The Auteur of Unease
February 06, 2013
Kathryn Bigelow's war movies shy away from big messages. That's why they capture the post-9/11 mood so well.
Why Helen Hunt Deserves a Best Actress Oscar for The Sessions
January 19, 2013
The Oscars are odd. It’s just about the only reason left for having them; that and for the sake of the people who make red carpets. Every year when the nominations come out, there are three or four days of stories about the “surprises” and the people who were “snubbed.” So Tom Hooper and Kathryn Bigelow were overlooked, but Michael Haneke was remarked on. And Helen Hunt got a supporting actress nod for The Sessions. No, I’m not suggesting that she was undeserving—far from it.
The Pentagon’s Man in Hollywood: I’m a Eunuch
December 21, 2012
Phil Strub has had to learn to be creative in finding ways to showcase U.S. military might on the silver screen.
"Zero Dark Thirty" Has All the Depth of a John Wayne Movie
December 21, 2012
Chastain's character has the depth and personality of a placard, but if you like World War II films, you’ll enjoy this.
Bret Easton Ellis, Twitter Psycho
December 20, 2012
Is his social-media presence performance art, or just a bored guy looking for attention?
Why Can't Hollywood Get Technology Right?
December 19, 2012
Why are shows like "Homeland" so bad at depicting how technology actually works?
March 08, 2010
Leave it to the Oscars to frustrate me even when they’re properly awarded. On Friday, I loudly declared my belief in inavataribility, arguing that, given the Academy's lifelong emphasis on movies' commercial success, there was no way it would give Best Picture to a $12.6 million-grossing indie (The Hurt Locker) over a well-reviewed juggernaut that made 50 times as much (Avatar). On Sunday, it gave Best Picture to a $12.6 million-grossing, etc., etc. How did this act of cinematic sanity come about?
Buy Me Love
March 05, 2010
As we approach this weekend’s Oscars, there are two predominant takes on the Best Picture category: Either it will be a close race between James Cameron’s 3-D (and nearly 3-hour) money-mill Avatar and Kathryn Bigelow’s Iraq indie The Hurt Locker, with the latter a slight favorite (as this gambling site submits); or Bigelow’s picture already has the award in the bag.
The Orrscars 2009
January 12, 2010
What does it say that three of the top five films on my list this year--and another that could easily have made the top ten, Coraline--are “kid’s movies”? In the end not much, I think. Two of the three, Where the Wild Things Are and Fantastic Mr. Fox, were directed by talented indie auteurs (Spike Jonze and Wes Andersen, respectively) who merely happened to adapt children’s books in the same year.
The Mini-review: 'the Hurt Locker'
July 24, 2009
The Hurt Locker opens with an onscreen quote from journalist Chris Hedges declaring war to be a "drug." If so, then Kathryn Bigelow’s film is itself a drug delivery device, a harrowing, exhilarating exercise in tension and release.