot will be (the »

- Jordan Raup

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Listen to John Williams’ Full Score for ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’

15 December 2017 5:15 AM, PST

You might have heard, but a new Star Wars film is now available for your viewing pleasure at a theater close to you. However, after the credits roll, you might want to keep humming John Williams’ score, and it’s now made easier as the full score for Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi is available to stream on Spotify. Clocking in with 20 tracks at 1 hours and 17 minutes, one can now plug in headphones and venture to a galaxy far, far away.

“The tranquil blue introduction. The boom of the Williams fanfare. The warm yellow crawl. They invite you home to the familiar, a place in the past where wondrous adventures of swashbuckling in a galaxy far, far away came few and far between. They’re comfort incarnate and work without fail – for a time. With the roar of applause that accompanied the top of The Last Jedi’s opening prologue, »

- Jordan Raup

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The Enduring Exhaustion of ‘Michael Clayton’

14 December 2017 11:30 AM, PST

Looking back on this still-young century makes clear that 2007 was a major time for cinematic happenings — and, on the basis of this retrospective, one we’re not quite through with ten years on. One’s mind might quickly flash to a few big titles that will be represented, but it is the plurality of both festival and theatrical premieres that truly surprises: late works from old masters, debuts from filmmakers who’ve since become some of our most-respected artists, and mid-career turning points that didn’t necessarily announce themselves as such at the time. Join us as an assembled team, many of whom were coming of age that year, takes on their favorites.

One of the most powerful states explored in cinema is the state of exhaustion. Being tired. Tired of work. Tired of bad choices. Tired of life. In every sigh, glance and line read does George Clooney convey this in Michael Clayton. »

- Dan Mecca

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10 Wide Releases in 2017 That Exceeded Expectations

14 December 2017 7:58 AM, PST

While wide releases like Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Dunkirk, Baby Driver, John Wick: Chapter 2, and Logan Lucky either met or fulfilled expectations this year, we had to dig deep for the studio films that caught us pleasantly off-guard. While much of our year-end coverage will be focusing on the overlooked gems, today we’re highlighting the few major releases that left us surprised.

Note that the below ten features are strictly films that received a wide release on their opening weekend and not ones that eventually expanded with a roll-out. Some, for various reasons, arrived with virtually little-to-no anticipation around these parts, while others wildly exceeded our standard expectations, and a few managed to be among our favorites of the year.

Check out our selections below and let us know what surprised you most in 2017.

Blade Runner 2049 (Ridley Scott)

It is hard to say where exactly expectations »

- The Film Stage

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The Film Stage Show Classic – Stalker

13 December 2017 7:07 PM, PST

Welcome, one and all, to another classic review from your friends here at The Film Stage Show. Today, Michael Snydel, Bill Graham and I are joined by freelance critic Nate Fisher to talk about the Andrei Tarkovsky film Stalker, a classic of science fiction and Russian cinema.

Subscribe on iTunes or see below to stream/download. Enter our giveaways, get access to our private Slack channel, and support new episodes by becoming a Patreon contributor.

M4A: The Film Stage Classic – Stalker

The Film Stage is supported by Mubi, a curated online cinema streaming a selection of exceptional independent, classic, and award-winning films from around the world. Each day, Mubi hand-picks a new gem and you have one month to watch it. Try it for free at mubi.com/filmstage.

Subscribe below:


Support The Film Stage Show on Patreon. E-mail us or follow on Twitter and Facebook with any questions or comments. »

- Brian Roan

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New Trailer for Alex Garland’s ‘Annihilation’ Brings Futuristic Horror

13 December 2017 6:11 AM, PST

We’ll be getting one of our most-anticipated films of next year quite soon into 2018. Alex Garland‘s Ex Machina follow-up Annihilation, an adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s first book in the Southern Reach trilogy, stars Natalie Portman, Gina RodriguezTessa ThompsonJennifer Jason Leigh, Oscar Isaac, and David Gyasi, and a new trailer has arrived today. The film features a group of women — an anthropologist, a surveyor, a psychologist, and a biologist  — who embark on a dangerous, secret expedition where the laws of nature don’t apply.

Recently, there’s been reports of a behind-the-scenes clash on the post-production and distribution of the film. Long story short: Garland seems to have been faithful to the peculiar, enigmatic source material, which may be off-putting to audiences expecting a palatable sci-fi thriller. So, Paramount struck a profitable deal with Netflix for those outside the U.S., Canada, and China and the »

- Jordan Raup

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‘The 15:17 to Paris’ Trailer: Clint Eastwood Tells Another Tale of Real-Life Heroism

13 December 2017 5:30 AM, PST

Completing his unofficial trilogy of American heroism after Sully and American Sniper, Clint Eastwood’s latest film recreates the 2015 event in which Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone, and Jeffrey E. Stern were on the #9364 train from Brussels to Paris when an Isis terrorist boarded with an Ak-47, a pistol, a box cutter, and enough ammunition to kill all 500 people on board. The three American friends took it upon themselves to charge the gunman and stop him. The 15:17 to Paris, arriving in February actually stars the three men, playing themselves, and today the first trailer has arrived.

“I looked at a lot of very good actors who could possibly have done the job. But I kept looking at the faces of these young men — “boys,” I call them,” Eastwood tells EW. “I thought these faces were unique. It just struck me that it would be an interesting experiment. It could be bold or reckless, »

- Jordan Raup

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‘Titanic,’ ‘Die Hard,’ ‘Ace in the Hole,’ ‘Memento,’ and More Added to National Film Registry

13 December 2017 5:10 AM, PST

Since 1989, the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress has been accomplishing the important task of preserving films that “represent important cultural, artistic and historic achievements in filmmaking.” From films way back in 1897 all the way up to 2004, they’ve now reached 725 films that celebrate our heritage and encapsulate our film history.

Today they’ve unveiled their 2017 list, which includes such Hollywood classics as Die Hard, Titanic, and Superman along with groundbreaking independent features like Yvonne Rainer’s Lives of Performers, Charles Burnett’s To Sleep with Anger, and Barbara Loden’s Wanda. Also making this list are a pair of Kirk Douglas-led features, Ace in the Hole and Spartacus, as well as Christopher Nolan’s Memento and more. Check out the full list below and you can watch some films on the registry for free here.

Ace in the Hole (aka Big Carnival) (1951)

Based on the infamous »

- Jordan Raup

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‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Review: Rian Johnson Cherishes the Past, Then Burns it to the Ground

12 December 2017 9:00 AM, PST

The tranquil blue introduction. The boom of the Williams fanfare. The warm yellow crawl. They invite you home to the familiar, a place in the past where wondrous adventures of swashbuckling in a galaxy far, far away came few and far between. They’re comfort incarnate and work without fail – for a time. With the roar of applause that accompanied the top of The Last Jedi’s opening prologue, you’d think the words “Episode VIII” were a complete surprise to those in attendance. Such is the power of Star Wars. These aren’t quite movies anymore as they are an exercise in feeling something – the pangs of nostalgia – and Rian Johnson understands this almost innately throughout The Last Jedi.

Saddled with the mammoth and unenviable position of potentially disappointing pop culture’s most volatile of fanbases, Johnson unflinchingly maneuvers these characters with a special cunning. He plays to the »

- The Film Stage

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Review: A Starchitect is Born in the Illuminating ‘Big Time’

12 December 2017 6:27 AM, PST

Grand ideas changing skylines and sidewalks take center stage in Big Time, an illuminating portrait of starchitect Bjarke Ingels. Directed by Kaspar Astrup Schröder, he rides shotgun for the young architect as he transitions his practice from Copenhagen to New York. The move, around his 40th birthday, is marked with some tension as his design from Big (Bjarke Ingels Group) has trouble retaining its European clients as Ingels puts down roots in North America. While here, he works on projects like Two World Trade Center with the Silverstein Properties group and West 57 with Durst Organization, which houses the only movie theater in New York City currently showing the film.

On camera these developers praise the Big’s team for their willingness to be flexible on these grand projects, while Ingels finds himself battling his patrons over oxidized vs. painted surfaces in a particularly fascinating scene as he expresses disappointment with »

- John Fink

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The Film Stage Show Ep. 275 – Lady Bird

11 December 2017 7:45 PM, PST

Welcome, one and all, to the latest installment of The Film Stage Show! Today, it’s just Michael Snydel and I throwing down over the solo directorial debut from Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird.

Subscribe on iTunes or see below to stream/download. Enter our giveaways, get access to our private Slack channel, and support new episodes by becoming a Patreon contributor.

M4A: The Film Stage Show Ep. 275 – Lady Bird

00:00 – 06:44 – Introductions

06:45 – 39:02 – Lady Bird review

39:03 – 01:40:59 – Spoilers

The Film Stage is supported by Mubi, a curated online cinema streaming a selection of exceptional independent, classic, and award-winning films from around the world. Each day, Mubi hand-picks a new gem and you have one month to watch it. Try it for free at mubi.com/filmstage.

Subscribe below:


Support The Film Stage Show on Patreon. E-mail us or follow on Twitter and Facebook with any questions or comments. »

- Brian Roan

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The Black List’s 2017 List of Best Unproduced Screenplays

11 December 2017 1:06 PM, PST

Rounding up the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood, as voted on by hundreds of film executives, The Black List has been a strong resource to clue one in on projects to potentially anticipate, but first, to kickstart Hollywood on bringing them to screen. Last year’s chart-topper, the Madonna film Blonde Ambition by Elyse Hollander, was picked up by Universal Pictures and also in the top five was Liz Hannah’s The Post, which Steven Spielberg turned out quite fast. Today we have this year’s edition.

Topping the 2017 edition we have the post-wwii drama Ruin by Matthew Firpo and Ryan Firpo, which Gal Gadot is set to star in with direction by Macbeth and Snowtown‘s Justin Kurzel. Also among the list is the abortion drama Let Her Speak, the story of Anne Frank’s diary, Keeper of the Diary (which will be directed by Kenneth Branagh at Focus Features »

- Jordan Raup

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2018 Golden Globes Nominations Include ‘Call Me by Your Name,’ ‘Dunkirk,’ ‘Lady Bird,’ ‘Get Out,’ and More

11 December 2017 6:07 AM, PST

Ahead of a ceremony on January 7 the nominations for the the 75th Golden Globe Awards were announced this morning. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association recognized Dunkirk, Call Me by Your Name, The Post, The Shape of Water, and Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri for Best Motion Picture, Drama, while Lady Bird, Get Out, I, Tonya, The Disaster Artist, and The Greatest Showman earned Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical nominations.

Check out the film nominations below and see the TV ones here.

Best Motion Picture, Drama


Call Me by Your Name

The Post

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical

Lady Bird

Get Out

I, Tonya

The Disaster Artist

The Greatest Showman

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama

Meryl Streep, The Post

Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water

Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game

Frances McDormand, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Michelle Williams, »

- Jordan Raup

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