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  • Wake in fright with Framing Pictures

    The October 2012 session of Framing Pictures is available for online viewing at http://www.seattlechannel.org/videos/video.asp?ID=3411205 
          Robert Horton, Bruce Reid, and I talk about Shirley Clarke's 1961 Underground movie The Connection, Ted Kotcheff's Aussie landmark Wake in Fright, the Universal Pictures centenary, and the mystique of celluloid vs. digital. This will not be on the exam.

  • Framing Pictures lonesome no more

    Back in September, Kathleen and I and Framing Pictures interlocutor Bruce Reid were entranced by two moments when the movies changed: the shift from silents to talkies in 1928-29, as refracted through the adventurous work of little-known director Paul Fejos; and 1958, when Otto Preminger's Bonjour, Tristesse redefined CinemaScope as a format for subtlety and ambiguity and helped inspire the French New Wave.

  • Style vs. 'Style'

    One Sunday evening I got a call from Film Comment editor Richard Corliss, who said he didn't have an article that felt like a lead piece for the March-April 1980 issue of the magazine. He wondered whether I had anything on my mind. We talked a bit and gradually it emerged that there was a theme running through some reviews I'd recently written for Movietone News and The Weekly ("Seattle's Newsmagazine," as it was subtitled then). He encouraged me to try writing an intro for a piece that would amalgamate some of that material along with fresh insights. The following is what resulted.
  • Power

    It's mean season again—a Presidential election year with inanity in full cry—and time to haul out an old review of a 1986 movie I may never have heard anyone speak of in the years since, or seen programmed on TV. There was a DVD release, so if you're curious, maybe you can do something about it. (These days I kinda like Richard Gere. Yes, and moreover I think Robert Pattinson is quite good in Cosmopolis. Is my life coming unstuck or what?) —RTJ

  • Framing Pictures for the home

    Last Friday's session turned out to be Murphyless and "action"less: Kathleen was laid up with a bum knee, and so Robert Horton, Bruce Reid, and I tabled the projected portion of the talk on Andre De Toth's Ramrod, Otto Preminger's River of No Return, et al. which KAM was jazzed to spearhead. Later ... say, when the enterprising Olive digital distribution outfit brings out Ramrod on disk....
          Meanwhile, the July 13 installment is now up in the "An Evening With..." section of The Seattle Channel's website. Kathleen's in that one: http://www.seattlechannel.org/videos/video.asp?ID=3411202  -RTJ

  • When Harry Met Sally...

    I hadn't planned to join in the obsequies for the late Nora Ephron, but coincidentally I just scanned my 7 Days magazine review of When Harry Met Sally..., directed by Rob Reiner from her screenplay. This was the second review I did for the Manhattan weekly, still writing from Seattle. It's better than I had remembered. But was there really a time when I could say that, as a feature film director, "Rob Reiner hasn't made a wrong move"? Photo is Billy Crystal, of course.
  • Andrew Sarris: The Man Who Loved Women

    More than one film critic has already said, "We all owe Andrew Sarris everything." This invaluable writer, lifelong lover of movies, and irreplaceable man died Wednesday, June 21, at the age of 83. To write about his importance and influence is to be forced into using, in News publisher Mike Dillon's phrase, "the vertical pronoun." That is to say, it's impossible not to keep coming back to "I," "I," "I"—because any film critic worthy of the name has had Andrew Sarris as spiritual companion while watching every film, and writing every consideration of same. Kathleen and I were also blessed to have him and his lovely and eloquent wife Molly Haskell as personal friends. We shall all miss him terribly. Then again, we'll never be without him, because his words and teaching and example shine as they have for the past half-century, and will continue to shine wherever movies matter.
          Clicking "Read More" will get you to Kathleen's tribute she wrote for inclusion in the 2001 Festschrift Citizen Sarris, American Film Critic. And clicking the following URL will bring you a definitive portrait by Andrew's good friend and most stellar pupil, Time film critic and former Film Comment editor Richard Corliss: http://entertainment.time.com/2012/06/21/remembering-andrew-sarris-a-great-american-film-critic/

  • Your Sister's Sister

    If Woody Allen had been a woman born and raised in the Great Damp of the Pacific Northwest, Lynn Shelton might have been his name....
  • Secondhand summer

    Kathleen Murphy finds that a certain sense of déjà-vu in advance pervades the 2012 summer movie season. Even more so when you consider that this feature was written a month-or-so ago but only recently made public at MSN.com/Movies.
  • The Last Temptation of Sigourney Weaver

    Ridley Scott's Prometheus, which either is or isn't a prequel to the 1979 Alien (depending on which publicist has had the last word), is plenty of reason to summon up Kathleen Murphy's 1992 essay on what was then an Alien(s) triptych.
  • Just before dawn

    Quite by chance, I recently came upon an item in the 49th issue of the Seattle Film Society's journal Movietone News, published in April 1976, which anticipated the launch of something quaintly termed the "First Seattle Festival of International Films." It makes for nostalgic and perhaps instructive reading. Were there as many estimable films in that inaugural, 19-film, two-and-a-half-week event as in any recent season of SIFF? Discuss amongst yourselves. Photo at left is from the Opening Night film The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum, with Angela Winkler. —RTJ

  • Unforgivable

    "I never know how each film will end. When I'm filming, I shoot each scene as if it were a short film. It's only when I edit that I worry about the narrative. My objective is to tell a story, but that's the final thing I do."
    Writer-director André Téchiné said that sometime in the mid-Nineties, but I'd enjoy thinking he was moved to these remarks by his 2011 film Unforgivable (Impardonnables).

  • SIFF 2012: memories in the making?
    The 37th incarnation of the Seattle International Film Festival (called the 38th, but that's another story) gets off to a promising start with local filmmaker Lynn Shelton's latest, Your Sister's Sister. What happens after that won't necessarily be pretty.
  • Tim Burton: dark dreams, freaky fables
    To supply some context for Tim Burton's new movie Dark Shadows, not to mention May's installment of Framing Pictures, we offer a feature Kathleen Murphy wrote for MSN.com/Movies back when Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was going into release. MSN.com doesn't seem to be archiving ancient texts as assiduously as we might hope, so find the whole deal here.
  • Supercharged actor-director collaborations

    Kathleen Murphy has bookmarked ten memorable director-performer teams for your perusal at MSN.com/Movies. The topical excuse is the latest pairing of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp on Dark Shadows, but you'll be seeing lots of pictures from that. Instead, at left meet Josef von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich just as their seven-film run was getting underway. And do click "Read More." 
  • The summer 'Jaws' ate the movies

    My turn to take a whack at summer moviewatching.  "Bruce," at left, joins me in inviting you to click below and read the first section of a new feature at MSN.com/Movies.
  • Screening Edgar Allan Poe

    Kathleen Murphy invites you

    ...to savor some particularly tasty screen adaptations of Poe's fictions, including American and foreign fare, the oddball and the familiar, the cheesy and the chilling. We'll tour Poe's haunted castles and tombs, his dank cellars and dungeons, where ravens and black cats materialize at every turn and raving madmen act out twisted obsessions and monstrous acts of vengeance. On the prowl through hectic masquerades and premature burials will be doppelgangers, revenants and, most especially, exotic femme fatales with monikers like Morella, Lenore, Ligeia, and Annabel Lee. And have a care, for our path's littered with macabre debris, from "Berenice"'s perfect teeth to an old man's "vulture eye" to that viscous puddle that used to be M. Valdemar.

    Click for a longer taste of this MSN/Movies "Parallel Universe" feature. 
  • The French they are a filmic race

    Among the best reasons for feeling optimistic about the expanded reach of SIFF Cinema—the new facilities at Seattle Center and the acquisition of the three Uptown screens nearby—is that it increases Seattleites' chances of getting access to institutional film programming from elsewhere in the movie universe. Case in point: the imminent sampling of "Rendez-Vous with French Cinema," due this Friday through Sunday. The crown jewel of it is the restoration of Children of Paradise, with Jean-Louis Barrault (pictured here).

  • Girls gone wild

    How many generations of little girls, tired of playing with dollhouses, have let their imaginations run wild with Robin Hood, Arthur, Huckleberry Finn and all the other adventurous boys in the pantheon of heroic questers? Go ask Alice, the rare bird who, passing through the looking glass and down the rabbit hole, embarked on a full-fledged heroine’s journey. She’d likely tell you that Luke Skywalker, Frodo and Harry Potter may have benefited from distaff sidekicks and allies, but in the end the big myth, the sweet dream, had their names on it.


  • In the year of 'The Artist'

    Hollywood's annual prize day is a half-week away, and it can't come too soon. We're in another of those seasons when the winner of the top Oscars seems a lock, and that puts a bit of a damper on things even if you agree with the Academy's likely choice. Agree, or at least have come to look fondly on the prospect.

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