Archive for CINEMA

The Deep Blue Sea

© Music Box Films, 2011

We missed this stunner the first time around in theatres last year. But just caught in on demand and it is, without question, unbelievably gorgeous. Directed by Terence Davies and based on the Terence Rattigan play, this beautiful swoon of a film starring Rachel Weisz, Tom Hiddleston and Simon Russel Beale will transport through its sheer loveliness (with Cinematography by Florian Hoffmeister, Film Editing by David Charap, Production Design by James Merfield, Art Direction by David Hindle and Costume Design by Ruth Myers). But this is not an uplifting evening in the making. Plan on a stiff cocktail or two and an episode of 30 Rock or the Daily Show as a much needed chaser. Lovely!

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Good-bye, Nora Ephron

Having been huge fans of her work pretty much since her work first began, we are taking the passing of Nora Ephron pretty hard. From Heartburn to Silkwood to Harry & Sally to This Is My Life to the amazing Julie and Julia to Love, Loss, and What I Wore – we were captivated, charmed, obsessed and inspired by her poignant, witty writing and subsequent directing and playwriting. Our friend and collaborator, the wonderful food stylist, Susan Spungen (of Julie and Julia provenance, pictured above with her French onion soup) was with us on set the day the news of Ms. Ephron’s passing broke. And she shared a story of the two of them first bonding over a coconut layer cake that Susan had done for an early cover of Martha Stewart Living – a sweet and simple story, which brought tears to our eyes. A funny feminist and a real “foodie” before there even was such a word, we feel like Nora Ephron was truly in our tribe. But, of course, that’s how everybody feels. And that is why she and her wonderful work will be so sorely missed.

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Moonrise Kingdom

© Focus Features, 2012

Another long-awaited charmer from the always-inspiring director, Wes Anderson, Moonrise Kingdom is the sweet love story/adventure of two good, but troubled tweens (played by the adorable and talented Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman) who run away to be together badlands-style on a remote fictional Eastern Seaboard Island in 1965. With wonderful characters played by a stellar cast, including Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Bruce Willis, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel and Bob Balaban as an extremely elfin narrator, the quirky and stylized film won us over from the very first frame. Anderson’s always-astonishing, period art direction is in full swing here. And the screenplay by Anderson and Roman Coppola is completely … can we use the word charming again? In this case, the choice is definitively “yes.”

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El Bulli: Cooking in Progress

© Alive Mind Cinema, 2011

This documentary about famed Spanish Chef and food provocateur, Ferran Adrià and his legendary El Bulli (now, sadly shuttered) just blew our minds. Creative to the point of “avant garde” as Adrià puts it, this food is not for everyone. And much of it seems less like food than science. But it is definitely art. And watching this documentary about the creation and coming to life of one of the last season’s menus of what many called “the greatest restaurant in the world” is completely engaging. The personalities alone in that kitchen are worth the trip. Our favorite quote from the film: Ferran Adrià to his sommelier – “Our problem is, there are a thousand combinations. At the moment, the taste doesn’t matter to us. That comes later. At the moment, what matters is whether something is magical, and whether it opens up a new path. And later, in the restaurant, the dishes are created. Constructed. Now it’s more research and there is more research with creativity.” Simply riveting.

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First Position

© Sundance Selects, 2011

An awesome documentary that follows a group of young ballet dancers from around the world, as they prepare for a competition in New York City where they can win coveted dance scholarships and a chance to follow their dream of becoming part of a ballet company. We cried tears of joy multiple times whilst watching this gem and think it best not to give away any details for fear of ruining the experience for those who have not yet seen it. With outstanding film editing by Kate Amend and Bess Kargman – the youngsters in this movie will steal your heart and have you giving standing ovations in your own living room! Currently in theatres, as well as available on demand.

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Brideshead Revisited

© Miramax Films, 2008

Just at the height of our Downton Abbey withdrawal, this gem from 2008 reappears and satisfies with all the splendor, drama and “upstairs” British finery we’ve been longing for – based on the novel by Evelyn Waugh. Upon second viewing, we’re once again struck by the lushness of the setting, the wonderful taboo of the story and sheer magnificence of the truly disgracefully wealthy in the earlier part of twentieth century England.  Beautifully directed by Julian Jarrold and starring Matthew Goode, Emma Thompson and Ben Wishaw who a year later went on to star in one of our all-time faves, the glorious Jane Campion beauty, Bright Star. Its chock full of everything period and pretty you want in a drama about obscene inherited wealth and class, including a perfect unseemly, disturbing underbelly. Enjoy!

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© BBC Original Drama, 2012

Did we say we were missing Downton Abbey? Well, this two-part Masterpiece Classic adapted from the modern classic, epic novel by Sebastian Faulk is just what we needed to get our fix of GORGEOUSLY filmed (touché, Director, Philip Martin & Cinematographer, Julian Court – this is absolutely STUNNING film, indeed!) period drama with the backdrop of World War One. The Trenches are shot with amazing finesse and a gritty, dark reality, while the flashbacks of forbidden love in the French countryside (Manor house – with ALL the fantastic details) between Eddie Redmayne and Clémence Poésy just absolutely took our breath away. Though thoroughly cinematic in every way, we feel quite lucky that this is actually a TV series (BBC, of course) – as we get feast our eyes on a full three hours of it and recommend you do the same!

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“It’s a Wonderful Town”

photos: Ray Milland portrayed an alcoholic in a downward spiral in Billy Wilder’s The Lost Weekend (1945) – Wilder (behind the camera) was one of the first filmmakers to return to New York after the war. Martin Scorsese prepares a scene for Taxi Driver (1976) with Robert De Niro at Columbus Circle. Co-directors Stanley Donnen and Gene Kelleywork on a routine for On the Town (1949) as Frank Sinatra waits. Director Joseph Sargent shot The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) on a subway car rented from the Transit Authority. Woody Allen used actual Coney Island locations in Annie Hall (1977) for the childhood flashbacks of his alter ego Alvy Singer, who grew up under the roller coaster. Francis Ford Coppola (in striped coat) redressed East Sixth Street near Avenue A to look like it did in 1917 for The Godfather, Part II (1974). Elaine May shot her fist feature, A new Leaf (1971), in Manhattan and Queens. John Schlesinger (seated) directing Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy (1969). The quintessential New York director, Sidney Lumet used 104 locations in every borough except Staten Island to shoot his police corruption film, Serpico (1973).

A wonderful pictorial essay in DGA Quarterly full of historical images of some of our favorite directors shooting in our most favorite city!

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The Artist

© The Weinstein Company, 2011

And we thought they didn’t make old black and white movies anymore. Thank you Michel Hazanavicius for your love of the genre and your incredible artistry in getting the look and tone of this modern stunner one hundred percent accurate for the old movie buffs around the world – just perfect and lovely in every way! Our favorite scene – Bérénice Bejo’s bit with the jacket in George Valentin’s dressing room – as good as any Old Hollywoodland moment we can remember! With stellar performances by Jean Dujardin, John Goodman, Penelope Ann Miller and especially the tremendous and heart wrenching dramatic range of Uggie the dog – whom we’d like to nominate for Best Supporting Actor!

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Christmas in Connecticut

© Warner Brothers Pictures, 1945

This 1945 Warner Brother’s Picture is a real charmer, starring Barbara Stanwyk as a very single bachelorette food writer living in a New York City apartment. Her character can barely boil water, but somehow manages to steal ideas from her restaurant chef friend (played by the wonderful S.Z. Sakall) in order to write a popular Martha Stewart-esque column about being the “perfect suburban housewife.” She finally ends up getting trapped her in her own web at Christmastime when she must try to cover her deception after her boss and a coincidentally devilishly handsome returning war hero invite themselves to her “home” in Connecticut for a traditional family Christmas. She’s forced to fake her way through being a super mom, super chef and all around country homemaker to keep her job and the man of her dreams who has, of course, suddenly appeared, Hollywood-style, on her pretend Connecticut doorstep – super adorable holiday-fare!

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