Love, according to this film, is close to death. Theresa Russell is raw and beautiful, and the film is full of symbols, of heartaches, of obsessions—Harvey Keitel’s, Art Garfunkel’s. Like a Schiele painting, which is high praise.
A film about pretending to be someone, so inventive that your head aches. Abbas Kiarostami is the Galileo of cinema; he rethinks it, repositions us within it.
High and Low
Akira Kurosawa is best known for Seven Samurai, but this is more fun. Hitchcockian and full of dread and gorgeous widescreen imagery.
The Insect Woman
One of the glories of Criterion is that it has so many films by Shohei Imamura. I’ve long said that this is the best film ever made. Maybe one day I’ll stop saying it, or stop believing it, but until then it will, for me, show everything—the reason for living and the reason for making movies.
I saw this when I was a teenager, and was struck by the nudity and atmosphere. Then I met Haskell Wexler and watched his film again, and realized that it is Godard in America—fragmented, passionately political, inventive, and seductive.
Ace in the Hole
My taste usually runs to loosely structured films, but this one is as taut as a drum. Kirk Douglas is as snappy as Edward G. Robinson, and the story—about the press exploiting tragedy—is Rupert Murdoch–ian. A film that seems to get younger as time goes on.
Jesse Malin’s Top 10
After playing in hard-core and glam bands throughout the 1980s and ’90s, Queens-born singer-songwriter Jesse Malin released his first solo album, The Fine Art of Self Destruction, in 2002.
Alec Baldwin’s Top 10
Actor Alec Baldwin’s film credits include Beetlejuice, Miami Blues, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Cooler (for which he was nominated for an Oscar), and The Departed. He has also won two Emmys for his role as Jack Donaghy on NBC’s…
Alan Rudolph’s Top 10
Alan Rudolph is a pioneer in the American independent film movement. He has directed nineteen narrative features, including Trouble in Mind, The Secret Lives of Dentists, Afterglow, Choose Me, and his new film Ray Meets Helen.