Offscreen Notes

  • Burt Reynolds (February 11, 1936 – September 6, 2018)

    September 8th, 2018

    The unassuming star who was never afraid to deflate his own ego, Burt Reynolds, died of a cardiac arrest at age 82 on September 6, 2018. Reynolds was cut in the rugged handsome mold, the ‘Marlboro’ man, and although he was born in Michigan, developed his most iconic roles (Sam Whiskey, White Lightning, Gator, Smokey and the Bandit) as a ‘good old boy’ from the South. Reynolds was at heart a character actor who could play ladies men but also tough urban types (Fuzz, Shamus) and excelled when asked on the odd occasions to stretch his dramatic acting ability (Deliverance, The Longest Yard). Reynolds was much closer to the iconic Hollywood stars of the 1940s, 1950s (Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn) than the actors who followed him. A unique persona, the likes of which we will probably never see again.

  • Stanley Cavell: 1926-2018, R.I.P.

    June 22nd, 2018

    The American philosopher Stanley Cavell, born on September 1, 1926 in Atlanta, Georgia, died at age 91 on June 19, 2018. Cavell was best known as a philosopher who helped “humanize” the field of philosophy, bringing a sense of the world as experienced rather than philosophy as a “discipline” by expressing ideas through ordinary language. Cavell also chose to write on “ordinary” films (i.e. popular rather than arthouse) such as screwball comedy (Pursuits of Happiness: The Hollywood Comedy of Remarriage) and melodrama (Contesting Tears: The Melodrama of the Unknown Woman). Perhaps his most well known film book, his first, _The World Viewed: Reflections on the Ontology of Film), reads as his attempt to bring Andre Bazin’s empathetic and generous ontology of film into a more direct philosophical worldview. Cavell was a big influence on a generation of film thinkers, many trained in philosophy rather than film, who offered a different approach to film than the political, cultural, social and ideological theories that dominated the halls of academia from the 1970s on. Film philosophers and writers like Ian Jarvie, Victor F. Perkins, Nöel Carroll, Gregory Currie, Berys Gaut, George Wilson, David Bordwell, Gilles Deleuze, Cynthia Freeland, Murray Smith, Ian Tan, and Daniel Frampton. His influence will, I think, be lasting. I know that whenever someone —and it can be a student as much as a seasoned writer— says that a film is great because it “made them feel like they were right there with the character” I cringe, and then take out my trusty Cavell quote as my rebuke to such easy platitudes: “The camera is outside its subject as I am outside my language” (The World Viewed, 2nd ed., 127). Thanks Stanley.

  • Margot Kidder (1948-May 13, 2018)

    May 14th, 2018

    Sad news for Canadians and film buffs, to learn of the passing of Margot Kidder at age 69. Born in Yellowknife, Kidder is best known for her role as Lois Lane opposite Chris Reeves’ Superman, but horror fans will remember her for her salty mouthed character in Black Christmas, her outstanding dual role in Sisters and the Kathy Lutz in The Amityville Horror.

  • Marie Menken

    April 6th, 2018

    Rachel Churner on the art of Barbara Hammer:

  • Stan Brakhage’s Metaphors of Vision

    April 6th, 2018

    Stan Brakhage’s Metaphors of Vision is back in print after 40 years, thanks to Anthology Film Archives & Light Industry, 2017.

  • Jóhann Jóhannsson Dies at age 48

    February 10th, 2018

    Hailing from the land of Sigur Rós, Icelandic musician and composer Jóhann Jóhannsson died on Feb 9, 2018 at the young age of 48. Jóhannsson a guitarist, pianist and all-round musician composed some achingly beautiful music that defied easy categorization, slipping between classical, ambient, minimalism, and electronica. Lately Jóhannsson cemented a fruitful relationship composing for Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, scoring his films Prisoners, Sicario and Arrival (and teasingly, an abandoned score for Blade Runner 2049). He also worked with found footage filmmaker Bill Morrison (Miners’ Hymns, 2011). What a sad loss for the world of music and film.

  • Sergei Eisenstein, Happy Birthday!

    January 22nd, 2018

    The great Soviet filmmaker/theorist was born 120 years ago today, January 22, 1898. Kudos to Google for commemorating this with their google doodle.”

  • Grant Munro (1923-Dec. 9, 2017)

    December 12th, 2017

    One of the giants of Canadian animation Grant Munro died in Montreal on Dec. 9, 2017 at the age of 94. Munro acted, animated, painted, and wrote for over five decades. Some of his work and interviews can be streamed at the NFB website:

  • Ulli Lommel (1944-Dec. 2, 2017)

    December 5th, 2017

    German actor and director Ulli Lommel has died just shy of his 73rd birthday due to heart failure. Lommel began his career as part of the New German Cinema wave, directing a film based on real-life serial killer, Tenderness of the Wolves, before moving to New York where he met up with Andy Warhol and became an active collaborator in The Factory. Since then Lommel gravitated toward more popular genre fare, always lending a unique style to B-horror movies and psychological studies of killers. His better known films are such cult items as The Boogey Man, Boogeyman 2, and The Devonsville Terror. In his later years Lommel turned to making low budget shot on video films for the non-theatrical markets.

    Official Website

  • Ray Lovelock: 1950-November 10, 2017

    November 10th, 2017

    Born of an Italian mother and English father (who was part of the English army that landed in Italy in 1944 to help liberate Italy) Lovelock was a mainstay in the Italian film industry who worked on dozens of important popular genre films, starring in westerns, giallo, horror and crime films. Tall, blonde and handsome, Lovelock was a popular leading man type along with his equally handsome contemporaries Tomas Milian (also a good friend), Maurizio Merli, Terence Stamp, and Franco Nero. Lovelock’s first role was as the young cowboy who is lusted over by a homosexual gang of bandits, in the outstanding western, Django Kill….if you live shoot!, and was excellent as the young hippie up against arch conversative detective played by old Hollywood character actor Arthur Kennedy in the environmentalist zombie classic, The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue. His boyish good lucks served him well in the proto-feminist Queens of Evil, where his hippy on the run from the law hides out with the beautiful sisters, who have more than a sting in their tail. Perhaps Lovelock’s best run of form came in a series of important crime films when the poliziotteschi were popular and plentiful. Some of these include Almost Human, The Violent Four, Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man, and Violent City. Lovelock died at the age of 67 after a battle with cancer.

    Italian bio but with a nice montage of clips: http://www.repubblica.it/spettacoli/tv-radio/2017/11/10/news/e_morto_ray_lovelock_nei_polizieschi_anni_settanta_e_in_tv-180722972/?ref=fbpr

← Previous