Superstar The Karen Carpenter Story

The Fabulous Forties: 5 Short Films That Can’t Be Missed

Who decreed that feature films run two hours? Though there may be some organic rationale based on how two hours fits into an evening’s entertainment, there’s no rule that I know of that requires 120 minutes. The very first movies ran about 60 seconds, depending on how fast the camera was cranked, because that’s how…

By Jonathan Eig
The Story of the Kelly gang - greatest Australian films of all time

The 100 Greatest Australian Films: Cinema Down Under

Why write a list of the 100 greatest Australian films? While recently browsing through a book on the history of Australian cinema, it occurred to me that most Australian film buffs and cinephiles actually have a very limited concept of the nation’s cinematic output. Except for those films that first garner significant positive attention internationally,…

By James Curnow
Rose Hobart East of Borneo found footage

A History of the Found Footage Film: The Good, the Bad, and the Box Art

It has been fifteen years since The Blair Witch Project, and the found footage genre has settled into a bit of a rut. It is a very restrictive form, best suited to horror and suspense, and most filmmakers discover eventually that it would be nice to break away from the central conceit that everything the…

By Jonathan Eig
Sebastian Junger in 'The Last Patrol'

Living on the Edge: ‘The Last Patrol’ Offers a Sobering Post-War Trip

It’s hard to call Sebastian Junger’s compelling new documentary, The Last Patrol (2014), an anti-war film … or, for that matter, a pro-war movie. That’s in part because this picture, which kicked off the American Museum of Natural History’s Margaret Mead Film Festival Thursday night, is too textured to peg in a specific hole. The…

By Simon Hardy Butler
Birdman

Flight of Fancy: ‘Birdman’ Worth Taking Off With, Despite Flaws

Virtuoso filmmaking by Alejandro González Iñárritu. A bravura, Oscar-worthy performance by Michael Keaton. Innovative, feels-like-one-take cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki. You’d think that with all those ingredients, Birdman, or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) would be an instant masterpiece, pushing director Iñárritu into a very select group of celluloid heroes. Indeed, there are moments in the…

By Simon Hardy Butler
Whiplash

Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash: The Darkness of Artistic Ambition

2014 still has a couple more months to go and some big, well-regarded movies are soon to be released. They will have to go a long way to surpass Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash, which is head and shoulders above anything that has been widely released thus far. Of all its outstanding qualities, this is what makes…

By Jonathan Eig
The Judge

Showing Good Judgment: The Judge, The Mute and Awaara

Want to hear a really bad idea? Take an example of something from two different cultures and then develop broad conclusions about those two cultures based on the examples. This, in terms of logic, leads to an inductive fallacy, sometimes referred to as the fallacy of the lonely fact. Trust me on this. I am…

By Jonathan Eig