Men in Black III (2012)

To Sir Tommy Lee Jones, with Love Virtually the only interesting thing to happen in any of the Men in Black movies (1997, 2002, and 2012) occurs during the final five minutes of the last film in the trilogy. In an odd turn, the routine buddy film clichés of the ultra hip Agent J (Will ...

Brave (2012)

Was Sarah Jane Brave? Given the cinephilic nature of Pixar films, I thought I had Brave (Brenda Chapman and Mark Andrews, 2012) all figured out by watching the trailer. A young girl, Merida, struggling against the imperatives of medieval princesshood, enters an archery tournament to prove to her mother her skills in a man’s world, ...

Prometheus (2012)

E.T. Lawrence Phone Home In developing the applicability of the work of literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin for understanding the cinema, Robert Stam argues that, “every text forms an intersection of textual surfaces. All texts are tissues of anonymous formulae embedded in the language, variations on those formulae, conscious and unconscious quotations, conflations and inversions of ...

The Artist (2011)

To Steal, or Not to Steal Reception—a consideration of the differences in how people respond to artworks—is one of the central questions of academic film studies. The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius, 2011) elicited an hysterical response that intrigues me as a film critic. Hopping mad, actress Kim Novak took out a full-page ad in Variety, the ...

Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

Snow White Hunting the Cinema By the standards of classical cinema, Snow White and the Huntsman (Rupert Sanders, 2012) is a mess of a movie. At times, it wants to be a medieval sword and sorcery movie, at others, an homage to Disney’s canonical take on the material, and at still others, The Lord of ...

Battleship (2012)

You Sank My Battleship! I went to Battleship (Peter Berg, 2012) for one reason only, to see how a board game could be adapted into a successful action movie. As an adaptation critic, the translation of one object into something completely different has fascinated me my entire academic life. I once listened to a paper ...