- The deaths seem to just keep coming these days, and we've had two more big losses over the last week: actor Alan Rickman, 1946 - 2016, beloved for his villain in Die Hard and his work in the Harry Potter films, but this hardly describes his full career; and Italian director Ettore Scola, 1931 - 2016, who made We All Love Each Other So Much (1974) and A Special Day (1977), which was nominated for an Oscar.
- Speaking of Oscars, the nominations have been announced for the 88th Academy Awards, with Alejandro González Iñárritu's The Revenant and George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road sweeping up, and with many notable absences, particularly actors, crew and films of color, as well as Todd Haynes' Carol.
- Huge news for U.S. publications: the satiric periodical The Onion, which includes the non-satiric cultural criticism publication The A.V. Club, has been sold to Univision. And IndieWire has been sold by its owner Snagfilms to Penske Media, which also owns Deadline Hollywood and Variety, among other publications.
- The first eight films in 2016's collaboration between the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art, New Directors/New Films, has been announced, and includes a Locarno favorite of ours, Raam Reddy's Thithi, as well as another from Toronto, Gabriel Mascaro's Neon Bull.
- The US trailer for Arnaud Desplechin's My Golden Days, which premiered in last year's Directors' Fortnight in Cannes.
- The trailer for The Glance of Music, an upcoming documentary on composer extraordinaire Ennio Morricone—nominated for an Academy Award this year for his score for Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight.
- Kubrick in Color, Marc Anthony Figueras' video essay exploring—you got it—the use of color in the films of Stanley the Great.
- Last week you may have seen on the Notebook one part of Darren Hughes, Vadim Rizov and Eric Hynes' career-spanning, long form interview with French director Philippe Garrel upon the US release of his new film, In the Shadow of Women. (On MUBI in the US we're now showing his 2013 drama, Jealousy.) Filmmaker Magazine is hosting Part 1 of the interview, we're hosting Part 2, and Part 3 at Reverse Shot.
- It's known that we're morbidly fascinated with the cinema of Michael Bay, and so our curiosity was peaked by the release of his most serious film to date, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. Ignatiy Vishnevetsky at the A.V. Club weighs the grossness as well as the beauty of Bayghazi:
"Packed with misfiring grenade launchers, blue lens flares, and Mercedes armored cars, 13 Hours makes the best case for Bay as a toy-box aesthete with an abstract sense of motion and color—and the best case against him as an incoherent jingoism fetishist."
- Speaking of mainstream cinema, A.S. Hamrah has a new piece for Harpers delving into the bizarre place the new Star Wars film has in our commercial culture:
"In the thirty-nine years of its existence, Star Wars has gone from nerdy obsession to full-fledged lifestyle brand. Just as the movies are cradle-to-grave entertainments, the brand offers cause-and-cure tie-ins. Ample Hills Dark Side and Light Side ice cream may cause tooth decay, but Oral-B and Crest’s Star Wars toothpastes and toothbrushes will fight it off."
- Episode 7 of the podcast The Director's Cut features Paul Thomas Anderson in discussion with the newly Academy Award-nominated director of The Big Short, Adam McKay: