“The phrase ahead of its time is a problematic one, as it is premised on the idea that any given time has a single defining attribute,” writes Nick Pinkerton. “Applied to The King of Comedy it’s even trickier—have we really caught up with Scorsese and De Niro’s film?”
Reverse Shot‘s Scorsese symposium rolls on. Here’s Michael Koresky: “After Hours has often been considered Scorsese’s ‘smallest’ film, presumably because of its relatively low budget, limited narrative time frame, handful of locations in tight proximity, and swift ninety-seven minutes—but in terms of camera dexterity, storytelling intricacy, and existential scope, it’s among his most ambitious.” Koresky also revisits Mirror, Mirror, a 24-minute thingie for Steven Spielberg’s NBC series Amazing Stories: “For all its impressive shocks, Scorsese’s venture into anthology horror television feels oddly timid.”
“There’s a much larger pool of talent in Chicago than a list of fifty can do more than indicate,” writes Ray Pride, introducing a whopper of a cover story of Newcity. “Chicago is a storytelling city, and we’ve let the Film 50 tell a few about who they are and what they do.” The top three: Steve James, Bill Murray and Joe Swanberg.
“Forty years on from its first screening—October 1, 1974—The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a horror landmark and a turning point in Texas cinema. It was the first genuine and successful Lone Star State indie.” For the Austin Chronicle, Richard Whittaker talks with the surviving cast, director/co-writer/co-producer Tobe Hooper and co-producer/co-writer Kim Henkel.
At the Chiseler, Phoebe Green looks back on the work of Wynne Gibson, “who came from Broadway to Hollywood as a pert, sensible redhead… and was quickly transformed to a peroxided moll.” Also, Imogen Smith: “Florence Turner was a beautiful woman, with large dark eyes and a long, fine-boned face. She was also riotously funny. A parade of gorgeous comediennes have followed in her footsteps—Mabel Normand, Constance Talmadge, Anita Garvin, Carole Lombard, Lucille Ball, Judy Holliday et al.—yet they continue to be viewed as exceptions to some unwritten rule: that women aren’t funny, that only unattractive women are funny, that being funny makes women unattractive.”
Dan North‘s contributed an essay to the forthcoming volume East Asian Film Noir: Transnational Encounters and Intercultural Dialogue that once included “a lengthy section arguing that film noir is almost entirely a critical construct, brought to life by the convenient way in which it helps us to group together a disparate group of films and analyze them under a similar brand as if they represent some collective response to their social contexts.” Since that’d already been covered elsewhere in the book, the section was cut. Now it’s online.
Chris Cagle talks with Joshua Malitsky about his new book, Post-Revolution Nonfiction Film: Building the Soviet and Cuban Nations.
Over the years, Little White Lies has been asking directors and actors, “What do you love about movies?” Answers from the likes of Quentin Tarantino and Francis Ford Coppola, Ryan Gosling and Mia Wasikowska are now collected in What I Love About Movies, out today.
IN OTHER NEWS
Word from the BFI: “A silent version of Sherlock Holmes from 1916 has been found, giving fresh hope to the BFI’s own search for missing Holmes film A Study in Scarlet (1914). Long considered lost since its first release, the Gillette film is considered the vital missing link in the history of Holmes on screen. Directed by Arthur Berthelet and produced by Essanay in 1916, it was discovered at the Cinémathèque Française only a few weeks ago.”
Nominees for the 51st Golden Horse Awards, to be presented in Taiwan on November 22, have been announced. Diao Yinan’s Black Coal, Thin Ice, winner of this year’s Golden Bear in Berlin, leads with eight, followed by Lou Ye’s Blind Massage with seven and Chih-Hsiang Ma’s Kano with six.
New York. Recommendations in the L: Danny King on Larry Peerce’s The Incident (1967; tonight at BAM), Elina Mishuris on Ernst Lubitsch‘s Ninotchka (1939; through Sunday at the IFC Center), Violet Lucca on Richard Brooks’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958; tomorrow at Film Forum), Aaron Cutler on Stephen Chow and Li Lik-Chi’s God of Cookery (1996; Monday at BAM) and Samantha Vacca on Alain Resnais‘s Mon oncle d’Amérique (1980; Tuesday at the French Institute).
Chicago. Nagisa Oshima: His Will on Film opens today at the Gene Siskel Film Center and runs through October 29. Ben Sachs in the Reader: “The series covers most of the theatrical features Oshima directed between 1968, when he was allying with radical student movements, and 1983, when he made the most respectable-looking film of his career, the international coproduction Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence. (Incidentally that movie also screens in November as part of the David Bowie series at Doc Films.)”
Los Angeles. “What better place to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Cleopatra than the Egyptian Theatre,” writes Betsey Sharkey in the Times. “Making a rare appearance on screen Sunday is Cecil B. DeMille’s wonderfully kitschy spectacle.”
On Sunday, the Filmforum presents The Cinema Cabaret: Re-takes on North American History and then, on Monday at REDCAT: “San Francisco filmmaker Konrad Steiner took 12 years to complete a montage cycle set to the late Leslie Scalapino’s most celebrated poem, way—a sprawling book-length odyssey of shardlike urban impressions, fraught with obliquely felt social and sexual tensions.”
Seattle. In the Stranger, Charles Mudede tells the story behind the reopening of the Egyptian, the “most loved movie theater in town,” and the staff picks out some of the best films screening there this month.
Toronto. Godard Forever: Part Two, 1968-2014 opens today at TIFF Cinematheque and runs through December 22. Click here and then “Programmer’s Essay” for James Quandt: “Never easy to see, the thorny films Godard made with the Dziga Vertov collective have all but disappeared; the numerous video works have had limited circulation; and even the celebrated films of Godard’s so-called ‘transcendental’ period have either gone undistributed in Canada or have disappeared after brief exhibition. It is a grave irony that the importance of this oeuvre is inverse to its attainability (and hence renown); as Richard Brody wrote in The New Yorker, ‘it’s as if American museums and galleries were to show nothing of Picasso after Cubism.’ Suffice it to say, then, that the second season of our Godard retrospective—which marshals material from dozens of sources in Europe and North America—affords audiences the rarest of opportunities.”
Billy Wilder in 1986
Paris. “Phil Karlson is known for a handful of crime films he made in the 50s,” writes Bill Krohn at Kino Slang. “That is a tribute to the strength of those films and a disservice to the director, who made over 50 features and won two Emmys for his television work, so the French Cinematheque is putting on the first comprehensive Karlson retrospective ever.” Today through November 22.
And the Camera Japan Festival is on in Rotterdam through Sunday before moving on to Amsterdam.
IN THE WORKS
“Ben Affleck is being lined up for the lead in The Accountant, a thriller that may finally be coming out of development hell,” reports Ben Beaumont-Thomas for the Guardian. “Concerning an accountant who moonlights as an assassin, it has been knocking around since 2011, when Bill Dubuque’s script was included on the Black List of most anticipated screenplays. At one point Will Smith was lined up to star, and both Mel Gibson and the Coen brothers to direct. Now Gavin O’Connor is being mooted for the project, who directed Warrior as well as taking over from Lynne Ramsey on the troubled Jane Got a Gun.”
“‘I tried to sign up for Netflix but this happened instead…,’ Adam Sandler tweeted on October 1st, directing his million-plus followers to an announcement about the biggest production deal Netflix has made to date,” reports Daniel Kreps for Rolling Stone. “Weeks after the streaming service landed the new sitcom by Funny People director Judd Apatow, that film’s star Sandler has inked an agreement with Netflix that will bring four new feature films exclusively to its customers. Sandler will star in each of the films.”
Listening (29’43”). On the new DVD Is the New Vinyl podcast, Aaron Hillis talks with Zoe Kazan about See You Next Tuesday, with Nicolas Winding Refn about The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and with Damien Chazelle about Nicolas Philibert‘s To Have and to Be (2002).
Meantime, most of the entries on films screening at the New York Film Festival, indexed here, are being updated nearly daily. Especially the two on Gone Girl and The Blue Room, as they’re opening in theaters this weekend. Keep an eye, too, on the entry on Godard’s Goodbye to Language—and don’t forget to check in now and again on Also Like Life: The Films of Hou Hsiao-hsien.