Posts by Robert Koehler

arts•meme contributor  Robert Koehler is a film critic for Film Comment, Cinema Scope, IndieWire and Cineaste. He contributes film writing to a number of publications, including Variety and Sight & Sound. He has served as director of programming at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and AFI Fest, and co-created the ongoing Los Angeles-based film series, “The Films That Got Away,” sponsored by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.


Koehler on Cinema: The Salinger Spectacle

Film · Language & ideas
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Ever since “The Catcher in the Rye” was published in 1951, America has had a J.D. Salinger problem. It’s partly the author’s own making, but mostly due nation’s relentless quest for the next “Great American Novel,” that always-elusive White Whale of fame, the ultimate American measure of artistic worth. “Catcher” made Salinger famous alright: As ...

Koehler on Cinema: Clips

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Filmmaking team Allison Anders and Kurt Voss have been programming and producing the Don’t Knock the Rock film festival in Los Angeles for over a decade, with Cinefamily providing a steady home base after years of vagabonding around town. Focused (pure rock n’ roll, usually at the margins, with a taste for the overlooked and ...

Koehler on Cinema: When Losey Went Pinteresque 1

Film
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At the center of Harold Pinter and Joseph Losey’s “The Servant” (opening Friday at Laemmle’s Royal) is how wonderful—no, how scrumptious—it is to watch James Fox’s sniveling, weakling upper-class gent brought down and subverted by Dirk Bogarde’s all-seeing, smirking house servant. Pinter’s name precedes Losey’s in the first sentence for a few reasons. One has ...

Koehler on Cinema: Clips

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UCLA Film Archive’s edition of the traveling retrospective of Pier Paolo Pasolini (minus my favorite Pasolini, his oh-so-naughty n’ nasty “Teorema”) is rounding the corner and heading for home. If you haven’t caught up with the late 20th century’s most ribald filmmaker-poet recently, there are these three wildly divergent works to explore: From the final ...

Koehler on Cinema: Wong Kar-Wai’s “The Grandmaster” 3.0

Film
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For the second time in a few weeks, a film with more than one director-approved cut is being released. Stranger things have happened, but right now, I can’t think of one. Similarities: In both cases, the version with the shortest run time is the one making it to theaters; the filmmakers’ various editions are artistically ...

Koehler on Cinema: Elmore Leonard’s True West

Film · Language & ideas
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The sad news of Elmore “Dutch” Leonard’s death this morning has prompted too many news headlines linking him almost equally with his novels and the movies adapted from them—despite the fact that he openly, caustically and hilarious demoted most of the adaptations. Leonard happens to have had several of his books translated to the big ...

Koehler on Cinema: Love in Texas, Wandering in Vienna

Film · Reviews
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Los Angeles—like all American cities—tends to get so few of the exceptional films from the international festival circuit that when two arrive in the same week, it’s worth paying attention. The fact that most moviegoers aren’t aware of the tiny slivers they’re getting from the huge festival pie is an issue by itself, another story ...

Koehler on Cinema: The Act of Killing Original Movies 2

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It’s a familar Los Angeles dilemma. Great movie opens in ultra-limited release to rave reviews. It runs a week (at best, two), then dies. If it hasn’t happened a dozen times, it’s happened a hundred, maybe a thousand. Major, groundbreaking work by our finest living filmmakers, from Apichatpong Weerasethakul to Lisandro Alonso to Kelly Reichardt ...

Koehler on Cinema: Clips

Film
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Film writer Robert Koehler’s latest feature, “Clips,” offers tips & tidbits for the harried cinephile. Speaking of Criterion’s two-disc DVD/Blu-ray edition of “l’Avventura,” Barnes and Noble is currently offering its semi-annual 50% sale on titles in this most distinguished of video catalogues. Usually, due to the expenses incurred with restorations, research and the considerable background ...

Koehler on Cinema: L’avventura

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When asked last year by Sight & Sound magazine, the venerable film journal of the British Film Institute that publishes a once-per-decade list of the best films of all time (from polls of critics, filmmakers, scholars and programmers), to contribute my own list, it was a struggle. Where to place one of the Anthony Mann/James ...