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 ...

Horns (2013)

Horns (2013)
“Cads, From Top to Bottom” In his wonderful study of cads and other miscreants, entitled… well, let’s just say it rhymes with “grass bowls,” and is similar to donkey chasms, and means “stinkers,” philosopher Aaron James argues: “[T]he [schmuck] does what he does out of a ‘sense of entitlement,’ a sense of what he deserves, ...

Truth (2015)

Truth (2015)
“Three Days of the Candor” Journalists will surely prefer the plucky success story told by Spotlight (Tom McCarthy, 2015), about The Boston Globe’s exposure of the Catholic Church’s cover-up of priests molesting children, to the muddy failures in Truth (2015). James Vanderbilt’s film adaptation of Mary Mapes’ memoir about the firing of Dan Rather, Truth ...

Interstellar (2014)

Interstellar (2014)
“I Should Have Been a Farmer” Interstellar (Christopher Nolan, 2014) repeatedly quotes 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968). Numerous times, Hans Zimmer’s score echoes the former film’s soundtrack. As Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) looks out his window at the dying Earth’s blighted crops, the Interstellar soundtrack crescendos with a chord which lingers, one of the ...