It’s exceedingly easy to dismiss evangelical cinema as an amateurish, maudlin, pandering, and cynical exercise in preaching to the converted. This is at least in part because it’s generally been the case. But the field isn’t completely identical, even if it might look so from the outside: the Left Behind franchise in and of itself demonstrates that there are a number of forms these appeals can take.More
The entire filmography of Chantal Akerman is a series of breaths, and No Home Movie is among her breathiest.
This is transparently the kind of eye-rolling claim that makes people tune out — why, after all, should anyone watch or listen to a series of breaths?More
You don’t have to be a fan of improv — often referred to as “the Irritating Art”, by me — to enjoy Mike Birbiglia‘s ensemble dramedy. Don’t Think Twice is very much grounded in that world of audience prompts and miming, and very much enthralled with its performative nuances and history, but the film also tells a more basic story about belatedly growing up and growing apart.More
In Casting JonBenet, we revisit a true-crime mystery that captivated the U.S. But we do so obliquely: director Kitty Green is as interested, more interested, in the stories we tell about the stories we tell than anything so mundane as solving a case.More
As Qinawi — our despondent, hobbling, would-be protagonist in Cairo Station — retreats to his shed outside the train depot to rest, he shifts the pants hanging from a ramshackle clothesline to block the midday sun from his eyes. It’s the kind of Neorealist detail that the great Egyptian director Youssef Chahine excels at here, in this, his arguable masterpiece.More
In the hilarious 2001 stop-motion film Kokoa, we witness a series of wrestling matches featuring, in turn, a toad, a chameleon, a bird, and an iguana — with a crab referee and emceed by a Howard Cosell-like reptile.
Do I even need to go on about why you should watch Kokoa?More
It’s a sad, cynical day in these United States. With elected officials seemingly hell-bent on depriving people of health care for the worst reasons they can muster, things seem a bit gloomy.
Of course, there is an occasional, fitful awareness that this monstrosity of a bill, which no one voting on has read, can’t make into law in its current form, and that we’re still engaged in the shadow theater of masturbatory spectacle.More
Actor, producer, and now director of The Invisible Vegan Jasmine Leyva doesn’t feel like mincing words.
When asked about why she wanted to make her new documentary-in-progress and how it relates to earlier films like Food, Inc., she responds:
Most of [the] experts are all white males; you don’t even introduce a POC until the 50-minute mark.
There’s always something a little jarring, a little suspect about revisiting an artist’s early work. The impulse is to read the texts as prologue: what is to come. So, if David Cronenberg’s first foray into filmmaking — the 1966 short Transfer, made when he was just 23 years old — is (what’s the word?) “bad”, at least it can be recuperated by identifying the tendencies that will animate later, more accomplished films.More
Chess is not, shall we say, the most cinematic of games. But Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe gamely tries to resolve this dilemma with compelling characters, a quietly heroic, underdog narrative, and a whole lot of Ugandan sensibilities and imagery. It mostly works.More