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Recent Writings
Blackboards: Another Iranian Masterpiece
24framespersecond - Winter '03
We Should Be So Lucky: A Cinephile's Wish List For 2003
24framespersecond - Winter '03
Ordinary People With An Edge: An Interview With Lynne Ramsay
indieWIRE -1/04/03
It's Evolution Baby! An interview with the men behind Adaptation
Film Festival Today - Winter '03
True Hollywood Story: The Kid Stays In The Picture
The Stranger - Aug. 8
2002 Top Ten List online  here
April 11

I have recently discovered the giddy joys of John Carpenter, having been won over by The Thing and its schlocky integrity. I stayed up most of last night watching movies, including Assault On Precinct 13 and The Fog. The Thing and Assault reveal an expansive, inventive imagination, and for his awful handling of actors they're intense and fun. He doesn't really have characters - he has plots and tight-lipped manly anti-heros who do their best to live to Carpenter's Hawskian code of ethics. The Fog, however, is bad. Carpenter seems preoccupied with the idea of an inhuman mass of danger - the anonymous gang in Assault, the killing-machine protean alien in The Thing, Michael Myers robotic persistence in Halloween, the ever-present ghost in Ghosts of Mars, etc. Of course, the fog is the most obvious representation in the bunch. It's much more interesting when Carpenter applies his aesthetic of evil to humans or quasi-humans.
In between the Carpenter flicks, I watched Truffaut's Baisers Voles - a silly, sweet movie that can occasionally overload on the charm. Truffaut sure knows how to end a movie though. Those final scenes make that whole mess of a film seem wonderful.
I did an
interview with Steve James and watched Stevie and Hoop Dreams. They are both truly remarkable films. James is able to convey so much nobility and wisdom in his otherwise neglected subjects. Hoop Dreams is a true American classic - there's so much to love in it, but I think that I like the reappearance and redemption of Arthur Agee's father. But then again, William Gates, with that philosopher's gaze, is one of the most memorable figures in modern cinema.
March 22

Well, I've been neglecting this thing for weeks, and today isn't going to be any different. I'm almost free from the quarter's demands, free to attend all those movies I've been itching to get to. I've been spending much of my free time watching Twin Peaks, one of the most addictive series I've ever seen. A friend's outraged response to my not thinking that Far From Heaven is the greatest movie ever made (and I told her I thought it was great, but I prefer Velvet Goldmine) inspired me to finally rewatch it. I first saw it in one of those Regal multiplexes run by high schoolers who don't give a shit about movies, and there was an annoying noise on the soundtrack that lasted the whole film, start to finish. Not the ideal way to watch a movie. I have several videos waiting for me from the library, as well as Tsai Ming-Liang's The Hole and the Thai film The Mysterious Object At Noon. I need to get out of the house, though, so I think I'm going to give the cinemas top priority. I'm most excited about rewatching Spider and Irreversible, since they were two of the only films at Cannes that I had a middling opinion about. One of the others, Kiarostami's Ten, I just had the chance to see again, and I discovered all that gorgeous subtlety that I had missed among the tidal wive of movies that carried me away last spring. If I could explain the magical way in which Ten's ultra-minimalism grabbed a hold of me, I would. Spider and Irreversible aren't exactly the same. I joined in the boos at the end of Irreversible, but tempered my opinion pretty quickly once I left the theater. When I have the time and concentration, I will go to see Gerry, a film that I've been eagerly awaiting for a long, long time.