Film & Television

Film & Television

Art and Film: The low spark of High Art

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / It’s a rare movie that finds the sweet spot between storyline cohesiveness and minimal exposition as well as great tone. Lisa Cholodenko’s plangent late-nineties gem High Art – her feature debut, now available on Criterion – is one such movie.

Film & Television

Wartime and time warps in Obayashi’s Labyrinth of Cinema

Contributed by Paul D’Agostino / Nobuhiko Obayashi’s film Labyrinth of Cinema is, as billed, broadly, profoundly, and provocatively about war. He is best known for his epic War Trilogy. At the same time, the storied Japanese filmmaker’s final film – completed not long before he passed away at the age of 82 in April 2020 – is also a visually dazzling, pan-historical account of the ways and reasons for which films are made, viewed, critiqued, and recalled.

Film & Television

Art and Film: Casimir Nozkowski’s Brooklyn

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / The Outside Story, writer-director Casimir Nozkowski’s agreeable feature debut, shapes up as a fairly typical indie shaggy-dog story: a mildly dissolute creative type finds himself in a mildly humorous jam that resolves itself over the course of the film in a mildly heartwarming way, preferably […]

Film & Television

Poetic Pursuits: The Truffle Hunters

Contributed by Paul D’Agostino / A few foragers gathered in a middle-grounded clearing in a forest, conversing casually as their dogs sniff and shuffle excitedly at their feet. A man in a tub in a cream-of-pink tiled bathroom scrubbing his soap-cloaked pup as he bathes himself. A lone walker in […]

Film & Television

Art and Film: Ursa meta

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / These times demand both mordant humor and serious contemplation, which helps explain the prevalence of meticulously packaged black comedies in cinema. Two prominent and very good ones that come to mind are Emerald Fennell’s Promising Young Woman, a diamond-hard dissection of the extended kill-chain of […]

Film & Television

Art and Film: A subdued Top Ten in 2020

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / By the most salient political parameters – governance, public health, the rule of law – 2020 was one of the worst years in living memory. Hobbled by Covid-19, art overall seemed commensurately downbeat, but also pensively defiant. In cinema, if a dominant theme emerged, it […]

Film & Television

Art and Film: Men of wealth and taste

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Charles Willeford – Guthrie-esque hobo, World War II hero, pulp-fiction genius – was one of the best crime writers of his generation, influential yet under-appreciated. Among his many books, Cockfighter became a cult-classic film starring Warren Oates, Miami Blues a quirky eighties jaunt with Alec […]

Film & Television

Art and TV: Professor T, an extraordinary burst of mind

Contributed by Laurie Fendrich / Boy did the otherwise on-the-mark Guardian television critic Lucy Mangan get it wrong. In her 2017 review of the Flemish detective series Professor T, she dismissed the show as “thin gruel” with “morsels pilfered from the greats” (by which she meant such television shows as House, Sherlock, Morse, and Monk). Moreover, she said, its humor is “lost in translation.” What? Did she watch the same show I did? Doth the woman not laugh and weep? Doth the woman not recognize tragicomedy? In short, how did she miss that Professor T is the best television series since The Singing Detective, the riveting 1987 miniseries starring Michael Gambon?

Film & Television

Art and TV: L’Art du Crime

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / France produces some superb television, but you could be forgiven for entertaining skepticism about L’Art du Crime, which at first blush scans as one extended meet-cute: a tough, dyspeptic, and uncultured flic is in the doghouse and gets assigned to the “cultural property” investigative unit […]