Fellini’s Restored AMARCORD Will Receive Tribute at Venice Film Fest

amarcord“Federico Fellini’s fourth film to win the foreign Oscar, 1973’s AMARCORD will receive a special tribute at the 2015 Venice Film Festival, which runs September 2-12,” writes Ryan Lattanzio in Indiewire.

“A new restoration from eminent preservation entity Cineteca di Bologna will world-premiere …at the festival,” he continues. The film “boasts a menagerie of eccentric, colorful characters…Nina Rota, of course, delivers yet another magical score.”

amarcord-075-1000085560Fellini on the set of AMARCORD.

In addition to winning the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, Fellini also received two additional Academy Award nominations for AMARCORD: Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay.

Vincent Canby, critic for the New York Times, loved the film when it opened, writing: “It’s an extravagantly funny, sometimes dreamlike evocation of a year in the life of a small Italian coastal town in the nineteen-thirties, not as it literally was, perhaps, but as it is recalled by a director with a superstar’s access to the resources of the Italian film industry and a piper’s command over our imaginations. When Mr. Fellini is working in peak condition, as he is in AMARCORD (the vernacular for ‘I remember’ in Romagna), he somehow brings out the best in us. We become more humane, less stuffy, more appreciative of the profound importance of attitudes that in other circumstances would seem merely eccentric if not lunatic…AMARCORD is as full of tales as Scheherazade, some romantic, some slapstick, some elegiacal, some bawdy, some as mysterious as the unexpected sight of a peacock flying through a light snowfall. It’s a film of exhilarating beauty.”

AMARCORD is nostalgia, a warm recreation of the world of Fellini’s childhood, but it is not merely memory, argues critic Sam Rohdie, it is a fantastical universe of its own. “It is an imaginary town with imaginary, projected characters who are fragments, magnifications, caricatures, and grotesques, as in a dream.” To watch the film is to share Fellini’s own flickering daydream, a mixture of recollection and fantasy.

EPSON scanner image

Fellini’s illustration for the character of Aurelio Biondi, the short fused working class father of the teen protagonist, Titta.

“There was his sketching and doodling, essentially a playing,”  Rohdie continues, “a search for the shape of the film in these images, a process of seeking out and discovery that carried over into the actual filming, where the film you see is the film being discovered in the process of filming, as if there were no ‘before’ to it, as if the film had been found. It is not a record, then, of something outside it but an expression of an inspiration chanced upon at the moment of filming.”

Felliini’s film technique underscores this sense of illusion by celebrating the artificiality of the effects. One night a majestic cruise ship passes close by the town, like a mystical apparition. The townspeople marvel as it steams by, lights aglow in the fog. Yet the ship was constructed of cardboard, the ocean was black plastic, it was all cinema magic. amarcord_boat1-11_jpg_627x325_crop_upscale_q85

Rohdie concludes: “”The essential subject of Fellini’s films, and particularly of the late ones, like AMARCORD is the cinema itself, another world: ephemeral, touching, ineffable, comic, and grand . . . like a pheasant in the snow.”tumblr_mcmf57FK3k1rc84x4o1_500

My favorite of Rohdie’s observations: “AMARCORD is like a circus, composed of numbers, perfectly linear and sequential but whose links are neither logical, dra­matic, nor narratively motivated. Each of the numbers in the film is a circus act, and the actors are the circus clowns.”

There is no higher praise, as far as I’m concerned. 15631973amarcordbelga19

 

New Bill Murray “ROCK THE KASBAH” Trailer and Poster—”Opportunity Rocks Where You Least Expect It”

rock-the-kasbah-poster

“Opportunity Knocks Where You Least Expect It.” Great tagline on the awesome new poster for Bill Murray’s ROCK THE KASBAH.

Open Road Films has also released the trailer for director Barry Levinson’s road comedy.  Starring with Bill Murray are Kate Hudson, Zooey Deschanel, Danny McBride, Scott Caan, Bruce Willis and Leem Lubany.


Scripted by Mitch Glazer (who also wrote the Murray holiday classic SCROOGED) the film tells the story of Richie Lanz, a rock manager who takes his act on the road. “Bill Murray and Barry Levinson are the perfect team to capture the lunacy, heartbreak and hope of this story. I’m ecstatic,”  Glazer told Deadline when the film was announced.

Comingsoon.net describes Richie as having “a golden ear and a taste for talent” but “has seen better times. When he takes his last remaining client (Zooey Deschanel) on a USO tour of Afghanistan, she gets cold feet and leaves him penniless and without his passport in Kabul.”

“I’m royally screwed!” complains Richie.

“Welcome to Afghanistan,” replies the hotel manager.

Richie considers this. “Nice to be here.” MurrayBarWhile trying to find his way home, Richie befriends a band of misfits and discovers a young girl with an extraordinary voice.

Against all odds, Richie will take his last shot at creating an unlikely superstar.

ROCK THE KASBAH hits the big screen October 23, 2015.

This image is not from the film, but it reminds us just how much Bill Murray enjoys music.

bill-murray-set-to-star-in-rock-the-kasbah-header

Mad Max: Fury Road Without Visual Effects is Still Freaking Awesome

1284058964882408262

Casey Chan writes in Sploid: “Most movies, especially big blockbuster action movies, look embarrassingly awkward when you strip away the CGI and special effects and expose it in real life. It’s because so much is fake these days! Not Mad Max: Fury Road though. That movie’s action sequences still look so bad ass in real life. Check it out.”

Chan continues: “The video above shows some of the action scenes as it appeared in the movie (after special effects were added) to footage of how it was filmed and man it’s not even that different! It’s less cinematic looking (obviously) but the action is just as bold and daring.

“The practical stunts are amazing. The explosions! The flying bodies! The soaring motorcycles! The jumping cars! You could watch the entire movie without the computer generated special effects and it’d still be the action movie of the year.”

New Mission Impossible Trailer Features Tom Cruise’s Latest Amazing Stunt—Hanging From A Plane

The new trailer for MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE — ROGUE NATION has been released by Paramount Pictures. A hallmark of the series is incredible action, and this installment promises plenty of thrills.

The recent release of MAD MAX: FURY ROAD trumpeted the use of practical stunts in that film. Visual effects were used to create environments and weather, but the stunts were real, for the most part. Director George Miller and his team received well deserved praise for this approach, especially in a cinematic universe filled with CG characters and action that defies the reality of physics.

No single action star has been more dedicated to keeping it real than Tom Cruise. He reportedly does almost all of his own stunt-work no matter how dangerous it may be. In ROGUE NATION the signature stunt is featured at the end of the trailer: Cruise hangs on the outside of an Airbus A400M military transport at 5,000 feet above the English countryside. Doubt it was done for real? Check out these pix of the stunt being performed:rV5FDfg3BqKlHxThat takes guts. Cruise has been doing this kind of thing for years now. Whatculture has a gallery of Cruise’s most insane stunts; here are the ones from the MI franchise,  with Whatculture’s descriptions excerpted below:

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE

While Brian de Palma’s opening installment of the Mission: Impossible franchise isn’t as action packed as the other installments, this sequence is one of the most memorable across all four movies. The fish tank set-piece was reportedly Cruise’s idea, and the actor insisted on doing the stunt himself much to the dismay of the director.

Paramount Pictures

The explosion and subsequent jump through the window were shot on a soundstage at Paramount Studios, with Cruise neglecting to use a stunt double. No less than sixteen tons of water were used for the scene, and seeing the actor’s face as he escapes only enhances the power of the scene, especially when you consider the very obvious drowning hazards.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE II

Looking for a suitable way to reintroduce the character of Ethan Hunt at the beginning of Mission: Impossible II, Tom Cruise somehow arrived at the conclusion that free climbing the sheer cliffs of Utah’s Dead Horse Point would do the job. Although stunt doubles were used for the more dangerous moments, the studio was still understandably skeptical of having their star dangle precariously on a cliff-face hundreds of feet above the ground.mission_impossible_ii

While Cruise was wearing a harness during filming (which was digitally removed in post-production), there was no safety net in case anything went wrong. John Woo was reportedly terrified about having the actor perform so much of the climbing himself, but Cruise insisted on doing as much as possible and even ended up injuring his shoulder in the process when jumping from one part of the cliff to another. The end result is a dizzying opening sequence that uses sweeping aerial shots and wide angles to let the audience know that Tom Cruise’s daredevil instincts remain intact.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III

We remember him leaping off the roof of a skyscraper, but the leap, while dangerous, was made on a soundstage from a rooftop set piece. Perhaps more audacious was his slide underneath a fuel tanker truck; Cruise lay down in the middle of the road, only to have the huge vehicle jackknife directly over him. mi3First-time feature director J.J. Abrams has noted that he saw his career flash in front of his eyes as the truck came ever-closer to the A-list star. The end result is truly a remarkable stunt. Only a matter of inches separate Cruise from the underside of the tanker as it passes over him, and having the camera up close and personal only increases the tension of the scene.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE — GHOST PROTOCOL

One of the greatest action set-pieces in recent memory, Brad Bird’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol sees Tom Cruise scaling the outside of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building at a vertigo-inducing 2,722 feet. Of course, the actor decided to perform the entire sequence himself without the use of a stunt double, adding further realism to an already nail-biting scene. Ghost-ProtocolAlthough securely attached to the building with a safety harness, Cruise admits that he failed to anticipate the crosswinds that come with being up so high, which caused him to slam into the side of the building on numerous occasions. However, the combination of the actor’s dedication and some stunning camerawork create a sequence that is nothing short of awe-inspiring, with Cruise’s sprint down the outside of the building a particular highlight.

detail.0b970f20Genevieve Koski, writing in The Dissolve, says this about the stunt: “Cruise and director Brad Bird’s audacity comes through in the final product, and the sequence is rightfully brought up in discussions of the all-time greatest on-screen stunts. Here’s a good barometer for how impressive a practical stunt/effect is: Does it look just as awesome outside of the movie itself? To wit: The behind-the-scenes video of Cruise filming the sequence … is almost as intense as the final product.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE—ROGUE NATION opens July 31. In addition to Cruise, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames and Jeremy Renner return to the series; new cast members include Rebecca Ferguson, Alec Baldwin, Sean Harris, Simon McBurney, and Zhang Jingchu. Christopher McQuarrie directs and Robert Elswit is the cinematographer.  mission_impossible_A64F875DED234C2FA196DA05EB2B6613