In the new issue of the Threepenny Review, there’s a selection from Greil Marcus’ new book, "The Shape of Things To Come: Prophecy and the American Voice," in which he writes about the America of "Twin Peaks." It’s almost too sprawling and free-form to be called an essay, but it is a nice read:
The film noir city seems to be Manhattan or Los Angeles. At the heart of the form, whether in the movies or in the crime novels inspired by them, just as the most emblematic noir story is that of the soldier back in his hometown after the war to find the place a swamp of corruption, in the Forties and Fifties the most emblematic noir location is a small, vaguely Midwestern city. It is Midwestern culturally even if not exactly geographicallyâ€”"They say native Californians all come from Iowa," Walter Neff says in Raymond Chandler‘s script for Double Indemnity â€”as in Chandler’s The Little Sister, where Los Angeles is at least half Manhattan, Kansas, a place Philip Marlowe finds far more terrifying than anything in Hollywood.
In the new issue of Cineaste, Jared Rapfogel writes about Maurice Pialat and "A nos amours" ("Pialat has always resisted categorization, even if time has demonstrated that he ultimately created a category of his own, one elaborated upon by TÃ©chinÃ©, Assayas, and their ilk"); Sandy Flitterman-Lewis celebrates "Army of Shadows"; Patrick McGilligan has a piece on what constitutes "great" acting that’s an immensely more down-to-earth improvement on Lynn Hirschberg’s NY Times Mag musings; Jonathan Rosenbaum reviews Simon Callow’s "Orson Welles: Volume 2: Hello Americans."
At Stop Smiling, Nick Pinkerton is happy to let the "Mutual Appreciation" bandwagon go rolling by. Interestingly, he briefly takes director Andrew Bujalski to task for not delving appropriately into the film’s Williamsburg setting â€” we live in Williamsburg and are fond of the neighborhood, but would rather gouge our eyes out (out, vile jelly!) on the pomade-encrusted crest of our next-door neighbor’s fauxhawk than watch a feature film realistically depicting life there. Pinkerton writes:
Bujalski is not Eric Rohmer, not even Kevin Smith. The great artists grouped under the tent of Naturalism â€” Rohmer, Dreiser, Pialat, Harold Frederic (the diversity of their talents reveals the ambiguity of the word) â€” deserve celebration because they reintroduce us to the world; much of the undeserved reputation thatâ€™s been attached to Bujalski is limited to the facile familiarity of his situations.
And at MSNBC, Sarah D. Bunting tries valiantly to defend the acting abilities of Orlando Bloom, while Michael Ventre makes the argument that Brian De Palma is "just a gifted gun for hire riding on the reputation of an occasional popular success."
+ Picturing America (Threepenny Review)
+ Fall 2006 (Cineaste)
+ NO MORE MUTUAL APPRECIATION (Stop Smiling)
+ FITTING IN (NY Press)
+ In defense of Orlando Bloom (MSNBC)
+ Brian De Palma is simply a gun for hire (MSNBC)