Monthly Archives: April 2011

DVD Tuesday: Kes (1970)

Kes, a British film from 1970 about a boy and the kestrel he befriends, is available for the first time in the US on DVD and Bluray today, courtesy of the Criterion Collection. Their restoration and re-release ressurrects a film that always ranks highly on British film polls, certainly with good reason. Kes  is a British film with a focus on rebellious, disaffected, and even angry youth, and the turmoil of the lower classes. But it sets itself apart from the genre it works within by the sublime beauty that director Ken Loach (Wind That Shakes the Barley) offers us. He gives us an oppressive world, filled with despair and alienation, but with the unrelenting hope for freedom, and the refusal to fall prey to those who push you down. Continue reading

Advertisements

Jane Eyre – a master class in adaptation

For all intents and purposes there are two kinds of adaptations. The first comes out of respect for the original source, immense reverence for the intent of the original author, and a meticulous approach to detail. This is the faithful adaptation. The other, unfortunately much more common, is the interpretation of the original. It places the characters in a new setting, or alters their relationships to invoke new themes or update the old ones to be more relevant today (a lamentable approach, as many of those altered themes were universal to begin with). Rarely does a filmmaker succeed in either category, as either the book far outshines the complexity achieved by the film, or the book was so forgettable people fail to recognize the adaptation at work. Here, however, is a prime example of not only a perfect adaptation, but one that eschews the aforementioned dialectic. It creates a wholly original work, one that pays more than its due to the Bronte novel, but also completely devoted to playing with his own themes. In both areas it succeeds tremendously. Continue reading

Conspirator timely without being preachy

Film adaptations of historical events face several difficulties, including issues of historical accuracy and the audience’s awareness of how it all ends (Titanic).  Robert Redford’s latest film Conspirator approaches these pitfalls by producing the tale under The American Film Company, which aims to produce historically accurate films.  Further, Conspirator tells the story of Lincoln’s assassination from an angle with which few are familiar. Continue reading

About

What is The Filmsmith?
The Filmsmith aims to critically assess a broad spectrum of films, from what’s coming out this weekend to silent films of the 1920’s. We love cinema and aim to share that passion, whether by panning or praising a certain picture, discussing the production of a film, or even addressing other artistic mediums (video games, books, music) when it’s merited. Our writing should be intelligent and full of verve and wit.

When do we update?
For the forseeable future, we’ll update at least every MondayWe may sometimes update more often, depending on our free time.  This is a shift away from our Monday, Wednesday, Friday posting schedule while Remington Smith finishes a film script he’s working on.

Creator/Editor/Writer: Remington Smith
I have been writing film reviews and essays since starting this site in 2009. I recently received a Master’s degree in Film Studies from the University of Edinburgh, and I’m pursuing an MFA in Film Production at the University of Iowa.  I have also worked as a projectionist, and I managed and programmed the University of Louisville’s Floyd Theatre for two years.  I have written, produced, and directed four short films, and my first feature-length film is in development.  You can get quick thoughts on film news and DVDs I’m watching by following me on Twitter here.

Writer: Ben Creech
I am a student at the University of Louisville, working towards a degree in Modern Cultural Studies, with a focus in Film, Literature and Popular Music. I began writing film-related essays and reviews during the winter of 2008. I work at an independent video store, Wild and Woolly, which gives me access to any number of films to sate my cinematic appetite; I love the French New Wave and the films of Martin Scorsese.

Contact: thefilmsmithpodcast@gmail.com

Scream 4 a nearly justified sequel

Fifteen years ago, the original Scream met with huge popularity for its comedic sensibilities and self-aware commentary on the slasher genre. Scream 4 comes eleven years after the previous installment in the franchise, and at first glance it reeks of Hollywood’s current plague, a madness for the re-make, sequel, prequel, and adaptation.  Yet the making of Scream 4 is better justified than expected – to the point that this sequel might surpass the original. Continue reading

“Rome” Album Pays Tribute to Italian Film Scores

In the humble opinion of this reviewer, the greatest film composer of all time is Ennio Morricone. Famous for his genre -defining scores for Sergio Leone (The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, and Once Upon a Time in the West), he has also created the profoundly beautiful scores for The Mission and Days of Heaven. He has collaborated with Samuel Fuller in White Dog and Brian de Palma in The Untouchables. His music is unforgettable and ubiquitous, and now Danger Mouse, one of the great musical voices of this generation is going to pay him tribute with his new album Rome. Continue reading

DVD Tuesday: White Material

I went into this film very cautiously. Regrettably, I knew next to nothing about the French filmmaker who helmed White Material, save that her film from last year (35 Shots of Rum) was rumored to be better than this. When film friends and cohorts recommended it to me, I figured I would give it a shot on DVD, and I’m glad I did. Aside from the mesmerizing performances given by Bankole and Huppert, this film is made with such energy and vision that my hesitation in viewing it evaporated within the first few seconds. Not only is seeing this film a worthwhile experience, its poetic frenzy of sounds and images transforms its colonial themes into something much more universal. Continue reading