Today is the official launch date of N1FR, the new online film review of n+1, which promises, presumably, intelligent if sometimes too canny critical theory-leaning coverage of contemporary and noncontemporary cinema, mostly written by nonspecialist cinephiles (though an early piece was by the noted professional critic Chris Fujiwara). It’s edited by n+1‘s longishtime movie critic A.S. Hamrah, whose latest screening log is up today.
Hamrah will sometimes normalize his tone for a conversational on-deadline review, or emphasize his credentialed cinephilia for a specialty publication, but both voices seem variations on his n+1 persona: thoughtful, angled, noncomprehensive notes in declarative sentences, generally untethered to a film-specific context or agenda. This cycle, I like his riff on Mark Ruffalo’s character in The Kids Are All Right, and his bit on Cyrus: “A drab comedic love triangle between a mother (Marisa Tomei, a sexy chipmunk), her son (Jonah Hill, a poison toad), and her new boyfriend (John C. Reilly, a catcher’s mitt)… lacks the mortifying intensity of an Elaine May movie, which it at times seems to be going for and really needed.”
I also enjoyed his three-paragraph rundown of the many baffling knowledge gaps and factual errors in Emilie Bickerton’s much-maligned A Short History of Cahiers du Cinéma, put out by n+1‘s—and our—like-minded Dumbo neighbors, Verso. It’s telling, though, that he doglegs to conclude that “cinephiles offended by it, including the cinephile in me, should get over it”—the cinephile in him presumably being the part that wasn’t vocal enough to prevent the rest of him from identifying Dogtooth as a directorial debut—for the sake of Bickerton’s relevant plea for film criticism within a wider, politicized context. Which approach bodes well for the coming N1FR, even if I would dispute the implication that vocational cinephiles have lately been at asleep at the wheel.