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Michael Atkinson

“Symbiopsychotaxiplasm,” the Wim Wenders Box

By Michael Atkinson IFC News [Photo: “Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One,” Criterion] A legendary but unreleased phantom from the crazy, hazy summer of 1968 that finally got a nominal theatrical release last year, William Greaves’ “Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One” may be the ultimate paradigm of self-reflexive cinema, eating Godard’s tail for him and one-upping the classic Chuck Jones […]

“Tribulation 99,” the Superman serials

By Michael Atkinson IFC News [Photo: “Tribulation 99,” Other Cinema/Facets] A subterranean poet of paranoia, bricolage wizard Craig Baldwin makes movies out of yesteryear’s garbage celluloid that are half radical firestorm and half psychotic poppycock. The mixture is virtually self-defining: cheap cultural flotsam emerging from Frankenstein surgery with a boggled head of Freudian free-associations and […]

Robert Altman, 1925-2006

By Michael Atkinson IFC News [Photo: Altman on the set of “A Prairie Home Companion,” Picturehouse] The great gray recalcitrant lion king of the American New Wave has finally shuffled off the mortal coil — years after many of us were surprised to realize he’d hung in there this long. The Academy may have waited […]

“The Wild Blue Yonder,” “Pandora’s Box”

By Michael Atkinson IFC News [Photo: “The Wild Blue Yonder,” 518 Media Inc./Subversive Cinema] These days, to be a Herzogian — a devotee of and eager participant in German master Werner Herzog’s lifelong quest for the mythopoetic image experience — is like being a beer-lover during Oktoberfest. This year there were three new films released […]

“49 Up,” “Pocket Money”

By Michael Atkinson IFC News [Photo: “49 Up,” First Run Features] Recent studies have demonstrated that no, your entire body does not get “renewed” on a cellular level every seven years (skin cells get batched every few days, while some brain cells never change). But Michael Apted’s famous and beloved “Up” films, which have chronicled […]

“Wordplay,” “The Fountainhead”

By Michael Atkinson IFC News [Photo: “Wordplay,” IFC Films] There are far too few avenues in the pop-cult arena for the glorification of higher brain functions — almost by definition, the flexing of intellect and education makes the masses feel like a lower life form in a way that watching “American Idol” doesn’t, even if […]

“Down to the Bone,” “Hands Over the City”

By Michael Atkinson IFC News [Photo: “Down to the Bone,” Hart Sharp Video] As any goggle-eyed witness to Scorsese’s “The Departed” knows, Vera Farmiga — she played the police psychologist who improbably slept with both Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon — has a face that can haunt your dreams. We first saw her in the […]