42nd Street (1933)

In and Out I am convinced that you cannot really understand yourself unless you understand (among other influences) the movies out of which you make the movie of your life. And you cannot understand the stuff of movies unless you’ve experienced those that invented the form, many of which were in the early 30’s. This… Continue reading 42nd Street (1933)

Jud Suss (1940)

Slippery Everyone should view a few of the Nazi propaganda films before they die. Nazis were not the ones who committed the atrocities, rather it was the mass of Germans. Whether they were manipulated or what we see as manipulative devices (like this film) is a matter for learned speculation. But there is no denying… Continue reading Jud Suss (1940)

Jubilee (1978)

The Deep, Vacuous Meditations of Angels Feeding Dogs I’m amazed that anyone would think this is similar to “Clockwork Orange.” Kubrick’s world was one of too much sense: strong minds of people and institutions creating realities that compete, even clash with each other. His worlds are reasonable — all of them — and at least… Continue reading Jubilee (1978)

Joe Dirt (2001)

Breathless Poopball These experiments are very tricky, working with irony to the extreme: making a character so helplessly clueless as to be endearing. Works easier with blond girls, but with things so exaggerated in the general area, most projects go too far. That was the case with “Freddy Got Fingered.” I think this one got… Continue reading Joe Dirt (2001)

Iron Man 2 (2010)

Dimension Common sense hits the front office at Marvel’s adventure in moviemaking. Until now, they’ve just made bad films. Bad. The basic problem, I believe, is that the rest of the world is out exploiting the third dimension and Marvel insists on making flat movies. Even Spidermen, where the character lives and fights in space… Continue reading Iron Man 2 (2010)

Innocents in Paris (1953)

deGaulled After the war, France was a mess — an agricultural economy with a bad reputation world-wide because of near universal collaboration with the Nazis. America resolved to rebuild Europe and part of the plan was to cast Paris as a romantic place. The instruction went out to US and UK studios. The US studios… Continue reading Innocents in Paris (1953)

Ink (2009)

Paper on Ink Gosh, is this good cinema. It has energy and imagination. It has internal self-reference: the storyteller in the thing has her audience as one of the characters, someone who appears in three persona unknown to each other. The way things are revealed and the timeline is shuffled is wonderful… the way they… Continue reading Ink (2009)

Storm Boy (1976)

Internal Weather I’ve had the advantage of being old, and living in both the US and Australia and raising kids in each. That gives me a perspective on the book before seeing the film. Every so often, a young adult book hits a sweet spot in the national heart. I believe it is because we… Continue reading Storm Boy (1976)

I’ll Cry Tomorrow (1955)

Drunk on Acting I love movies. I love getting caught up in the all the cinematic flows that filmmakers know how to weave. But the things I value and study in film are the things that are cinematic. Some movies aren’t movies. They’re distributed and displayed as movies but they are simply exercises in another… Continue reading I’ll Cry Tomorrow (1955)

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)