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Cole Smithey
Manhattan
The Smartest Film Critic in the World
Interests: Film, Jazz Guitar, Teaching, Craft Beer, Great Food, Travel.
Recent Activity
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Although the editing could have been much tighter on Sean Baker’s dramatically infused [ethnographic] study of poverty in Kissimmee, “The Florida Project” remains a moving encapsulation of an escalating human crisis in America. Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Cole Smithey - Capsules
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Joachim Trier’s paranormal-inflected lesbian coming of age thriller zigs where it should zag. Eli Harboe plays the title character, a hard-bitten Christian girl from the country who tells her strict father “everything.” Now at college, Thelma experiences bizarre seizures seemingly set off by close proximity to Anja (Kaya Wilkins). Love at first sight isn’t such a good thing for Thelma who returns home after receiving a series of medical tests to diagnose her condition. Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Cole Smithey - Capsules
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Not even Isabelle Huppert’s ever-reliable craftwork can elevate this overwrought and underachieving pro-education, sci-fi inflected, drama. The film’s unbalanced (linear) three act story falls apart during a last gasp act that falls horribly flat. Third act failure is one thing, but to have a narrative with such rich, if ghastly, possibilities reduced to a muted, half-hearted, satire just leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Cole Smithey - Capsules
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There is beautiful chemistry between the 88-year-old French New Wave legendary filmmaker Agnes Varda and JR, the youthful French photographer who cares for Varda as a loyal would-be grandson. JR and Varda share directing credits for this disarmingly sweet and poignant documentary that plays more as a docudrama due to the circumstance of uncertainty regarding Ms. Varda’s health. Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Cole Smithey - Capsules
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In latest YouTube related news, I posted my Axial Cut video on YouTube and got hit with a claim before I even hit the publish key. I wasn't having it this time, and let YouTube know in no uncertain terms where I stand on the issue. Still waiting for my devastating response to their bullying. Look for an update to my unending war with these shysters. Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Cole Smithey - Articles
D'après une histoire vraie - de Roman Polanski - Bande-Annonce Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Cole Smithey - Film Blog
Shocking to me is how many people don't seem to get what an "axial cut" is. Although sometimes improperly referred to as "cutting on action," the axial cut is an edit that moves the distance to a character further or closer. I'm curious how many of you might not understand exactly what an axial cut is from watching this video. I suppose it is a tool of the cinematographer, but you get a good look at more than a few examples in this video essay. Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Cole Smithey - Articles
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"Punk rock isn’t something you grow out of. Punk rock is an attitude, and the essence of that attitude is, give us some truth." Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Cole Smithey - Film Blog
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Darren Aronofsky cribs liberally from the Old Testament for allegorical inspiration toward a mind-blowing social satire disguised as a psychological thriller. You might not recognize Adam and Eve in the guise of Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer, but you’ll probably pick up on the Cain and Able allegory when it arrives. Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Cole Smithey - Reviews
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HARRY DEAN STANTON July 14, 1926 to September 15, 2017 Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2017 at Cole Smithey - Film Blog
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However fraught with controversy, “Rude Boy” is a priceless document of one of the greatest Punk bands in history. This music exploitation docudrama is the result of a co-directing effort by Jack Hazan and David Mingay set during 1978 and 1979 when The Clash were positioning to take over the world. The film features recording sessions and live performance footage of songs that appeared on the first two Clash albums (“The Clash” and “Give “Em Enough Rope”). It’s obvious that the filmmakers barely have a clue about creating narrative structure, but they know they’ve got a tiger by the tail, and to their credit they don’t let go. Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2017 at Cole Smithey - Reviews
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The direction, editing, pacing, and tone are so off in director Andy Muschietti’s filmic adaptation of Stephen King’s child-led psychodrama that the movie is more of a chore than a source of entertainment. The film’s by-committee screenplay is at once overwrought and under-polished. Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2017 at Cole Smithey - Reviews
OFFICIAL AWARDS – 74th VENICE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVALThe Venezia 74 Jury, chaired by Annette Bening, and comprised of Ildikó Enyedi, Michel Franco, Rebecca Hall, Anna Mouglalis, David Stratton, Jasmine Trinca, Edgar Wright and Yonfan having viewed all 21 films in competition, has decided as follows: GOLDEN LION for Best Film to: THE SHAPE OF WATER by Guillermo del Toro (USA) Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2017 at Cole Smithey - Film Blog
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Writer-director Taylor Sheridan (the screenwriter on last year’s “Hell or High Water”) draws first-blood during a year of failed American Cinema with a well-crafted crime drama that carries significant political and emotional weight. Here is the first Oscar-worthy contender of 2017. Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2017 at Cole Smithey - Reviews
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Director Richard Sarafian (famous for the 1971 car-chase classic “Vanishing Point”) helms this absurd and problematic political thriller elevated by the keen efforts of Sean Connery and Cornelia Sharpe. You will likely never witness a stranger conduit for mixed-signaled political intrigue, here involving an Arab minister of state’s attempts to admit Israel into OPEC during the height of the seething oil crisis of the ‘70s. However implausible it is that Connery’s Scottish persona be masked with that of such a died-in-the-wool Arab identity as that of Khalil Abdul-Muhsen, Connery works acting magic to make everything comfortable for the audience. Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2017 at Cole Smithey - Capsules
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This fall, the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), New York’s premiere French cultural center, presents the new CinéSalon series Caroline Champetier: Shaping the Light. On Tuesday, October 24, Champetier comes to FIAF in person for a special Q&A after the 4pm screening of The Innocents and 7:30pm screening of Holy Motors. Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2017 at Cole Smithey - Film Blog
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"Thelma" is on my list of must-see films at the upcoming New York Film Festival! Check it out. Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2017 at Cole Smithey - Film Blog
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You’d be hard-pressed to track down any information on Google about Jerry Harmon’s Operation Snowball. Sometime in December of 1967, when I was just three-years-old, my stepdad Jerry Harmon launched a touring magic act project called Operation Snowball. Under its auspices, “King Karnak, Barbie, and Cole” would become a ten-year annual touring magic show across the state of Virginia. The purpose of the act was to provide Christmastime entertainment for the patients at all of the mental institutions in Virginia; there were a lot mental hospitals in those days. Western State Hospital in Staunton, Virginia was on the list. Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2017 at Cole Smithey - Articles
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Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ September 5th announcement that the Trump Administration is repealing Obama’s DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program for children brought into the United States illegally marks another political low point for a president who stages his photos so he looks tough “like Churchill” but whose governance is so wobbly and noncommittal that he’s elevated waffling to an artform. Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2017 at Cole Smithey - Articles
Greta Gerwig's "Lady Bird," starring Saoirse Ronan (pronounced Ser-Sha, as in Sersha, Sersha, Sersha) finds Gerwig going all semi-autobiographical mumblecore, as if that Godforsaken genre weren't already long dead gone. Let's just say this looks to be an ideal movie for entitled white girls to get all touchy feely over while hiding in blind spots to the rest of society. Yes, yes, yes, here is yet another me, me, me movie that will probably be every bit annoying as "Tiny Furniture." Blech. I feel dirty for even having watched the trailer. Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2017 at Cole Smithey - Film Blog
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FALL 2017 MOVIE RELEASES Continue reading
Posted Sep 4, 2017 at Cole Smithey - Film Blog
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Regardless of any preconceived ideas viewers will inevitably bring to this insightful look at the trophy hunting industry, you will come away from this well researched film with a more informed understanding of wild animal conservation. Continue reading
Posted Sep 4, 2017 at Cole Smithey - Reviews
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Mariska Hargitay makes an inauspicious feature film debut in this trashy little 1984 horror picture from co-writer/director Luca Bercovici. Michael Des Barres (the former singer of the New Wave super band Chequered Past) plays Malcolm Graves, a cat-eyed Satanic lord whose death isn’t as certain as his creepy mansion’s newest master (Peter Liapis) believes. Malcom's unkempt grave resides on the home's remote grounds. The great Jack Nance, of David Lynch fame, barely gets any screentime... Continue reading
Posted Sep 4, 2017 at Cole Smithey - Capsules
This cartoon came about when I was thinking of ideas related to things Trump has done and said. I thought to myself, why bother? Anything I draw about will be forgotten about in a day or two because of whatever Trump will say or do between now and then. Whether the frenetic pace of activity and outrage is Trump’s personality or the result of a clever stratagem, it seems to be working for now. Who can keep up with this guy? Continue reading
Posted Sep 4, 2017 at Cole Smithey - Articles
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“84 Charing Cross Road” is about bonds of friendship formed and maintained by a by a mutual love of literature or, more to the point, books. Anne Bancroft’s earthy portrayal of real-life playwright and script-reader Helene Hanff (pronounced hell-ane han-f) is so effortless and effervescent that it’s enough to turn a generation of young women into chain-smoking, gin-swigging writers, if not full-fledged admirers of beautifully bound editions by the likes of Jane Austin, George Orwell, Chaucer, or Plato. Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2017 at Cole Smithey - Reviews