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Glenn Kenny
Brooklyn
Film writer, formerly of Premiere magazine and .com. Reach me at glennkenny@mac.com.
Recent Activity
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Robert Montgomery in They Were Expendable, John Ford, 1945. Writing of the movie's lukewarm critical and box office reception in his indispensible new book Five Came Back, Mark Harris observes, "For Ford, an honorable defeat was, in a way, the apt coda to a journey through the war that had begun with a prescient commitment to service more than a year before Pearl Harbor and had ended with a drunken collapse on the coast of... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Some Came Running
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This account contains some plot details, although I've tried to portray those details, and their import, as obliquely as possible. I wouldn't call them "spoilers" but you never can tell these days. Be warned. Critics have been calling Jonathan Glazer's Under The Skin "mysterious," "mesmerizing," "elusive," and "hypnotic," and it is arguably all of those things. It is also at times terrifying, at other times deliberately ennervating (I think), and finally harrowing. One of the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2014 at Some Came Running
Around the time I was putting up the first part of My Life In Pornography at Thought Catalog, I heard about the work of photographer Barbara Nitke, who was shooting stills on New-York-based adult film sets just a few years after I was production assistant on A Girl's Best Friend. Obviously I needed to look into this. I did, and I got Barbara's book, American Ecstasy, and I interviewed Barbara for Nerve. The not-safe-for-work article... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2014 at Some Came Running
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At left: Lithograph of the cover art for Acid Eaters, The Ramones, 1993, signed by the members of the group at the time. A couple of weeks ago I was discussing the state of my media collection with my wife, and how the ever-mounting stacks of stuff in certain areas of our apartment were making her feel kind of claustrophobic. The upshot of the exchange was that I needed to do not just some rearranging... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2014 at Some Came Running
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As I may have mentioned somewhere, or as you may have been able to infer somehow through my writing, as a teenager I was a fairly religious reader of the rock and roll magazine Creem. By religious I mean that I would read each issue cover to cover at least twice each month. Even the column by the British critic and sociologist Simon Frith, whose work I considered relatively dry—Creem was, you may recall, the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2014 at Some Came Running
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No blues: Charlotte Rampling in Lumet's The Verdict, 1982 Q: You've talked about the irony of how some critics referred to Prince of the City as "realistic" whereas you deliberately made it in a more expressive style—in terms of the lenses you used, forced perspectives, making certain objects prominent in the frame. It's almost as if you did your job too well, because the viewer does get caught up in the emotional reality of the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2014 at Some Came Running
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Last fall I was pretty delighted to learn that some smart person at Universal Music Group had put together a compilation of the more or less entire recorded ouevre of The Waitresses, the tuneful, witty combo that originated in the imagination of multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Chris Butler. I say "originated in the imagination" because, as it happens, The Waitresses really were at first an imaginary band—he and his fellow songwriter Liam Sternberg apparently came up... Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2014 at Some Came Running
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A couple of months ago I got an e-mail from a friend who asked if I still reviewed jazz records. I kind of got mentally stuck at the "still;" soon I bemusedly responded that, no, not as such, I didn't, but I occasionally wrote about music on my blog, so, you know... A couple of exchanges later it was determined that I should recieve the new album by the artist, Randy Ingram, a jazz pianist... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2014 at Some Came Running
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I've been friendly with the guitarist and singer/songwriter Gary Lucas since the late 1980s, so I've followed, sometimes from a fair remove, sometimes pretty up close, his collaborations with the likes of Peter Stampfel, Jeff Buckley, Jon Langford, Dean Bowman (I wrote the liner notes for their underappreciated 2010 album Chase The Devil, and many others. I don't recall having been quite so excited to hear about one of Gary's collaborative projects as I was... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2014 at Some Came Running
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For RogerEbert.com, here. Also reviewed: The hilarious 300: Rise of an Empire; the effective In Fear, and the unfortunate War of the Worlds: Goliath. Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2014 at Some Came Running
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Kim Novak in Bell, Book and Candle, Richard Quine, 1957 In the still-vital book Hitchcock/Truffaut, made up mostly (and in the first edition, pretty much entirely) of interviews between the former critic and filmmaker François Truffaut and the director Alfred Hitchcock conducted in the summer of 1962—over fifty years ago, now—the older director discusses his 1957 1958 film Vertigo mostly in terms of disappointment. While the filmmaker who at the time was known as the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2014 at Some Came Running
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So. Here's where the gravy whose making I chronicled on Friday ended up, mostly. Turned out pretty well all told. (I did not take the picture; an appreciative guest did.) What happened was, a couple of friends of My Lovely Wife and mine are talking about a move to the West Coast and Claire thought it would be nice to have them and another couple over for dinner before they flew the coop. So Claire... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2014 at Some Came Running
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With John Gielgud on the set of Providence, 1977. It was beautiful, for a while, to glory in the fact that one of the greats, not just of French cinema, or of "New Wave" cinema but of Cinema, period, still walked among us and was still making films—his Life of Riley, in fact, just premiered at the Berlinale last month!—but this state could not last forever. On the other hand, the fact that Resnais still... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2014 at Some Came Running
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8:30 a.m: First curve ball of the day: my preferred butcher doesn’t have pork neck bones for the gravy. Suggests spare ribs instead. What the hell. 8:45—9:15 a.m.: Get list of all Best Picture winners, paste into Word document, open other word document, re-figure-out how to work with two document windows simultaneously, rank Best Picture Winners according to both personal preference and secret rule book issued to Old School (as in “non-Vulgar”) Auteurists, as if... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2014 at Some Came Running
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I understand that both cinematic and televisual archives offer far better, or maybe more "distinguished" Ramis clips than this one—in which Ramis doesn't really start showing his stuff until about halfway through—but this is my sentimental favorite because, at the time I saw it, it really cemented my identification with the guy, or at least with the guy he's playing. Who DIDN'T want to be the genial smart-ass, especially at my age back then. All... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2014 at Some Came Running
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From left: Jonathan Winters, Jimmy Durante, Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Mickey Rooney, and Buddy Hackett. Caesar is the most recent victim of the Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World curse; will Rooney be next? I suspect that even people who were very, very far from having been alive in 1963 reacted with some suspicion at the narrative recited by Don Cheadle at last September's Emmy Awards show, the gist of which was that John F. Kennedy's... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2014 at Some Came Running
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While I mull over whether to compose and post an essay titled "The Woody Allen Plank" (it's not likely, I gotta say), I ask you to check out the movie website To Be (Cont'd), wherein I am engaged in a simulated prose conversation with Matthew Zurcher, a smart young critic, about the use of music in the films of Stanley Kubrick. Matt's first volley is here, my response is here, and two more installments are... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2014 at Some Came Running
On Thursday and Friday of this week, February 13 and 14, the Ziegfeld Theater in Manhattan hosts a unique event: a mini-retrospective of the work of director Martin Scorsese and actor (and sometime co-producer) Leonardo DiCaprio. Thursday's screenings will be The Aviator, The Departed, and the new The Wolf of Wall Street, and the Wolf screening will be preceded by a conversation, moderated by Kent Jones, with DiCaprio, editor Thelma Schoonmaker, and screenwriter Terence Winter.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2014 at Some Came Running
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With Henry Fonda in Fort Apache, John Ford, 1948. Of course I'm going to pick the most obviously auteurist option. (Although I would be remiss to not mention Temple was also a great favorite of Allan Dwan, who directed her in Heidi and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm in the late '30s, and that the feeling was mutual.) Some wag once remarked that had she never existed, Graham Greene would not have written The Power and... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2014 at Some Came Running
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From the end credits of A Girl's Best Friend, Henri Pachard, 1981 My Life In Pornography is the title of a memoir I completed in the summer of 2012. Its first section, titled "A Girl's Best Friend," about the making of the motion picture of that title, is now published on Thought Catalog. You may read it here. The book, which I'd been messing around with in some form or other since the early 2000s,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2014 at Some Came Running
Art Pepper, the jazz saxophonist, wrote, with his wife Laurie Pepper, one of the great books about art and addiction, his memoir Straight Life. After describing his childhood, and his discovery of music, and his development as a musician in the Central Avenue "scene" of the 1940s, and his stint in the Army, Pepper writes, with great frankness, of the sexual compulsions he struggled with as a rising star in jazz. Then he writes about... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2014 at Some Came Running
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Above, in Magnolia, Paul Thomas Anderson, 1999. This one hurts particularly badly for a variety of reasons. My thoughts and prayers are with him, his family, and his family of collaborators, who I know cherished him, and will cherish him, always. Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2014 at Some Came Running
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The daily grind: Tim Jenison learns to make pigments prior to attempting a Vermeer. Tim's Vermeer reviewed for RogerEbert.com; Brightest Star reviewed for same. One's good and interesting, the other not so much. While I note, with bemusement, that a commenter below has taken me to task for some "same-old same-old" critic bashing, and hence I ought to be more maybe more circumspect before making note of this, but hey, YOLO and all that: I... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2014 at Some Came Running
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"The Jews, Masters of the French Cinema," reads the head of an appalling photo-mural from pre-Vichy France, an upsetting and striking image from Natan. David Cairns, the blogger behind shadowplay, is also the co-director, with Paul Duane, behind Natan, a remarkable short feature documentary having its New York premiere at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, on Sunday January 19th at four in the afternoon. Duane will be present for a post-screening... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2014 at Some Came Running
The audio on the above imbed is not, you know, safe for the workplace, and may in fact piss you off in some way even if you listen to it in complete private. Which, you know, was part of what Amiri Baraka was about. There is SO much about various of the things he wrote and pronounced that I find/found infuriating, but he always had my calloused respect because he could write, he could read,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2014 at Some Came Running