The Friday 7/30/2021

Denis Lavant, Juliette Binoche: Les amants du Pont-Neuf

My piece for the Scarecrow blog this week, and etc.

Les amants du Pont-Neuf. “Guess what? It’s a landmark of French cinema.”

I’ve got a new episode of “The Music and the Movies” this week, this one devoted to the accordion in film music. Listen without prejudice, and embrace this much-maligned instrument in a show that travels from Leos Carax to Werner Herzog to Lawrence Welk.

Still running: The M&M episode on Quincy Jones’ film music.

At my other website, What a Feeling!, we have two vintage 1980s reviews posted this week: David Mamet’s Things Change, with Don Ameche and Joe Mantegna in a mob comedy; and Frank Kerr’s True Blood, a crime thing with Jeff Fahey, Chad Lowe, and Billy Drago.

The Friday (7/3/2020)


Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche: The Truth (IFC Films)

My review this week for the Scarecrow blog, and etc.

The Truth (La Vérité). “Among its other pleasures, the way Kore-eda keeps the film seamlessly moving between family drama and on-set revelations is so easy and fluid you won’t have a chance to consider how complicated all the pieces are.”

The 2000 Eyes project continues at the Parallax View website, a quickly-ballooning collection of pieces on films from the year 2000. I’ll link my own week’s contributions here, but there are many goodies on hand. From moi: Curtis Hanson’s Wonder Boys, a still-underrated dramedy with a great cast led by Michael Douglas; Kenneth Lonergan’s You Can Count on Me, a classic with a career turn from Laura Linney; and Battlefield Earth, the woebegotten Travolta-Hubbard sci-fi opus.

This week at What a Feeling! we spotlighted Australian films from the 1980s. To wit: Simon Wincer’s horsey biopic Phar Lap; Wincer’s big-scale The Lighthorsemen, with a footnote about the tragic fate of leading man (and “next Mel Gibson”) Jon Blake; Bruce Beresford’s The Fringe Dwellers, an early attempt at putting Aboriginal life at the center of a film; Rolf de Heer’s sci-fi opus Encounter at Raven’s Gate; and – of course – Peter Faiman’s Crocodile Dundee, the blockbuster that made an international star of Paul Hogan.

Fault in Our Tomorrow (This Week’s Movies)

Stayin' Alive: Tom Cruise in an existential loop, Edge of Tomorrow

Stayin’ Alive: Tom Cruise in an existential loop, Edge of Tomorrow

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

Edge of Tomorrow. “Ingenious in doling out its herky-jerky storytelling.”

The Fault in Our Stars. “Creates enough unusual detours to justify its existence.”

Words and Pictures. “All about the inspirational message-making, but without any new wrinkles.”

Here’s another installment in the Overlook Podcast. This time, Steve Scher and I talk about why monsters attract, nodding especially in the direction of the new Godzilla and Richard Ayoade’s The Double.

And catch up with a conversation I had with KIRO radio host Mark Rahner as we sort through X-Men: Days of Future Past. That segment is lodged here.

Avengers Death Voice (Weekly Links)

Evans, Downey: Who is the super-est?

Links to reviews I wrote for the Herald, and etc.

The Avengers. “Achieves almost exactly what it seeks to achieve.”

Sound of My Voice. “The movie plays with the allure of a cult, by using some of the tools of the cult leader on us.”

Death of a Superhero. “Unfortunately hardened into formula.”

Elles. “Pretty obvious.”

On KUOW’s “Weekday,” I talk with Katy Sewall about the need for superhero movies – prompted, of course, by the arrival of The Avengers. It’s archived here; the movie bit kicks in at the 15:30 mark.

Next Thursday night I’ll present “Alien Encounters: Sci-Fi Movies and the Cold War Culture of the 1950s,” a free talk in the Humanities Washington speakers series, at the Renton History Museum, in Renton, WA, at 5 p.m. Location details here.

And next Friday, May 11, another installment of “Framing Pictures” unfolds at the Northwest Film Forum at 5 p.m.: three critics talking in depth about movies past, present, and future. Details here.

And “Framing Pictures” has a Facebook page now, so we can keep up to date with events (and perhaps keep the conversation going after events). Go here and “Like” it.

The Museum of History and Industry is hosting its second annual “History Is__” short film competition; a juried awards party will announced the winners next Saturday night, May 12. Get the info here.

At What a Feeling!, the Eighties continue to roll on, with vintage reviews of John Sayles’ Return of the Secaucus Seven, Marvin Chomsky’s Tank, and Blake Edwards’ Sunset.