The Romanoffs: “The Royal We” (2018)

The Romanoffs:
“Tell The Russians We’re Coming” Matthew Weiner’s anthology series, The Romanoffs is beginning to shape up as a collection of great short stories. In the second episode, “The Royal We,” Weiner tells the story of Michael and Shelly Romanoff, a couple whose marriage is collapsing. Figure #1: Michael and Shelly Romanoff at couples counseling One ...

Book Club (2018)

Book Club (2018)
“Club Sandwich” On the surface, Bill Holderman’s Book Club (2018) is a delightful romantic comedy. The film concerns four middle-aged women with various lifestyles who meet periodically to discuss books they’ve chosen to read together. The engaging star power of the central cast provides the movie with plenty of comic energy: Diane (Diane Keaton) is ...

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 ...

Twentieth Century Women (2016)

Twentieth Century Women (2016)
“Jimmy Carter’s Warning” Twentieth Century Women is an ambitious character study that uses American history to explore the relationship between a Depression-era mother, Dorothea (Annette Bening) and her son, Jamie. Director Mike Mills’ film is set in 1979, but it uses the traditions of film, music, literature, and sociology to explore the nature of American ...