Category: Movies

1988, Movies

Cinema Paradiso (1988, Giuseppe Tornatore)

There is a genre of film that is basically someone remembering their life growing up in a small town. (As opposed to the genre of going home to a small town.) For reasons beyond me, most of the movies I’ve seen in this genre have been Italian -maybe they are better reviewed? – so it’s …

2016, Movies

Citizen Jane: Battle for the City (2016, Matt Tyrnauer)

I always thought Jane Jacobs was from Toronto. Shows you what I know. This is an interesting documentary specifically about the battles between Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs over roads in New York and more generally about the urban renewal and how to plan cities in general. It’s interesting, informative and thought-provoking. As one of …

1981, Movies

Die Fälschung aka Circle of Deceit (1981, Volker Schlöndorff)

This is an extraordinary movie, a little like a more cynical Killing Fields, or a less plot-driven Quiet American. A German journalist with marital problems is sent to cover the war in Lebanon. The film was shot primarily in Beirut, during the civil war, and the location shooting does a ton of the work.

2006, Movies

Shut Up & Sing (2006, Barbara Kopple, Cecilia Peck)

Can you imagine being so angry at a band that you drove over their CDs with a tractor? I can’t imagine Jeff Tweedy doing something that will that would make me so angry I would drive over my Wilco CDs or light them on fire. I just can’t relate to it. At all.

2018, Movies

Ready Player One (2018, Steven Spielberg)

It’s possible that reading bad reviews of this book and this movie prejudiced me ahead of time. But I’m not sure it would have mattered. This is a bad movie. And it’s somewhat shocking that a director as skilled at making popcorn entertainment as Spielberg couldn’t turn it into a passable film.

2018, Movies

Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018, Christopher McQuarie)

This is now the sixth Mission: Impossible film and the third in the 2010s reboot. Things are tired: there are too many damn characters and the plot echoes the plots of previous movies (i.e. some element in the US government doesn’t trust/disavows Hunt and the IMF, again). I’m bored and I’m not laughing as much …

2017, Movies

I, Tonya (2017, Craig Gillespie)

This is a very funny faux documentary about Tonya Harding’s skating career and her relationship with her ex-husband. The cast is excellent as is the sense of time and place. And though some minor dramatic license is taken this is entirely by design, which is worth thinking about giving the uproar this film caused.

2019, Movies

Hustlers (2019, Lorene Scafaria)

This is a pretty heavily stylized dramatization of a true story of strippers ripping off rich men in post crash New York City. I somehow never read the infamous article – though I’m going to now – so I can’t comment onto how accurate the depiction is. (Though that is not something I usually care …

2002, Movies, Music

I Am Trying to Break Your Heart (2002, Sam Jones)

As a big fan of Wilco, and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, it’s crazy it took me this many years to watch this movie. But it’s possible that the intervening years gave me some clarity with it, that I might not have had when I was first falling in love with this band (more than a few …

2011, Movies

Moneyball (2011, Bennett Miller)

This is an enjoyable dramatization of the Oakland As’ 2002 season, from the perspective of their General Manager, who was trying to win games with the lowest budget in baseball. I say dramatization because there is a lot of poetic license here, and because the most important players on that team are barely even acknowledged.

2020, Movies

Made You Look (2020, Barry Avrich)

This is a very well done, but very straight-forward, art fraud documentary that is apparently so new I can’t even rate it on IMDB yet. It turns out I was already familiar with the story – we think through an episode of American Greed – but the access the filmmakers get and the skill with …

2000, Movies

American Women aka The Closer You Get (2000, Aileen Ritchie)

This is a mostly endearing little comedy about how, with some modifications, happiness is often looking you right in the face when you don’t even know it. the message of being happy with what you’ve got is a good one, though I’m not sure I want to live in the town depicted in the film.

1968, Movies

Chronik der Anna Magdalena Bach (1968, Danièle Huillet, Jean-Marie Straub)

I’ve spent much of my adult life cultivating an interest in movies made before I was born and so I have a high tolerance, for someone my age, for the slower rhythms of past films. (I have watched so many old movies in part because i really want to know where things come from, but …

2019, Movies

Captain Marvel (2019, Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck)

As I have noted with Marvel movies, I only ever read X Men and related comics, so I have no skin in the game of whether or not Captain Marvel should be a man. But a quick Wikipedia search reveals that it’s not so controversial as some made it seem. But make no mistake, this …