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.

Movie Diary 4/1/2014

The Missing Picture (Rithy Panh, 2013). The filmmaker recalls his nightmarish experiences as a child under the Khmer Rouge. The recollections are enacted by carved, painted wooden figures, a haunting approach that also incorporates some vintage footage. This is one of the five nominated foreign-language Oscar films, and a worthy choice. (full review 4/4)

Movie Diary 3/31/2014

Underworld (Josef von Sternberg, 1927). From JvS’s memoir: “In spite of all the concessions I made to popular taste, I had fooled neither the author nor the sales force. Without a moment’s hesitation they had detected a sinister artistic purpose and had recognized it for what it was – an experiment in photographic violence and montage.” That’s about right. The author was Ben Hecht, who asked that his name be taken off the film after he saw what Sternberg had made, and later collected an Oscar for it.

The Musketeers of Pig Alley (D.W. Griffith, 1912). Sheer, utter command of the screen. Still pretty awesome after 100 years. It’s an early one for Lillian Gish, and the main gangster is played by Elmer Booth. He would die three years later as a passenger in a car driven by a drunk Tod Browning.

Anita: Speaking Truth to Power (Frieda Lee Mock, 2013). Worshipful. (full review 4/4)

The Racket (Lewis Milestone, 1928). Sags a little after a while, but there’s some exciting stuff in the early going, including good hurly-burly on a dance floor and a gangland shooting.

Nymphomaniac Vol. II (Lars von Trier, 2013). Among other things, confirmation that this movie should be seen as one sustained thing, not two films. Other than that – hmmm. This part seems less about female sexuality than about how the rest of the world looks at someone doing what she wants to do without compromises. (full review 4/4)

Sabotage Noah Face (Weekly Links)

Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe: Hard rain a-gonna fall, in Noah

Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe: Hard rain a-gonna fall, in Noah

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

Noah. “The feverish pitch indicates just how seriously Noah takes itself.”

Sabotage. “A smarter action flick than it first seems.”

The Face of Love. “May well be a failure because of its delayed-revelation contrivance, but there is something in this movie that haunts.”

Steve Scher and I share another Overlook podcast, this time musing on this week’s blog post by Roger Ebert.com editor Matt Zoller Seitz urging movie critics to write more about form. I’m for it.

Thanks to the Herald for running a nice piece on my new book about all things Frankenstein. Check it out here.

frankensteincover

Movie Diary 3/27/2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Joe and Anthony Russo, 2014). Part Two, or Part Umpteen, depending on which way you count these Marvels. This one’s better than the first Captain America picture, for sure. It remains an unsolved question as to why a movie in which the hero can survive a fall from a building should come down to a fistfight to settle things, but somehow they always do. (full review 4/4)

Exhibition (Joanna Hogg, 2013). Inside an architecturally-arresting London house, where a couple prepares to let go of the place and acts out their feelings about that. Not much happens, and yet the film is absorbing. (full review 4/4)

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