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HomeHealth and Lifestyle‘Film Geek’ Review: A Cinephile’s Guide to New York

‘Film Geek’ Review: A Cinephile’s Guide to New York

Richard Shepard, the director of the black comedies “Dom Hemingway” and “The Matador,” is a lifelong cinephile with a voracious appetite for movies.

“Film Geek,” a feature-length video essay composed primarily of footage of films that Shepard saw growing up in the 1970s in New York City, delves deep into his obsession. In a voice-over, he recounts his childhood, when he was “addicted to movies, to watching them, to making them.” He is enthusiastic, and the movie aspires to make that enthusiasm infectious.

I appreciate Shepard’s affection: I also grew up loving movies, and I found his wistful reminiscences of being awed by “Jaws” and “Star Wars” relatable. But Shepard’s level of self-regard can be stultifying. For minutes at a time, he simply rattles off the titles of various movies that he saw as a child. I appreciate that seeing “Rocky” made a strong impression on him. I did not need to know that he lost his virginity in the apartment building where John G. Avildsen, the director of “Rocky,” once lived.

“Film Geek” has been compared to Thom Andersen’s great documentary from 2003, “Los Angeles Plays Itself,” and on the level of montage, they share a superficial resemblance: “Film Geek,” like Andersen’s essay film, is brisk and well edited.

But “Los Angeles Plays Itself” is also a thoughtful and incisive work of film criticism, whereas Shepard describes movies in clichés, when he describes movies at all. More often he is talking about himself, a subject of interest to far fewer viewers.

Film Geek
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 35 minutes. In theaters.

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