Set It Up
A solid romantic comedy with sharp dialogue, amusing characters, and a few surprises up its sleeve.
* This filmography is not intended to be a comprehensive list of this artist’s work. Instead it reflects the films this person has been involved with that have been reviewed on this site.
An article commemorating the 2018 Chinese New Year, the Year of the Dog.
An interview with Chicago filmmaker Michael Glover Smith.
A review of TBS's new comedy "People of Earth," starring Wyatt Cenac.
A essay on Elvis Mitchell and his radio interview series, "The Treatment."
Matt writes: Legendary French New Wave icon Agnès Varda was honored at the third annual Ebert Tribute ceremony during this year's Toronto International Film Festival. Brian Tallerico covered the event at RogerEbert.com, while Chaz Ebert assisted in putting together a Roger Favorites entry on Varda, compiling Roger's reviews of the director's work. Roger felt that Varda's 2008 film, "The Beaches of Agnès," contained “the most poetic shot about the cinema” that he had ever seen, in which “two old fishermen, who were young when she first filmed them, watch themselves on a screen” mounted on “an old market cart that they push through the nighttime streets of their village.”
A report from TIFF on three films, including the latest from Christopher Guest.
An extensive preview of 50 films coming out within the next four months, from "Sully" to "Toni Erdmann."
A preview of the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival.
The first films announced for the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival.
An interview with director Rebecca Miller about her film "Maggie's Plan."
Melissa Broder of @SoSadToday; Parker Posey on the boys' club of Hollywood; Legacy of Disney's Mary Blair; Symphonies of steel and stone; Karyn Kusama on "The Invitation."
An interview with "Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon" director Douglas Tirola.
A guide to the latest and greatest on Blu-ray and streaming services, including Ex Machina, It Follows, Clouds of Sils Maria, What We do in the Shadows and more!
An interview with Parker Posey, star of "Irrational Man."
Your bi-weekly guide to the latest and greatest on Blu-ray and DVD.
An interview with film critic Matt Fagerholm.
An excerpt from the March 2015 issue of "Bright Wall/Dark Room" on "This is Spinal Tap".
An interview with Cary Elwes about "The Princess Bride."
A report from the 61st Annual Sydney Film Festival, including The Rover, Life Itself, Ruin, and many more.
Recent releases on Blu-ray, including Cat People, Death Wish, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, and more.
Thirty years after the release of "This is Spinal Tap", Ali Arikan looks back at this mocku-rocku-mentary.
After spending years in the long comedy shadow of regular collaborator and scene-stealer Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant steps into the awkward spotlight of HBO's new comedy "Hello Ladies."
UPDATED (08/01/12): Scroll to the bottom of this entry to see my first impressions of the newly announced critics' and directors' poll results.
Vittorio De Sica's "Bicycle Thieves" (1948) topped the first Sight & Sound critics' poll in 1952, only four years after it was first released, dropped to #7 in 1962, and then disappeared from the top ten never to be seen again. (In 2002 only five of the 145 participating critics voted for it.) Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane" (1941) flopped in its initial release but was rediscovered in the 1950s after RKO licensed its films to television in 1956. From 1962 to 2002 "Kane" has remained at the top of the poll (46 critics voted for it last time). This year, a whopping 846 top-ten ballots (mentioning 2,045 different titles) were counted, solicited from international "critics, programmers, academics, distributors, writers and other cinephiles" -- including bloggers and other online-only writers. Sight & Sound has announced it will live-tweet the 2012 "Top 50 Greatest Films of All Time" (@SightSoundmag #sightsoundpoll) August 1, and as I write this the night before, I of course don't know the results. But, for now at least, I'm more interested in the process.
Given the much wider and younger selection of voters in 2012, ist-watchers have been speculating: Will another movie (leading candidate: Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo," number 2 in 2002) supplant "Kane" at the top of the list? Will there be any silent films in the top 10? (Eisenstein's "Battleship Potemkin" and Murnau's "Sunrise" tied for #7 on the 2002 list, but the latter was released in 1927 with a Fox Movietone sound-on-film musical score and sound effects.)
Though there's been no rule about how much time should pass between a film's initial release and its eligibility (the Library of Congress's National Film Registry requires that selections be at least ten years old), most of the selections ten to have stood the test of time for at least a decade or two. The newest film on the 2002 list was the combination of "The Godfather" (1972) and "The Godfather, Part II" (1974) -- but they won't be allowed to count as one title for 2012.
It's a wrap for the 2010 Muriel Awards, but although the winners have been announced, there's still plenty of great stuff to read about the many winners and runners-up. ('Cause, as we all know, there's so much more to life than "winning.") I was pleased to be asked to write the mini-essay about "The Social Network" because, no, I'm not done with it. (Coming soon: a piece about the Winkelvii at the Henley Gregatta section -- which came in 11th among Muriel voters for the year's Best Cinematic Moment.)
You might recall that last summer I compared the editorial, directorial and storytelling challenges of a modest character-based comedy ("The Kids Are All Right") to a large-scale science-fiction spectacular based on the concept of shifting between various levels of reality/unreality -- whether in actual time and space or in consciousness and imagination. (The latter came in at No. 13 in the Muriels balloting; the former in a tie for No. 22.) My point was that, as far as narrative filmmaking is concerned, there isn't much difference. To illustrate a similar comparison this time, I've used a one-minute segment out of "The Social Network" (Multiple levels of storytelling in The Social Network). You might like one picture better than the other for any number of reasons, but I find their similarities more illuminating than their differences:
Richard Schickel wrote a book review of Robert Altman: The Oral Biography by Mitchell Zuckoff. Except that, rather than review the book, he chose to review Robert Altman's capacity for drinking and dope-smoking:
It appears that from the beginning of his career until almost its end (when illness slowed him), Robert Altman never passed an entirely sober day in his life. When he was not drinking heavily, he was smoking dope -- often doing both simultaneously. When he screened dailies on location, he insisted the cast and crew gather to view them in a party atmosphere, with the merriment rolling on into the night.
Shocking, isn't it?