Lawrence of Arabia

Paths of Glory

Exactly one month after the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Bosnia, and after weeks of diplomatic negotiations that went nowhere, Austria-Hungary declared war on July 28, 1914 — a date often regarded as the first day of what would come to be known as The Great War, now better known as World War I. While cinema had been in existence for over two decades by the time the war began, WWII has greatly eclipsed its predecessor in terms of its breadth of cinematic representation. Yet The Great War – with its many intersecting transnational conflicts and its location at the historical precipice between 19th century trenches and 20th century machine warfare – has produced an incredible number of fascinating, haunting, and even touching stories about a world experiencing accelerated change, many of which have made their way to celluloid. So for the 100th anniversary of The Great War, we’ve assembled a list of 8 worthwhile films that give us a glimpse into this complicated conflict that helped shape the 20th century.

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Lawrence

Gregory Peck. Rex Harrison. Cliff Robertson. John Wayne. Marlon Brando. Robert DeNiro. Ben Kingsley. Forest Whitaker. These are the people who won Best Actor in a Leading Role Academy Award all eight times that Peter O’Toole was nominated. While he received an honorary award in 2003 — an honor that is often interpreted, and rightly so, as a “sorry you didn’t get this before” award — he has long been credited as holding the unique distinction of being nominated for an Oscar, without ever taking home the trophy, more times than anyone else. That designation was solidified last year when the Lawrence of Arabia star announced his official retirement from acting (after he wrapped filming on two yet-to-be-released titles: Mary and Katherine of Alexandria). O’Toole passed away today at age 81 from what THR reports as “a long illness” following decades of battling various ailments resulting from his notorious alcoholism.

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Not to take anything away from the fine people who create digital effects in films, but there are certain things that just look better when done for real. One of which has and always will be chases, crashes, and explosions. Trains are a solid example of this, so I’ve opted to share what I consider to be the best train crashes done primarily through practical methods such as model work or – in some cases – by just blowing up a damn train.

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“Movie House of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. This week we look at a currently relevant but always excellent movie house in Canada. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor.  Name: TIFF Bell Lightbox Location: 350 King Street West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Opened: September 12, 2010, as the official hub and screening venue for the Toronto International Film Festival, as well as the home for TIFF programming and events throughout the year. The theater is located in and part of a newly constructed complex. No. of screens: 5 Current first run titles: For the past ten days, the 2012 festival has naturally monopolized the theater’s screens, but starting Friday, September 21st, there is Beasts of the Southern Wild, Tabu and the new Canadian releases Laurence Anyways and Rebelle.

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Lawrence of Arabia Restoration Trailer

Director David Lean’s sweeping tale of the life of British intelligence officer T.E. Lawrence is one of the most beloved films of all time. Lawrence of Arabia is packed full of iconic images, unforgettable performances, instantly recognizable music, and it just may be the greatest epic that Hollywood ever produced. But, unfortunately, many of us have only had the opportunity to watch it on our little TVs at home, and not projected up on the big screen like God (Lean) intended. The last time the film saw a big re-release, it was for the debut of the director’s cut, and that was all the way back in 1989. We’ve all got another chance to change that coming up, however, as a 4K digital restoration of the film has been done to commemorate its 50th anniversary, and this fall Sony Pictures will not only be putting the restored version out on Blu-ray, but they’re also going to be giving it a run in theaters.  Which, finally, gives those of us too young to see it on the big screen either the first or second time around the opportunity to take in the Arabian desert in all its glory.

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We rarely get to see movies being watched in other movies – probably because while it’s fun to watch films, it’s fairly boring to watch other people watch films. That being said – there are plenty of characters out there who would no doubt be a blast to watch movies with… Batman, for example. Anyway, when we do see a real life movie being watched in another movie it tends to be a film that most likely inspired the filmmakers either in their own upbringing or as a plot device in the film itself. Because of that one thing is certain – if you see a real movie being watched in the movie you’re watching, there’s a good chance that movie is awesome. Before anything though, I gotta shout out to Mr. Cole Abaius for coming up with the idea for this list. The man is a true demigod, and from what I hear the other half is pretty good too.

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This post is probably not what you think. There are no LOLCats, no Rage Comic stick men bellowing about the superiority of The Dark Knight and Inception. It’s not really a love letter to modernity. But it’s also not Sight & Sound‘s decennial Top Ten List. That prestigious publication has done great work since even before polling critics in 1952 to name the best movies of all time. They’ve recreated the experiment every ten years since (with filmmakers included in 1992), and their 2012 list is due out soon. However, there is certainly overlap. The FSR poll includes only 37 critics (and 4 filmmakers), but we’re young and have moxy, and none of us were even asked by Sight & Sound for our considerable opinion. That’s what’s fascinating here. The films nominated by those invited by S&S have the air of critical and social importance to them. They are, almost all, serious works done by serious filmmakers attempting to make serious statements. This list, by contrast, is the temperature of the online movie community in regards to what movies are the “greatest.” The results might be what you expect. But probably not.

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Culture Warrior

For the first time in recent memory, I’m going into Oscar Sunday having no idea who is likely to take home many of the major awards. I’m sure there are entire websites out there devoted to an accurate prediction of who and what will take home the gold on Sunday, but there seems something a bit different about this year. Of the nine films nominated, I don’t have a clear sense of what would be the top five had AMPAS not changed the number of entries in the top category. While The Artist may clearly have more of a chance than, say, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, there’s no grand battle between likely leads like there was between The King’s Speech and The Social Network last year. And I don’t think I’m alone in stating that this year’s uninspiring list of nominees seems to reflect a growing indifference against the ceremony itself. Sure, on Sunday, like I have every year since I was eleven years old, I’ll watch the entire ceremony from beginning to end. And, like every year since I was twenty-one years old, I’ll make fun of the pompous and excessive self-congratulatory nature of the proceedings. But while in most years I have had some skin in the game, besides the two nominations afforded to the excellent Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and the presence of the transcendentally excellent Pina in the Best Documentary Feature category, this year I didn’t even get a sense that the Academy was awarding […]

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Criterion Files

The problem with cinephilia is that eventually one feels that they begin to run out of ‘essential’ films to see. The act of watching movies is continually a process of discovery, but as one continues to watch films not as a hobby but as a part of their life-blood, it becomes harder to find individual titles that are revelatory and profound, movies that shape an alter not only your conception of cinema, but art and life as well. The more you see, the fewer new experiences you have – not only because you may have traversed the corners of whatever canon you’ve chosen to cover, but because individual titles become objects of interest accentuating a larger understanding of the medium rather than individual exploits of incredible worth. To see a truly outstanding film, then, becomes an even more rare and valuable occurrence. David Lean’s Brief Encounter (1946) is simply one of those films that I’m surprised I hadn’t seen before, not because I have any pretensions toward having anything approaching a “comprehensive” knowledge of film, but because it’s a work of such profound perfection that it seems only natural that this movie would have been made in this precise way. It’s an audacious, incongruous film, exceptional and unmatched. It’s a devastating and beautiful film that I’m not surprised has survived time’s test, for its themes are as insightful and resonant as its storytelling is engrossing and affecting.

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Every day, come rain or shine or internet tubes breaking, Film School Rejects showcases a trailer from the past. Today’s trailer is from a movie that’s often called one of the best of all time. It’s the film of a hero wandering around in the desert while being “filmed against a canvas of awesome significance.” Seven Oscars, four BAFTAs, and four Golden Globes later, Peter O’Toole would have had to get a bigger pack to ride off on his camel. Think you know what it is? Check out the trailer after the jump.

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Want even more zombie perfection from Zombieland? Have we got a deal for you!

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culturewarrior-watchmen

This week, Landon explores the world of long movies. Really long movies.

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Check Mate.

With Neil at Sundance, I’d like to take this opportunity to stage a coup and discuss Award’s season buzz with you, dear reader.

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Celebrate the Universal Day of the Jedi on May 25

The Universal Day of the Jedi is this Sunday, May 25. Officially started last year on the 30th anniversary of the release of A New Hope, The Universal Day of the Jedi is a celebration of everything Star Wars, from the original movies to the general fandom surrounding the series.

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