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Category Archives: film

KCET Movies: How “Speed” Captured a Changing Los Angeles

“Is this what they mean by pure cinema?” New Yorker film critic Anthony Lane wrote in his review of “Speed” when the film came out in 1994. “The phrase sometimes hovers around people like Tarkovsky and Ozu, and with good cause, but Hollywood occasionally throws a punch so clean that it breaks through to the […]

콜린의 한국 이야기: 윤정희 씨

누군가 나에게 어떻게 한국에 대하여 관심이 생긴지 물어보면 나는 주로 한국 영화라고 대답한다. 대학교를 다닐 때보다 대학교를 졸업한 후에 대학교의 도서관을 더 자주 이용했다. 어느 날 도서관의 디브이디 수집품 중에서 아시아에 있는 나라라고 여겨지는 익숙하지 않은 많은 영화들을 발견했다. 그 당시에도 한국 식당과 교회의 간판들에서 한글을 본 적이 있어서 제목으로 쓰여져 있는 글자를 보고 그 […]

Korea Blog: “Wangsimni, My Hometown,” a Gangster’s Pledge of Devotion to Korea

If you want to go see a movie in Seoul, you might well go to Wangsimni. Right above the neighborhood’s station on the central circular subway line stands a high-rise shopping complex whose multiplex theater boasts the largest IMAX screen in the country. It went up less than a decade ago, in 2008, but Seoul […]

This Friday: a free screening of Blade Runner in San Francisco, introduced by yours truly

San Francisco urbanist-cinephiles! This Friday at the second annual San Francisco Urban Film Festival, with its theme of going “beyond dystopia,” you can catch a free screening of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, whose vision of 2019 Los Angeles established our aesthetic vocabulary for urban dystopia — but how dystopian does it really look these days? I’ll show up to give a talk […]

See me introduce Blade Runner and talk dystopia in San Francisco on November 6th

The second annual San Francisco Urban Film Festival happens this November from the 3rd through the 8th, taking as its theme the idea of going “beyond dystopia.” In line with that, they’re screening Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, whose vision of 2019 Los Angeles has, for nearly 35 years, endured as a vision of the urban future. Its crowded streets and Babel […]

Everything I’ve written about Blade Runner for Open Culture so far

If you interpret the question “What’s your favorite movie?” as “What movie have you seen the greatest number of times?”, then Blade Runner is my favorite movie. (Actually, Sans Soleil remains a contender there — but in any case, my favorite movie surely has something to do with Japan and the early 1980s.) And so I happen to have written […]

Diary: Watching Café Noir (카페 느와르), Marriage Story (결혼 이야기), and the Cinema of Seoul

We hit up a favorite Korean barbecue spot with my cinephile friend Michael, who recently came to Koreatown after five years spent in actual Korea. Naturally, the conversation turned to Korean films we both knew, and big names from the Korean cinema boom of the early 2000s came up: Joint Security Area (110 minutes), Memories of Murder (127 minutes), Oldboy (120 […]

Los Angeles, the City in Cinema: Kiss Me Deadly (Robert Aldrich, 1955)

Los Angeles noirs don’t come much noirer than Kiss Me Deadly, Robert Aldrich’s adaptation of a Mickey Spillane bestseller that transplants the story from New York and boils it even harder by turning its private detective protagonist Mike Hammer into a sociopath as thuggish as the criminals around him. An ill-considered pickup of a hitchhiker […]

Los Angeles, the City in Cinema: The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (John Cassavetes, 1978)

The 1970s grotesque of John Cassavetes Los Angeles gangster action movie takes place not in the margins of the city, but in a city made up of nothing but margins: mediocre eateries, empty gas stations, parking garages, and the strip club owned by its businessman-turned-hitman protagonist. Tasked with finding and killing the titular “Chinese bookie” […]

Los Angeles, the City in Cinema: “Strange Days” (Kathryn Bigelow, 1995)

Strange Days counts as a Los Angeles movie, a hard-boiled detective movie, a cyberpunk movie, and a “social issues” movie, all of which came out in the shadow of the city’s 1992 riots. In an ideal setting for the subgenre’s mixture of “high tech and low life,” gentleman-loser protagonist Lenny Nero deals in pure neural […]