The Imitation Game (2014)

The Imitation Game (2014)
A War of Typewriters — In Gramophone, Film, Typewriter (1986, tr. 1999), his masterpiece of media and technology history, German cultural studies scholar Friedrich Kittler laments how modernity overwhelmed humanity with its machines. He sees this process having begun in the 19th century. Step by step, electronic devices commandeered all of the human sensory functions: ...

Paddington (2014)

Paddington (2014)
Enter, Following a Bear — For those of you who love PBS because it shows “better” British television sitcoms, it is probably no surprise that Paddington, the new children’s movie directed by Paul King, based on a series of post-war children’s books by Michael Bond, beloved in Britain and Europe, is a really enjoyable film. ...

Big Eyes (2014)

Big Eyes (2014)
Art for Sale — An off-putting eccentricity, especially in the Johnny Depp era, has been the hallmark of the unimpressive films of Tim Burton. The director’s latest, Big Eyes, is a revelation, not for its expansion of his idiosyncratic personal style, but for its sublimation. Big Eyes is by far Burton’s most conventional film: it ...

Wild (2014)

Wild (2014)
As She Walked, Living — I am not at all certain that I can trust my recollections of Wild, the gut-wrenching new film directed by Jean-Marc Vallee, the French-Canadian responsible for helming last year’s Dallas Buyers Club. Based on a memoir penned by Cheryl Strayed, entitled Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest ...

Into the Woods (2014)

Into the Woods (2014)
Grey Skies Might Not Clear Up — One of the foundations of modern literary criticism is Northrop Frye’s genre study, Anatomy of Criticism. In discussing the Shakespearean comedy in 1957, Frye argues that what he calls the “green world” is a fantasy space into which those from constraining civilization enter in order to be transformed. ...