Dirty Work was directed by Bob Saget, the Full House actor and America’s Funniest Home Videos host whose subsequent career has largely been devoted to letting audiences pretend to be shocked that Danny Tanner does very dirty and very unfunny stand-up comedy. This fact is merely incidental: Dirty Work is the apotheosis of Macdonaldian humor. Witness Norm’s artfully stilted cadence, which makes a joke of the idea of jokes, his eyes gleaming impishly beneath beetled brows, his clenched smile radiating … Read More
Found footage films seem so simple, and yet offer up bottomless implications and an infinitely varied idea about what any particular piece of cinema “means.” From Joseph Cornell’s Rose Hobart (1936) to the new assemblage film Our Nixon (2013), it’s the black hole of film subgenres, a Heisenberg Principle arena where who’s watching, and who’s reusing and why, completely changes the import of the raw material.
People love the idea of people doin’ it, especially if they’re doin’ a lot of it. Horndoggery aside, I think this The To Do List deserves some props for celebrating promiscuity rather that demeaning it or mocking it. If you look back at some other beloved films, you’ll find a similar attitude at play. Today, let’s raise a glass to some less-than-chaste characters who taught us why it’s not so bad to be bad.
“Once you insert yourself as a character in the movie, it’s a much harder movie to make well.”: In this SundanceNOW Exclusive Interview, Nina Davenport talks about her new first-person documentary, First Comes Love.
Few of this year’s documentaries have received the kind of press coverage that Blackfish has enjoyed. Mainstream outlets ranging from the New York Times to ABC News have addressed not only the content of the film, but the controversy stoked by SeaWorld’s refutations of Blackfish’s assertions. With both critical acclaim (84% on Metacritic) and positive word-of-mouth, Blackfish is on its way to becoming one of the most successful nonfiction films of the year. Too bad it’s not very good.
Will you be ready for the robot apocalypse?
Why can’t movie directors, especially American ones working within the studios, just be the artists we make them out to be in our heads? Watching the new trailer for Spike Lee’s Oldboy, a sure-to-be redundant redo, I was reminded of the first time I felt truly let down by this filmmaker, which was back in 1999. The point isn’t that Summer of Sam was a terrible movie (though it was), but that its distractedness, its lack of focus, was ultimately … Read More
For many of us, the Onion headline, “90% Of Waking Hours Spent Staring At Glowing Rectangles,” rings all too true, and the computer screen has become far-and-away the preeminent glowing rectangle of our time. This is an unspectacular fact that cinema, which by its very nature is spectacular, hasn’t addressed and perhaps cannot address. But what of work produced explicitly for these computer screen?
Analogue horror is an easy-to-appreciate principle predicated on what’s left out: CGI, torture-porn excess, fast cutting, obnoxious “meta” self-consciousness, ridiculous premises. Today, a budding filmmaker must try to stand out from the pack with fireworks and “high” concepts and signatures of gore or general ickiness, but Larry Fessenden and Ti West have been implicitly, modestly placing the genre first, and ahead of any take-it-to-the-next-level careerist sensationalism.