Take Shelter — the birds are falling (again)

2012 opens with news of blackbirds falling dead from the sky in Arkansas — again.  Thousands of dead blackbirds rained down on a town in central Arkansas last New Year's Eve after revelers set off fireworks that spooked them from their roost, and officials were reporting a similar occurrence Saturday as 2012 approached. Police inContinue reading “Take Shelter — the birds are falling (again)”

Horror in Happy Valley: The Jerry Sandusky Movie

The scene: a nice little college town, where everyone is happy and peppy and civic minded, and really loves the football team. Someone from Colorado or someplace, transfers into town for a new job and … starts noticing things. It turns out that the town patriarch (Paterno) isn’t even the ruler… Something Else is… AContinue reading “Horror in Happy Valley: The Jerry Sandusky Movie”

The writer who fired the producer: Brett Radner

Yesterday Mark Harris at Grantland eviscerated Brett Radner, the man chosen to produce the Oscar telecast this year, for his "rehearsal is for fags" comment, and lame subsequent apology. Harris wrote:  I’ve had to listen to versions of every one of these mea-not-quite-culpas over the years and seriously, I’m no longer interested in patiently witnessingContinue reading “The writer who fired the producer: Brett Radner”

Tree of Life: Does God love us in an abusive way?

I provoke, but really, that is the question that burns beneath the beautiful surfaces of Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life. I say this as an agnostic, as one who dislikes theology and theologians, but as one who (like many other critics) finds that this movie "touches me so much I can barely stand it."   The storyContinue reading “Tree of Life: Does God love us in an abusive way?”

Reconciling religion and evolution: The Tree of life

From an unpretentious and persuasive visual essay on the most debated movie of the year, The Tree of Life, by Matt Zoller Seitz:  There is this central notion in all of Malick’s films that every individual person is just one tiny part of nature. Not too much more important in the larger scheme of thingsContinue reading “Reconciling religion and evolution: The Tree of life”

The usefulness of forgetting: Tennessee Williams

  "A bad memory is a great convenience."    Tennessee Williams, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, 1950   The quote is from the nouvella. Here's the poster from the first movie made of this story.    [My god, what a cast! Lotte Lenya?!? Who was nominated for Best Supporting for the role? I haveContinue reading “The usefulness of forgetting: Tennessee Williams”

“Living on their Fears”…

That is how one thoughtful character describes life in South Africa after the arrival of the "Prawns" featured in the stunning new film District 9…and it's also a description of much too much life in the US today. Fascinating movie , with many many levels, of character, metaphor, and violence. (May have gotten a releaseContinue reading ““Living on their Fears”…”

Hollywood’s Best/Worst Director to Make New Lousy Film

LOS ANGELES—In the largest deal ever made to shit out a movie, Warner Bros. and director Michael Bay announced a landmark $50 million agreement this week to monumentally fuck up ThunderCats. "I couldn't be more excited to completely fuck this up," said Bay, who plans to begin production on destroying the live-action adaptation next month.Continue reading “Hollywood’s Best/Worst Director to Make New Lousy Film”

Cadillac Records: Why Release It in Theaters, If You Shoot It for TV?

The story of Muddy Waters was brought to the big screen this past fall in Cadillac Records. It's a great story, but not — unfortunately — a great movie, despite some spectacular performances. Jeffrey Wright, quiet but fierce, could not be better as Muddy Waters. When he goes electric, you feel it in your bones.Continue reading “Cadillac Records: Why Release It in Theaters, If You Shoot It for TV?”