I Robot (2004)

Bladewalker Some day, probably soon, we’ll become overtly offended — evolved — when special effects are used to paper over multidimensional weaknesses. Some day, probably far off, we’ll refuse to watch mugging celebrities in the place of actors. Some day, there will be more to stories than this. With due respect, though this movie has… Continue reading I Robot (2004)

7 Plus Seven (1970)

We Discover The way I think of films is that every film is first about other films and incidentally about life. In referencing or extending our film experience — and at the same time providing tools for folding that experience into life — movies give us tools for life. Or for dreaming, which is much… Continue reading 7 Plus Seven (1970)

9 Songs (2004)

Rock and Roll When I saw Scorsese’s “Last Waltz”, I thought that I would never again see a concert film as true. And I haven’t, until now. The Band were the last popular musicians to tell stories, have nearly all those stories be in the third person and tell them without irony. To do this… Continue reading 9 Songs (2004)

Alice in Acidland (1969)

Showing the Unshowable At the root, the filmmakers dilemma has two fangs. One challenge is to take things that people know and bend and filter them in ways that can be seen as “natural” when it gets to the other side, past the set, the film, the beam, the retina, the neurons. In other words,… Continue reading Alice in Acidland (1969)

Alexander (2004)

The Borrowed Cyrus and Darius knitted together the largest empire known before or since. Their method was innovative, to allow local control preserving the culture and gods. What they added was infrastructure: roads, a universal set of laws (the first case law) weights and monetary system. The system was perhaps the least corrupt of any… Continue reading Alexander (2004)

Alice in Wonderland: An X-Rated Musical Fantasy (1976)

Mock Turtle Alice appears in scores of films, and many of the appearances are subliminal. I’ve made a hobby of collecting all the references and looking to see how cleverly they exploit the story. As it happens, there is a natural fit between Alice and sex, and the fantasy that defines life. The best example… Continue reading Alice in Wonderland: An X-Rated Musical Fantasy (1976)

As Tears Go By (1988)

Streets of Mean No better one day film school can be found in watching “Mean Streets” and then this. Superficially they seem the same and Kar-Wai has told us that he patterned this, his first feature after Scorsese’s first. Here’s the lesson: Scorsese belongs to a school of thinking where actors create characters, real extreme… Continue reading As Tears Go By (1988)