The upping of the number of best picture nominees to ten in 2009 has only resulted in a greater volume of forgettable titles slipping through the cracks. This seems to be the case as well for Oscar years before 1944, when there were generally ten nominees. What’s most fascinating is not that these films are largely forgotten, but that at one point they meant something to large numbers of people, and are now basically lost to time.
Coming before a movie, the name “Allan Dwan” under the director’s credit connotes a no-frills simplicity—his nickname was “Practicality Dwan”—a simplicity touching on purity. When I am exhausted with movies, movies, ever more movies, all clangorously insisting on making their impression felt, I need only return to the healing springs of Allan Dwan, and a measure of innocence is regained.
Long movies are their own genus of dinosaur, often rumored about for the average filmgoer but never witnessed. Somewhere it has been etched in the spongy blacktop of popular art history that the ideal, or at least appropriate, length for feature films is somewhere between 75 and 140 minutes. The days in which an arthouse would take on Peter Watkins’s 873-minute The Journey for a few weeks of extreme moviewatching seem to be long gone.
“I consider cinema a universal language”: Abbas Kiarostami talks about his new film Like Someone In Love in this SundanceNOW Exclusive Interview.
Last week we indulged in our mushier side, but now we’re reaching deeper into the dark recesses of our cold, black hearts. It’s your turn, you the majority of the population who, coupled or not, resent, dread, and roll your eyes at the mockery that is February 14th. Luckily for all you lonelyhearts, there is no shortage of films out there that remind us of just how great it is to be single—or rather, of just how nightmarish it is … Read More
This week Ilian Metev’s Sofia’s Last Ambulance is finally making its way to North America, where it should be celebrated as one of the nonfiction highlights of the year. A uniquely observed, highly visceral portrait of three paramedics on duty in Bulgaria’s capital city, the movie is equal parts urgent verité chronicle and meditative long-take art cinema—imagine Fredrick Wiseman directing The Death of Mr. Lazarescu.
Jimmy looks forward to some Action on Valentine’s Day.
I first saw The Beguiled in the most appropriately inappropriate way I could: by happening upon it after midnight on television as a teenager, getting entranced by its rhythms, titillated by its perverse sexuality, and then unable to turn away due to its mounting horrors. It will always feel to me like my own personal discovery—there’s a nearly somnambulant beauty to it, as though a death shroud hangs over every scene.
One of the great ancillary pleasures of visiting the Village Voice archives is being able to breathe the air of a since-departed New York moviegoing culture. For the words of Sarris and Haskell and Tom Allen and J. Hoberman share pages with ads for smut like the bill-of-fare at the Ramrod “Male Theater”. Perhaps even more alien from a contemporary perspective, the films that are advertised one week will frequently not be written up until the week following, at the … Read More