Reviews

Below is a collection of recent reviews on the site:

  • Meowtropolis: Review of “Kedi” (New York Observer) My review of Ceyda Torun’s 2016 documentary KEDI is now out in The New York Observer. Everyone in the neighborhood has a favorite cat—they give them names, personalities, entire narratives. Strangely—beautifully—in anthropomorphizing the cats, residents themselves are humanized in the exchange. One senses that Istanbul is a more caring, communal, functional city ...
  • “Behemoth” review on CityLab The Atlantic’s CityLab features my review of the Zhao Liang’s hauntingly meditative documentary, Behemoth. Click, read, watch, share. ather than focus close-in on the maw of this insatiable beast, Zhao places his lens at a quiet and safe remove. The effect, however, is not to deliver security, but instead to emphasize scale, ...
  • Rebels with a Cause (Nancy Kelly, 2014) This documentary, subtitled “How a battle over land changed the American landscape forever,” recounts the battles to stop development of the country’s national seashores and other recreation areas. More broadly, it seeks to describe the birth of the modern environmental preservation movement, giving full credit along the way to the “little people” — garden ...
  • Watermark: Reflections on a Vital Resource For one week starting April 11, the Kendall Cinema in Cambridge will feature a new film called WATERMARK by Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky. It’s a clever and fitting title, as the film’s main theme is both transparent and indelible: by exploring the myriad ways that water connects, supports, and shapes life on earth, ...
  • Blow-Up: the Filmerick As described previously, I’ve been exploring a new medium, the “filmerick” (limericks to summarize great films). Over the weekend my daughter and I were fortunate to catch a special screening of BLOW-UP at the Harvard Film Archive, and here’s what I came up with: BLOW-UP (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1966) With all of its visual glories, And behavior abhorrent to ...
  • “Filmericks” from my “City in Film” class This semester I’ve been teaching a new course on “The City in Film” in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning. As the syllabus describes: Using film as a lens to explore and interpret various aspects of the urban experience in both the U.S. and abroad, this course presents a survey of important developments in urbanism ...
  • Waste Land (2010) Review in Planning Magazine The January 2013 issue of the APA’s Planning Magazine features my review of the 2010 film, Waste Land, originally reviewed here on UrbanFilm.org. Click here to see it.
  • The Pruitt-Igoe Myth (Chad Freidrichs, 2011) There are a number of important films that tell a story that you’ve never heard before; THE PRUITT-IGOE MYTH, on the other hand, tells a story you’ve heard many times over, but does so in a way that makes you stop and question what you thought you knew, leaving you in a state of mind ...
  • Master Plan (Robert Todd, 2011) I first saw Robert Todd’s Master Plan over five months ago, and I’m still thinking about it. It’s a beautiful documentary of the best kind: one that presents stirring images and thought-provoking juxtapositions, but once stirred and provoked the viewer’s thoughts are allowed to marinate a while. The film shies away from any ...
  • Waste Land (Lucy Walker, 2010) As part of the 2012 noon-to-midnight MIT Urban Planning Movie Marathon, we screened Waste Land, which has already won a number of awards, including the 2010 Audience Award for Best World Cinema Documentary at Sundance, an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature, and the Amnesty International Human Rights Film Award given out in Berlin. ...
  • Hurdy Gurdy (Daniel Seideneder and Daniel Pfeiffer, 2011) In World on a Wire (reviewed previously), Rainer Werner Fassbinder explored the possibility of creating a miniature world through the use of a computer. In Hurdy Gurdy, a wonderful new short film from a German and Estonian collaboration, we get to enjoy the ways that the camera itself can render our real-world in apparent ...
  • World on a Wire (Fassbinder, 1973) Janus/Criterion has just re-released a beautiful print of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 1973 two-part film, World on a Wire, and I was fortunate enough to have 210 minutes free on a Saturday afternoon to watch it. It’s great. Plot-wise, the film covers much of the same ground as The Matrix and Inception – although ...

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