1. Linklater has always used time as a character. It’s in the titles of his Before trilogy, featuring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy as characters at different junctures: Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight. They have to reconnect in each film—and fast, because the clock is ticking. I love these films, but they’re talky. Linklater is so literal about time he never seems to use the full, transcendent resources of cinema.

    He does in Boyhood.

    — David Edelstein reviews Boyhood, directed by Richard Linklater

  2. david edelstein

    boyhood

    richard linklater

    before sunrise

    before sunset

    before midnight

    film

    review

    movies

  1. Usually when characters age in movies, they’re covered with makeup and outfitted with prosthetics – or directors use different actors as the character ages. But in the new film Boyhood, none of that is necessary.
The film takes place over the course of 12 years, and it was shot over the course of 12 years. So we watch the actors getting older for real, which gives their characters a sense of authenticity.
Director Richard Linklater told what it was like to cast a 6 year-old boy (Ellar Coltrane) not knowing who he would become: 

"It was a huge leap. I just went with a kid who seemed kind of the most interesting. I liked the way his mind worked — he was a little mysterious and sensitive and very thoughtful. He was cut from no ordinary cloth. He was homeschooled and his parents were artists and I thought, "Well, that’s cool, there’ll be some family support for this undertaking. It will be a fun thing to do in his life."
So I think I had the family support but as far as he goes, you kind of have to admit that your main collaborator here has a really unknown future. But I would have each year to incrementally adjust and maybe go toward who he was becoming. That was sort of the design of the movie.”

Boyhood .gif of Ellar Coltrane via CBC 

    Usually when characters age in movies, they’re covered with makeup and outfitted with prosthetics – or directors use different actors as the character ages. But in the new film Boyhood, none of that is necessary.

    The film takes place over the course of 12 years, and it was shot over the course of 12 years. So we watch the actors getting older for real, which gives their characters a sense of authenticity.

    Director Richard Linklater told what it was like to cast a 6 year-old boy (Ellar Coltrane) not knowing who he would become: 

    "It was a huge leap. I just went with a kid who seemed kind of the most interesting. I liked the way his mind worked — he was a little mysterious and sensitive and very thoughtful. He was cut from no ordinary cloth. He was homeschooled and his parents were artists and I thought, "Well, that’s cool, there’ll be some family support for this undertaking. It will be a fun thing to do in his life."

    So I think I had the family support but as far as he goes, you kind of have to admit that your main collaborator here has a really unknown future. But I would have each year to incrementally adjust and maybe go toward who he was becoming. That was sort of the design of the movie.”

    Boyhood .gif of Ellar Coltrane via CBC 

  2. boyhood

    richard linklater

    ellar coltrane

    film

    interview

    fresh air

  1. John Powers, Fresh Air’s critic at-large, reviews Violette a film by French director Martin Provost: 

Americans put a lot of stock in being likable.  Pollsters take surveys of the president’s likability.  Test screenings check whether we like the characters in movies.  And when a literary novelist like Claire Messud mocks the notion that fictional characters should be someone we’d like to be friends with, writers of popular fiction attack her for snootiness.



You rarely find such disputes in France, which finds our fetish of likability charmingly simple, rather like our shock at politicians committing adultery.  Hooked on the fervent, the argumentative, even the crazy, the French really like liking unlikable characters.



You find a real doozy in the revelatory, strangely gripping new film Violette.  It’s a fictionalized portrait of Violette Leduc, the trailblazing French novelist who may have been even better at being a pain than she was at writing.  An illegitimate child, Violette felt unwanted by her mother, and lugged her loveless sense of grievance through life like an accordion made of lead.  Her key signature was exasperating self-pity.      
View in High-Res

    John Powers, Fresh Air’s critic at-large, reviews Violette a film by French director Martin Provost: 

    Americans put a lot of stock in being likable.  Pollsters take surveys of the president’s likability.  Test screenings check whether we like the characters in movies.  And when a literary novelist like Claire Messud mocks the notion that fictional characters should be someone we’d like to be friends with, writers of popular fiction attack her for snootiness.

    You rarely find such disputes in France, which finds our fetish of likability charmingly simple, rather like our shock at politicians committing adultery.  Hooked on the fervent, the argumentative, even the crazy, the French really like liking unlikable characters.

    You find a real doozy in the revelatory, strangely gripping new film Violette.  It’s a fictionalized portrait of Violette Leduc, the trailblazing French novelist who may have been even better at being a pain than she was at writing.  An illegitimate child, Violette felt unwanted by her mother, and lugged her loveless sense of grievance through life like an accordion made of lead.  Her key signature was exasperating self-pity.     

  2. violette

    film

    review

    martin provost

    john powers

    violette leduc

  1. Roger Ebert was often considered the most famous film critic of his generation. Now filmmaker Steve James has produced a documentary about his life and death called Life Itself.
In 2002, Ebert was diagnosed with cancer. Four years later, he had surgery to remove part of his lower jaw. It left him unable to eat, drink or speak. For the rest of his life, he was fed through a tube. 
In late 2012, James asked Ebert to let make him a documentary with Ebert’s participation. Ebert agreed. Almost immediately, the cancer returned, and Ebert was hospitalized. He died four months later. But during those final months, he allowed James to film him in the hospital. And all of a sudden, James was capturing a different story — a story about looking back on an incredible career
Today we speak to Steve James and Ebert’s wife Chaz about Roger and his legacy. Chaz tells us about what discussing films was like during their marriage:

Chaz Ebert: When we disagreed about films, Roger loved it. Because no, I’m not a shy and retiring type, of course I pushed back, and he loved that, too. The thing that I also loved about him is he respected my opinions about the movies and he did listen to me…
Sometimes I would not discuss a movie with him that we both had seen until after he had written his review because I didn’t want to influence what he said or influence his thinking about a movie… The thing that I miss now is that I did not realize how much we actually agreed on movies. In this last year I’ve missed him so much. [I’ve] missed discussing movies with him. I didn’t realize that I had almost taken for granted having access to this brilliant mind and I miss that.


Photo: Roger Ebert writing in his office. By Kevin Horan via Kartemquin View in High-Res

    Roger Ebert was often considered the most famous film critic of his generation. Now filmmaker Steve James has produced a documentary about his life and death called Life Itself.

    In 2002, Ebert was diagnosed with cancer. Four years later, he had surgery to remove part of his lower jaw. It left him unable to eat, drink or speak. For the rest of his life, he was fed through a tube. 

    In late 2012, James asked Ebert to let make him a documentary with Ebert’s participation. Ebert agreed. Almost immediately, the cancer returned, and Ebert was hospitalized. He died four months later. But during those final months, he allowed James to film him in the hospital. And all of a sudden, James was capturing a different story — a story about looking back on an incredible career

    Today we speak to Steve James and Ebert’s wife Chaz about Roger and his legacy. Chaz tells us about what discussing films was like during their marriage:

    Chaz Ebert: When we disagreed about films, Roger loved it. Because no, I’m not a shy and retiring type, of course I pushed back, and he loved that, too. The thing that I also loved about him is he respected my opinions about the movies and he did listen to me…

    Sometimes I would not discuss a movie with him that we both had seen until after he had written his review because I didn’t want to influence what he said or influence his thinking about a movie… The thing that I miss now is that I did not realize how much we actually agreed on movies. In this last year I’ve missed him so much. [I’ve] missed discussing movies with him. I didn’t realize that I had almost taken for granted having access to this brilliant mind and I miss that.

    Photo: Roger Ebert writing in his office. By Kevin Horan via Kartemquin

  2. roger ebert

    film

    life itself

    documentary

    chaz ebert

    steve james

    interview

    fresh air

  1. Actor Eli Wallach (The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, The Magnificent Seven) passed away on Tuesday at 98. He spoke to Terry Gross in 1990 about his roles in some of the iconic Spaghetti Westerns, a sub-genre of Western films in the mid-1960s that were made by Italian directors.

I was making a film in California when the agent out there said “There’s an Italian there who wants to be in a movie.”
I said, “What kind of movie?”
He said, “A western.”
He said, “A spaghetti western.”
I said, “That’s an anomaly. That’s like Hawaiian pizza.” 
View in High-Res

    Actor Eli Wallach (The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, The Magnificent Seven) passed away on Tuesday at 98. He spoke to Terry Gross in 1990 about his roles in some of the iconic Spaghetti Westerns, a sub-genre of Western films in the mid-1960s that were made by Italian directors.

    I was making a film in California when the agent out there said “There’s an Italian there who wants to be in a movie.”

    I said, “What kind of movie?”

    He said, “A western.”

    He said, “A spaghetti western.”

    I said, “That’s an anomaly. That’s like Hawaiian pizza.” 

  2. eli wallach

    the good the bad and the ugly

    westerns

    film

  1. Tomorrow we’re recording with Jenny Slate (right) and director Gillian Robespierre to talk about their new film Obvious Child. The film is about a aspiring stand-up comic Donna (Slate) who, after a drunken one-night-stand, gets pregnant and has an abortion. To read more about the movie, here’s our film critic David Edelstein’s take. 

You might also know Jenny Slate from Parks and Recreation (Mona-Lisa Saperstein, sister of Jean Ralphio), Kroll Show (PubLIZity) or her internet sensation, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On.  View in High-Res

    Tomorrow we’re recording with Jenny Slate (right) and director Gillian Robespierre to talk about their new film Obvious Child. The film is about a aspiring stand-up comic Donna (Slate) who, after a drunken one-night-stand, gets pregnant and has an abortion. To read more about the movie, here’s our film critic David Edelstein’s take

    You might also know Jenny Slate from Parks and Recreation (Mona-Lisa Saperstein, sister of Jean Ralphio), Kroll Show (PubLIZity) or her internet sensation, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

  2. jenny slate

    obvious child

    gillian robespierre

    abortion

    comedy

    film

    interview

    fresh air

    terry gross

    parks and recreation

  1. Obvious Child centers on Donna Stern, played by Jenny Slate, an aspiring stand-up comic in her late 20s who’s out of her depth in the grown-up world. After getting smashed and having unprotected sex with a guy she barely knows, Donna discovers she’s pregnant and decides to have an abortion. 
Fresh Air film critic David Edelstein reviews: 

Donna feels so real she could be sitting next to you in the theater. Jenny Slate can be seen opposite Nick Kroll in drag on the Kroll Show in a weekly reality-TV send-up called Publizity about two jittery L.A. publicists named Liz. She’s even more famous for blowing her Saturday Night Live debut several years ago by blurting the f-word on live TV. I found that rather endearing and hoped Slate would get her own show. She didn’t—she barely lasted out the year. But what I love about her in Obvious Child is that sense of danger she brings. She’s all frizzy little coils of neurotic energy. Anything could pop out of her mouth.
That fits a character who has no self-control. She’s a big baby, someone who can’t take care of herself, let alone a little baby. Director Gillian Robespierre lets you take Donna as you will. Robespierre has the courage of her ambivalence. The best thing about Obvious Child is that there’s nothing obvious about it.
View in High-Res

    Obvious Child centers on Donna Stern, played by Jenny Slate, an aspiring stand-up comic in her late 20s who’s out of her depth in the grown-up world. After getting smashed and having unprotected sex with a guy she barely knows, Donna discovers she’s pregnant and decides to have an abortion. 

    Fresh Air film critic David Edelstein reviews: 

    Donna feels so real she could be sitting next to you in the theater. Jenny Slate can be seen opposite Nick Kroll in drag on the Kroll Show in a weekly reality-TV send-up called Publizity about two jittery L.A. publicists named Liz. She’s even more famous for blowing her Saturday Night Live debut several years ago by blurting the f-word on live TV. I found that rather endearing and hoped Slate would get her own show. She didn’t—she barely lasted out the year. But what I love about her in Obvious Child is that sense of danger she brings. She’s all frizzy little coils of neurotic energy. Anything could pop out of her mouth.

    That fits a character who has no self-control. She’s a big baby, someone who can’t take care of herself, let alone a little baby. Director Gillian Robespierre lets you take Donna as you will. Robespierre has the courage of her ambivalence. The best thing about Obvious Child is that there’s nothing obvious about it.

  2. obvious child

    abortion

    film

    comedy

    jenny slate

    david edelstein

  1. Cult film director John Waters decided to hitchhike across the country and then write a book about it. That book is called Carsick, and he joins Fresh Air to share some of his stories. In the interview he and Terry talk about what makes a good [and bad] hitchhiking sign, creepy highway motels, and the etiquette of turning down rides:

"In real life when you’re out there, as I said — I would’ve gotten in [with] Ted Bundy in his Volkswagen with his arm in his sling, in the front seat. You’ll get in any car, believe me. All your rules, all your things that you imagine, go out the window when you’ve been standing there for 10 years and those Kansas winds are ripping your weather-beaten face.
It is the worst beauty regimen ever to hitchhike. I would go in the motels at night and look in the mirror. And I have in my office a little mirror, a hand mirror that I got from a joke shop where you pick it up and look at yourself and it screams. Well, that’s what every mirror did when I hitchhiked across America. It let out a shriek of horror when they saw [my] hitchhiking face — a new thing that I want to invent a product for.” 


Photo by Sauta Marsh  View in High-Res

    Cult film director John Waters decided to hitchhike across the country and then write a book about it. That book is called Carsick, and he joins Fresh Air to share some of his stories. In the interview he and Terry talk about what makes a good [and bad] hitchhiking sign, creepy highway motels, and the etiquette of turning down rides:

    "In real life when you’re out there, as I said — I would’ve gotten in [with] Ted Bundy in his Volkswagen with his arm in his sling, in the front seat. You’ll get in any car, believe me. All your rules, all your things that you imagine, go out the window when you’ve been standing there for 10 years and those Kansas winds are ripping your weather-beaten face.

    It is the worst beauty regimen ever to hitchhike. I would go in the motels at night and look in the mirror. And I have in my office a little mirror, a hand mirror that I got from a joke shop where you pick it up and look at yourself and it screams. Well, that’s what every mirror did when I hitchhiked across America. It let out a shriek of horror when they saw [my] hitchhiking face — a new thing that I want to invent a product for.” 

    Photo by Sauta Marsh 

  2. john waters

    hitchhiking

    carsick

    film

    fresh air

    interview

  1. Imagine driving down the highway and picking up a 68 year-old hitchhiker wearing a trucker hat that says “Scum of the Earth.” Now imagine that its director/writer, “Pope of Trash,” John Waters. 
Coming Tuesday: We talk to Waters about his hitchhiking adventures and his new book Carsick, in which he chronicles the 21 rides he got across the country. 

Image via The Baltimore Sun View in High-Res

    Imagine driving down the highway and picking up a 68 year-old hitchhiker wearing a trucker hat that says “Scum of the Earth.” Now imagine that its director/writer, “Pope of Trash,” John Waters

    Coming Tuesday: We talk to Waters about his hitchhiking adventures and his new book Carsick, in which he chronicles the 21 rides he got across the country. 

    Image via The Baltimore Sun

  2. john waters

    hitchiking

    carsick

    film

    pope of trash

  1. Lupita Nyong’o will star in and produce the film adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s book Americanah with Brad Pitt’s Plan B Productions.
You can hear the interview Terry Gross did with Adichie when Americanah came out here. 

Photo of Nyong’o via Variety  View in High-Res

    Lupita Nyong’o will star in and produce the film adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s book Americanah with Brad Pitt’s Plan B Productions.

    You can hear the interview Terry Gross did with Adichie when Americanah came out here

    Photo of Nyong’o via Variety 

  2. lupita nyong'o

    chimamanda ngozi adichie

    americanah

    brad pitt

    film

    nigeria

  1. Posted on 6 June, 2014

    563 notes | Permalink

    Reblogged from moviesincolor

    moviesincolor:

Oscars WeekNebraska, 2013Cinematography: Phedon Papamichael
View in High-Res

    moviesincolor:

    Oscars Week
    Nebraska, 2013
    Cinematography: Phedon Papamichael

  2. nebraska

    Cinematography

    phedon papamichael

    film

  1. Today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day. During World War II a handful of Hollywood’s most celebrated directors and filmmakers enlisted and risked their lives—not to fight, but to film combat. Mark Harris wrote a book about these filmmakers and the unprecedented relationship between the military and Hollywood in his book Five Came Back. Here’s what Harris said about filming D-Day: 

George Stevens (for the Army) and John Ford (for the Navy) were really the ones that came up with a concerted plan. … It involved hundreds of cameras, hundreds of cameramen, dozens of cameras fixed to the front of landing vessels.
What is ironic is that most of the footage that was shot at D-Day was destroyed. Many of the stationary cameras didn’t function. The cameramen miraculously almost all survived, but a lot of their footage didn’t. So there was no way to create a clear narrative, chronological structure of what happened at D-Day out of the footage. What there was was an extraordinary amount of raw footage that was then collected from every camera, and every cameraman, that hadn’t malfunctioned. It was all sort of packed up, sent to England and edited, apparently, into several hours of continuous footage that was shown to the War Department back in the United States.
Most of the most shocking footage, the most realistic footage, the best footage, if you will, from D-Day was much too raw and frightening and upsetting to be shown to home front audiences. So while movie theaters across the country advertised for 10 days with signs outside that said, “Ten Days Until First Footage Of D-Day” … the actual footage that made its way to theaters was a very carefully manicured selection of stuff that was acceptable to show …
Most of the D-Day footage was not shown until much, much later. And really, you’d have to go forward to the movie Saving Private Ryan, the first part of which is a recreation of D-Day that is in part inspired by that never-seen footage.


Photo: U.S. infantrymen wade from their landing craft toward Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944. (Credit:U.S. Coast Guard/National Archives, Washington, D.C. via Britannica  View in High-Res

    Today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day. During World War II a handful of Hollywood’s most celebrated directors and filmmakers enlisted and risked their lives—not to fight, but to film combat. Mark Harris wrote a book about these filmmakers and the unprecedented relationship between the military and Hollywood in his book Five Came Back. Here’s what Harris said about filming D-Day: 

    George Stevens (for the Army) and John Ford (for the Navy) were really the ones that came up with a concerted plan. … It involved hundreds of cameras, hundreds of cameramen, dozens of cameras fixed to the front of landing vessels.

    What is ironic is that most of the footage that was shot at D-Day was destroyed. Many of the stationary cameras didn’t function. The cameramen miraculously almost all survived, but a lot of their footage didn’t. So there was no way to create a clear narrative, chronological structure of what happened at D-Day out of the footage. What there was was an extraordinary amount of raw footage that was then collected from every camera, and every cameraman, that hadn’t malfunctioned. It was all sort of packed up, sent to England and edited, apparently, into several hours of continuous footage that was shown to the War Department back in the United States.

    Most of the most shocking footage, the most realistic footage, the best footage, if you will, from D-Day was much too raw and frightening and upsetting to be shown to home front audiences. So while movie theaters across the country advertised for 10 days with signs outside that said, “Ten Days Until First Footage Of D-Day” … the actual footage that made its way to theaters was a very carefully manicured selection of stuff that was acceptable to show …

    Most of the D-Day footage was not shown until much, much later. And really, you’d have to go forward to the movie Saving Private Ryan, the first part of which is a recreation of D-Day that is in part inspired by that never-seen footage.

    Photo: U.S. infantrymen wade from their landing craft toward Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944. (Credit:U.S. Coast Guard/National Archives, Washington, D.C. via Britannica 

  2. d-day

    world war II

    mark harris

    film

    hollywood

    history

  1. Fresh Air’s film critic David Edelstein reviews the latest in a long line of Godzilla movies: 

The original Godzilla was a cautionary tale, and in the big monster movies that followed in Japan and America, the invaders were emblems of humanity’s arrogance. We’ve poisoned the Earth, the movies said, and the Earth has come back at us.


But this Godzilla says—explicitly—that Nature is self-correcting, that no matter what we do a higher power will belch forth a savior. With so many threats to the planet, the timing is odd, don’t you think? I know it’s just a dumb genre picture but even dumb genre pictures have a tradition of speaking to their era. In this one, the nuclear roar becomes a reassuring purr.


You can also read critic at-large John Powers’ piece “Movie Monsters, Monster Movies and Why ‘Godzilla’ Endures’ here.  View in High-Res

    Fresh Air’s film critic David Edelstein reviews the latest in a long line of Godzilla movies: 

    The original Godzilla was a cautionary tale, and in the big monster movies that followed in Japan and America, the invaders were emblems of humanity’s arrogance. We’ve poisoned the Earth, the movies said, and the Earth has come back at us.

    But this Godzilla says—explicitly—that Nature is self-correcting, that no matter what we do a higher power will belch forth a savior. With so many threats to the planet, the timing is odd, don’t you think? I know it’s just a dumb genre picture but even dumb genre pictures have a tradition of speaking to their era. In this one, the nuclear roar becomes a reassuring purr.

    You can also read critic at-large John Powers’ piece “Movie Monsters, Monster Movies and Why ‘Godzilla’ Endures’ here

  2. godzilla

    film

    david edelstein

    review

  1. David Edelstein reviews God’s Pocket, directed by John Slattery (of Mad Men). It stars Philip Seymour Hoffman in one of his last roles:

"Philip Seymour Hoffman is heartbreakingly great. He’s very heavy and looks awful; we know with hindsight what he was going through in the last months of his life. But as an actor he’s all there. His Mickey is morose, out of his element, often stewed. But Hoffman is alert and transparent.  Mickey is groping toward some kind of meaning he can’t see, and I suspect that Hoffman was, too."
View in High-Res

    David Edelstein reviews God’s Pocket, directed by John Slattery (of Mad Men). It stars Philip Seymour Hoffman in one of his last roles:

    "Philip Seymour Hoffman is heartbreakingly great. He’s very heavy and looks awful; we know with hindsight what he was going through in the last months of his life. But as an actor he’s all there. His Mickey is morose, out of his element, often stewed. But Hoffman is alert and transparent.  Mickey is groping toward some kind of meaning he can’t see, and I suspect that Hoffman was, too."

  2. philip seymour hoffman

    god's pocket

    john slattery

    film

    review

    edelstein

  1. Fresh Air critic at-large John Powers reviews the Criterion Collection release of the 1962 Italian film Il Sorpasso (The Easy Life):

Il Sorpasso was part of the ’60s explosion in Italian movies when auteurs like Michelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini and Bernardo Bertolucci became internationally famous. Unlike them, [Director] Risi didn’t make art films — in fact, he has Bruno joke about the dullness of Antonioni. Instead, Risi made commercial hits that, like the great Hollywood movies of the ’70s, were perfectly in synch with what his audience was thinking about. Blessed with a light touch, he captured the realities of everyday life, but did so in the pleasurable, unpretentious, unscolding way of the greatest popular art.

    Fresh Air critic at-large John Powers reviews the Criterion Collection release of the 1962 Italian film Il Sorpasso (The Easy Life):

    Il Sorpasso was part of the ’60s explosion in Italian movies when auteurs like Michelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini and Bernardo Bertolucci became internationally famous. Unlike them, [Director] Risi didn’t make art films — in fact, he has Bruno joke about the dullness of Antonioni. Instead, Risi made commercial hits that, like the great Hollywood movies of the ’70s, were perfectly in synch with what his audience was thinking about. Blessed with a light touch, he captured the realities of everyday life, but did so in the pleasurable, unpretentious, unscolding way of the greatest popular art.

  2. film

    film history

    criterion collection

    il sorpasso

    john powers