Brigitte Bardot

Contempt

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they explore the illustrious history of directors declaring cinema dead with a New Wave heavyweight doing battle with American financiers for the first (and last) time. There’s a reason Jean-Luc Godard‘s CinemaScope attempt is called Contempt.  In the #21 (tied) movie on the list, an American producer and a film director played by an iconic film director try to make a big budget movie version of Homer’s “Odyssey” while struggling to balance commerce (nude scenes) with art (tasteful nude scenes). But why is it one of the best movies ever?

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Bond 50

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that, tonight, is focused on a cornacopia of new Blu-ray release information. From James Bond to Jake Gittes, it’s going to be a beautiful year of high definition goodness. There is also non-Blu-ray news, for those who like variety. We begin tonight with a look at the box for Bond 50, the upcoming release of the Golden Anniversary Blu-ray edition of all 22 James Bond films on Blu-ray for the first time as one complete offering. MGM and Fox laid out plans at CES today, which included making it available for pre-order right now. Put simply, it’s beautiful. They even delivered a trailer, which I’ve included after the jump.

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Culture Warrior

Modern romance and the movies are arguably dependant on one another, as movies have a long history of affirming the idea(l) of the perfect relationship. Hollywood movies in particular have developed a mastery at the formula of bringing imperfect individuals together into perfect couplehood and framing marriage as the closure of all previous conflicts and difficulties. Many romance movies, thus, teach us what romance and couplehood are or, perhaps more dauntingly, what it should be. That romantic films are a staple in the box offices of commercial movie theaters to reparatory screenings or are marathon’d on television every Valentine’s Day is evidence of our ritual association of considering real-life romances in fictional terms. It is rare that movies, especially Hollywood, seem to do the opposite: reflect the distinction between ideal romance and the ostensible “reality” of relationships in all their complexity, grittiness, slow development, necessary problems, and (most of all) subtlety. Perhaps the most evident turns cinema makes in this direction is in the break-up movie, that rare narrative that situates itself as a disruption from the normal mode of portraying couplehood through representing its antithesis, the dissolution of a couple. The most recent example is Blue Valentine, the great Cassavetes-style, character-driven psychodrama about a couple who continue making the wrong turns and can’t make it work despite, or because, of themselves. Breakup movies from the light – (500) Days of Summer – to the heavy – Blue Valentine – often self-consciously (either by testament from the filmmaker like in […]

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