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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The internet can be a miracle. Years ago, we might have read about the very early work of certain filmmakers — commercials, short films, and so-called ‘industrials,’ aka informative films made for companies or schools — but they were often very difficult to find. We knew about these journeyman periods from various directors, but couldn’t easily view them. Now, when someone finds a rare copy of a famous filmmaker’s early work, it takes only minutes to digitize and upload to YouTube, where it becomes part of public record once more.

Case in point: Modern Football, one of the earliest films made by the late Robert Altman (M.A.S.H., Nashville, Gosford Park).

Altman’s early film work began in the late ’40s, and until the mid-’50s he made dozens of industrials. Modern Football, made in 1951, is reportedly Altman’s second film ever. (Some peg it as his first, but I’ve seen references to another industrial from ’49.)

Few have seen this half-hour movie in the last few decades, but another filmmaker recently found a 16mm among a collection of industrials at a flea market in Kansas City. The film has been uploaded to YouTube, and you can have a look below to get a taste of Altman’s very early work. Read More »

The Academy Awards are this Sunday and if you are anything like me you have a. . .mild interest in watching. Competition in the arts is, lets face it, a little silly. The Descendants and Tree of Life are both about troubled families, and are both brilliant, but how on earth do you compare the two?

But still, but still. . . the films nominated for major categories are almost always worth taking a look at. And some of ‘em may have slipped under your radar. Hence this week’s feature on Recent Oscar Nominees You Probably Haven’t Seen.

To help narrow our focus, I decided to only pick Oscar nominees from the last 20 years. Since I normally select eight titles (I’ve been consistent, in case you haven’t noticed) I decided to do one from the Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Director, Foreign Language and Animation categories. Sorry Best Original and Adapted Screenplays, we’ll get you next time. Read More »

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“Awesome.”

Here at Slashfilm, if a holiday doesn’t go well with movies we just ignore it. Sometimes we’ll remain totally oblivious to a holiday. For others, we won’t even get out of bed, or we’ll just sip on a beer and pretend it’s Slashfilm Day, and it always is. You can’t make a movie party around a holiday for friggin’ trees, or Abraham Lincoln or the [cough] Irish (Far and Away party at your house! I’m Scottish). If a holiday is up to snuff, take Halloween and Christmas for instance, it will go well with a gang of great movies, friends, laffs and drinks. Ladies and Gentlemen, today, March 10th is the International Day of Awesomeness and we here at Slashfilm wholeheartedly endorse the f**ker!

IDA or, NAD (National Awesomeness Day) to jingos, obviously goes great with awesome movies, so we suggest you call up your awesome friends and celebrate awesomeness in film today (or any day. This piece is a little late. My Audi just exploded. Not awesome.) Don’t plan on going to work tomorrow, because you will be radiating awesome and other suspect smells. We’ve compiled a group of movies that are indeed very awesome, but we’ve made sure to take our well-versed awesome readership into account (hey there Sex Man and Billy Mitchell! See ya, Jerry Butler) and include some awesome films that you may have overlooked, as well as a few diehards (hello John Carpenter!).

So, what is awesomeness? The answer to that is awesome. And “awesome” is what so many philosophers, historians, scientists and even Buddha have overlooked in their vast search for the meaning of life. What makes a movie awesome is more complicated.

An awesome movie usually has an intense, direct and quite populist connection between the director and the audience. This connection is comparable to urging a friend on in a pie-eating contest and basking in the glory when s/he wins the contest by 20 pies; except you’re essentially urging your friend (the director and stars) on after they have already succeeded. Make sense? If not, sense isn’t a qualifier for awesome anyhow. There is usually a certain madness and playful (but rarely ironic) awareness present in an awesome film. There is also usually a gung-ho spirit in an awesome film that can be mistaken for the elusive spirit of the geek-jock. Awesome movies are not “movies for guys who like movies” but the latter type of movies can be awesome (Predator, Dirty Harry, Joysticks).

Like porn and Rip Taylor, you know an awesome movie when you see it. What are we telling you for anyhow? Here are some awesome movies in no particular order. Feel free to expose your awesome Slashfilm peers, including Peter and me, to more awesome films in the comments below. Happy IDA/NAD everyone!

Update (2:30 a.m. EST): I will be updating this article with awesome movies for the rest of the day/night/ummm week!

Read More »

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The hypnotic intro to M*A*S*H, alongside China Beach‘s, was forever instilled in my head as a kid, even though I habitually fell asleep beside my dad two minutes into the actual show. And of course, Robert Altman’s 1970 film is one of his classics. Twenty six years later, a retired chemical engineer named Andreas Kyriacou and several other fans on behalf of the Malibu Creek State Park in California (where the original show and movie were filmed) are recreating the set.

The first order of business was to accurately recreate the famous makeshift signpost (below), but TV writer Ken Levine says much more is in store on his blog

“Using original blueprints they are also roping off the areas where the Swamp was, the Mess Tent, etc. The park may eventually institute organized overnight camping trips and videos projected on a bedsheet for campers. But step one is a formal ceremony to commemorate the anniversary of the show’s finale on February 23rd. So this summer, for the first time in 26 years you’ll be able to actually walk around the MASH camp. Bring water, sunscreen, a portable fan, and your favorite memories.”

I wish I could make the trek out there. If any /Film readers do, let us know. We usually reserve Cool Stuff for memorabilia and collectibles, but as the old saying goes, this kind of experience is priceless. This is dedication on the part of film fans, and knowing that the original set was destroyed in a fire back in ’82, it’s a nice bit of commitment on their part.

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 Source Link: Ken Levine / LAT

Eastwood and Scorsese

Clint Eastwood believes that Martin Scorsese will finally claim the Academy Award he so rightfuly deserves, and beat him to the Best Director prize.
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