Big, major congrats to Reverse Shot as one of the best publications dedicated to cinema celebrates its 10th anniversary—with a new issue, #33, and a series running at New York’s Museum of the Moving Image from Thursday through Sunday. As Michael Koresky and Jeff Reichert, the founding editors who launched the zine on paper, staples and all, back in 2003, write today, many RS contributors have “gone on to become headlining Village Voice critics, editors of Film Comment and Cinema Scope and Time Out, major critics and journalists in Toronto and Austin, museum staff, makers of internationally screened films, teachers and academics, distributors and world-traveling purveyors of cinematic initiatives. And that hardly includes everyone. The level of quality our contributors have helped us maintain is astonishing; it truly has been a labor of love.”
The new issue is called “The Life of Film,” an answer to “stale high-end-publication think pieces” declaring the “Death of Film.” Koresky and Reichert argue that “cinema has never been more exciting. There are more ways for artists to express themselves cinematically than ever before, and cinephilia is itself more inclusive, wide-ranging, and in some ways pervasive than it has ever had the opportunity to be. Criticism may be less viable as a career option than anytime in the past fifty or so years, but we have more intelligent voices out there now who take film seriously as an art form…. Here’s to ten more years.” Hear, hear.
Before looking that far ahead, though, Koresky‘s devoted his column at Sundance Now this week to 2003 and to reckoning “with three films I wrote about in articles I might prefer to forget.” The films? Gaspar Noé’s Irreversible, Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation, and Lars von Trier’s Dogville.
Catherine Grant alerts us to a new issue of MOVIE: A Journal of Film Criticism, featuring a tribute to Andrew Sarris, a Robin Wood archive, essays on Hitchcock’s Vertigo, Chaplin‘s Countess from Hong Kong, and more.
Rumsey Taylor introduces a new three-week-long feature at Not Coming to a Theater Near You: “At the time of their conception, acid Westerns extended the already-incipient trend of Western revisionism that was underway in Hollywood, sometimes by the genre’s most popular and radical practitioners…. Traditionally, the Western was an index of America’s exceptionalism, a document of the U.S.’s imperialistic growth. Acid Westerns are a response to this tactic, in that they’re generally more concerned with the suppression and hostility enacted to facilitate that growth.”
Girish Shambu looks back on several highlights of the recent Society for Cinema & Media Studies (SCMS) conference in Chicago, notes that busy, busy Catherine Grant‘s posted full-text versions of several papers presented there, notes, too, that the lineup for Il Cinema Ritrovato (June 29 through July 6) looks impressive (Allan Dwan, “Silent Hitch,” European Cinemascope, the eve of WWII, Chris Marker, and more), and then links to a couple of weeks’ worth of reading, including the new issue of Paragraph, “Revisiting André Bazin.”
Matthew Flanagan points us to his PhD thesis ‘Slow Cinema’: Temporality and Style in Contemporary Art and Experimental Film and much more reading besides.
At diagonal thoughts, Stoffel Debuysere‘s posted a talk with Pedro Costa he moderated last month: “I do not know anyone in this room who has seen more films by Andy Warhol than me, I mean completely. I challenge anyone. I always liked him, I really like the filmmaker, even more than Jean-Marie [Straub]. He’s my kind of guy, as serious as Rocky, as strong, stubborn, as mellow as Straub. When he makes you cry, he makes you cry. I’ve seen Warhol’s films in film theaters, and I’ve been waiting in cues to buy a ticket and 10, 20 minutes after the film starts, everybody goes away, just like for a Straub film. And I stay alone with two or three guys, one of which is sleeping… In the same way that when you say
‘Straub,’ everybody goes away, screaming ‘marxist, terrorist, boring,’ I don’t know what. In the case of Warhol they say: ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll!’ Nobody has the patience to really see. They see a picture, something from a catalogue from a museum. They never see the complete film. Like they have never seen this film and sometimes they have never seen a Charlie Chaplin film. It’s that simple.”
For 3:AM Magazine, Richard Marshall has a good long talk with Paul Buck about his book, Performance: A Biography of the Classic Sixties Film.
“Hollywood fiction is almost as old as the industry itself,” writes Richard Rayner for the Los Angeles Review of Books. “It tends, like the broader genre of Los Angeles fiction, towards the dystopian, showing hopeful worlds gone wrong and mad (Horace McCoy’s They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? and I Should Have Stayed Home), or worlds that live on the cusp of mob hysteria and riot (Nathanael West’s The Day of the Locust), or worlds that oscillate between ennui and apocalypse (Joan Didion’s Play It As It Lays). Myron Brinig’s The Flutter of an Eyelid, a novel saturated with dreams gone sour, actually has the city breaking off and sliding into the Pacific. Such is the wishful thinking of the writer who comes here and gets fucked over, as writers almost inevitably do. Fiction that celebrates the processes of the dream factory, or even takes a knowledgeable look at it, is rare indeed. But here comes Matthew Specktor‘s American Dream Machine, a big and generous novel that functions both as elegy for a recent past and fictional anthropology. It tells the story of Beau Rosenwald, short, fat, and profane, a striver from the East who lands in Los Angeles in 1962.”
“Clearly for some critics, Twitter remains still more work than play,” writes Jane Hu, going long at the Awl. “When one’s role on social media is inseparable from one’s job—especially jobs centered on promoting opinions about other forms of media—it seems wise to pause and ask: How hard should a critic ‘work’ on Twitter?”
In the Notebook, Calum Marsh, Fernando F. Croce, and Joseph Jon Lanthier each present capsule reviews of Joseph H. Lewis’s My Name is Julia Ross (1945).
The new issue of American Film presents a beginner’s guide to Star Trek, a clip of William Shatner opening the AFI’s 2005 tribute to George Lucas, Wheeler Winston Dixon on the 1964 concert film T.A.M.I. Show, a snippet from Howard Hawks‘s 1970 seminar at the AFI Conservatory, and from the archives, Steve Govoni‘s 1990 history of “the tabloids that started the tawdry, titillating trend of celebrity journalism in Hollywood.”
At Truthdig, Sheerly Avni talks with Gael García Bernal about Pablo Larraín‘s No and Ambulante, “a muckraking documentary festival that brings movies—and perhaps even more important, filmmakers and filmmaking workshops—to remote locations such as jungles and even prisons in which the people have little or no access to cinema.”
“Unsinkable, a memoir of Debbie Reynolds’s messy life after middle age overtook the bubbly teenager who spent decades starring in MGM musicals, is not a good book, but it’s worth reading,” argues Aljean Harmetz. Meantime, Richard Brody hopes Mel Brooks will write a memoir.
In other news. The Ioncinema team has begun counting down and writing up 100 titles they think have a pretty good shot at making the Cannes 2013 lineup. Meantime, the Hollywood Reporter‘s Pamela McClintock focuses on the films that surely will not make it, Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine among them. And! The 52nd Semaine de la Critique (Critics’ Week) has its poster.
The San Francisco International Film Festival has launched the site and announced the lineup for its 56th edition, running from April 25 through May 9.
With a recurrence of cancer forcing Roger Ebert to spend more time in the hospital, he’s announced that he’s taking “a leave of presence”: “My intent is to continue to write selected reviews but to leave the rest to a talented team of writers handpicked and greatly admired by me. What’s more, I’ll be able at last to do what I’ve always fantasized about doing: reviewing only the movies I want to review.” We know we join many in wishing him a smooth and speedy recovery.
“After 15 great years @TheAVClub,” tweeted Scott Tobias yesterday, “I step down as Film Editor next Friday. In related news, there’s a job opening.” Criticwire‘s Matt Singer has followed up: “It’s simply time for me to move on and try new things,” Tobias tells him.
At his terrific tumblr Public Shaming, Matt Binder is collecting infuriating and depressing tweets from people infuriated and depressed by Olympus Has Fallen.
In the works. Radu Jude (The Happiest Girl in the World, Everybody in Our Family), is currently developing a period drama set in the 19th century, reports Stefan Dobroiu at Cineuropa: Aferim! “will mix elements of picaresque novel with elements of a classic American western.”
“Tim Burton will direct Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams in Big Eyes,” reports Deadline‘s Mike Fleming Jr.
“Rian Johnson’s next film, writing now, still sci-fi, very different than #Looper, more Cyberpunk,” tweets /Film‘s Peter Sciretta.
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