Ocean’s Twelve Named One of the Best Soderbergh Films and Best Sequels Ever

oceans12set01Matt Singer at Criticwire offered a defense of Ocean’s Twelve, considered by many others to be the worst sequel ever made, a meta sequel: “‘Ocean’s Twelve,’ like the embezzlers at its center, is engaged in a number of long cons, and the audience is the mark in all of them. The film tricks you into thinking it’s one thing and then repeatedly reveals itself as another. With enough viewings and distance, you begin to see that the film is entirely about the act of its own creation.”


More on Soderbergh:
Review: Side Effects of Soderbergh’s ‘Side Effects’ Include Hunger for More, Delight, Fear
Watch Steven Soderbergh’s Crude 1985 Yes Documentary ‘Access All Areas’
Getting to Know Steven Soderbergh’s System Through The Criterion Collection



Jonathan Levine is the New Billy Wilder

Warm BodiesJust in time for Valentine’s Day, Dustin Rowles of Pajiba has crowned Hollywood’s most romantic director: Warm Bodies director Jonathan Levine. He writes, “it was ultimately one of the most romantic films we’ve seen outside of SLP since Levine’s last movie, the cancer comedy 50/50. Yes, there was a zombie apocalypse at the center of it, but that was just the hook. What Warm Bodies was really about was a man overcoming an insurmountable obstacle — death and zombiefication — to find love and, ultimately, save the world, not with bullets in the head, but with old-school romance: Chivalrous gestures, bonding over a shared love of music, and sacrifice. The zombie carnage notwithstanding, Warm Bodies was a beautiful movie, full of tinglies and heart-bursting romanticism. If Billy Wilder had made a zombie movie, it’d be Warm Bodies.”

More on Warm Bodies:
Why the Ending of ‘Warm Bodies’ is More Zom Than Rom-Com



How to Make It Into the Oscars In Memoriam Montage

Ernest Borgnine OscarHave you ever wondered how the Academy chooses who gets into their In Memoriam montage? Michael Cieply of the New York Times talked to AMPAS COO Ric Robertson and laid out why certain Hollywood figures are included in the montage while others are excluded: “Those remembered on the show itself do not have to be Academy members, Mr. Robertson said. But institutional service can help. Frank Pierson, a screenwriter and former Academy president who died in July, for instance, appears to have a strong case for inclusion this year. Mostly, though, the winnowing process combines measured judgments about accomplishment — who has broken ground? won awards? impressed the public? — with a determination to spread the honors across various moviemaking crafts, and some gut calls about who ought to be remembered. Which has led to some maddeningly unpredictable honors and snubs.”

More Oscars coverage:
Oscar Nominee Picture Is Packed With Losers (Relatively Speaking)/a>
‘Best’ Versus ‘Most’ at the Oscars
“Original” Music at the Oscars: A Year of Artfully Blended Influences
Review: The 2013 Oscar Nominees for Best Live-Action Short Film



Is the Movie Trailer “Voice of God” an Endangered Species?

Man of SteelThis is from just over a week ago, but it’s still worth a link. At Press Play, Vadim Rizov took a look at a new trend in trailers, the use of character voiceover rather than the traditional “voice of God” variety, noting that it might be a result of one such voice no longer being with us: “Don LaFontaine’s death prompted an industry that could no longer use his voice seriously to try to find new ways to make a heavy dramatic pitch. The pulled-from-the-movie voiceover promises urgency plucked from the drama itself, cutting out the hard-sell middleman. But all five fight giggle-inducing cliche by minting a new one: the overly somber protagonist, promising either the end of the world or its aversion. In time, this familiarity will breed its own new form of contempt.”



25 Best Film Critics of All Time

A. BazinNo Rob Hunter or Kate Erbland? This is an outrage! Well, maybe next time, but film fans and fellow critics have been debating Complex’s list of the best writers on film. I can’t complain at all about #1, Andre Bazin: “There’s arguably no book about movies that’s as mandatory as André Bazin’s What is Cinema? Still taught in film classes today, it’s the definitive explanation of what makes the medium’s proverbial heart beat, offering groundbreaking views on visual storytelling, with a special fondness for patience and duration. Bazin was a strong advocate of the long take, after all. He’s also responsible for co-founding the game-changing magazine Cahiers du Cinéma in 1951, through which Bazin and his colleagues introduced the auteur theory that has since helped to contextualize the classic films made by the likes of Fritz Lang, Howard Hawks, and Alfred Hitchcock.”

More on film criticism:
Is it ever appropriate for a filmmaker to fight back after a bad review?
Super Classy Film Critic Rex Reed Calls Melissa McCarthy “Female Hippo”



House of Cards Blurs the Line Between Cinema and Television

House of CardsNever mind the debate about the strategy of putting all episodes of House of Cards on Netflix at once. The real discussion should be whether this is even technically television or some new offspring of movies and TV. Landon explained in this week’s Culture Warrior column: “look at House of Cards’s 2:1 aspect ratio. It ain’t cinemascope, but it’s significantly wider than most 16:9 programming, and would likely look strange on a traditional 4:3 television set. This is clearly a ratio not only made for a cinematic eye like Fincher’s (the framing of negative space is the first two episodes makes for some of the best cinematography I’ve seen on “television” thus far), but also for the computer screen. The ratio, which has rarely but significantly been used in film (see: Apocalypse Now Redux), has a strange in-betweenness to it, as if the frame is literally attempting to step out of the confines of a television set, but yet at the same time not become confused for cinema.”

More on House of Cards and (actual) television coverage:
Review: ‘House of Cards’ is ‘Game of Thrones’ in Modern Day DC
‘Community’ Sidesteps Darkest Timeline (For Now)
Girls: ‘It’s a Shame About Ray’ And All of This Week’s Terrible Dinner Parties
Justified: Raylan’s ‘Kin’ Might Get Sprung… and There Be Hill People!



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