Miyazaki retires! Celebrate the legendary director’s work

A luminary of the film industry is throwing in the towel. With the release of The Wind Rises, his eleventh feature film, Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki has announced his retirement from filmmaking. The sudden announcement was perhaps inevitable given Miyazaki’s age, but his absence from the world of animation will be felt immediately. Miyazaki’s production … Continue reading “Miyazaki retires! Celebrate the legendary director’s work”

A luminary of the film industry is throwing in the towel. With the release of The Wind Rises, his eleventh feature film, Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki has announced his retirement from filmmaking. The sudden announcement was perhaps inevitable given Miyazaki’s age, but his absence from the world of animation will be felt immediately. Miyazaki’s production house, Studio Ghibli, has often been called the Japanese equivalent of Disney; Ghibli is responsible for many critically acclaimed Japanese films, including 2010’s The Secret World of Arrietty.

Miyazaki will probably still have a hand in the operations of Studio Ghibli and in producing more animated films, but his absence in the director’s chair will be sorely missed. Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away are among the most cherished and lauded animated films ever.

Luckily, Miyazaki leaves behind three decades of quality animated features. We have the director’s entire filmography available for checkout in Media Services. Watch one or two and pay tribute to his enormous and acclaimed body of work.

Spirited Away – HU DVD 586
Princess Mononoke –  HU DVD 1206
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind  – HU DVD 2977
Castle in the Sky – HU DVD 2978
Howl’s Moving Castle – HU DVD 2979
My Neighbor Totoro – HU DVD 4709
Kiki’s Delivery Service – HU DVD 6077
Ponyo – HU DVD 6937
Porco Rosso – HU DVD 10216
The Castle of Cagliostro – HU DVD 10694

Early Orson Welles film uncovered!

Everyone knows Orson Welles best for his directorial debut, Citizen Kane. Though Welles had dabbled in some film work and shorts before Kane‘s debut, few of those early works have seen the light of the day. Perhaps Welles’s most famous lost work is Too Much Johnson, a series of vignettes originally designed to screen alongside … Continue reading “Early Orson Welles film uncovered!”

Everyone knows Orson Welles best for his directorial debut, Citizen Kane. Though Welles had dabbled in some film work and shorts before Kane‘s debut, few of those early works have seen the light of the day. Perhaps Welles’s most famous lost work is Too Much Johnson, a series of vignettes originally designed to screen alongside a stage play of the same name. The play never took off, and Welles never finished editing Johnson, leaving it to languish in a box somewhere for decades.

You probably know where this is going. Last week, a pristine copy of Too Much Johnson was found in Italy, and a restoration is already in progress. It seems that every year, another landmark film is being uncovered, whether it’s an extended copy of Metropolis or a missing Hitchcock. Finding an old Orson Welles film is easily on par with these other discoveries; we can’t wait to see the apparently unusual film once it premieres in October.

Spielberg joins Soderbergh in warning of film industry “implosion”

Pessimism loves company. Roughly a month after now-retired director Steven Soderbergh engaged in an epic-length verbal takedown of the movie industry, Steven Spielberg has followed suit; Hollywood Reporter quotes a foreboding Spielberg warning of the industry’s imminent restructuring. The director predicts a number of changes, such as higher ticket prices for pricier blockbusters and the … Continue reading “Spielberg joins Soderbergh in warning of film industry “implosion””

Pessimism loves company. Roughly a month after now-retired director Steven Soderbergh engaged in an epic-length verbal takedown of the movie industry, Steven Spielberg has followed suit; Hollywood Reporter quotes a foreboding Spielberg warning of the industry’s imminent restructuring. The director predicts a number of changes, such as higher ticket prices for pricier blockbusters and the explosion of films through alternatives mediums such as television and video game consoles.

Though Spielberg was not as apocalyptic as Soderbergh, he notes that the industry only needs a few more John Carter-size flops to collapse the business. “There’s going to be an implosion,” he cautions, “where three or four or maybe even a half-dozen megabudget movies are going to go crashing into the ground, and that’s going to change the paradigm.” The director speaks from experience: Lincoln nearly would have been produced and released by HBO for cost reasons, and Spielberg is currently working on an exclusive television series for Xbox.

Is this going to happen sooner rather then later? With the international market, even failures in the US are picking up plenty of money abroad to recoup their costs. But keep an eye out: upcoming mega-blockbusters like The Lone Ranger are high-risk gambles that might cost studios more than a couple million dollars.

Watch Steven Soderbergh’s extra-long speech about the state of film

It looks like filmmaker Steven Soderbergh wasn’t kidding when he said he was retiring. A few day ago, Soderbergh gave a keynote speech at the San Francisco Film Festival. It was exactly as upbeat as you might expect from an auteur who left Hollywood in disillusionment. For nearly 40 minutes, Soderbergh delivered a rambling assault … Continue reading “Watch Steven Soderbergh’s extra-long speech about the state of film”

It looks like filmmaker Steven Soderbergh wasn’t kidding when he said he was retiring. A few day ago, Soderbergh gave a keynote speech at the San Francisco Film Festival. It was exactly as upbeat as you might expect from an auteur who left Hollywood in disillusionment. For nearly 40 minutes, Soderbergh delivered a rambling assault on the film industry, piracy, and other societal ills.

Thankfully, despite the requests for no video recording, the San Francisco Film Society has provided a complete video of Soderbergh’s “State of Cinema” speech. It’s sort of breathtaking to watch. If you can find the time, or even if you want to put it on in the background, it’s worth listening to one of the most prolific independent filmmakers of the era talk about what he finds wrong with the industry.

Hear Oliver Stone on JFK’s legacy TONIGHT!

Here’s last-minute announcement: Academy Award-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone will be on campus this evening with friend-of-Media-Services Prof. Peter Kuznick to screen an episode of their Showtime documentary series, The Untold History of the United States. The event is part of AU’s commemoration of John F. Kennedy’s landmark commencement address at AU in which he heralded … Continue reading “Hear Oliver Stone on JFK’s legacy TONIGHT!”

Here’s last-minute announcement: Academy Award-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone will be on campus this evening with friend-of-Media-Services Prof. Peter Kuznick to screen an episode of their Showtime documentary series, The Untold History of the United States.

The event is part of AU’s commemoration of John F. Kennedy’s landmark commencement address at AU in which he heralded a future of peace. Tonight’s episode is, appropriately, about JFK’s attempts to find peace during the Cold War and resolve the Cuban Missile Crisis.

It all goes down at 8pm tonight in Ward 2. Take this opportunity to see and speak with a filmmaker whose unconventional, distinctive take on history has cemented him as one of the most important filmmakers of his generation.

(If you’re itching for some more Stone, our Pinterest page has a board for all our Oliver Stone movies.)

Soderbergh calls it a day

Steven Soderbergh’s next film, Side Effects hits theaters tomorrow. But if the director can be believed, it will also be his last film. In recent interviews, Soderbergh has made clear his distaste for the Hollywood system and its treatment of directors. Although Soderbergh still has a film in the can waiting to be released (an … Continue reading “Soderbergh calls it a day”

Steven Soderbergh’s next film, Side Effects hits theaters tomorrow. But if the director can be believed, it will also be his last film. In recent interviews, Soderbergh has made clear his distaste for the Hollywood system and its treatment of directors. Although Soderbergh still has a film in the can waiting to be released (an HBO movie about Liberace), he plans to retire from filmmaking after Side Effect‘s release and focus on painting instead.

It’ll be a shame. Soderbergh leaves behind a prolific body of work with a startlingly wide range. The director has helmed films from the star-studded blockbuster caper Ocean’s Eleven and male stripper opus Magic Mike to taut political satire series K Street. You might recognize several of his movies without knowing that he directed them.

Given Soderbergh’s abundant and quality filmography, we have quite a few of his films in our collection. Come watch a few to send out a film career for the ages.

Erin Brockovich – HU DVD 306
Sex, Lies, and Videotape – HU DVD 383
Traffic – HU DVD 432
Eros – HU DVD 2627
K Street, The Complete Series – HU DVD 4700
The Good German – HU DVD 4705
Out of Sight – HU DVD 4817
Full Frontal – HU DVD 5382
Schizopolis – HU DVD 5389
Solaris – HU DVD 5398
Underneath – HU DVD 5400
Bubble – HU DVD 5447
The Girlfriend Experience – HU DVD 6770
The Informant! – HU DVD 7054
Che (Parts 1, 2, and supplementals) – HU DVD 7061 – 7063
The Limey – HU DVD 9077
Contagion – HU DVD 9596
And Everything is Going Fine – HU DVD 10006
Ocean’s Eleven – HU DVD 10484
Ocean’s Twelve – HU DVD 10485
Ocean’s Thirteen – HU DVD 10486
Magic Mike – HU DVD 10653

Is J. J. Abrams the right man for the job? See for yourself

The entertainment world went nuts this weekend over news that filmmaker J. J. Abrams will be helming the next installment in the Star Wars franchise. Apart from the sci-fi conflict of interest with his work on Star Trek, the biggest question is whether Abrams’s work gives him the chops and wherewithal to take on, arguably, … Continue reading “Is J. J. Abrams the right man for the job? See for yourself”

The entertainment world went nuts this weekend over news that filmmaker J. J. Abrams will be helming the next installment in the Star Wars franchise. Apart from the sci-fi conflict of interest with his work on Star Trek, the biggest question is whether Abrams’s work gives him the chops and wherewithal to take on, arguably, the biggest brand name in entertainment.

Abrams has a longer history as a producer than as a director, but his distinct, complex style has influenced every production he’s touched. If you want to get a better idea of what “far, far away” will look like in a few years, dig into our collections and watch some of the works that Abrams has influenced.

The Office, Season 3: “Cocktails” – HU DVD 4018
Lost, The Complete Series – HU DVD 4501 – 4537
Star Trek – HU DVD 7084
Fringe, Season 1 – HU DVD 7981 – 7987
Super 8 – HU DVD 9288
Mission: Impossible III – HU DVD 10699
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol – HU DVD 10699

Remembering — and maybe introducing — Nagisa Oshima

Japanese director Nagisa Oshima died yesterday following long-term stroke complications. Oshima may not be the most well-known director outside of Japan, but he leaves behind an award-winning legacy. Oshima’s films dealt with a wide range of subjects, typically set during wartime Japan and (controversially) involving explicit sexuality. This style and thematic content earned him a … Continue reading “Remembering — and maybe introducing — Nagisa Oshima”

Japanese director Nagisa Oshima died yesterday following long-term stroke complications. Oshima may not be the most well-known director outside of Japan, but he leaves behind an award-winning legacy. Oshima’s films dealt with a wide range of subjects, typically set during wartime Japan and (controversially) involving explicit sexuality. This style and thematic content earned him a distinction as one of the most notable Japanese New Wave filmmakers.

Oshima is not especially well-known in the United States. If you have never heard of the director, now is a good time to start watching. We have several of Oshima’s films in our collection, including a lengthy interview he conducted with acclaimed Japanese director Akira Kurosawa.

Hitchcock first’s film found! Watch online for free

Attention Hitchcock aficionados: one of the legendary director’s first films, 1923’s The White Shadow, was recently recovered in New Zealand and has been made available for free online. It is currently the earliest surviving Hitchcock film. The film, long presumed lost was only partly recovered. About half of the silent film (42 minutes) has survived, … Continue reading “Hitchcock first’s film found! Watch online for free”

Attention Hitchcock aficionados: one of the legendary director’s first films, 1923’s The White Shadow, was recently recovered in New Zealand and has been made available for free online. It is currently the earliest surviving Hitchcock film.

The film, long presumed lost was only partly recovered. About half of the silent film (42 minutes) has survived, so don’t watch it for the story. Even with what little remains, though, Hitchcock’s style (in its infancy) and his eye for dramatic staging are still pretty apparent.

The release of The White Shadow comes on the heels of a recent surge of Hitchcockmania, likely helped by the release of the Anthony Hopkins-starring biopic Hitchcock this past weekend.

60 Minutes gets in Spielberg’s head

Steven Spielberg is widely accepted to be among the most notable and important (if not one of the best) contemporary American film directors. With the impending release of Spielberg’s highly anticipated Lincoln, it makes sense that there’s a renewed interest in the now-65-year-old director’s work. Yesterday, 60 Minutes had an extensive interview with Spielberg about … Continue reading “60 Minutes gets in Spielberg’s head”

Steven Spielberg is widely accepted to be among the most notable and important (if not one of the best) contemporary American film directors. With the impending release of Spielberg’s highly anticipated Lincoln, it makes sense that there’s a renewed interest in the now-65-year-old director’s work.

Yesterday, 60 Minutes had an extensive interview with Spielberg about how his childhood and relationship with his father have influenced his films. While the 14-minute piece is more of a biography than an incisive look at Spielberg’s oeuvre, the video is still worth watching for a glimpse into how Spielberg has exorcised his demons — and how his new films take an entirely different tact.