I was initially apprehensive about creating a “best of” movie list for 2014, because upon review, it was easier to make a list of all the critically acclaimed movies I didn’t get a chance to see than did. In fact, here’s that list now: Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Only Lovers Left Alive, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Whiplash, Selma, Ida, Goodbye to Language, The Babadook, and Inherent Vice.
So with the caveat that the best films of the year (and possibly your favorites) may still yet to be seen by me, here is a list of the best films I did see this past year.
Frank Herbert‘s 1965 science-fiction epic Dune had long been considered impossible to translate to film. Set 21,000 years in the future, in deep space, and on a planet made completely of sand (amongst gargantuan sandworms), it would require a budget of millions, special effects beyond the capabilities of the era, and more than all that, a director audacious enough to bring it to life.
In 1974, Chilean surrealist filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky was eager to accept the challenge. And while ultimately he wouldn’t succeed (where David Lynch eventually did, ten years later), his struggle to make Dune a reality would go down in history as one of cinema’s great “lost” projects.
Jodorowsky’s Dune, one of the best documentaries released in 2014 and a definite inclusion on my end-of-the-year “best of” list, is making its home video debut this week. In case you know nothing about Frank Pavich‘s entrancing and informative feature following the development and collapse of the greatest sci-fi motion picture never made – read our FamousMonster’s review here – the good folks at Indiewire have provided us with a mind-melting sequence from the film.
You can check out the 10-minute sequence here below.
H.R. Giger, the Swiss surrealist painter and sculptor who became internationally renowned in the 1970s for the nightmarish visions he helped bring to life in Ridley Scott’s sci-fi/horror masterpiece Alien, has died at the age of 74.
The cause of death was injuries Giger sustained in a fall on some stairs at his home in Zurich, Switzerland. He succumbed to his injuries in a hospital yesterday, as told by Sandra Mivelaz, administrator of the H.R. Giger museum in Gruyeres, western Switzerland, to the The Associated Press.
A master of disturbing artistic visions that fused Gothic horror, sexuality, and extraterrestrial machinery in a way that no one could ever imitate, Giger’s work first caught the attention of filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, who hired him to provide design work for his eventually-shelved adaptation of Dune.
Jodorowsky’s Dune Director: Frank Pavich
Cast: Alejandro Jodorowsky, Brontis Jodorowsky, H. R. Giger, Chris Foss, Michel Seydoux, Gary Kurtz, Nicolas Winding Refn, Drew McWeeny Sony Pictures Classics | Snowfort Pictures
Rated PG-13 | 90 Minutes
Release Date: April 25, 2014
“What is to give light must endure burning.” – Viktor E. Frankl
Directed by Frank Pavich, Jodorowsky’s Dune chronicles director Alejandro Jodorowsky‘s unsuccessful attempt to adapt Frank Herbert’s 1965 science fiction novel Dune in the ’70s. The documentary features interviews with the principal players involved in the failed ’70s adaptation as well as filmmakers and industry professionals who have been inspired by Jodorowsky’s legendary effort.
In 1973, film producer Arthur P. Jacobs optioned the film rights to Dune but died before a feature film could be developed. Two years later, the option fell into the hands of Chilean-French filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, known for avant-garde works like El Topo and Holy Mountain. Jodorowsky wanted to deliver a truly psychedelic experience with Dune – a film so mind-melting and illuminating, it would induce a hallucinogenic “trip” like LSD.