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National-Bird

Earlier this month, I contributed to Filmmaker Magazine‘s coverage of the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival.

I conducted brief interviews with Ian Olds, director of the indie drama The Fixer; Drake Doremus, director of the A24-acquired Equals; Laurie Rose, the cinematographer of the J. G. Ballard adaptation High-Rise; and Sonia Kennebeck, director of the fantastic documentary National Bird.

I also published two Critic’s Notebook pieces. The first piece covers my thoughts on three of the films above and The Family Fang. The second piece covers the New York Times documentary Obit and the David Byrne ‘n’ friends concert/dance doc Contemporary Color.

Lastly, I spoke with my favorite straight-man Jason Bateman on The Family Fang, his second film as a director. He ate a decidedly basic-looking iceberg salad while we talked.

Follow the links to read some or all of my coverage from Tribeca 2016.

At Paste Magazine, I dissect 10 Kanye West lyrics about the great love of his life: his Mercedes Benz. This is how I have chosen to spend my finite time on earth. You can read the piece here.

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Apologies – I’m a little late in posting this. Last month, I helped cover the 2016 Sundance Film Festival for Filmmaker Magazine. I wrote intros for more than 30 interviews, posted more than 40 entries for the magazine’s annual “Sundance Questionnaire,” and conducted an interview with Nate Parker, the writer/director/star of The Birth of a Nation. That film went on to win the festival’s U.S. Grand Jury Prize.

My interview with Parker has since been quoted in the New York Times, CNN, and elsewhere. As of press time, I haven’t seen a single film from Sundance 2016 – but I have read enough interviews with DPs and directors from the festival to fake my way through a conversation.

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2015 was the year I truly fell in love with the double feature. So, in lieu of a standard top-10 list to cap off the year in film, I wrote a piece on 10 great double features from 2015. You can read it over at Filmmaker Magazine‘s website. You’ll find most of my favorite films of the year here (with the exception of Chi-Raq, a film with few cinematic cousins). Even since writing this piece a few days ago, I’ve discovered another new contender: 99 Homes and The Big Short – a double bill on the causes and consequences of the 2008 financial crisis. I’m sure I’ll continue to find more as I continue to trudge through the films of 2015. For now, here are 10 I think would well for your double feature needs.

About a month ago I wrote a Facebook post on what password security questions would look like if I wrote them. I reworked the post and sent it to McSweeney’s. Today, they published it under the McSweeney’s Internet Tendency banner. You can read the NIHILISTICLE here.

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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker announced today that he will run for president. He joins more than a dozen high-profile candidates in a crowded, sure-to-be-entertaining Republican primary. In my dreams, Scott Walker the presidential candidate would use the music of Scott Walker the avant-garde mastermind musician in his campaign commercials. Of course this will never happen. So I decided to make the campaign commercial myself.

My irrational dream is to have Gov. Walker see this video and deem “The Cockfighter” his official campaign song. I dream of a world in which Candidate Walker takes the stage at a campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa to the abrasive sounds of the 30 Century Man. This video is a joke with a very low ceiling.

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List-making season: That time of year I pretend to hate but secretly love. As of writing, I’ve seen 35 films released in 2014. You’ll find my 10 favorites below along with an as-yet-undistributed pick from the festival circuit. A number of themes emerge from this year’s crop: dark comedy, subversive genre movies, Tilda Swinton. As always, feel free to mock me in the comments or hate-share this post as an example of what bad taste looks like. Follow these links to see my top-10 lists from 2013, 20122011, and 2010.

Honorable Mention: Ne Me Quitte Pas

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Of the films I caught during the 2014 New York and Tribeca Film Festivals that remain unreleased, my favorite was Ne Me Quitte Pas. This tragicomic documentary charts the friendship of Marcel and Bob, two ungovernable alcoholics living in rural Belgium. As an intimate portrait of two outcasts in toxic codependence, the film plays like a masculine Grey Gardens, dark humor and all. Directors Sabine Lubbe Bakker and Niels Van Koevorden capture the beauty and queasiness of this friendship with almost uncomfortable immediacy. We see the men drunkenly stumble into the directors’ cameras and drive drunk into the night. It’s a rather raw look at addiction blanketed by a much cheerier story of a friendship held together (and torn apart) by whiskey and beer. Depending on your experiences with alcoholism, you’ll find the material either cruelly funny, humane, in poor taste, or, as I did, all of the above. Continue Reading »

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