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 ...

The Dictator (2012)

The Grating Dictator A delightful surprise, Sacha Baron Cohen’s new film, The Dictator (2012) delivers its jokes from the theatrical trailer—General Admiral Aladeen holds his own Olympics in order to win all of the gold medals by shooting his competitors in the middle of the race—in its first few minutes. This allows director Larry Charles ...

The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

The Afghan Mordor Toward the end of Annie Hall (1977), Alvy tells Annie to “never take a class where they make you read Beowulf.” Despite the fact that Alvy is to blame for all the couple’s problems, I think he’s right on this one: medieval fantasy (and, as I’ll demonstrate, its 20th Century incarnations) are dangerous to one’s cultural ...

Moulin Rouge (2001)

Moulin Rouge (2001)
Love is Like Oxygen It only happens once in a while. Sometimes, years will go by in between my experiencing such a moment of cine-gasm. But, while watching Moulin Rouge, Baz Luhrmann’s uber-musical, I was so enthralled that I forgot to breathe. For about five minutes, in fact. I’m sorry if you find this hyperbolic ...