Tag Archives: movies

A Film about Noticing Life’s Small Graces: Woody Allen’s “Whatever Works” (2009), Starring Larry David, is a Funny and Profound Meditation on Existence

Woody Allen’s movie, Whatever Works, offered up in the fall of 2009, sassed and summarily dismissed by critics, and quickly sent by SONY to DVD, was seen at home by my wife and I last night. We loved it. And laughed throughout. And … Continue reading

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“Another Woman”: An Obscure Woody Allen Film from 1988 That I Thought was Exceptional

My wife and I own—with perhaps the exception of one or two titles—all of Woody Allen’s films on DVD. That doesn’t mean, however, that we’ve actually watched all of them. We have favorites, for example, that have endured multiple viewings—Husbands and Wives and Matchpoint—and … Continue reading

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“The Road”: Cormac McCarthy’s Version of Helen Reddy’s “You and Me Against the World”?

Slate recently reviewed the film version of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and reported that watching it is—how shall I put this politiely?—emotionally problematic:  The Boy and Man on the road, nameless in the long-dead world. Their cart and tarp and tins … Continue reading

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“The Road”: The Movie is Better than the Book?

This looks promising. Cormac McCarthy’s novel, The Road (2006), has been turned into a film, and a review in Salon suggests that the movie is actually better, on balance, than the book. That doesn’t happen every day. Here’s what Salon’s … Continue reading

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MOVIE REVIEW: Ayn Rand, Barack Obama—and SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE?

If you define melodrama as an action and suspense-driven plot, with sympathetically drawn characters surviving at the raw edge of their wits, imagination, and emotions, then SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE is an exquisitely rendered piece of melodrama. But unlike cookie-cutter melodrama, in which … Continue reading

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Willard: “You made me hate myself!”

The old movie below (from 1971) is not yet on DVD, but it might be soon. Amazon is asking people if they want notification by email of its DVD release. I remember, as a kid, seeing the movie on late night television, … Continue reading

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Sean Penn “shows what such an ordinary man can achieve”: Roger Ebert Gives “Milk” Four Stars

Sean Penn may be headed for a “best actor” Oscar for his performance in Milk. Roger Ebert also praises Penn’s performance, and gives the film four stars. Money quote: Sean Penn never tries to show Harvey Milk as a hero, … Continue reading

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“What does Marsellus Wallace look like?”: A Classic Scene from PULP FICTION in Typography

Typography is a glorious and poetic art form, and it’s done exceptionally well here:

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Must See Film?: Conservative NEW YORK POST Runs an Enthusiastic Review of Oliver Stone’s Movie About President Bush (Titled “W”)

Liz Smith, of the conservative newspaper, The New York Post, says that Oliver Stone’s new film on President Bush is a winner. Of the casting of the president, Smith says: Josh Brolin, as the president who doesn’t know what he … Continue reading

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Sarah Palin Metaphor Watch: Is Palin Bush’s Seemingly Dead Political Corpse, Reasserting Itself in a Female Form?

Is election 2008 turning into a farcical version of Night of the Living Dead? This weekend, Gary Kamiya of Salon.com offered this disturbing analysis: Observing the Sarah Palin phenomenon, does anyone feel like they’re trapped in a singularly creepy remake … Continue reading

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Sarah Palin’s Gong Show Worthy Performance on ABC News on Sept. 11, 2008 Demands a Proportionally Sane Response: Gene Gene the Dancing Machine!

If you’re mad as hell that John McCain could pick such an obviously unqualified VP as Sarah Palin, and you feel powerless, and wonder how one of America’s political parties could go so crazy, I want you to stand up right now. … Continue reading

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In 1935, Were Cary Grant and Randolf Scott Sex Partners? No, But These Images Look Rather Camp

On August 9, 2008, The Times of London, in its magazine section, ran some images of an old 1935 photoshoot of Cary Grant and Randolph Scott, a Western actor. The two owned a “bachelor pad” in Malibu together. Not long after the … Continue reading

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“Popcorn”: A Poem by Santi Tafarella

  At dusk, above the heads of   two hundred movie goers standing   bored and perhaps too politely in line,   two-thousand egg-shaped leaves   cupping ten-thousand unbuttered   white blossoms,   salting in the ocean air

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Not the Tao of Physics, nor the TOE of Physics—But Logan’s Run?: Surfer Physicist Garrett Lisi’s E8 Solution to the Theory of Everything is Beautiful—But Where are the Exits?

The Telegraph of London had an exceptionally clear discussion of physicist Garrett Lisi’s E8 solution to the “Theory of Everything.” Money quote:  Lisi’s inspiration lies in the most elegant and intricate shape known to mathematics, called E8 – a complex, eight-dimensional … Continue reading

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If You’ve Never Seen the Film, “Russian Ark,” and My Review Here Gets You to Take a Look at It, Then the Blogging Part of My Life Will Not Have Been in Vain!

I can’t praise this film enough. Russian Ark (2002) is a single, unbroken tracking shot that: (1) lasts for an hour and a half; (2) manages to tell the story of two characters caught in the sweep of Russia’s epic history; and (3) orchestrates … Continue reading

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Femme Fatales and a Hegelian Computer: Jean-Luc Goddard’s Must-See Film, “Alphaville”

Alphaville is at once innovative and thought provoking. Made in 1965, the film seems to inadvertently capture the French philosophical shift from Existentialism to Postmodernism. At the time of the making of this film, Sartre was “in” and Derrida was … Continue reading

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Jim Carey’s The Truman Show and Jean-Paul Sartre’s The Flies: Two Meditations on Existential Freedom

Jim Carey’s The Truman Show and Jean-Paul Sartre’s play, The Flies, are existentialist parables of human freedom. The Truman Show explores the terror underlying the notion that there might be an all controlling father above who manipulates the situation of his creatures for his pleasure. If such a being … Continue reading

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The Lingering, Unblinking Eye: Tracking Shot Basics From Two Film Students Who Seem to Know

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The Filmic Eye Meets The Victorian Eye: Tracking Shots and Sensuous Reading

Filmic tracking shots resemble the reading of a long sentence. Like reading a long sentence, a tracking shot requires the eye to follow an unbroken path, gathering bits of information along the way, and when it arrives at its end, it’s … Continue reading

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