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Sydney Pollack 1934-2008

It was a shock to read of Sydney Pollack’s passing this morning, although rumors of his illness had been circulating for months. By director standards — the job either requires or produced amazing metabolisms — he was not terribly old, a mere 73, and when I last spoke to him two or three years […]

Cannes Awards

A surprise, but for a change, a nice one: Laurent Cantet’s “Entre les murs,” a pedagogical fiction based on a novel by a French schoolteacher (Francois Begaudeau, who plays himself), has won the Palme d’or of the 61st Cannes Film Festival, becoming the first French film to win in 21 years. (It was Maurice […]

New DVDs 5-20-2008

This week in the New York Times, a look at the group of westerns recently released by MGM DVD, which includes two films of great stature — Anthony Mann’s “Man of the West” (1958) and Andre De Toth’s “Day of the Outlaw” (1959, and pictured above) — as well as some lesser but interesting […]

New DVDs 5-13-2008

Out this week and reviewed in the New York Times, a most welcome double-disc edition of Raoul Walsh’s ever-astounding “The Big Trail,” the 70-millimeter Western from 1930 in which Walsh effectively invents the widescreen aesthetic, all at once and all by himself. Had “The Big Trail” been a success, it would have changed the […]

The Sniper (Edward Dmytryk, 1952)

Alfred Hitchcock was a voracious filmgoer, and like many great artists, a bit of a magpie. Consciously or unconsciously, he would file away shots and sequences that impressed him, and years later some of them would re-emerge, reshaped by Hitchcock’s genius and fully integrated into his personal universe.

As “Vertigo” turns 50 this weekend, […]

Criterion Jumps to Blu-ray

It’s official: the e-mail below appeared in my in-box this morning, from Criterion’s New York publicist:

Hello – The time has arrived! Several titles from the Criterion Collection are set for Blu-ray treatment beginning in October. These new editions will feature glorious high-definition picture and sound, all the supplemental content of the DVD releases, […]

New DVDs 5-6-2008

After the massive Melies set last month, here’s another major release from Flicker Alley: a restoration of Abel Gance’s 1922 visionary grab bag “La Roue” with a running time of nearly four and a half hours. That’s about two hours more than we’ve had before, and it comes with a visual quality far beyond […]

Disturbances in the Blogosphere

On the plus side, today brought news that Jonathan Rosenbaum’s blog is up and running, though in his introductory entry, Jonathan says that the blog will chiefly consist of two features: a reprint of an older review, plus a list of Jonathan’s latest publications and upcoming personal appearances.

That’s a disappointment to those of us […]