Posts Tagged: Film

Why Michael Bay Can't Lose

There's a fascinating pattern in the first Transformers reviews: There is nothing to watch here, nothing to grab onto or hook into in even the simplest of ways. I staggered out of the theater feeling assaulted and insulted, but by the time I was standing out on 42nd Street in the muggy summer evening air, even those angry feelings had passed.

Richard Corliss agrees: "The final half-hour devolves into a kind of abstract-expressionist chaos, with commercials. Nothing coheres." At IndieWire, Eric Kohn complains that Michael Bay "constructs a barrage of showdowns remarkable for their ridiculous propensity to feature explosions and slo-mo, gravity-defying feats. They're all unmemorable but [...]


"Essential Transgression": New Fiction Writers In Afghanistan

The Gifts of the State and Other Stories: New Writing from Afghanistan is available by any means in which you might prefer to receive books.

From the publisher

McNally Jackson

Amazon and Kindle


Adam Klein has the kind of life that many of us, chained to our desks, might envy. A wanderer and frequent expatriate, he has lived and taught in places as disparate as Bangladesh, India, Beirut and Kabul. He is the singer and co-songwriter for San Francisco-based band The Size Queens, as well as the author of the Lambda Book Award-nominated short story collection The Medicine [...]


Shane Carruth Answers All Our Questions About 'Primer,' 'Upstream Color' and 'The Modern Ocean'

Filmmaker Shane Carruth, whose homemade and award-winning debut Primer confused and seduced everyone in 2004, has a new brain-burner hitting screens tomorrow: Upstream Color. If watching Primer felt like trying to solve a Rubik's cube that you swear was missing some pieces, watching Upstream Color feels like using memory regression to solve a similar one. But the missing pieces are there for a reason. With rapid editing and imaginative, often jarring use of sound, Carruth's second film replaces the former's fluorescent-lit minimalism with a kaleidoscope of spinning clues: a man and woman (Carruth himself as Jeff, and an excellent Amy Seimetz as Kris) are drawn together by a tragic event [...]


Take a Day off with Truffaut

If you have 12.5 hours to spare (or 25 intervals of 30 minutes, up to you),you might enjoy Francois Truffaut's extremely long interview with Alfred Hitchcock. [Via.]


20 People to Follow on Twitter: @tnyfrontrow

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The critic, who writes only about others, deems art about the making of art "solipsistic" and says it's not tough work. How would he know?Tue Feb 15 03:18:44 via webRichard Brodytnyfrontrow

Sometimes I compulsively follow people on Twitter even when I rarely have any idea what they're talking about! You get one-half of various arcane conversations, some meditations on bagels and a lot of stuff about French films you haven't seen. Hence, Richard Brody, the Goings On movies editor of the New Yorker. Perhaps you remember Brody best for his mini-pan [...]


Horror Chick, with Melissa Lafsky: The 10 Most Terrifying Unintentional-Horror Movies (Part One)

What makes a movie horror? There are the obvious indicators: chainsaws, spurting viscera, genital smashing and other tricks in the bloody menagerie of unapologetic depravity. But some of the scariest films sneak in under the radar, infecting your thoughts and slaying your peace of mind without showing a single oozing polyp or rotting corpse. Think about it: The point of horror is that it's all metaphor-a pictorial display of the fears, anxieties, and disappointments that thrash and roil in our consciousness. Those flesh-devouring zombies and skull-munching monsters are just physical manifestations of the Inner Human Pain that can't be defined in language (except by David Foster Wallace) but still [...]


Who Else Missed Nikki Finke?

Nikkie Finke is back, or nearly back, which is a cause for celebration. Yes! It was easy to get distracted by the politics of the weird Deadline situation, or the specifics of her big blowout fights with Jay Penske and Sharon Waxman, and to forget that Nikki Finke is a consciously destabilizing force in every environment where she operates, and that that's the point: She's a filterless killer of a type that barely seems to exist on the internet, especially now. Kate Arthur writes that Hollywood, and the media, has largely moved on. Maybe for Finke [her absence has] been difficult — but it’s been a joyful time for [...]


"Her": This Movie Makes No Sense

"When we were in pre-production we started thinking about how we were going to create future L.A., and was I was excited by the idea of collaging two cities together and so we ended up going to Shanghai and using very specific, curated areas of Shanghai with very specific curated areas of Los Angeles and I think… it was this idea that we were trying to make this very warm, tactile world, with the materials and fabrics and the woods, and create this world that felt like this utopic world that everything's nice and everything's comfortable and even in this world where you're getting everything you need and having [...]


San Francisco's Baffling Jejune Institute Gets A Documentary

The toughest part of writing about San Francisco's Jejune Institute "thing" was trying to describe it, something I attempted to do for this site twice. In a first piece about the citywide game, which was put on by a group called Nonchalance, I went with "[p]art public-art installation, part scavenger hunt, part multimedia experiment, part narrative story." For the follow-up, I added "underground alternate reality game" to the mix. Both summaries missed the mark, partly because of my own inadequacies as a writer, but also a symptom of the project's sprawling originality—it wasn't like anything else out there, and that was part of what made it [...]


Hometown Paper Has Tip for Dealing with Onslaught of Film Shoots

Today's New York Observer editorial page, as always, does not disappoint, in the form of this editorial in praise of movies and TV filming in New York City. Some New Yorkers may grumble about the inconveniences that are inevitable when nearly two dozen film crews are on location in popular neighborhoods or near trendy nightspots. Here’s a bit of advice for those iconoclasts: It’s August. Chill out. Take a long weekend in the Hamptons.



Everything You Were Too Lazy to See in 2010

Holy moses, here is an amazingly comprehensive list of, pretty much, all the moving-image culture you missed in 2010 and shouldn't have, according to many people! Still, the one cultural event we can agree upon with Josh Siegel, associate film curator at MoMA? Sky Mall Kitties! Miss you, Sky Mall Kitties.


Why Don't You–And Obama–Believe That Torture Is Torture? Because the Culture Industry Said So.

Back in January, a Washington Post/ABC News Poll asked the following question: "Obama has said that under his administration the United States will not use torture as part of the U.S. campaign against terrorism, no matter what the circumstance. Do you support this position not to use torture, or do you think there are cases in which the United States should consider torture against terrorism suspects?"

A majority of respondents, 58%, supported the stance, and agreed that torture should never be used, no matter the circumstances. 40% did not agree. So while this poll was heralded as a demonstration that America does not support torture, a full two out [...]


Fake Hawaii: Your American Jungle

Remember when Alec Baldwin quit public life? While others were dissecting the tone and psyche behind his alleged farewell, I got hung up in the piece’s intro, where he talked about phoning a gay-rights group in Hawaii and learning about their torment at growing up in "traditional Hawaiian families"—"Macho fathers. Religious mothers." Others wouldn't have stumbled there, but I was born and raised in Hawaii, and this is the kind of stuff that I notice.

Not to single out Alec, because nearly everyone makes this mistake, but a Hawaiian is a native Hawaiian, a descendant of the Polynesian people who first inhabited the Pacific island chain; generalizing all [...]


Defying "Gravity"

I was tardy for Adria’s 24th birthday celebration at The Golden Unicorn, an endearingly tacky dim-sum restaurant in Chinatown. To celebrate her somewhat belated transition towards a no-training-wheels adulthood (successful acquisition of an affordable apartment and a job away from coffee machines and people who want their bagels scooped out), she had decided to throw a large party.

My public excuse for my tardiness was “getting lost,” but privately the truth was linked to my inability to leave my apartment in time. One of Adria’s birthday presents was the shaving of my beard, leaving a gross moustache reminiscent of Nintendo’s Mario Bros or 70s gay porn. This DIY present [...]


These People on Rotten Tomatoes: What Is the Deal

Do we still deserve to call ourselves a society?


Harry Potter and the Deathly Epilogue

The last Harry Potter movie is a pretty beautiful thing, just in terms of flickering pictures on the cave wall and tableaux. It's very good! As a non-Harry Potter book-reader, it wasn't even that confusing, despite its having to wrap up 10,000 plots, though I did realize halfway through that I literally had no idea why the guy with the scary face was trying to kill our hero, and vice versa. Why were they so mad at each other again? No clue! Also I was slightly frustrated that the minor characters weren't allowed to speak very much, if it all. You put Helena Bonham Carter in all that hair and [...]


Flicked Off: "The Social Network"

Natasha Vargas-Cooper: I ain't going to lie to you. I went in wanting to hate. I was queasy thinking about what Fincher/Sorkin had to say about the Digital Generation and I was resistant to suffering through Jesse's flat-affect-acting.

Sasha Frere-Jones: I enjoyed the narrative locomotive, but the movie might as well have been about a struggle over the Enzongium contract in Quadrant K9. I would have liked that more, actually. This is first and foremost a movie about Sorkinese, a language that finds a comfy home in litigation. "The West Wing" was Walking and Talkingâ„¢-The Social Network is Sitting and Talking and Occasionally Dartingâ„¢.


Flicked Off: Two Things Not To Get Wrong About "Inglourious Basterds"

Choire Sicha: I have a question. At where did you see the new film by Quentin Tarantino?

Seth Colter Walls: Battery Park City, which was very clean. And very weird.

Choire Sicha: Oh yes! Oddest theater ever. I saw "Soul Plane" there. Crowded?

Seth Colter Walls: Yeah, it appeared to be sold-out or nearly so. The theater may have been unprepared. At one point after the previous crowd finished exiting, the people waiting for our showtime just sort of made a mad dash for the theater!

Choire Sicha: This is where I would insert an offensive joke about Europe and World War II.