Friday, August 01, 2008
- ★ = Click for my review
|U.S. Releases of 2015:
can see only so far inside
kills time but why so bland?
immaculate on all levels
|The Diary of a Teenage Girl
risky win across the board
different but disorganized
music epic really grows
|The End of the Tour
tense start, steep drop
schticky start, gets better
forbidding but novel
|I'll See You in My Dreams
acutely observed, acted
entertaining but schematic
|The Iron Ministry
sharp, evocative doc
well-acted but creaky
|Lila & Eve
love this cast, but yikes
|Love & Mercy
takes risks with biopic
|Mad Max: Fury Road
even better second time
|Magic Mike XXL
shiftless and ambitious
|Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
ugly and unilluminating
|Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
Baumbach, Gerwig in ruts
twisty story drably realized
|A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence
sad, comic, surreal critique
|Ricki and the Flash
forced but moving exercise
engaging, but so dubious
|Straight Outta Compton
vigorous but laundered
worthy, for good and bad
shouty, but vibrant cinema
good jokes, shaky arcs
|We Come As Friends
eye-opening and harrowing
|Z for Zachariah
too big or too small?
|Digging for Fire||Landed|
|Learning to Drive||Landed|
|The Man from U.N.C.L.E.||Landed|
|Queen of Earth||Landed|
Hot Off the Presses!
The Desiring-Image: Gilles Deleuze and Contemporary Queer Cinema ($30/pbk). By Nick Davis. Oxford University Press, 2013. The book that earned me tenure at Northwestern. Offers a new theoretical model of queer film, born from Gilles Deleuze's rarely-integrated notions of cinema and desire. Chapter-length readings of Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch, Shortbus, The Watermelon Woman, Brother to Brother, Beau travail, and Velvet Goldmine, plus other films along the way! Written for a scholarly audience but hopefully interesting to anyone curious about recent cinema, ideas about desire, or LGBT aesthetics and politics. "Important and needed work...Deeply original." D.N. Rodowick, "Seductive in its intellect and humbling in its prose." Michele Aaron
Reading the Bromance: Homosocial Relationships in Film and Television ($32/pbk). Ed. Michael DeAngelis. Wayne State University Press, 2014. Academic pieces that dig into recent portraits in popular media, comic and dramatic, of intimacies between straight(ish) men. Includes the essay "'I Love You, Hombre': Y tu mamá también as Border-Crossing Bromance" by Nick Davis, as well as chapters on Superbad, Humpday, Jackass, The Wire, and other texts. Written for a mixed audience of scholars, students, and non-campus readers. Forthcoming in June 2014. "Remarkably sophisticated essays." Janet Staiger, "Essential reading for anyone interested in contemporary models of gender and sexuality." Harry Benshoff
Fifty Key American Films ($31/pbk). Ed. Sabine Haenni, John White. Routledge, 2009. Includes my essays on The Wild Party, The Incredibles, and Brokeback Mountain. Intended as both a newcomer's guide to the terrain and a series of short, exploratory essays about such influential works as The Birth of a Nation, His Girl Friday, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, Taxi Driver, Blade Runner, Daughters of the Dust, and Se7en.
The Cinema of Todd Haynes: All That Heaven Allows ($25/pbk). Ed. James Morrison. Wallflower Press, via Columbia University Press, 2007. Includes the essay "'The Invention of a People': Velvet Goldmine and the Unburying of Queer Desire" by Nick Davis, later expanded and revised in The Desiring-Image. More, too, on Poison, Safe, Far From Heaven, and Haynes's other films by Alexandra Juhasz, Marcia Landy, Todd McGowan, James Morrison, Anat Pick, and other scholars. "A collection as intellectually and emotionally generous as Haynes' films" Patricia White, Swarthmore College
Film Studies: The Basics ($23/pbk). By Amy Villarejo. Routledge, 2006, 2013. Award-winning film scholar and teacher Amy Villarejo finally gives us the quick, smart, reader-friendly guide to film vocabulary that every teacher, student, and movie enthusiast has been waiting for, as well as a one-stop primer in the past, present, and future of film production, exhibition, circulation, and theory. Great glossary, wide-ranging examples, and utterly unpretentious prose that remains rigorous in its analysis; the book commits itself at every turn to the artistry, politics, and accessibility of cinema.
- Picture Noms % Seen:
- The Quiet Man
- Director Noms % Seen:
- I Want to Live!
- The Divine Lady
- Actress Noms % Seen:
- A Star Is Born ('54)
- The Country Girl
- The Letter ('29)
- Actor Noms % Seen:
- The Affairs of Cellini
- Viva Zapata!
- Sup Actress Noms % Seen:
- The Landlord
- Of Human Hearts
- Merrily We Live
- Sup Actor Noms % Seen:
- The Big Sky
- Little Big Man
- Cinematography Noms % Seen:
- The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
- ★ The Abyss
- Screenplay Noms % Seen:
- The Strange Love of Martha Ivers
- The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer*
Most recent screenings in each race;
multiple nominees appear wherever they scored their most prestigious nod... and yes, that means Actress trumps Actor!
* Denotes a recent reappraisal
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- What's the Story (Morning Glory)?
- And Busby Berkeley would sh*t, I know...
- One Hotel to Rule Them All
- A Gotham in Trouble
- Best Pictures from the Outside In: '31/'04
- Hold Your Horses, Pull Your Punches, and Watch You...
- Let Me Be Frank
- All Racist on the Western Coast
- Best Pictures from the Outside In: '29/'06
- Let Them Eat Birthday Cake!
- Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy
Smart, witty, erudite, industrious
- Mark Harris, Grantland
Oscar obsession as culture critique
- Guy Lodge, In Contention
HitFix's dapper globetrotter; more here
- Joe Reid, The Wire
Whole team's great, but Joe's divine
- Katey Rich, Vanity Fair
Fabulous features; a real joy to talk with
- Tim Robey, Daily Telegraph
My favorite print critic; more here
- Nathaniel Rogers, Film Experience
Creative, hilarious, utterly addictive
Oh, the Places You'll Go
- Against the Hype
A savvy cinephile from Singapore
- The Auteurs Notebook
David Hudson resurfaces! Huzzah!
- Anthony Breznican, EW
Aces short capsules, longer pieces
- Dan Callahan
Peerless bios of Golden Age actors
- The Chicago Film Festival
Reason alone to live in this city
- Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph
Killer jokes but respects the films
- Dr. S's Cabinet of Distractions
Elegant, witty, smart about everything
- Film Freak Central
Tons of content, sterling reviewers
- Film Studies for Free
Academic ideas with no tuition!
- Aisha Harris, Slate
Always incisive about media and culture
- Wesley Morris, Grantland
The Pulitzer people got one right
- Farran Nehme, Self-Styled Siren
Gorgeous insights, perfect writing
- Olive Films
Indispensable vendor of classic films
- Only the Cinema
Thorough, smart, eclectic reviews
- Queer Film Society
Film is a love that speaks is name!
- Reeling Film Festival
Chicago's heroically durable LGBT fest
- Girish Shambu
Always makes me think in new ways
- Catherine Shoard, Guardian
Great reviewer, editor, dinner buddy
- Society for Cinema & Media Studies
If you're an academic type, sign up!
- Amir Soltani, Amiresque
Smart Torontonian who sees everything
- Warner Bros. Archive
Basically has a lien on my salary
- Forrest Wickman, Slate
Once my student, now my teacher
My Gurus of Movie WritingInvaluable film critics, dear friends
Watch this space! Chicago has a new, exciting, important, and totally accessible cadre of queer film critics who are joining forces to bring screenings, special events, and good, queer-focused movie chats to our fair city. Read our mission! Stay tuned for events! Cruise the website, and help get this great new group off the ground by enrolling as a friend (it's free!) and by asking how you can help.