J.J. Abrams’ Mission: Impossible III is preposterous but exhausting

A few disconnected thoughts on Mission: Impossible III: I rue the day Terminator 2 (aka “T2”) came out and was a big hit; now every pre-ordained blockbuster comes abbreviated: ID4, LXG, AVP, X3, and now of course M:I:III. Like most summer action blockbusters, M:I:III is at first enjoyably preposterous but quickly becomes exhausting. Although the […]

Fascism by Common Consent in James McTeigue’s V for Vendetta

For all the negative buzz regarding Alan Moore’s total disavowal of the adaptation, I was surprised to find the James McTeigue’s adaptation kept far closer to the book than I expected. Closer, in fact, than the two other travesties of Moore’s comics, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and From Hell. Perhaps not coincidentally, it’s better than […]

2001: A Space Odyssey on the big screen at New York’s Ziegfeld theater

One of the best movies ever made, on one of the biggest screens in New York. What could be better? It’s taken me many years and many viewings to realize that the movie is actually very, very funny. Perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising, coming right on the heels Dr. Strangelove, but the sombre serious air […]

Peter Bogdanovich’s Mask (Director’s Cut)

I vaguely recall seeing Mask when I was a kid, but only recently learned A) it was directed by Peter Bogdanovich and B) there’s a well-regarded director’s cut available on DVD. The film is very unconventional for the genre of disabled-person-beating-the-odds. Roy, doomed to die from Craniodiaphyseal dysplasia, loses his friend, his girl, and dies […]

Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal

Oops. I should have let The Dark Crystal live on in my childhood memories as a Good Movie. Seeing the brilliant Mirrormask reminded me how much this movie affected my childhood, but seeing it again as an adult I find it has not aged well. The special effects of course cannot rival contemporary digital epics, […]

The Ice Harvest

I think, but I’m not sure, this is supposed to be a comedy. Honestly, The Ice Harvest is one of the worst movies I’ve seen in a long time. It apparently aspires to be a comedy of villainies along the lines of Bad Santa, extending even into the casting of Billy Bob Thornton, but it […]

Pride & Prejudice (2005)

The timeless love story between Miss Elizabeth Bewitching-yet-Blind Bennet and Mr. Darcy, Earl of Wetblanket-Upon-Broadchestshire. In the most romantic way possible, they truly deserve each other.

Thank You for Smoking

A wicked contemporary satire, distant cousin to Lord of War, if a little less urgent. The level of public anxiety over Big Tobacco isn’t terribly high at the moment, but the larger theme of corporate and governmental spin is a timely one. Also like Lord of War, it kicks off with insane energy: one of […]

Steven Soderbergh’s Bubble

As a look into the lives of factory workers in an economically depressed town turns into a noir (as Steven Soderbergh himself notes on the commentary track), I caught a whiff of class anthropology. That said, I understand Soderbergh’s point that critics’ charges of exploitation are condescending; the non-actors are intelligent human beings who wholly […]

Kelly Macdonald and Bill Nighy bond over extreme poverty in The Girl in the Café

Richard Curtis and David Yates’ The Girl in the Café, a BBC movie aired in the US on HBO, was incredibly cute, and my heartstrings were indeed pulled, but I couldn’t shake the sense the love story was mere dressing for the real purpose of the film: explicating the issue of extreme poverty to help […]

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