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Entries in The New Classics (5)

Tuesday
May142019

The New Classics - A Separation

Michael Cusumano back again with my new series on great scenes/films of the 21st Century. This week a title we will surely hear often when the best of the decade lists start rolling in...

 

Scene: Razieh is Fired (aka The Incident)
It’s rare for a movie, even a great movie, to sneak up on the audience the way Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation does.

The screenplay is centered around an inflection point. Everything pulling the characters inexorably toward, or ricocheting off of, the moment when a man shoves a woman out his front door. Yet this action is not granted any special emphasis. First-time viewers have no clue they’ve witnessed the action around which the entire story pivots. It is only a few short scenes later, when the man is on trial for causing the miscarriage of the women he pushed (a murder charge in Iran) that the weight of that shove comes crashing home...

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Tuesday
May072019

The New Classics - Sexy Beast

Michael Cusumano here to revisit one of the most indelible performances of 2001 for our new series "The New Classics"...

Scene: Don Logan converses with his reflection

How many viewings of Jonathan Glazer’s Sexy Beast does it take before you realize Don Logan is the most sympathetic character in the movie?  

Don shows up in Spain with two missions: to reconnect with his old friend Gal, and to see if he has a shot with his lost love, Jackie. And what does he find? Not only does his friend attempt to blow him off, but the object of his affection is married to some spineless twit and can’t stand so much as to look at him. My heart goes out to the guy...

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Tuesday
Apr302019

The New Classics - Eastern Promises

Michael Cusumano here to argue a case for the the best fight scene of the last two decades.

The Scene: The Sauna Fight
It’s no surprise that just about every discussion of the sauna fight from Eastern Promises dwells on the bare skin. If the King of Middle Earth strips down to his tattoos and takes on two goons in a bathhouse brawl it’s gonna dominate the conversation.

And it’s not only gawking. It’s thematically on point. This scene uses nakedness to make you feel a character’s vulnerability as effectively as any film since Psycho, plus all the skin on display reflects the film’s obsession with bodies -- bodies as currency and bodies defaced and disfigured... 

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Tuesday
Apr232019

The New Classics - Michael Clayton

Michael Cusumano here to christen my new series on future classics of the 21st Century with Tony Gilroy's 2007 legal thriller. In each episode we'll be discussing one great scene. 

The Scene: Karen Crowder’s Downfall 

How does the final scene of Tony Gilroy’s Michael Clayton work so well despite the wheezy cliché at its center? Secretly recording the villain’s confession is right up there with the Monologuing Killer on the list of tired plot devices. Yet when Clooney coerces Swinton into exposing her sins it doesn’t feel the least bit lazy. On the contrary: it’s electrifying...

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Saturday
Apr202019

The New Classics and the return of Michael C

The Film Experience is very pleased to announce that one of our long-lost contributors, Michael Cusumano, is returning to the fold. After a few years off, he has a new weekly column launching Tuesday and new readers are in for a treat because Michael is a fine and insightful writer. We asked him about where he's been and what we can expect. Please welcome him back with open arms! - Nathaniel R.

Michael, where the hell have you been? We haven't seen you around these parts in 4 (gulp) years! We hope you've been having film experiences without us at least.

I’ve been living in New York doing my own creative writing. I needed to take a step back from online film culture and clear some mental space. I had tried to write a first draft of a screenplay and I ended up with a ranked list of all the meaningful glances in Carol.  

You’ll be relieved to learn I still have plenty of film experiences, although I no longer feel the pressure to stay up to date with everything playing...

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