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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
MARTIN SCORSESE'S SILENCE: THE VIDEO ESSAY Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Cole Smithey - Reviews
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Although condemned by some cultural gatekeepers and critics as indecent (even after And God Created Woman was edited, and dubbed, for its U.S. release), Brigitte Bardot's stunning portrayal of a freethinking woman became the celebrated subject of Simone de Beauvoir's 1959 essay The Lolita Syndrome. In it, de Beauvoir described Brigitte Bardot as a "locomotive of women's history" for good reason. The petite but curvy French actress captured the collective global imaginations of women and men alike. Still, the picture adds up to more than merely Bardot's obvious physical allure and headstrong attitude. It is a timeless social document of the ways that a young woman's allure can fuel, destroy, and build the dreams of men who fall under her spell. If Helen of Troy was "the face that launched a thousand ships," Brigitte Bardot was the girl who incited a sea change of sexual liberation in Western culture. Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2017 at Cole Smithey - Articles
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Talya Lavie’s 2014 black comedy, about a woman’s place in the Israeli Army, plays like a cross between “Reform School Girls” and “Catch 22.” Lavie skewers religious and military indoctrination in the context of psychological and physical abuses levied against female soldiers by male and female officers alike. Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2017 at Cole Smithey - Capsules
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Based on the true story of Marie-Louise Giraud, Claude Chabrol’s World War II era drama features Isabelle Huppert as a lower class single mother of two in Nazi occupied France. Marie’s war-ravaged husband unexpectedly returns home just as she finds her calling as an amateur abortionist for local women. Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2017 at Cole Smithey - Capsules
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The term “sex-kitten” was coined for Brigitte Bardot for her sexually liberated role as Juliette in her [then] husband Roger Vadim’s 1956 debut film. Continue reading
Posted Jan 3, 2017 at Cole Smithey - Reviews
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“There’s no savior out there.” That’s a line from “Lord’s Prayer,” a song written by TV Smith for the Lords of the Church, a band that trafficked in 1980s melodic punk. Here’s some more: “There ain’t no savior out there Your stairway to heaven leads nowhere Don’t look to me for emancipation You are your only salvation.” Continue reading
Posted Jan 3, 2017 at Cole Smithey - Articles
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While not the in-depth character study of the prolific Japanese actor that its title implies, “Mifune: The Last Samurai” is a rollicking survey of the gifted artist who played muse to Akira Kurosawa for much of the director’s storied career Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2017 at Cole Smithey - Capsules
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You can tell by its title that David Frankel's "Collateral Beauty" sucks, just as you know in advance that Matthew Ornstein's "Accidental Courtesy" will be a dog. This latest inane trend in insipid film titles will most surely include such headings as "Inconsequential Ambivalence," "Incidental Gratitude," "Insufferable Poetry," and "Indolent Elegance." Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2017 at Cole Smithey - Film Blog
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“Fat Girl” is an understated picture that doesn’t shy away from any of the ambitious thematic heights that Breillat fearlessly mounts. Like Breillat’s debut feature (“A Real Young Girl”) “Fat Girl” is a masterpiece awaiting inspection by audiences open to its meanings and insightful commentary. Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2017 at Cole Smithey - Capsules
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Writer-director Tom Ford’s psychological thriller is a glorified student film. Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2017 at Cole Smithey - Capsules
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I admit it: it’s hard to find empathy for the liberal Democrats who supported Hillary Clinton and are now shocked, shocked, shocked that That Horrible Man Donald Trump is about to become president. We lefties kept saying (and liberals kept scoffing) that Bernie would have beaten Trump; now that we’ve been proven right it’s only natural to want to keep rubbing the Hillarites’ faces in their abject wrongness. Continue reading
Posted Dec 27, 2016 at Cole Smithey - Articles
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Damien Chazelle wants to bring jazz back into America’s cultural conversation but he unintentionally cheapens the idea with saccharine sentimentality that the director attempts to conceal with a downbeat ending. Any jazz musician or fan knows that be-bop’s intrinsic element of syncopation relies on the upbeats. Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2016 at Cole Smithey - Reviews
Martin Scorsese Interview on Trump and the Pope Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2016 at Cole Smithey - Film Blog
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Robert Altman made a bold statement in his casting of Elliott Gould as a Jewish version of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe character in this modestly budgeted film. Giving the chain-smoking Marlowe an orange tabby as a beloved pet adds counterpoint to his not-so hardboiled character. Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2016 at Cole Smithey - Capsules
You may have heard of “mansplaining,” which is when a dude patronizingly explains something to a woman, often concerning a subject about which she knows more than he does (c.f., rape culture, workplace discrimination, etc.). Other spin-off portmanteaus mocking pompous people of privilege include whitesplaining (white person explains racism to black person), straightsplaining, Millennialsplaining, and even (during the primaries) Bernie-splaining. May the victory of Donald Trump mark the long overdue death of Ameri-splaining — when American leaders like Clinton and Obama (and not a few ordinary citizens) pretentiously declaim our nation’s supposed exceptionalism to people in countries that do a better job than we do. Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2016 at Cole Smithey - Articles
Posted Dec 4, 2016 at Cole Smithey - Film Blog
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THE 10 BEST FILMS OF 2016 Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2016 at Cole Smithey - Articles
Posted Dec 2, 2016 at Cole Smithey - Film Blog
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TEENAGE DEVIATE — CLASSIC FILM POSTER Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2016 at Cole Smithey - Film Blog
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Political exploitation is not a label that I apply lightly, but it fits the bill for this terribly disappointing film. The term applies to a picture that, however well meaning the intents of its producers (including Darren Aronofsky, a filmmaker I deeply respect and admire), misses its mark by a mile rather than by degree. Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2016 at Cole Smithey - Reviews
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One of the highlights of the New York holiday season is the annual Fox Searchlight party. "The Birth of a Nation" and "Jackie" are the two big films the studio featured. I had the pleasure of chatting with director Darren Aronofsky, and New York film critic institution Neil Rosen (see the picture below). Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2016 at Cole Smithey - Film Blog
Kino Lorber 2016 Home Video Highlights and Gift Guide Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2016 at Cole Smithey - Film Blog
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“A gun in the first act always goes off in the third” is an oldie but a goodie. Anytime a gun is exposed in the first act of a film or play, you can be sure that it will go off in the third act. See “La Ceremonie.” Continue reading
Posted Nov 24, 2016 at Cole Smithey - Articles
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The revolution comes from the inside in Claude Chabrol’s exquisite adaptation of Ruth Rendell’s 1977 satirical novel “A Judgement In Stone.” Not since Luis Bunuel has any filmmaker come so daringly close to enunciating the ideological, ethical, and soulful rift between the bourgeoisie and the rest of as Chabrol does in this fascinating, if darkly humorous, picture. Lesbian fires ignite. Daily rituals such as family dinners allow for insightful exposition. As with Bunuel’s films, food plays a significant part in daily rituals. Continue reading
Posted Nov 23, 2016 at Cole Smithey - Reviews