Friday, February 7, 2014

A Belated Top 20:

I'll eschew the usual finger wagging that I've indulged in in years past. Rest assured, the state of affairs I bemoan here and here are still in place, despite the growth of VOD and various streaming platforms. The old ways are, if not dying, at least changed irrevocably, and sticking to old paradigms seems increasingly fruitless. To put it bluntly, the general public isn't experiencing cinema the way that critics are, at least not when it comes to non-blockbusters, and chaining year-end accolades to product that can afford to play the game does everyone a disservice. Having said that, I think InRO's aggregate year end list is a pretty decent snapshot of the year in cinema, so maybe I shouldn't grumble so much. I contributed capsules for Upstream Color and Drug War, both masterpieces in my humble opinion (and, as of this writing, both streaming on Netflix. No excuse not to watch people).

For what it's worth, here's what I originally submitted to InRO:

Upstream Color
Before Midnight
Drug War
The Act of Killing
Something in the Air (Apres mai)
A Touch of Sin
Neighboring Sounds
12 Years a Slave
All is Lost
The World's End
Pain & Gain
The Lords of Salem
Beyond the Hills
The Unspeakable Act
Like Someone in Love
Fast & Furious 6

Both Neighboring Sounds and Barbara got bumped from the list (replaced by Frances Ha and Pacific Rim, if you're interested) although neither played Chicago until well into 2013. I prefer the list as originally submitted.   

Saturday, December 21, 2013


The group blog 'The Vulgar Cinema' has been running a series of entries on John Carpenter and I was delighted to be asked to contribute a piece consisting of virtually anything I wanted. I chose to write a few words on what is, to my mind, the most under-valued of Carpenter's films. 'Vampires' pretty much disappeared immediately upon release, a fate that would also befall 'Ghosts of Mars' (and pity 'The Ward', not even granted a proper theatrical release in the greater Chicago-Land area). My piece is here, and I wholeheartedly endorse the other entries in the series, particularly Sara Freeman's interview with Carpenter's producer (and spouse) Sandy King.    

Friday, October 25, 2013

Escape Plan (2013); Mikael Hafstrom; photographed by Brendan Galvin:

A few words for InRO; I like things about it, but the above image is more visually interesting than anything director Hafstrom can come up with.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Friday, August 16, 2013

Days of Being Wild; Wong Kar-Wai (1990); photographed by Chris Doyle:

a modest appreciation for InRO's Wong Kar-Wai 'Directrospective' here:

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Drug War (2012); dir. Johnnie To:

photographed by Siu-keung Cheng