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Film Friday Essay

On Elaine May’s “Mikey and Nicky.”

The film begins with Nicky (John Cassavetes) in a hotel room, panicking. The room is airless, he’s sweating through his white shirt and he looks like he’s thrown-up half his stomach lining. He calls for his pal Mikey (Peter Falk) to help him out. The pair work for the mob, but Nicky has stolen from […]

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Film

Review: Tony Benn: Will and Testament

A tribute to an important figure in the history of the Labour Party, Skip Kite’s film occupies (funnily enough) a corrective middle ground. It’s a fuller and more sympathetic job than the BBC’s awful documentary that aired just after news of Benn’s death in early 2014 (Tony Benn: Labour’s Lost Leader, should you want to […]

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Film

Beau Travail

Orginially posted here: http://www.studentnewspaper.org/cult-column-beau-travail-1999/   Beau Travail, Claire Denis’s tale of French legionnaires stationed in Djibouti, adapted to a degree from Herman Melville’s novel Billy Budd (1924), is a film which negotiates a path between stasis and movement (between moments of the sea glistening and laminary, and hard toil in the heat of the sun), all subordinated […]

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Film

Pieces for reviewsphere.

Since the site doesn’t have an author page, I’ll list my pieces for reviewsphere here. (Ongoing.) Peterloo (2018) Columbus (2017) Widows (2018) The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018) The Old Man & The Gun (2018) The RE-run of Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life Roma (2018) Welcome to Marwen (2018) Happy New Year, Colin Burstead (2018) The […]

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Film

Four Reviews from GFF’19

Mid90s, Dir. Jonah Hill.  This year’s Glasgow Film Festival opened on Wednesday night with a screening of Mid90s, actor Jonah Hill’s directorial debut. Young, diminutive Stevie (Sunny Suljic) is friendless and bored, living at home with his mother Dabney (Katherine Waterston, in a thankless role) and abusive, abrasive older brother Ian (Lucas Hedges). One day, from […]

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Film

A Dispatch from out west: The 2019 Glasgow Film Festival

Both the opening and closing films of this year’s Glasgow Film Festival can be described as “coming-of-age” films: Jonah Hill’s Mid90s, and Brian Welsh’s Beats; but it may be more accurate to label them films about being inducted into new social milieus. In the far superior Beats, this concerns entry into the put-upon Scottish rave-scene. […]

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Film

Charleston Parade

A Renoir jazz sci-fi, to a degree, makes for odd, odd viewing. A central African explorer visits 2028, and encounters a white savage, barely clad, accompanied by an expressive monkey. Seeing the strange being, the savage incapacitates him, and demonstrates the tribal dance: the Charleston. She swings frantically, swivelling her back foot as the front […]

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Film

Hale County This Morning, This Evening

Non-fiction filmmaking as lyric poetry, RaMell Ross’s feature is unlike anything I’ve seen before, and will demand frequent revisits. In 2009, Ross began working in Hale County, Alabama, to teach photography and coach basketball. His film follows two subjects, an aspiring professional basketballer, Daniel, and a catfish factory worker, Quincy, a young father with twins on […]

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Film

Chungking Express

Conceived of and filmed during a break in the post-production of his wuxia film Ashes of Time, Wong Kar-wai’s Chungking Express is one of the indelible expressions of loneliness in the cinema. Its bifurcated structure contains two stories, although one outruns the other in terms of profundity and length: both concern police officers who frequent the same fast-food stand in […]

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Film

The Pirate

The beautiful contradiction of the film musical—the pitting of idealism against materialism, expressed through the most materialistic means—is visible in lavish abundance in Vincente Minnelli’s The Pirate, with a score by Cole Porter. In the small village of Calvados, Manuela (Judy Garland) dreams of a life adventuring, seeing far-off places, desires stirred in her by tales of […]