In this month’s Frames, graphic designer Sam Smith creates a psychedelic new poster for his favorite film of 2013, Spring Breakers, and offers his list of the 10 best movie posters of the year. [Read more…]
ETA: You can now purchase Sam’s design as a limited-edition screenprint here.
“Inside Llewyn Davis, like many Coen brothers movies before it, has been accused by some of being a cruel and unfeeling portrait of a loser. The Coens’ detractors often call them misanthropes and claim they enjoy torturing their characters just to watch them squirm and suffer. But the flawlessness of “Fare The Well” and the unmitigated disaster of Llewyn’s life in the movie’s present suggest a much more personal meaning. Maybe Inside Llewyn Davis is about the Coens nervously imagining life without one another. Instead of a memory of the ’60s, it’s actually a nightmare of a creative partnership’s messy aftermath.” [Read more…]
“Film after film made sure to end at the fireworks factory. Star Trek Into Darkness destroyed much of future San Francisco. Man Of Steel leveled Metropolis. Oz The Great And Powerful made the Emerald City the site of a Two Towers-like siege sequence (albeit one with some witty touches all its own). The White House went down, not once but twice. And on and on and on. Boom, boom, BOOM. It translates and it satisfies.”
Our Year In Review continues with a look at this year’s blockbusters, which spoke the international language of BOOM! [Read more…]
“On the spectrum of holiday moviedom where the warmth of It’s A Wonderful Life stands at one end and the blacker-than-coal comedy of Bad Santa lurks at the other, A Christmas Story is positioned right in the middle. It’s a film that can be appreciated by people who wear Christmas sweaters with no sense of irony, as well as semi-Scrooges who humbug each holiday-party Evite in their inboxes, but still show up, begrudgingly, at every soirée.” [Read more…]
“The problem with American animation in 2013 is that the studios are all emulating the Pixar formula that turned CGI animation into billion-dollar business and respectable art. In some respects, this is a great problem to have. At its best, Pixar has consistently pushed the boundaries of what CGI can do, pioneering new technical breakthroughs every year. And it’s similarly pushed the narrative boundaries of American animation, both in terms of challenging content and in terms of reaching out to adult viewers with sophisticated plots, rather than just lobbing the occasional joke at them, over their children’s heads. Its focus on unusual settings and original stories has given its films much more texture and range than the Disney model. Its attention to complicated emotions, and the sometimes intense situations that provoke them, has pushed American films away from a classical Disney pastel palette. Other studios have gradually come around to Pixar’s base model, with DreamWorks in particular producing films as visually and textually sophisticated as Pixar’s, and Walt Disney Animation Studios (under the wing of Pixar exec John Lasseter) jumping from the thin, forgettable Chicken Little to the winning Tangled in just five years.”
Our Year In Review continues with Tasha Robinson surveying the field of animation in 2013 and finding a maturing medium that’s nonetheless stuck in a rut. [Read more…]
Disney’s 50th-anniversary Blu-ray release of Mary Poppins, which is named Essential Retro, is a reminder that the 1964 musical remains… well, you know. [Read review..]
Our Year In Review begins with a look back at some of the year’s most unexpected, boundary-pushing documentaries, like Act Of Killing (above), which re-defined the form by eschewing the typical talking-heads-and-statistics format. [Read more…]
“That’s part of what makes The Empire Strikes Back and Catching Fire so memorable, and so unusual. Neither is in a rush to get on to the next thing. Neither undercuts the grimness of the preceding sequences in order to push viewers out the door on a more hopeful moment. Neither one cares about pre-selling viewers on a film that won’t be available for a year or three. Neither clutters up the ending with derailing, blunting detail: Luke, silently examining his new robo-hand, doesn’t chatter about it with the medical droid installing it, or explain it to the audience. He and Leia don’t talk out their feelings about Han or Darth Vader. Katniss, still in the dark about most of the details that led her to the film’s final moments, doesn’t ask to have those events filled in or spelled out. She leaves the audience as disoriented in the moment as she is, and she just takes time to think.
Tasha Robinson on why Catching Fire’s ending is the most daring “to be continued” since The Empire Strikes Back. [Read more…]
Every year, Dissolve Editor Scott Tobias makes a checklist of the year’s films that he thinks we should all watch for possible Top 10 consideration. Today, we’re sharing the first part of that list—comprising films released between January and July—with our readers, so that you can play along at home. How many have you seen? [Read more…]