"Film criticism, as it has been observed, is the rationalization of taste into theory," writes Manohla Dargis at the New York Times. "No matter how involved the argument, writing about the movies almost always comes down to a question of personal taste, to that web of influence through which we filter each new film. In this respect there are no good or bad movies, just good and bad arguments." She’s writing about Film Comment Selects, a series of film, well, selected by the staff of Film Comment magazine, and kicking off today.
For serious critics, and the critics who write for Film Comment are nothing if not serious (and at times self-serious), the second-best thing to perfection is often the near-miss, the disreputable and even the despised. Next to discovering a new director, planting a flag in an uncharted national cinema or sitting next to Zooey Deschanel at an event, few things please a critic more than polishing a tarnished career or taking on a dubious cause, particularly if everyone else really hated it.
Ain’t it the truth? We can’t even keep track of whether or not we’re supposed to like Park Chan-wook these day.
At the Village Voice, J. Hoberman, writing about the Anthology Film Archives’ Peter Whitehead retrospective, notes that "This working-class Cambridge grad was the original rock’n’roll documentarian; with reckless camerawork matched by tumultuous editing, he plunged into London’s sex-drugs-and-protest counterculture with a frenzied there-ness."
At Blackfilm.com (by way of Defamer), Wilson Morales gets Nicolas Cage to defend "Ghost Rider" from the evil snark of Entertainment Weekly (who noted in a recent issue "We get a kick out of watching Academy Award winners being in movies that they have no business being seen in."):
They don’t understand the concept of what I would say is art. You have different styles and you can choose to be photo-realistic like ‘World Trade Center’ or you can be pop art illustrative. Why limit yourself to one style of acting, and especially when you look at ‘Ghost Rider’ you see a comic book story structure which digs a little deeper. It doesn’t take itself too seriously of course. It’s funny, but it’s coming from classic themes like Faust with Goethe or Thomas Mann or ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ It’s fascinating to take those story structures and reintroduce people to it in a pop art contemporary manner and a especially a comic book no less.
We like a good overly academic discussion of the themes and portents of "Heroes" as much as the next girl, but â€” hee! Themes are never the challenge, Mr. Cage. Expressing those themes amidst quips about feeling like your skull is on fire are.
Robert Davis at Errata has penned a "cinematic valentine" to both filmgoing and his wife.
In discussing nominee Helen Mirren‘s oeuvre, Lawrence brought up her killer performance in 1980’s The Long Good Friday but couldn’t remember the name of that movieÃs director. Seconds after we were finished with our segment, a WNYC staffer alerted us that Martin Scorsese was listening, and had instructed his assistant to call in to tell us that the director of Long Good Friday was John Mackenzie.
IMDb has nothing on Marty.
+ A Film Festival as a Showcase for the Wacky, the Naughty and the Oh-So-Deep (NY Times)
+ Peter Whitehead Was There (Village Voice)
+ Ghost Rider: An Interview with Nicolas Cage and Eva Mendes (Blackfilm.com)
+ "LILY AND JIM" AND "AH, L’AMOUR" (Film Threat)
+ ‘It’s complexicated’ (Guardian)
+ My Cinematic Valentine (Errata)
+ On the Air (Looker)