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 ...

Casino Royale (2006)

Casino Royale (2006)
The Worlds of Bond’s Body In Casino Royale (Martin Campbell, 2006), James Bond (Daniel Craig) tracks a terrorist, Alex Dimitrios (Simon Abkarian) to downtown Miami. The villain enters a Body Worlds exhibition, which he is using as the drop location for a satchel containing a bomb. Why would Dimitrios choose the controversial display of preserved ...

Ex Machina (2015)

Ex Machina (2015)
The Blood of a Programmer — During the first half of Alex Garland’s Ex Machina, I fell in love with its startling imagery. The plot concerns Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson), a mediocre computer programmer who wins a contest to live for a week at his famous boss’ remote retreat. Nathan (Oscar Isaac) is a genius who, ...

Vacation (2015)

Vacation (2015)
Roadside Regenerations — The cleverest, if not funniest, moment in this summer’s remake of 1983’s National Lampoon’s Vacation occurs when the family, headed by erstwhile patriarch Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms), the son of Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) sits around the table in Act I discussing the merits of re-visiting “the original vacation.” The slippage between ...