Films of 2024:Q1

I read another Gene Wolfe trilogy, this one about ancient Greece. Not as good as the three “Sun” series, but still enjoyable. Stefan Zweig’s The World of Yesterday was another highlight, a brilliant work of social science masquerading as a memoir. Benjamin Moser’s The Upside Down World is an excellent study of Dutch painting, and more. How good could Carel Fabritius have been? A few of his paintings remind me a bit of Velazquez. I also enjoyed Art of the Japanese Postcard. I’ve also been trying to catch up on several decades of pop music. (I’m afraid my taste is mostly stuck in 1965-80.) Lana del Rey is my newest favorite. Alvvays has some infectious pop for when you are driving, not too syrupy. Black Country, New Road is an interesting group (might appeal to Radiohead fans?) And even 2 generations later, we still have “new Dylans.” For TV, I tried The Regime and quickly gave up. It’s like Succession, but with all the good stuff removed. I recently started Ice Cold Murders, which is one more example of the now global phenomenon of complex flawed detectives with a heart of gold. I guess viewers can never get enough of this formula, although I’m getting close. At best, they are painless sociological lessons on various subcultures—in this case Alpine Italy.

2024:Q1 films

Newer Films:

Monster (Japan) 3.9 Kore-eda’s best work since Nobody Knows, and one of the best films of the past decade. Every single aspect of the filmmaking is first class, including screenplay, acting, cinematography, sound, etc.

Anselm (Germany) 3.8 An outstanding art documentary, directed by Wim Wenders. My only complaint is that I would have liked to see more on the exhibition in the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. There are interesting parallels between the style of the paintings he exhibited and the Tintoretto masterpieces in the same location.

In the Court of the Crimson King (UK) 3.7 In some ways, this is better than the Anselm documentary. But I like Anselm better as an artist, so I rate that film higher. There are some very funny sequences, as well as some deeply moving ones.

Perfect Days (Japan/Germany) 3.7 As I get older, I increasingly appreciate this sort of minimalist film. My only reservation is that at times I felt like the film was more about Wim Wender’s impeccable taste in pop music than the story he was filming.

The Movie Emperor (Hong Kong) 3.4 I generally don’t appreciate Chinese comedies, but this one was pretty effective in touching on a lot of contemporary themes. I had recently visited the Arab world, and this film convinced me that (compared to the Arab world) Hong Kong culture is much closer to American culture.

Oppenheimer (US) 3.3 Nolan’s an excellent sci-fi director, but real world science is not his forte. The visuals are fine, but didactic screenplay is tiresome. The viewer doesn’t want a three-hour history lesson on material that is already well known—or at least this viewer didn’t. This is unfortunate, as the film does have some very fine scenes. (But David Lynch’s take on the Trinity test in Twin Peaks is far superior.)

Dune 2 (US) 3.3 I saw this just a few days after it opened, and there was just one other person in the theatre. Visually impressive on occasion, but somewhat inert—lacking narrative momentum. I can’t imagine anyone wishing it to be longer. Cold and austere films can work on occasion (2001, Barry Lyndon, Stalker, etc.) but Villeneuve is no Kubrick or Tarkovsky. Heck, he’s not even Ridley Scott, as we saw with his bland Blade Runner remake.

Giannis: The Marvelous Journey (US/Greece) 2.8 He’s not among the MVP leaders (due to voter bias), but he’s probably had the best season of any NBA player. Strictly for Bucks fans.

Upgraded (US) 2.5 What happened to rom-coms? They used to be like noirs—reliable entertainment.

Older Films:

Nostalghia (Russia/Italy, 1983) 3.9 It was a privilege to see a restored version of this on the big screen. The first half in particular had one stunning image after another. This is often regarded as Tarkovsky’s weakest film, but everything he did is a masterpiece. The sublime final shot is like a Caspar David Friedrich painting come to life. Hard to see how he created it without any sort of CGI. (I beg of you, don’t watch it on TV.)

The Idiot (Japan, 1951, CC) 3.8 Who knows how good this would have been if 100 minutes had not been cut out by the studio (and lost forever.) It’s right up there with the butchering of The Magnificent Ambersons as one of the great artistic crimes of the 20th century. The film got mixed reviews, which confirms my view that many film critics are incompetent hacks. Directed by Kurosawa the year after Rashomon and the year before Ikiru, i.e., near the peak of his creativity.

The Munekata Sisters (Japan, 1950, CC) 3.7 A characteristic Ozu film from near the beginning of his greatest period.

Betty Blue (France, 1986, CC) 3.7 If Heraclitus were still alive, he’d say that no man watches the same film twice. In 1986, I thought Betty was the central character. Now I realize it was actually Zorg, who is the heart of this fairy tale for adults. I also noticed a bisexual subtext, surprising for a film that otherwise seems so heteronormative. I’m not sure how to interpret this crazy film—perhaps that living life to the fullest is a sort of mental illness. A film to make you feel both better and worse about your own (boring) life.

The Other Side of Hope (Finland, 2017, CC) 3.6 Like many Kaurismaki films, much of the humor is rather subtle. But the scene where the Finnish restaurant adopts a sushi menu is one of the laugh out loud funniest that I’ve seen in years.

Youth Without Youth (US, Romania, 2007, CC) 3.6 The critics panned this one, and I can see why. The supernatural plot is not at all believable. But the images are so astonishing that I liked the film despite its flaws. For a few moments, I was transported back to the sublime Coppola films of the 1970s.

The Yards (US, 2000, CC) 3.6 Fans of the Godfather and the early films of Martin Scorsese need to check out this excellent crime drama. It’s amusing to see James Caan essentially playing the Al Pacino role from The Godfather II. It got mixed reviews, although I’m not sure why.

I Vitelloni (Italy, 1953, CC) 3.6 This early Fellini film might seem to go over familiar ground, but that’s because it’s been copied by so many other directors.

Birth (US, 2004, CC) 3.6 Don’t believe the critics, this Jonathan Glazer mystery will stick in your mind long after the film is over. Nicole Kidman is outstanding. Glazer is an underrated director.

Godzilla (Japan, 1954, CC) 3.5 At first this seemed like a run-of-the-mill 1950s horror film. But about half way though it began to achieve a sort of tragic gravitas that was totally unexpected (at least to me.)

They Live By Night (US, 1948, CC) 3.5 In this influential noir, Nicolas Ray decides not to show the crimes being committed, focusing instead on the young lovers. I respect this choice, even though it probably made the film a bit less entertaining.

Silent Partner (US/Canada, 1978, CC) 3.5 I probably overrated this, but I’m a sucker for bank heist films with late 1970s decadence. It’s an interesting question as to which year was peak lasciviousness for western civilization. Perhaps 1977 or 1979, but I vote for 1978. It seemed like the only bra in the film was worn by a man.

Vivre sa vie (France, 1962, CC) 3.5 After 60 years, I no longer find Godard’s experiments to be all that interesting. But he’s a highly skilled filmmaker, and Anna Karina is (as usual) sublime.

10 Things I Hate About You (US, 2003) 3.4 Saw this in a theatre full of young people. Good high school comedy featuring a bunch of young actors that would soon become stars.

Little Odessa (US, 1994, CC) 3.4 Good crime drama somewhat in the style of Mean Streets, but dealing with the Russian mafia. Same director as The Yards (James Gray).

Mogambo (US, 1953, CC) 3.4 A remake of Red Dust, with Clark Gable playing the same role. Unfortunately, he’s 21 years older than in the previous version, much too old for the role. And the scenes of Africa are not very good, despite the use of Technicolor. Fortunately, John Ford is the sort of director that can turn even an unpromising film project into a quite entertaining movie.

The Moon Has Risen (Japan, 1955, CC) 3.4 Directed by a woman, with the style heavily influenced by Ozu (who co-wrote the script.)

Love Letters (Japan, 1953, CC) 3.4 Same director, but more melodramatic.

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (France, 1964, CC) 3.4 Critics loved this film, but I have no ear for show tunes so it went right over my head. I will say that the gas station in the final scene is the prettiest one I’ve ever seen. Lots of eye candy.

Backfire (US, 1950, CC) 3.4 Not one of the classic noirs, but has a lot of very satisfying scenes. Quite entertaining, although it fades a bit at the end.

The Upturned Glass (UK, 1947, CC) 3.3 In this early film, the James Mason we know and love was not quite fully formed. Here he’s rather nervous and intense; not the calm, elegant and self-assured man I’m used to seeing in his later American films.

Drugstore Cowboy (US, 1989, CC) 3.3 The humor works better than the drama in this Gus van Sant film (as is often the case with “dramadies”.)

Starman (US, 1984, CC) 3.3 Close Encounters started strong and then ran out of inspiration. This John Carpenter film was sort of the opposite. It started rather weak—skirting the line between silly and charming. But it found a nice groove in the last 30 minutes. (To be clear, Close Encounters was much better.)

Macao (US, 1952, CC) 3.2 I never understood the appeal of Jane Russell. For a beautiful woman, she’s kind of ugly. Fortunately, the film also has Robert Mitchum and Gloria Graham. And it’s directed by Josef von Sternberg.

The Erl King (France, 1931, CC) 3.1 The images are art nouveau, a style that was already several decades in the past when the film was made. Special effects often look dated as time goes by, and this is no exception. Based on the famous Goethe poem.

Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (US, 1951, CC) 3.0 James Mason is darkly suave and Ava Gardner is radiant. So why the mediocre rating? The script is cringe-worthy, perhaps the worst I’ve ever seen in a major Hollywood production.

Code 46 (UK/China, 2003, CC) 3.0 It was filmed in what was supposed to be a futuristic Shanghai, but the Shanghai of 2003 already looks rather antique. Timothy Robbins is badly miscast—no idea what the director was thinking.

Je t’aime, je t’aime (France, 1968, CC) 3.0 This critically acclaimed film might have been impressive when it first came out, but today the time travel gimmick seems like a distraction.

Betrayed (aka When Strangers Marry) 3.0 (US, 1944, CC) Crude but fairly engrossing film noir, which comes in at just 67 minutes.

My Week With Marilyn (UK, 2011, CC) 3.0 A pleasant film with one big problem—no one can capture the magic of Marilyn Monroe. In fairness, Michelle Williams fares better than Kenneth Branagh, who falls far short of recreating Olivier’s cold intensity.

Repeat Performance (US, 1947, CC) 2.9 Think of this as the very first Twilight Zone episode. In a supporting role, Richard Basehart plays a poet who is placed in an insane asylum because he’s gay.

The Woman Condemned (US, 1934, CC) 2.8 There’s a fine line between avant garde and inept, and this interesting film noir straddles both sides of the line. Unfortunately, the print on Criterion Channel was a mess, at times almost unwatchable. Perhaps a restored version would change my view. (The New Yorker liked the film.)

The Great Sinner (US, 1949, CC) 2.6 Ava Gardener and Gregory Peck are wasted in a film that alternates between silly and pathetic. Like Harrison Ford, Peck could be charming when he was young, but became a something of a humorless bore as he aged. In this film we see both sides of his personality.

Cocktail (US, 1988, CC) 2.5 This is a fairly bad movie, but I kept watching out of fascination as to how Hollywood is able to turn junk into box office gold. It’s helps to have the world’s most charismatic actor. A good film to show to young people who wonder what the late 1980s felt like.

It’s All About Love (Denmark/US, 2003, CC) 2.2 Why did I keep watching such a bad film? I suppose it was curiosity. The film has good actors and a good director (Vinterberg), so I had a sort of morbid fascination with what would come next. Sean Penn’s performance is so bad it’s almost funny.

PS. I mentioned Moser’s book on Dutch art. Jacob Ruysdael is an underrated artist:

And this Japanese postcard is better than 75% of the paintings in the Louvre:

And since it’s Easter, how about a deeply religious painting:

Want something even more religious? How about the same artist in a self-portrait as Jesus:



31 Responses to “Films of 2024:Q1”

  1. Gravatar of Mike Mike
    31. March 2024 at 10:53

    Have you seen the extended cut of Margaret? It was on CC through the end of February (I think it is gone from there now; still on Amazon?). A knockout.

  2. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    31. March 2024 at 10:56

    Mike, Thanks, I put it on my watchlist.

  3. Gravatar of Matt Matt
    31. March 2024 at 16:54

    Seconding Margaret. All three of Lonergan’s films are my favorite films. You could say his direction is reserved, but that belies true mastery. He’s a classicist and simply wants to tell his story.

  4. Gravatar of martin martin
    31. March 2024 at 21:41

    Scott, you should watch “Goodbye Berlin”, it’s an indie German bildungsroman I think you might like.

  5. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    31. March 2024 at 21:52

    Martin, Why do you think I might like it? What’s it similar too in style? (FWIW, the reviews are mediocre, although that isn’t always reliable.)

  6. Gravatar of David S David S
    1. April 2024 at 03:15

    Shout out to “Starman” which I think I last saw on VHS. If you’re in that groove, try a re-watch of The Man Who Fell to Earth.

    The rabbit looks like a bit like a cat.

  7. Gravatar of Monday assorted links – Marginal REVOLUTION Monday assorted links - Marginal REVOLUTION
    1. April 2024 at 07:37

    […] 2. Scott Sumner movie reviews. […]

  8. Gravatar of Ajit Kirpekar Ajit Kirpekar
    1. April 2024 at 07:51

    Can you explain why Giannis, a) is specifically facing voter bias and b) why he has had the best season in the NBA so far?

    Even NBA writers who follow the game intently, watch film and analyze advanced stats have had Jokic as the presumptive MVP this season.

  9. Gravatar of Kyle Kyle
    1. April 2024 at 08:22

    Is this Dune pt1 or pt2?

  10. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    1. April 2024 at 08:29

    David, Yes, that’s a good one–even better than Starman.

    Ajit, Certainly Jokic and Giannis are the only two reasonable choices, and it’s close. But most straw polls I’ve seen don’t have Giannis even near the top.

    I’d say that this year Giannis and Jokic are close in terms of offense. Even if Jokic were slightly ahead, Giannis as far, far better on defense. He can guard all 5 positions. People recall his 50 points in the championship game, but the Bucks likely don’t win that without his 5 blocks.

    BTW, Giannis has already won two MVPs, and this year he’s playing much better than either of those years. He’s very likely now to become the first NBA player ever to average over 30 on more than 60% shooting. That’s really hard to do!

    Also, Jokic tends to mostly play with Denver’s top players (their starting 5 is excellent.) Giannis plays lots of minutes with mediocre reserves. When he plays with starters, the Bucks have the league’s best net rating.

    I’m told there’s voter bias for two reasons. Voters don’t like his perceived role in getting the coach fired, and they find his style of play to be less aesthetically pleasing than other superstars.

  11. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    1. April 2024 at 08:31

    Kyle, Dune 2, I updated it.

  12. Gravatar of John Hawkins John Hawkins
    1. April 2024 at 08:39

    I’m so jealous of how well you’re doing your semi-retirement – please keep these coming!

    Also on Dune 2, IDK I feel like I’m becoming the resident Denis Villeneuve booster here, but I’ve been quoting the movie (mostly Stilgar) for weeks (and – at least as of yet – none of my friends have told me to shut up). Maybe Javier Bardem is the reason but I just really enjoyed the movie.

  13. Gravatar of Ajit Kirpekar Ajit Kirpekar
    1. April 2024 at 09:45


    Apologies for the long post.

    I will admit that I know the NFL, especially at the finer micro levels far more than the NBA. But here are my retorts:

    I actually think Doncic is the MVP of the league and if anything the voter bias works against him – his team is currently in the 5th seed. He is perceived to have a superstar sidekick and thus gets dinged. If anything, he has been a slightly less efficient version of Jokic but on a much higher usage rate mostly because the team can’t do anything without him. That’s true not only because for most of the season the team around him was injured(including Kyrie), but comparatively speaking – its likely the weakest roster 3-10 than any other team besides maybe Phoenix that prides itself as a real contender.

    As for Giannis and Jokic. I would argue a few things philosophically here. I understand the simple argument. Jokic offense > Giannis Offense, but Giannis Defense >>>>>> Jokic Defense; therefore Giannis Offense + Defense > Jokic Offense + Defense. But here I think this equation misses a few things:

    Offense is more important than defense even if literally half the game is played on defense. And Jokic’s offense isn’t entirely captured in the numbers imo. Jokic’s unicorn offensive ability is really about being a hub on offense with a minuscule turnover rate. On top of the fact that his presence turns a lot of non-threatening offensive players into threats. Even one dimensional offensive threats are amplified by Jokic. So in that regard, I don’t think Jokic’s impact on offense can be so easily captured.

    I would also submit that both players are non-traditional in the sense that they both need slightly optimized roster construction to function. You mentioned Giannis guarding 1-5, but one must take into account Giannis is such a non threat as a shooter and requires floor space to operate in traffic. He can handle the ball, but its not his best attribute and frankly there is a reason the Bucs lean heavy on guards who can play make and shoot.

    All that to say, I think both players are very similar but in the opposite direction and its the fact that offense is more important than defense that tips Jokic to me over Giannis.

  14. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    1. April 2024 at 11:10

    John, We’ll have to agree to disagree on that one.

    Ajit, I think if you watched all 82 Bucks games like I do you might have a different view. You said:

    “He can handle the ball, but its not his best attribute”

    I think it is. The NBA is full of 7 footers who can dunk. Why aren’t they getting 30 points on 61% shooting? Because they lack the skill to get to the rim. There’s never been a 7 footer who can handle the ball like Giannis; that’s why he gets to the rim. He’s like a 7-foot Westbrook. And that causes defenses to collapse into a “wall” which leaves mediocre players like Beasley wide open, allowing them to have career years.

    He’s become an excellent passer, especially when moving at a high speed. This year I’ve seen him make some great passes that literally no one else can make. That’s not to deny that Jokic and Luka make more great passes, but some of Giannis’s passes have an insanely high level of difficulty.

    To be clear, I think Jokic deserved the MVP in each of the past three (not two) years. But this year Giannis has risen to another level, and I’d give him the nod.

    On Luka, I may be biased because the Bucks swept them, and Giannis looked better in the two games. Admittedly that’s not a statistically significant sample. And Luka’s defense sucks.

    Yes, Giannis needs spacing. But in today’s NBA almost everyone is a capable 3 point shooter, including all the Bucks other starters and reserves. He’s been hurt by management incompetence, such as trading away Donte DiVincenzo for Serge Ibaka’s corpse, and horrific drafting for a decade. The Bucks have less young talent than any other team in the league. He might have several titles by now if Bucks guards had not forgotten how to shoot in the playoffs.

    Even though Bucks teams have not been loaded with superstars, they have significantly more wins than any other team since 2018-19:

    That’s due to Giannis. And the MVP is a regular season award.

  15. Gravatar of Sara Sara
    1. April 2024 at 11:13

    It’s now known as trans day of visibility, not easter.
    The nude parading, bizarro flags, grooming, and twerking is not visible enough.
    So we need more visibility.
    Easter is no longer allowed.
    Do as your told.
    And continue to obey.
    There is one religion.
    One god.
    And it’s the STATE.


    Your DEI masters.

  16. Gravatar of Jimmy Jimmy
    1. April 2024 at 11:27

    I would recommend you keep going with those James Grey films: We Own The Night is as good as The Yards, and Two Lovers is also very interesting.

    On Birth, I think one major flaw is the use of flashback in the key confrontation. It would have been so perfect if Glazer left it at showing a certain character washing her hands!

  17. Gravatar of Paul Sas Paul Sas
    1. April 2024 at 12:26

    I loved Betty Blue when it came out.
    During the quarantine, I re-watched it
    First thought: the torrid and explicit opening sex scene probably explained 75+% of my appraisal in the ’80s
    The story line struck me as maudlin, her insanity as a trope rather than a characteristic of her self. No more than 3 stars in my estimation

  18. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    1. April 2024 at 14:26

    Thanks Jimmy. Yes, American directors often show too much.

    Paul, I can see why you’d say that. As I said in my review, I view it as a sort of fairy tale for adults. Betty should NOT be viewed as a real person, rather she’s what Zorg would view as a dream/nightmare girlfriend. He’s both drawn to her, and a bit frightened of her. (I don’t mean Zorg is imagining her in the film, I mean it’s simply not a realistic story.)

    There are lots of films with this sort of female character, but it seems to me that this is the most striking of that genre. It’s not a masterpiece, but it’s pretty effective.

    One question I have is why all the references to bisexuality? That part I did not understand.

  19. Gravatar of Ajit Kirpekar Ajit Kirpekar
    1. April 2024 at 17:16


    Full disclosure, I am a warriors fan but that probably aids in this discussion from this standpoint.

    You mentioned Lukas defense sucks and Giannis is amazing on both ends. He is! This discussion ends up with a lot of hair splitting because we’re talking about amazing amazing players. However, I think it’s harder to build optimally for Giannis than it is for defensively challenged players like Luka or Jokic.

    Shooters are expensive even if you’re going to argue that there are more quality shooters than ever before. In the playoffs, rotations shrink and defenses study hard and funnel shots to your shakiest shooters.

    It’s easier for a great offensive player to compensate for so so shooters but good defenders than it is for someone like Giannis to cope with so so shooters. The Bucs offense, particularly in the playoffs, has always struggled. You could argue that’s more about the supporting cast than Giannis, but I think it points to where Giannis is as a player that he cannot compensate for non shooters the way Luka and Jokic can.

    I would also argue, Jokic because he’s a center is much worse for defenses than he would be as a guard. Because he’s center, you have to guard him with size but those guys are not trained to hang on the perimeter, stay with switches, and Jane is volley of passing.

    Finally, for all of Giannis’ plaudits as a multi position weapon on defense, he does not guard the most threatening player on the opposing team in the playoffs. He didn’t guard KD in that infamous toe on the line game. He did not guard Jimmy Butler in last year’s disastrous playoffs.

    All that to say, I’m really arguing that Giannis’ defensive advantage over the other two is chipped away by circumstances and the offensive gulf between him and the other two is a bit more magnified than people realize compared with the headline numbers.

  20. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    1. April 2024 at 19:01

    Ajit, Good comments.

    “He did not guard Jimmy Butler in last year’s disastrous playoffs.”

    That’s on the coach. He did guard him (and shut him down) in 2021 when we swept Miami 4 straight. In 2023, Jrue Holiday was horrible on both offense and defense, for reasons I still don’t understand. Not sure what the coach was thinking–maybe Giannis wasn’t 100% when he came back from injury.

    (We also lost in 2019 because we were badly outcoached by Nick Nurse.)

    In general, I don’t think the Bucks have struggled in the playoffs because Giannis isn’t suited to playoff basketball, it’s because his key teammates have been subpar. This goes back to 2018-19, when the Bucks weren’t far from winning a title, but lost out to Toronto because Fred van Vleet played 100 times better than Bledsoe in the final three games. And despite that, the Bucks were one missed free throw from going up 3-0 in the ECF. People say they were lucky in 2021, which is true, but they were unlucky in 2019.

    My final point is that your latest comment seems to argue the question of who’s the best playoff player, not who’s the best regular season player, which is the criterion for the MVP. Put Giannis on Dallas instead of Luka, and Dallas wins more games. With Denver it’s close. Again, the Bucks are the winningest regular season team since 2019, and Giannis has never even had a teammate as good as Murray or Kyrie (at least until this year.)

    I’d say the Bucks have had no problem finding players that have to be guarded at the 3-point line. You can’t just leave Middleton, Lillard, Beasley, and Lopez wide open. That’s all Giannis needs to get 30 points on 60% shooting. Hopefully, this year Lillard won’t be trash in the playoffs, like Holiday was last year. But Lillard has been up and down this year, so who knows?

  21. Gravatar of rick white rick white
    2. April 2024 at 04:20

    Best blog ever. It makes me angry, it makes me feel like I might know a thing or two and it teaches me something. Bravo! Keep it coming and thanks.

  22. Gravatar of Tacticus Tacticus
    2. April 2024 at 07:45

    Ugh, the Blade Runner sequel was so bad. The original is noir! The sequel is generic post-apocalyptic bleh. I don’t understand how Villeneuve could have messed it up so badly. He has a great eye for shots, or at least he hires good cinematographers, but I’m really not a big fan of anything he’s made since Sicario.

  23. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    2. April 2024 at 08:15

    Thanks Rick. It’s good to know that someone finds this stuff useful.

    Tacticus, It’s not so much that his films seem bad, just missing some sort of spark of creativity. Nothing special. Forgettable.

  24. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    2. April 2024 at 10:07

    “It’s good to know that someone finds this stuff useful.”

    Useful? The correct term is “indispensable.”

  25. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    2. April 2024 at 11:28

    “In the Court of the Crimson King”

    I didn’t know this film existed, I was happy to find out about it.

    Wikipedia describes it this way:

    “The film follows the final eight-piece incarnation of the band throughout their 50th anniversary tour from 2018 until 2020, complemented with interviews with past members and archival footage of TV broadcasts and concert performances throughout their years of activity.”

    King Crimson over the years was actually many different bands, which didn’t overlap very much in terms of the music they played live or on studio albums. The one constant was the guitarist, Robert Fripp, who was not the leader of the original (1969) group, but became it by default when everyone else who was in the band (except Pete Sinfield, who wasn’t a musician or singer) left.

    But starting in about 2013, Fripp came up with a band that could play King Crimson music from all of its different eras. The key member was Jakko Jakszyk, who may or may not have been as good a singer as Greg Lake, John Wetton or Adrian Belew, but was certainly good enough.

    Jaksyzk (along with sax player Mel Collins) had been in 21st Century Schizoid Band, which Wikipedia describes as an “alumnus group” – it consisted mostly of members from KC’s earliest years.

    At this point King Crimson became more like that band than any previously existing version of King Crimson. You might say KC became its own cover band, or a cover band of its alumnus band, maybe.

  26. Gravatar of Scott Sumner Scott Sumner
    2. April 2024 at 11:30


    Likewise for your comments.

  27. Gravatar of agrippa postumus agrippa postumus
    2. April 2024 at 16:46

    econmist manque sumner is running out of movies to review, or at least those in his field of vision. lamest list yet which only magnifies the strength of prior lists. coctail review? godzilla review? snide remarks about mogambo? despair.

  28. Gravatar of Tacticus Tacticus
    3. April 2024 at 01:39

    Yeah, when I said ‘bad’, I just meant as a sequel to Blade Runner, not as a film per se. As a film, it’s just very generic and bleh – not terrible, but nothing special. I saw it in theatres and haven’t been tempted to see it again since – although I have listened to the soundtrack a few times for background noise!

    I’d much rather watch 10 Things I Hate About You than Dune. Great cast, Shakespeare, wonderful shots of the Pacific Northwest… Classic for a reason!

  29. Gravatar of EH Pilgrim EH Pilgrim
    4. April 2024 at 14:18

    Thanks for the recommendation for Moser’s book on Dutch painting — will check it out! You asked how good Carel Fabritius could have been — and mentioned Valazquez. As perhaps you are aware, Fabritius is covered closely in another recent book on Dutch art, Thunderclap: A Memoir of Art and Life & Sudden Death (Scribner, 2023), by Laura Cumming. Highly recommended! As it happens, Cumming also wrote a book called The Vanishing Valazquez.

  30. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    4. April 2024 at 14:35

    I’ve seen a bit of Alvvays – they’ve done 3 “live at KEXP” videos and I often watch those – but wasn’t familiar with BC,NR or Daniel Romano.

    Alvvays have released 3 short albums in about 10 years – about 10 minutes of music per year. Meanwhile Romano had 10 separate releases in 2020, according to Wikipedia. Canadians at both ends of the productivity spectrum.

    One of Romano’s 2020 releases was with Danny Carey, who also appears in the following Rick Beato video, which came out yesterday and might serve as a nice (67 min.) coda to the Crimson documentary. (But if someone was going to watch only one Beato video, watch the one with Brad Mehldau that Tyler Cowen recently linked to).

  31. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    4. April 2024 at 18:59

    Tacticus, Yes, that’s my view too—nothing special.

    EH, Yes, I’ve read The Vanishing Velazquez. Maybe I’ll check out the Fabritius book.

    Brad, Thanks for the tip. Yes, Mehldau comes across extremely well in the interview.

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