The Earth Dies Streaming

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Hamrah is committed to his ambivalence, conveying it with a mixture of precision and conviction that will remind you how much more there is to be gleaned from a review than whether a movie is 'good' or 'bad' (even if it's a movie you happen to deem very good or very bad indeed) . . . A political awareness imbues Hamrah's criticism without weighing it down. He doesn't succumb to a leaden moralizing because he pays close attention to the medium he's writing about, alert to what he sees and hears. --Jennifer Szalai, New York Times

The Earth Dies Streaming collects the best of A. S. Hamrah's film writing for n+1, The Baffler, Bookforum, Harper's, and other publications. Acerbic, insightful, hilarious, and damning, Hamrah's aphoristic capsule reviews and lucid career retrospectives of filmmakers and critics have taken up the mantle of serious American film criticism pioneered by James Agee, Robert Warshow, and Pauline Kael and carried it into the 21st century. Taken together, these reviews and essays represent some of the best film criticism in the English language. The Earth Dies Streaming showcases a remarkable critical intelligence while offering a cultural history of the cinema of our times.

2 comments on “The Earth Dies Streaming”

  1. On several 2018 top ten lists (New York Magazine, Der Spigel). Like acid poured through rot to reveal gleaming sunlight, Hamrah burns with insight and warms the reader with wicked wit. The magic trick he reproduces is the feeling of being in conversation with someone who is fully present, omnivorous but curious without being overbearing. It’s safe to say that some of these words will live past many of the films that spawned them. The feeling of being haunted by a soulful eye - imperfect yet seeking - remains long past cover close.

  2. "The point of film criticism is to build up the mystery."--Manny Farber At last a collection of the acute and astute work of A. S. Hamrah, whose work has been enlivening n + 1. His famous essay on the rise and crash of painter Thomas Kincaid is here, as are dozens of the pieces he did on film--sometimes one-sentence hit and runs (as in a definitive summing up of No Country for Old Men). But he's not a mere contrarian--Hamrah's appreciation of both Uncle Buck and Uncle Boonmee by "Joe” Weerasethakul shows an eclectic taste that doesn't contradict moments of...

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