Latest Features

New to Streaming: ‘A Most Wanted Man,’ ‘Dr. Caligari,’ ‘Land Ho!,’ ’22 Jump Street,’ ‘Snowpiercer,’ and More

Written by TFS Staff, October 31, 2014 at 1:00 pm 

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With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit the interwebs. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below, and shoot over suggestions to @TheFilmStage

22 Jump Street (Phil Lord and Chris Miller)

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There’s not a single frame of Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s 22 Jump Street that isn’t acutely aware of its own status as a lazy, cash-grabbing sequel, but after about a half hour of this pleasingly genial and generously silly comedy, such attempts at self-deprecation just look phony. Despite the excessive references to awkward franchise practices — “We’ve doubled the budget, as if that would double the profit” — and studio interference- — “Do the exact same thing as last time, so everybody’s happy”– the truth about 22 Jump Street is that it’s anything but lazy and it takes the time to make us smile and laugh as it retrieves that admission price from our wallets. – Nathan B. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

A Most Wanted Man (Anton Corbijn)

Anton Corbijn‘s The American is a restrained, absorbing and visually staggering story of an assassin on his final mission, but the marketing sold it as star-powered, edge-of-your-seat thriller. With his follow-up, an adaptation of the John le Carré novel A Most Wanted Man, those expecting the former might be disappointed, as it sways to the latter, resulting in an above-average thriller that could have used a more unconventional visual approach. - Jordan R. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Robert Wiene)

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While there’s a handful of horror films now in theaters, we can’t imagine a better use of one’s time than revisiting (or discovering) one of the genre’s first, and best, entries. Robert Wiene‘s seminal German Expressionist feature The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari recently underwent a digital restoration which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year and now it’s available for free on Fandor for this weekend only. For NYC’ers, it also available on the big screen this weekend. – Jordan R.

Where to Stream: Fandor

Child of God (James Franco)

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What James Franco tries, valiantly, is the equivalent of attempting to novelize Ingmar Bergman’s Persona or Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless. The former is nigh impossible, but the multi-hyphenate took a shot at an equally difficult translation of mediums, adapting William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying into a movie. Persona and As I Lay Dying are so firmly rooted in their specific medium that trying to divorce the story from the setting would ruin the entire aesthetic experience either work is capable of providing. Breathless, by contrast, has a functional narrative and could be seen as just a pulpy gangster send-up, but doing so largely misses the work’s genius — in a certain sense making a perfect comparison for Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God, a book which, as it so happens, is Franco’s latest endeavor. The medium-specificity of each of these four works can be simplified to one thing: syntax. – Forrest C. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino)

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If someone told you Quentin Tarantino’s new film was marked by air-tight direction, razor-sharp dialogue, explosive violence, wonderful performances, perfectly offbeat music cues — and so on, and so on — there may not be a great sense of surprise. Those who’ve already placed themselves in the director’s bandwagon (one, by now, should know where they stand) have, after two decades, fully come to expect as much from the manic film artist. Yet even with his seventh picture, Django Unchained, Tarantino has maintained a capability of expanding his purview, this time out making a rather warm transplant of idiosyncrasies to the western genre. – Nick N. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

Fishing Without Nets (Cutter Hodierne)

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Survival is one of humanity’s most basic instincts, driving one to unspeakable lengths to persevere in the harshest of conditions. Fishing Without Nets, one of this year’s Sundance Film Festival competition dramas, applies this idea to an entire way of life. Expanding his short of the same name that took home a jury prize at the festival two years ago, director Cutter Hodierne explores Somali piracy and the cyclical economic system in place to mixed results with this feature-length version. – Jordan R. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Land Ho! (Aaron Katz, Martha Stephens)

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Following his break-out performance in last year’s restrained Sundance drama This is Martin Bonner, the talented Paul Eenhoorn has returned to the festival with Land Ho!, a lovely, hilarious, and beautifully photographed road trip comedy. While Eenhoorn provides the tender, more reserved half of the duo as Colin, it’s his ex-brother-in-law, Mitch (Earl Lynn Nelson), who steals the show as a foul-mouthed, perpetually horny, pot-smoking, recently retired doctor. - Jordan R. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Snowpiercer (Bong Joon-ho)

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The long stateside wait for Bong Joon-ho‘s Snowpiercer has imbued it with an air of mystery and anticipation that often works against ambitious niche cinema. With the final result, however — a bold and brutally perceptive sci-fi actioner that has some of the same visceral insistence found in Blade Runner and Brazil — anticipation gives way to intoxication. Telling the story of all remaining humanity enclosed on an impossibly long train, barreling through an Earth trapped in an Ice Age, Bong gives us dystopic vision in the form of an uncompromising action roller-coaster. So fastidious is Snowpiercer in its world-building that we even know the specifics of that devastated arctic landscape which sits beyond the train window — as well as the surprising contents of each car — as the down-trodden tail residents fight their way to the front, towards the ominous Sacred Engine. One of the most emotionally exhausting and satisfying films of the year thus far, Snowpiercer also offers a treat with its very distinctive cast, led by a Chris Evans performance that redefines the actor’s talents and makes us consider them anew. - Nathan B. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

Also New to Streaming

Amazon

Into the Storm

Netflix

Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Koolhaus
Rain Man

HBO Go

Banksy Does New York

What are you streaming this weekend?

Discover more titles that are now available to stream.

10 Films to Watch Before Seeing ‘Nightcrawler’

Written by Jordan Raup, October 29, 2014 at 3:30 pm 

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Arriving in theaters this week is Dan Gilroys Nightcrawler, an accomplished debut feature that straddles the line between dark satire and inherently pragmatic portrait of a TMZ-led media landscape. Backed by Jake Gyllenhaal, who’s giving one of his finest performances as the overtly confident loner Lou Bloom, it follows an over-ambitious reporter’s immersion into the Los Angeles nightly news system and simultaneous descent into savagery.

Ahead of the release, we’ve selected ten features that are perceived to be the strongest influences on Nightcrawler, either due to admission by those involved or an apparent connection. Ranging from landmark media satires to the best Los Angeles-set thrillers, check out the rundown below and let us know what you think of the selections. For more on the film, read our review here and see conversations with Gilroy and Gyllenhaal here.

Ace in the Hole (Billy Wilder)

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“Ace in the Hole is a phenomenal movie. One of the all-time dark movies about a journalist who comes across a miner who’s trapped and makes a story about it before he kills the guy. It’s a beautiful, horrible movie, “ Dan Gilroy tells CHUD. Indeed, the Billy Wilder classic might be the earliest inspiration for Nightcrawler, a biting look at the lengths one will go to twist and extract headlines. Jake Gyllenhaal’s Lou Bloom may not be writing articles, but he shares a great deal in common with Kirk Douglas’ Chuck Tatum, for he captures the “facts” through his own depraved lens.

Bringing Out the Dead, The King of Comedy, and Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese)

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Considering its one of his most acclaimed films, the comparisons to Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver are widespread — and certainly apt, with its loner anti-hero central characters — but it’s not the only film from the director that warrants a revisit. At times darkly hilarious, Nightcrawler also borrows from The King of Comedy (a film Gilroy studied while scripting), which equally humanizes its lead, both characters searching to break into an industry from the bottom by any means necessary. There’s also one of the helmer’s most overlooked films, Bringing Out the Dead, which reteamed him with Paul Schrader, and, like Nightcrawler, shows how the burdens of a fast-paced profession dealing with life-or-death situations, albeit on different sides of the coin.

Broadcast News (James L. Brooks)

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Nightcrawler may primarily focus on Jake Gyllenhaal‘s Lou Bloom character, but if Dan Gilroy gave Rene Russo‘s Nina Romina the spotlight, it might look a little closer to what is James L. Brooks‘ finest film, Broadcast News. The sort of love triangle that makes up the crux of the Holly Hunter-led news drama isn’t apparent in Gilroy’s decidedly darker film, but one’s electrifying experience of breaking the news, regardless of its content, is the same. As Brooks’ script displays, it’s an occurrence “better than sex,” an act strongly suggested but never on display in Nightcrawler.

Collateral (Michael Mann)

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Nightcrawler not only captures Los Angeles in a way very few films since Collateral have, but also shares a technical approach with the Michael Mann thriller. For the 2004 film, cinematographers Paul Cameron and Dion Beebe extensively used digital for the night sequences to better capture the available light, then segued to film stock for the interior scenes. When it comes to Nightcrawler, Gilroy tells Indiewire, “That was something where I followed Robert [Elswit]‘s lead. Having many late night conversations with Robert, it’s a crime in many ways that film isn’t being used more because film is a better image overall than any digital image you’re ever going to get. Of course, on the financial side, film costs much more money for lighting and processing and all of this. And because we’re an $8 million film, we had to rely on digital as much as possible and Robert chose digital for night because it soaks up so much available light. But Robert, as a film lover, wanted to use film as much as possible, which made sense for our daytime shots. The image quality was just beautiful.”

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Recommended Discs & Deals of the Week: Jacques Tati, ‘The Vanishing,’ Criterion Horror, and More

Written by TFS Staff, October 28, 2014 at 3:00 pm 

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Every week we dive into the cream of the crop when it comes to home releases, including Blu-ray and DVDs, as well as recommended deals of the week. If we were provided screener copies, we’ll have our own write-up, but if that’s not the case, one can find official descriptions from the distributors. Check out our rundown below and return every Tuesday for the best films one can take home. Note that if you’re looking to support the site, every purchase you make through the links below helps us and is greatly appreciated.

The Complete Jacques Tati

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Perhaps their finest release of the year (alongside that Jacques Demy set), today The Criterion Collection debuts The Complete Jacques Tati, a 12- disc collection featuring Jour de fête, Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday, Mon oncle, Playtime, Trafic, and Parade. With all the features restored, along with a batch of shorts, it’s a worthy release to honor the ambitious director (with that term both applied to his visuals and style of nearly mute comedy). The additional extras are too numerous to highlight here, but check out Criterion’s official site and if you don’t have the Benjamin to pick it up now, it makes for a mighty fine top spot on the holiday wish-list. – Jordan R.

The Vanishing (George Sluizer)

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Also on The Criterion Collection his week is the Blu-ray upgrade of George Sluizer‘s incredibly chilling The Vanishing. Named the most “horrifying film that I’ve ever seen” by Stanley Kubrick, I’d have to agree with the sentiment as we follow a man’s extensive search for his missing girlfriend. Special features might not be as notable as other releases – interviews with Sluizer, Johanna ter Steege, and a Scott Foundas essay — but as we approach Halloween, this mystery thriller is bound to be scary that any other potential offering. – Jordan R.

Also Available This Week

Begin Again (review)
Child of God (review)
Deliver Us from Evil (review)
Life of Crime
Wish I Was Here (review)

Recommended Deals of the Week

(Note: new additions are in red)

Top Deal: Rosemary’s Baby, House, Videodrome, Badlands and more Criterion titles are less than $20 this week. See them all here.

The American (Blu-ray) – $6.00

Amelie (Blu-ray) - $6.94

An Education (Blu-ray) -$7.57

Animal Kingdom (Blu-ray) – $7.08

Beginners (Blu-ray) – $6.91

Beyond the Black Rainbow (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Black Swan (Blu-ray) – $9.49

The Cabin in the Woods (Blu-ray) - $7.92

Casino (Blu-ray) – 8.99

Gangs of New York (Blu-ray) – $7.50

Goodfellas (Blu-ray) – $8.17

Gone Baby Gone (Blu-ray) – $6.00

The Grey (Blu-ray) – $6.96

Headhunters (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Heat (Blu-ray) – $8.48

High Plains Drifter (Blu-ray) – $9.95

The Host (Blu-ray) – $8.99

Hot Fuzz (Blu-ray) – $7.88

Hugo (Blu-ray) – $6.99

Inglorious Basterds (Blu-ray) – $9.99

I Saw the Devil (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Jackie Brown (Blu-ray) – $5.00

Knocked Up (Blu-ray) – $8.63

Let the Right One In (Blu-ray) – $9.49

Lost In Translation (Blu-ray) – $9.63

MacGruber (Blu-ray) – $6.64

Melancholia (Blu-ray) – $10.42

No Country For Old Men (Blu-ray) – $4.98

Observe & Report (Blu-ray) – $4.88

Office Space (Blu-ray) – $8.99

Persepolis (Blu-ray) – $7.79

Public Enemies (Blu-ray) – $9.10

Reality Bites (Blu-ray) – $8.99

The Secret In Their Eyes (Blu-ray) – $7.76

Seven (Blu-ray) – $7.50

sex, lies, and videotape (Blu-ray) – $7.18

The Shining (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Shutter Island (Blu-ray) – $7.99

A Single Man (Blu-ray) – $7.41

Skyfall (Blu-ray) – $9.96

The Spectacular Now (Blu-ray) – $12.74

Spring Breakers (Blu-ray) - $9.96

Source Code (Blu-ray) – $5.00

Synecdoche, New York (Blu-ray) – $7.99

There Will Be Blood (Blu-ray) – $8.69

Vanilla Sky (Blu-ray pre-order) – $8.61

Volver (Blu-ray) – $7.57

Waltz With Bashir (Blu-ray) – $7.07

The Wrestler (Blu-ray) – $6.99

Zodiac (Blu-ray) – $6.99

What are you picking up this week?

New to Streaming: ‘Listen Up Philip,’ ‘Jersey Boys,’ ‘We are the Best!,’ ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2,’ and More

Written by TFS Staff, October 24, 2014 at 2:00 pm 

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With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit the interwebs. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below, and shoot over suggestions to @TheFilmStage

A Brony Tale (Brent Hodge)

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Like many, I learn about my subcultures from The Howard Stern Show, which had sent a correspondent to cover this year’s BronyCon, an annual fan convention for followers of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. We learn the followers skew male and heterosexual with a median age of 21, although Bronies exist everywhere and may, in fact, include your next-door neighbor. A Brony Tale, a new documentary, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, attempts to unpack this subculture through the lens of filmmaker Brent Hodge’s friend Ashleigh Ball. A voice actress and musician, Ball is a star in this community as she gives life to essential characters on the show, including Applejack and Rainbow Dash, who is responsible for a common catch phrase in the community after she tells a fellow pony to make something “20% cooler.” - John F. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

Canopy (Aaron Wilson)

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It’s September 9th, 1942 and the Japanese have already invaded Singapore three years before the first atomic bomb will shake them with devastating force and ultimately close out one of the ugliest chapters in Earth’s history. Through an alliance that has held strong even today—this film is a co-production between the two countries—Australia was one of the nations that came to the Southeast Asian island’s assistance in a futile attempt to wrest back control. A British colony at the time of its capture, Singapore retained forces on the ground and in the sky as battles raged on for the final piece to Japan’s Malaysian conquest. Covered in jungle and swarming with troops, survival was hardly a guarantee like with everywhere else caught inside the chaos. Rather than show us another bloody WWII massacre, however, writer/director Aaron Wilson decides to breathe fresh air into the war drama with the virtually non-verbal Canopy. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (Dean Deblois)

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What was so refreshing about Dreamworks original How To Train Your Dragon is that it offered up a stirring combination of grand spectacle and gentle imagination, working together to deliver a family-friendly adventure that expanded beyond the aims of a simple kid’s film. The relationship between Viking teen Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his beguiling dragon cohort Toothless was the backbone of the film, brought to vivid life by a bevy of animation artists and presented as a realistic bonding between human and animal. Directors Chris Sanders and Dean Debois used that team-up to disrupt the world they created—a secluded Nordic rock where Vikings and dragons battled in endless stalemate—while establishing a fearless sense of escapism in the movie itself. The good news is that How To Train Your Dragon 2 has been created in the same spirit, and although it chases after the elusive call of franchise, it still remembers to be wonderful where it counts. – Nathan B. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Francis Lawrence)

She may live in a dystopic nightmare where the reigning government wants her head on a plate, but Katniss Everdeen is one fortunate girl. She emerged from the titular and brutal Hunger Games unscathed, outwitting the game-makers and saving her friend Peeta in the process. More than that, she has managed a neat hat trick in our world, too. The first adaptation of her story was actually good entertainment, and the sequel is even better than that. No one expected it, but Catching Fire turns out to be the best of last year’s fantasy blockbusters, weaving in compelling ideas amidst entertainment that delivers on all counts. - Nathan B. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix, Amazon Prime

Jersey Boys (Clint Eastwood)

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On the one hand, Clint Eastwood‘s stage-to-screen adaptation of Jersey Boys is an exercise in Broadway fidelity: rather than re-cast the project with established movie-star personalities, the director chose to fill out three of the four primary roles with actors who performed in the show’s original Broadway tour. Furthermore, according to an interview with Scott Foundas, Eastwood passed over a screenplay from veteran writer John Logan (Rango, Skyfall) in favor of a draft penned by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, who authored the original Broadway book. (Unlike Logan’s draft, Brickman and Elice’s script retains the fourth-wall-breaking gambit of the stage show.) On the other hand, Eastwood’s clear intention to abide by the stage show is undermined by the implementation of his late-period aesthetic, which sacrifices bright, bursting lights and concert-show spirit for musky rooms and cinematographer Tom Stern‘s arsenal of classical shadows, dusty greys, and deep browns. – Danny K. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Liberal Arts (Josh Radnor)

Debuting to a strong response at Sundance (especially during the premiere I attended), it’s a wonder why Josh Radnor‘s Liberal Arts wasn’t at least a mild success. While his college-set tale of a peculiar relationship didn’t break any new boundaries, the crowdpleaser featured an excellent cast (including Elizabeth Olsen, Allison Janney, Richard Jenkins and a hilarious cameo from Zac Efron), yet it came and went a few years without a peep. While I question why IFC Films didn’t initially go the VOD route with this one, it’s now available on Netflix to stream. - Jordan R.

Where to Stream: Netflix

Listen Up Philip (Alex Ross Perry)

When a film follows a despicable character acting out despicable things, it takes a careful balance in both the direction and the writing to give an audience any desire to explore his or her life. Thankfully, Listen Up Philip, the latest drama from The Color Wheel writer-director Alex Ross Perry, excels in both categories. We open on our title character, played by Jason Schwartzman, gloating about his new novel to an ex-girlfriend and, then, attacking a handicapped former friend on his life choices, all while Eric Bogosian‘s inimitable narration provides another perspective to our protagonist’s narcissistic worldview. – Jordan R. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

V/H/S: Viral (Various)

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With a seemingly economical and swift production, the first V/H/S was an unexpected hit, and has now spawned two sequels. As short films usual have such a small amount of exposure, the loosely-linked anthology concept is ideal for the genre. It’s challenging to the filmmakers and intriguing for viewers and, for better or worse, we have some interesting ideas at play. For the third film, V/H/S Viral, the “found-footage” emphasis has been mostly dropped via the throughline between them all. Like any franchise, a third outing is difficult to pull off yet, and such is the case here, with few ample rewards to be found. – Bill G. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

We are the Best! (Lukas Moodysson)

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The opening title card to Lukas Moodysson’s joyous and vibrant film We Are the Best! reads, “Stockholm 1982″ while early scenes consist of idle discussions about taxes and arguments about the laundry. These opening minutes suggest that “Stockholm 1982” is a city populated with older residents entrenched in rigorous domesticity. Bobo (Mira Barkhammar) and Klara (Mira Grosin), our thirteen-year-old heroines, want no part of this world. They sport botched mohawks and hide their femininity behind thick glasses and baggy clothing. Their greatest act of defiance is their affinity for punk music — a trend, they are promptly reminded by their angelic looking classmate, that’s long been dead. – Zade C. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

Also New to Streaming

Amazon

Deliver Us from Evil
Exists
Hercules
Mall
Sex Tape
Stonehearst Asylum

Netflix

Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory
Metro Manila

What are you streaming this weekend?

Discover more titles that are now available to stream.

NYC Weekend Watch: ‘Bride of Frankenstein,’ ‘Caligari,’ ‘Repulsion,’ ‘Abbott and Costello’ & More

Written by Nick Newman, October 24, 2014 at 12:00 pm 

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Since any New York City cinephile has a nearly suffocating wealth of theatrical options, we figured it’d be best to compile some of the more worthwhile repertory showings into one handy list. Displayed below are a few of the city’s most reliable theaters and links to screenings of their weekend offerings — films you’re not likely to see in a theater again anytime soon, and many of which are, also, on 35mm. If you have a chance to attend any of these, we’re of the mind that it’s time extremely well-spent.

The Film Society of Lincoln Center

The entirety of Krzysztof Kieślowski‘s The Decalogue screens this weekend.

Museum of the Moving Image

“See It Big! Horror” has a Friday showing of The Exorcist, a Saturday presentation of Nosferatu, and Sunday screenings of The Phantom of the Opera, The Bride of Frankenstein, and Night of the Living Dead.

the-cabinet-of-dr-caligariMuseum of Modern Art

The 12th iteration of MoMA’s amazing “To Save and Project” series begins with Dwan, Welles, Petri, and Robert Wiene.

Nitehawk Cinema

A print of Suspiria is scheduled to screen at midnight on Friday and Saturday. Although tickets are currently sold-out, standby may be available. The same series, “Final Girl,” brings a 35mm Repulsion showing, this noon, on Saturday and Sunday, brunch included.

The same days and time as Polanski‘s picture offers the work of Roger Corman, with Bucket of Blood available in all its celluloid glory.

pp122012_vertigoFilm Forum

Restorations of Vertigo and Hiroshima Mon Amour are playing.

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein and a 3D 3 Stooges short play on Sunday morning.

Anthology Film Archives

Industrial Terror” and Matías Piñeiro‘s “Bridges Over Argentinian Cinema are the weekend’s main offerings.

BAMCinématek

“Puppets on Film” brings The Dark Crystal and The Thing on Friday, a shorts program, Attack the Block, and Return of the Jedi this Saturday, and Davy Jones’ Locker on Sunday.

IFC Center

Midnight (or near-midnight) showings of Dazed and Confused, El Topo, and RoboCop are available.

A 35mm presentation of Wyler‘s Wuthering Heights screens before noon.

What are you watching this weekend?

Recommended Discs & Deals of the Week: ‘Snowpiercer,’ ‘La Dolce Vita,’ ‘Los Angeles Plays Itself,’ and More

Written by Jordan Raup, October 21, 2014 at 12:30 pm 

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Every week we dive into the cream of the crop when it comes to home releases, including Blu-ray and DVDs, as well as recommended deals of the week. If we were provided screener copies, we’ll have our own write-up, but if that’s not the case, one can find official descriptions from the distributors. Check out our rundown below and return every Tuesday for the best films one can take home. Note that if you’re looking to support the site, every purchase you make through the links below helps us and is greatly appreciated.

F for Fake (Orson Welles)

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Getting a Blu-ray upgrade this week on The Criterion Collection is Orson Welles‘ landmark F for Fake, a work that blends all lines of reality to deliver the kind of work that could only come from its creator. Packed full of extras, the notable inclusions are commentary from Oja Kodar and Gary Graver, as well as an extensive interview with Welles and a documentary on his many unfinished projects. There’s also a documentary on Elmyr de Hory, who is heavily featured in the film. Perhaps moreso than any other films from the director, it’s the one you’ll want to immediately rewatch after a first view.

La Dolce Vita (Federico Fellini)

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Also on The Criterion Collection his week is, finally, Federico Fellini‘s Palme d’Or-winning drama La Dolce Vita. One of the Italian filmmaker’s most successful and accomplished films, the nearly three-hour masterpiece follows his frequent collaborator Marcello Mastroianni as a journalist who spends a week assessing his craft and desires in Rome. Featuring interviews with both Fellini and Mastroianni, the must-own release also includes a look at production assets from the film, a video essay, and much more.

Los Angeles Plays Itself (Thom Andersen)

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Once thought to never see a release due to rights issues, the fine folks at Cinema Guild picked up Thom Andersen‘s 2003 documentary Los Angeles Plays Itself for a release and it’s now available for the first time on home release, on Blu-ray no less. Tracking the history of Los Angeles entirely through films, the nearly three-hour documentary has been an underground gem in the last decade, but will hopefully rise in stature in the coming years due to the release. The release includes Andersen’s recent short The Tony Longo Trilogy as well as essays about the film.

Snowpiercer (Bong Joon-ho)

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In a sea of vapid summer blockbusters, Snowpiercer was one of the more acutely engineered thrillers of the season. Stock full of intriguing ideas and a host of memorable characters, it’s one we imagine we’ll be revisiting many times and today the Blu-ray arrives. The release features a handful of worthwhile behind-the-scenes videos (notably an hour-long look at the source material), but the most interesting of features is an insightful critics audio commentary hosted by Scott Weinberg, James Rocchi, William Goss, Drew McWeeny, Jennifer Yamato, and Peter S. Hall. While the audio quality is up-and-down, as Weinberg talks with each guest about different aspects, it’s a compelling experiment I’d welcome in future releases.

Recommended Deals of the Week

(Note: new additions are in red)

The American (Blu-ray) – $5.80

Amelie (Blu-ray) - $6.94

An Education (Blu-ray) -$7.57

Animal Kingdom (Blu-ray) – $7.08

Beginners (Blu-ray) – $6.89

Beyond the Black Rainbow (Blu-ray) – $9.99

The Cabin in the Woods (Blu-ray) - $7.92

Casino (Blu-ray) – $9.68

Gangs of New York (Blu-ray) – $7.88

Goodfellas (Blu-ray) – $8.56

Gone Baby Gone (Blu-ray) – $6.00

The Grey (Blu-ray) – $6.96

Hanna (Blu-ray) – $7.88

Headhunters (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Heat (Blu-ray) – $8.48

High Plains Drifter (Blu-ray) – $9.96

Hot Fuzz (Blu-ray) – $9.96

Hugo (Blu-ray) – $8.99

Inglorious Basterds (Blu-ray) – $9.99

I Saw the Devil (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Jackie Brown (Blu-ray) – $8.99

Knocked Up (Blu-ray) – $9.23

Lost In Translation (Blu-ray) – $9.63

MacGruber (Blu-ray) – $8.64

Melancholia (Blu-ray) – $10.49

Never Let Me Go (Blu-ray) – $7.57

No Country For Old Men (Blu-ray) – $4.50

Observe & Report (Blu-ray) – $6.74

Office Space (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Pain & Gain (Blu-ray) – $9.27

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Persepolis (Blu-ray) – $7.93

Public Enemies (Blu-ray) – $9.10

Reality Bites (Blu-ray) – $9.96

The Secret In Their Eyes (Blu-ray) – $7.98

Seven (Blu-ray) – $7.50

sex, lies, and videotape (Blu-ray) – $7.25

Shutter Island (Blu-ray) – $7.99

A Single Man (Blu-ray) – $7.41

Skyfall (Blu-ray) – $9.96

The Spectacular Now (Blu-ray) – $12.74

Spring Breakers (Blu-ray) - $9.96

Source Code (Blu-ray) – $5.00

Synecdoche, New York (Blu-ray) – $7.99

There Will Be Blood (Blu-ray) – $8.98

Vanilla Sky (Blu-ray pre-order) – $8.62

Volver (Blu-ray) – $7.99

Waltz With Bashir (Blu-ray) – $7.07

The Wrestler (Blu-ray) – $7.34

Zodiac (Blu-ray) – $6.99

What are you picking up this week?

The Dance of Reality in Steven Spielberg’s ‘1941’

Written by Ethan Vestby, October 20, 2014 at 2:09 pm 

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Even 38 years later, you’d think that simply the quick subtitle of “December 13th, 1941” would be enough for most audience members to be reminded that it’s the week after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and, furthermore, the subsequent entry of the United States into World War II. Yet, as told through an intertitle, even semi-recent history is being made over to resemble something closer to Star Wars. Given the ensuing (and strange) sight of World War II being fought in Los Angeles instead of a cold German winter, a rubble-strewn Italy, or a Pacific Island, we’re only further removed from a notion of the real and plucked into fantasy.

Not helping matters is an enormous ensemble, including famed Army General Stilwell trying his best to contain a public on the verge of hysteria over another possible Japanese attack, the attempted wooing of his plane-obsessed secretary by a horny Captain, the conflict between a serviceman and a dishwasher — who share both strikingly thick eyebrows and an interest in the same girl — an invading Japanese sub containing both Toshiro Mifune and Christopher Lee, the installation of an anti-aircraft gun in the backyard of a Santa Monica home, and, last but not least, the permanently hungover John Belushi as rogue pilot Captain Bill Kelso, about whom we know all that’s necessary when a character introduction ends in him unintentionally blowing up a gas station.

While this sounds more like one of the genre-plays of Robert Altman — and it does, in fact, share at least the Mad Magazine diaspora of The Long Goodbye1941 is instead the work of a far different luminary of ’70s American cinema: Steven Spielberg. The abnormality of this film within his career, being considered by more than a few as his first outright failure, places it amongst New Hollywood flops such as Scorsese’s New York, New York, Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate and Coppola’s One from the Heart. As the widely perpetuated history goes, each of these pictures failed to connect with the public on account of the deadly mix between homage and pomposity — in so many words, the creator’s ambitions getting in the way of proper creative flow. Just how much this ego was afforded by success becomes visible in the fact that 1941 opens with a direct reference to Jaws, with the substituting of a shark for a Japanese submarine. Even the populist of the New Hollywood group wasn’t innocent.

Yet when assessing an American cinema quite comfortable making dramatic narratives out of the Vietnam war (as evidenced by the Academy Awards thrown toward The Deer Hunter and Coming Home), 1941’s comparatively childish blockbuster tendencies certainly made it a target. Even in his first World War II drama, Empire of the Sun, Spielberg couldn’t totally escape certain labels as Hollywood’s great boy who never grew up, for it still had war seen through a child’s perspective. But to differentiate the “juvenilia” of Empire of the Sun and 1941’s is easy: whereas the beginning of the former film sees its child protagonist separated from his parents because he dropped a toy, the latter is equivalent to a very hyperactive little boy with likely a few too many trinkets at his disposal. Consider this proverbial child kin with the film’s only instance of kids, the brood of Ned Beatty’s hopeless middle-class patriot: laying traps for unsuspecting adults or pickpocketing sleeping soldiers the morning after the film’s climactic battle, and likely one of the very few examples of malicious children within Spielberg’s oeuvre.

The next film he’d make that would draw similar ire for its chaotic nature would, of course, be Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, the notorious sequel that brought its predecessor’s darker implications to the forefront, chiefly in terms of violence. For every claim of Spielberg’s empathy, there still lies his mean-spirited tendencies. Outside of a disaster-obsessed mind à la Roland Emmerich, what director can claim to have killed as many onscreen as he? After counting every massacred henchman in an Indiana Jones picture, dino or shark chow in a monster classic, or gunned-down faceless soldier in a war epic, Spielberg must seem like one of the great nihilists rather than the modern Capra.

The difference with 1941 is that it’s the most outright cartoonish of all his titles, carrying the logic of characters who can’t die no matter how much violence is inflicted their way. In fact, the number of pratfalls suffered by the variety of characters, both central and extraneous, is so great that it almost begins to function as a kind of anti-comedy. Perhaps the reason why the film dedicates an extended amount of time to cutting back to Gen. Stilwell’s awe at a screening of Disney’s Dumbo throughout the middle act is because the world outside him is the rival Looney Tunes: a nightmare of constant slapstick without any of Disney’s usual sentiment. (One of the chief images we see projected is Dumbo and his mother, which reduces Stilwell to tears.)

Yet if everyone’s a grotesque caricature (as further evidenced by the end credits, which features almost every member of the film’s enormous ensemble screaming), then does this America even deserve to defeat the Japanese? Dan Aykroyd’s propaganda-machine soldier Sgt. Tree, with his recurring line about the one thing he hates most (seeing Americans fighting other Americans), articulates the savage irony running throughout the film. It’s likely what caused right-wing icons like John Wayne and Charlton Heston to angrily turn down the role of Stilwell.

His following World War II dramas were considered, by some, a penance for 1941’s supposed mockery of history, be it the starkness of Schindler’s List or assaultive “verisimilitude” of Saving Private Ryan. Yet the so-called “definitive” air of each film’s images are still born out of other works, be it Schindler’s art-house, matter-of-fact black-and-white photography and master-shot-captured violence, or Private Ryan’s classical male weepie / Fuller-esque camaraderie. Perhaps 1941’s advantage over all these films is that its actual theme is images, here channeled to communicate the purported decency of Americans, a fear of the Japanese, or even the pursuit of fame, with a contest reward of a 7-year contract at RKO.

steven_spielbergOne of Spielberg’s protégés (if you dare call him that), Michael Bay, would later do his own iteration on 1941, though instead of a historical farce (which it unintentionally came to be), Pearl Harbor was a stab at the kind of prestige that blockbuster-gone-Oscar directors such as Spielberg and James Cameron had attained. Instead of treating a love triangle as the ultimate symbol of America’s lost glory, Bay’s disingenuously earnest film could’ve benefited from the upfront misanthropy of his Pain & Gain: mocking the idiocy that both fuels and is produced by the conception of the American dream, much in the way of Spielberg’s film.

If Bay was somewhat a victim of his new-millennium-epic requirements, Spielberg similarly got stuck in one-upping his past hits. Case in point: the spectacular jitterbug setpiece — which likely any other director would seem content with having as the climax of their film — evidences that the true conflict of 1941 isn’t between the Americans and the Japanese, but instead the old-fashioned spectacle of the body and motion versus the new kind of machinery provided by folks over at ILM.

That each even have their own respective soundtracks — pop for the former, artillery for the latter — speaks to how Spielberg wished to turn the film into a musical, a genre itself analogous to the action-adventure picture. Just think the set-pieces of a Busby Berkely film, in which the rows of dancing girls often form a greater shape, all while showcasing real human bodies — that’s the kind of spectacle less and less common in the wake of the blockbuster. It seems a bit telling that the aforementioned New Hollywood failures One from the Heart and New York, New York were musicals; even the self-indulgence of Heaven’s Gate is signaled pretty early on by an extended dance sequence containing hundreds of extras.

In a 1980 interview with Chris Hodenfield that essentially functions as a post-mortem of 1941, Spielberg confesses to both his sizable ego after the success of Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, as well as his occasionally juvenile sensibilities. Yet there comes a point in the conversation where he begins discussing his favorite films, one being Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove. In articulating that film’s effectiveness, he pointed to how particular it was to the time: that while waiting in line to see it in its original theatrical run, his sister came to give him a letter from the Selective Service to report for his physical.

Whereas Spielberg admitted that, with 1941 and being a baby boomer, all the images he was confronting were out of past films, not the first-hand paranoia of war and annihilation that Kubrick faced. This perhaps points to why War of the Worlds remains one of his most dramatically effective films: the usual Spielberg sight of extraterrestrials instead recalls the images of 9/11, which were so very fresh in the minds of most American. This evidences the seeming paradox of Spielberg, who more often attains his most-personal vision through “popcorn” films. But if “war is hell” has long held dominion over “war is farce” as the dominant commercial form, one can only hope that the king of Hollywood will bear to indulge his inner-child one more time.

1941 is now available on Blu-ray.

New to Streaming: ‘Camp X-Ray,’ ‘Norte,’ ‘Young Ones,’ ‘Venus in Fur,’ and More

Written by TFS Staff, October 17, 2014 at 1:43 pm 

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With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit the interwebs. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below, and shoot over suggestions to @TheFilmStage

Begin Again (John Carney)

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To answer the former title’s question—Can a Song Save Your Life?—writer/director John Carney says “yes.” A song can save someone from jumping off a subway platform and someone else from the searing emotional pain of being scorned in love. Music in general is an art form that can move us to tears with one simple chord or touchingly real lyric. It alters us in a way that can’t be explained; the same song telling a person there is purpose while the guy standing a foot away might hear nothing. In other words, it’s not the song that does the saving necessarily, but the specific moment in time it comes into contact with its target. A beauty can resonate, reach your heart, and tell you everything is going to be okay. – Jared M. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Breathe In (Drake Doremus)

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In nearly every possible way is Drake Doremus‘ Like Crazy follow-up, Breathe In, a more mature, confident and impressive piece of work. For the first hour at least. Featuring quietly devastating performances from Guy Pearce and Amy Ryan, who play a couple at the bitter end of a 17-year old marriage, Doremus allows his actors to act, slowly letting us into this family that is broken to pieces once foreign exchange student Sophie (Felicity Jones) comes to stay. He and cinematographer John Guleserian let the camera stay put for the most part, a welcome change of pace from the handheld shakery that consumed Like Crazy. It’s a handsomely shot film that makes the very most of its Upstate New York setting. At once dreary and serene, the color tone of the picture very succinctly meshes with the emotional pull going on inside this home. All is wrapped together with a beautiful score from Katie Byron. – Dan M. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

Camp X-Ray (Petter Sattler)

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There’s a noble attempt in Camp X-Ray, written and directed by Peter Sattler, to make a war movie that’s about individuals rather than ideals. Set in Guantanamo Bay, the film is essentially a long conversation between Private Amy Cole (Kristen Stewart) and a GITMO detainee named Ali (Peyman Moaadi). Cole is green, newly transferred to the station. Ali, on the other hand, has been held by the United States for nearly a decade. What begins as a long-form test of Cole’s patience by Ali, who’s already got a history as a uncooperative detainee, slowly morphs into something deeper. – Dan M. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

The Debt (John Madden)

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There is a fantastic film in The Debt. With a director like John Madden behind the camera, it’s a bit surprising that he didn’t churn out something of a higher caliber, especially when there’s plenty of scenes that show signs of a competent, meticulous storyteller at work. And, sure enough, when those scenes play out – a tense train station sequence in particular – they outweigh the film’s less impressive qualities. – Jack G. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

Hours (Eric Heisserer)

Paul Walker, who will forever be remembered as an action star, is an interesting choice to leadEric Heisserer’s Hours, a drama with elements that seem borrowed from an action film. It never revs up into kinetic action movie territory, however, instead remaining a contained, smart dramatic thriller. Walker stars as Nolan, whom we learn very little about despite the film’s flashback structure. What we do learn is that he’s married to the beautiful Abigail (Genesis Rodriguez), whom he met at random when the two strangers accidentally prevented a bank robbery — this and a lot of other would-be action sequences remain off screen. – John F. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

Housebound (Gerard Johnstone)

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Housebound takes the sealed bottle horror genre and waltzes right up to it, telling it that everything you expect, the characters expect as well, and lets things fall where they may. Everyone is immediately on top of their game when the haunted house aspect is revealed, but no one seems particularly good at keeping the bad stuff from happening. Perhaps general ineptitude is where most of the hilarity in director Gerard Johnstone’s newest film comes from, but since when is that anything but funny in spurts? Kylie Bucknell (Morgana O’Reilly) is a 20-year-old rebel that manages to fail at the big details during a heist and is sentenced to house arrest at her mother Miriam’s (Rima Te Wiata) house. That wouldn’t be too bad, but between all of her sudden free time and Miriam’s doting, but gossipy, personality she feels like it might just be apt punishment. – Bill G. (full review)

Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google

Norte, the End of History (Lav Diaz)

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While Lav Diaz’s Norte, the End of History may not be easily classified or explained — it could be summarized in terms of basic narrative trappings, but not as far as intent or accomplishment are concerned — it conjures an intoxicating psychology, transplanting all of its socio-political concerns through the eyes of characters so wholly realistic that we feel we’ve actually met them. Diaz, whose works are known both for their langorous observations of very human systems and their overwhelming attention to spiritual / psychological details, has concieved a work as ambitious as any made by the humanist directors of yester-year. (Kenji Mizoguchi particularly comes to mind.) Drawing some of his inspiration from Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Diaz tells one encompassing story from three essential viewpoints, although the summation of these interspections are more thematic than narrative, introducing us to characters who wind up on different spectrums and on different receiving ends of various social pressures that exist within the Phillipines. The film’s extensive running time — upwards of four hours, and with nary a shot or moment I can imagine cutting — and Diaz’s own distinctive, hypnotic visual style — long master shots and intuitive relocations of space — do make Norte something of a challenge, but it’s been a long time since a filmmaker rewarded with so much in exchange for our patience. - Nathan B.

Where to Stream: iTunes

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‘My Darling Clementine’ Hits Criterion: John Ford as the Great American Poet of Cinema

Written by Peter Labuza, October 16, 2014 at 12:00 pm 

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When considering cinema as poetry, there is Brakhage, who described his own process as an attempt to create poetry, or perhaps Godard, as Kent Jones has discussed; there is the trance-like state of Tarkovsky and the transcendental state of Malick. But even if two of those mentioned beckon from the world of Thoreau, where is the American poet? The one, to quote Whitman, who is “the great individual, fluid as Nature, chaste, affectionate, compassionate, fully armed.” Cinema has gifted us many great individuals, but perhaps not in the way Whitman composed them — a type of American attitude that is once in search of greatness but finds it through modesty, where a handshake can feel cosmic in its scale.

We can engage with symbolic presence in cinema — the fact that the image is not just an image but the image — in any film. But what is it in John Ford’s images, and in his darkest film, My Darling Clementine, that makes it feel like one of the few works of American poetry on film? Like Whitman before him, Ford’s films continually tap into a consciousness that feels distinctly bred out of 250 years of searching of an identity born in constant flux. And thus the paradox of Ford emerges: characters with a slow, mannered type of speech fit for their simple backgrounds and simple desires, but elevated to the status of Great Men and Great Women, made mythic through a mise-en-scene that pictorially destines them, without ever reducing their physical bodies to an iconic parade as Norman Rockwell would do. Instead, Ford’s essential trait is this humility, the fundamental trait of American goodness he would recognize in film after film.

My Darling Clementine, which has been acutely restored for its Criterion Blu-Ray debut, sits at a key moment in the Ford filmography. While known as a filmmaker of Westerns, his sound period had been largely absent of them beyond the one-two punch of Stagecoach and Drums Along the Mohawk in 1939. My Darling Clementine in 1946 would be the first of a dozen Westerns he would then make. It was also his last film in collaboration with Darryl F. Zanuck of 20th Century Fox, who had been a key editor for many of his films, for better and for worse. And most essentially, it was Ford’s second film following the war that had scarred him in many ways. They Were Expendable was his only film to directly address World War II, yet the pains of the war are evident in every Ford film that followed.

While I would hasten to call My Darling Clementine a postwar movie, following the film through its genre interpretations only creates a skeletal form of what made Ford’s poetry. In a reading of the film as a Western, the film follows an individual of justice, Wyatt Earp (Henry Fonda), bringing civility to a town that has none. There’s a good eastern woman, whose name adorns the title (tranquilly embodied by Cathy Downs), contrasted with the Latino-western woman (Linda Darnell) of low moral standards. There is ultimately a promise of civility by way of a half-built church, the scent left by a barber, and a stagecoach interrupting the climatic battle. This is to say, My Darling Clementine has all the makings of what we expect to watch when we view a Western. However, that is not why the film’s mysterious aura feels so haunted compared to the other icons of the genre.

After a long collaboration with veteran cinematographer Joseph August (including the war), John Ford collaborated with Joseph MacDonald on My Darling Clementine. If August had learned much of his work from the silent era of pictures (his 1922 William S. Hart picture Travelin’ On shares a clear relationship to German Expressionism), MacDonald brought a quality of the slowly ubiquitous postwar style of lighting to My Darling Clementine (the DP would bring harder edges to collaborations with Kazan, Fuller, and Hathaway). I would hasten to call Ford’s film a film noir, but there is certainly air of pessimism hangs throughout the film in a way different from the Ford of the pre-war. Doc Holliday (Victor Mature) has ran from the East, hiding a guilty past we can never know. Violence has an impact that feels utterly reprehensible — the edit to the boom of a shotgun in the Clanton home remains one of Ford’s most shocking displays of inhumanity. And while Monument Valley is present, the images are literally darker, as Tag Ghallager notes in his video essay for the Blu-Ray, Day-for-night photography provides a bleak vision of the landscape; the ever present clouds creating a ceiling, denying the infinity of possibility that the Western has so often promised.

Of all the revered auteurs, the ones that still give that word meaning, Ford was respected in part by those who spilled ink along the pages of Cahiers Du Cinema, but rarely the passion given to Hawks, Hitchcock, Ray, and beyond. Perhaps this was part power play — Ford was well respected in the United States, and a four-time Oscar winner — but I’d like to think there’s something quintessentially lost in translation in Ford’s depiction of American life. Again, we return to the moments that stick out in Ford’s films. My mind jumps to Fonda’s slow deliberation of whether to dance with Ms. Clementine, eventually chucking his hat, and the way Downs gives a slightly embarrassed smile for his all too groomed hair. I think of Fonda dancing in his chair like a child to the annoyance of Chihuahua. There is the way Wyatt and Doc speak to each other, using shorthand American lingo, while acknowledging the pauses speak to a deeper resentment. There is the way smoke fills each room with a distinct fill of a lived-in presence, existing independently of any beauty to be foregrounded. And there’s that final handshake between Wyatt and Clementine — a moment only seen in the “pre-release” version on the Blu-Ray (test audiences forced Zanuck to replace it with a gentle kiss) — perhaps a promise for the future, but more likely an acknowledgment of the temporary peace.

Ford’s great moments as poet happened pictorially — within a singular shot rather than the way he edits them into space. For Ford, space is a given, where the dynamic shadows of the landscape form a painterly backdrop (one that drove Manny Farber mad). But it was about bringing these paintings alive through the gestures of his actors, and ones often shot in medium shots, rarely emphasized by the camera. His presentation emphasized a complexity within its own simplicity. T.S. Elliot once remarked that poetry was not “the expression of personality, but an escape from personality.” Perhaps this is what moved Ford away from the auteurs and toward the poets — his presence is felt, but not so fervently as the beloved of Cahiers. His camera simply captured an American ethos succinctly and directly, and a painfully felt one in My Darling Clementine: a yearning for an American myth, though perhaps one lost before it even became legend.

My Darling Clementine is now available on Criterion.

Recommended Discs & Deals of the Week: Steven Spielberg, ‘Venus In Fur,’ ‘Synecdoche,’ and More

Written by TFS Staff, October 14, 2014 at 3:00 pm 

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Every week we dive into the cream of the crop when it comes to home releases, including Blu-ray and DVDs, as well as recommended deals of the week. If we were provided screener copies, we’ll have our own write-up, but if that’s not the case, one can find official descriptions from the distributors. Check out our rundown below and return every Tuesday for the best films one can take home. Note that if you’re looking to support the site, every purchase you make through the links below helps us and is greatly appreciated.

My Darling Clementine (John Ford)

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John Ford takes on the legend of the O.K. Corral shoot-out in this multilayered, exceptionally well-constructed western, one of the director’s very best films. Henry Fonda cuts an iconic figure as Wyatt Earp, the sturdy lawman who sets about the task of shaping up the disorderly Arizona town of Tombstone, and Victor Mature gives the performance of his career as the boozy, tubercular gambler and gunman Doc Holliday. Though initially at cross-purposes, the pair ultimately team up to confront the violent Clanton gang. Affecting and stunningly photographed, My Darling Clementine is a story of the triumph of civilization over the Wild West from American cinema’s consummate mythmaker. – Criterion.com

Steven Spielberg Director’s Collection

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He recently kicked off production his latest feature, and now fans of Steven Spielberg have another reason to celebrate the director. Arriving on Blu-ray today is Universal’s eight-film collection with the notable distinction that it’s the first time that his thrilling debut Duel, his follow-up, the Bonnie and Clyde riff The Sugarland Express, his sprawling comedy 1941, and the sentimental drama Always are available on Blu-ray. Also including Jaws, E.T. and his pair of Jurassic Park films, the special features on the discs are the same found in the stand-alone releases, but as single set, completists will be pleased. Lastly, there’s a 58-page booklet which includes quotes, trivia, storyboards, concept art, behind-the-scenes photos, and more. – Jordan R.

Venus In Fur (Roman Polanski)

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Once again adapting a stage play, Roman Polanski‘s take on Venus In Fur is more playful and cinematic than one might expect after his last feature, Carnage. Featuring committed performances by Mathieu Amalric, and, most strikingly, Emmanuelle Seigner, this back-and-forth, meta tug-of-war is a delightful, sharp tease of a film. If anything, it’s further proof that Polanski is still as lively as ever and has us looking forward to him jumping off the stage with D. Unfortunately IFC Films are only putting out a DVD of his latest feature, but we recommend checking it out nonetheless. – Jordan R.

Rent:

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Recommended Deals of the Week

(Note: new additions are in red)

The American (Blu-ray) – $6.00

Amelie (Blu-ray) - $6.94

Animal Kingdom (Blu-ray) – $7.08

Beginners (Blu-ray) – $6.90

Beyond the Black Rainbow (Blu-ray) – $9.99

The Cabin in the Woods (Blu-ray) - $7.88

Casino (Blu-ray) – $9.68

Drag Me To Hell (Blu-ray) – $8.49

Gangs of New York (Blu-ray) – $7.88

Goodfellas (Blu-ray) – $8.56

Gone Baby Gone (Blu-ray) – $6.00

Gravity (Blu-ray) – $12.00

The Grey (Blu-ray) – $6.96

Hanna (Blu-ray) – $7.88

Headhunters (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Heat (Blu-ray) – $8.48

High Plains Drifter (Blu-ray) – $9.96

Hot Fuzz (Blu-ray) – $9.34

Hugo (Blu-ray) – $9.78

Inglorious Basterds (Blu-ray) – $9.99

I Saw the Devil (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Jackie Brown (Blu-ray) – $5.00

Knocked Up (Blu-ray) – $8.63

Looper (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Lost In Translation (Blu-ray) – $9.63

MacGruber (Blu-ray) – $7.69

Melancholia (Blu-ray) – $10.49

No Country For Old Men (Blu-ray) – $4.50

Observe & Report (Blu-ray) – $6.74

Office Space (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Pain & Gain (Blu-ray) – $9.27

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Persepolis (Blu-ray) – $7.93

Public Enemies (Blu-ray) – $9.10

Reality Bites (Blu-ray) – $9.96

The Secret In Their Eyes (Blu-ray) – $7.94

Seven (Blu-ray) – $7.25

sex, lies, and videotape (Blu-ray) – $7.25

Shutter Island (Blu-ray) – $7.99

A Single Man (Blu-ray) – $7.50

Snowpiercer (Blu-ray pre-order) – $14.95

The Spectacular Now (Blu-ray) – $12.74

Spring Breakers (Blu-ray) - $9.96

Source Code (Blu-ray) – $5.00

Synecdoche, New York (Blu-ray) – $7.99

There Will Be Blood (Blu-ray) – $8.98

Vanilla Sky (Blu-ray pre-order) – $8.62

Waltz With Bashir (Blu-ray) – $6.92

The Wrestler (Blu-ray) – $7.34

What are you picking up this week?

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