Steven Soderbergh followed The Underneath (1995), a superb neo-noir that expertly uses widescreen framing and color photography to its full potential, with Schizopolis(1996), a film that was motivated by this director’s feelings of artistic impotence. Having seen both The Underneath and Schizopolis I find it a little difficult to believe that Soderbergh felt like he needed to rejuvenate his creative juices after the former.The Underneath is one of his best films, it is one of the best neo-noirs from the nineties, and to this day remains one of his more underrated works. Schizopolis is more well-known and seen (thanks to Criterion) but unfortunately it is a stale work that only exists for the director’s own edification. After Schizopolis, Soderbergh reportedly felt rejuvenated and made Out of Sight (1998) which ended his commercial slump so we can all thank the “experimental” Schizopolis for Soderbergh’s commercial and artistic turning point. However, this artistic exercise is far more interesting to think and write than it is to watch. Schizopolis is ultimately more interesting in the abstract than it is in reality
Canonical directors such as Stanley Kubrick and Howard Hawks are easy to laud and credit as masterful filmmakers. Even those new to film can understand their inclusion in the pantheon by looking at the breadth of thematic material they covered, often switching from one genre to another throughout the years without much hint of waning talent. The ability for a director’s signature to stand out no matter the working material was the spark of the American auteurism debate — Kubrick, Hawks, and a legion of other legendary figures posthumously adorn themselves with the title from their thematic eclecticism. If this is a talent to be valued and pronounced as exemplified filmmaking, then what of a figure who not only works within the same genre, but seems to be remaking the same film over and over?
Alexander Payne directed and co-wrote only six films, including Election, About Schmidt, Sideways and TheDescendants, but he’s regarded as one of the best American filmmakers working today. He’s directed some of the best performances from Hollywood’s top actors, including Paul Giamatti, Jack Nicholson, and George Clooney in starring roles, and he and his writing partner Jim Taylor have picked up two Oscars for best adapted screenplay. His new film, Nebraska, stars Bruce Dern, who won the best actor award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.Nebraska adds another strong resonant chapter to Payne’s remarkable filmography, so we thought we should take a look back at his career. Here is our list of his movies in order of least favourite to favourite. Enjoy!
This past week, Lady Gaga hosted a fun, somewhat psychedelic hour of television on ABC; Lady Gaga and The Muppets’ Holiday Special. In many ways the special transported me back to the mid-eighties, when a post Muppet Show troupe of puppets were still dominating all facets of media at the time. Now that The Muppets are successfully making a comeback, this led me to reminisce about the numerous Muppet holiday films over the years and question which one is my favorite.
Chances are, if you’re interested in seeing The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, you’ve done it already, given the fanaticism levels and the insane piles of dough the movie brought in over the weekend. So Ricky, Josh and Simon figured it’s fair game to dive right into with a totally spoilerytake on the film – you’ve been warned! Following that, a take on Peter Brooks’s 1963 adaptation of the high-school English Lit staple Lord of the Flies.