Among the most iconic of film directors, Sir Alfred Hitchcock was meticulous and clear about his aesthetic and technical choices. In 1962, Hitchcock granted noted French director Francois Truffaut a week of interviews at L.A.'s Universal Studios. "Hitchcock/Truffaut," the title of the subsequent 1966 book and a new documentary featuring those interviews, proves as insightful and revealing today as then.
Ordinarily, a biodoc of a critic would appeal to a smallish audience, but a documentary about Roger Ebert appeals more widely. Before Ebert, film critics were rather a precious group comprising the likes of Sarris and Kael. After Ebert, especially after PBS’ “Sneak Previews” went on the air, film criticism entered popular culture.
Based on Jordan Belfort's book charting his rise and fall, "The Wolf of Wall Street" recreates the wild ride through the 90s of this penny stock trader, soon multi-millionaire never bothered by ethics. Leonardo DiCaprio's tour-de-force performance drives the film from work at a Wall Street corporation to a shabby office to his own Stratton Oakmont Long Island firm.
Cinema lovers know about the legendary Roger Corman: his extraordinarily low budget films beginning in 1954, his giving a who's who of stars and directors their starts, and his work ethic that accounts for over 400 projects as writer, producer and/or director. Still Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel brings this man and his accomplishments to vivid life.
As 2011 ends, the best films deserve applause. Here are the films for which I welcome repeat viewings.
Director Martin Scorsese needs no introduction with his 52 films from Mean Streets (1973) to Raging Bull (1980) to Goodfellas (1990). But with Hugo Marty has added a surprising gem to his jewels, for Scorsese has channeled his encyclopedic knowledge of film history into an exhilarating, 3D love letter to special effects cinema pioneer Georges Méliès.