In front of a deep blue background, a vivacious redhead appears, full of anguish and yearning as she sings about the rock star she idolizes being drafted into the army. This is the hypnotic beginning to 1963’s Bye Bye Birdie, and for many, it was the moment Ann-Margret became a bona fide star. A triple threat who could dance, sing, and act with both sincerity and a winking playfulness, Ann-Margret became an icon of ’60s cinema, and nothing better exemplifies why than the back-to-back musicals she made with director George Sidney: Bye Bye Birdie and 1964’s Viva Las Vegas. (more…)
Guest post by Chris Forrester.
As the early days of pandemic-necessitated isolation stretched into weeks and the weeks into months, and as it gradually became clearer and clearer that life as we knew it would never return and whatever semblance of it we could return to remains far out of reach, I found a degree of comfort in the films of the German director Wim Wenders, who in the early days of his career (1970-1991, roughly) became known for his mastery of the road picture.
Perhaps there’s no better movie for the stifling nothingness of isolation than the road movie: a quaint and comforting genre wherein the journey is as much a character as the people who embark on it. (more…)
During an episode of the Pure Cinema Podcast from April, recorded remotely with guest Edgar Wright, the 1963 Italian film The Leopard came up in conversation. Co-host Elric Kane joked that this 3-hour-plus epic would be a great film to watch early in the morning. Since the coronavirus pandemic has made my schedule very flexible, especially on the weekends, I decided to wake up at 7:45 am on a Sunday to see if Kane was right. (more…)
Steve Martin called him “my greatest mentor in movies and in life.” Norman Lear remarked that he brought “pure joy” to everything he did, while Billy Crystal deemed him “a nice genius” and Dick Van Dyke gushed that he was “the greatest human being I ever met in my life.”
In the worlds of television, film, and comedy in general, Carl Reiner was — and will most definitely remain — a giant. Although he left us at the age of 98 last week, his death still felt like a shock, probably because, thanks to Twitter and awed talk show hosts like Conan O’Brien, the man never stopped connecting with audiences or creating, as evidenced by the numerous books he published and TV appearances he made in just the last 10 years. For seven decades, Reiner was a part of so many timeless works that it only scratches the surface of his career to say that he hilariously played second banana to Sid Caesar and Mel Brooks, crafted the television masterpiece The Dick Van Dyke Show, and directed (and/or wrote) a slew of underseen, often parodic films. (more…)
Guest post by Andrew Urie.
In our current Web 3.0 era (see Andrew Keen’s book Digital Vertigo: How Today’s Online Social Revolution Is Dividing, Disorienting, and Diminishing Us ), an online platform like YouTube has fundamentally altered how many of us watch films by allowing for different viewing practices. Rather than watching a movie from beginning to end in linear fashion or selecting various pre-arranged filmic sequences on a DVD, we can now use YouTube to access a seemingly endless proliferation of cinematic fragments or excerpts that are circulating independent of a cinematic whole. The upshot of this is that cinephiles of all sorts can now better appreciate how there are countless great cinematic fragments out there that emanate from otherwise mediocre, lacklustre, or outright bad films.
Every month A Place for Film will bring you a selection of films from our group of regular bloggers. Even though these films aren’t currently being screened at the IU Cinema, this series will reflect the varied programming that can be found at the Cinema, as well as demonstrate the eclectic tastes of the bloggers. Each contributor has picked one film that they saw this month that they couldn’t wait to share with others. Keep reading to find out what discoveries these cinephiles have made, as well as some of the old friends they’ve revisited. (more…)