Category Archives: John’s Lists

The 13 Best Hitchcock Shots

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Alfred Hitchcock was not just one of the great stylists of the film world, but also one of its great fonts as well, with 53 feature films and a score of TV works, in just about every pre-modern format imaginable, from tinted silent black-and-white to special effects-soaked technicolor. I thought it’d be fun to take a look at some of the moments in his work that really click for me. So, here’s my very personal and by no means exhaustive list of my favorite Hitchcock shots:

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John D’Amico’s 2013 in Film

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What a year! Lots of challenging, beautiful films. A strong year for minority representation—including films that weren’t about that, like Fast & Furious 6 or The Best Man Holiday (oh lord), the latter of which I haven’t seen yet. Probably the strongest spread of black cinema since the late 1990s, but the prospect of a long-term sea change in that regard is rocky. And lots of films about the changing landscape of the American Dream, both excellent (Spring Breakers) and terrible (The Canyons).

If you’re not up to date on the Direct-to-Video action renaissance, you’re missing out on much of the most powerful and ambitious filmmaking in the world today. Last year, this market was dominated by the incredible Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning, which has made the whole movement kinda too good to ignore for a lot mainstream critics. This is wonderful news, but unfortunately none that I saw wowed me this year—if I missed any good ones, let me know. I hope going forward, we cease to be surprised to find quality in DTV, and instead expect ambition in the cracks as a matter of course. There’s no reason not to, right?

Here’s every 2013 movie I’ve seen, in order from best to worst. (Any film marked ‘2012’ was originally completed in 2012, but officially released in 2013.)

Feel free to comment and argue!
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10 Great YouTube Movies You May Not Have Seen

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A Huey P. Newton Story (2001)

It’s sort of hard to remember now how difficult it used to be to watch movies. You, like I, may have foggy memories of a bygone era when you had to go to movies, or work around their timetables on TV, or cruise through seedy rental houses. But the bad old days are over and I for one have no nostalgia. We’re blessed. Hell, I have a hard drive that just a few years ago would’ve probably been one of the most impressive rare film archives in the state. Our access to previously unavailable or underavailable films is dizzying.

Ubu, The Internet Archive, Dailymotion, The Warner Archive. Use ’em all, love ’em all. But the king of the mountain is still YouTube. There are untold thousands of rare film on YouTube. Let’s check a few out:
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10 Audacious Zombie Movies

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A gorgeous shot from The Plague of the Zombies (1966).

Now that Mad Men‘s back and I’m watching AMC, I keep seeing ads for The Walking Dead. I really, really, really don’t like The Walking Dead.

Even setting aside its dubious social politics, I think it’s thoughtless and ugly and boring. It has a routine as codified and rigid as Scooby Doo, but instead of that show’s good-natured-if-dull hippyism, it’s got nothing but contempt for its characters and audience. It’s a death march to samesy gore scenes in which the human body pulls apart as easily as tissue paper full of spaghetti sauce. I’m not impressed, and I resent it.
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Treasures from the Warner Archive

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A few weeks back, Cody interviewed me about the state of film, and we got to talking about the availability of formerly-rare films on the internet. We both slipped up a bit, though, and forgot to discuss one of the great innovations of the past few years: the Warner Archive.
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