“Unfriending” Hawthorne

“Unfriending” Hawthorne
“Unfriending Hawthorne” Near the top of the list of film adaptations that drive literature professors to angry distraction is surely The Scarlet Letter (Ronald Joffé, 1995), a big budget Hollywood version of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1850 novel. Beautifully shot and interestingly performed by a diverse range of actors—as Hester Prynne, Demi Moore, a young movie starlet; ...

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 ...

Passengers (2016)

Passengers (2016)
“Morton Tyldum: Science-Fiction as Misdirection” Morten Tyldum’s new film, Passengers is the best sort of science-fiction, one where it turns out the genre is irrelevant to the film’s theme. At its core, Passengers is a down-to-Earth melodrama, about the love two people find under the worst, most Existentially bleak circumstances. Passengers positions Tyldum as one ...

The Light Between Oceans (2016)

The Light Between Oceans (2016)
“The Light Between Filmmakers” In his exploration of the intertextual relationships between different generations of poets, literary critic Harold Bloom forwards an energistic theory—the anxiety of influence—to suggest how artists rebel against their forebears. Watching The Light Between Oceans, filmmaker Derek Cianfrance’s latest visual masterpiece, it struck me that a different emotion might characterize his ...

A Hologram for the King (2016)

A Hologram for the King (2016)
“A Splash of Hope” Run Lola Run director Tom Tykwer’s new film, A Hologram for the King constructs a fabulous post-colonial romance out of references to two very different Hollywood films. Adapted from a novel by Dave Eggers, the film concerns a failed businessman, Alan Clay (Tom Hanks) who travels to Saudi Arabia to sell ...

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
“The Dark Light” The new Batman vs. Superman movie is getting unfairly drubbed by reviewers. It is admittedly an overly ambitious film, but refreshing given that most other comic book movies are the graveyards of the uninspired. The film begins with a bravura sequence in which Jack Napier kills Bruce Wayne’s parents, returning to the ...

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
“At what point is it no longer Star Wars?” The six Star Wars films produced and/or directed by George Lucas developed into one of the most beloved mythological expressions of human civilization of the modern era. I thought about this quite a bit as I sat relatively indifferent to J.J. Abrams very good new film, ...