FilmJerk Favorites

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

||| Joseph L. Mankiewicz |||
Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Mankiewicz directed 20 films in a 26-year period, and was very successful at every kind of film, from Shakespeare to western, drama to musical, epics to two-character pictures, and regardless of the genre, he was known as a witty dialogist, a master in the use of flashback and a talented actors' director.

The 1950 Oscar for Best Picture and Screenplay brought Mankiewicz wide recognition as a writer and a director, with his sardonic look at show business glamour and the empty lives behind it. This well orchestrated cast of brilliant and catty character actors is built around veteran actress Bette Davis and Anne Baxter as her understudy desperate for stardom.

One of Mankiewicz’ more intimate films, this highly regarded and major artistic achievement is a spirited romantic comedy set in England of the 1880’s about a widow who moves into a haunted seashore house and resists the attempts of a sea captain specter to scare her away. This is a pleasing and poignant romance that is equally satisfying as a good old ghost story.

Mankiewicz wrote and directed this witty dissection of matrimony that has three women review the ups and downs of their marriages (with all its romance, fears and foibles) after receiving a letter telling them that one of their husbands has been unfaithful. Once again Mankiewicz deftly utilizes the skills of a well-chosen ensemble, which includes a young Kirk Douglas at his dreamiest.

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-