But as a genre, the American action film featured hallmark stars (Schwarzenegger! Stallone! Willis!) and identifiable tropes (kill villain; make pun about method in which you killed villain), and it produced at least one bona fide masterpiece, “Die Hard.” (If you can’t get behind “Die Hard” as a great American movie, then I’d argue that you hate greatness, movies and America.) And the action movie carried, briefly, as all good genre movies do, the cultural weight of metaphorical significance. Action films meant something.How the American Action Movie Went Kablooey - NYTimes.com
It’s a jolt to see “Badlands” again after having seen the new movie; what seems, in the earlier film, to have been mere hints, adornments, and suggestions—background gleams, silhouettes, shots of nature and landscape, a fascination with the celestial, a sense of the cosmic—now look as if they had always been central to Malick, as central as his characters and their actions.
I once read about a director who referred to an actor as the equivalent of a color on a painter’s palette. Penn brings an acid yellow to the glass-and-metal grays of his scenes, and it adds something important to the film; but he doesn’t get to do the kind of showy and theatrical performance for which Oscars are won. The star system, the flatteries of celebrity—and, for that matter, the temperament that makes a person become an actor in the first place—contribute much to an actor’s sense that a movie is, or should be, all about him. There are some movies—and some great ones—in which this is so. But in “The Tree of Life,” Penn’s unhappy and unexpected less really is more.The Front Row: Sean Penn vs. Terrence Malick : The New Yorker
Montaigne or Adam Smith may have had more lasting impact on our present, but they will never seem as “modern” to most of us as Charlie Chaplin’s walk, or the eyes of Lillian Gish. The eloquent tactility of facial expressions, bodily movement, gesture, or fashion sense — indeed, the basic ability to be rendered and perceived as an image — is now a prerequisite for that kindred feeling of contemporaneity which is now essential to our sense of history in this thickly archived, and amnesiac, culture. The images of film have thus become the inadvertent nursery of all possible truisms that we could tell about ourselves, or about the ostensible modernity we inhabit.
The British model, which I’ve always thought was great, is that you do a TV show and then they sell it. Then you can buy it at the video stores forever, so it never went away. But American TV used to be if you had a show and it got cancelled, then it never existed. It was just this thing you heard about and you couldn’t see it again. (via Paul Feig | Film | Interview | The A.V. Club) h/t Tim Carmody on kottke
Creating “La Nouvelle Vague”. On the set of A bout de souffle.
(Photo : Raymond Cauchetier, 1959)
But shooting a film itself is nothing but banalities. [Then, as though reluctantly, he continues.] However, there’s very rare moments where I get the feeling sometimes I’m like the little girl in the fairy tale who steps out into the night, in the stars, and she holds her apron open, and the stars are raining into her apron. Those moments I have seen and I have had. But they are very rare.Werner Herzog profile
I was watching Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs some years ago with a friend’s three-year-old daughter. Molly hadn’t seen the movie before, and she watched it in a fascinated silence. At the end, Snow White and the prince leave the dwarfs and ride off into the distance. At this point Molly cried, “More!” This surprised me. How could she know, on her first pass, that the story was ending?Observations on film art : Molly wanted more
I could go on about our differences forever: She doesn’t like the city and I adore it. She loves the country and I don’t like it. She doesn’t like sports at all and I love sports. She loves to eat in, early — 5:30, 6 — and I love to eat out, late. She likes simple, unpretentious restaurants; I like fancy places. She can’t sleep with an air-conditioner on; I can only sleep with an air-conditioner on. She loves pets and animals; I hate pets and animals.Woody and Mia: A New York Story - New York Times
About a minute in, Baxter, the editor, talks about how Fincher wanted him to conform to traditional rules of continuity editing, never crossing the axis of action. As he puts it, “We’re always doing basic film law, but it can just be done extremely rapidly.” In other words, the average shot length may be lower than in older Hollywood films, but the methods of handling space for clarity are still observed.Observations on film art : Beyond praise 4: Even more DVD supplements that really tell you something