A Little Late, Absolutely Devastating
October 13, 2009
I don't much like their Nation. And it, for that matter, doesn't like our nation. But, every so often, Calvin Trillin writes something that tells truth to his own. What Whoopi Goldberg ('Not a Rape-Rape'), Harvey Weinstein ('So-Called Crime') et al. Are Saying in their Outrage Over the Arrest of Roman Polanski Deadline Poet By Calvin Trillin October 7, 2009 A youthful error?
Attitudes, Plus Love
October 03, 2009
David Foster Wallace’s Brief Interviews With Hideous Men has been adapted for the screen. Well, parts of it have been adapted--chiefly, the four parts that bear the same title as the book and the film. Wallace’s book is a miscellany of prose outbursts, some that soar in known styles, some that fling aside known styles, some of deliberate wildness. The book evokes much the same reaction as does Godard.
Kauffmann: Films Worth Seeing
October 03, 2009
The Baader Meinhof Complex. This German film about German terrorists of the 1970s is not only dynamically made and acted, it tries to tell the truth about the reason for the outbursts. Certainly there is a great deal of violence, but there is also some understanding of character and of political texture. (Reviewed 9/23/09) Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. The actor John Krasinski is not only in this film, he adapted and directed it. Drawn from David Foster Wallace’s fiction, it explores contemporary male attitudes toward women with less bravura than Wallace but with considerable insight an
Tucker Max Isn't Just A Jerk. He's Pitiable.
September 27, 2009
Few movies released in recent years--or, let's be honest, ever--look as abysmal as I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, a beer-and-boobs-saturated bro flick that came out Friday. Based on the book of the same name, the movie is a vehicle for popular blogger Tucker Max, whose claim to fame, put bluntly, is thinking that he's totally awesome because he parties and sleeps with women (allegedly). Lots of women (allegedly). And then, he writes about it. His blog, Tuckermax.com, begins with the salutation, "My name is Tucker Max, and I am an asshole." Charming.
The Movie Review: 'Fame'
September 25, 2009
Way back in 1980, when the Oscar-winning theme song of the movie Fame declared "I'm gonna live forever," it was easy to believe the lyric was an example of artistic license. Now, it's not so clear. With almost Biblical tenacity, the film begat a television series which begat a stage musical which begat a reality show. When that last iteration was cancelled after a single season in 2003, it was possible to imagine that the longest 15 minutes in show business history had finally ticked to a close.
Films Worth Seeing
September 21, 2009
The Baader Meinhof Complex The giant wave of terrorism that swept Germany in 1967-1977, led by the so-called Baader Meinhof gang, is here treated intelligently,, revealingly.
The Movie Review: ‘The Informant!’
September 18, 2009
So this is what Matt Damon has been keeping bottled up during all those taciturn hours playing Jason Bourne. In Steven Soderbergh's The Informant!, Damon plays--and plays very, very well--a character in every way the opposite of his efficient, amnesiac superspy: a babbling bumbler who goes undercover for the FBI to gather information against his own employer but winds up exposing mostly himself.
The Movie Review: 'Jennifer's Body'
September 18, 2009
"Hell is a teenage girl," Jennifer's Body announces in its opening moments. But the film's thesis is really more particular: Hell is a teenage girl who has been unsuccessfully sacrificed to Satan by an alt-rock band and, as a result, finds that she has become a flesh-eating demon. It's a difficult case to contest. After a brief prologue that finds the movie's good-girl protagonist, Needy Lesnicky (Amanda Seyfried), kicking ass and taking names in a penitentiary somewhere, the movie rewinds to explain how she arrived at this unhappy juncture.
What Tyler Perry and Bill Cosby Have in Common: On the Occasion of "I Can Do Bad All By Myself"
September 14, 2009
At a Christmas party in 2004, a cousin asked me "Do you like Medea?" For a minute I was a confused, since it didn’t seem to be the occasion for sharing our impressions of Greek mythology. But it turned out she was talking about Madea, the massive, loudmouthed, pistol-packing black grandmother who Tyler Perry performs as in drag in a series of "chitlin' circuit" touring shows. Perry sells DVDs of the shows on line, and ten minutes after my cousin put one on I was hooked. I’m not alone. Madea was the biggest new phenom in black America until Obamamania.
From the Inside of a Tank: Israeli Film Wins Venice Grand Prize. The Film that Haughty Jane Fonda Wants No One To See
September 12, 2009
The Venice Film Festival is the oldest celluloid gala in the world. Not as vaunted and haunted by the publicity machines but intellectually more serious than Cannes. The Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica di Venezia, a most prestigious element of the Venice Biennale, bestowed its Golden Lion award, its top honor, on an Israeli film called Lebanon. It is a relentlessly honest film about war itself but also specifically about Israel's first real war in Lebanon.