Learning to Tell a Story: Scorsese Shorts (Criterion Collection)

By John Duncan Talbird. In 1974, soon after the splash of Mean Streets (1973), his first major directorial success, Martin Scorsese made a documentary about his parents, Italianamerican. Aside from still photos of the family and archival footage of Manhattan’s Little Italy neighborhood during the early 20th century, the film […]

On the Queen and Her People – Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things

By Ali Moosavi. She has been called The First Lady of Song and Queen of Jazz, titles which Ella Fitzgerald truly earned. In the documentary, Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things (2019), veteran British documentary filmmaker Leslie Woodhead charts Ella’s life from becoming a teenage orphan, running away from […]

The Comic Don’ts of Spying (and Filmmaking): My Spy

By Elias Savada. I wasn’t sure what to expect before watching My Spy, an action family comedy now streaming online. Mix a tough looking guy (Dave Bautista) with a cute, ornery 9-year-old (Chloe Coleman) with a small dose of cartoon characters. Alas, Wile E. Coyote would not approve of this […]

Stay Angry: Jon Stewart’s Irresistible

By Elias Savada. Entertainer Jon Stewart has been pissed off at a lot of things, but I suspect nothing riles him more than two words: Citizens United. During his years hosting The Daily Show he would rant and rave (and, out of necessity, joke) with innumerable guests about the influence […]

Finding Your Own Answer: Ina Weisse and Nina Hoss on The Audition

By Ali Moosavi. It is encouraging to see that films like The Audition / Das Vorspiel, with strong leading female characters are becoming more common. The Audition is directed and co-written by Ina Weisse, herself a veteran actress of more than fifty films. For the film’s leading role though she […]

A Western by Any Other Name: Destry Rides Again (Criterion Collection)

By Jeremy Carr. There is, first and most famously, Marlene Dietrich. Since the time of its premiere in 1939, to its latest reemergence in the form of a Criterion Collection Blu-ray, conversation concerning Destry Rides Again has inevitably, and quite justly, hinged on the presence of this beguiling, Berlin-born beauty. […]

Dark Smörgåsbord: Horror Anthologies and Scare Package (2019)

By Alexandra Heller-Nicholas. From Hideo Nakata’s Ringu (1998) to Julian Richards’s The Last Horror Movie (2003), there’s something about the very materiality of the video cassette that evokes horror. Is there something vaguely symbolic about those little black coffins of cinematic memory? Do we subconsciously read them as the perfect […]