Unexamined/Essentials is now TheFilmsaurus!

You should be automatically redirected in 8 seconds. If not, visit
http://www.TheFilmsaurus.com
and update your bookmarks. If you want the article you're looking for to be reprinted on TheFilmsaurus.com, please "@" j_christley or TheFilmsaurus on Twitter.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Please follow theFilmsaurus

Hi there,

We are transitioning this project to theFilmsaurus, a Wordpress site. You can find it at


We expect to achieve a full transition by January 1, 2012. In the meantime, any new content will appear there, not here.

For your links, we are eternally grateful. Please update them to point to theFilmsaurus.

Thank you,

Jaime N. Christley
Curator

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Directors Who Can Do No Wrong #8: Andrei Tarkovsky


From an auteurist standpoint, the great directors have the power to transform bad, lackluster, or cliched material into great art. But even the mightiest directors have had a few duds. Robert Altman's Quintet is ignored by almost everyone; stalwart Fordians do not look kindly upon Born Reckless; even the hardcore Hawksians consider Trent's Last Case to be without merit. (There is also some disagreement regarding A Song is Born.) Hitchcock had Juno and the Paycock, and Michael Mann probably doesn't like to think about The Keep.

It's quite rare, then, that a filmmaker (or, occasionally, a filmmaking team) should pitch a no-hitter, from start to finish. Here's a list of ten. For sanity's sake we are grading on a slight curve: feature filmmakers only, their documentary work (if any) doesn't count, nor do their shorts, TV episodes, and "etc" work.

Nostalghia (1983)
8. Andrei Tarkovsky


The giant of latter-day Soviet cinema was taken from us too soon - his directing career spanned about twenty-five years, but in that time, he was responsible for some of the most enthralling, and divisive, great movies that anyone has ever seen. His work is known for its patient style (which, in turn, requires patience of the viewer), its fugue-state atmosphere, its lapses into meditative silence, and, above all, a seemingly ceaseless river of indelible imagery - haunting, dreamlike, yet always tactile, earthy, and seeming to exert its own gravitational pull.

Introduce yourself to Tarkovsky with: Ivan's Childhood

Master Class: The Sacrifice, Nostalghia, Andrei Roublev, Solaris, Stalker, The Mirror 

Deep Cuts: The Steamroller and the Violin

Stalker (1979)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Directors Who Can Do No Wrong #9: Orson Welles


From an auteurist standpoint, the great directors have the power to transform bad, lackluster, or cliched material into great art. But even the mightiest directors have had a few duds. Robert Altman's Quintet is ignored by almost everyone; stalwart Fordians do not look kindly upon Born Reckless; even the hardcore Hawksians consider Trent's Last Case to be without merit. (There is also some disagreement regarding A Song is Born.) Hitchcock had Juno and the Paycock, and Michael Mann probably doesn't like to think about The Keep.

It's quite rare, then, that a filmmaker (or, occasionally, a filmmaking team) should pitch a no-hitter, from start to finish. Here's a list of ten. For sanity's sake we are grading on a slight curve: feature filmmakers only, their documentary work (if any) doesn't count, nor do their shorts, TV episodes, and "etc" work.

9. Orson Welles

The greatness of Welles was such that he could screw up royally, have a project taken out of his hands, burn professional bridges in a 360-degree roundhouse sweep, sometimes never finish a film at all, and still, the path he cut in the cinematic landscape, from his debut film (Citizen Kane) - a landmark that may have made independent filmmaking an aspirational goal for the first time in history, and continues to inspire young directors to this day - almost all the way up until his death in 1985, would be regarded as the devastating wake of some kind of god. His unfinished work, the mutilated work, the compromised work, is such that, in defiance of our own pre-list caveat, we would rank it with anyone else's best.

The Dreamers (1982)
Introduce yourself to Welles with: Citizen Kane

Master Class: Chimes at Midnight, F for Fake, Citizen Kane, Mr. Arkadin aka Confidential Report, The Magnificent Ambersons, Touch of Evil, The Lady from Shanghai, Othello, The Trial

Deep Cuts: fragments of The Other Side of the Wind, The Dreamers, and Don Quixote; The Spirit of Charles Lindbergh

Citizen Kane (1941)
Tomorrow: Andrei Tarkovsky

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Directors Who Can Do No Wrong #10: Jacques Tati

Note: beginning January, 2012, all new unexamined/essentials posts will appear exclusively on theFilmsaurus; until then, new posts here will be mirrored there.

--------------------------


From an auteurist standpoint, the great directors are frequently the ones that have the power to transform bad, lackluster, or clichéd material into great art. Even the mightiest directors, however, have a few black marks on their transcript. Robert Altman's Quintet is almost universally detested or ignored; stalwart Fordians do not look kindly upon Born Reckless; even the hardcore Hawksians consider Trent's Last Case to be without merit. (There is some disagreement regarding A Song is Born.) Hitchcock had Juno and the Paycock, and Michael Mann probably doesn't like to think about The Keep.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Site News You Can Use


In an effort to make unexamined/essentials more accessible and relevant - and to help attract more attention to our efforts in highlighting, you know, "good movies you should see," there are a number of developments, some already in the works, that will change the way the unexamined/essentials directory is used by cinephiles around the world. The site already has an extensive list of "must-see films," organized by year (from 1895 to 2011), but that alone has not been effective enough in connecting people with good film experiences. Sure, you can click on our directory page, then an individual year, see a title you might like to see, store it in your mind for future use... 

Or, you can enjoy the site more. Here are the changes that are in store for unexamined/essentials:
  1. Name change: unexamined/essentials will become TheFilmsaurus. We have purchased the dot-com domain name, and created a Twitter account, for "thefilmsaurus," a sorta-portmanteau of "film" and "thesaurus." This will be a slow change, so all of our valuable linking partners can get on board with it, and our traffic doesn't suffer.
  2. The Twitter account is already serving the social network community: if you @ thefilmsaurus with a film you like, you will get five films recommended in return.
  3. The 5-for-1 recommendation service will be embedded into this site as a form, if you aren't interested in Twitter or have no idea what I just said in (2).
  4. An increase in blog posts, other than reviews. Liven the joint up a little.
That's all for now. It's not a fundamental change, we still believe in highlighting underrated films that require more attention, as well as great films that everyone should see. That's our niche. We just want you to have more fun spending time here.


Monday, October 17, 2011

2011 New York Film Festival

Le gamin au vélo / The Kid with a Bike (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne)
Since I don't attend Cannes or Toronto (yet), I usually have to wait for many of the year's best films to come to New York, and each year, I try to see as much as possible of the festival's main slate - which is, at the end of the day, the pick of many preceding festivals.