It's not long now before Films prestige film ceremony announces its nominess for this year. Over the next week we'll run through our potential winners for the five main awards (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Male and Best Supporting Actress). Now obviously these aren't who we think should win but instead who we beleive will be nominated. First up 'Best Supporting Actress'
25 Dec 2009
22 Dec 2009
Stanley Kubrick took nineteen years to make his last three pictures; Terrence Malick waited twenty between making Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line. The seven years Andrew Dominik has waited between releasing Chopper (his memorable debut feature) and The Assassination of Jesse James seems almost paltry in comparison. That it is good enough to warrant him being mentioned with these two greats, however, is in no doubt.
The story of Dieter Dengler has been a source of inspiration to celebrated German film director Werner Herzog for some time. Dengler, a naturalised American from Germany, was a United States Navy pilot during the Vietnam War who was shot down on a secret mission over Laos and held captive in a PoW camp from which he escaped.
19 Dec 2009
A Brief look at five of the films we're dying to see next year. Including trailers, everyone loves trailers right?
After a career spanning over four decades, and box office receipts totaling several billions, Steven Spielberg now occupies a position as one of, if not the most powerful players in the film industry. His films have touched generations, and the indelible images he has brought to the screen have made him one of the most commercially successful filmmakers of all time. In spite of all this though, a cursory glance at his filmography reveals a startling occurrence that plagues nearly all his work. This guy really, really sucks at endings.
Ah Soviet Russia, why is it so many of us admire your rule of tyranny over Eastern Europe. It must be your subtlety, whilst big brother Germany got all the headlines you just sat there quietly in the corner scheming away. It wasn’t till uncle Sam started to notice your growth that things started to go a bit off course.
17 Dec 2009
With all this discussion over films of the decade it’s easy to forget those that stood out this year. With Christmas almost upon us it’s that time of year to reflect over the last 365 days. So click below to see The Last Site On The Left’s films of the year, don’t agree then vote for yours on the right.
15 Dec 2009
The Auteurs in association with Stella Artois, are having something of a French New Wave film festival on thier site. Entitled 7 Days, 7 Classic French Films. If your unfamiliar with the works of Goddard, Truffaut and Demy then this is the perfect place to start. Its all free so check it out. Click below to see a full timetable and the link to watch these great films, online, for free.
10 Dec 2009
As our recent Reviews of the Decade indicated, we have a lot of love for The Dark Knight over here. Ever since the tragic death of Heath Ledger speculation has been rife about what shape the next film in the series will take, especially since the ending of The Dark Knight hinted at a continuation of the Batman/Joker storyline, which obviously is no longer possible. I do not claim to be an expert on the subject of comics, but I do know a lot about Batman. Having devoured all my graphic novels in a post-TDK fugue state, here are some thoughts about possible characters for the next instalment, and potential casting choices.
French Filmmaker Jacques Audiard’s 2005 breakthrough hit The Beat That My Heart Skipped, centered around a young man who tries to find redemption from his criminal life by following the path of his mother and becoming a concert pianist. Lauded by many critics as one of the best foreign language films of the last decade it propelled actor Romain Duris and director Audiard into the forefront of French cinema. Duris has gone on to star alongside Juliette Binoche in Klapisch’s Paris, Russian Dolls and in Honore’s Dans Paris. Meanwhile eager audiences have been anticipating what Audiard would offer with his ‘tricky’ second full length feature. Well after much festival buzz, it’s finally here, and instead of the usual disappointment that comes with these tough follow ups Audiard has out done himself with Un Prophete, a film that continues to depict his fascination with the French criminal underground onto the big screen.
The unwritten rule of sports films is that they should never really be about sport. If a director gets too bogged down in the realities of league points, cup games and tactics, the result tends to be cinematic tedium. Raging Bull is about boxing of course; but it’s also about immigrant life in New York, emotional inarticulacy and family breakdown. Therefore, when I say This Sporting Life isn’t really about rugby league that should be taken as a massive compliment.
Set in rural Yorkshire in the 1960s, the film focuses on Frank Machin, a tough, uncompromising young man struggling to eke out a living as a miner and played, in an Oscar-nominated performance, by Richard Harris. The sporting element of the film takes the form of his burgeoning career as a rugby league player, which affords Frank a respectability and near-celebrity which he is completely unaccustomed to.
It is a genuine tragedy that the name of Sir Run Run Shaw, the 90-year Chinese entrepreneur, filmmaker and media mogul is not more well known throughout the world, as he is a truly fascinating individual. Through his charitable work, patronage of various educational institutions, and establishment of the Shaw Prize, an international award for scientists that has been dubbed the “Nobel Prize of the East” he can certainly be deemed to have contributed more than most to society, but it his cinematic legacy that is most fascinating, particularly how it is still being keenly felt today (Quentin Tarantino used the Shaw Brothers title logo at the start of Kill Bill Vol 1 and even filmed various sequences at Run’s Hong Kong studios, as well as “borrowing” musical cues and the infamous “Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique”). From 1930 to 1987 (Shaw stopped producing films after the death of his wife) the Shaw Brothers studio was a beacon of creativity, producing a unique library of more than 700 films, but it garnered its marvellous reputation thanks to a series of martial arts movies produced during the sixties and seventies that remain some of the finest of all time.
When Fox cruelly cancelled Judd Apatow’s college-based sitcom Undeclared, one of the biggest apparent tragedies was the fate of Jason Segel, who played Lizzie’s deranged ex-boyfriend Eric. While the bulk of the cast went on to find fame in various other Apatow productions (The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up) Segel, one of the starts of the show, appeared to have been left behind to eke out a living on American TV (How I Met Your Mother). Fortunately all that appears to change with the release of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, written by and starring Segel, as this latest burst of smart, witty and emotionally-involving comedy will surely see his career follow a similar trajectory to Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, and the other Apatow alumni who have gone on to find fame.
There are cult movies, and then there are cult movies, and then there’s Eraserhead. This is the daddy of them all, the ultimate midnight movie, and it’s finally been released on a DVD that does it justice. The whole gang is here; Henry, Mary X, The Lady In The Radiator, The Man In The Planet and they’ve never looked better. Seeing it now, in it’s cleaned and remastered format is to truly see it for the first time (and if you haven’t seen it before, what were you doing at university, studying?). I remember reading that David Lynch had been forced to watch an old European DVD copy and had been physically sick after seeing how dusty and scratchy his baby had appeared onscreen. Well the four years he spent restoring the original negative (almost as long as the five years he spent making the film in the first place) where worth every second, as it looks brand new.
As critics were falling over themselves last year to rightly heap praise upon the masterpiece that is There Will Be Blood, the work of John Huston was frequently brought up as a reference point in their reviews. Many saw similarities between Daniel Plainview’s obsessive search for oil and the grizzled gold prospectors of Huston’s 1948 adaptation of The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre, while others thought Huston’s own disturbing turn as the evil Noah Cross in Roman Polanski’s Chinatown was the ultimate inspiration for Plainview; his voice certainly seems to have influenced Daniel Day Lewis profoundly. Few mentioned Wise Blood however, and while it may be one of Huston’s lesser-known films it’s legacy is just as significant as anything else he made.
From Jaws to Nemo by way of The Little Mermaid, for many years now the cinema and the ocean have had a long-standing and mutually beneficial relationship. Under The Sea 3D marks a new chapter in that association with the ascension of IMAX and 3D technology to it’s current position of prominence within the industry, filmmakers now have the opportunity to produce work where the objective is to educate, rather than entertain. Under The Sea 3D, the latest production from veteran underwater filmmaker Howard Hall arrives on-screen with this noblest of intentions, and for the most part, achieves this flawlessly.
Jim Henson, the puppeteer, film director and television producer can genuinely lay claim to a creative legacy that impacted the lives of children worldwide rivalled only by Walt Disney. From The Muppets to Sesame Street, from The Dark Crystal to Fraggle Rock, his magical creations helped to educate and inspire in equal measure. This month one of his most beloved works, the extraordinary fantasy Labyrinth, is released on Blu Ray, and it is a pleasure to report that almost twenty-five years later his perfectly realised creations are as impressive and immersive as ever.
1974 Zaire, Hugh Masekela and Stewart Levine set out to0 organize a music festival that would encapsulate the hugely popular sound of African soul and pop music by combining the most renowned African American artists with those from their homeland. The festival would co-inside with Don King’s title fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, more commonly remembered as The Rumble in the Jungle. It was seen by many as a great cultural showcase to the world off what Africa had to offer.
5 Dec 2009
The Love of Seven Dolls (Paul Gallico)
Originally a short story called ‘The Man Who Hated People’ which was adapted by Hollywood for the film Lili starring Leslie Carron. Following the films success author Paul Gallico decided to expand his story creating The Love of Seven Dolls. Both are very different, but all center around the story of a confusing relationship between a group of friendly puppets and a young woman who is in love with the puppets but is badly treated by the cruel and bitter puppeteer who controls them.
In the second episode of the third season of The Sopranos, Proshai, Livushka, Tony, much to his chagrin, ends up discussing film history with Noah Tannenbaum, an African-American classmate of his daughter at Columbia University. The specific focus of their discussion is James Cagney in The Public Enemy, and the origins of the gangster melodrama, and though Noah gives “the nod to William Wellman”,
3 Dec 2009
With the forthcoming release of Ponyo on the Cliff we thought it may be time to have a look through the Studio Ghibli back catalogue. Described by many as the Disney of Japan, Ghibli films can now be found in any entertainment store thanks mostly to the critical acclaim gained by Spirited Away and its Oscar nomination for best animated feature in 2002.
100. Almost Famous
99. Ghost World
97. Inglorious Basterds
96. Friday Night Lights
95. The Limey
94. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
91. The Pledge
90. Bowling for Columbine
89. Rescue Dawn
88. Infernal Affairs
87. Best In Show
84. The Aviator
83. This Is England
81. House Of Flying Daggers
77. Napoleon Dynamite
76. X Men 2
75. The Three Burials Of Melquiades Estrada
73. A History Of Violence
72. A Scanner Darkly
71. Che: Part One
68. Kill Bill: Vol2
67. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
66. Team America: World Police
65. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call: New Orleans
64. Inland Empire
63. 24 Hour Party People
62. Battle Royale
61. The New World
60. Minority Report
59. Drag Me to Hell
58. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
56. City of God
55. American Splendour
54. Public Enemies
53. 25th Hour
52. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
51. Catch Me if you Can
49. Goodnight & Goodluck
48. Sexy Beast
47. The Motorcycle Diaries
46. Eastern Promises
45. No Direction Home: Bob Dylan
44. The Assasination of Jesse James, by the Coward Robert Ford
42. The Science of Sleep
41. Mystic River
39. The Fountain
38. Kill Bill: Vol1
37. Finding Nemo
36. When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts
35. Amores Perros
33. Road to Perdition
32. The Royal Tenenbaums
30. Captruing the Friedmans
28. O Brother Where Art Thou
25. Punch Drunk Love
24. American Gangster
23. Monsters Inc
22. The School of Rock
21. No Country for Old Men
20. Pans Labyrinth
19. Brokeback Mountain
18. Requiem For a Dream
16. The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou
14. Mulholland Drive
13. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
12. United 93
10. The Prestige
The most meticulously crafted film of the decade. Christopher Nolan is the true heir to Stanley Kubrick’s throne as the most naturally gifted filmmaker alive
9. The Man Who Wasn’t There
Dry cleaning. Was I crazy to be thinking about it? The Coen Brothers undisputed masterpiece.
Any film where a wall covered in excrement becomes a thing of beauty is clearly something special
The best Western since The Wild Bunch
For those of us born too late this was our first exposure to Werner Herzog and was literally a life-changing experience
The perfect Sunday afternoon film. Never before has the obsessive nature of crime investigation been so well articulated. Still dreaming of a David Fincher/James Ellroy collobaration
4. Dead Man’s Shoes
Paddy Considine is a better actor than De Niro ever was. FACT
3. The Dark Knight
The greatest action movie ever made. The most perfect combination of popular filmmaking and artistic expression since Terminator 2
The most dazzlingly original debut of all time
1.There Will Be Blood
What else huh?