What’s wrong with reality? (Red Desert)

It’s not a coincidence, surely, that Monica Vitti in the Italian movie poster for Michelangelo Antonioni’s classic Red Desert, from l964, assumes the position of the tormented man on the bridge in The Scream by Edvard Munch.  Most of Antonioni’s movies seem to begin with a beautiful woman, usually Monica Vitti, rushing from the social sceneContinue reading “What’s wrong with reality? (Red Desert)”

Flying tumbling vehicles: #1 movie visual today?

Took a look at the classic old disaster movie, Earthquake, from 1974, which has a great preview/trailer:  This movie surprises, first of all, because its strongest images inadvertently connote 9/11. Not what one expects from a movie set in a natural disaster.  Of course the plausibility question, so often an issue with disaster movies, cannotContinue reading “Flying tumbling vehicles: #1 movie visual today?”

On love and global warming: True Detective

The HBO show True Detective included some of the most compelling filmed drama seen here in many a moon. But as much as most critics liked the show, what everyone liked was the credit sequence. Created by an Australian studio called Antibody, the creators told Art of the Pitch what they envisioned: We boarded out theContinue reading “On love and global warming: True Detective”

Why gay men like Marilyn Monroe: Caitlin Flanagan

Caitlin Flanagan, the writer, has a lot of nerve, and the arrogance can grate on a reader. (And maybe grated on her editors at The New Yorker too, which might explain why she's not there anymore.) A writer who reviewed her most recent book went on air with her and Tom Ashbrook a year ago andContinue reading “Why gay men like Marilyn Monroe: Caitlin Flanagan”

Seth humiliates Charlize in front of a billion people

The World's Most Famous Man throws it down, bringing the scorn to the 2012 Academy Awards and Seth McFarlane: in the thick of the “We Saw Your Boobs” song, which must have lasted five minutes all by itself, this line jumped out at me: “Jodie Foster in ‘The Accused’”. And I thought to myself “wait,Continue reading “Seth humiliates Charlize in front of a billion people”

Marlon Brando ambles insolently onstage: Paglia

Camille Paglia describes a familiar scene, and makes it new: Marlon Brando, carrying a “red-stained package” from the butcher and sporting blue-denim work clothes as the lordly, proletarian Stanley Kowalski, ambles insolently onstage at the opening of Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire. “Bellowing” for his adoring yet tart-tongued wife, Stanley is the strutting maleContinue reading “Marlon Brando ambles insolently onstage: Paglia”

Batman and the way we fear now: Ross Douthut

Batman 3, or, officially, The Dark Knight Rises, is actually a lot like the other big superhero movie of 2012, The Avengers. Both stories feature a team of superheroes battling an overwhelming menace attacking Gotham/New York, with the usual betrayal, trickery, and power struggles, and (without giving it away) almost exactly the same plot twistContinue reading “Batman and the way we fear now: Ross Douthut”

When 1 + 1 = 3: Ken Burns on Story

A fascinating short film (in the Burns style) on what the documentarian thinks makes a good story:  Sez Burns:      Abraham Lincoln wins the Civil War and then he decides he's got enough time to go to the theatre. That's a good story. When Thomas Jefferson said "we hold these truths to be self-evident, thatContinue reading “When 1 + 1 = 3: Ken Burns on Story”

A fire to make The Hunger Games look tame

The new movie blockbuster, The Hunger Games, turns out to be shockingly good. Not because it's futuristic — with a little magic, it could easily have been set in ancient times. Not because it stars a teenager, or a young woman; the same story could be told through a male perspective, if less imaginatively. ButContinue reading “A fire to make The Hunger Games look tame”