Posted by: ckckred | February 21, 2015

R. I. P. Bruce Sinofsky

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Tragic news: documentary filmmaker Bruce Sinofsky has passed away at the age of 58 after a fight with diabetes.  Sinofsky was one of the finest documentarians working today.  Alongside fellow director and partner Joe Berlinger, Sinofsky made Paradise Lost, a documentary about the infamous West Memphis Three trial in Arkansas.  Paradise Lost produced two sequels, but it’s also noted for being the first time Metallica allowed their music to be in a movie.  That relationship between the documentarians and the band continued in Some Kind of Monster, dealing with the making of St. Anger as well as the therapy sessions conducted by Phil Towle with James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, and Kirk Hammett.  Other than providing an honest portrayal of its subject matter by examining Jason Newsted’s departure, Napster, and Hetfield’s exit to rehab, Metallica attributed Some Kind of Monster for keeping the bandmates sincere during the time as well as saving the band from splitting up.

By pressing his subjects to be truthful, Sinofsky created some of the most compelling documentaries of the past two decades.  He will be missed.

Posted by: ckckred | February 11, 2015

Jon Stewart to Leave The Daily Show

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For sixteen years, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart has dominated the late-night landscape, bringing a new standard to satirical news.  Stewart’s cutting edge provided dynamite comedy as he viciously attacked cable news outlets like Fox News and CNN as well as political insight during the Bush and Obama presidencies.  Not to mention without The Daily Show, we would have never seen talents such as Stephen Colbert, Steve Carrell, and John Oliver take air.

During yesterday’s taping, Stewart announced that he will be departing The Daily Show and Comedy Central stated that Stewart will leave at the end of the year.  The news is a huge blow to the channel and comedy fans alike, as it’s almost been two months since The Colbert Report concluded.  While Last Week Tonight is certainly as sharp as The Daily Show and The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore has been going at it strong for the past month, Stewart’s exit will leave a huge void in the satirical news genre.  Hopefully Stewart will continue to commentate on politics if he plans to direct another film after 2014’s strong Rosewater.  Whatever the case, I wish Stewart and everyone on the staff of The Daily Show the best of luck.

Posted by: ckckred | January 13, 2015

Editor’s Note: Hiatus and Obligatory Twin Peaks News

Hey everybody,

As you have most likely noticed, over the past couple of months posting has become more and more irregular.  The reason isn’t just my same old excuse that I’m finding less and less time to blog (though that is partially true), but I’ve also been having a bit of a writer’s block (I have unfinished drafts of Inherent Vice and my ten favorite TV series of 2014 sitting on my desktop), plus I’ve been spending more and more of my free-time watching classic X-Files and Simpsons episodes.  Now I hope know you are all disappointed, but I promise to keep blogging if at a slower pace, so this is not the end of Cinematic.

But hey, I’ve also got some good news to tell.  It’s just been announced that Kyle MacLachlan will return for Twin Peaks‘ newest season.  It’s been about twenty-three years since David Lynch’s and MacLachlan’s last collaboration (Fire Walk With Me), so it’s great to see the two work again, plus Twin Peaks wouldn’t be the same without Dale Cooper.  Get ready for some damn good coffee in 2016.

The end of 2014 is approaching and rather than inquiring on what was your favorite movie of the year, I want to ask what was the best film you saw over the past twelve months that didn’t come from 2014?

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The best new-to-me movie that I saw was Ingmar Bergman’s Persona, though I also loved Orson Welles’ The Trial as well.  But what about yourself?

Posted by: ckckred | December 19, 2014

The Colbert Report: “We’ll Meet Again”

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Truthiness (noun)

  1. the quality of seeming or being felt to be true, even if not necessarily true

Back on October 17th in 2005, Stephen Colbert first anointed the word “truthiness” on the first episode of The Colbert Report to satirize the irony of Bush politics. By 2006, both Merriam-Webster and the American Dialect Society recognized truthiness as the word of the year and now just about everyone from newscasters to social media bloggers use truthiness in their day-to-day lives. On Thursday night on the final episode of The Colbert Report, Stephen recalled the impact that truthiness had on the world and by an extent the show’s. Stephen has had a NASA treadmill, a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor, and a hockey team named after him, he had filmed the show in Iraq back in 2009, he began a presidential campaign sponsored by Doritos, he helped support the U. S. Olympic speed skating team in 2010, he skewered George W. Bush at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, he created his own Super PAC, and led the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear with Jon Stewart. More importantly, Colbert managed to complete all of these accomplishments and the show in his character, a right-wing Bill O’Reilly/Sean Hannity-like commentator, and always kept a straight face.  Even during interviews, Stephen maintained his faux blowhard and egomaniacal persona, an almost impossible task.

Read More…

Posted by: ckckred | December 16, 2014

Trailer Analysis: Knight of Cups

Remember a few weeks ago when I criticized trailers for giving away too much and spoiling the film’s essence?  Well, forget I said all of that for a second because Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups now has its own teaser.

In recent years, Malick has grown more prolific in filmmaking, but Knight of Cups has been circling around for a while, searching for a distributor.  The movie will debut in February at the Berlin International Film Festival, so I think we can expect a summer release for the picture.

If the trailer is any indication, Knight of Cups is more dialogue oriented than To The Wonder or The Tree of Life (though it certainly appears very dreamy and surreal, two staples of Malick’s filmography, as well as having an all-star cast that features Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, and Natalie Portman).  I got a very Lynchian vibe from the teaser, and it reminded me much of INLAND EMPIRE.

Anyway, alongside Michael Haneke’s FlashmobKnight of Cups is my most anticipated film of next year.  Expect some beautiful cinematography of natural landscapes and somber narrations in 2015.

Posted by: ckckred | December 14, 2014

Can You Separate the Art from the Artist?

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The last few months have not been a kind time for Bill Cosby.  The legendary comedian has faced serious charges of rape (some dating back over 20 years ago) that have created an enormous publicity disaster.  During this backlash, Hollywood has devoted itself to pulling Cosby out of the mainstream.  Several of his comedy specials and appearances have been cancelled and TV Land has pulled The Cosby Show.

This scenario has happened many times before.  Celebrities who have faced serious criticism for rape (Roman Polanski), incest (Woody Allen), or anti-Semitism (Mel Gibson) have had their past work removed or discredited.  It’s a perfectly natural response to have and one not completely unjustifiable, but is it fair to splatter some films because of the actions or stance a director or actor committed?

I talked about Polanski about a month ago where I stated despite my continuous admiration towards the director, I think he has unfairly escaped proper conviction.  I feel the same way about Allen or Cosby.  Even if the allegations placed upon them aren’t true (which are very unlikely), it’s difficult to look at the two the same way again, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to have to protest Manhattan and Annie Hall or ban The Cosby Show.  While I believe the two should face the justice coming upon them, it’s completely fine to still treasure their past achievements.

Mel Gibson is a different case; as someone who hated Braveheart and The Patriot for their historical inaccuracies, and found The Passion of the Christ to be one of the most deplorable  movies of the 21st century, Gibson, in my opinion, has been unfairly treated by almost everyone and has faced far more exile than Allen or Polanski (ironic since the latter can’t even leave Europe).  What Gibson did certainly was terrible, but are his actions comparable to Allen’s, Polanski’s, or Cosby’s?  Certainly not and while Gibson’s alienation is not completely undeserved, he does deserve more credibility from the general public.

But what do you think?

Posted by: ckckred | December 8, 2014

In Memory of Dimebag Darrell

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While Cinematic is a film blog, my greatest interest alongside movies is metal.  Despite not looking like the typical metalhead, I almost exclusively listen to bands like Sabbath, Metallica, Priest, and Slayer and wear Iron Maiden or Motorhead t-shirts.  And like many other metal fans, Pantera was the band that introduced me to more extreme metal. Initially a Texas glam act, by the 1990s, after listening to many of the thrash acts that dominated the metal scene in the 80s, Pantera stressed itself into becoming the heaviest band possible, delivering some of the strongest and monstrous metal songs there are. Pantera was undeniably a group effort, with Phil Anselmo’s incredible showmanship, Vinnie Paul’s thunderous drumming, and Rex Brown’s pounding bass, but Dimebag Darrell’s stunning riffing and shredding helped turn the band into major superstars.

Inspired by the likes of Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoads and later thrashers such as Kerry King and James Hetfield, Dimebag created some of the best and most memorable riffs in metal history.  While Pantera can’t be fully credited for the creation of groove metal, Dimebag was undoubtedly the master of the genre.  Listen to the ominous “Cementary Gates,” the somber “This Love,” or “Walk,” which captures the entire essence of Pantera’s metal domination in a few short minutes, and you’ll hear the work of a true master, someone who has perfected the guitar to the ultimate extreme.

But other than his extraordinary riffing, Dimebag was also known for being one of the nicest, most down-to-Earth guys in the music business.  Over the past few months, musicians from Dave Grohl to Scott Ian have been talking about their experiences and friendships with Dimebag, from his love of whisky to his easy going nature.  Dimebag’s amicable spirit was a rarity in the serious, egocentric world of rock stars, adding on to his impenetrable legacy.

A decade ago from today, a crazed fan came on stage and shot Dimebag on stage while he was performing with Damageplan, the band he had formed with his brother Vinnie after Pantera broke up.  Despite rumors that Pantera could possibly reunite with Zakk Wylde taking over the guitar work, Dimebag’s death destroyed any chance of the band rejoining.  But the music Pantera made will live on forever, and Dimebag ranks up there with the likes of Tony Iommi as one of the greatest guitarists who ever lived.

Update: Despite saying a few days ago that he would’t be doing anything publicly for Dimebag today, Phil Anselmo wrote a very touching tribute about him over at Rolling Stone.  You can check it out here.

Posted by: ckckred | November 30, 2014

What Do You Think of Trailers?

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This week saw the release of the trailers for the two biggest movies of 2015: the reboots to the Star Wars and Jurassic Park franchises.  Both were preceded by a lot of hype (so much so that there was a trailer for Jurassic World‘s trailer), but they represent one of the biggest trends of movies in recent years: placing a big emphasis on teasers.  Trailers have always been a large part of the film business, but in the Internet age they’ve exploded in popularity due to their increased accessibility.  Now days, people are so obsessive that they”ll watch every trailer for a single movie just to see every detail.  So for this week’s question, I thought I’d ask what do you think of trailers?

In the early days of Cinematic, I used to regularly post new trailers and talk about my thoughts on them.  I’ve retired that feature not just because it became too tiresome and repetitive to comment on every single teaser, but I’ve come to realize that trailers as a whole aren’t too special.  Most of the time they operate as a “Greatest Hits” playlist of a film, showing the biggest and best bits of a picture, which is why I try to watch movies now without seeing teasers (though I couldn’t resist watching Inherent Vice‘s trailer).

But what do you think?

Posted by: ckckred | November 23, 2014

What is Your Favorite Mike Nichols Film?

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Tragically, earlier this week, famed director Mike Nichols passed at the age of 83.  Born in Berlin in 1931, Nichols left Germany with his family to go to America to escape the Third Reich.  In the 50s and early 60s, Nichols gained great fame as a theater director, but became an international star when he entered the film scene.  In 1966, Nichols’ directed Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, which became a critical and box office hit.  Nichols’ latest picture, 2007’s Charlie Wilson’s War, a blazing satire of Congressman Charlie Wilson’s role in Operation Cyclone, showed that the director hadn’t lost his comic touch.  So today, I thought I’d ask what’s your favorite Mike Nichols picture?

For me (and I’m guessing for most people) it would be The Graduate, a picture that helped launch the Golden Age of American Cinema that lasted from the late 60s through the 70s and made Dustin Hoffman a star.  In just about any intro to film course, you’re likely to be shown the famous montage scene set to the tune of Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence.”  After almost five decades, The Graduate hasn’t lost any of its importance and still remains one of the most influential American pictures of the 60s.

But what about you?

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