Jeez 2020, amiright?
An abbreviated write-up this year because 2020 was an asterisk-worthy year if ever there was one. Movies opened and then were pulled. Movies were announced and then postponed, and postponed again. Theaters closed and, at least in New York, stayed that way. Fest went online (not entirely a bad thing). Drive-ins made a comeback (ditto). While the moviegoing experience was largely lost, the movies kept coming—and for the most part, they were great, for which I’m eternally grateful.
This top 10 could easily have been a top 30, but I decided to set some limits. And since…
It’s exactly one year since I released my best of 2018 list, so points for consistency if not timeliness? Here’s this year’s edition.
My number 1 is the world’s #1: the Cannes Palme d’Or winner is also the first foreign language film to win Best Picture at the Oscars. I don’t have much to add to the discourse other than that I don’t envy Bong Joon-Ho having to try to top it with his next project — or Adam McKay having to make an English language version for HBO.
Every year I swear to do one of these sometime between New Year’s Day and the Oscars. This year I took it down to the wire.
Two 2018 films with which I have a personal connection get special mention above and apart from any formal top 10: punk rock slasher The Ranger directed by the love of my life, Jenn Wexler, and trippy, social media road trip Like Me, directed by Rob Mockler and produced by Jenn. Despite differences in tone and style, both are ultra-colorful, both feature nuanced lead performances by talented young actresses paired against more established character…
As a budding, teen cinephile in the VHS era, I used to dream of unlimited, unfettered access to All The Movies. “All” is a big number, but in effect my dream has come true.
For those of you too young to remember life before streaming, or even DVRs, let me tell you how things worked. If you loved movies but were not old enough to take the subway alone to the Bleecker Street Cinema (now yet another Duane Reade drug store, sigh) or the Waverley (happily reborn as the IFC Center), your life may have looked something like this:
Jordan Peele decides it might be fun to make a movie and knocks it out of the park on his first try—thanks to a rich, layered screenplay, an exceptional cast and a Kubrickian knack for composition. Most great horror films are also “social thrillers,” and this is undoubtedly both. The Sunken Place means many things to many people, but it is probably the best metaphor we have for what life was like in 2017.
One of the unexpected downsides of MoviePass? Seeing the same trailer 20 times, day after day, free movie after free movie. I’m sure I saw the…
I don’t envy professional television critics. Don’t get me wrong: watching TV for a living sounds like fun, until you add up the sheer tonnage of scripted series out there. According to FX, there were new episodes of more than 450 comedies and dramas; odds are, 2017 will match or exceed it. Heck, even Apple is slated to invest $1 billion in original programming.
I watch a lot of television, my household has access to Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Shudder, Tribeca Shortlist, Mubi, Filmstruck, HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, Starz, all of broadcast and basic cable, and probably three or four others I’m…
The statement “everyone loves a good dick joke” has never been less true than at this moment in time. (See also: C.K., Louie). Which is why it’s a very good thing Netflix released American Vandal in mid September, a scant three weeks before The New York Times broke the Harvey Weinstein abuse story, starting an overdue cascade of horrible revelations about powerful men, seemingly ending the careers of many of them*.
On its surface, the series—which arrived without hype or fanfare—appeared to be a parody of true crime stories like Serial and The Jinx, but with way, way lower stakes…
After my piece on the cinematic oeuvre of Beatles drummer Ringo Starr (TLDR: mixed in quality but fucking fascinating), I opted to dig deeper on musicians (singers and rappers to be specific) who aren’t best known for their acting chops but can legit deliver the goods in notable, big screen roles.
I recently wrote a piece for Culture Sonar on one of my favorite cinematic cul-de-sacs, namely the weird, extremly ‘60s/’70s films of Richard Starkey MBE, better known as Ringo Starr.
I once e̶n̶c̶o̶u̶r̶a̶g̶e̶d̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶c̶e̶d̶ commissioned @patricklee_10429 to write about this subject as part of an overview of all Beatles-related films, but my editor at Culture Sonar kindly enabled me to really dig into just the Ringo stuff.
That memorable line from Return of the Living Dead never fails to crack me up. In fact, those may be my three favorite words in any horror movie, ever. Which is why I was so saddened to learn this morning that the man behind that line, screenwriter Dan O’Bannon, passed away yesterday [Ed. note: when this was originally published in 2009] at the age of 63.
O’Bannon’s made his indelible mark on movie history as the screenwriter of Alien, arguably the best and most successful movie monster of the last fifty years, and perhaps the most influential. The template…