Life Post-Dissolve

The Dissolve was my favorite film site, and most important resource for news and opinions. Check it in the morning for today’s reviews (always well written and nearly-always giving a good indication whether I’ll like the film in question) and movie news. Check in the late afternoon for a news update, feature articles (if time to read them), and links to important film writing elsewhere on the internet. All of this was cleanly and appealingly laid-out, and chronologically ordered so I can instantly tell where I left off last time.

There seems to be no single replacement, and I need one – in the aftermath of Dissolve shutting down, I didn’t know a new Tarsem Singh movie had opened, couldn’t tell you whether Minions was any good, and almost missed It’s a Mad Mad Mad Max Fury Road. Until a benevolent billionaire re-funds the site, I’m reading this sprawl of daily sources instead:

Fandor Keyframe Daily for less-frequent links to good articles elsewhere, and the best film festival aggregate coverage.

Letterboxd activity feed (feat. most of the ex-Dissolvers)

Shadowplay for the best film writing in the business.

– Screencrush, but only Matt Singer’s articles (because I cannot bear to see things like “10 Facts you might not know about Ant-Man” in my news).

Criticwire, but not the rest of Indiewire (because they had a series of oscar-prediction articles in August). In case I ever reconsider, here are actual headlines from a recent day’s Indiewire front page: “[some trailer] Will Take Your Breath Away,” “[another trailer] Will Break Your Heart],” “[another trailer] Will Send You Into A Vicious Fit.” They also wrote a review of a banner ad.

Occasionally twitter is useful, and AV Club‘s okay. Still avoiding video content and podcasts because who has time for those? And I’ve got a pile of sites to check weekly, and others to check monthly/occasionally, not worth replicating here since they change often and since nobody is reading this. And there’s always my treasured Cinema Scope paper subscription (thinking about adding Cineaste and/or Film Comment).

What else is going on?

– The BBC polled “62 international film critics” to make a top-hundred list of American films, which is mostly more of the same so I don’t feel like tracking it too closely. The eight I haven’t (fully) seen: Imitation of Life, Birth of a Nation, Marnie, A Place in the Sun, The Shop Around The Corner, The Right Stuff, The Shanghai Gesture, Heaven’s Gate. Little White Lies list of 100 Great Movies by Female Directors looks more exciting. Also found some best-animation and best-horror and best-chinese lists, and there’s still the Criterion collection, and recommendations from my books and magazines and the Anthology Film Archives list and the Sight & Sound poll and Cahiers lists and all the new movies coming out daily.

– Auteur Completism Update: In October 2005, I finished watching all the Sam Fuller movies I was able to find (later found and watched four more, and rewatched a bunch in improved DVD and bluray copies), then decided to tackle Fritz Lang movies next. In March 2007, I finished watching all the Fritz Lang movies I was able to find (later found and watched four more), and had since added Rivette, Resnais, Marker and Bunuel to the auteur-completism stack.

That was over eight years ago! I’ve continued to add new directors: Bresson, Chaplin, Sternberg, Polanski, Fellini, Bergman, not to mention keeping up with old favorite directors and discovering new ones all the time. Lately I’m always starting film-watching projects and never finishing any, making a hundred must-watch lists (see above) and trying to make gradual progress on them all at once. I miss the sense of accomplishment, saying “there, I’ve seen ALL the Lang movies I can find – here are my faves, here are the ones I need to rewatch on bluray” or whatever. So back to that 2007 list: I’ve averaged one Bunuel per year since then, still missing five (sort of) Resnais, one or two Rivettes (plus the extended Joan the Maid), and it’s hard to tell how many Markers are available these days – they’ve been steadily surfacing on video. Either way, I could reasonably watch the remainder of these by the end of 2015 – and there’s another big list I’m almost through, assuming I can find the energy to watch Shoah sometime.

– I’m building a list of movie write-up traps – here are three:

1. “It’s good, but flawed” (pref. with no elaboration on “flawed”).

2. “This movie from the past/present could never be made in the present/past because these/those days movies are/were like ____.”

3. Any mention of “explosions and car chases” re: a movie that lacks these things.

– An Adrian Martin phrase I liked very much:
“harnessing our hard drives as our outsourced memory banks”

– Since it has become sport to ask me how many movies I watch per year, I’ve accessed my outsourced memory banks to come up with an answer: 238, on average.

Number of movies watched per year: