“No other actress had quite the same ability to be simultaneously wised-up and unprotected, generous yet nobody’s fool.” In the first of a two-part series, this installment covering from her debut in Sinners’ Holiday to singing for her Forgotten Man in Golddiggers of 1933, Imogen Smith marvels at Joan Blondell’s endlessly arresting, electrically modern turns in a series of movies mostly unworthy of her talents.
Invoking the care, compassion, and magic of Cornell and Nabokov, Michael Chabon praises Wes Anderson’s omnipresent boxes as artifices containing wondrous truths.
Jonathan Rosenbaum argues for Michael Roemer as “the best Jewish director you’ve never heard of”; considering, as Rosenbaum reports, he made Malcolm X’s favorite movie, it’s probably a fair call.
“It makes a difference: when you have a crew of six people, you can be a director; when you have a crew of a hundred, catering trucks and all this, you’re not really an artist, you’re a general commanding an army, which is a different kind of work. Not necessarily evil work, just different.” A 2006 conversation between Thom Andersen and Pedro Costa on Huillet/Straub offers some insights on the pair’s working method, as well as enthusiastic praise from two fans. A related posting at Diagonal Thoughts, which is fast becoming an indispensable resource for this kind of thing, Philippe Azoury’s 2001 interview with Straub and Costa (and one line from Huillet which confirms Andersen’s observation that “He talks a lot, but in a certain way she has more to say.”)
“Jimmy was the kind of guy that rooted for bad guys in the movies.” Kim Morgan rounds up her 10 favorite performances by actors playing real-life gangsters, from Charles Bronson to “Warren fucking Oates.”