Jenna Ipcar on ‘Nightcrawler’

nightcrawler

Nightcrawler (2014)
Written & Directed by Dan Gilroy
117 min.

I don’t even know where to start with this one. On so many basic levels, it’s just flat out bad—Nightcrawler is what I would call a full-blooded B movie. How exactly it’s been getting rave reviews, I can’t say I particularly understand. I assume we’re just so desperately hungry for movies that aren’t based off comic books or teen romance novels that most of us will just take whatever we can get.

Yet, as I left the theater, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was something deliberate about the heavy-handed execution of the whole thing.  What if these aspects that seemed like missteps were really just deliberate choices made in order to hammer the point of the film home? After all, there did seem to be a very specific point to Nightcrawler: to shine a light on the dangers of unchecked, amoral startups in an economy saturated with entrepreneurial go-getters.

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Brad Avery on ‘Birdman’

birdman

Shortly after seeing Birdman, I happened to begin reading Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer. It was good timing as I quickly realized that both works have a strong focus on the creative process and what happens in the minds of artists. They also both share a strong disdain towards the popular works of their time. Miller writes:

“There is only one thing which interests me vitally now, and that is the recording of all which is omitted in books. Nobody, so far as I can see, is making use of those elements in the air which give direction and motivation to our lives…The age demands violence, but we are only getting aborted explosions…Passion is quickly exhausted. Men fall back on ideas, comme d’habitude. Nothing is proposed that can last more than 24 hours.”

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Superhero Flicks Are Not Our New Westerns

supermanwestern

Recently, WB announced their slate of superhero movies through 2019, perpetuating this ridiculous genre for another endless cycle. A lot of very smart people have been persistent in drawing an analogy about this, saying that for its longevity and frivolity, the superhero genre is the new western. As a lover of westerns and a hater of superhero movies, I gotta step in here.

I get the facile rationale—both are ‘low’ genres that occupy a disproportionately large space in the cinematic marketplace; both are marketed at American adolescent boys; both are concerned with matters of good and evil solved through third act duels. But in the words of Matt Zoller Seitz: “Where’s Ford and Leone?

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I Ain’t Been Watching Movies Much Lately, But Movie-Length Mysteries Are Pretty Dope

foyle

It’s no secret that there hasn’t been much activity here at Smug Film as of late. Posts became sporadic during the six months of hell the first half of this year was for me, and then after my mom’s passing, the scarcity became only more so. Some of this is because many of our critics are just plain busy with other things—Greg DeLiso started a full-fledged LLC doing videography, was recently married, and is doing quite well for himself; John D’Amico is about to start production directing his crime film set in the Bronx; Alex Hiatt is busy looking at various rocks under various microscopes as always; I’m in a band with my friend Lauren called To Be Young, writing delightful acoustic pop songs and enjoying myself immensely, with recordings expected before the end of the year. But, those wonderful developments aside, the reason, mostly, for the sparsity around here comes down to the fact that I, your dear steward, just can’t stomach watching movies as of late.

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Self-Portraits Of Notables Unearthed By Renegade Art Archivists

Jennifer Lawrence, renowned thespian and overnight self-portraiture sensation.

In what contemporary scholars are calling one of the largest disseminations of heretofore unseen art in recent years, dozens of examples of self-portrait photography by notables in the entertainment industry have been uncovered by renegade art archivists and released free to the art-appreciating public through the internet.

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