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Category Archives: film

Los Angeles, the City in Cinema: Time Code (Mike Figgis, 2000)

I still remember sitting in the theater when I first saw Timecode, watching the screen divide into four, knowing I was about to see something truly knew. The film’s Hollywood industry satire — replete with glamor, seediness, earthquakes, art, commerce, drugs, adultery, girls, jealousy, aspiration, desperation, a limousine, and a gun — plays out in those […]

Los Angeles, the City in Cinema: Repo Man (Alex Cox, 1984)

Los Angeles, the City in Cinema, my new series of video essays, examines the variety of Los Angeleses revealed in the films set there, both those new and old, mainstream and obscure, respectable and schlocky, appealing and unappealing — just like the city itself. Its debut pays a visit to the punks, drunks, thugs, loners, feds, […]

The Films of Sangsoo Hong

Say you watch Korean movies. Often, outside the peninsula itself, this means you’ve gotten into the murderous grotesquerie of Chan-wook Park’s “Vengeance Trilogy,” or Joon-ho Bong’s simultaneously goofy and solemn political allegory of a monster mashThe Host, or any amount of Ki-duk Kim’s vast, high-profile (and as some fans admit, uneven) output. But mention the […]

Our Curious Man in Japan: Chris Marker, Sans Soleil, and the Films that Stand for Us

Name your favorite film. Now define favorite. Is it the one you admire the most? The one you watch most often? The one that keeps surfacing in your thoughts with the least prompting? Or simply the one you name when asked, hoping to project an affiliated identity in so doing? Your definition of the term, […]

One year in Los Angeles; three showings of Los Angeles Plays Itself

  Being someone for whom aloneness feels like living burial, I suppose I could have chosen a more suitable life than one involving so much reading, writing, and filmgoing. True, you do sit among dozens to hundreds of others when you see a movie, but that strikes me as isolation by other means. I suppose […]

My Chris Marker tribute post for Open Culture

  The filmmaker Chris Marker, who passed away Sunday on his 91st birthday, rose to cinematic respectability amid the storm of press surrounding the French New Wave and Left Bank Film Movement in the fifties and sixties. Publicity-averse and deliberately enigmatic, he always seemed to stand, untroubled, within the storm’s eye, and there found just […]

I take on A Clockwork Orange on The Auteurcast

Rudie Obias and West Anthony invited me on their podcast The Auteurcast, a show which picks out fascinating directors and discusses all their films one-by-one. I joined them during a Stanley Kubrick cycle. They would have had no way of knowing this — except due to sheer film-geek likelihood — but Kubrick counts among the […]

Gary Hustwit: Urbanized

This, as the internet cats say, is relevant to my interests. Urbanized, a documentary about how world cities have changed in the 21st century, comes as part three of Gary Hustwit’s “design trilogy.” I still use Helvetica, the first part, as a kind of litmus test: if someone turns it off partway through or doesn’t […]

Me on Battleship Pretension: a three-hour course on the nineties’ “Indiewood” movement

The latest episode of the film podcast Battleship Pretension [RSS, iTunes] features yours truly on the third mic, discussing the history of the “Indiewood” movement in the United States. If you’ve personally experienced any important chapter in the history of American independent film, you’ve experienced this one: it saw the combined forces of the Sundance […]

Abbas Kiarostami: Certified Copy

  Having slouched around screenings of midcentury Godard, Truffaut, and Antonioni, all of whom have enjoyed a recent surge of popularity at Los Angeles revival houses, I can’t stifle my standard lament about why They Don’t Make Movies Like These Anymore. But a more accurate lament would ask why They Never Really Made Movies That […]