Monday, September 29, 2014

Notes Toward A "Late" Soderbergh

I have an upcoming piece on Steven Soderbergh's The Knick, his fantastic medical drama now showing on Cinemax. While writing it, I revisited a piece I began over a year ago on what I called the "Late Soderbergh" period (a poor name in hindsight), covering an era beginning with The Girlfriend Experience and assumably ending with Behind The Candelabra. It was a wild and ridiculous essay, trying to cover way too much ground with flimsy cohesion. I eventually abandoned it. Revisiting the 10,000 word document, however, I found some insights that helped me contextualize The Knick as well as my own thoughts on how Soderbergh evolved in this era. What follows are some excerpts from that, which I found still managed to make sense, and hopefully have some use.

Young and naive Adam (Alex Pettyfer) sits on a couch, pumped up from adrenaline from the experience he just had. On a complete whim, he has does stripped down to almost his bare ass for a loud of screaming young women. He was awkward and a bit silly, unsure of what to do, which made his so-called “performance” all the more exciting for the crowd. He sits on a couch while the rest of his now-colleagues celebrate and joke around for another successful night. Still dressed in only underwear, dollars are flowing out of his pants, as if his cock was spewing it. His body has a value, and we can see it right there.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Link Round-Up: Sunny Pastures

A brief summary of recent work...and as noted before, I am now located in Los Angeles! If you are here too and would like to meet up, shoot me an email sometime!

The Toronto Film Festival is well underway, and I am sadly not there. Luckily I was at Cannes, so my coverage of that covers many of the major titles. I did write about two Locarno premiers, however: Matias Pineiro's The Princess of France, a beguilingly wonderful chapter in his continuing Shakespeare series (I wrote about Pineiro's other films here). And Songs From The North, an interesting if limited essay film from Soon-Mi Yoo examining life in North Korea.

Approaching The End, my first book, is now available for pre-order. BUY BUY BUY! (You can also buy off Amazon, but it'll ship slower and for what its worth, the giant corporation inhales over half the profits. I note this not for my own royalties, which don't change, but the press is blooming and could use your help!)

For its new Criterion Blu-Ray, I wrote about Bresson's Pickpocket and its more technical aspects, attempting to put it in conversation with Warners Gangster films and less with ideas of "transcendent" cinema.

Three more episodes of The Cinephiliacs, and all fantastic ones: Former Chicago Reader critic and MoMA curator Dave Kehr on Columbia crime films and The Whistler series, critic and Double Play director Gabe Klinger on Raoul Walsh's The Bowery, and Village Voice critic Stephanie Zacherek on The Dave Clark Five in John Boorman's Having A Wild Weekend.

New Letterboxd Updates:, 
The Contemporary Cinema: Boyhood (Linklater), Lucy (Besson), Ida (Pawlikowski), Venus In Fur (Polanski), 22 Jump Street (Lord/Miller), Policeman (Lapid)
The Canonical Cinema: 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick), The Abyss (Cameron)
The Silent Cinema: Why Be Good?, The Eternal Grind, Travelin' On, Lilac Time
Orson Welles!: Too Much Johnson
Auteurist Cinema: Our Man In Havana (Reed), Eva (Losey), Nothing Sacred (Wellman), Escape in the Fog (Boetticher), Panelstory (Chytilov√°), Niagara (Hathaway), Crooklyn (Lee), Tale of Cinema (Hong)