Scruggs, Widows, Beasts (This Week’s Movies)


Tim Blake Nelson: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (courtesy Netflix)

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

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. “It’s like a beautifully embroidered needlework laid across a gravesite.” (Herald link here.)

Widows. “tries to be a lot of different things: heist thriller, feminist statement, social-issue diagnosis. That’s a lot to bite off, and 129 minutes isn’t enough time for proper chewing.” (Weekly link here.)

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. “Part Two of J.K. Rowling’s latest franchise is a bewildering bummer, a real misstep by this generally sure-footed storyteller.”

Parallax View continues looking at films and reviews from 1998, including my piece on Richard Kiwetnioski’s Love and Death on Long Island. Not a great review on my part, but a somewhat forgotten movie worth remembering.

A Seasoned Ticket offering for Scarecrow Video’s blog, this time a couple of reviews of two smallish Frederick Wiseman films, La danse and Boxing Gym. Read it here.


Guest Tombstones (This Week’s Reviews)

Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy: The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them

Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy: The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them

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

The Guest. “Whatever Adam Wingard is drinking, please keep ’em coming.” (In case of Herald paywall, see the Weekly version.)

A Walk Among the Tombstones. “A cut above Neeson’s pulpier outings.”

My Old Lady. “If you’re going to have people running off at the mouth, you could do worse than this hyper-eloquent trio.” (Weekly version.)

The Disapperance of Eleanor Rigby: Them. “An earnest disposition.” (Weekly version.)

Life of Crime. “Dialed-down and low-rent.” (Weekly version.)

Check the Overlook Podcast for the latest conversations on film; we have two this week. Listen here as Steve Scher and I consider The Drop and The Guest. Then stick around to hear our musings on the career of John Sayles, this weekend’s special guest at the Port Townsend Film Festival.

I’ll be at the Port Townsend Film Festival (special guests John Sayles and Maggie Renzi) this weekend for a variety of things, including an open-to-the-public interview with Sayles at Port Townsend High School at 1:30 today (Friday) and the “Evening With” event Saturday night at 6:30, an interview with Sayles following a screening of Lone Star.

Half of Planet Venus (This Week’s Movies)

Emmanuelle Seigner, Mathieu Amalric in Roman Polanski's Venus in Fur

Emmanuelle Seigner, Mathieu Amalric in Roman Polanski’s Venus in Fur

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

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. “Far too many scenes of apes and humans clasping hands and hugging monkey babies.”

Venus in Fur. “An extended and often hilarious riff on power plays and erotic gamesmanship, both of which are offered here in ripe-flowering abundance.”

Half of a Yellow Sun. “Something powerful about the juxtaposition of images, as the movie travels from bright, stylish academics debating philosophy to soldiers carrying bloodied machetes through the middle of the street.”

Third Person. “Enigmatic and a little thin.”

The Overlook Podcast puts another session up soon; in the meantime, hear what Steve Scher and I have been up to at our website.

I’ve been popping in on the Mark Rahner Show on KIRO radio (97.3) lately. Check out last week’s show online, in which we talk about the Roger Ebert documentary Life Itself. And listen on Saturday (my segment goes at 4:30) for a look at Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

And early warning: The talkers of Framing Pictures will convene another sit-down conversation about what’s on at the movies; we’ll be at the Northwest Film Forum at 5:30 on Sunday afternoon, July 20. Check our Facebook page for updates.

Margaret on Grey (Weekly Links)

J. Cameron-Smith, Anna Paquin: mourning Margaret

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

Margaret. “A remarkable film.”

The Grey. “Begins like just another testosterone-filled hunk of implausibility and somehow finds its way toward, well, if not existential resonance, at least major coolness. Maybe both.”

Man on a Ledge. “Increasingly hard to believe.”

Albert Nobbs. “Scaled at just the right size.”

On KUOW’s “Weekday,” I talk briefly with Steve Scher about Margaret and its Oscar shutout, then about other mistakes the Academy voters made. It’s archived here; the movie part rolls out at the 18:50 mark.

At What a Feeling!, the 1980s callback is for Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice.

Sunday afternoon, I introduce a DVD screening of Victor Erice’s Quince Tree Sun at the Frye Art Museum at 2 p.m.; the event is free (and re-scheduled from a snow day a couple of weeks ago).

Tuesday night, I’ll bring “Alien Encounters: Sci-Fi Movies and the Cold War Culture of the 1950s” to Horizon House in Seattle at 7 p.m. This is a free talk through the Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau. More info here.