The best films of 2017, part three

12. The Death of Louis XIV, dir. Albert Serra. From my review: Playing the Sun King in The Death of Louis XIV, the seventy-six-year-old Jean-Pierre Léaud surrenders any relation to the rest of his body. In one of film’s longest goodbyes, he’s shot from the head up as the grandest and greatest of French autocrats succumbsContinue reading “The best films of 2017, part three”

I got no Aperol: State of the Union 2018

It’s 8:18 p.m, and that bastion of #woke liberalism MSNBC has had Eugene Robinson mourning the evaporation of a “bipartisan oasis” like the Senate Intelligence Committee and Peggy Noonan, who spoke with the clarity of a person miffed that she only gulped one Tito’s and soda, lamented the collapse of presidents who Brought People TogetherContinue reading “I got no Aperol: State of the Union 2018”

The best films of 2017, part two

16. Personal Shopper, dir. Olivier Assayas. From my review: The closest analogue to [Olivier] Assayas’ approach is The Green Room, François Truffaut’s 1976 adaptation of Henry James’ “The Altar of the Dead,” in which the director himself plays a man caught in the grip of the departed whom he has commemorated with such feeling. WhetherContinue reading “The best films of 2017, part two”

‘In the Fade’ struggles to earn tragic inevitability

One truth emerges from In the Fade: Germans still tolerate smoking. Katja Sekerci, played by Diane Kruger, is rarely seen without a smoldering fag — in her home, in bars, in an automobile (many Berlin bars still get around national bans, according to reports). When a bomb kills her husband and young son, Katja stumblesContinue reading “‘In the Fade’ struggles to earn tragic inevitability”

Worst Songs Ever: Chris de Burgh’s “The Lady in Red”

Like a good single, a terrible one reveals itself with airplay and forbearance. I don’t want to hate songs; to do so would shake ever-sensitive follicles, and styling gel is expensive. I promise my readers that my list will when possible eschew obvious selections. Songs beloved by colleagues and songs to which I’m supposed toContinue reading “Worst Songs Ever: Chris de Burgh’s “The Lady in Red””

The normalization project continues

After beginning a paragraph with the stunningly vapid rhetorical question, “Should Stephen Miller be at the table” one of the New York Times’ stupidest columnists lets us watch the remains of his cerebellum crumble into ash: Miller is the White House’s point man for immigration policy (and for strange and strident encounters with the press).Continue reading “The normalization project continues”

The best films of 2017, part #1

Excellent queer films get released every year, but 2017 was exceptional for seeing several of those excellent films garnering widespread praise and a semblance of an American release. This year I noticed my picks align with consensus more than usual. Let me do my best to screw it up. 20. The Killing of the SacredContinue reading “The best films of 2017, part #1”

Sinatra had his shit figured out, I presume: The best of Jens Lekman

Betraying roots in Jonathan Richman’s brand of hangdog self-parodic miserabilism (“I Know What Love Isn’t”) and fascination for the topical (“I Saw Her in the Anti War Demonstration”), Jens Lekman has emerged as one of my favorite singer-songwriters of the last decade. I had problems with the Swede at first — the voice, steeped inContinue reading “Sinatra had his shit figured out, I presume: The best of Jens Lekman”

The sixty-two best directors

A couple weeks ago, ILX ran a list of our picks for fifty best directors in film history. Below is my alphabetized list, expanded to sixty; how the hell would you argue that Béla Tarr is “better” than Preston Sturges? Also included are a couple of contemporaries like James Gray and Desplechin whose work IContinue reading “The sixty-two best directors”

I’m so crazy: The best of Rick James

Sweating with the effort of giving up the funk, Rick James is my least favorite of the disco and post-disco era’s major R&B stars. After 1981’s breakthrough Street Songs, he was just about done as an artist, whining dumb-ass love jive over thin synth squiggles for album after desultory album. But enough. For a fewContinue reading “I’m so crazy: The best of Rick James”

Sup up your beer and collect your fags: The best of the Jam and Style Council

The English musical establishment — from Steve Winwood and Robert Wyatt to Noel Gallagher and Graham Coxon — adores Paul Weller. So does enough of the island to give him a commercial floor that’s startling to an American whose exposure was limited to “A Town Called Malice” at indie clubs, Morrissey’s cover of “That’s Entertainment,”Continue reading “Sup up your beer and collect your fags: The best of the Jam and Style Council”