Bridge of Spies (2015)

Bridge of Spies (2015)
“More Than One Accident” For a movie directed by Steven Spielberg and starring that irksomely earnest Tom Hanks, Bridge of Spies is a shockingly subtle film. Unlike the anti-intellectual bludgeons that are Schindler’s List (1993) and Saving Private Ryan (1998), the new film, perhaps owing to a script re-written by the quirky Coen Brothers, repeatedly ...

Crimson Peak (2015)

Crimson Peak (2015)
“The Red Keys” Guillermo del Toro’s latest film, Crimson Peak offers as stimulating a post-modern reconstruction of the 19th century gothic novel as has ever appeared on a movie screen. Some of the intertexts out of which it is built are obvious, and expected. The old dark house setting combines the barren manors of the ...

The Cobbler (2014)

The Cobbler (2014)
“Lost Soles, Found” Because classical cinema was built upon close-ups of faces, the least likely facet of people to show up in the image is their feet. However, during the opening sequence of Strangers on a Train (1950), Alfred Hitchcock’s camera follows the footsteps of two men about to meet on the train and swap ...

Spectre (2015)

Spectre (2015)
“Narrative Bonds” I suspect Spectre will disappoint fans of James Bond. The film is slow and quiet, and all the better for it. Despite this languor, which produces the film’s excessive duration, just short of 2 ½ hours, the film’s action set pieces happen lightning quick. In the opening, Bond (Daniel Craig) knocks down an ...

Quantum of Solace (2008)

Quantum of Solace (2008)
“Fire and Ice” The 22nd James Bond film, Quantum of Solace (2008) takes a sharp narrative turn when 007 (Daniel Craig) and fellow avenger Camille (Olga Kurylenko) drive into the Bolivian desert. Camille is trying to assassinate General Medrano (Joaquin Cosio), who murdered her family in front of her when she was just a child. ...

Take Shelter (2011)

Take Shelter (2011)
“Gimme (No) Shelter” I went to Catholic High School, got the highest grades in my religion classes, but find the abrogation of materialism in any religion beyond comprehensible. I’ve been thinking about this a lot while writing an article about the recent spate of Noah stories, the weirdest of which is Darren Aronofsky’s film Noah ...

The Gift (2015)

The Gift (2015)

Aloha (2015)

Aloha (2015)
“Underlining Masculinity” Cameron Crowe’s latest film, Aloha (2015) is not nearly as bad as you’ve been led to believe. Yes, Emma Stone, with those huge eyes, plays a one-quarter Hawaiian and one-quarter Chinese fighter pilot, and Bradley Cooper is as irksome as he usually is, but the film is certainly no worse than that most ...

Toy Story (1995)

Toy Story (1995)
Pixar’s Philosophy of Toys When I present the idea for my new book manuscript, people are generally receptive to the content, an application of the children’s books of Dr. Seuss to the films of Pixar Animation Studios. However, when it comes to my central argument, that the Pixar films do not degrade but further the ...

It Follows (2014)

It Follows (2014)
Adulthood I finally saw It Follows (2014), my delay the result of a foolish reticence to watch horror films. It takes me a while to build up the courage to sit through the suffering of others. I am delighted to report that it was worth the wait, although I am not at all convinced It ...