Advertisement

Talking Movies: Well Spoke’n

I’ve now seen Vittorio De Sica’s masterpiece The Bicycle Thief twice in my life. I’m not sure how many more times I’ll be able to bear it. It’s too real; reality is too heartbreaking; and, as T.S. Eliot drily observes, “Humankind cannot bear very much reality.”

[…]

Read More…

Talking Movies: O Mother, Where Art Thou?

Talking Movies: May 2010 – It’s always risky making generalizations involving gender. But what’s life without a little risk? Motherhood is the social role most likely to devour a person’s identity. It seems much easier for a father to take off the father hat. When a mother wakes up in the middle of the night, her first thought is usually, “Are the children safe?” In Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s new movie Mother, playing at the Bijou May 7-13, the main character is rarely named. She is all mother. […]

Read More…

Greatness Unbroken


Talking Movies: March 2010 – If you’re the kind of moviegoer who wishes you’d lived back when X was making movies (where X stands for your favorite great director), if like me you wish you had been there for the fresh projections of Godfather I rather than opening weekend of Godfather III–even if you’re simply […] […]

Read More…

Whatcha want: Soul Power

In Kinshasa, Zaire, on October 20, 1974, in what was billed as the Rumble in the Jungle, Muhammad Ali employed a strategy called the rope-a-dope, letting the reigning heavyweight champion George Foreman pummel him for the first several rounds of the fight. Then Ali began taunting the wearying champ, “They told me you could punch, […]

Read More…

Year Zilch

In the beginning was High Fidelity, at least as far as I’m concerned. An actor I’d never noticed before by the name of Jack Black was channeling Generation X energies like nobody else on the silver screen. His Barry, the record-store slacker-snob, stole the show and left me with the firm conviction that a new […]

Read More…

Talking Movies: Copping Out

Jody Hill’s Observe and Report is one weird movie. I’m pretty sure this dark comedy is meant to provoke reflection: The title suggests that the movie is holding the mirror up to our reality. In a sense, it is; the worst parts of the movie are the most interesting, and the best parts are pretty bad. […]

Read More…

Talking Movies: Chaplin on the Economy

Someone should write an essay called “In Praise of Pretentiousness,” because in the first years of adulthood—please, those years only!—a little insufferable pretentiousness goes a long way. It was pretentiousness, I admit, that led me into a Charlie Chaplin film festival when I was a freshman at Grinnell: I showed up to appreciate silent films. […]

Read More…

Talking Movies: Tears of a Clown

La Strada dir. Federico Fellini 108 mins In the early morning hours, at the end of a spirited drinking party, as passed-out sophisticates snore on the couches, an old man lectures two weary writers that tragedy and comedy have the same source, and that one who truly understands their root should be able to compose […]

Read More…

The Best Movies of 2008 (Most of which I didn't actually see)

Sydney Smith once observed, “I never read a book before reviewing it; it prejudices one so.” As a rule, I do watch the movies before reviewing them; though when it comes to the big Hollywood productions anymore, I wonder how necessary my principle is. So many of them have been made to order according to […]

Read More…

Talking Movies: A Half-Jigger of Solace

How many children does Lady Macbeth have? That’s the kind of ridiculous question a certain strain of literature teacher will torture students with. The answer, obviously, is: Shakespeare would have told us, had it been important. Nevertheless, there are a few characters who so transcend their storylines that they really do acquire lives of their […]

Read More…

Talking Movies: The Dude Still Abides

In the 10 years since the release of The Big Lebowski, a few things happened. Cell phones overtook our public spaces. The internet colonized our private time. George W. Bush won once in the popular vote and twice in the electoral college. On a single morning, terrorists brought down the twin towers, destroyed part of […]

Read More…

Movie Review: Edge of Heaven

The Edge of Heaven (Auf der anderen Seite) Directed by Fatih Akin October 3-5, Bijou There is an old poem by Horace that celebrates simple country living; its surprise ending is that the whole thing turns out to be the pitch of a city dweller trying to sell some rural property. During the Olympics, there […]

Read More…