Elle (2016)

Elle (2016)
“Autobiographies of Violence” For years, the films of Dutch filmmaker Paul Verhoeven have been dogged in academic circles by their hyper-violence. In Hollywood films like Robocop (1987) and Starship Troopers (1997), the Fascist nature of the violence within the plot is so graphically drawn that it begins to seem as if the special effects and ...

La La Land (2016)

La La Land (2016)
“More Than One La La Land” The responses to La La Land (Damien Chazelle, 2016) have been predictable. There is the immediate majority, those of us who are completely enamored of its loving recreation of classical Hollywood films, such as Singin’ in the Rain (Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, 1952), celebrations of the power of ...

X-Men: Apocalypse

X-Men: Apocalypse
“The One-Minute Star Trek” A fundamental intervention of my course on film criticism is to get students to see that our false belief in artistic unity does us tremendous damage in approaching the cinema as a useful site of sociological study. When a friend invites us to a restaurant, we do not judge the place ...

45 Years (2015)

45 Years (2015)
“The Ghost in the Attic” One of my favorite college memories is sitting in a small seminar room watching a VHS copy of Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal (1957) on a small television screen as part of a class, “Philosophy and Film,” taught by Irving Singer, an expert on the nature of love, and a ...