Film critic with bylines in the Chicago Reader, Slant Magazine, the House Next Door, Spectrum Culture, and more. I'm out here.
For the first time, Sofia Coppola seems to have made a film that acts as a worthwhile statement as opposed to an agreeable sentiment. She's made films about materialism before, but THE BLING RING, in its depiction of privilege in the age of access and technology, irreverently, even brilliantly, demystifies fame and erodes long held conceptions of celebrity. "Access," I think is the essential word in considering the film's overall intent: The access provided by negligent parents to prurient, meddlesome…
An admittedly frivolous film, but damn if it isn't endearing. The almost incessant cynicism that pervades so much of American "indie" and independent cinema has kept me at arm's length from a number of films others have fully embraced (e.g. THE COLOR WHEEL and SUN DON'T SHINE, among others). FRANCES HA struck me as cheerful without being entirely saccharine, no doubt thanks to Baumbach's perpetually sympathetic outlook. that said, there's still an air of causticity afoot. This is his most…
I was extremely pleased to see that NOT FADE AWAY was great for all the same reasons THE SOPRANOS is one of recent history's key pieces of popular art: the vividly rendered, detail-oriented milieu; the ephemeral, impressionistic, narrative style; the strong, audience-respecting aversion to sentimentality and nostalgia; the metaphysical interludes; and a subtle but nevertheless joyous use of genre iconography. The film is heartbreaking and moving without betraying or telegraphing a single emotion, and it cements David Chase as one of America's great mythmakers.
Sorta working my way backwards with Seidl. Started with the PASSION trilogy and have been sporadically viewing his back catalog ever since. I was at odds with this one up until the scene in which the estranged husband and wife sit on the swing set in the rain. It's maybe my single favorite Seidl image, notable not only for its shape and composition (I thought the shapely contours of the swing set juxtapose the rigid lines of the suburban sprawl…