Chuck Kolsterman's documentary review of Room 237 has me itching to see it at the Chicago Film Festival before it lapses into hibernation until, apparently, March 2013. Sounds like an inventive, critical film analyzing Kubrick's The Shining through five different critics' lenses.
Regardless of whether you're interested in the film or not, Kolsterman's essay focuses more about his idea about a style of film (or, frankly, art) criticism he's coining Immersion Criticism:
It’s based on the belief that symbolic, ancillary details inside a film are infinitely more important than the surface dialogue or the superficial narrative. And it’s not just a matter of noticing things other people miss, because that can be done by anyone who’s perceptive; it’s a matter of noticing things that the director included to indicate his true, undisclosed intention. In other words, it’s not an interpretive reading — it’s an inflexible, clandestine reality that matters way more than anything else. And it’s usually insane.
I'm all about this insane, irrational way of perceiving any kind of art. I've played and completed Super Metroid over a dozen times. If I could analyze that experience with Immersion Criticism, I'd likely be fanatically claiming its underlying notions as analogies to WWII missions of recovering enigma machines across the earth.
Applying the criticism to the movie that I actually did see at the film festival this year -- Franck Khalfoun's Maniac, starring Elijah Wood -- would be quite a challenge. That film left me dangling at the fault line between horror and unease.
Slate has a fantastic essay on Cormac McCarthy's writing style and production. The man is a literary legend in a similar way that Terrance Malick or Stanely Kubrick are film ones: He is a master of his own craft with deliberate, hardened prose.
In particular, I love this glimpse into his editing process during the post-production window of his grandest achievement, Blood Meridian:
In drafts, he writes sentences that make the contemporary reader sit up straight in his chair in revelation—“the kid could have shot the judge … His fatal weakness” or “The kid gives his own moral stand”—only to omit them in the next draft. It’s as if McCarthy writes these expository moments only for his own reference, knowing that later he’ll erase them and leave the reader to navigate by as dusty and torn a map as possible.