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Glenn Kenny
Film writer, formerly of Premiere magazine and .com. Reach me at
Recent Activity
(Note: this post gives away a number of plot points to both Birdman and Whiplash, so if you're still not conversant with those films and are intent on avoiding "spoilers," you might want to wait until you've seen both films before reading.) In the opening shot of Birdman (the movie’s much-remarked upon formal conceit involves presenting much of the action in the form of a single moving-camera take, but in point of fact the movie... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Some Came Running
I've neglected to mention in this spot that I'm hosting another film series at the central branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, this one a study of the cinematic private eye, entitled "Detectives: Good, Bad and Ugly," and tonight I'll be introducing Howard Hawks' The Big Sleep at 6:30. Next Wednesday I'll bring in another Marlowe, an underrated one by my lights, Dick Powell in Murder My Sweet. As the series continues we'll take in... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Some Came Running
I wrote a piece for Gawker, which went up yesterday, about long, ostensibly difficult works of fiction in my recent personal experience, tying it in to a contemporary cultural debate that I find kind of besides any real point even though the majority of my sympathies might be said to fall on the "highbrow" side of it. The response has been gratifyingly positive; even the comments, which can get pretty brutal on the site, have... Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2014 at Some Came Running
"and every thang is keeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwllll....ooh lord!..." Back in 1985, when I was beginning my “career” as a relatively feisty and entirely earnest rock critic, I began dating a woman of my own age (25) who worked (as a stockbroker) and lived (in a studio apartment in a cramped arrangement with another woman who wasn’t quite living with her fiancé, and who became so used to my presence in the place that she once inadvertently started... Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2014 at Some Came Running
Thomas Pynchon's 2009 novel Inherent Vice opens with an epigraph: "Under the paving stones, the beach!" which the author designates as "Grafitto, Paris, May 1968." The sentiment is frequently credited to the philosophers and activists now called "the Situationists," and beyond the nod to a certain mode of radical thought, the quote's resonance as the novel begins is, depending on how much context you freight the quote with, both melancholy—the events of the book take... Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2014 at Some Came Running
Last month the Film Society of Lincoln Center showed, as part of its "Strange Lands: International Sci-Fi" series, Karel Zeman's 1958 Vynálaz zkázy, an unusual live-action/animation hybrid derived from several Jules Verne tales. Well, actually, the Society showed The Fabulous World Of Jules Verne, the English-dubbed and presumably re-edited version of the film that Joseph E. Levine prepared for U.S. release in 1961. That's the only version of the film I've seen—I recall it as... Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2014 at Some Came Running
Yes, I do want fries with that: Carla Juri and Some Dude™ in Wetlands This week for I review two very different films with Strong But Troubled Young Female Protagonists in common: The German scandal Wetlands, and the Scottish musical God Help The Girl. Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2014 at Some Came Running
Even skeptics can anticipate. I won't be seeing Alejandro G. Iñárritu's Birdman (a still is above, featuring costars Michael Keaton and Edward Norton) until about a month from now, and of course I'm highly curious, albeit not particularly keen on participating in any "wars" about the thing. As it happens, when the director's last film, Biutiful, was in theaters, I contributed a piece to Film Comment entitled: "This Can't End Well: How We Live Now,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 4, 2014 at Some Came Running
WHAT'S GOING ON HERE: Well, when I started writing for last year, around the time MSN Movies closed up shop, I thought maybe I could "monetize" this feature. I'd pitched it around to other revenue-generating sites before, and received...unenthusiastic responses, but my Ebert pals were into it. But it really didn't work out in terms of traffic (thanks Obama) and so we decided my contributions would have to be of a different nature. But...I... Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2014 at Some Came Running
Joseph Cotten in Too Much Johnson, shot in 1938 “Much of the pre-Second World War character of Chicago and New York hardly exists anymore. Everybody builds these mirror boxes, and every second front is a front that didn’t exist in the ‘30s. […] I’ve been to New York many times in the last few years, and I have no sense of coming back to a town where I used to live. There’s a little corner... Continue reading
Posted Aug 23, 2014 at Some Came Running
Bacall with a few mugs, Humphrey Bogart among them, in the exemplary anti-fascist film To Have And Have Not, Howard Hawks, 1944. Here's the thing with Lauren Bacall: she turned up on screen and there she was. Like Venus on that half-shell, she was fully formed and all that from frame one. It didn't matter if she could act or not. There she was. I mean, look at her. In her very first movie. There's... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2014 at Some Came Running
In Awakenings, directed by Penny Marshall, 1990. UPDATE: I wrote about Williams and his work for Vanity Fair Online, here. Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2014 at Some Came Running
1) Music Without Words Is Kind Of Inherently Lame, No? In 1967, after the death of his Orchestra's vital composer, arranger, and pianist Billy Strayhorn (who succumbed to cancer at the age of 51), grief-stricken bandleader Duke Ellington and his musicians recorded the tribute album ...and his mother called him Bill, an arguably well-chosen selection of some of Strayhorn's best-liked tunes, including of course his melodic directions to Harlem, "Take The A Train." After the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2014 at Some Came Running
So I was at the gym this morning and I put on TCM, as one does, and it took me just two shots to figure out the channel was showing Le Feu Follet, Louis Malle's 1963 proto-mumblecore movie (not really) and it's the dinner party scene before the blunt/sad ending, and Henre Serre, best known from Jules et Jim, shows up in a bit part and I think, "Whoa, he looks like someone." And I... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2014 at Some Came Running
While John Michael McDonagh's Calvary opens with the words of St. Augustine, James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy opens with the sounds of 10cc's "I'm Not In Love." Now 10cc is arguably some kind of art-rock outfit, so maybe the distinction isn't as enormous as what I'm positing here. But it probably is. I liked both movies (guess which one the above image is from!), and review them at Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2014 at Some Came Running
From The King of Comedy, 1983 Today is the official publication day of my book Robert De Niro: Anatomy of an Actor. I'd be much obliged if you purchased a copy. If you'd like to preview it first, my friends at both Vulture and have published excerpts, from the chapters on Midnight Run and Mean Streets respectively. And soon Vanity will publish something from the King of Comedy chapter. I'll update when that... Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2014 at Some Came Running
In a week and a day, my book for Cahiers du Cinema/Phaidon, Robert De Niro: Anatomy Of An Actor, sees publication. It is only right and fitting, I am told, to use this blog, which is my own, as a vehicle for its promotion. And so. Two events celebrating the book are happening next week. The first is its official launch party, on Monday, July 28, at my favorite local bookstore Book Court, on 163... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2014 at Some Came Running
With Lawrence Montaigne, Gordon Jackson, and David MacCallum in The Great Escape, John Sturges, 1963. Garner's screen work gently rebuffs hard analysis. It isn't that what he did lacked complexity or sophistication. But he had a way of relaxing into whatever character he was playing that only made you want to be by the character's side, rather than "understand" the character. Strain, either visible or subtextual, was not part of his performing vocabulary. This could... Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2014 at Some Came Running
Channing Pollock is, I think, pretty great in Georges Franju's Judex. In the segments in which he appears unmasked, he's got a stolid near-blank affect that is, I think, entirely apropos to the unusual revised conception Franju applied to the character—a somewhat puritanical, stiff avenger, and hardly an omnipotent hero. Pollock's mien is often attributed to the fact that he was, indeed, a stage magician and not an actor. But an effective performance is an... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2014 at Some Came Running
I was saddened, like so many music lovers, to hear last week of the death of the very great bassist and composer Charlie Haden. He was one of my favorite musicians and a person I considered not just an artistic giant but a moral hero. (I met him once and had a brief chat with him, at the Village Vanguard after a Liberation Music Orchestra gig in the '90s; he was quiet, and gentle, and... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2014 at Some Came Running
Maybe this should be headed "Movies You Ought To Contemplate Seeing Once You Find Out Boyhood Is Sold Out." One such picture is Land Ho!, starring the above-seen Earl Lynn Nelson and Paul Eenhorn. Good times in Iceland. Another worthwhile, albeit extremely understated, movies is The Empty Hours. Under no circumstances except those of extreme perversity, though, ought you subject yourself to Rage, a Nicolas Cage starrer devoid of even devoidness. All reviews are for... Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2014 at Some Came Running
So I've been sprucing up my CV and seeking other kinds of work and avenues for work. "You should pitch more interviews and profiles," is something I've heard, and I agree, but I'm kind of cut off from the world of actually getting access, which is something I have to work on. In my diggings I remembered this profile of Bjork, from the October 2000 U.S. edition of Premiere, a story that prevented me from... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2014 at Some Came Running
Hey, a fella can change his mind, right? Lest my juxtaposition be misinterpreted, lemme say I'm psyched that Smith is psyched. I'm mostly acting on a self-interest that will become crystal clear in a moment. "I [...] could no longer be considered a die-hard fan. While I still had mountains of respect for what Lucas had created, and enough affection for what I felt were just some old movies that meant a lot for me... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2014 at Some Came Running
In the first hour or so of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's 1970 Beware of a Holy Whore (original German title: see poster) the characters, youngish (mostly) film crew members, loll about in the lobby of a Spanish resort hotel, drinking heavily and playing the jukebox, and most of what they play is Leonard Cohen. As I write in a new post at the Criterion Collection's Current blog, these "drunken, despairing, love-starved children of the counterculture aren’t... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2014 at Some Came Running
Around this time six years ago, I left a comment on the blog of the writer Emily Gould that, as I’m looking at it now, is pretty grotesque in its self-importance. It read: “Um, not to put too fine a point on it — and believe me, I know this is going to sound ‘mean,’ but there’s just no way around it — but could you do the rest of humanity the favor of, like,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2014 at Some Came Running