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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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John Goodman and Tommy Lee Jones, In The Electric Mist, Tavernier, 2009. Bertrand Tavernier, who died today at age 79 ("So young," gasped this 61-year-old) had a long, distinguished, and honorable career, one difficult to sum up quickly, in no small part because a good deal of his substantial filmography is unjustly obscure in the States. I met and interviewed him in 2011, when he was in New York promoting his exceptional, vivid historical film... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2021 at Some Came Running
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Zero Mostel in The Front (Bernstein and Ritt, 1976) I never met Walter Bernstein, the legendary screenwriter who died last night at the age of 101 —and while his passing is of course an occasion for mourning, good for him to reaching that age — but at times, with mutual friends, I could sense his presence. Those people I knew who did know Bernstein, and brought him up in conversation, carried his wisdom and humor... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2021 at Some Came Running
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“Real talk:” Like so many of you, I had looked forward to the PlayStation 5 for several months prior to its late fall release, and upon its late fall release, I followed a Twitter account that kept track of the stores that had it in stock (where it would stay in stock for nanosecond), I kept open tabs at Target, Best Buy, B&H, and the Sony store, and then made it a point not to... Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2021 at Some Came Running
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In more or less the order I heard them. Horace Tapscott and the Pan Afrikan Peoples Orchestra: Ancestral Echoes: The Covina Sessions 1976 (Dark Tree) Tapscott was an inspired pianist and a staggering composer and bandleader. It's both amazing and not at all amazing that he's not better known, but if you yearn for 100-proof spiritual jazz this will be your bag. Brandon Seabrook with Gerard Cleaver and Cooper-Moore: Exultations (Astral Spirits) Guitarist Seabrook's prior... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2021 at Some Came Running
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Writing a book and having it published by a prominent house is a generally pleasant experience, to put it mildly. Having your book get a warm reception from reviewers and readers, which my book Made Men: The Story of Goodfellas mostly has, is also nice. Selling well is…well I don’t want to repeat myself. My first Author’s Statement comes in January and since my editor has already told me that the book “exceeded expectations” I’m... Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2021 at Some Came Running
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The four best novels I read in 2020. It could hardly have been predicted that the author I would read the most of in 2020 would be Erle Stanley Gardner, followed closely by John Dickson Carr. And yet in retrospect it makes total sense. Below are all the books I finished in 2020, in the order I read them. Cocktail Time, P.G. Wodehouse Nothing like a little Wodehouse to dispel the New Year's blues. Right... Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2020 at Some Came Running
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I started this in late March 2020. And then I stopped work on it because I realized it (“it” meaning staying inside) WOULD NEVER END, maybe. Some time in summer I spruced up the notes. But not a whole lot. From March on, too, I had book stuff to do, I was teaching, and to be honest I was sufficiently dispirited in a particular way that I also did not feel much like doing any... Continue reading
Posted Dec 13, 2020 at Some Came Running
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Ten, in order of preference, that are tops: Vitalina Varena (Pedro Costa) First Cow (Kelly Reichardt) Lyrical, radical, fond, funny, tragic. She Dies Tomorrow (Amy Seimetz) The pandemic movie that wasn't necessarily meant as a pandemic movie, this remarkable existential horror movie was not professionally reviewed by me, because I'm friendly with the director and my wife is friendlier still. Mrs. Kenny is the proud owner of a baseball cap quoting one of the movie's... Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2020 at Some Came Running
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The rock critic Robert Christgau was, and remains, a skeptic of art rock, which was one of the things I took slight issue with as one of his teen readers in the 1970s. But his discernment in this area also meant that when he came across an art rock band he enjoyed, attention to it would be well-rewarded. One of such bands was an outfit called Tin Huey, out of Akron, where Christgau traveled in... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2020 at Some Came Running
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In 2011 I was commissioned by a home video label to contribute a booklet essay to its edition of Rouben Mamoulian's City Streets. The release was cancelled after it proved impossible to create a viable disc. I thought, since today Turner Classic Movies is showing the picture as part of its 24-hour tribute to Sylvia Sidney, it might not be the worst idea to take the essay out of mothballs, so to speak. “Film critics... Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2020 at Some Came Running
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Dulle Greit, Pieter Brughel the Elder, 1563 Those fleeing Spanish fascism were greeted by the fascism taking hold in France. Brecht saw that what was now taking shape no longer fit the shape of a chamber play, but rather in the landscape of Dulle Griet, or of the Triumph of Death, as Brueghel had painted them. He had the open, wide-format book brought over from a table. For a while it seemed the only thing... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2020 at Some Came Running
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Hello there. Customarily I point to my PayPal widget whenever I post one of these monoliths, but in this case I’ll instead ask you to consider donating to the Cinema Worker Solidarity Fund. Thanks. Equipment: PlayStation 4, OPPO Sony KD50X690E display, Yamaha RXV-385 A/V receiver. And Hope To Die (Kino Lorber) A remarkable curio. One of Rene Clement’s last pictures, it’s leagues removed from the focus and discipline of Purple Noon. The droll Leone pastiche... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2020 at Some Came Running
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"Let's take a subject of great simplicity, some phase of life in this great country and make it screamingly funny to an amazed and happily unsettled world." Orson Welles wrote to his schoolmaster and mentor, Roger Hill, in the summer of 1932. "Even as I write this an idea for a half-opera/half-revue pops on the horizon. A history of America in, let's say, ten scenes! Discovery, Revolution, Pioneering, Abolition, Civil War, Suffrage, Prohibition, Bootlegging, Advertising,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2020 at Some Came Running
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A particularly Murnau-esque image from Scorsese's film. A lot of people don’t like Shutter Island. I get that. It’s excessive, lurid, and even those who’d argue the excess is part of the point will perhaps admit it does duty above and beyond in that respect. Mystery mavens will tell you the film’s plot is laughably obvious. It’s arguable that the film conjures up tropes of the atrocities of 20th century history far too glibly. I... Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2020 at Some Came Running
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Sofia Boutella and company, Climax, directed by Gaspar Noe I have never found ranked lists of anything entirely credible, because after all what could be the really credible meteric by which a critic could take a group of films, or books, or restaurants even, that they admired during a discrete time period and break down their various levels of quality to the extent that the distinctions between one and ten were so argumentatively substantial that... Continue reading
Posted Dec 28, 2019 at Some Came Running
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People in the U.S. are really into hating jazz. Remember when a bunch of us got really cranky about that Buzzfeed “What’s the deal with jazz?” thing? (Yeah, no, I’m not gonna link to it.) Then just a couple of weeks ago on the Twitter a high-profile profile writer recounted how Billy Bob Thornton once told her that jazz was a long con and that anyone who said they liked it was just doing a... Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2019 at Some Came Running
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Kirk and Kirk On May 25th I had the honor of presenting, at the great NY moviehouse The Metrograph, Elia Kazan's 1969 The Arrangement. These are the program notes for the show: “Plastic people! Oh baby now you’re such a drag!” So bellowed The Mothers of Invention in 1967. That same year Elia Kazan issued a not dissimilar cri de coeur in his doorstop-size novel “The Arrangement,” which he adapted into a film two years... Continue reading
Posted May 29, 2019 at Some Came Running
I teach two recitation sections for a “Language of Film” class at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and this week the main lecturer was screening Charles Burnett’s landmark 1977 debut feature Killer of Sheep, which he was using as an example of personal storytelling. For my 75-minute recitation section I thought I’d extrapolate on another aspect of Burnett’s work by screening sections of his third feature, To Sleep With Anger (just now available in... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2019 at Some Came Running
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Sometimes when my buddy Bruce Lee Gallanter, proprietor of my favorite extant NYC record store, Downtown Music Gallery, is compiling an annual best-of feature for his newsletter, he asks me to kick in a top ten. And because I’m undisciplined this way, I give him a top thirty or thirty one. After drafting the list, I thought I’d do some re-listening, to make sure, and also draft some notes, a bunch detailed, others not, and... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2019 at Some Came Running
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To Peter Nellhaus, and to the memory of Nick Redman. Equipment: Playstation 3, Sony KD50X690E display, Pioneer Elite VSX-817 AV amplifier/receiver. (As it happens even the U.K. imports I looked at this time around were all-region, so the OPPO was not brought into play.) Age of Consent (Indicator) There’s a super-cheap U.S.-issued Sony Blu-ray double-featuring this 1969 Michael Powell picture with Cactus Flower (some May-December romance theme uniting them I guess) and while it looks... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2019 at Some Came Running
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So at the end of every year I rearrange my computer desktop. Folders for freelance work, SCR work, and more go on to an external hard drive and are replaced on the desktop with folders for the current year. And one thing that had been on the desktop, outside of any folder, more than half a year was a document titled "AUGUST 2018 BLU RAY CONSUMER GUIDE." This is how it always works when I... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2019 at Some Came Running
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Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film by Alan K. Rode Curtiz directed so many pictures that a truly comprehensive account could have devolved into tedious box-checking. Rode does an admirable job balancing narrative momentum with critical perspective, breaking down how Curtiz could bring a cinematic dynamism to the least promising material. He doesn't shirk from Curtiz's poor (autocratic, monomaniacal, almost consistently amoral) character either. The Memoirs Of Two Young Wives by Honoré de Balzac, translated... Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2018 at Some Came Running
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Daniel Giménez Cacho in Zama. Against seemingly insurmountable odds (that I couldn't actually name; I'm just trying to be "zippy" here) 2018 turned out to be a great year for movies. Below, my faves, with links where I've reviewed, or sone something resembling a review, "remarks" where I haven't reviewed, and so on. The first ten are in vigorous preferential order, the second twenty in looser preferential order, the next batch after that in looser... Continue reading
Posted Dec 21, 2018 at Some Came Running
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Don't Look Now, 1973 1. How exciting and confounding it was to be a teen cinephile in 1976, when Nicolas Roeg's The Man Who Fell To Earth was released. I was sixteen going on seventeen that spring and Roeg's movies were not for kids, but I fought to see them anyway, and worked to understand them after I saw them, and Man proved to be the toughest picture yet. My small circle and I thought... Continue reading
Posted Nov 24, 2018 at Some Came Running
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CLAIRE [KENNY]: Here we are again, and reuniting with so many of our old friends from Adam’s Rib! That would be, to remind everyone, screenwriters Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon, director George Cukor, and of course, KH/ST. This is all a little bit unfair, especially when the two films are viewed back-to-back, as we have done here, because the current selection does (somewhat) suffer by comparison to the prior. I do think we both had... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2018 at Some Came Running