Seems like every time I put these together, most of the featured links end up being about silent cinema in some way. That’s totally not intentional, but I guess it does indicate what’s intriguing me the most these days. Certainly classic cinema is a particular love of mine, which you can easily see in the feature links section most every week, but there are links to posts about newer films galore under “other links.” I think part of it is that blogs focused on newer films tend to have mostly news and reviews, which is fine, but I rather like featuring longer-form, more thought-provoking and wider-ranging articles, and I often find the most interesting ones on classic film blogs. Interesting. Sorry, I got caught up in psychoanalyzing my blog reading habits there for a second. My bad. There are also a TON of new trailers for big films and small down in the video section; as always, these will open in a lightbox when you click on the links.
The always mysterious and inventive Guy Maddin is embarking on a typically odd but cool-sounding experiment. He’s holed up in Paris’s Centre Pompidou (the museum of modern art) and is making one short film PER DAY, each inspired by a lost silent film. He’s got some great talent on board, too, including Udo Kier, Charlotte Rampling, Mathieu Amalric, and many others (most of them French). The filming sessions are being termed seances, which doesn’t surprise me coming from Maddin, as he and the actors recreate things unseen by pretty much any living eyes. Kim Gordon has the full scoop, and I urge you to read it, as she’s working on the project as well and has unique insight into Maddin’s thoughts. The ghostly results are being broadcast live here, but they’re at an ungodly hour in California. Stupid time zones. I haven’t located recordings of them, either – hopefully they’ll release them all in some format when the program is complete.
The Second (Annual?) Favorite Classic Actress Tournament at All Good Things (and elsewhere)
I don’t know whether Monty at All Good Things intends to make this Favorite Classic Actress tournament a yearly thing or not, but I kind of hope he does. Last year it was a lot of fun voting through the brackets, celebrating when favorites won and bemoaning when they lost. Irene Dunne powered through the competition last year to upset a lot of higher seeded competition – will she defend her crown as reigning champion this year? It’s going to be tough – the field is much bigger and diverse this year with 128 different actresses. The tournament is taking place over four different blogs – The Mythical Monkey is taking the Silent Era and the 1930s (he’s definitely the right person to handle this area; I’ve linked to his silent cinema articles here many times), Rosalind Russell – Dazzling Star is hosting the 1940s, Dawn’s Chick Flicks and Noir will have the 1950s, and Monty will be doing the 1960s right on All Good Things. Monty’s already been listing out the competition, so check out All Good Things for that, and the Mythical Monkey is providing a bit more a breakdown on all the ladies on his blog (not to mention a boatload of promotional images). Voting starts on Monday, March 5. Don’t miss out! (Of course, I’m pulling for my girl Barbara Stanwyck the whole way, but the competition is brisk.)
It’s not uncommon for movie-obsessed websites to give out alternative Oscars come this time of year, especially when the real Oscars are as yawn-worthy as this year. But I helped with the Flickcharter Awards, so they deserve special mention. I occasionally contribute over there, and when one of the other Flickchart bloggers suggested doing our own awards, it was a pretty easy bandwagon to jump on. There are a few Flickchart-specific categories, which made it more fun than just mimicking the Oscars totally, plus after we came up with the nominations, we opened it up to anyone to vote, and a lot of people did. There were a few upsets, some shoo-ins, and overall, I think a very solid set of nominations and winners.
A typically wide-ranging article from David Kalat, looped around the idea that the history of silent comedy is one constructed by Hollywood itself both to separate the silent era from the sound era (preserving the sense of progress and improvement, conveniently ignoring the fact that many silent comedians continued doing much the same slapstick into the sound era) and to inculcate a sense of nostalgia for a bygone era that still survives to this day. He also discusses the way that silent comedy as a concept was reduced to a few outstanding individuals (Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd), creating a sort of circular logic of significance that excises others like Monty Banks, Raymond Griffith, Billy West, Charley Chase, and more.
An extremely long title, but a very interesting piece. Before Leni Riefenstahl became the infamous director of such Nazi propaganda pieces as Triumph of the Will and Olympia, she was an actress best known for a series of “mountain films” she did, such as The White Hell of Pitz Palü, directed by G.W. Pabst and Arnold Fanck. If you’ve seen Inglourious Basterds, you might recall that Pitz Palü was used as a plot point, as Michael Fassbender attempted to convince the suspicious Nazi officer that his accent was strange because he was from the valley of Pitz Palü. Pabst’s mountain films were also playing at Shosanna’s cinema. Kevyn Knox takes us into the original film itself, Riefenstahl’s part in it, and even delves a bit into her later career as a director.
The Scarlett Olive draws on two depictions of youth culture in different eras – the Mickey Rooney-Judy Garland musicals of the 1940s and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off from 1985 – to explore the shift in our culture at large from a “we” culture to a “me” culture. Sociologists would likely agree that our culture has gotten more individualistic and self-centered (the current generation is sometimes termed “Generation Me” instead of “Generation Y”), and that seems to be borne out in the way films depict the youth culture, moving from everyone pulling together to achieve a common goal (in Mickey-Judy movies, generally putting on a show, which usually benefits everyone) to teens seeking their own enjoyment above all else. There is more to explore here, though – since both these movies were made by adults, their youth culture is in some ways constructed, and that’s even more true for the Mickey-Judy musicals. Definitely an interesting starting point.
Hey, Pluto! by Brandie at True Classics
The Classic Film and TV Cafe just hosted a Classic Movie Dogathon, focusing on dogs in classic film and getting a lot of really nice posts around the classic film blogosphere. One of my favorite entries (unsurprisingly, as it seems I link to Brandie every one of these posts) was on Mickey’s best friend Pluto, and his history as Disney’s main non-anthropomorphic character. She discusses how Pluto came to be and how he came to be Mickey’s dog, as well as focusing in on the shorts where Pluto is actually the main character. This post also fits in really well with the series she’s been doing anyway on early animators, all of which are worth reading.
A lovely piece about actress Linda Darnell, who livened up many a 1940s film with her presence, but isn’t particularly well-remembered today (outside of classic cinema aficionados, of course). The Siren talks about how this essentially down-to-earth actress with the bombshell looks unfortunately often ended up in sexed up, objectified roles, then highlights her most notable films, like her central role in John Ford’s My Darling Clementine, her noir turn in Fallen Angel, her breathless support of Rex Harrison’s mania in Unfaithfully Yours, and perhaps her best performance ever in A Letter to Three Wives. Now I feel like going back and rewatching all these movies.
David Hudson of Mubi lists the best films he saw at Berlinale
J. Hurtado of Twitch reviews the Blu-ray release of Mandrill, a fun Chilean action spoof, and recommends it; I saw it last year, and I concur, it’s an over-the-top good time
Ivan at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear has a sneak peak of TCM’s April schedule
The Classic Movie Man reviews Pinky, taking into account the social context of its time period
French Toast Sunday picks the top 6 most terrifying movie versions of space – can’t argue with these!
The most recent LAMB Director’s Chair was Dario Argento, which explains all the great reviews I’ve been seeing around of Argento’s works
Outstanding infographic of Hollywood’s relationship with piracy, courtesy of Film School Rejects
Shadows and Satin runs down the top ten reasons for loving Double Indemnity, and I agree with every single one (Ginny at Old Movies Nostalgia adds some more of her own)
Courtney of Big Thoughts from a Small Mind reviews Certified Copy, and pretty much thinks as highly of it as I do
Dan at Public Transportation Snob reviews Jean Renoir’s The Rules of the Game, a film I saw ages ago and don’t remember at all – time for a rewatch!
Ryan at the Matinee is totally right about We Need to Talk About Kevin, and I love the way he keeps his review focused on Eva while avoiding spoilers
Kevyn Knox counts down his top 10 silent films for Anomalous Material, a great place to start if The Artist and Hugo have whetted your interest
The Oscars are over now, but Chris’s rundown of the ten nominees over at Silent Volume is one of the best analyses I’ve seen
Bob Turnbull finds inspiration from Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff
Kurt at Row Three talks about the recent renovations and upcoming opening of Toronto’s historic Bloor theatre, now the home of Hot Docs
First review of the Japanese film Parade I’ve seen since I saw it almost two years ago – and Twitch’s Niels Matthijs liked it almost as much as I did
Cool Trailers and Videos
Academy Award winner The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
Teaser trailer for Frankenweenie – a return to form for Tim Burton?
The first part of the original Frankenweenie (Part II, Part III)
New trailer for The Avengers – too much Bay, not enough Whedon?
Trailer for Richard Linklater’s Bernie – stay to the end, it actually looks funny
Trailer for The Raid – now inexplicably The Raid: Redemption
New trailer for John Carter
Trailer for Deep Blue Sea, starring Rachel Weisz
Trailer for Snabba Cash II (the first will make its US bow in July)
Russian teaser for Wong Kar Wai’s The Grandmasters
Extended teaser for Game of Thrones Season 2
What if Episode I were actually good?
Admiral Ackbar interviewed
Cristian Mungiu’s 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days followup picked up by Sundance Selects
More casting news for Bong Joon-ho’s English-language debut, Snow Piercer
Joe Wright is returning to period literature with Anna Karenina; Anomalous Material has the first photos
New service Tugg is working with theatres to let you and your buddies vote on what plays – could definitely be cool if it gains traction
Sofia Coppola taps Emma Watson for her next film
First look at the Coen Bros’ Inside Llewyn Davis
Edgar Wright will direct a Disney reboot of The Night Stalker, with Johnny Depp
Community will be back March 15th! Can Not Wait.
Fassbender’s going to play Irish folk hero Cuchulainn? I’m totally there.
Metric dates new album Synthetica for June 12th
First track from Norah Jones’ upcoming Danger Mouse-produced album
Bioshock: Infinite finally gets a release date – October 16th
Xbox Live gets HBOGo starting April 1
I’m pretty new to comic books, but even I’m finding things to get excited about in Image’s 2012 lineup
Kickstarter may provide more funds this year to creative projects than the National Endowment for the Arts