Nota Bene: The New Canon


The Washington Post‘s Ann Hornaday has just addressed an obvious lacuna in movie criticism by declaring first that not only has the Great Movie Canon remained stubbornly fixed for too long (Vertigo, Citizen Kane) but that there are many movies post-2000 that stand up alongside all the greats of yesteryear.

Hornaday’s article “The New Canon” is an absolute must-read. She also selected a fairly unassailable list, excepting maybe Spike Lee’s adventurous but uneven 25th Hour and Kenneth Lonergan’s solid but somewhat unremarkable You Can Count on Me. Her list is here but it’s best reading her arguments are each of them as well:

  • Children of Men
  • 25th Hour
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Michael Clayton
  • Pan’s Labyrinth
  • There Will Be Blood
  • Boyhood
  • 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days
  • Old Joy
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • Hunger
  • You Can Count on Me
  • No Country for Old Men
  • I’m Not There
  • Minority Report
  • Dunkirk
  • Mudbound
  • Spotlight
  • Son of Saul
  • Stories We Tell
  • The Fog of War
  • The Royal Tenenbaums
  • Spirited Away

New in Theaters: ‘Red Hook Summer’

In Red Hook Summer, star Clarke Peters spends a lot of time moping his brow. Theoretically, that’s because the film is set in the middle of a hot Brooklyn summer. It soon becomes difficult, though, to imagine Peters is sweating for any reason besides the fact that he’s working overtime trying to breathe some life and purpose into this directionless work from the possibly past-his-prime Spike Lee. In the grace and power of Peters’ performance, Lee has created one of his most memorable characters. Sadly, it’s nearly all for naught…

Red Hook Summer — Spike Lee’s first narrative film since 2008’s Miracle at St. Anna — opened in limited release on Friday. My review is at Film Journal International.

Trailer is here, and is worth checking out for Peters’ singing alone: