Dropping out with Inherent Vice’s Paul Thomas Anderson, and the best of the awards season’s new American movies: Foxcatcher, Whiplash and A Most Violent Year. Plus Mike Nichols remembered, the low-down on modern masters Eric Rohmer and Chantal Akerman and the S&S Interview with Frederick Wiseman.
Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice, a freewheeling adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s picaresque novel, sees Joaquin Phoenix play a stoner detective against the backdrop of a Californian hippie culture soured in the wake of the Manson killings. By Jonathan Romney.
Slave to the rhythm
Whiplash is a film about the struggles of a young would-be jazz drummer that took Sundance, and then Cannes, by storm. Nick James takes five perspectives on the film and, overleaf, talks to its fresh-faced director Damien Chazelle.
The double life of Eric Rohmer
The pseudonym adopted by the intensely private family man Maurice Henri Joseph Schérer was more than simply a name – it was a way to help him compartmentalise the very different sides of his life, an enigmatic duality he explored in semi-autobiographical fashion in his films. By Geoff Andrew.
Wrestling with demons
Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher, which tells the fateful true-life tale of a disturbed millionaire who takes over the training of a pair of down-on-their-luck Olympic wrestlers, is a troubling examination of the fiercely contested battlegrounds of class and male pride in America. By Sam Davies.
Mike Nichols on assignment
The director, who died in November aged 83, may not have made films with the distinctive personality of a true auteur, but he joins a formidable list of professional filmmakers alongside Vincente Minnelli and Stephen Frears who are celebrated precisely because of their versatility. By David Thomson.
Oil city confidential
J.C. Chandor’s follow-up to All Is Lost might fit the template of the generic gangster picture in its tale of a Colombian ex-pat trying to make it in America, but there’s rather more Gandhi and less Goodfellas than you might expect in a movie called A Most Violent Year. By Trevor Johnston.
The S&S Interview: Frederick Wiseman
For National Gallery, the veteran documentary filmmaker spent 12 weeks shooting 170 hours of footage to create an exhaustive portrait of one of the world’s top art galleries, investigating the work of everyone from framers and restorers to curators and administrators. He explains to David Jenkins why the golden rule of filming is always to be aware that the killer moment is likely to happen the second you put down your camera.
Films of the month
American Sniper Ex Machina The Last of the Unjust
plus reviews of
Annie Beyond Clueless Big Eyes Big Hero 6 Exodus: Gods and Kings Foxcatcher The Gambler Get Santa The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies I Am Yours Inherent Vice Into the Woods Kajaki: The True Story La Maison de la radio Montana A Most Violent Year National Gallery Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb Paddington Paper Souls Pelo malo Penguins of Madagascar Point and Shoot The Pyramid The Rendlesham UFO Incident Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno Selma Son of a Gun A Tale of Samurai Cooking: A True Love Story Testament of Youth Trash The Turning Unbroken We Still Kill the Old Way Whiplash Wild