From the category archives:

Film

Ai Weiwei Made a Metal Video

by Whitney Kimball on May 22, 2013
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Ai Weiwei will do whatever it takes to get the message out, which includes making a heavy metal video about his three month-long detention.

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“Gerhard Richter Painting” Is Mostly Gerhard Richter Painting

by Reid Singer on April 4, 2012
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How do you make a documentary about abstract painting? When your subject strives for the indescribable, the normal tools of narration and interview become glaringly imperfect; I sympathize with any journalist who feels a sense of futility in the face of a work of art whose emotive power might be ineffable. This includes Corinna Belz, whose film “Gerhard Richter Painting” relies very little on interviews and stated history, and very heavily on long shots of the artist painting in his studio.

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Porn In Church: 30 Years of Charles Atlas

by Whitney Kimball on January 27, 2012
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Marginalized culture loves to watch the mainstream played out on its own terms — to make itself visible within the imagery that bombards us. It was fitting, then, that last night's screening of seven videos by upcoming Whitney Biennial artist and longtime documenter of queer culture, Charles Atlas, took place on a small screen in the empty nave of the Judson Memorial Church.

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Is “The City Dark” Self-Parody?

by Reid Singer on January 25, 2012
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There’s nothing immediately offensive about the premise of Ian Cheney’s new documentary, The City Dark. Living in New York, I can believe that Cheney, an amateur astronomer since his teenage years in Maine, might miss seeing the stars at night, and feel deprived. When he attempts to stretch that wistfulness into an authoritative documentary, however, the results are less than convincing.

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Ai Weiwei is Being Watched

by Reid Singer on January 21, 2012
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As it debuts at Sundance this weekend, Alison Klayman’s “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry” is being pre-emptively treated by critics as a highlight of the festival. We take a sneak peek at the documentary, which shadowed Ai for years leading up to his detention.

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Sundance Film Festival Art Highlights: Dog Orbits Earth, Abramovic “The Artist is Present” Doc Debuts

by Reid Singer on January 6, 2012
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Cold weather, Robert Redford, and an excuse to turn off our phones for at least six hours a day. These are just a few of the attractions awaiting visitors to the Sundance Film Festival, which kicks off in Park City, Utah in two weeks. From the looks of the 2012 program, we should expect an array of precocious documentaries, trippy animated films, and bourgeois coming-of-age maneuvers (for some reason, they’ve decided to re-screen “Reality Bites”). It is, in short, an uneven mix of pyrite and gold.

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Holidays Films for Grown-ups

by Reid Singer on December 16, 2011
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“The system is destructive: Grown-ups are ignored for much of the year, cast out like downsized workers, and then given eight good movies all at once in the last five weeks of the year.” Such was David Denby’s justification for letting an early review of “The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo” slip in The New Yorker before the film’s theatrical release, responding to an disapproving email from producer Scott Rudin for having violated the film’s press embargo date. Notwithstanding the terms of their disagreement (which, with Rudin’s retort, “You’re an honorable man,” sound pretty personal), Denby makes a good enough point. While you may feel guilty about buying into the late-December consumption spree, there are a few gems not to be missed.

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