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.
October 05, 2012
From Lena Dunham to "FUCK! I'm in My Twenties," inside the cultural fixation with the worries of privileged twentysomethings.
From Howard Beale to Aaron Sorkin
July 01, 2012
We think we know what an “anchor” is—that quaint tri-form hunk of heavy metal that vessels throw overboard when they want to stop. That action and the word promise stability and security. So “anchor” has passed into the collected metaphors of our survival: A sentence is anchored to its main verb; a country is kept steady by its constitution; Citizen Kane holds the cause of film history in place. Your family is what keeps you where you should be in the rising swell and cross-currents of life. Aaron Sorkin is a mainstay of old-fashioned adult optimism.
June 22, 2012
THE RIVETING DRAMA and moral risks that are part of TV journalism offer a fertile field for artists. Paddy Chayefsky in Network told us the story of “the first known instance of a man who was killed because he had lousy ratings.” In Broadcast News, James L. Brooks showed us the real dangers to the soul of journalism when vacuous flash is valued over substance.
The Last of Girls?
June 18, 2012
Mothers and fathers can breathe again, and leave their children of a certain age to the liberty of their own devices, and parental innocence. What age? Well, I’d suggest that it’s the under-26s, that being the new limit at which “kids” or fully grown adults, subject to STDs and other menacing acronyms, can remain on their parents’ health insurance.
Sex and the Single 'Girls'
April 16, 2012
It has been widely acknowledged that HBO’s “Girls” features what is likely the worst sex ever seen on the small screen—or, at least, the worst sex with a female mind at its emotional center. This is fumbling, incompetent sex, performed on a dirty couch in yellowish lighting and filmed from unforgiving angles. Hannah, the character played by Lena Dunham, who is also the show’s creator, gets mounted from behind by her terrible not-quite-boyfriend, Adam.
David Thomson on Films: Should Horses Be Sacrificed For Art?
March 20, 2012
In every way it is regrettable—that three horses have died in the making of Luck over a period of twelve weeks; and that the slowly developing series is going to be cut off, not exactly in its prime, but with glimpses of that glow in the distance.
On Saturday night at 9 p.m., political reporters across the Beltway will gather round their flat-screens swelling with an odd mix of regret and expectation, like paunchy forty-somethings at a college reunion looking at an old video clip from that great blow-out party years past. Boy, did we have it good, then, and boy is life now dull by comparison. Instead of Obama and Hillary, it's Mitt and Rick. And instead of Sarah Palin, it'll be ... Rob Portman?
HBO’s New Show Has Good Credentials, But Is That Enough?
February 14, 2012
Last Friday, the New York Times ran a double-page-spread ad for the new HBO series Luck. It featured quotes like “Sumptuous,” “Addictive,” “Compelling,” “Brilliant,” “Astonishing,” “Breathtaking.” (You know the sort of thing, you could write it yourself.) But after three episodes of Luck, I’m still hedging my bets and crossing my fingers—or just waiting to hear a line clearly. The show has plenty of credentials and promise.
Daily Deadline: Beware the Ides of March?
October 14, 2011
The time demands of fatherhood have forced me to see most movies vicariously, through the eyes of reviewers. So while I don’t know film all that well, I do know the people who write about film. My favorites are the ones whose reviews reflect knowledge of something besides the art – science, history, politics. A.O. Scott and Rogert Ebert come quickly to mind. Another is my former colleague, Christopher Orr, who now works for the Atlantic.