The Royal Road

Like Los Angeles Plays Itself by way of Ross McElwee, Jenni Olson‘s The Royal Road surveys the landscape of Southern California as a way of exploring her past relationship troubles. That may sound like the sort of arty navel-gazing that many viewers are allergic to, but this is an utterly transfixing piece of work. The 16mm cinematography of Los Angeles and San Francisco is gorgeous and hypnotic, and it’s more than just pretty pictures. Olson’s narration works in concert with the architecture and geography, sometimes overtly, sometimes subtly. She purposefully establishes herself as a “shadow” — her voice is heard but she is unseen, and in fact, the whole film is bereft of human presence. She is, in a way, becoming the film, holding a conversation with the audience. Olson talks not just about her often tempestuous romantic misadventures but about Vertigo, the Spanish conquest and subsequent American annexation of the American Southwest, nostalgia and how we process it and many more ideas. READ MORE AT NONFICS


Singin in the Rain

What’s the best movie ever made? Would the person sitting next to you agree? Does the title really matter, or is the search a happy distraction meant to let the cream of the crop rise to the top? What happens when you watch a bunch of that cream? And why has “cream” become a metaphor for quality? The Sight & Sound Top 50 is a great place to start with all of those questions. For almost two years, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs have been watching the best movies of all time and discussing them with the aim of discovering and re-discovering important cinematic experiences. Now that their quest is over, here are their thoughts and conclusions on what it’s like to see that many treasured movies, followed with links to all 50 conversations for your perusal. Take a deep breath, grab a bowl of cream and dive in.


Reject Radio Header

From placing Citizen Kane in a modern, Murdoch-filled context to getting really close up with Joan of Arc, Landon Palmer and I have been re-examining the Sight & Sound Top Ten, and we’re hoping we learned something. Today, we’ll compare notes and see how the list has rewritten history for silent films, elevated “serious” work and acted as a queue-filling reminder that there are always more amazing movies to discover. Download Episode #155


Vertigo - Alfred Hitchcock

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius are using the Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the greatest movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they attempt to avoid the stigma that comes with being number one while considering the flawed hero of Alfred Hitchcock‘s Vertigo. Is the sleazy way we see Scottie born solely from his introduction? Was the film unique in its time for making the audience feel the main character’s obsessions?


Drinking Games

Last week, Sight & Sound released its latest poll on the greatest films of all time. In a surprising upset, Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo unseated Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane as the top film since 1962. This news caused a stir in the film community, and thanks to a suspicious and sizeable donation from the Charles Foster Kane Memorial Fund, we have put together a drinking game to drown your film snob sorrows in while you watch Citizen Kane. It may not be considered the best any more, but it’s still pretty damned good.



Whoa. After weeks of anticipation, the seventh Sight & Sound Poll has finally revealed the results of its 2012 poll, and those results kick off with one eye-popping surprise. After fifty years of supremacy, Orson Welles‘ Citizen Kane has fallen from its top spot on the critics’ poll (with 846 critics voting), with no less than Alfred Hitchcock‘s Vertigo taking the top prize. Citizen Kane has held the number one spot since 1952, but Vertigo has steadily been creeping up the list for years now. It first appeared as a close runner-up in 1972, before moving on to the list in the 7th spot in 1982, followed by a jump to 4th in 1992 and a heel-nipping 2nd in 2002. The critics’ list also includes three new entries – The Searchers, Man With the Movie Camera, and The Passion of Joan of Arc, effectively jettisoning old standbys like Battleship Potemkin, Singin’ in the Rain, and The Godfather.  Meanwhile, the directors’ list (in only its third incarnation, and with 358 directors voting) also booted Citizen Kane from their number one, instead bestowing the honor on Ozu Yasujiro‘s Tokyo Story, with 2001: A Space Odyssey shutting Welles out from even the second spot. The directors also held on to The Godfather and 8 1/2, but changed things up considerably by including new entries like Taxi Driver, Apocalypse Now, and The Mirror, and leaving off old favorites like Raging Bull, Seven Samurai, and Rashomon (amongst others). The BFI posted the results with comments from […]



We rarely get to see movies being watched in other movies – probably because while it’s fun to watch films, it’s fairly boring to watch other people watch films. That being said – there are plenty of characters out there who would no doubt be a blast to watch movies with… Batman, for example. Anyway, when we do see a real life movie being watched in another movie it tends to be a film that most likely inspired the filmmakers either in their own upbringing or as a plot device in the film itself. Because of that one thing is certain – if you see a real movie being watched in the movie you’re watching, there’s a good chance that movie is awesome. Before anything though, I gotta shout out to Mr. Cole Abaius for coming up with the idea for this list. The man is a true demigod, and from what I hear the other half is pretty good too.


Film Noir

Editor’s Note: Max Allan Collins has written over 50 novels and 17 movie tie-in books. He’s also the author of the Road to Perdition graphic novel, off which the film was based. With his new Mickey Spillane collaboration “Lady, Go Die” in great bookstores everywhere, we thought it would be fun to ask him for his ten best films noir. In true noir fashion, we bit off more than we could handle… We have to begin with a definition of noir, which is tricky, because nobody agrees on one. The historical roots are in French film criticism, borrowing the term noir (black) from the black-covered paperbacks in publisher Gallimard’s Serie Noire, which in 1945 began reprinting American crime writers such as Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain, Raymond Chandler, Chester Himes, Horace McCoy, Jim Thompson, Mickey Spillane, W.R. Burnett and many others. The films the term was first applied to were low-budget American crime thrillers made during the war and not seen in France till after it. The expressionistic lighting techniques of those films had as much to do with hiding low production values as setting mood. In publishing circles, the term has come to replace “hardboiled” because it sounds hipper and not old-fashioned. I tend to look at dark themes and expressionistic cinematography when I’m making such lists, which usually means black-and-white only; but three color films are represented below, all beyond the unofficial cut-off of the first noir cycle (Kiss Me Deadly, 1955). Mystery genre expert Otto Penzler has […]



This post is probably not what you think. There are no LOLCats, no Rage Comic stick men bellowing about the superiority of The Dark Knight and Inception. It’s not really a love letter to modernity. But it’s also not Sight & Sound‘s decennial Top Ten List. That prestigious publication has done great work since even before polling critics in 1952 to name the best movies of all time. They’ve recreated the experiment every ten years since (with filmmakers included in 1992), and their 2012 list is due out soon. However, there is certainly overlap. The FSR poll includes only 37 critics (and 4 filmmakers), but we’re young and have moxy, and none of us were even asked by Sight & Sound for our considerable opinion. That’s what’s fascinating here. The films nominated by those invited by S&S have the air of critical and social importance to them. They are, almost all, serious works done by serious filmmakers attempting to make serious statements. This list, by contrast, is the temperature of the online movie community in regards to what movies are the “greatest.” The results might be what you expect. But probably not.


Drive by Massimo Carnevale

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that is celebrating Monday Funday with what amounts to a bunch of shenanigans. Don’t worry though, we’ve slipped in at least one legitimate piece of news. We’ll get to that shortly. We begin tonight with something found a few weeks ago via Warming Glow, where an image from the Twitter account of Charley Koontz, best known as Fat Neil on Community, shows that Executive Producer Dan Harmon is just as bitter about Community‘s ratings as the rest of us. Seriously, who is the Nielsen Family? In other news, I hope Dan Harmon never changes.



Fresh off ending his run as the defacto director of the once hot potato Harry Potter series, David Yates has suddenly gone from being a little known TV director to becoming a giant name in the industry. What he does next will probably be the subject of a lot of attention, and Vulture is reporting that he already has three potential franchises on his plate. Feeling a little bit jealous of Universal’s prospective Stephen King mega-franchise The Dark Tower, Warner Bros. is looking to get into the King business themselves. To that end they are looking to do a new version of one of King’s most famous novels, The Stand, which is likely to be stretched out into three films. Being the guy who made them a bajillion dollars with these last four Harry Potter movies, Yates would get first dibs on the new trilogy if he wants it. It’s a big commitment to make, and reportedly he has the next two weeks to decide.



As the only literate Reject, it’s my duty to find the latest, the greatest and the untouched classics that would make great source material for film adaptations. I read so you don’t have to. One thing has become clear in the past week. Despite the comic book movie news flowing fast and furiously, the heroes were all familiar faces. The studios investing the most in bringing comic books to life have lost the plot a bit when it comes to the next few years of heroes to cultivate. Marvel tapping Black Panther is a nice start, but the studios are going to need to find alternate comic books to adapt in order to bring new life to the genre and surprise the fans who think seeing Spider-Man again will be fun but unnecessary. This week, we’ll look at the story of a family of lions in a time of war that remind us that there is no freedom that isn’t earned.



Every week in October, Criterion Files will be bringing you a horror movie from the archives of classic cinema or the hallways of the arthouse. This week’s entry takes a look at Alfred Hitchcock’s Hollywood debut, Rebecca (1940). While some would argue (and by “some” I mean Cole Abaius) that Hitchcock only made two films that could uncontestably be identified as horror – Psycho (1960) and The Birds (1963) – Rebecca is an interesting point of inception for themes covered throughout the auteur’s American career and is a film that engages in literary forms of the horror genre. Especially when seen as a ghost story.



While summer generally doesn’t kick-off until May, The Losers didn’t get that memo and packed the boat full of guns, explosions, and slow-motion booty shots to give us an action filled intro to the warmer months.



The answer to this question, taken literally, is “the love of cinema.” But, of course, nothing (at least, nothing in this column) is ever so simple.



To movie critics (including myself): yer doin’ it wrong.


The Ugly Truth

We’ve noticed a sudden drop in actual humans in movie posters. Are studios on the verge of sticking with a new trend in one sheets?


A Before Picture for Weight Loss

Known for his visual style, one of his most famous visuals was himself. Alfred Hitchcock is famous for his cameos, but sometimes he’s hard to find. Grab your DVD player, and we’ll help you find him.



The news of the multi-governmental rescue of former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and fourteen hostages from the hands of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) hasn’t quite faded from newsprint yet, but Vertigo Entertainment already has plans to bring the story to life.

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published: 01.31.2015
published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.29.2015

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