Series

N1FR

26 March 2012

Vincent Gallo is one of the most disliked of current film actors, while George Clooney is one of the most admired, but most viewers of Essential Killing—American, Belgian, Sri Lankan, or Japanese—probably have more in common with Gallo’s “Mohammed” than they have with Clooney. More…

21 March 2012

That Murdoch would become a modern-day William Randolph Hearst seemed predictable, but Mel Gibson’s transformation into the raving id of the American psyche took the world by surprise; the culture is still recovering. Fittingly, Gibson’s story is reminiscent enough of Oedipus Rex that it leaves cinephiles with the desire to pluck out their eyes. More…

20 March 2012

Slacker, though often canonized as a portrait of 1990s youth culture, is at root a local film. It was shot and produced entirely in Austin with local non-actors and musicians like the Butthole Surfers’ drummer Teresa Taylor. The fictionalized, documentary-style film doesn’t have a plot or recurring characters. More…

19 March 2012

Cinema in Cambodia—the medium itself—is metaphor. It stands in for historical memory. It makes it tolerable. And unnecessary. More…

16 March 2012

Where does Godard take us in Film Socialisme or, more appropriately, where do we take ourselves? An anarcho-communist distrust of money and the state infuses the film. We are told that “money was invented so as not to look men in the eyes.” More…

15 March 2012

These are very slow, irruptively weird movies, where ugly faces break spontaneously into gorgeous, toothy grins and no one screams and runs away when a monkey-man shows up to dinner. More…

14 March 2012

Despite mostly rave reviews, it’s safe to say that there’s no comparison between 30-year-old Brecht and Margin Call’s 37-year-old writer-director J. C. Chandor, first-time filmmaker and son of a Merrill Lynch lifer. Margin Call has an emptiness at its core, a refusal to answer or even really ask the questions about the system it portrays. More…

13 March 2012

Late style, on the other hand, refuses death and refuses the world outside art. Chabrol, Rivette, and Rohmer might be thought of as timely in this sense. But there is a filmmaker equally timely, old, and French Quandt leaves out: Agnès Varda. More…

5 March 2012

Jealousy was a given, and forgivable. But the pettiness Dunham’s success inspired was of a kind not usually seen outside children’s parties. Like infants driven to tears by the sight of someone else getting all the gifts, human adults became incapable of hiding their envy. More…

24 February 2012

This second edition of the N1FR, n+1‘s film review, is very late. Its lateness has nothing to do with n+1 or with any of the contributors, or with our generous sponsor IFC Films. It’s entirely my fault. More…

24 February 2011

That night we dined with Costa and the critics. It was not a banquet of equals, so we were left to observe. After some chips and salsa, the conversation gravitated to films-of-the-year, and someone lazily broached the name Terrence Malick. Costa grinned, then leaned over to ask us: “Do you like this Tree of Life?” More…

24 February 2011

Must a 3D movie be seen in 3D? Is a movie with both a 3D and a 2D release the same movie or two different movies? The “high” and “low” culture divide that is emerging—with Thor and The Green Hornet on one side, and Avatar and Werner Herzog on the other—seems to track along these very lines. More…

24 February 2011

Cinema’s soul, once glued to the photograph, has become unstuck. It now tarries in the Beyond, in an afterlife somewhere between the death of film and the childhood of the digital image. More…

24 February 2011

N1FR: Why does it often seem as though there is no film criticism on the left in North America, even in leftist publications? Walsh: If your question excepts the World Socialist Web Site, which I hope and trust it does, I would direct you to our generally low opinion of what passes for the left, not only in North America, but globally. More…

24 February 2011

If the polymath currently holds great purchase with American audiences, perhaps it serves to work through a pervasive free market psychology that makes no distinction between diversification and dexterity, power and genius. More…

24 February 2011

But forget all that and focus on this for a minute: it was said that Raoul Ruiz’s dream was to film Hamlet with a cast of vegetables. More…

24 February 2011

Film festivals are an odd congregation of people by nature but Cannes takes the cake for competing media agendas. There is almost no common ground except for this odd, spectacular event. Every critic brings a different motivation. Some are in town for snapshots, some are television crews, some run other film festivals, some just want some gossip and autographs. More…

24 February 2011

Still, I knew that this kind of frankly depicted, boys-will-be-boys, besides-the-point sexism was only part of the reason I was angry. The other reasons would not become clear to me till I saw the movie a second time. More…

23 February 2011

The real is in a period of reinvention. Among the new “real” films, Matthew Porterfield’s Putty Hill is an attractive candidate for all kinds of designations: minimal realism, hybrid film, fictional documentary, docu-fiction, regionalist cinema. More…

23 February 2011

The truth of the matter is that the films by Bozon and company, while being wildly inventive, are, with few exceptions, the polar opposite of non-narrative avant-garde cinema; they are deeply rooted in storytelling and dialogue, “the pleasure of the writerly,” as Bozon puts it, conflating two Roland Barthes notions into one. More…