This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.

Michael Atkinson

Ulterior Structuralist Motives — With Zombies (photo)

Ulterior Structuralist Motives — With Zombies

Low-budget, Canadian and sneaky as hell, Bruce McDonald’s “Pontypool” is a movie that restores your faith in the ability of genre movies to rabbit-punch your limbic system and your frontal lobe at the same time. Just grabbing the ingenious premise with two hands is a moviehead thrill: the setting is the local radio station for […]

Crazy Notions (photo)

Crazy Notions

You wonder if the Dardenne brothers’ no-bullshit mode of indie filmmaking will ever become over-familiar or even clichéd — it’s so simple that you can imagine scores of filmmakers using it (as of now, only a few have bothered). Honestly, though, the least simple part of it may be the most difficult: getting funding for […]

Cornell Boxes (photo)

Cornell Boxes

Swedish filmmaker Roy Andersson has a completely distinctive way of making movies — which translates to, he’s fortunate enough to have happened on a visual vocabulary that’s at the same time unique and deadpan and invigorating. Famously, Andersson has made only four features in over 40 years; after the failure of his second, 1975’s “Giliap,” […]

Color My Life With The Chaos of Trouble (photo)

Color My Life With The Chaos of Trouble

Like the rest of us, critics like to be taken seriously, and so post-teen romantic comedies like Marc Webb’s “(500) Days of Summer” can have a tough time receiving top-shelf adjectives. It’s safer to hold high an austere import or socially-conscious “issue” drama. The problem is, for all of its borrowings, there hasn’t been a […]

The Sleepwalker Awakes (photo)

The Sleepwalker Awakes

Bearing the sulphurous odor of a film artist with very particular and often well-hated views on how much visual narrative should mean and how little it should actually show or “make” us feel a certain way, Lucrecia Martel has made only three features, but immediately, at 35 with “La Ciénaga” (2001), she had a unique […]

The Best Films to Go Direct to DVD in 2009 (photo)

The Best Films to Go Direct to DVD in 2009

DVDs may be sooner or later drummed out of existence — by online downloads, at first, I’d guess, reducing movie “releases” to nothing more than press announcements of availability — but for now they’re still “things” you can buy or rent, physical manifestations of the art form, not just the opportunity for access. In the […]

The Anti-Blockbuster (photo)

The Anti-Blockbuster

Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” has been the most discussed film of 2009, and so I’ll assume you’re fluent with its narrative’s yards of entwining taffy and with Christoph Waltz’s entrancing piece of supporting-perf gamesmanship, and so on, and move on toward simply saying it is the best American movie of the year, and an impossible-to-dislike […]

The Naughts: The Film of the ’00s (photo)

The Naughts: The Film of the ’00s

I’m not sure if “Adaptation” is emblematic of the American-film ’00s — I’m afraid that the real culprit might be one blockbuster or another, exemplifying at this stage our fears instead of our hopes — but it’s certainly an endlessly resonating high-water mark, a mirror-hall launch that Godard could’ve loved, and which preemptively folded all […]

Storming the Streets (photo)

Storming the Streets

Somehow, there hardly seems a more pertinent time for a wide U.S. release of Patricio Guzmán’s epochal “The Battle of Chile” (1975-78), a massive, three-part vérité documentary about the rise of Salvador Allende’s socialist government and its subsequent usurpation by the country’s American-backed military junta. The title of Part 1 — “The Insurrection of the […]

Coloring Outside the Lines (photo)

Coloring Outside the Lines

Sometimes, there’s no pleasing critics and cinephiles — they’ll dreamily wish someone like Turkish arthouse force Nuri Bilge Ceylan would break his introspective paradigm and make a genre film, and then when he does, kinda, with “Three Monkeys,” everyone compliments it tamely with canned praise. “Suspenseful!” was a common pullquote, though “pulpy” was a term […]