Partridge Transcendence (Weekly Links)

Johnny Depp, proposing Transcendence

Johnny Depp, proposing Transcendence

Links to reviews I wrote this week for the Herald and Seattle Weekly.

Transcendence. “Even the sure-fire gotcha moments don’t land with the expected punch.”

Joe. “A textured world of shacks, dirt roads, and long-simmering resentments.”

Alan Partridge. “Toxic egotism.”

Steve Scher and I continue the ongoing conversation that is the Overlook Podcast. The latest session delves into Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin; sink into that here.

Movie Diary 4/17/2014

Only Lovers Left Alive (Jim Jarmusch, 2013). Vampires, the exotic locations of Tangiers and Detroit, and some cornball jokes. It’s good. Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston are convincing on all counts.

Movie Diary 4/15/2014

Transcendence (Wally Pfister, 2014). It seems right that Johnny Depp would want to do a variation on Donovan’s Brain. This one has a paucity of cheese, somehow, even if it does have Rebecca Hall and Paul Bettany trying their best. (full review 4/18)

Underworld U.S.A. (Samuel Fuller, 1961). It gets better every time. And “National Projects” is such a great name for a crime syndicate.

Movie Diary 4/14/2014

Scarface (Howard Hawks, 1932). A lot of the movie’s crazy – really crazy – energy seems to come straight from the ambitious head of Tony Camonte. It sure is a film about death: how to meet it, how casually it comes.

White Heat (Raoul Walsh, 1949). One situation after another, many of them improvised by Cody Jarrett as circumstances demand. This is one psychopath that thinks quick on his feet. And how about Cagney: wandering around in the dark, “talkin’ to Ma,” and finding it a good feeling.

Alan Partridge (Declan Lowney, 2013). Steve Coogan’s media dunce is not well known in the U.S., but this reasonably funny vehicle gives a useful showcase. (full review 4/18)

Unknown Draft Raid (Weekly Links)

Yayan Ruhian, fantastically cool: The Raid 2

Yayan Ruhian, fantastically cool: The Raid 2

Links to reviews I wrote this week for the Herald and Seattle Weekly, and etc.

The Raid 2. “Some kind of pulp achievement.”

Draft Day. “Some of the most useless split-screen in memory.”

The Unknown Known. “Ever-expanding circles of rhetoric – a Yogi Berra elevated to a position of life and death.”

Exhibition. “Hogg has made a consistently intriguing movie.”

Steve Scher and I used to talk on the radio; now we podcast. Tune in to a new session of The Overlook, as we wonder about what happened to Westerns and what the good ones are of late. Check in here.

Saturday April 12, join me in Tumwater, WA, for “The Movie Mashup: Wild Literary Adaptations on Film,” a look at some of the kookier ways movies have treated original texts: how The Odyssey became O Brother, Where Art Thou? and The Tempest turned into Forbidden Planet - that kind of thing. In the meantime, we’ll think about how movies differ from literature, always a rich subject. This is at 2 p.m., Tumwater Timberland Library, and it’s free. More here.

Sunday April 13, I’ll introduce a free screening of Hisako Matsui’s 2010 film Léonie, a biopic of Isamu Noguchi’s mother, Léonie Noguchi. That’s at 2 p.m.; more info here.

Thursday April 17, join me for “The End of the Trail: How the Movie Western Rode Into the Sunset,” a free talk in the Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau series. That’s at the Jefferson County Library in Port Hadlock, WA, at 6:30 p.m. More info here.

Movie Diary 4/8/2014

Draft Day (Ivan Reitman, 2014). Costner in a story about the machinations of NFL draft-day trades and suchlike. An easy film to be around, but one yearns for Ron Shelton to come in and take the thing away from Reitman. Also: Jennifer Garner is the love interest, which makes one wonder, why does this appealing actress pick the movies she picks? (full review 4/11)

Movie Diary 4/7/2014

Each Dawn I Die (William Keighley, 1939). Some good things going here in the jail, plus it’s got Cagney in fine shape and George Raft looking really cool. All of which is working against the fact that the movie’s spine is made of pure corn.

High Sierra (Raoul Walsh, 1941). According to the Crop Duster archive, I watched this movie in 2010. In my memory, I had not seen it in years – something I continued to believe while I watched it tonight. I work too much.

Missing Captain Vol. II (Weekly Links)

Robert Redford, Samuel L. Jackson, from Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Robert Redford, Samuel L. Jackson in Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Links to reviews I wrote this week for the Herald and Seattle Weekly, and etc.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier. “Actually a movie.”

Nymphomaniac Vol. II. “Needs to be seen as a single picture, preferably in one go.”

The Missing Picture. “Chilling but fascinating.”

Anita: Speak Truth to Power. “Not exercising journalism here.”

Tuesday, April 8, join me for “The End of the Trail: How the Movie Western Rode Into the Sunset,” a free talk in the Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau series, at 2 p.m. at the Gardens at Town Square in Bellevue.

Join me Thursday April 10 for two talks on Whidbey Island. At 1 p.m. I’ll present “The End of the Trail: How the Movie Western Rode Into the Sunset,” a free talk in the Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau series, at the Freeland Library. Details here. Then at 6 I’ll give the talk farther north, at the Oak Harbor Library; details here.

Another installment of the Overlook Podcast is up and running. In this one, Steve Scher and I talk about Darren Aronofsky’s Noah; a look around the shelves of Scarecrow Video turns up the new DVD of a great Orson Welles title. Listen here.


Movie Diary 4/3/2014

Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer, 2013). Scarlett Johansson as a visitor. This movie is going to climb inside people’s heads and stay there. The spooky music is by Mica Levi, a name you will want to remember.

Movie Diary 4/2/2014

Little Caesar (Mervyn LeRoy, 1931). Nice clothes, nice cigars, a fancy stickpin for one’s cravat. This is what it’s all about. One of the distinguishing factors of the early gangsters: so little introspection, so much outward gloss. Edward G. Robinson shines, of course.


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