Writings by Michael Sicinski


Soon to come: all manner of Tiffery.


I. The Common Moviegoer


A General Introduction to What Goes On Here


Films Seen 2015

New Releases Seen 2015 (organized by rating)

2015 Capsule Reviews on Letterboxd (COMING UP: Eisenstein in Guanajuato [8])

----- Jan-Mar / Apr-Jun / Jul-Sep / Oct-Dec


Films Seen 2014

New Releases Seen 2014

------ Jan-Mar / Apr-Jun / Jul-Sep / Oct-Dec

2014 TIFF Wavelengths preview for Mubi

2014 True/False Film Fest

2014 Crossroads Festival

2014 Top Ten (in progress)


Films Seen 2013

New Releases Seen 2013

Reviews of New Releases 2013 (by title)

------- Jan / Feb / Mar / Apr / May / Jun / Jul / Aug / Sep / Oct / Nov / Dec

The 2013 "Slept-On List"

2013 Images Festival

2013 Nashville Film Festival experimental film/video section

2013 Toronto International Film Festival

2013 New York Film Festival

The Catch-Up Game: 2013 Cannes Competition Slate (+1)

2013 Top Twenty


Films Seen 2012

New Releases Seen 2012

Reviews of New Releases 2012 (by title)

------- Jan / Feb / Mar / Apr / May / Jun / Jul / Aug / Sep / Oct / Nov / Dec

2012 Ann Arbor Film Festival

My Ann Arbor Film Festival coverage for MUBI

2012 Toronto International Film Festival

My TIFF coverage for MUBI (one and two); Cargo (one); and Cinema Scope (capsules throughout)

2012 Top Ten


Films Seen 2011

New Releases Seen 2011

Reviews of New Releases 2011 (by title)

------- Jan / Feb / Mar / Apr / May / Jun / Jul / Aug / Sep / Oct / Nov / Dec

2011 Toronto International Film Festival

2011 Top Ten


Films Seen 2010

New Releases Seen 2010

Reviews of New Releases 2010 (by title)

-------Jan / Feb / Mar / Apr / May / Jun / Jul / Aug / Sep / Oct / Nov / Dec

2010 Toronto International Film Festival

My TIFF coverage for Cargo

My TIFF Wavelengths preview for MUBI

2010 Worldfest Houston

2010 Top Ten


2009 / 2008 / 2007 / 2006 / 2005/ 2004 / 2003 / 2002 / 2001 material


Nothing but Top Ten Lists (in progress - 1951-2012; revised:1992; Top Ten of the 1990s)

Notes on Older Films


II. Lines of Light (a-g film)


-After so often feeling far too feeble in their midst, this time I grappled with a Nathaniel Dorsky film -- The Return -- to the limits of my brain capacity (for MUBI)

-What are words for, when no one listens (or reads) anymore? The sumptous antiquarian modernism of David Gatten (for Cinema Scope)

-Do you like experimental essay films? Enjoy PDFs? Then hey! Download my extended consideration of Ben Rivers' highly unique Slow Action (from Gallery TPW / TIFF)

-I tried (and by my reckoning failed) to encapsulate an astonishing ten-year run in the career of Vincent Grenier (for Moving Image Source)

-Everybody likes Rose Lowder, but nobody seems to do anything about it. So I tried my best (for MUBI)

-I mostly used Jřrgen Leth as a lever with which to pry open the brilliance of Owen Land's Dialogues (for Cinema Scope)

-Patrick Keiller completes the Robinson trilogy by sifting through the ruins of neoliberal Britain (for Cinema Scope)

-I speak with Ben Rivers about his gorgeous films, the people in them, and the possible end of civilization (for Cinema Scope) [Now available in Czech!]

-It's Mike D'Angelo [CON!] vs. The Hack [mild pro!] on Harmony Korine's Tennessee elder-drag freakshow Trash Humpers (for The Nashville Scene)

-If there's anything left to say about James Benning's RR, I want to take the time to really say it. Because it's a masterpiece. But until then, I have this sketch (for The Nashville Scene)

-The trypp is a bit longer this time in Ben Russell's astonishing avant-ethnography Let Each One Go Where He May (for Cinema Scope)

-Kino International issued many, many classic experimental films on three DVD sets. And I reviewed #2 and 3, with some digital-era mutterings (for Cineaste)

-The mighty P. Adams Sitney came to Nashville and it was a fine opportunity to kick down some praise (for The Nashville Scene)

- Canada's great film diarist Philip Hoffman goes the distance with All Fall Down (for Cinema Scope)

- In an embarrasing gaffe, I misidentified Louise Bourque as a Quebecer. I suck. But here's the Images Festival catalogue piece anyway.

-Set adrift on memory blitz by Jennifer Reeves's When It Was Blue (for Cinema Scope)

-Any way you splice it, Craig Baldwin kicks out the jams in Mock Up on Mu (reprinted from Cinema Scope)

-a lengthy preview piece about TIFF's Wavelengths 2008 edition (for GreenCine Daily)

-You've probably been hearing a lot about Michael Robinson lately, and with good reason (for Cinema Scope)

-1, 2, 3, 4, tell me that you love Views from the Avant-Garde more. (for GreenCine Daily)

-In L.A., at the corner of Roehr and Halsted, you'll find William E. Jones.

-I was perplexed and even frightened by two recent digital works by Phil Solomon (reprinted from Cinema Scope)

-John Gianvito honors the comrades who came before us (for Cinema Scope)

-nobody converts lenten light or dilates time quite like Lynn Marie Kirby (reprinted from Cinema Scope)

-two dispatches from Views 06, one on the oldies and one on the newies

-short pieces on Baillie's Castro Street and Gehr's Side / Walk / Shuttle for the Girish Avant-Garde Blog-a-Thon

-I interview Scott MacDonald about the Critical Cinema series (for Cinema Scope)

-excerpt from a still-under-revision, rife-with-error analysis of Ernie Gehr's Signal: Germany on the Air

-a few chunks of a ponderous wall of text attempting to grapple with Ken Jacobs's Bitemporal Vision: The Sea

-excerpts from a discussion about Scott Stark's NOEMA (published in the anthology Porn Studies)

-an open letter of apology to Caveh Zahedi for a bad decision while serving on the SFIFF jury

-an unpublished (and unpublishable) review of Catherine Russell's book Experimental Ethnography

-the latest revision of my paper on Snow's Wavelength, Heidegger and Lefebvre (published in Qui Parle)

-an apologetic email sent to my students, summarizing a lecture on Baldwin's Tribulation 99 and Kubelka's Unsere Afrikareise

-a rather psychoanalytically burdened consideration of some expanded-cinema work by Valie Export (published, remarkably, in Discourse)

- "The Fixed Frame" (latest revision and expansion -- warning, deadly dull)


III. The Funky Diegesis (narrative film)


-Some notes on two recent documentaries by Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Abendland and Danube Hospital (for MUBI)

-Internet bullies up in arms about lukewarm Batman reviews seemed disturbing on the 19th of July. The 20th on, not so much. No winners here. Shantih shantih shantih. (for Cinema Scope)

-Late Solondz is really growing on me, proving you can never give up on a filmmaker; I discuss his Dark Horse in relation to the late Andrew Sarris (for Nashville Scene)

-I try to provide some background on how some Twitteriffic Kidcrits™ helped save Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret from a hasty studio burial (for Cargo)

-I spoke with Alex Ross Perry a while back, about The Color Wheel mostly, but also about Impolex, and why his films entail a scathing, unremitting hope for humankind (for Cinema Scope)

-Every now and then, "the right movie at the right time" is also just damn good. I weigh in on Asghar Farhadi's instant classic A Separation (for Cinema Scope)

-In light of last year's triumphant House of Tolerant Apollonian Pleasures, I decided it was time to take stock of the singular Bertrand Bonello (for Moving Image Source)

-This year's controversial Best Picture winner is dull as dishwater, safe as milk, and not worth getting into. I prattle on about The Artist (for Cinema Scope)

-An attempt to chart my own paripatetic journey through Abbas Kiarostami's Certified Copy, a true masterpiece (for

-For the Museum of the Moving Image's new "First Look" series, I had the chance to go deep with two films I admire: Zvyagintsev's Elena and Hochhäusler's The City Below.

-I got all-too-rare opportunities to engage with older films, thanks to the Nashville Scene's Jim Ridley: Fassbinder's World on a Wire and Curtiz's (and Haynes') Mildred Pierce.

-Here's a piece that really is that proverbial fallen tree in the forest; I wrote this essay on Nicolás Pereda and no one seems to have noticed (for Moving Image Source)

-Using The Strange Case of Angelica as my excuse for a general meditation on the great Manoel de Oliveira (for Cinema Scope)

-Taking stock of the career to date (and the regrettable legal circumstance) of Iranian film-poet Mohammad Rasoulof (for Cinema Scope)

-We don't really need to spend anymore time talking about Kevin (for Nashville Scene)

-I took a stab at an honest description (with perhaps a touch of candy-ass cheerleader hyperbole) of Hamilton and Putty Hill, two fine films by Matthew Porterfield (for Nashville Scene)

-It's a musical! It's largely handheld! Don't say the M-word! It's Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench (for Nashville Scene)

-I found myself taking a second dip into Mahamet-Saleh Haroun's A Screaming Man, a film as confusing as the Chadian Civil War (for Cinema Scope)

-A couple of 2010's most thoughtful films were mighty different: Another Year and Four Lions (for Nashville Scene)

-One of the year's best is also one of the year's most inexplicable, but I try all the same to explicate Alain Resnais's Wild Grass (for Nashville Scene)

-I don't hate Todd Solondz quite as much as I used to, which is not to say that Life During Wartime is good (for Nashville Scene)

-When your brother-in-law hooks you up with a job, it can be trouble. I review the excellent documentary The Oath (for Nashville Scene)

-Here are some considerations of four films by the late Malay filmmaker Yasmin Ahmad (for Moving Image Source)

-If you're probably never going to see a *real* Chinese documentary, then sure, go see Last Train Home (for Nashville Scene)

-Before the Philadelphia establishment is through with the Barnes Foundation, it'll be administered by this guy. I review The Art of the Steal (for Nashville Scene)

-I liked Wiseman'sLa Danse pretty well, and then sat with it awhile, and realized I had significant problems with it. Still worth seeing, though. (for Cinema Scope)

-I justify my lax, shitty parenting with some discussion of Fantastic Mr. Fox and Where the Wild Things Are (for Cinema Scope)

-Not really "by" me, but my bud Vadim Rizov thoughtfully expanded my rant-kernel on Shrek IV and made it into a coherent argument (for

-My review of the quite-interesting anthology Inventing Film Studies doesn't fit anywhere else, so I'll slot it here (for Cineaste)

-Join me, David McDougall, Craig Keller, and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky as we go nuts on Alejandro Adams' Canary (for The Auteurs)

-Soderbergh x2! I go guerilla on Che and ponder the deep arschenhaller of The Girlfriend Experience (for Cargo)

-If Prof. Brickell is correct that "philosophy is the talk on the cereal box," Examined Life brings the C.W. Post-Structuralism (for Cineaste)

-Once a soldier in God's Army, Richard Dutcher will fight no more forever (for Cinema Scope)

-It is not always a heavenly romance when two become one. Just ask John Woo's Red Cliff (for Nashville Scene)

-It took me awhile to realize just how awesome Christian Petzold is. (I can be a little thick sometimes.) (for Cinema Scope)

-It's a doggone shame Wendy and Lucy isn't a bit more careful with its class politics (for Cineaste)

-A discussion of the pros and cons of Van Sant's Milk relative to the Obama transitional moment (for Cargo)

-Take the Mulligan and leave the rest! An Education in mediocre filmmaking (for The Nashville Scene)

-Emperor = naked. Tommy Wiseau = sucks. I arrive to kill all joy in The Room (for The Nashville Scene)

-Three old Cineaste reviews I'd frankly forgotten about: Lady Chatterley, The Duchess of Langeais and The Notorious Bettie Page

-(plus an even moldier oldie from Cinema Scope: Svankmajer's Lunacy)

-Who here loves TIFF coverage? Yeah, me too! So here's some for ya! One, two, three! (for GreenCine Daily)

-Shin Sang-ok's A Flower in Hell is crazy enough to spirit you away to the other side (for Moving Image Source)

-Alexandra . . . Why? Sokurov tries to puzzle out the Chechen War, with mixed results (for Cinema Scope)

-a rather convoluted attempt at an introduction to the films of Abderrahmane Sissako (for Cinema Scope)

-I talk some about Ousmane Sembčne (for The Nashville Scene)

-Spike Lee knows what it means to miss New Orleans (for Cineaste)

-I was hating Crash when hating Crash wasn't cool (for Cineaste)

-a review of the mock-doc book F is for Phony (for Cineaste)

-Hong Sang-soo's postmodern gamesmanship hits new levels of existential horror in Tale of Cinema (for Cinema Scope)

-sinking my teeth into Land of the Dead (for Cinema Scope)

-wildly enthusing over Kung Fu Hustle with some cross-referencing jujitsu (for The Nashville Scene)

-A true blurb! Pure shallowness! I scratch the surface of the surface of Howard Hawks's great Only Angels Have Wings (for The Nashville Scene)

-TIFF wrap-up 2006!!! (for GreenCine Daily)

-"How Alain Resnais Beat the Numbers Game" (tedious excursus on the hazards of the 1-10 scale and Not on the Lips)

-a Deleuzian reading of Bruno Dumont's L'humanité with some odd digressions

-an abortive stab at Valie Export's The Practice of Love, read aloud in Carlisle, PA

-bold, rather shaky claims for radical bisexuality in Chuck & Buck

-an interview with the directors of the documentary Derrida

-a sample from a long-ass discussion of temporal frameworks in The Shining


IV. A Hundred Flowers in Bloom (web links)  


V. Talk Was Never Cheaper (my Twitter feed)


VI. Viewer Mail (contact me here)



NOTE: I am the sole copyright holder of all written materials published on this site.  Materials previously published elsewhere which are reprinted, partially or in full, on this site are under copyright through agreement between myself and the original publishers.  In other words, don't plagiarize me.  I am not a big proponent of "intellectual property" and I am actually in favor of a certain amount of theft.  But if you are going to steal: (a) steal from better than me; and (b) steal creatively.  Also, despite my institutional affiliations, I am the sole party responsible for material posted on this website.  Also, note to family members -- sorry about all the swearing.