Kinsey (2004)

The Wrong Interview Here’s a major problem in drama: you want to deal with big issues, great disembodied, cosmic sweeps of things. Things that people love or make them suffer. This is why people come. But the tools we have to display these things are humans, usually. So the dramatist has to invent or find… Continue reading Kinsey (2004)

Flightplan (2005)

Oceans 2 Well, I suppose we all have to decide what it means to be a powerful or effective actress. And whether Jody is capable of delivering this. In this case, the project, at least the first half, depends on us believing her panic and resulting tenacity. I didn’t. Set that aside. What we have… Continue reading Flightplan (2005)

A Free Soul (1931)

The Big Speech Some movies are theatrical in the sense that all their values and methods are derived from stage values. This is one. Some movies are in that sweet spot after talkies got going and before the code was enforced, so they have a vitality that is lacking for a few decades afterwards. This… Continue reading A Free Soul (1931)

20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1932)

Graphic As I write this, “Shawshank Redemption” is IMDB’s number two top movie of all time. I find that absolutely fascinating. The prison movie isn’t quite a genre to itself because the story possibilities vary so. But there is a definite collection of cinematic devices that are used in nearly all of them, only “Silence… Continue reading 20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1932)

Home Alone 3 (1997)

The Fighting Child Is there a more interesting case study than John Hughes? He invented a new genre and incidentally opened a new strain of cinematic techniques. But writing is like other major enterprises in life. Each hit on the pool ball does three things; it attempts to score, it completely changes the environment and… Continue reading Home Alone 3 (1997)

Seven-Up! (1964)

This did not start as a folded adventure. It is a quite ordinary TV documentary. But it became so in later installments by Apted, where the interviews are largely about how the films affected their lives.

16 Blocks (2006)

Blockage Sometimes it is just the man. It is not a new thing that movies promote personality and that certain personalities find their time. One type is the everyman. James Stewart was of this variety. Not a great man or suave. Not a lover or hero. Bruce Willis mines this type. I have no idea… Continue reading 16 Blocks (2006)