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Cole Smithey
The Smartest Film Critic in the World
Interests: Film, Jazz Guitar, Teaching, Craft Beer, Great Food, Travel.
Recent Activity
"Kantemir Balagov was born in 1991 in Nalchik, capital of the autonomous Russian Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria. He undertook studies in Economy then Law and directed several web mini-series shot on a still camera before discovering that Alexandre Sokurov had opened a film school in his home town. At the end of their interview, Sokurov placed him directly in the third year study group. Balagov directed several short films, then armed with his first feature script was able to raise the money with Sokurov’s help, to make "Closeness," which premiered in Un Certain Regard 2017, where he won a FIPRESCI prize. "Dylda," Balagov's film about women who fought as soldiers trying to rejoin civil society after the Second World War, is being screened in the festival's Un Certain Regard section. Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Cole Smithey - Articles
Cinema's most revered and prolific leftist filmmaker Ken Loach ("Kes," "The Wind That Shakes The Barley," "I, Daniel Blake") returns once more to Cannes with yet another social-activist film to touch the hearts and minds of audiences. Loach works with his longtime screenwriting partner Paul Laverty to dramatize the toll being exacting on working British families by a government system designed to humiliate and punish average citizens attempting to live productive lives. Loach's filmic efforts may not always strike with the intended affect, but his films are never less than rigorous and convincing. Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Cole Smithey - Articles
Austrian auteur Jessica Hausner returns to Cannes (her debut film "Lovely Rita" was screened in the festival's Un Certain Regard section in 2001, as was her 2014 film Amour Fou) with a sci-fi inflected drama starring Ben Whishaw, Emily Beecham ("Hail, Caesar!"), Kerry Fox, and Leanne Best ("Film Stars Don't Die In Liverpool"). "Little Joe" is Hausner's film film to be placed in competition for the Palme d'Or. Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Cole Smithey - Articles
The incomparable Léa Seydoux stars in this policier from Cannes staple Arnaud Desplechin. French auteurs don't come much better than Desplechin, whose ability to create thematically driven stories rooted in the deepest canals of human nature can take your breath away. Like his exquisite film "A Christmas Tale," "Oh Mercy! is set during the Christian holiday. Showing in competition, "Oh Mercy" marks Desplechin's sixth film to compete for the Palme d'Or. This could well be Desplechin's big year in Cannes Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Cole Smithey - Articles
If you've been fortunate enough to have seen other films by Céline Sciamma, such as "Water Lillies," "Tomboy," or "Girlhood," then you know what a powerful filmic storyteller she is. Sciamma gets to depths of social, emotional, and intellectual truths that other filmmakers only dream of ever achieving. I predict that "Portrait of a Lady on Fire" will prove every bit as engaging as Sciamma's past films. This Competition film could walk away with the coveted Palme d'Or this year. Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Cole Smithey - Articles
Jim Jarmusch, Elia Suleiman, Arnaud Desplechin, Bong Joon-Ho, Céline Sciamma, Jessica Hausner, Karim Aïnouz, Kantemir Balagov, Ken Loach, Marco Bellocchio, Ira Sachs, Annie Silverstein, Corneliu Porumboiu, Asif Kapadia, Claude Lelouch, Werner Herzog, Lee Won-Tae, Bruno Dumont, Midi Z, Christophe Honoré, Danielle Lessovitz, Mati Diop, Justine Triet, Nicolas Bedos, Pippa Bianco, and Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have movies I'd go out of my way to see at the festival. Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Cole Smithey - Articles
He entirely belongs to cinema and its finest works and legends: in 2019, the Festival de Cannes has decided to award Alain Delon with an Honorary Palme d'or to pay tribute to his wonderful presence in the history of film.After Jeanne Moreau, Woody Allen, Bernardo Bertolucci, Jane Fonda, Clint Eastwood, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Manoel de Oliveira, Agnès Varda and Jean-Pierre Léaud, the Festival de Cannes is proud and delighted that the legendary actor who starred in Luchino Visconti's The Leopard (Palme d'or, 1963) has accepted this honour from the international community."Pierre Lescure and I are delighted that Alain Delon has accepted to be honoured by the Festival," says Thierry Frémaux, General Delegate. He hesitated for a long time, having long been reluctant to this Palme d'or because he thought he should only come to Cannes to celebrate the directors he had been working with." Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Cole Smithey - Film Blog
Avant-garde but popular, intimate yet universal, her films have led the way. And so, perched high on this pyramid, surveying the beach at Cannes, young and eternal, Agnès Varda will be the inspirational guiding light of this 72nd edition of the Festival! Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2019 at Cole Smithey - Film Blog
For anyone like myself who holds Terry Gilliam in high esteem in spite of the fact that he hasn’t made a decent film since “Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas” back in 1998, you will need to see this filmic atrocity for yourself. You too will know that, in the end, it was Terry Gilliam who killed Don Quixote. Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2019 at Cole Smithey - Reviews
French filmmaker and screenwriter Claire Denis is to lead the Short Films and Cinéfondation Jury of the 72nd Festival de Cannes. The Festival de Cannes will take place from Tuesday May 14 to Saturday May 25, 2019. The Competition Jury will be chaired by Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu, and Un Certain Regard Jury by Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki. Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2019 at Cole Smithey - Film Blog
The first major exhibition in an art museum dedicated entirely to the iconic instruments of rock and roll will go on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art beginning April 8, 2019. Through more than 130 instruments dating from 1939 to 2017—played by artists such as Chuck Berry, Eric Clapton, Sheryl Crow, Bob Dylan, Don Felder, Kim Gordon, Jimi Hendrix, James Hetfield, Wanda Jackson, Joan Jett, Lady Gaga, Steve Miller, Joni Mitchell, Jimmy Page, Kate Pierson, Elvis Presley, Prince, Keith Richards, Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr, Eddie Van Halen, Stevie Ray Vaughan, St. Vincent, Tina Weymouth, Nancy Wilson, and others—Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll will explore one of the most influential artistic movements of the 20th century and the objects that made the music possible. Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2019 at Cole Smithey - Film Blog
Jim Jarmusch amasses a cast of pals (Iggy Pop, Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, Rosie Perez, Sara Driver, RZA, Selena Gomez, Carol Kane, Tom Waits) for what looks to be a satisfying cinematic experience. Like Harmony Korine (currently with "The Beach Bum"), Jarmusch seems to be going for the funny stuff. Yum. Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2019 at Cole Smithey - Film Blog
Documentarian Alison Klayman (“Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry”) brilliantly contextualizes Steve Bannon’s bizarre racist mission within the many coded ways the right-wing fascist ideologue expresses his murderous subtext to politicians (see Nigel Farage), billionaires (see Blackwater’s Erik Prince and Guo Media’s Miles Kwok), hack journalists, sycophantic fans, television interviewers, and in personal interactions. Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2019 at Cole Smithey - Reviews
The industrial city of Sheffield, England was the birthplace for the electronic pop explosion of post punk bands like "Vice Versa," "The Human League," "Heaven 17," "ABC,” and "Cabaret Voltaire." Slick style and cultural cool pulses, heats up, and grows on an international level in a bastion of fearless creativity. Here is an essential chapter of musical history brought to relevant life and context. Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2019 at Cole Smithey - Capsules
No stars for this lame attempt at stylish suspense and psychological voyeurism. Continue reading
Posted Mar 4, 2019 at Cole Smithey - Reviews
Pauline Kael said that "great movies are rarely perfect movies," and this truism certainly applies to The Ninth Gate. Actress Emmanuelle Seigner's (Frantic) sub-plot as Dean Corso's mysterious, dark guardian angel slips through the film as a sexy and enigmatic mascot that Corso accepts too easily. Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2019 at Cole Smithey - Reviews
More character and social study than the historically relevant document you might hope for, “Hummus! The Movie” comes up short. It doesn’t help that a stark omission of necessary subtitles will prevent English speaking audiences from understanding a significant portion of the documentary. A lack of chyrons places further distance from the viewer. Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2019 at Cole Smithey - Capsules
Weld instinctively understood what Joseph Campbell called “following your bliss.” In Weld’s case that bliss relied on the love of a woman with whom he could share his ambitions and desires. Indeed, there’s something to be said for that. Seek out this enjoyable little movie if you are so inclined; it’s still better than some Oscar-nominated movies that might come across. Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2019 at Cole Smithey - Capsules
The World Is Not Enough keeps the stakes high for the James Bond franchise by paying closer attention to character development and interaction than recent films in the series. M proves herself to not be a perfect judge of character, and the beautiful Princess Elektra has a little "Stockholm Syndrome" stuck in the front of her mind to give the plot some artful double-crossing. Denise Richards may not be the most believable nuclear weapons expert as Dr. Christmas Jones, but she is the most comely. Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2019 at Cole Smithey - Reviews
John Woo's summer blockbuster is surely the most elegant and graceful example of cinema's technology advanced comeuppance so far. Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2019 at Cole Smithey - Reviews
Ghost Ship won't rock anyone's world, but it's still an improvement on another recent horror flick, The Ring, from which audiences walk out scratching their heads as to what they saw and why they spent their hard-earned money to see such a morass of cinematic boredom. Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2019 at Cole Smithey - Reviews
Cole Smithey Presents Hollywood In 10 Movies Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2019 at Cole Smithey - Articles
“Stellar engine”? That’s the name of my new 1980s retro-synth band. We’re influenced by Soft Cell. Also, “just”? 66 million is “just”? Even compared to 75 million? Anyway, Anna Sofia Martin writes, “a whopping 55% of startup founders are part of Gen X.” So much for slacking. Anyway, who can afford it? We Gen Xers, not Millennials, were the first generation to get crushed by student loan debt. Even so, we have “31% of U.S. income, but just 25% of the population.” So latchkey kids really are having a sort of revenge. Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2019 at Cole Smithey - Articles
Australian actor-turned-director Cameron Nugent’s debut feature is an inept magical realist story infused with a tone-deaf sense of humor and a vague sense of thematic direction. Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2019 at Cole Smithey - Reviews
“The Favourite” isn’t even a pale imitation of the sardonic satire that it aspires to. Where is the Marquis de Sade when you need him most? Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2018 at Cole Smithey - Capsules