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by Michael Noble

21 Mar 2013


Finally, we’re living in the future. What on Earth is it doing to us?

At their recent sold-out shows at the Tate Modern in London, Kraftwerk revisited its eight studio albums in neat, chronological order. At first glance, it’s rather jarring to think of such forward-looking sounds having earned a retrospective. But then they were never really about the future, anyway. With songs like Autobahn, Pocket Calculator and Trans-Europe Express, it’s clear that Kraftwerk was actually interested in the technology that already surrounded them.

by Jake Meaney

25 Jan 2013


Trying to explain the abysmal ratings of ABC’s agreeably daft and eccentric comedy Don’t Trust the B——in Apt. 23, perhaps it’s a case of audiences taking the advice built directly into the name of the show too literally. And the name is a problem, if only because it seems to want to keep the viewer continually at arm’s length, deflecting rather than inviting with its initial “Don’t” followed by a sing-songy jumble that skirts the line between clever and obnoxious, and goes on just a bit too long besides.  It’s like it’s knowingly overcompensating for being so coy by being a mouthful, trying to be both risqué and cute, never quite succeeding either way.

by Cynthia Fuchs

25 Oct 2012


The Chile of Patricio Guzmán’s childhood is long gone, a collective history he’s explored in other films. But Nostalgia for the Light (Nostalgia de la luz), premiering on PBS on 25 October, looks at that history in brilliant new ways, articulating two searches for the past. One is a pursuit of scientific knowledge, the evidence to support theories of how life began and what might be coming for the planet earth; it’s conducted by astronomers via the world’s largest optical telescope (called the European Extremely Large Telescope, or E-ELT) located in Chile’s Atacama desert. The other, ongoing since 1990, is undertaken by the relatives of victims of August Pinochet’s dictatorship: they seek remains and stories, knowledge of how their loved ones died. Both searches, the film points out, involve bodies, material and celestial, and both are endless.

by Cynthia Fuchs

22 Oct 2012


“There’s fans, then there’s Kansas fans, then there’s Josh,” says Daymion Mardel. He’s Josh Swade’s friend, according to his credit in There’s No Place Like Home, and his description frames the story of Josh’s efforts to bring James Naismith’s original “Rules of Basketball” to Kansas University. Because Naismith coached and taught at KU for 40 years, Josh reasons, the Allen Fieldhouse is the document’s rightful home.

by Cynthia Fuchs

20 Oct 2012


“He wants to get inside me, in awful ways, to squeeze me out until there’s nothing left inside.” I suppose it’s helpful that Tippi Hedren (Sienna Miller) is so articulate—so poetic and so precise—when she describes her relationship with her director, Alfred Hitchcock (Toby Jones). But it’s also acutely disconcerting, that she is so able to maintain her self-awareness amid a series of abuses and threats during the two films she makes with him, The Birds and Marnie. You always knew there was something dreadful about these two movies—the aggressions against her, by all manner of fowl and Sean Connery—and HBO’s The Girl offers some detail (based on Donald Spoto’s Hitchock books, including Spellbound By Beauty: Hitchcock and His Leading Ladies (2008). In this version of Hitch (as he invites his new mentee to call him), he is calculating and also unnervingly out-of-control, admired and cruel. He torments Hedren on the set in front of everyone, has her endure attacks by real birds for five days in order to obtain the genuine terror on her face in the notorious Birds attic scene. He also leans in too close, pesters her with stories about cocks, invites her to touch his, paws her and bullies her, all, he says, to make her a great movie star. “There’s only so much I can teach you through kindness,” he explains.

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