Class and fate in 'The Place Beyond the Pines'
Movies have a rhythm: It can come in the editing or the re-working of old riffs, in the story structure and the pace of the talk. Once it derived from twenty-four frames a second. But brave movies can change their own rhythms. READ MORE >>
A documentary pays tribute to Kubrick and parodies film commentary
Where was room 237, and why would you want to avoid it? On the other hand, why might you be drawn to it against all your better instincts and at risk of your sanity? Room 237 is part of a large, deserted hotel that feels slightly old-fashioned, but it’s spacious and clean—it shines like a polished knife—and the views from the picture windows are to die for. Despite its lack of trade, you are entirely provided for. The kitchens and the pantries are stocked with food. The heating works. READ MORE >>
Why is it called Stoker? Is this some optimistic reaching for the moods of Bram Stoker and a signal that there will be blood? Or was the enterprise fearful that the full name of the central character, India Stoker, was loaded with misleading suggestions? READ MORE >>
'Dead Man Down' and the inanities of Hollywood casting
If Dead Man Down were a horse, you’d shoot it after 20 minutes.When I saw it, people were variously texting, eating a substantial meal, sleeping, and doing their taxes. One man laughed, and it became the most interesting thing going on, for it did not seem to depend on the movie’s lines or situations. Rather, the laugh was like a cough he could not control. READ MORE >>
Here’s an oddity, from Yahoo Movies this past Monday: two photographs, side by side—a dark-haired woman, apparently 23-years-old, in a belted red raincoat, standing in front of a wall covered with Jewish imagery; and then, a child, 3-years-old, in a red coat, but in the foreground of a black-and-white picture that shows German soldiers guarding abashed citizens. It is the same person in both pictures, Oliwia Dabrowska, from Krakow in Poland. READ MORE >>
From Jayne Mansfield to Seth MacFarlane, A Brief History of Hollywood's Breast Anxiety
When some of us were very young, the battle was fought to reveal female breasts in American movies. It had been alluded to in the 1920s and early ’30s with sheer silk chemises (say those three words over and over again—they are as potent as Viagra). READ MORE >>
A review of 'Warm Bodies'
The undead, the living dead, the vampires, the zombies, the sleepless ones—call them what you like, there’s a lot of them about these days, and some of them are on the movie screen. Whether those creatures are more frightening than the zombies from life is hard to say. But now that we’re agreed the world is coming to an end, then zombie-ism—could “zombiana” be a word?—is becoming more fashionable. Zombie chic has been pale, vacant-eyed, and listless in the fashion magazines for years. READ MORE >>
An aging Apache chief, Ulzana, breaks out of the reservation. He has no hope, let alone ambition; he simply wants to get the smell of old age and passivity out of his nostrils. He will kill white people and behave like an Apache. It is the one way he has of ensuring an honorable death. He is pursued by a cavalry detachment, by a young Apache who has signed up with the blue coats, and by a veteran scout who is himself anticipating death. READ MORE >>
Side effects: It’s a curious term, suggesting an assured central purpose, with some collateral consequences—like you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs? Or is it possible that “side effects” is a delusional escape clause, that all effects are part of each other? A side effect may make you ill; but you were sick already. READ MORE >>
On counter-terrorism at the movies
There is a new shot in the movies and it deserves attention. In truth, it has been around for some time, but meaning can take a while to sink in. The first time I felt its possibility was in the late ’50s, reading Norman Mailer’s The Deer Park. The narrator of that novel is Sergius O’Shaughnessy, who has been a first lieutenant in the Air Force. Stationed in Tokyo, he performed over Korea. “Sometimes on tactical missions we would lay fire bombs into Oriental villages. READ MORE >>