- Steven Spielberg has new movie coming out soon. No, not the prestige drama The Post, soon in limited release for Oscar season, but rather his upcoming Ready Player One, an adaptation of Ernest Cline’s VR-themed sci-fi novel. A great idea, surely, but now that CGI can render the fantastic and unlikely with (seemingly) so little effort, doesn't that negate the very sense of fantasy and the thrill of imagination? At any rate, we'll be there front and center.
- Speaking of thrills on a different scale, after Unknown (2011), Non-Stop (2014), and Run All Night (2014), director Jaume Collet-Serra and re-invented B-film action star Liam Neeson have another genre film for us in The Commuter, which looks every bit as lean and expert as their previous collaborations.
- We're eagerly anticipating the release of Paul Thomas Anderson's new film, The Phantom Thread (some of us have already seen it, lucky them), and in preparation we highly recommend Nick Pinkerton's overview of the American director's career for The Point:
Anderson has never lacked for ambition—and as with any extravagant artistic undertaking, this has engendered debate as to if the work is brilliant or Brummagem. Taken together, his films offer a wide-angle narrative of the twentieth-century American experience, suffused with popular indigenous themes such as lives of quiet desperation and beating against the current ceaselessly into the past. This loftiness of intention is legible not only in the content of an Anderson film, but also in its form. (...) et the boldness and sweep of Anderson’s aesthetic is connected to what can make his films such frustrating experiences. The talent and imagination are undeniable, and so too is the tiptoe exertion that accompanies their inevitable reach for the transcendent—a strain we register as viewers at precisely the moments when we should be feeling the transcendence itself.
- Feeling cold as autumn moves into winter this December? Heat things up with the latest issue of feminist online journal cléo, themed "Hot". Featuring an interview with Carla Simón (Summer 1993), Chealsea Phillips Carr on the cinema of Barbara Streisand, and a wonderfully designed video interview with filmmaker Ester Martin Bergsmark.
- Cinnema Scope #73 is out, with plenty of goodies readable online, like Michael Sicinski's interview with Blake Williams about one of the best films of 2017, PROTOTYPE, and a review of Thom Andersen's new book of criticism.
- Senses of Cinema also has released a lavish December edition, which includes an epic dossier on 100 years of Soviet cinema (including, bless them, Marlen Khutsiev's unimpeachable I Am Twenty), as well as an interview with teen heartthrob Tab Hunter (!), a Great Directors entry on Max Ophüls, and much more.
- We're mostly weary of year-end "Best of..."s, and of seeing the same films (and names) re-configured for this or that list, so we greatly appreciate online cinema Le CiNéMa Club's expanding catalog of filmmakers (James Gray, Monte Hellman, Yorgos Lamthimos), crew members (Darius Khondji) actors (Isabelle Huppert), and others (Pierre Rissient!) providing briefly annotated lists of five meaningful films across cinema history. (Incidentally, the film of the week at the club is Notebook contributor Ricky D'Ambrose's excellent new short, Spiral Jetty.)
- Can't say we necessarily recommend this—because we haven't read it—but surely David Lynch's new book of photographs, Nudes, is worth taking a look at. For the articles, surely.
- If you were lucky enough to catch Luke Fowler's dense, ensorcelling documentary portrait Eletrco-Pythagorus: A Portrait of Martin Bartlett on MUBI this fall (and even if you didn't), you may be interested in the British filmmaker's selection of six influential film books for the BFI:
Another early influence on my filmmaking was Lindsay Anderson and the Free Cinema movement. The loosely formed group utilised the newly available hand-held 16mm Bolex cameras, often rejecting sync sound in order to remake the documentary into a more subjective and poetic form, taking up the manifesto that “No film can be too personal… Size is irrelevant and perfection is not an aim.”
- Another P.T.A tip: a fabulous conversation from the Directors Guild of American between Anderson and Rian Johnson, director of another small art-house release this year, Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
- Maureen O'Hara did cheesecake photos? News to us, as is this publicity image, which looks like something from the late '60s, but is in fact for 1955's Lady Godiva of Coventry. (Via.)
- A handsome, fervidly canine new poster for Wes Anderson's upcoming animated film, Isle of Dogs.