A Star Is Venom (This Week’s Reviews)


Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga: A Star Is Born (courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures)

Links to my reviews published this week in the Herald and Seattle Weekly, and etc.

A Star Is Born. “Cooper’s leisurely approach builds no momentum, and the non-musical scenes meander as the actors (apparently) improvise in close-up. This isn’t storytelling as much as it is a work-shopped series of behaviors.” (Herald link here.)

Venom. “An absolute stiff, a monotonous slog through generic material.”

Hey, there’s a new German initiative, via the Goethe Institut, to place key German films on the free-streaming service Kanopy. It’s called – why not? – Wunderbar. I chimed in with a little introduction to The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, as though that movie needed an introduction. It’s here.

For the Scarecrow Video blog, I put in another Seasoned Ticket post, this one about some of the Hammer horror sequels in the Dracula series. It’s here.


Appropriate Blackhat Sniper (This Week’s Movies)

Bradley Cooper, American Sniper

Bradley Cooper, American Sniper

Links to my reviews published this week in Seattle Weekly and the Herald, and etc.

American Sniper. “A measured directorial approach that is likely to disappoint those looking for either a patriotic tribute to the troops or a critique of war and its effects.” (In case of Herald paywall, Seattle Weekly version here.)

Blackhat. “An occasionally intoxicating mess.”

Paddington. “Winningly bright and funny.”

Appropriate Behavior. “Amusing if not earth-shaking.” (Weekly version here.)

Today, Friday, Jan. 16, join the talkers of Framing Pictures as we sort through the holiday-season aftermath. Richard T. Jameson, Kathleen Murphy and I will meet at the Screening Room in Scarecrow Video at 5 p.m. for this free event; drinks will be on sale. More details on our Facebook page.

At the Overlook Podcast, Steve Scher and I sift through the Oscar nominations announced yesterday, and find them mostly business as usual. Listen here.

Last week I dropped by KIRO radio’s “Mark Rahner Show” again, and we talked about Selma, Inherent Vice, and whatnot; the conversation is archived here.

Guardians Up (This Week’s Movies)

Chris Pratt, Guardians of the Galaxy

Chris Pratt, Guardians of the Galaxy

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

Guardians of the Galaxy. “A momentum machine, the kind of movie in which one scene keeps tipping giddily over into the next.” (If the Herald paywall is a problem, here’s the Seattle Weekly link.)

Get on Up. “Bosemen doesn’t especially resemble James Brown, but he’s electric at channeling Brown’s crazy energy and strange self-possession.”

Mood Indigo. “A vast miscalculation here about how this amount of whimsy wears over time.” (Seattle Weekly link.)

The Overlook Podcast has another new one this week: Steve Scher and I recall the careers of James Garner and Paul Mazursky, members of a sardonic breed of Hollywood cat. Listen here.

Early warning: Thursday August 14, join us for a “Summer at SAM” event at the Olympic Sculpture Park. The “Art Hit Tour” at 6:30 will be led by me and my wife as we cover two aspects of the park: its cinematic possibilities and ecological awareness. The event is free and there’s lots of other stuff going on to sample. Read more about that night and the other “Summer at SAM” events here.

Early warning II: On successive Thursday nights, September 4 & 11, I’ll be leading a workshop at the Northwest Film Forum called “Cinematic Space and Sound.” The first will concentrate on the evocative use of screen space, the second on masters of sound. More information here.