Awards seasons, festival circuits, trailers, teasers for trailers—having a stake in film culture increasingly means letting one’s self be moulded by a giant machine in which the experience of actually watching and engaging with films is less important than participating in a perpetual and insistent chain of anticipation. Films are only watched in order to anticipate what critics will deem to be important, critics whose work is read in order to speculate on who will win the major awards, whose results are only relevant to what projects will be produced in the future, which form the basis of a sophisticated and gargantuan publicity industry, whose labour defines what films we are excitedly anticipating, and so forth.
I have no idea what Brad Nguyen is going on about.
“Anticipation” is the theme of the fourth issue of Screen Machine and, in a sense, editor Nguyen has taken his publication out of the loop, the machine he describes above, by posting a collection of essays on some of the most discussed films and television series of the past year just two days after the Oscars were supposed to have tied the final bow on 2012. You’ll find Huw Walmsley-Evans on Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike, Robbie Fordyce asking, “Is The Hobbit even a film anymore?,” Nguyen himself on Life of Pi, Elliott Logan on Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty (and by the way, the Senate Intelligence Committee has lost all interest in the film, which went home on Sunday with about half an Oscar), Melanie Ashe on the documentary series Inside Nature’s Giants, Andrew Gilbert on Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, and Whitney Monaghan on Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom. Thrown in to boot are “Best Films of 2012” lists from its eight contributors.
The BAMcinématek series Tuesdays with Elliott, a tribute to the “critic, historian, script writer, incomparable raconteur” Elliott Stein, opens tonight with Robert Wise’s Blood on the Moon (1948), which, as Imogen Smith writes at the Chiseler, “opens on a dismal panorama of rain pounding a formless landscape, blotting out the horizon. Robert Mitchum comes riding alone, head down, rain dripping off his hat, stopping to gaze dejectedly over a dark valley. If any one actor embodies the very notion of the ‘noir western,’ it is Mitchum.”
In the Voice, Philippe Garnier recommends a triple bill that’s screening today as part of Film Forum’s ongoing 1933 series: Michael Curtiz’s 20,000 Years in Sing Sing, Rowland Brown’s Blood Money, and Edward L. Cahn’s Laughter in Hell.
Turning ten, CineKink is celebrating a “decade of decadence” from tonight through March 3.