Responding to Brian Raftery‘s article for Wired, “Could This Be the Year Movies Stopped Mattering?,” the New Yorker‘s Richard Brody grants that he’s “right that the kinds of work that capture widespread attention and find widespread favor have changed in recent years—and he’s right that these changes are inseparable from the realm of criticism, the very nature of which has changed drastically in the same period.” Serial television, for example, “seems created for the media buzz that’s generated by the media people who are its natural audience, and to whom the shows owe their acclaim, their prestige, and their success…. Culture is a matter of power; art is a matter of beauty…. The power of beauty, the impact of beauty on a single person, eludes discussion and invites silence, even as it incites something radically different from the analysis: ecstasy. That’s the force behind the side of criticism that, if it’s any good at all, converges with the work of art by being itself a literary, poetic, philosophical inspiration.”
“Over the course of Donald Trump’s improbable march through the Republican primaries, many writers turned for comparison to A Face in the Crowd, a 1957 film directed by Elia Kazan,” notes Luke Epplin at Slate. “But I’d argue that there’s a better pop cultural point of comparison, one that more aptly captures the idea of Trump as a vain strongman whose bluster has scarily escalating stakes: Duck Soup, the madcap Marx Brothers’ classic from 1933 that poked fun at the erratic dictators who were consolidating power in Europe at the time.”
Little White Lies has ranked the films of Woody Allen and, for Vadim Rizov, there’s “something unconvincing to this Allen agnostic’s ears about insistent claims that his worst films amplify one other rather than provide diminishing returns… Skeptic though I am, I have a soft spot for 2003’s much-reviled Anything Else, which now seems like a model test case for revisionist apologetics.”
Writing for Brooklyn Magazine, Michael Atkinson suggests that, for a glimpse of the old neighborhood before the war, turn to Buzzin’ Around (1933), “an early-talkie short starring Fatty Arbuckle.”
Nicholas Bell at Ioncinema on Cohen Media’s release two newly restored films by Philippe de Broca, Five Day Lover (1961) and On Guard (1997): “Straddling the beginning and end of a filmography spanning five decades, it’s a delectable double feature of effervescent offerings, each notable in their own regard. The first headlines American ex-pat Jean Seberg, who alongside Jean-Pierre Cassel becomes involved in a complicated love affair, and the second is a vibrant adaptation (the most high profile to date) of Paul Feval’s classic 1858 swashbuckler On Guard (Le Bossu), starring Daniel Auteuil in one of his most dashing performances.”
“Taken with its subtle use of video game logic, [Sion Sono‘s] Tag  explores the morality of final girl narratives and serves to call into question the mindsets of those who indulge in them,” writes Jake Cole at In Review Online.
“Heinrich Holzmüller (also spelt Holtzmüller) was a German printmaker and calligrapher active during the 16th century,” writes John Coulthart. “He may have been dead for centuries but this inconvenience didn’t prevent him from appearing as an interviewer in the catalog for the MoMA exhibition of artworks by the Brothers Quay that ran throughout the end of 2012.”
New York. “Humphrey Bogart, one of the greatest stars in all of the American film, was what you’d call a late bloomer,” notes Farran Smith Nehme is a preview for the Voice of Modern Matinees: B Is for Bogart, a series that “puts the actor’s career in chronological order” starting tomorrow and running through October 28. Related: At Movie Mezzanine, Jeremy Carr‘s celebrating the 70th anniversary of The Big Sleep, “a quintessential detective film, an expertly crafted noir from writers William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett, and Jules Furthman (an uncredited Philip Epstein also contributed decisive material), and a star showcase for leads Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. It is also one of the finest achievements in Hawks’s already illustrious career.”
This week’s capsule previews in Brooklyn Magazine:
- Jeremy Polacek on Alain Resnais‘s Hiroshima, mon amour (1959) and Last Year at Marienbad (1961), screening Tuesday as part of Film Forum’s Return of the Double Feature series.
- Scout Tafoya on Candy Mountain (1988), tomorrow as part of the BAMcinématek series, The Films of Robert Frank.
- Elise Nakhnikian on Vincente Minnelli’s Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as part of BAM’s That’s Entertainment!: MGM Musicals Part I.
- Tanner Tafelski on Édouard Molinaro’s Un témoin dans la ville (1959), Friday and Tuesday as part of MoMA’s Gaumont: Cinéma pour tout le monde.
- Jaime Grijalba on Kenneth Branagh‘s Hamlet (1996), Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the Museum of the Moving Image as part of See It Big!: The 70mm Show.
- Aaron Cutler on Lynda Benglis’s Now (1973), Saturday and Sunday as part of Voyeurism, Surveillance and Identity in the Cinema at Anthology Film Archives.
Cambridge. On Saturday, the Harvard Film Archive presents Night Train, an all-night marathon “dedicated to that inexhaustible genre, the train film.”
Berlin. No Home Movies – Films by Chantal Akerman runs at the Arsenal from tomorrow through Tuesday.
IN THE WORKS
Richard Linklater “is attached to direct and write an adaptation of the novel Last Flag Flying with Bryan Cranston, Steve Carell, and Laurence Fishburne in talks to star,” reports Variety‘s Justin Kroll, noting that this’ll be “a sequel of sorts to the 1973 film The Last Detail starring Jack Nicholson.” Darryl Ponicsan wrote both books, and “this 2005 novel is now set during the Iraq War, with the classic characters of Billy Bad-Ass, Mule, and the hapless Meadows making their returns.”
“In a not-so-strange turn of events, Netflix has renewed breakout hit Stranger Things for a second season,” reports Elizabeth Wagmeister for Variety. “Season 2 will debut in 2017 and will consist of 9 episodes, in comparison to the first season that spanned 8 episodes.” Relatedly, for Aaron Bady, writing for the Los Angeles Review of Books, here’s what “really interests me about Stranger Things: when have we last seen such a lack of anxiety when it comes to influencing?”
“Weinstein Television is prepping a star-studded take on the 1993 Waco, Texas, siege and the Branch Davidian standoff.” Lesley Goldberg for the Hollywood Reporter: “Taylor Kitsch will star as Branch Davidian leader David Koresh in Waco, while Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire) is set as lead FBI negotiator Gary Noesner. Ludacris is being eyed to portray Branch Davidian member Wayne Martin.”
September 13 marks the centennial of Roald Dahl’s birth and, as Michael Paulson reports for the New York Times, “23 television, film and stage projects are in development, as well as a Dahl-themed invention kitchen and book-inspired apps.”
Writing for Sight & Sound, Celluloid Liberation Front introduces some rather surprising viewing: “Conceived and designed by Luigi Alberto Cippini in the spaces of Fondazione Prada’s Venetian venue, Belligerent Eyes is an experimental platform devoted to the progression, evolution, and enhancement of cinema, consisting of a series of lectures and an online site for digital interaction.” Now through Friday, “the site hosts Japan 1984 – 7 Betacam Tapes, never-before-seen video material shot by Michelangelo Antonioni in Japan.”
Photo of Michelangelo Antonioni by Elena Torre / CC BY-SA.