MCN Columnists
Ray Pride

Pride By Ray PridePride@moviecitynews.com

FIFTY-PLUS FILMS FOR 2016

In 2016, I saw as many movies as most years (even if when I couldn’t review them all on first release), and I took an additional month to catch up and make room for some second and third look-sees. May the coming year reveal distribution and exhibition creativity to match the grand diversity of movies in 2016.

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Pride, Unprejudiced: Sunset Song, Weiner, The Invitation

A high point among so many, flawed only by a small, smoothing cut, is in the Weiner-Abedin kitchen one morning, when Abedin is asked how she’s doing. She pauses, there’s a cut, she says flatly, “It’s like living in a nightmare.” She smiles, all poise and resolve and red lipstick and white teeth and hightails it out of the frame. Second only to that is Weiner turning to his interrogators in the back of his car, “Isn’t the fly on the wall technique, doesn’t that have a little to do with the notion of not being seen or heard, you just kind of pick up what goes on around you?”

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Pride, Unprejudiced: LOUDER THAN BOMBS With Joachim Trier

“Gabriel Byrne gave him credit by saying that he had never worked with a cinematographer that was so involved, which means he’s there, he knows the blocking, he’s emoting, Jacob Ihre, I’ve seen in our collaboration both start laughing and start crying during scenes we shot, because he’s very engaged with what’s going on. Which I think he doesn’t laugh too loud or weep too loud But that matters. There is a tradition, you know, this tradition, this kind of close-up esthetic in Scandinavian cinema, from Dreyer through Bergman. On some level, I love being serious about that.”

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Pride, Unprejudiced: A Brighter Summer Day; Hail, Caesar!

Its multitude of astonishments include a sure, novelistic mastery of accruing details in an expansive shape that is built upon observation of the smallest moments, gestures, blood-boiling fixations, fetish objects, mortal desires, moral frustrations.

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Thirty Favored Features For 2015 (And Twenty More)

Fifty features, a few films out of time and a fistful of shorts.

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Fifteen Feature Documentaries For 2015

The Look Of Silence, Amy, Heart of a Dog and twelve more highlights of the 2015 year in documentary.

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Pride’s Friday 5: The Walk, Manglehorn, Results, A Brilliant Young Mind, Wenders On Wyeth

When Philippe Petit became Le Pétomane. Two new movies, two new Blu-rays, Wim Wenders capably describing a great painting.

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Sundance Seen Part 2: The Cooled Take

Sundance 2015, I told myself, would be a festival of no quick takes, some tweets, lots of movies, interviews, conversations, unforeseen run-ins and path-crossings, hundreds of photographs, and a few more movies. A noble experiment. Time to consider, reflect. Of course, afterwards, I was quickly reminded that there’s good reason for buckling down in the midst of all the sensory input of a film festival and churning copy and burning digital files. What happens once you’re back on the ground? Sure, plant your ass in the chair and type-type-type until all is tidy and done. But not so fast.

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Sundance Seen Part 1

The whispering of powder from a dull quiet sky. Snowflakes fall between the screenings. Then the sun is bright and powder dusts off the slopes.

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Best of 2014: A Top 40

Against the odds, good and great movies are made. And shown. And seen. And listed numerically, if not wholly ranked. Here’s one critic’s enhanced top forty for 2014.

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A Story Of Deep Delight: Talking BOYHOOD With Richard Linklater

A conversation about time, duration, contracts, some parallels between Boyhood and poetry, making a period film in the present tense, and why film “improvisation” doesn’t exist.

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Interview: Jonathan Glazer On The Birth Of UNDER THE SKIN

In a rangy interview, we talk to Jonathan Glazer about themes in Under The Skin, sight, the eye, Mica Levi’s inventive score and artistic productivity. (He admires Fassbinder’s output.) There are spoilers.

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Interview: Talking JOE And The South With David Gordon Green

The world of David Gordon Green’s Joe is all I ever knew and feared of my upbringing. Not my family, no, but some of my extended-extended family, cousins second- and third-removed, and certainly in the lanes and miles that radiated outward from this small blot on the countryside. I did not come from those people in Kentucky but they lived down the road only a piece.

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Picturing Sundance 14: Awards Night

Middle of the week, familiar faces aren’t recurring so often, Sundance theaters are mostly full, but not completely. But the traffic. The traffic never stops. Sundance 2014 was the first festival I’ve been to where what would once have been a workable schedule of screenings went to hell repeatedly because of traffic standstills all around Park City. The good thing about that is three or four films I would never have seen, but saw because they were the next option, half an hour forward, an hour forward, and they were good. I Pollyanna’ed that idea day and night long. Sundance: wherever you are, you’re where you were meant to be.

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Picturing Sundance 2014: 7 Looks

Seven first-looks along the streets of sunny Sundance.

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Sundance 2014 Review: Locke

“I’m just driving, that’s it,” he says in one way, another, and another. It’s a journey to the end of his soul. “I’m driving,” he says, and the BMW is his cranium, and the voices the voices rocketing within, the car less infernal cage than fevered skull. But it’s not a stunt, no, no, no: all the confinement, the inspired technical legerdemain, it’s all a means to an end, and that end is Locke.

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Sundance 2014 Review: Stranger By The Lake

Classically constructed, as rigid in its construction of suspense as any recent thriller, Alain Guiraudie’s Stranger by the Lake (L’inconnu du lac), is a masterful work, uncluttered yet lush, formally regimented, yet always surprising. (Call it full-frontal Hitchcock.) It also takes its location, its construction of sexuality, as commonplace. Guiraudie’s movie is assuredly part and parcel of queer cinema, but also of the cinema of the quotidian, of the everyday.

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Best Of 2013: Nonfiction Features

A list of ten (with some ties), followed by an alphabetical list of another fourteen, from an exceptionally fine year for nonfiction features. I’m equally awestruck by the top three, The Act Of Killing, The Square and Stories We Tell, especially after multiple viewings.

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Pride’s Friday 5, 20 September 2013

Prisoners, After Tiller, Out 1: Noli me Tangere, Simon Killer and Gimme the Loot.

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Pride’s Friday 5

At TIFF, To The Wolf; in NYC/LA, 99% The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film and Salinger; and on video, Shadow Dancer and The Company You Keep.

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Pride

Quote Unquotesee all »

“Let me try and be as direct as I possibly can with you on this. There was no relationship to repair. I didn’t intend for Harvey to buy and release The Immigrant – I thought it was a terrible idea. And I didn’t think he would want the film, and I didn’t think he would like the film. He bought the film without me knowing! He bought it from the equity people who raised the money for me in the States. And I told them it was a terrible idea, but I had no say over the matter. So they sold it to him without my say-so, and with me thinking it was a terrible idea. I was completely correct, but I couldn’t do anything about it. It was not my preference, it was not my choice, I did not want that to happen, I have no relationship with Harvey. So, it’s not like I repaired some relationship, then he screwed me again, and I’m an idiot for trusting him twice! Like I say, you try to distance yourself as much as possible from the immediate response to a movie. With The Immigrant I had final cut. So he knew he couldn’t make me change it. But he applied all the pressure he could, including shelving the film.”
James Gray

“I’m an unusual producer because I control the destiny of a lot of the films I’ve done. Most of them are in perfect states of restoration and preservation and distribution, and I aim to keep them in distribution. HanWay Films, which is my sales company, has a 500-film catalogue, which is looked after and tended like a garden. I’m still looking after my films in the catalogue and trying to get other people to look after their films, which we represent intellectually, to try to keep them alive. A film has to be run through a projector to be alive, unfortunately, and those electric shadows are few and far between now. It’s very hard to go and see films in a movie house. I was always involved with the sales and marketing of my films, right up from The Shout onwards. I’ve had good periods, but I also had a best period because the film business was in its best period then. You couldn’t make The Last Emperor today. You couldn’t make The Sheltering Sky today. You couldn’t make those films anymore as independent films. There are neither the resources nor the vision within the studios to go to them and say, “I want to make a film about China with no stars in it.”Then, twenty years ago, I thought, “OK, I’m going to sell my own films but I don’t want to make it my own sales company.” I wanted it to be for me but I wanted to make it open for every other producer, so they don’t feel that they make a film but I get the focus. So, it’s a company that is my business and I’m involved with running it in a certain way, but I’m not seen as a competitor with other people that use it. It’s used by lots of different producers apart from me. When I want to use it, however, it’s there for me and I suppose I’m planning to continue making all my films to be sold by HanWay. I don’t have to, but I do because it’s in my building and the marketing’s here, and I can do it like that. Often, it sounds like I’m being easy about things, but it’s much more difficult than it sounds. It’s just that I’ve been at it for a long time and there’s lots of fat and security around my business. I know how to make films, but it’s not easy—it’s become a very exacting life.”
~ Producer Jeremy Thomas