In Conversation: Cannes

Kern: Cannes would have begun this week, were it not cancelled due to COVID-19, so I thought this week we’d discuss Cannes and film festivals in general. I want to get into our personal experiences with festivals and when we started first following festival coverage, but I figured there’s no better way to start than…

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Best Picture #28: Marty

Each week this column will highlight one winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, progressing chronologically until all winners have been discussed. There will be a brief discussion of the film itself followed by a mention of what we wish won from the nominees in the given year (though in many cases there were…

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AFI Top 100: Double Indemnity

In 2007, the American Film Institute revised their previous 1998 list of the 100 best American films of all time. This weekly column will explore my thoughts on select films from this list, mostly following along with the Unspooled Podcast, which inspired my journey to complete the AFI Top 100. You can also follow my…

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Academy in Review: The 1990s

Yes, I’ve returned! The coronavirus couldn’t kill me; I’m too persnickety and tough for that to happen. After a rough bout with the disease and a rocky recovery period, I’ve returned to share more Oscars trivia and rankings. This time, we’re going back to the 1990s.  Ah, the 1990s. The decade when the most notable…

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My Darling Vivian

I love Johnny Cash. I’ve loved him since high school, listening to the Essential compilation and picking up random records of his that I would find in antique stores. I remember when the trailer for Logan came out, perfectly utilizing Cash’s version of “Hurt” to set the tone for one of my favorite movies of…

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Bad Education (2020)

“It’s not perfect, but it works.” This line from Dr. Frank Tassone (Hugh Jackman) about halfway through the film builds the central contradiction that propels Cory Finley’s Bad Education like a rocket duct-taped to the bottom of a cheap skateboard. The polish and cold finesse of Finley’s previous film, Thoroughbreds, is noticeably missing here, trading…

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AFI Top 100: Goodfellas

In 2007, the American Film Institute revised their previous 1998 list of the 100 best American films of all time. This weekly column will explore my thoughts on select films from this list, mostly following along with the Unspooled Podcast, which inspired my journey to complete the AFI Top 100. You can also follow my…

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In Conversation: Slow Cinema

Henry: We both watched Satantango last week and I came down in the pretty standard camp of thinking it’s a masterpiece but I believe that was pretty far from your takeaway. What was it that didn’t work for you? And how does it feel to spend more than seven hours watching something that’s very slow…

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TFW NO GF

“There’s a dichotomy. You can’t talk about Wojack and not bring up Pepe, because they go together as the duality of man. The Pepe is like your troll-self, your public persona…then on the other half we have our Wojack. He’s like our private selves, who isn’t like that at all: he’s very depressed, feels inadequate,…

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AFI Top 100: Intolerance

In 2007, the American Film Institute revised their previous 1998 list of the 100 best American films of all time. This weekly column will explore my thoughts on select films from this list, mostly following along with the Unspooled Podcast, which inspired my journey to complete the AFI Top 100. You can also follow my…

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Extraction (2020)

From its 15 minutes of credits to its refusal to acknowledge its place in the “white guy blows an Asian country to smithereens” canon to its title so generic that I had to stop the movie three times to check what it was called, Extraction is one of those movies that is brainless without malice…

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In Conversation: Anime

Kern: I know you’ve been watching a lot of Studio Ghibli films recently. Have you seen them all at this point? Henry: Not all of them, no, but most. I’ve seen all of Miyazaki’s feature films, Ghibli or otherwise, but as for the rest, I got a collection with 17 of them so I watched…

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AFI Top 100: Yankee Doodle Dandy

In 2007, the American Film Institute revised their previous 1998 list of the 100 best American films of all time. This weekly column will explore my thoughts on select films from this list, mostly following along with the Unspooled Podcast, which inspired my journey to complete the AFI Top 100. You can also follow my…

Read more AFI Top 100: Yankee Doodle Dandy

AFI Top 100: Cabaret

In 2007, the American Film Institute revised their previous 1998 list of the 100 best American films of all time. This weekly column will explore my thoughts on select films from this list, mostly following along with the Unspooled Podcast, which inspired my journey to complete the AFI Top 100. You can also follow my…

Read more AFI Top 100: Cabaret

Best Picture #23: All About Eve

Each week this column will highlight one winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, progressing chronologically until all winners have been discussed. There will be a brief discussion of the film itself followed by a mention of what we wish won from the nominees in the given year (though in many cases there were…

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Academy in Review: The 1980s

Like so many other billions of people, quarantine life has led me to find something to do, and I’ve settled on watching every single Best Picture nominee from all 92 years of the Academy Awards. And for fun, we’re gonna be reviewing every decade to look back at the highs and lows throughout the years…

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Underseen & Underrated: Speed Racer

Every two weeks this column will shed light on the underseen, underrated, or misunderstood. Most films will be vastly different from one another, so just consider this a bi-weekly recommendation from me. This week’s film is Lana & Lilly Wachowski’s Speed Racer (2008). Although it’s gained a cult following in recent years, I’d still like…

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AFI Top 100: Easy Rider

In 2007, the American Film Institute revised their previous 1998 list of the 100 best American films of all time. This weekly column will explore my thoughts on select films from this list, mostly following along with the Unspooled Podcast, which inspired my journey to complete the AFI Top 100. You can also follow my…

Read more AFI Top 100: Easy Rider

Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Never Rarely Sometimes Always can be broadly described as a coming-of-age film—the story of a teenage girl traveling with her cousin to procure an abortion is dependent on the main character’s young age—but as with her previous two features, It Felt Like Love and Beach Rats, Eliza Hittman’s narrow focus and unconventional approach makes it…

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AFI Top 100: Sullivan’s Travels

In 2007, the American Film Institute revised their previous 1998 list of the 100 best American films of all time. This weekly column will explore my thoughts on select films from this list, mostly following along with the Unspooled Podcast, which inspired my journey to complete the AFI Top 100. You can also follow my…

Read more AFI Top 100: Sullivan’s Travels

Best Picture #21: Hamlet (1948)

Each week this column will highlight one winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, progressing chronologically until all winners have been discussed. There will be a brief discussion of the film itself followed by a mention of what we wish won from the nominees in the given year (though in many cases there were…

Read more Best Picture #21: Hamlet (1948)

Tell It to the Bees is a Lesbian Story for Gay Audiences Adapted to a Heterosexual World

The key to a good adaptation is keeping the themes. A book-to-movie adaptation can change plot points, merge characters, and reinvent tone, but the core is always the theme of the original novel. Endings can change, but only as long as they are true to the characters and message that was called for. The film…

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Siberia

Last we saw of Abel Ferrara was with still-undistributed Cannes premiere Tommaso in 2019, starring Willem Dafoe as an aging, self-hating director. Siberia, premiering at Berlinale less than a year later, is perhaps the director’s elusive, hypothetical film. Starring Willem Dafoe again, who had previously collaborated with the auteur on projects like Pasolini, New Rose…

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Days

Cinema without dialogue seems like a strange thing, especially outside the realm of silent film, and even more so when set in a bustling city. The new feature from Taiwanese-Malaysian director Tsai Ming-liang is a slow meditation on loneliness and eroticism. Days opens with a title card that reads “intentionally unsubtitled.” This is not a…

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The Platform

Streaming services have been great lately for satisfying my appetite for cinema in these times. I’ve been visiting a lot of classic films from great filmmakers and hidden gems that I never would have discovered without this much time on my hands. Cue my surprise when I saw this new release from Netflix, a Spanish…

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Blow the Man Down

Small-town thrillers are mostly dominated by strong and complicated male characters. Even when there are female leads, the male characters will always remain integral to the story. But in the talented hands of the first-time writers/directors Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy, that is not the case. They brilliantly reinvent the genre by telling the…

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QFF Day 5: Hell is a Teenage Girl

For today we’re going to be taking a look at some films in the female coming of age genre. Although the following films often depict the conflict and struggle of growing up. There’s something comforting about capturing the process of growing up and putting it to film. That comfort arises from identifying with the characters…

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