Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is both deeply terrifying and deeply layered with subtext. At the level of plot, Jack Torrance (Jack Nicolson) and his family agree to care for the secluded Overlook Hotel during its closed winter season, giving Jack an opportunity to work on writing his novel. However, through an enigmatic connection to the hotel’s violent history, a murderous hysteria slowly overtakes Jack, and we soon find him wielding an ax and chasing his wife and child about the hotel grounds. But this is no random act of violence. …

Sunset Boulevard, 1950

Wilder loved his sleazeballs. The trick was getting audiences to love them too.

A couple of lowlifes make their bed with a get-rich homicide scheme; a never-been writer drinks away the words and his self-respect; an indigent screenwriter degrades himself as the boy toy of an over-the-hill movie actress; a deceitful newspaper man is willing to kill for his next big break. This litany of American detritus is hard stuff to build a career on, let alone one of the most successful filmographies in cinema history. Few basked in tarnishing the silver screen quite as much as Billy Wilder. …

A study of space and story.

Malachi Kirby in “Mangrove”

I first encountered Steve McQueen’s work at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2008. The piece on exhibition was a video installation from 2001, “Girls, Tricky.” Cloistered in a soundproof room, bass booming, on a 14-minute loop, a suffocating camera pushes over the trip-hop musician Tricky’s shoulder as he growls lyrics into a microphone for a demo recording of his song “Girls.” The experience is intimate and confronting, a bare assault of body and sound in space. …

2020 has been the year of the female filmmaker. Of course, there is something bittersweet to that statement. While the asterisk that will haunt film revenue tabulations will never be the most significant data point of the year, there is a troubling and familiar story embedded in this year’s downsized economy.

As big budget films with big revenue expectations were pulled one by one from the release schedule, smaller-scale films with more modest financial aspirations found their way to the streaming sites. And, here, on the wrong side of the digital pay gap, the female filmmaker dominated.

Even if the…

George Melies’ “Le voyage dans la lun” (1902)

I have been teaching film studies courses at a private high school for five years now, and I have never, not once, screened Citizen Kane for my students. I have shown Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil before, but my students’ interest began to wane in the back half, once the sheen of that opening long take began to wear off. From that experience and a few others, I’ve learned that the novelty of an early classic has about a 45-minute shelf life for a group of high schoolers. …

Credit: The Ringer

If there’s one thing The Ringer Podcast Network has really nailed, it’s the “good hang” of a pod — likable people, who like each other, conversing over shared interests with insight and humor. They’re the kind conversations you want to drop in on.

The network itself, purchased for a handsome sum by Spotify in February, is a well-managed extension of founder Bill Simmons’ own approach to entertainment journalism. A sports broadcaster by trade, formerly of ESPN and HBO, Simmons laces his commentary with pop culture asides and fanboy passions. He brings the discourse down to the everyday, often inviting nonprofessionals…

Jeff Goldsmith interviews Aaron Sorkin at the Los Angeles Film School

Sifting through the ever-expanding library of podcast content is no easy task. Every niche interest doesn’t just have its own pod; it has its own catalogue. Film podcasts are no different. From awards shows to movie reviews to artist interviews, the sheer amount of content can be overwhelming.

Here are five recommendations for those fanatically interested in the craft of film, observed from without and within, both the critics’ takes and what the artists themselves have to say.


Iris Henderson (Margaret Lockwood) is certain there is a conspiracy afoot, but it’s not the one she thinks she is. She is ensnared in the conspiracy of genre, and the machinations of the romantic comedy ensure she will be voluntarily coupled by the end.

Iris starts the film quite resistant to this prospect, as she boards the train to be sacrificed on the altar of marriage to a man she doesn’t love, a man she doesn’t even seem to like. Then she meets Miss Froy (May Whitty). Miss Froy (“rhymes with joy”) is a vision of satisfying old age, womanly…

Hitchcock’s 1935 film, and the first true masterpiece of his career, The 39 Steps, is perhaps his purest distillation of cinematic storytelling as a wholly self-contained experience. We open on the flashing marquee of the “Music Hall.” We enter through the POV of a character. His hand is our hand as we buy our ticket; his feet are our feet as we enter the theater.

My immediate thought after streaming the first two episodes of the Hulu series Normal People was, “God, I hope my high school students are watching this.” That may sound strange considering those episodes concern two high schoolers in the throes of a passionate after-school liaison, full of bare breasts, casually flung f-bombs, and frank talk of penetration. While I doubt any of this explicit content is much of a departure from my students’ regularly scheduled programming, Normal People has one ingredient that I worry is being wholly neglected in their media diet: intimacy.

Last year, Sam Levinson’s HBO series Euphoria…

Travis Weedon

Film & TV stuff. Letterbox profile:

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