Some enterprising film critics got an early start on 2013, launching their new sites with the new year. Time Out New York critic and Criticwire Network member Keith Uhlich just launched The Completist, a film journal which, according to its mission statement, is "an attempt to write about every piece of work by a given cinematic artist — primary emphasis on directors, though with an eye to other disciplines (e.g., cinematographers, composers, performers, screenwriters, possibly critics and commentators) as well." To start, there's just one entry, on Andrei Tarkovsky, beginning with his very first work, a short student film based on Hemingway's "The Killers:"
"Tarkovsky directed the opening and closing scenes in the restaurant (the middle segment set in 'The Swede's' room is noticeably more conventional in terms of camera placement, performance and rhythm) and you can see him trying things out for effect: a canted-angle here, a deep-focus perspective there—a raw talent experimenting."
This is exactly the sort of movie site that appeals to an OCD sufferer like myself, and I look forward to seeing what artists get The Completist treatment. Leo McCarey? Gordon Willis? Jason Statham? The possibilities are endless and exciting; may Uhlich's project never be complete.
Another Criticwire Network member, Sam Fragoso, has a new project of his own: Movie Mezzanine, described in its mission statement as "an online publication dedicated to covering the medium of movies. With writers staffed all around the world, from Australia to New York to Texas to Toronto, our outlet offers a uniquely versatile perspective on film and film culture." Fragoso's writers include several other talented Criticwire contributors, including Danny Bowes, Tom Clift, Jake Cole, Peter Labuza, Andreas Stoehr and more. The site launched today with a trio of reviews and a staff poll of their favorite films of 2012, where Leos Carax's "Holy Motors" edged "The Master" for the top spot:
"Leos Carax’s first feature in 13 years is, basically, the entire medium of cinema in one movie. It’s funny, thrilling, sad, grotesque, even daring at points to risk being boring (if it sounds like a paradox to say that that is one of the movie’s great assets, well, that’s why Holy Motors is such a magnificent, baffling masterpiece). Denis Lavant’s tour-de-force performance in the lead anchors what’s at once an exercise in genre deconstruction, meditation on what it truly means to be an actor (on stage, on film, in life), and an elegy for the inevitably doomed human body. It’s also lots and lots of fun."
As the great Mark Twain once said, update your RSS feeds accordingly. Happy 2013 everyone, and happy criticism reading.