The Editor's Blog

Contemplations and digressions from Filmmaker's Editor-in-Chief by Scott Macaulay

  • Recommended on a Friday: Manchester by the Sea, Uncle Howard, Off the Rails, Daughters of the Dust, J’Accuse, Pitch

    Kenneth Lonergan’s masterful Manchester by the Sea is the high-profile opening of the week, and one strongly recommended by all of us at Filmmaker. The writer/director is our current print issue cover, with James Ponsoldt’s interview now online as well. In his intro, Ponsoldt wrote: Lonergan’s films all feature stand-out performances, and the constellation of actors in Manchester by the Sea — Kyle Chandler, Lucas Hedges, Michelle Williams, Gretchen Mol and Affleck — are beautifully cast. Their family could be your family. The Chandlers’ struggle to find a new normal in the wake of tragedy is surprisingly funny, human, messy…  Read more

    On Nov 18, 2016
    By on Nov 18, 2016 Columns
  • Recommended on a Friday: National Bird, Uncle Kent 2, The Love Witch, DOC NYC, L.A. Rep Screenings and More

    This week writing “Recommended on a Friday” is a way of tempering myself before tackling this week’s newsletter, which will be some form of screed about the election. Depending on your reaction to the surreal and seismic week, you may or may not be in the mood to go to the movies. If you are, however, there’s a lot in theaters we can recommend. I’ll start with 25 New Face Sonia Kennebeck’s National Bird, a provocative, thoughtful and cinematically ambitious documentary about the U.S. Air Force’s drone warfare program that focuses on the impact the program has had on the…  Read more

    On Nov 11, 2016
    By on Nov 11, 2016 Columns
  • Recommended on a Friday: Peter and the Farm, Robert Bresson, The Prison in Twelve Landscapes, The Chase

    What’s happened to Filmmaker’s “Recommended on a Friday” series? Just three columns in and our mix of picks consists largely of repertory and home viewing choices. If you’re in New York, there are several series going on worth your attention, first and foremost BAM’s “Bresson on Cinema” series that features several Bresson titles — Pickpocket, Diary of a Country Priest and A Man Escaped, among them — alongside films that Bresson’s work was somehow in dialogue with. The latter includes a diverse group of classics including Bicycle Thieves and Battleship Potemkin. Bresson’s precise, ascetic style and his work’s near devotional…  Read more

    On Nov 4, 2016
    By on Nov 4, 2016 Columns
  • Recommended on a Friday: Gimme Danger, Dreamlands, The Fosters, Killer Party

    This pre-Halloween weekend is unexpectedly light on new releases. For Filmmaker readers, the most significant of the newcomers is Jim Jarmusch’s Cannes-premiering documentary on The Stooges, Gimme Danger. If you’re any kind of Iggy Pop fan — and, although not an obsessive or a completist, I count myself as one — than this doc is a must-see. It’s certainly not a revolutionary rock doc, consisting straightforwardly of Iggy’s own present-day interviews; comments by fellow band members, other musicians, and various colleagues and music execs; fantastic concert footage (albeit less of it than you want); and a smattering of archival footage…  Read more

    On Oct 28, 2016
    By on Oct 28, 2016 Columns
  • Recommended on a Friday: Moonlight, Fire at Sea, Criterion’s Boyhood Disk, Dessert, Chris Gethard and More

    Our new “Recommended on a Friday” column is meant for us here at Filmmaker to throw some attention on films we love that perhaps we haven’t covered online and in print, but this week we’re just going to start by piling on a pick that you’ve already heard quite a bit about: Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight. Jenkins’s previous film, Medicine for Melancholy, was a Filmmaker cover back in 2009, and we’ve been eagerly awaiting his next film since. Moonlight — a bracingly tender, ambitiously realized and wisely provocative character study about the construction of African-American masculine identity — demands to be…  Read more

    On Oct 21, 2016
    By on Oct 21, 2016 Columns
  • Recommended on a Friday: Little Sister, Christine, Tower, Certain Women and More

    If you look at the long list of movies opening every weekend, not just in theaters but on digital platforms too, you probably feel like you can’t keep up. We feel the same way here at Filmmaker, with usually more films entering the marketplace then we’re able to devote meaningful editorial to. Invariably, some films slip through the cracks, while others may have been covered by us at their festival premieres months ago, with our coverage now buried in the depths of our CMS. So, we’re starting this “Recommended on a Friday” series of picks designed to help you navigate…  Read more

    On Oct 14, 2016
    By on Oct 14, 2016 Columns
  • Alan Vega, 1938 – 2016

    Alan Vega, half of the epochal punk electronic music duo Suicide, died yesterday. He was one of the greats. With Suicide partner Martin Rev, Vega laid the groundwork for industrial electronic music, and much more, as he mixed noise with melody, free-form floating song structures with the terse songwriting economies of doo-wop. The band — starting with its title — was a provocation, but also a salve (or, as Bryan McPeck and Matt McAuley from ARE Weapons wrote in their interview with Vega, “optimistic, life-affirming shit”). Songs dealt with psychotic killers and social unrest and love and optimism. “Dream, baby,…  Read more

    On Jul 17, 2016
    By on Jul 17, 2016 Columns
  • R.I.P. Muhammad Ali, 1942 – 2016

    Indeed, the Greatest. Remembering Muhammad Ali with this trailer from also one of the greatest sports documentaries of all times, Leon Gast’s When We Were Kings. From Edward Guthmann’s review in the San Francisco Chronicle: At the height of his stardom, Muhammad Ali was possibly the most famous man on earth. Cocky, dynamic, a tremendous athlete and a wizard at homespun, extemporaneous verbal gymnastics, Ali had the world on a string…. On a deeper level — and this is where When We Were Kings exceeds its expectations and becomes a great film — Gast examines African American pride. He records…  Read more

    On Jun 4, 2016
    By on Jun 4, 2016 Filmmaking
  • The Return of the Cassette: Prisons, “Analog Time” and a Forthcoming Feature

    Filmmaker and Filmmaker contributor Alix Lambert is a guest producer on this week’s Theory of Everything, where she learns that it’s not just hipsters causing a revival in the audio cassette format but prisoners. Indeed, for most prisoners, cassettes are the only music delivery device they’re allowed. Listen to her episode, “Analog Time,” embedded here, as Lambert talks to some incarcerated men for whom cassette tapes are an escape, a salve, and even a medium of exchange. Meanwhile, Zach Taylor and Georg Petzold are finishing Cassette, “a feature-length documentary that celebrates the past, present, and future of an endearing musical…  Read more

    On May 30, 2016
    By on May 30, 2016 Filmmaking
  • Collaborative Essay/Music Project March Sadness Enters its Final Four

    With Paula Bernstein writing today about Guy Maddin’s The Saddest Music in the World, I was reminded to post about a cool internet essay/music project by Ander Monson with Megan Campbell, March Sadness. For those a bit blue, and no following college basketball — and, probably, more than a few who do — the month-long series has paired off sad songs for voters to up and downvote, mixing in essays on the music by Rick Moody, Juan Diaz, Megan Campbell and others. Explains Monson: So this March I’ve been running this project called March Sadness. Well, I’m already oversimplifying: we…  Read more

    On Mar 29, 2016
    By on Mar 29, 2016 Columns
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