Tag Archives: Werner Herzog

The Best Picture Project — Spotlight (2015)

Spotlight (film) poster.jpgDirected by Tom McCarthy

Written By Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer

Starring Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci and Bryan d’Arcy James

In 1976, All The President’s Men competed for Best Picture with Network, Taxi Driver and Bound for Glory and of that group, Bound For Glory is the one I’d argue isn’t a suitable Best Picture winner.  Sure, it’s got the period look, and seems to capture the flavor of the time and place, but ultimately it’s missing that indefinable something a Best Picture winner should have.

The other three films thought – All The President’s Men, Network, Taxi Driver – are completely timeless and any of the three could have, and should have, won.  No surprise, they all lost to the flagship of the Rocky franchise, a film some people consider a ‘classic’, but is one I just don’t get.[1]

Well, while All The President’s Men didn’t win, but at least it can take solace in the fact that 40 years after it’s loss, it’s most direct offspring, Spotlight, scooped the big prize.

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The Best Picture Project — The Life of Emile Zola (1937)

The Life of Emile Zola poster.jpg

Directed by William Dieterle

Screenplay by Norman Reilly Raine; Story and Screenplay by Heinz Herald and Geza Herczeg; based upon the book by Matthew Josephson

Starring Paul Muni, Gloria Holden, Gale Sondergaard and Joseph Schildkraut

The Life of Emile Zola is really two movies in one.

The first is a 25 minute seminar of a film, focusing on the professional life of writer Emile Zola.  It begins with him dirt poor in Paris, proceeds through a whirlwind medley of his greatest hits – books are published, a wife is married, fame is gotten – then settles with him into state of retirement and living off his wealth. Continue reading

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Terse Book Review – Nosferatu, by Paul Monette

08 Notice of Hearing001

Ooh, let’s do a fill in the blank review for this one:  Nosferatu the novelization is to Nosferatu the Werner Herzog movie as Natural Born Killers the novelization is to _____________________ the movie.

Is the answer:

(a) Platoon

(b) Pulp Fiction

(c) Natural Born Killers

(d) None of the above.

Be sure to double check your work.

(As an aside, I happened to stumble across this in John King’s Used Books in Detroit a few months back.  I’d never been there before but given the general jumble of the books in the building, and the fact they have a gajillion books, the hour or so I spent in there before the wife and kids had enough of it, was not nearly long enough to do any real digging.)

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Thank You Internet, or Ti West and the Great Equalization of Movies

A week or so ago I was on the toilet reading an interview with Ti West in Filmmaker Magazine – the toilet is where I do all of my significant magazine reading, and I suspect I’m not alone in this – and was surprised to discover a filmmaker I’d never heard of on the cover of a magazine I had heard of.  Feeling myself to be something of a movie connoisseur and like I’m generally plugged in to what’s happening in cinema, I was amazed how I’d overlooked this particular director, given his relative level of success, and also quite a bit shocked.

That I didn’t know who he was, though, is somewhat beside the point I want to make.  My point revolves around some discussion in the interview of one of West’s earlier films, The House of the Devil, which intrigued me to the extent that I wanted to see it.  Unfortunately, my local video store is basically a hollow shell of what it once was, and perusing the contents of the Redbox  online, I could see there was no copy of this film for rent anywhere within the boxes within fifty miles of my house – not that I’d ever go that far to rent it – so I was basically sitting on a thirst for a film that my rental options could not quench. Continue reading

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What I’m Watching – The Story of Adele H.

Even though I consider myself a bit of a cinephile, it wasn’t really until I got cable and was turned on to the wonders of Turner Classic Movies and the Independent Film Channel that I think I was really exposed to a lot of foreign films.  Or silent films, for that matter.  Sure, I’ve liked German movies – especially by Herzog – and I’d seen The Seven Samurai, but I hadn’t ever seen any films Bergman, Felinni or Truffaut.  While Bergman and Fellini are a bit hit and miss, for my tastes, it was Truffaut who was the real find.  Looking back, I can’t believe what I’ve been missing.  Continue reading

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