Deadly Quiet

Deadly Quiet

12

May

2017

I'm not normally a fan of horror movies.  Even when they're well-executed, they tend to be all surface and no depth; they tell us nothing about the human experience beyond the sensation of fear and our capacity for cruelty, which isn't something many of us need to be reminded of.  Without exploration, without an attempt a ...
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Ghost Capital

Ghost Capital

30

Apr

2017

It may not be entirely fair to call French director Olivier Assayas, who has delivered some of the most thrilling as well as some of the most bewildering film of the past few decades, wildly inconsistent.  There is always, at least, a baseline of artfulness in his work that suggests a control and purpose at odds with wildn ...
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The Most Beautiful Fraud: Kedi

The Most Beautiful Fraud:  <i>Kedi</i>

19

Mar

2017

It is a false dichotomy to say that in this world there are cat people and there are dog people, and never the twain shall meet.  There are many -- myself included -- who love the company of both animals, and have been lucky enough to have both dog and cat companions over the course of their lives.  But it is also roughly ...
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The Most Beautiful Fraud: Toni Erdmann

The Most Beautiful Fraud:  <i>Toni Erdmann</i>

13

Feb

2017

Who among us does not practically break a leg running to the box office when we hear those magical words "three-hour bittersweet German art dramedy"?  The third film by the director Maren Ade, whose work I have never seen but which has been highly praised by those who have, seems like the most unlikely candidate for box o ...
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I See What You Do

I See What You Do

8

Feb

2017

There is a moment, late in I am Not Your Negro, where the great writer and thinker James Baldwin is appearing on Dick Cavett's talk show to discuss the one subject that consumed him like no other during his life:  America's compulsive reluctance to address the reality of its treatment of black citizens.  As Baldwin holds ...
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City of Stars

City of Stars

5

Feb

2017

La La Land has, as I write this, been nominated for an astounding 14 Academy Awards, and it is very likely going to win most, or even all, of them.  It has a chance of becoming the most decorated film in motion picture history, and if you follow the absurd metric that Oscars are indicative of quality, the best movie ever m ...
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As a Punishment for Crime

As a Punishment for Crime

25

Jan

2017

When you get right down to it, for capitalists, slavery was a hell of a good deal.  It opened up new markets, it was a self-reproducing form of labor, and best of all, it provided a very inexpensive and largely docile workforce.  Its failure, if you remove morality from the picture -- which capitalists are forever strivin ...
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In the Middle of the World

In the Middle of the World

22

Jan

2017

Barry Jenkins' Moonlight -- his second feature film and a quantum leap from his first, the fascinating but slight Medicine for Melancholy -- is a film that builds itself up by little moments.  Very little happens in the movie itself; it is slow and deliberate, with many of its major events implied or taking place off scr ...
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Revolutionary Theory

Revolutionary Theory

19

Jan

2017

My origin story with hip-hop still burns in my brain like it happened yesterday.  Run-D.M.C.'s Raising Hell had just been released, and for me -- a white suburban kid who'd been raised an only child in a house full of outlaw country and 'beautiful music' -- it seemed like something being beamed at me from a different plan ...
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Wild as the Wind

Wild as the Wind

3

Jan

2017

Nina Simone was such a singular and remarkable talent that the story of her success seemed almost inevitable.  The scientist Stephen Jay Gould once remarked that there was less to interest him in the folds of Einstein's brain than there was in the near certainty that people just as brilliant spent their lives toiling in ob ...
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The Most Beautiful Fraud: Tampopo

The Most Beautiful Fraud:  <i>Tampopo</i>

16

Dec

2016

Tampopo was a first for me in a lot of ways:  not only the first movie I'd seen by Juzo Itami, but the first Japanese comedy I'd ever seen, and one of the first Japanese films I'd seen at all outside of Akira Kurosawa and a few samurai period pieces.  I saw it when it was first released in the U.S. on VHS during my stint ...
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The Most Beautiful Fraud: Kate Plays Christine

The Most Beautiful Fraud:  <i>Kate Plays Christine</i>

14

Dec

2016

One of those odd little quirks of timing that happens in the world of cinema took place this year when not one, but two films based on the life of Christine Chubbuck were filmed and released at almost exactly the same time.  The first was Christine, a more or less straightforward narrative film based on the television new ...
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Little/Big

Little/Big

8

Dec

2016

Say, did you know that television has gotten really good now?  You bet your ass you did, because you're alive and reading the internet.  You could no more be ignorant of the rise of Quality Television than you could of the existence of Pizza Rat, or of how Donald Trump is president now because of the traitor Jill Stein. ...
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Older, Wiser, Stronger

Older, Wiser, Stronger

28

Nov

2016

It wasn't until the Siskel Center announced a new restoration of Daughters of the Dust that I'd even heard of Julie Dash's stunning 1991 film, and that's to my great regret and embarrassment.  Released by the New York Film Forum in a beautiful new print to commemorate its 25th anniversary -- though, as we'll discuss, not ...
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Noirvember: Never Take Candy from a Stranger

Noirvember:  <i>Never Take Candy from a Stranger</i>

12

Nov

2016

As mentioned a few days back, before America was plunged into the depths of fascism and we cared about frivolous thinks like moving pictures, we recently took in a double feature at the Siskel Center of movies billed as "UK noir".  This isn't entirely deceptive; the excellent Odd Man Out was on the program as well.  Bu ...
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