Pulling Focus: Chinatown (1974)

Chinatown (1974)

“Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.” – Lawrence Walsh (played by Joe Manetell)   Darkness on the edge of town A neo-noir masterpiece, Chinatown proves that director Roman Polanski, screenwriter Robert Towne, and producer Robert Evans can make a monumental film wherein they beat a genre until it’s a bloody, swollen, purple-bruised, and marred mess, then […]

Pulling Focus: Fantastic Planet (1973)

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“Cinema is showing more and more. It’s a paranoid, dictatorial cinema. And it’s saying less and less. We need a schizophrenic cinema.” – René Laloux   And now we wonder where we are Will there ever be another full-length animated feature quite as wonderfully weird and endlessly imaginative as René Laloux’s underground French classic Fantastic […]

Pulling Focus: Céline and Julie Go Boating (1974)

“Céline and Julie Go Boating is a do it yourself guide to rediscovering the delights of the street outside, and of the idiots all around you, here’s where we see Rivette first moving toward Shakespeare, and the world as all fools’ paradise.” – David Phelps   Usually it began like this Playfully reflecting silent-era idiosyncrasy […]

Pulling Focus: The Wild Bunch (1969)

The Wild Bunch (1969)

“[The Wild Bunch] is what happens when outlaws go to Mexico.” – Sam Peckinpah   If they move, kill ’em! Sam Peckinpah’s breakout picture is an outlaw epic that’s, in purely cinematic terms, a viciously graceful spectacle. With quick, startling cuts, slow motion splatter, multi-angle coverage, inventive sound design, superb cinematography and intricately arranged action […]

Pulling Focus: Morvern Callar (2002)

Morvern Callar (2002)

With Lynne Ramsay’s miraculous Morvern Callar we are continually someplace else. In the cinema, outside of the cinema, in and out of time, passionately and profoundly in the reality of experience and most certainly in tactile transcendency. A film of startling beauty and immense intellect, Morvern Callar may, for some viewers, bypass any immediate emotional […]

Pulling Focus: Love Streams (1984)

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“Relationships were all [John Cassavetes] was interested in: the laughter and the games, the tears and the guilt, the whole roller coaster of love.” – Martin Scorsese   At long last love To my mind there’s something mythic and altogether magical about Love Streams, John Cassavetes’ momentous and penultimate picture from 1984. For the past […]

Pulling Focus: Withnail and I (1987)

“The best British comedy ever made? Possibly. A masterpiece? Unquestionably.” – Ali Catterall, Film4   Where I’m calling from From the tender and impassioned sound of King Curtis’ live recorded cover of Procul Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale” in the opening scene to the finishing drizzly goodbye by the wolf enclosure in Regent’s Park, […]

Pulling Focus: Dead Man (1995)

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“[Dead Man] is the Western Andrei Tarkovsky wanted to make.” – J. Hoberman   The Place of Dead Roads Ohio-born Indie auteur Jim Jarmusch refurbishes the black-and-white Western the way a 19th century Native American might see it––as a murderous and genocidal head trip heralding the deadly homecoming of capitalism. Woven into the light threads […]

Pulling Focus: Blue Velvet (1986)

blue velvet

“Maybe I’m sick, but I want to see that again.” – Pauline Kael   It’s a strange world, isn’t it? Feigned amidst the well-manicured lawns and white-picket fences of small-town America breathes David Lynch’s darkly disturbing Blue Velvet. Shaken by a quickening dream logic and the upsetting affections of a bad-tempered film noir from the […]

Pulling Focus: Videodrome (1983)

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“No one makes movies like [Cronenberg].” – Martin Scorsese   Long live the new flesh! Part aphrodisiac and part body horror hallucination, Videodrome is a sensual, shocking, and scary tour de force from Canadian iconoclast David Cronenberg. Embellishing and protracting his persistent interests in viral transference and the body as a collective and biological theater […]