Emily Blunt and the Half-Life of Female Action Stars
November 04, 2012
I went to see Looper, encouraged or provoked by a few excited reviews I had seen, though every account of the film warned, don’t bother to understand the plot. There is even a moment when the Bruce Willis character (a generous term) says as much, while plainly offering us a tranquillizer to get through the next couple of hours. I have a simpler guide to the film’s nonsense: In the future there will be time travel, in which people still shoot at each other not just with the large guns we know and dread, but with encrusted phallic firepower that hints at a comic-book past.
The Man Who Shaped the Way We Watch Football on TV
November 03, 2012
Some years ago, I got a call from NFL Films, from a man named Steve Sabol. Yes, he realized I was English by birth and might not know much about American football. So I explained to him that I had arrived in San Francisco in September 1981 at the start of the season in which the 49ers won their first Super Bowl—their first of five. Mr. Sabol was encouraged, but he had called me because he’d read some writing about movies that I had done. I believe I had compared Joe Montana and Gary Cooper in the way they gazed at space. That was his kind of dream.
HBO's Creepy and Revealing Take on Hitchcock
October 23, 2012
"The Girl" is like a real-life version of "Vertigo": it's about a man who falls in love with an actress and tries to remake her.
There Will Be Dud: Paul Thomas Anderson’s First Mediocre Movie
September 14, 2012
I wanted "The Master" to be great. Instead, it's a pretentious dud.
A Small Norwegian Film and the Critic Who Praised It
September 12, 2012
"Oslo, August 31st" is a film in love with life and light and faces, and it just came out on DVD.
‘Lawless’ is ‘Bonnie and Clyde’-Lite
September 03, 2012
"Lawless" is an excuse to round up some attractive actors and let them loose. That doesn't mean it's not worth seeing.
The Riddle of Tony Scott
August 27, 2012
If anyone ever said they don’t make movies the way they used to in the days of John Wayne, you could turn to Tony Scott for refutation.
A Serial Killer Movie You Can’t Watch in America
August 24, 2012
It is called The Black Panther, and for the moment at least it cannot be seen in America. I daresay it deserves another title, now, one that avoids suggestions of horror or intimations of radical black politics. There is horror in this movie, though our standards for that genre have changed so much since 1977, when the film very briefly opened in Britain.
The Inscrutable Life and Death of Marilyn Monroe
August 06, 2012
Fifty years ago, late on August 4 or in the early hours of August 5—so little can be said of her with certainty—Marilyn Monroe died, and began her life in legend. This was only 50 years ago, in Los Angeles, when she was a very important if vague person who may have known even more important persons. There were doctors in attendance, and then coroners; there were police investigations. The world decided it was shocked and stricken by the sudden departure of the 36-year-old, yet not surprised.
Was This the Most Dangerous Film in American History?
July 30, 2012
One of the puzzles facing the film historian (amateur or professional) occurs when a child climbs upon the parental knee and asks, “Well, Dad, what was the black list?” The parent struggles to explain that, once upon a nervous time, the Hollywood movie was said to be rife with un-American suggestions and the energetic insinuation of socialist alternatives. The child blinks, and says, “Father, isn’t that preposterous?