R. Emmet Sweeney
R. Emmet Sweeney

R. Emmet Sweeney grew up in Buffalo, NY, where as a teen he haunted the few art cinemas in town. Soon he was gainfully employed slinging popcorn and ticket stubs in one of those theaters, where the restorations of TOUCH OF EVIL and REAR WINDOW inflamed his cinephilic passions. Further stoked by the film sections at the Village Voice and the Chicago Reader, he devoured as many moving images as he could, becoming an unrepentant auteurist in the process.

He earned a Masters degree in Cinema Studies from New York University, and has been writing about the movies ever since. His work has appeared in Film Comment, Time Out Chicago, The Believer, IFC News, the Village Voice, Moving Image Source, and most proudly, Baseball Prospectus. He lives in Brooklyn with his wondrous wife and the Ford at Fox box set. Follow him on Twitter at @r_emmet.

Posts by R. Emmet Sweeney

Ornette Coleman’s symphony “Skies of America” was conceived in 1965, recorded in 1972, and performed intermittently in the ensuing decades. It was something of a grand introduction to Coleman’s “harmolodic” compositional method, the term a portmanteau of harmony, motion and melody, and required a full orchestra alongside Coleman’s working jazz quartet. Due to budget limitations […]

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“I squandered a really good career. What can I say?” – Paul Brickman to Salon After the phenomenal success of Risky Business (1983), writer-director Paul Brickman was offered hundreds of screenplays to adapt. Brickman rejected them all, including future hits Rain Man and Forrest Gump. Frustrated with the Geffen Film Company’s imposed happy ending on Risky Business, he instead bided his time until Men […]

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La Ciénaga (2001) translates as “The Swamp”, and it is a fetid, decaying film—its forests overgrown and its characters unwashed. For her feature debut, Lucrecia Martel depicts the dissolution of a middle-class Argentine family through sound and set design. To escape the humid city during the summer, they retreat to their country home, a rotting edifice […]

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When inspiration failed Francois Truffaut, he would look at a 1957 photo of Sacha Guitry sitting on his deathbed, working on a moviola. Truffaut said looking at the image made him “recover my good mood, bravery, and every courage in the world.” An indefatigable playwright, performer, and filmmaker, Guitry was a model of a complete […]

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Fontainhas no longer exists, but the three films that Pedro Costa shot there guarantee the torn-down Lisbon slum an afterlife. Ossos (1997), In Vanda’s Room (2000) and Colossal Youth (2006) compile a remarkable history of the everyday – how its residents ate, joked, argued, doped and, eventually, relocated. Fontainhas, a labyrinthine stone warren cut off from Lisbon both economically and architecturally, is […]

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  Clint Eastwood’s improbable late career run continues with Sully, an exquisite multi-perspective rendering of Sully Sullenberger’s “Miracle on the Hudson” emergency plane landing. Replaying the pivotal moment over and over, from the point-of-view of the plane crew, air traffic controllers, and Coast Guard, Eastwood displays how Sully’s heroism was the result of dozens of professionals […]

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The Shallows is a disappearing breed – the mid-budget Hollywood hit. Made for $17 million and grossing $118 million worldwide, it is the kind of efficient thriller that studios were once able to crank out on the regular. But now in the age of branded universe nine-figure blockbusters it is treated as an anomaly, and entertainment […]

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David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker were three wiseasses from Milwaukee who killed time watching movies. They gained an admiration for the stoic leading men in cheap genre productions, those actors who jutted their chins and remained expressionless through the most absurd scenarios. ZAZ’s whole comic ethos stems from these viewings – their main characters […]

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In the first scene of Girl Missing (1933), Guy Kibbee tries to seduce Mary Brian with the line: “I don’t feel fatherly, I feel…hotcha!” And so begins this randy, money-grubbing, mystery-solving pre-code starring Brian and motormouth Glenda Farrell. They are two out-of-work chorus girls indulging in some gold-digging to leach cash from old lechers. But in […]

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“The June moors whispered and rustled and shook their cloaks, yellow with broom and powdered faintly with purple – that was the heather but not the full passion of its colour yet … and maybe the wind would veer there in an hour or so and you’d feel the change in the life and strum […]

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