When a filmmaker perfectly aligns the technical and the artistic, we’re reminded of the transformative power of cinema. Lost amid the genre clichés and computer-generated extravaganzas lies an expansive battlefield called ‘the human condition’, where moments of great power co-mingle with insignificant monotony to shape our lives. Boyhooddepicts these moments with startling honesty and grace, bereft of casual judgment or detached irony. It is a meditation on everything and nothing; an acknowledgement that despite the pain and confusion, we’re going to be okay. Because, really, what other choice do we have?
The Tribeca Film Festival, which was founded in 2002 by Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff, in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center – has continued to grow and impress each year with their incredible line-up. Sound On Sight has had the privilege to cover the fest for five years now, and so I asked our writers who attended this year, to list their favourite film. Considering the abundance of riches, this was no easy task. In other words, take note of these films, and put them on your list of essential viewing.
CHRISTINE is the FrightFest Originals debut of London-based artist Dan Mumford,
The Wonder Years is a series built on and steeped in nostalgia: the first images we see and sounds we hear of the series are news footage of events from 1968, set to the The Byrds’ “Turn, Turn, Turn”. But The Wonder Years takes the idea of nostalgia even further: it’s not just a love letter to the Sixties in the suburbs, it is a look back at the trials and tribulations of adolescence, of the singular yet universal experience of being a child perched on the edge of adulthood. Thus, it is a show that appeals to more than just aging Boomers or Gen Xers who may have come of age at or around the same time as Kevin Arnold, the series’ main character – whatever decade it may have taken place, the journey Kevin goes on over the course of the series is a journey of universal touchstones.
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This week on Sordid Cinema, Elijah Wood stars as a celebrated pianist who, five years after a notorious fiasco of a performance, is making a nervous, much-hyped return to the stage in Eugenio Mira’s Hitchcock inspired thriller, The Grand Piano. Afterwards, we discuss Almost Human by first time writer/director Joe Begos. This gory sci-fi / horror hybrid, made for just $50,000, is a throwback to the exploitation midnight movies, maniac massacres, sci-fi films and graphic horror flicks of the 80′s. Finally we also take a look back at the Big Bad Wolves, written and directed by Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado. This brutal, unrelenting Israeli thriller from the filmmaking team behind 2010′s Rabies was named Quentin Tarantino’s favourite film of 2013. We’ll let you know what we think of it. All this and more!
Joel and Ethan Coen have built a reputation as two of the most visionary and idiosyncratic filmmakers working today. Dabbling in Film Noir to screwball comedy, from off-beat indies to big-budget studio pieces, their films are adored by critics and audiences alike. The two-man writer-director-producer-editor team, have long been regarded by cinephiles as masters of the craft. Choosing our favourite Coen Bros. film isn’t an easy task, but we asked our staff to rank their films from favourite to least favourite. The results were interesting, with Fargorunning away with first place, and two of their 16 films not producing enough votes to justify making the cut (The Lady Killers, Intolerable Cruelty). Here are the results. Let us know which is your favourite Coen Bros. film?
It is nearly impossible to describe the feeling that sets in almost instantly while watching Her, the newest directorial effort from the experimental Spike Jonze. Though the opening shots, like those which follow, are stitched together carefully, crisply, and beautifully, it’s not simply a blend of sleek cinematography, editing, and emoting from lead Joaquin Phoenix that sets it apart from other recent mainstream films. There is an invisible, sure-handed guiding force and confidence in those moments, an unerring and ineffable sense that Jonze knows exactly where he’s headed, how each step on this slick, slinky, zig-zagging journey fits with those before and after it. So rarely these days do we get such films, constructed with such clarity, earned confidence, and ambition; what a breath of fresh air, then, to experience Her.
Friday (neo)Noir: ‘Kafka’ sends the titular writer into a hypnotic, labyrinthine chase after nightmares
Steven Soderbergh is a name that carries either plenty of weight or none whatsoever depending on who you talk to. For those who went to see theOcean’s trilogy mostly for its star-studded cast, namely George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon, perhaps the director’s name will fall on deaf ears. For others, the film nerds, Soderbergh is akin to a demi-god. His contributions to modern American cinema in both its mainstream commercial and art house forms are not to be overlooked. Arguably his most interesting works are those for which he chooses to meld star power with his more artistic inclinations, as with The Informant!, Che, and his 1991 oddball neo-noir, Kafka, starring Jeremy Irons and a host of other familiar faces.
Sound On Sight Podcast #370: ‘Stranger By The Lake’ and ‘Blue Is the Warmest Color’ + ‘Dallas Buyers Club’
With the (wider) release of Abdellatif Kekiche’s widely-discussed Blue Is the Warmest Colour (aka La Vie d’Adéle), Ricky, Josh and Simon thought it a good time for a roundup of recent, acclaimed fare that touches on LGBTQ issues and depictions. First up is Alain Guiraudie’s Stranger by the Lake, a noirish thriller that takes place entirely within the open confines of a gay cruising beach; second is the aforementioned Blue; and last (and – spoiler alert! – least), comes Jean-Marc Vallée’s Dallas Buyers Club, which ultimately prompts us to recommend a completely different film, though to find out which one, you’ll just have to listen ’till the bitter end.
‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ is a strong blockbuster, somewhat hindered by familiar franchise sequel cues
With I Am Legend and Constantine in his filmography, two not entirely successful features but both ones with impressive sequences here and there, director Francis Lawrence would seem an adequate fit for a populist sci-fi or fantasy franchise instalment. Established fans of either Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games novels or Gary Ross’ first film adaptation can rest easy regarding Lawrence being given the keys to the remaining films in the series, à la David Yates with the Harry Potter franchise: Catching Fire is a very strong blockbuster, an improvement on its predecessor, and Lawrence’s most consistently effective effort to date.