Word from Catherine Grant: There’s a new issue Jump Cut out—always a thumper, and #56 is no exception. Founding co-editors Chuck Kleinhans, Julia Lesage and John Hess mark the 40th year of publication with a special section on “activist counter-cinema,” with Kleinhans noting that “with the embers still glowing from Ferguson Missouri, Gaza, Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement, U.S. right wing hysteria around child migration and Ebola, the increasing evidence of catastrophic human effects on the planet’s environment, the persistent blowback of U.S. intervention in the Middle East and so forth, the logic and necessity of a political radical analysis of media remains more pertinent than ever.” The section collects three pieces—declarations, really—from the past and fresh assessments of the current situation.
Among the many new essays here, too, are Mike Budd on Disney “in the era of corporate personhood,” Douglas Kellner on 12 Years a Slave and Amistad, Heather Ashley Hayes and Gilbert Rodman on Django Unchained, Milo Sweedler on class warfare in the Robocop movies and Robert Alpert on the “artificial intelligence of Her.”
On a related note, see Mike LeSuer in Bright Lights: “Spike Jonze vs. the Conspiring Escapist: On Her, Robert Coover’s Universal Baseball Association, and Jan Švankmajer’s Conspirators of Pleasure.”
Richard Brody‘s piece in the New Yorker on Be Sand, Not Oil: The Life and Work of Amos Vogel, a collection of essays about Vogel, writing by Vogel, and a previously unpublished interview, edited by Paul Cronin, is more than a review; it’s also an assessment of Vogel’s influence from the late 1940s to the present: “The story of New York cinephilia is the story of Vogel’s successes and failures, of his accurate and futuristic view of the cinema to come as well as of the doctrinal assumptions that got in the way—ideas that have, amazingly, been belatedly resurgent among today’s critics and that, in their way, resist the very current of appreciation that he sought to inculcate.”
Smog Journeys, a short film by Jia Zhangke for Greenpeace
Jia Zhangke discusses Smog Journeys
Scott Macaulay introduces the new Winter issue of Filmmaker and among the pieces online is James Schamus‘s “provocative speech to the German Film Academy, ’23 Fragments on the Future of Cinema.’ Adorno, Kracauer, Nolan, Melies and others make appearances in a piece that is a rhetorical high-wire act mixing business analysis with psychoanalysis, film theory and Socratic questioning.”
“Because there is no romantic comedy less certain about the notion of lasting love than The Palm Beach Story (1942), there is no movie more comforting,” writes Stephanie Zacharek for Criterion.
For the New York Times, Tom Shone reviews Patton Oswalt‘s Silver Screen Fiend: Learning About Life from an Addiction to Film and Tara Ison’s Reeling Through Life: How I Learned to Live, Love, and Die at the Movies.
IN OTHER NEWS
Yesterday, the Museum of Modern art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center announced the first round of nine titles slated to screen at the 44th edition of New Directors/New Films (March 18 through 29):
- Rick Alverson‘s Entertainment. With Tim Heidecker, John C. Reilly, Michael Cera, Amy Seimetz and Dean Stockwell. Set to premiere at Sundance.
- Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz‘s Goodnight Mommy. Produced by Ulrich Seidl. See the reviews from Venice and Toronto.
- Nadav Lapid’s The Kindergarten Teacher. See last summer’s roundup.
- Sarah Leonor’s The Great Man. With Jérémie Renier and Surho Sugaipov.
- Kornél Mundruczó’s White God. Winner of the Prix Un Certain Regard at Cannes in May.
- Naji Abu Nowar’s Theeb. Winner of the Orizzonti Award for Best Director in Venice.
- Charles Poekel’s Christmas Again. With Kentucker Audley. Premiering at Sundance.
- Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s The Tribe. The big Critics’ Week winner at Cannes last May.
- “Winner of top prizes at the Venice and Mumbai Film Festivals, Chaitanya Tamhane’s Court is a quietly devastating, absurdist portrait of injustice, caste prejudice, and venal politics in contemporary India.”
New York. Opening on Saturday at Miguel Abreu Gallery: James Benning & Peter Hutton: Nature is a Discipline, curated by Ed Halter and on view through March 8.
Recommendations from the L: Samantha Vacca on David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ (1999; tomorrow and Saturday at the IFC Center), Eli Goldfarb on Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989; Saturday and Sunday at the Nitehawk), Elina Mishuris on Henri-Georges Clouzot‘s The Raven (1943; Saturday, January 30 and February 2 at Anthology), John Oursler on Todd Haynes‘s Safe (1995; Sunday at MoMI), Jake Cole on Orson Welles‘s Chimes at Midnight (1965; Monday and February 1 at Film Forum) and Aaron Cutler on Rowland V. Lee‘s I Am Suzanne! (1933; Monday through February 1 at MoMA) and Otar Iosseliani’s Favorites of the Moon (1984; Tuesday at the French Institute Alliance Française).
Los Angeles. On Sunday, the Filmforum presents Forest of Bliss: A Tribute to Robert Gardner at the Egyptian.
Seattle. In anticipation of Cinema Dissection: Bride of Frankenstein with Robert Horton, a six-hour session slated for Saturday at the SIFF Film Center, the Weekly‘s running an excerpt from Horton’s new book on Frankenstein.
Nashville. The Scene previews Overlooked / Underplayed 2014, a week-long series opening tomorrow at the Belcourt.
IN THE WORKS
Don Hertzfeldt, whose new short, World of Tomorrow, is about to premiere at Sundance, will work with a team of animators for the first time on a full-blown feature, Antarctica, reports Heath Jones at the Film Stage.
CINEMA in CINEMA from Brutzelpretzel
Jesse Eisenberg joins Woody Allen in Amazon’s eclectic stable, reports Victor Beigelman for the AV Club. Eisenberg will “bring the series of short stories he wrote for McSweeney’s to life as a half-hour comedy show. Called Bream Gives Me Hiccups, the 12 stories explore the existential angst of a privileged 9-year-old as he reviews various restaurants—sometimes with his alcoholic mother, sometimes with his friend Matthew, and occasionally with both.”
“Frank Mazzola, longtime film editor and actor and technical consultant for the James Dean classic Rebel Without a Cause, died Jan. 13,” reports Kevin Noonan for Variety. “In addition to playing the character of Crunch, Mazzola provided technical assistance on the film, advising director Nicholas Ray on creating the reality of rebellious teens from middle class families. He aided in the choosing of the film’s 1949 Mercury 8 Coupe as well as the red jacket worn by Dean in the film, and even helped stage the knife duel between Dean and Corey Allen.” Mazzola was 79.
From Karina Longworth, You Must Remember This #29: Star Wars Episode III: Hedy Lamarr (39’15”).
The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Eugene Hernandez talks with Xavier Dolan about Mommy and more (62’14”).
Illusion Travels By Streetcar #44: William A. Wellman (1929-1933), part two (116’20”).
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