It’s been a while since the last all-round update, so there’s quite a bit to catch up with. The first order of business: Jonathan Rosenbaum has a new site, and a smartly designed and inviting one it is, too. Among the essential posts since the launch are his 1974 review of Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen’s Riddles of the Sphinx, a lengthy 2012 essay on Ermanno Olmi, and a devastating 1988 takedown of Alan Parker’s Mississippi Burning.
Editors Adrian Martin and Girish Shambu have completed the rollout of LOLA 4. The latest additions: Girish on Toronto 2013, Rowena Santos Aquino on “Documenting Cinephilia and the Archival Impulse,” Zach Campbell on the Step Up franchise (it “demonstrates a problem that will continue to press ever more insistently upon future considerations of the politics in and of popular cinema. It is a problem of the attention of crowds, of spectatorship and spectacle”), Darren Tofts on “Unapologetic appropriation as cultural production,” and Carlos Losilla on the rise of audiovisual film criticism.
Not in LOLA, but rather, for Flaunt, Adrian Martin revisits 14 films depicting the “contradictions and possibilities” of teenage life.
PopMatters has launched a special feature, “Aspects of Orson Welles.” In the first piece of this Director’s Spotlight, Jonah Raskin focuses on Carol Reed’s The Third Man (1949), noting that, as Harry Lime, Welles “injected a cocky, audacious style that reflected the nuclear madness of the Cold War.”
In the new issue of the International Journal of Žižek Studies, Robert St. Clair “takes a Zizekian look awry at two recent depictions of revolutionary crowds/movements in The Dark Knight Rises and Argo.”
Catherine Grant accompanies her talk with Lizzie Thynne, filmmaker, writer and Senior Lecturer in Media and Film at the University of Sussex, with a collection of “links to open access scholarly and critical resources on the subject of biopics—life (hi)stories on film in a variety of fictional and documentary forms.”
At Sound on Sight, Zach Lewis: “Although From the Journals of Jean Seberg  may be the best of [Mark] Rappaport’s filmography, Local Color  shows the rapturous work of someone who admired cinema to the point of breaking it down and rereading it—a whimsicality that should be placed within the canon of American independent cinema.”
Hou Hsiao-Hsien directs Maggie Cheug in a promo for the 50th anniversary of the Golden Horse Awards shot by cinematographer Mark Lee Ping-Bing
The Guardian‘s posted Groucho Marx‘s 1967 letter to Woody Allen. In 1988, Serge Daney had a chat with Vincente Minnelli’s Home from the Hill. And in 1996, Jonas Mekas unleashed his “Anti-100 Years of Cinema Manifesto.”
“Both the metastasis of the blockbuster and the viral replication of the small-scale art movie are digital phenomena.” The New York Times‘ A.O. Scott on what the future may hold for cinema.
Karina Longworth at Grantland on Harvey Weinstein: “Through all the bad behavior, the flashes of genius and the horrible errors in judgment and spending, Harvey’s motives are always transparent: Even when it’s being couched as commerce, everything he does seems to stem from how he feels and his anxiety over how he thinks he’s being perceived.”
“When the good witch and bad witch are one witch named Nicole, the moral coordinates take a back seat to the Hollywood narrative.” Durga Chew-Bose in the New Inquiry on Practical Magic (1998) and Bewitched (2005).
On F.W. Murnau‘s Nosferatu, “Albin Grau gets credit on the opening titles for designing the sets and costumes,” writes David Kalat at Movie Morlocks. “Which he did. But he [also] founded the production company, initiated the project, co-financed it, commissioned the screenwriter and director, and was responsible for designing the appearance of the title vampire as well as other key visual motifs commonly attributed to Murnau.”
What’s really going on in Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut (1999)? Erich Kuersten delves into some of the more hysterical theories.
50 years after the death of Jean Cocteau, Ronald Bergan writes up an appreciation at the Arts Desk.
A week ago now, Ted Hope announced that, after serving just over a year as executive director of the San Francisco Film Society, he was stepping down to become an independent producer again. Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn and Alison Willmore ask him what’s next, both for him and for the SFFS.
The Toronto Star‘s Olivia Ward asks John Greyson and Tarek Loubani about their ordeal in Egypt.
“The Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s 2013 career achievement award will be presented to director Richard Lester,” reports Andrew Barker for Variety.
The Oregon Trail, directed by Scott Pembroke, starring John Wayne, and released by Republic Pictures in 1936, is a lost film, but as Tara McKelvey reports for the BBC, newly found stills give us a pretty good idea of what it looked like.
Pedro Almodóvar “has accused the government in Madrid of carrying out a rigorous plan to exterminate Spanish cinema, joining an increasingly angry battle between filmmakers and the rightwing governing People’s party (PP).” Paul Hamilos reports for the Guardian.
New York. Upcoming screenings in the big city have sparked two excellent pieces in the Notebook: David Phelps on Alain Resnais’s You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet! (2012), beginning a week-long run at Anthology on Friday, and Dan Sallitt on Howard Hawks’s Air Force (1943), screening Saturday afternoon at the Museum of the Moving Image.
At Movie Morlocks, R. Emmet Sweeney argues that MoMA’s festival of film preservation, To Save and Project, “contains the most revelations per-movie-screened than of any festival in NYC.” Michelangelo Antonioni‘s I Vinti (The Vanquished, 1953) screens on October 31 and November 8, and the New Yorker‘s Richard Brody suggests that it’s the “most forward-looking early work in its anticipation of his greatest films, from the 1960s. The substance and style of I Vinti, however, were greatly affected by censorship—and the ricochets of that censorship, in turn, were of great moment.”
The Architecture & Design Film Festival opens today and runs through Sunday.
Trailer for the Will Ferrell-backed IFC miniseries The Spoils of Babylon
London. “In our age of information overload, it is rare to stumble upon a truly unknown artistic movement, so the rediscovery of the 3rd Eye Group, the only 1970s Israeli counter-cultural movement, is all the more exciting,” writes Virginie Sélavy for Sight & Sound. “Founded and led by maverick artist and filmmaker Jacques Katmor, it shook up Israeli society for a few short and turbulent years in the first part of that decade.” Jacques Katmor & the 3rd Eye Group: Israeli Counter-Culture 1964-1975 is on at the Horse Hospital through November 9.
The Guardian‘s rolling out another round of top tens: Horror, romance, action, comedy, and sci-fi. Flavorwire lists its 20 essential vampire movies. Contributors to Movie Mezzanine have each post their top ten films from the 70s. At the Film Experience, you’ll find the “Top Ten Best Pre-Exorcist Horror Films.”
“Anthony Hinds, who has died aged 91, became a producer with one of the most famous British film brands almost by default,” writes Denis Meikle in the Guardian. “He joined Hammer Film Productions in 1946 after serving with an RAF Photographic Unit in India. Hammer had been the brainchild of his father, William, and his business partner, Enrique Carreras, but had ceased active production in the late 30s. With the ending of the second world war, the company was fired up anew to capitalize on the need to fill the nation’s cinema screens with ‘quota quickies’; to do so, it required a producer of its own and, by virtue of his family connection, Tony was delegated to the task. Over the next 20 years, he was responsible for the bulk of Hammer’s prodigious output, in particular the grandiose gothic horror films for which it would become famous.”
“Oscar Hijuelos, a Cuban-American novelist who wrote about the lives of immigrants adapting to a new culture, becoming the first Latino to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his 1989 book, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, died on Saturday in Manhattan,” reports Bruce Weber in the New York Times. Hijuelos, who was 62, saw his most famous novel adapted by screenwriter Cynthia Cidre and director Arne Glimcher in 1992. The film featured Armand Assante, Antonio Banderas, and Cathy Moriarty.
Aaron Cutler remembers the actress and singer Norma Bengell, “a jewel of Brazilian cinema who died this past Wednesday at age 78.”
Chet Desmond‘s trailer for Blade Runner as a classic noir
More browsing? John Wyver has a new collection of links. Meantime, I carry on updating the entries here on the London and Chicago film festivals, the Godard series in New York, and for that matter, several—several!—of the films that screened at the New York Film Festival.