I like the fact that the band is still called Sonic Youth, even though they’re all in their 50s. Similarly, there’s the term New Hollywood, which represents a very specific time in which the studio bosses gave free reign to independent-minded, radical filmmakers looking to push the artistic boundaries of film. It is a cinema movement that came out guns blazing in 1967 with Bonnie and Clyde and suffered its first wound from Jaws in 1975, then sank into the mud under its own weight by 1977 with Sorcerer. (Yeah, that’s right, Roy Scheider represents the end of New Hollywood from both directions.)

But these movies still feel “new.”

These were films made by a generation influenced by European Art Cinema, reacting against big studio bloat and, in many cases, taking advantage of new technical advances. There are a hundred books you can read about this movement, and the safest bet it to check out Peter Biskin’s “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls” as a primer.

Like most people my age, New Hollywood is a sweet spot – and it was a real chore to limit myself to just eight underrepresented gems. My initial brainstorm had twenty-five titles that all fit the “obscure” and “great” parameters. Maybe I’ll revisit this column with a Volume II if there are calls for it in the comments. (The people have the power!)

Hats off to Twitter’s @MoviesByBowes for the suggestion. Read More »

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In this age of disgusting financial misdeeds, it’s good to remember the roots of the art of big-time financial cons. So tip your hat to turn of the century shitbag Charles Ponzi, who refined a fraudulent scheme of creating the illusion of short-term gains by leveraging new investment to pay off other investors. He didn’t invent the con, but perpetrated it on a scale that was previously unheard of. The Ponzi scheme is basically a trademark financial con, and is the root of the scamming that led to the 2008 financial meltdown. Bernie Madoff ran basically the largest Ponzi Scheme ever, bilking people out of $21 billion.

And now Milos Forman, whose career has been seemingly close to dormant for a decade (though he’s never been the most prolific director, with three major films in the ’80s and two in the ’90s) is going to direct a film about Charles Ponzi. Read More »

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City Secrets guides have been called “the best literary gift to travelers since the Baedeker and Henry James” by the Financial Times, providing charming travelers’ companions to the world’s most fascinating cities. What made them different than the usual travel guides is that City Secrets offers reflections and discoveries from the authors, artists, and historians who know each city best.

Earlier this year City Secrets released a book titled City Secrets Movies: The Ultimate Insider’s Guide to Cinema’s Hidden Gems, which promises to take an “intimate, insider’s approach to the arts, featuring brief essays and recommendations by esteemed figures in the film industry—including actors, directors, producers, and critics—and other writers and figures in the arts.” Contributors of the book include Wes Anderson, Ken Auletta, Alec Baldwin, Adam Duritz, Milos Forman, John Guare, Arthur Hiller, Anjelica Huston, Barbara Kopple, Sidney Lumet, Simon Schama, Martin Scorsese, and Kenneth Turan, among many other film experts.

Read More »

Milos Forman Says Movie Pirates Are Communists

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At today’s World Copyright Summit, director Milos Forman (One Flew Over The Cukoo’s Nest, Amadeus) blasted individuals who pirate movies via the web, saying they aren’t engaging in democratic or capitalistic enterprise. What they’re “really doing is promoting a communist ideology,” he said. Forman was the keynote speaker at the summit, which (as the name implies) focuses on protecting creators’ rights. Piracy was a huge topic at the event, and Forman blasted the ethos behind it. “Pirates also think everything on the Internet should be free,” he said. “But that is like going into a department store or supermarket, and just because you got a shopping basket for free, everything in the basket should be free, too.” OK, that’s boilerplate (and quite legit) anti-piracy screed. It’s the Communism comment (and the opportunity it affords to mention some of Forman’s rarely discussed older movies) that is interesting. Read More »

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