Hollywood Reporter Directors’ Roundtable 2012

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Why CASINO ROYALE is the Best James Bond Film

by Michael Neelsen

I was lukewarm on James Bond movies before I saw CASINO ROYALE. I had really enjoyed GOLDENEYE and THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH as an adolescent, but as I grew older I began to grow weary of the over-the-top cornball approach taken by the majority of the films (epitomized by DIE ANOTHER DAY). I had no reason to care about the character of Bond — he’d become too unreal. Too untouchable. Too unlike a human being.

When the rights to Ian Fleming’s first Bond novel, CASINO ROYALE, were finally acquired, the Broccoli family went forward with a plan to re-imagine James Bond in Fleming’s original, realistic image. No invisible cars, no exploding pens. They brought James Bond into the post-9/11 world and turned him into a human being. Continue reading “Why CASINO ROYALE is the Best James Bond Film” »

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SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK Puts Other Romantic Comedies to Shame

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Review by Joe Pudas

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (Russell) | ★★★★

Walking out of SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, it struck me that David O. Russell might not be capable of making a bad film. Unfortunately, Russell is still probably best known for his volatile temper on set – which led to fistfights with George Clooney and screaming matches with Lily Tomlin – rather than his nearly impeccable filmography. After I HEART HUCKABEES (2004), Russell’s brilliant but extremely divisive “existential comedy” that underperformed at the box office, it looked like his career might be on the wane. By 2008, things really looked dire: Russell had gathered an all-star cast for a bizarre political comedy titled NAILED, but after numerous production delays, the project was shut down. Continue reading “SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK Puts Other Romantic Comedies to Shame” »

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On YouTube and the Democratization of Cinema

by Michael Neelsen

“The motion picture has potentialities as a people’s art – when it is controlled by the people and serves their interests. But no such democratization of the art is possible under capitalism.” – John Howard Lawson, 1958

“And, even in the clouds, where formerly ideas and dreams dwelt, they now want to print advertisements – for improved toilets, I suppose.” – Maxim Gorky, 1896

It took me a long time to warm up to YouTube. How could a “professional filmmaker,” as I saw myself, ask to be be taken with any measure of seriousness when placed among Charlie Bit My Finger and The Keyboard Cat in the cyberspace queue?How could the existence of a website primarily composed of (and catering to) tween-generated video blogging and amateur iMovie tributes to everything from Tenacious D to The Secret possibly be good for the future of the moving image? Continue reading “On YouTube and the Democratization of Cinema” »

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#120 : AFI Film Festival 2012

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Joe shares his experiences attending the 2012 AFI Film Festival in Hollywood, including his reviews of the new films ON THE ROAD, THE ABCs OF DEATH, REALITY, ANTIVIRAL, PIETA, THE SAPPHIRES, ROOM 237, THE IMPOSSIBLE and RUST AND BONE.

#120 – AFI Film Festival

[audio http://www.reelfanatics.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/120-afi-film-festival.mp3]

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LINCOLN Gets By Despite Itself

Review by Michael Neelsen

LINCOLN (Spielberg) | ★★★

Steven Spielberg’s new historical drama should not be as watchable as it is. This is one talky movie. Its saving grace is having the most captivating leading man in the business as its star. If any other performer were filling the titular role, this would possibly be the cinematic bore of the year.

Daniel Day-Lewis has forever changed how I think of Lincoln (with some credit due to Spielberg). No longer will I imagine a booming baritone when I see our 16th president’s face on a copper penny. Day-Lewis has been outspoken regarding his Lincoln’s higher-octave voice being an asset when addressing large crowds and the film makes a great case for the theory. Continue reading “LINCOLN Gets By Despite Itself” »

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Script Review: DJANGO UNCHAINED

Review by Michael Neelsen

Spoiler Warning: This is a script review of a film that will not be released in America until December 25, 2012. While I will not give away key plot points or the ending of the film, I will address my overall opinion on the story and its prospects when turned to film.

DJANGO UNCHAINED Screenplay (166 pages)
Draft Dated: April 26, 2011
Written by Quentin Tarantino

If the script is any sign, DJANGO UNCHAINED will be Quentin Tarantino’s best film since KILL BILL VOLUME 2 and his most violent since KILL BILL VOLUME 1. Continue reading “Script Review: DJANGO UNCHAINED” »

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Gores Eats Film : HOLY MOTORS

HOLY MOTORS (Carax) | ★★★★

A man gets out of bed, walks around his room, and stops in front of a wall papered in trees. Suddenly a large metal key appears on his finger. He inserts it into a lock in the wall and proceeds to push open a hidden door. Walking through the passage, the man finds himself in a packed movie theater.

This is the opening scene of Leos Carax’s marvelous new film, Holy Motors, and it perfectly sets the tone for what is about to unfold on screen. Throw realism and logic out the window; you are the moviegoer, this is a movie, and you are about to enter an artificial world of wonder, beauty, love, and fear. Monsieur Oscar, played by the spellbinding Denis Lavant, will be your guide. Continue reading “Gores Eats Film : HOLY MOTORS” »

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Gores Eats Film : SKYFALL

SKYFALL (Mendes) | ★★★½

Sam Mendes’ contribution to the Bond series is the best action film of the year. It is also the best of the Craig Bonds. Most importantly, though, it is the best Bond film in over 40 years.

Given the right material, Mendes can be a top-flight filmmaker. And it is clear from this outing that Eon Productions should bring him back for more. He delivers a crackling combination of storytelling and style to the world of England’s most distinguished spy: exhilarating action sequences; solid pacing; unexpected character depth; sexy imagery. In fact, this is probably the most gorgeously shot Bond picture to date (but that should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with cinematographer Roger Deakins’ other work). Continue reading “Gores Eats Film : SKYFALL” »

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#119 : SKYFALL

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The guys discuss SKYFALL, the new entry into the James Bond film franchise. Also talked about are Jean Renoir’s THE RULES OF THE GAME, SMASHED, the 200th episode of FAMILY GUY and why we’re all growing impatient with the on-again, off-again release of KILL BILL: THE WHOLE BLOODY AFFAIR.

#119 – SKYFALL

[audio http://www.reelfanatics.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/119-skyfall.mp3]

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