- David O. Russell's American Hustle tops the New York Film Critics Circle list of award winners, taking away Best Film, Best Screenplay (Eric Singer & David O. Russell), and Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Lawrence).
- The third edition of feminist film journal Cléo has arrived, and the theme this time around is "Doom". Among the juicy contents: an interview with Claire Denis by Kiva Reardon, and a piece on Peter Tscherkassky by Tara Judah.
- The end-of-year lists are pouring in: TIFF's Canada's Top Ten; Sight & Sound's best films of 2013; John Water's top ten for Artforum.
- Above: the first images from Gregg Araki's White Bird in Blizzard, starring Shailene Woodley and Eva Green.
- We haven't heard whispers about Scorsese's The Irishman for a while, but word is that it's slated to go in production after Silence.
"I’ve wondered: Is this suspense/surprise distinction original with Hitchcock? In the tapes of the original interview with Truffaut, he notes: 'You know, there has always been this dispute between suspense and surprise. . . . What I’m saying is not new, I’ve said this many times before.' He then launches into a more expansive account of the bomb-table scenario.
His formulation is ambiguous. Is the distinction 'not new' because it’s been around a long while ('always'), or because he’s reiterated it many times? And is his preference for suspense an uncommon opinion? Exact answers may lie in the vast Hitchcock literature, but so far I haven’t found them. Here’s what I came up with."
"Despair. The weight of history, economics, moral failures, the back of one man, Louis Koo. The mise-en-scène and Koo. Probably as figural as To has ever been."
"Most of what’s good in Nebraska is also fairly obvious. Any praise it has received specifically for its subtlety has more to do with how skillfully Payne and his collaborators have applied a patina of subtlety—a good paint job—to the proceedings rather than any truly multifarious artistry. That’s not a knock, by the way: The Descendants (2011) was obvious too, written with a sledgehammer gracelessness, relentlessly hitting the nail on the head while missing the mark (and hey, guess what, it won an Academy Award for its script). The theme of Nebraska—that our parents were people before taking their places as all-powerful archetypes—is deep and resonant even if the homespun melodies laid over top of it are often tinny and thin."
- While Spike Lee's Oldboy suffers from a weak box office performance and some rough words from most critics, The New Yorker's Richard Brody has a positive spin on the remake:
"Lee’s Oldboy is the most freakishly nerve-shredding Hollywood movie since Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island, from 2010. While it’s not quite the grandly nuanced, historically intricate, psychologically shattering film that Scorsese’s is, Oldboy is a hectic, furious movie that sends a viewer into the street reeling with a sense of having seen something that is, in both senses, incredible—it’s an extreme artifice that, in its implausible plotting, seethes with the power of unbelievable truths. It’s also an intensely political film that, while avoiding the particulars of nuanced analysis, tears the lid off reasoned discourse to display the primal furies at stake in political conflict."
- For Keyframe, David Hudson provides "an overview of the events and ideas that shaped the year in cinema."
From the archives.