Is George Miller’s Happy Feet about bootyshaking or overfishing?

Happy Feet is a tough one to try to reduce to a single stars-out-of-five rating. It possesses two extreme split personalities, its lack of integration calling into question its integrity. Was there a struggle behind the scenes between a studio wanting another cookie-cutter cartoon animal kid flick vs. a filmmaker envisioning something of substance? The […]

Too Much Reality: Michel Gondry’s The Science of Sleep

Michel Gondry is a treasure; endlessly inventive and thankfully prolific. His music videos (especially Björk’s "Bachelorette" and The White Stripes’ "Fell in Love With a Girl") and films (Human Nature and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) are all personal favorites, with "Bachelorette" and Eternal Sunshine especially moving me deeply. But I found myself a […]

If all bad movies could be this bad: Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space

Glorious! A masterpiece! Three cheers for Edward D. Wood, Jr.: writer, director, editor, and genuine auteur! Don’t let the no-stars rating fool you; this was so much more fun than some of our other no-stars, recently including The Wind in the Willows. If only all bad movies were this bad. Seriously, it’s impossible to consciously […]

Terry Jones’ The Wind in the Willows (Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride)

What’s this? Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride? A film written and directed by Terry Jones? I didn’t know he made anything after Erik the Viking. Wait, and it stars Jones & Eric Idle? With cameos by John Cleese and Michael Palin? Why, it’s practically a Monty Python movie… the only two missing are Graham Chapman, because […]

Michael Mann’s stylish but slight Miami Vice (2006)

Miami Vice is decidedly slight on character and depth, which is not surprising considering the source material. It is quite so, however, considering writer/director Michael Mann‘s track record once leaving the iconic 80s tv show behind. The deep characterization in all his crime dramas ranging from Thief through Collateral elevate them above the ultrastylized and […]

Peter Cushing as Doctor Who in Daleks’ Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.

Daleks’ Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D., the second Dr. Who feature film, follows Dr. Who & The Daleks by one short year, and clearly betrays where the public’s interest lay at the time by ditching any mention to Dr. Who in the title. The first film largely disregarded the TV show’s premise and continuity, and the […]

Pierce Brosnin lets it rip in Richard Shepard’s The Matador

Full of suspenseful set-pieces involving assassination, The Matador is a genre film on the surface. It’s actually more of a character piece about one man about to pay the price for a lifetime of being a pathological loner (paradoxically, while indulging his lusts in every other way imaginable), and another grasping at his last chance […]

Sometimes we are the camera in Michael Haneke’s Caché (Hidden)

An art-thriller directed by Michael Haneke, of whose previous films I’ve only seen Le Pianiste (The Piano Teacher). A major theme is that of video image-making (a main character is a television host) and surveilance. The interest in video images brings to mind the films of Atom Egoyan (Calendar, Felicia’s Journey), and perhaps even the […]

Peter Cushing takes Doctor Who to the big screen in Dr. Who & The Daleks (1965)

Dr. Who & The Daleks is the first of two feature films based on the classic BBC TV series Doctor Who. They are, as the fans say, “non-canonical,” and thank god for it. The TV series was a true all-ages affair; typically enjoyable for children, but with extra layers of subtext for grownups (or at […]

Yo La Tengo perform live to Jean Painlevé’s Science is Fiction in Prospect Park, 2006

Hoboken institution Yo La Tengo performs a live score to several of French filmmaker Jean Painlevé‘s underwater documentaries. Interestingly, English subtitles indicate the films were apparently not silent in their original form, with narration and perhaps scores of their own. So not only is the audience’s experience of the films filtered through a spoken-French-to-written-English translation, […]

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