The Hal Hartley Thread

For those who grew up watching and enjoying John Hughes films, Hal Hartley would be the filmmaker they “graduated” to when going to college. These viewers would embrace Hartley has commenting on suburban American characters, but in a more sophisticated and serious way, while being humorous and accessible at the time. If Richard Linklater is the filmmaker for Generation X, Hartley is more of the independent filmmaker version of this.

Right now, the Criterion Channel is streaming most of Hartley’s films. This is a thread will be a repository for reviews, comments, and discussion about Hartley and these films.


Indiewire (8/16/23) interview

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

In the past, I believed this was among the greatest movies ever made, even though I had nothing more than a vague understanding of the film. The cinematic quality of the movie–i.e., the combination of images and sound–by itself–was exceptional, and I didn’t feel an urgent need to discover a coherent interpretation of the film.

Well, I recently re-watched the film, and I do think I have a better understanding of the film, one that is significantly different. In this thread, I’ll present my current understanding of the film, but before I do, I wanted to mention a film random comments that don’t pertain to the interpretation.

Continue reading “2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)”

Movies You’ve Always Wondered About

Back in the day, when video rental stores existed, one memory I have is relatively long time to choose a movie–especially, when this involved a group of friends. (The same dynamic has moved over to streaming sites.) During this process, I recall certain films that would look intriguing–either because of the cover design and blurb or because of the cast and director–but for whatever reason, I (we) would never choose the film.

In this thread, I want to discuss some of those films. Please share some of these films, and give some comments if you eventually got around to watching them; or, if you didn’t, why you think you never did. I actually have three that are streaming now, and I just saw one of them. I’ll talk about the film (and hopefully the other two, when I see them) in this thread.

An Alternate Approach to Best of the Year Lists

As I see the best of the year lists popping up, I once again think about another approach I wish critics would employ–namely, instead of identifying the best works relative to other works within a given year, identify the works in a given year that compare favorably with the all-time great works. One drawback here is that none of the works may meet this criterion. For me, I don’t see this as a drawback. Here’s the reason why (and this will explain my overall mindset with regard to this topic).

Continue reading “An Alternate Approach to Best of the Year Lists”

How Was Barnes and Noble Able to Turn Things Around?

Barnes and Noble is doing so well financially that they plan to open thirty new stores in 2023. That caught my attention, and I think it’s great news. Why is the store thriving? That’s the question music critic, Ted Gioia, tries to answer in this post. I agree with some of the reasons he cites (e.g., appointing a better CEO who decentralized decision making), but I’m dissatisfied with the overarching reason he offers–namely, that the new CEO loves books.

In this thread, I’ll explain the reason I feel this way, as well as offer an alternate explanation that seems more compelling. (In spite of this slight disagreement, I recommend reading his post.) OK, let’s begin.

Continue reading “How Was Barnes and Noble Able to Turn Things Around?”

Sight and Sound’s 2022 All-Time Greatest Movie List

For most of my adult life, the subject of all-time great movies interested me a lot, but in the past few years, that interest has waned considerably.This fact came to my attention with the release of Sight and Sound’s all-time great movie list, which they release every decade starting in 1952. The list has several significant changes, and those changes made me think about this topic again. I use this thread to work out some thoughts on this, as well as comment on the list. By the way, here’s the top 100:

Continue reading “Sight and Sound’s 2022 All-Time Greatest Movie List”