FilmJerk Favorites

A group of unique directors and the essential works that you've got to see.

||| Norman Jewison |||
Norman Jewison

Yes, he directed “Moonstruck” and two unforgettable musicals, but Jewison is also responsible for a trilogy of films focusing on racial-injustice, a whacky Cold War comedy and a signature film of Steve McQueen’s showing that he is one of the most versatile directors since Robert Wise.

This blueprint for good investigation dramas tells the story of a black Philadelphia detective investigating a murder in Mississippi who matches wits with a redneck sheriff. Groundbreaking for it’s time, this Oscar winning film is still relevant today and offers a gripping mystery with terrific dramatic performances by a complete cast of fully realized characters.

This is an amazingly funny and entertaining irreverent "Cold War" comedy about a Russian submarine stranded outside an isolated New England town, which throws the locals into a panic. Jewison does a delightful job of utilizing his all-star cast to their fullest, deftly mixing Capra-esq characters with Mel Brooks’s type situations (and vise-versa).

A bored millionaire (Steve McQueen in his prime) masterminds a flawless bank job as Faye Dunaway (an insurance investigator out to get him) identifies him as the mastermind and falls in love along the way. This is the original and the best, with all the arch stylized movie techniques of the ‘60s (including split-screen and fuzzy shallow focus) and the most erotic chess game ever captured on screen.

Recommended by CarrieSpecht

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Transformers: The IMAX Experience

By BrianOrndorf

September 21st, 2007

Because there's never enough money to sate Hollywood honchos, "Transformers" gets a second-wind release this week in IMAX theaters across the country.

Transformers: The IMAX Experience

With appropriately supersized image, sound, and the addition of several minutes of new footage, Michael Bay’s summer blockbuster finally meets a format capable of handling the tsunami of bedlam the picture so effortlessly provides.

The primary curiosity of this release has to be the hastily-added minutes, but I’m sad to report that the additions found in the new cut are superfluous scene extensions that add nothing to the dimension, or even basic chaos, of the film. There’s a little more of LeBeouf getting used to Bumblebee, Turturro presented with a few extra moments to glaze his hammy acting, and a pawn shop scene where Duhamel has to sweet talk an armed business owner, played by Sherri Shepherd. Paramount desperately needed a hook to market this IMAX release, but the fresh footage is worthless.

But who needs new scenes when the old ones reach ridiculous new heights of clarity and detail. The IMAX presentation is a gem, opening up Bay’s picture for closer inspection, giving the viewer an intimate look at the insane amount of minutiae that informs nearly every rousing special effect sequence. With a roided-up sound mix and visuals that have found a loving home in the bosom of IMAX’s projection capabilities, this rare “perfect exhibition” opportunity can’t be beat. Even if you’ve gorged on Bay’s cinematic cake last summer, this reissue of “Transformers” is worth the return trip just to see something gloriously overindulgent in a movie theater that caters to overindulgence gloriously.

My rating: A-