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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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Barnburner. It speaks volumes that the two best films of 2020 were based on plays (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “One Night In Miami”). Both films directly address the Black experience in America, albeit at different cataclysmic moments in the country’s history. Continue reading
Posted 8 hours ago at Cole Smithey - Capsules
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Francesco Rosi’s 1979 filmic adaptation of Turinese political activist Carlo Levi’s popular 1945 memoir, about his year spent in political exile suffering Draconian punishments under Mussolini’s fascist regime, is a fluid masterpiece of social realism. Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Cole Smithey - Capsules
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Luis Buñuel paved the way for the nonrealistic style that would sweep across Europe after Italian Neorealism took hold during World War II. Buñuel’s “Las Hurdes: Tierra Sin Pan (“Land Without Bread) established neorealism’s documentary style, and use of unprofessional actors, to exert an invisible effect of editorial point-making. However, Buñuel had more tricks up his sleeve. Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2021 at Cole Smithey - Capsules
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Dig the groovy vibe of this stunning independent gem. Think Bonnie and Clyde, but with a lot more style, sex, attitude, and daringness. Surprises just keep coming through the lives of American characters so lived in, you’ll swear you’re part of the adventure. Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2021 at Cole Smithey - Capsules
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Worthy. Screenwriters Anna Waterhouse and Joe Shrapnel do a respectable job with the impossible task of condensing the complex character of Jean Seberg (see Jean Luc Goddard's "Breathless") into an unvarnished filmic portrait. To that end, Kristen Stewart excels at every level. Kristen Stewart is just so damned convincing as Jean Seberg. We buy her, heart and soul. To say that Ms. Stewart’s portrayal is brilliant is a vast understatement. Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2021 at Cole Smithey - Capsules
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Irredeemable shite. “The Lodge” is a mean-spirited, ignorant assault on Cinema, and on its audience. Screenwriter-directors Sergio Casci and Veronika Franz aren’t fit to flip burgers at a fast-food chain, based on their pathetic attempt at exploitation horror. With no trace of humor or good will, the filmmakers craft a feel-bad picture with the potential to traumatize its viewers if not bore them into a trance state of misery. Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2021 at Cole Smithey - Capsules
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Potentially life altering. If after watching this mind-opening documentary you don’t break up with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc., you will probably still take a much harder view of technologies that are ruining society on a global scale. Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2021 at Cole Smithey - Capsules
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Move over “Home For The Holidays” (Jodie Foster’s 1995 holiday favorite); there’s finally a better family holiday movie for audiences to rally around. Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2021 at Cole Smithey - Capsules
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In the face of Hollywood’s drought of humane Cinema comes an understated exposé of staggering editorial substance. Beijing born triple-threat screenwriter, director, and editor Chloé Zhao exerts majestic restraint with grounded resolve with this, her third feature film. Nomadland is 21st century neo-realism you can sink your teeth into. I promise you, after seeing “Nomadland” you’ll want to check out Zhao’s other movies, “Songs My Brothers Taught Me” (2015), and “The Rider” (2017). Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2021 at Cole Smithey - Capsules
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As a filmmaker, George Clooney still has some things to learn about pacing, shifting tempos, and editing. “The Midnight Sky” is far from being near perfect but still manages to hit its emotional marks regardless. The special effects are impressive even if some of its plot aspects test the boundaries of logic and reason. Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2021 at Cole Smithey - Capsules
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John Patrick Shanley might not be a household name, but the Oscar-winning screenwriter of “Moonstruck” (1987) has a knack for writing hilarious dialogue for star-crossed lovers. As he did with his stage play “Doubt,” Shanley adapts the screenplay for “Wild Mountain Thyme” to direct the film version. Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2021 at Cole Smithey - Capsules
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A dream-team ensemble (Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman, Colman Domingo, Glynn Turman, Michael Potts, Jeremy Shamos, and Taylour Paige) bring director George C. Wolfe’s vibrant adaptation of August Wilson’s ‘20s era social realist play to dynamic life. Viola Davis returns to her familiar August Wilson stomping grounds to deliver a virtuosic performance of infinite realism. Viola Davis does the impossible with a heartfelt portrayal capable of lifting the spirit of a nation. Davis gives a dynamite performance for the ages. It will be a sin if she doesn't win a Best Actress Oscar. Continue reading
Posted Dec 23, 2020 at Cole Smithey - Capsules
Wishing every one a very Bossa Christmas! Here's Roberto Menescal's "Little Boat." Continue reading
Posted Dec 21, 2020 at Cole Smithey - Film Blog
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Stalingrad-born Elem Klimov's "Come and See" is an undiluted expression of cinematic poetry in the service of an unspeakably turbulent, fact-based, anti-war narrative about the 628 Belarusian villages burnt to the ground along with their inhabitants by the Nazis during World War II. The film is a disorienting vision of a genocide hell on Earth that would pale Hieronymus Bosch's most gruesome compositions. Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2020 at Cole Smithey - Reviews
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I’ve watched writer-director Michael Winterbottom’s four “Trip” comedies more than I’ve watched any other films. I’ve streamed them, watching just five or ten minutes at a time, or repeatedly all the way through, to savor every line or lush vista of the films’ stunning locations. The movies have helped me stay rational during the insanity of Donald Trump’s trademarked Covid19 virus era that has no end in sight. I have no plan to ever stop watching the “Trip” films either, so there. Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2020 at Cole Smithey - Articles
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Robert Altman's small Southern town crime comedy from the pre-smart-phone-days of 1999 is layered with strokes of thematic depth and nuanced satire. Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2020 at Cole Smithey - Capsules
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David Koepp's 1998 romcom could improve your amorous relationship, even on a first date. The movie makes the best use of Manhattan's Carnegie Hill locations since "84 Charring Cross Road." Téa Leoni and Ricky Gervais are hilarious in this underseen gem. Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2020 at Cole Smithey - Capsules
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Unburied (previously lost) silent films from late 19th and early 20th centuries make up this documentary feast. Time travel is real. History comes to life. Go back in time. This is a one-of-a-kind cinematic experience. Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2020 at Cole Smithey - Capsules
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Essential. Ric Burns’s brilliant deep-dive documentary about neurologist and author Oliver Wolf Sacks captures the complex mind and wild life story of a man whose influence continues to expand across global societies. Burns gives the loquacious doctor center stage at a table of his closest friends and colleagues to underpin a seamless documentary that informs and enthralls in equal measure. The vibe is joyful and homey even as news of Sacks’s terminal cancer comes to the fore during the making of the film. Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2020 at Cole Smithey - Capsules
Before the end of 2020, Kino Lorber will make available to the US public another incredible selection of home video releases including independent, classic, foreign, and documentary films - and we would like you to consider including these films on your end-of-the-year gift guide or list. This list represents just a selection from the more than 4,000 titles available in our library at kinolorber.com. Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2020 at Cole Smithey - Film Blog
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Reservations are recommended. Welcome all! See you at the BIRDSALL HOUSE! Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2020 at Cole Smithey - Film Blog
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Francesco Rosi’s 1979 filmic adaptation of Turinese political activist Carlo Levi’s popular 1945 memoir, about his year spent in political exile suffering Draconian punishments under Mussolini’s fascist regime, is a fluid masterpiece of social realism. Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2020 at Cole Smithey - Reviews
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Can you pick me out from my high school swim team? Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2020 at Cole Smithey - Film Blog