Feature Articles

by Odie Henderson Feature Articles Music

Isaac Hayes, the Way Nature Intended: Hot Buttered Soul, Shaft, and Black Moses

April 2, 2018
hayes

On February 23rd, Craft Recordings issued remasters of three classic Isaac Hayes albums, 1969’s Hot Buttered Soul and 1971’s Shaft and Black Moses. Each has been carefully restored and pressed to vinyl, the way nature intended, with their memorable album covers also meticulously recreated. The trilogy documents Hayes’s journey from Stax Records producer and songwriter to legendary performer in his own right, taking the listener through over three hours of classic soul jams that range from the eerily quiet to…

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by Kyle Turner Feature Articles Music

Eat, Survive, Make Music: An Interview With Joe Benjamin

January 12, 2017
JB

If Damien Chazelle’s recent film La La Land essentially uses its every frame to try and justify its pastiche nature, through a sense of disenchantment, then Joe Benjamin & a Mighty Handful is the kind of band that doesn’t really feel it necessary to make that kind of effort; they just let themselves be there for the audience that wants them to be. And if you’re with their freewheeling, kind of kookie frontman (who recalls Alan Cumming in Bob Fosse’s Cabaret), then head to one…

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by Simon Abrams Feature Articles Music

ZAPPAtite Is a Dish Best… Not Served at All

October 13, 2016
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 25:  Singer songwriter Frank Zappa poses for a portrait in the editing room of his Laurel Canyon home on March 25, 1972 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ed Caraeff/Getty Images)

“One of these days, I’m going to erase all the tapes in the world. Tomorrow I may do it. All the Frank Zappa masters: nothing, blank, empty space.” —Frank Zappa, “Are You Hung Up?”  What would the world be like if ZAPPAtite, a new best-of compilation of music by poly-generic composer/prodigy Frank Zappa, served as its primary method of Zappa education? This is (hopefully) my less aggro way of asking, “Who needs this fucking thing anyway?” ZAPPAtite, a concept proposed…

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by Sam C. Mac Feature Articles Film Retrospective Film

Retrospective | Sion Sono: Love Leaves Destruction in Its Wake

August 2, 2016
Play in Hell

Sion Sono, known to most as a director of brutally violent films like 2002’s Suicide Club, can claim at least three titles in his filmography that contain the word “love.” The best of these, and indeed the 54-year-old Japanese iconoclast’s masterpiece-to-date, is 2011’s Love Exposure, a four-hour exorcism of acrimonious attitudes toward his country’s relationship to religion, pornography, its youth, the obediences of family and class, and perhaps above all—and representative of each—the expectation of good taste.…

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by Simon Abrams Feature Articles Film

Why Haven’t You Heard of Kabali?

July 25, 2016
kabali 2

Kabali is an Indian gangster film, and the star vehicle for Tamil Nadu star Rajinikanth, the second highest paid Asian actor after Jackie Chan. Rajinikanth is big, but not in the eyes of the Western world; there are several practical reasons for this, chief among them being the sad state of representation/coverage of Indian films in the American/British/English-language press.…

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by Tina Hassannia Feature Articles Film Retrospective Film

Retrospective | Abbas Kiarostami (1940-2016)

July 6, 2016
Kiarostami

Originally published August 15th, 2011 One of the most important filmmakers of the last 30 years emerged from a country famous for its brutal censorship, a nation that forces many artists to take up residence elsewhere if they wish to freely pursue their craft or, in some cases, even if they just want to stay alive. These unfortunate conditions turned out to be serendipitous for Abbas Kiarostami…

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by John Oursler Feature Articles Film

Selects from BAMcinématek’s Booed at Cannes Series

May 13, 2013
Under the Sun of Satan

As the world’s sole “industry only” film festival, Cannes stands alone in that the first audiences to see each film are not a mix of industry and common-folk, but rather only those most privy to the ins and outs of the moviemaking machine. There are pros and cons to this: While Cannes is known to invite films from emerging talents or visionary auteurs, the viewers of those films have a different threshold for, and interest in, what they’re watching. If…

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by Kenji Fujishima Feature Articles Film

MoMA’s Chinese Realities/Documentary Visions and the Anti-City Symphony Disorder

May 9, 2013
Disorder

If we’re talking about a “golden age of documentaries,” as many seem to be doing these days, then we really should be talking more about the recent influx of documentaries coming out of China. With the Communist Chinese government as repressive as it is, more filmmakers there are turning to the documentary form to catalog and explore the various injustices and inequalities they see in their society, among other subjects. Even better, these filmmakers are bringing their own distinctive personal…

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by John Oursler Feature Articles Film

Isabella Rossellini Remembers a Voyage to Italy

May 3, 2013
Isabella Rossellini Remembers a Voyage to Italy

On Wednesday night, New York’s Film Forum unveiled a gorgeous digital restoration (courtesy Janus Films) of Roberto Rossellini’s masterful relationship drama Voyage to Italy. The film marked the fourth in a string of six films over a five-year period that the director completed with his then-wife Ingrid Bergman. An enthusiastic crowd gathered for the sold-out event as the famed couple’s daughter, Isabella Rossellini, was on hand to introduce and speak about the film, her parents and their legacy.…

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by Daniel Gorman Feature Articles Film

Bullet to the Head Director Walter Hill’s Action Poetry

February 1, 2013
Walter Hill's Action Poetry

Today marks the return of Walter Hill to the big screen—with the Sylvester Stallone-starring Bullet to the Head, the director’s first theatrically released film since 2002’s Undisputed. His two-hander action poetry has surely been missed; it’s the kind of tough, taciturn, no-nonsense genre filmmaking that’s frequently dismissed by middlebrow critics and sorely lacking in today’s blockbuster-spectacle-superhero-driven marketplace. Hill, like his contemporary John McTiernan (or Howard Hawks before them), specializes in genre films revolving around professionals doing a “job of work,”…

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by A.A. Dowd Feature Articles Film

Alternating Currents | Under Construction: Notes on the ‘Notes’ of Saul Levine

August 7, 2010
SaulNewLeft

Most of us are loathe to admit it, but the job of a film critic is, more often than not, that of a glorified publicist. The best among us aspire to more—to enlightenment, to intellectual engagement, to the communication of everything this oh-so-young artistic medium is capable of conveying. On our best days, we get there. Other days, working the beat, grinding out the copy, we forget the difference between what we do and what those Hollywood mad men do.…

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by InRO Staff Feature Articles Film

Best of the Decade in Horror (2000 – 2009)

November 1, 2009
Wolf Creek banner

Few genres lend themselves as well to a specific holiday as horror does to Halloween. Not every film of the genre directly connects with the holiday (though there’s about 90 Halloween sequels to compensate), but the vibe of Halloween night, the tradition of dressing up like so many horror movie icons, certainly aligns the two in a way that’s hard to deny. So on the occasion of the last Halloween in the first decade of the new millennium…

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