The Friday 4/16/2021


Skipping a week on my contribution to the Scarecrow blog. Instead:

I am hosting a radio show. That’s right, not a podcast, a radio show. Produced by Voice of Vashon, it’s called “The Music and the Movies,” a weekly emanation in which I look at different ways music has informed film. Each show stays online for two weeks after its initial Sunday-night (7 p.m. Pacific Time) broadcast. Right now you can listen to my latest episode, on music related to the films of Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte; and the previous one, about Bernard Herrmann’s music for fantasy/sci-fi films. On Sunday, that one disappears, and we debut a show about this year’s Oscar nominees for Best Score.

Tomorrow, Saturday 4/17, join us online at 2 p.m. Pacific Time for Scarecrow Academy, where we wind up our ten-week semester on “The Art in Noir: Film Noir and the Director.” We’ll discuss Robert Aldrich’s Kiss Me Deadly this time. Go to Scarecrow Academy and sign up for the free Zoom session, and do it now. Meantime, I introduce the movie here:

I’ve got more vintage 80s reviews at my other website, What a Feeling!, specifically: Jeff Bleckner’s White Water Summer, with Kevin Bacon tormenting Sean Astin in a teen Deliverance; Alex Cox’s Walker, a punk true-story Western with Ed Harris as the Oliver North of his day; Simon Langton’s The Whistle Blower, with Michael Caine in a spy picture; David Leland’s Wish You Were Here, which introduced Emily Lloyd in a widely heralded performance; and Carl Reiner’s Summer School, starring Mark Harmon as a laid-back teacher.

The Friday (1/29/2021)

Yulia Visotskaya, Dear Comrades! (photo by Sasha Gusov, courtesy NEON)

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

Dear Comrades! “The feeling of being absolutely at sea in the midst of political chaos is piercing.”

We’re reconvening Scarecrow Academy, an online discussion series via Zoom. This time it’s ten weeks of “The Art in Noir: Film Noir and the Director,” which goes on Saturdays at 2 p.m. Pacific Time, launching February 13 with Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity. You register online and we send you the Zoom link, and then we have a robust conversation; check out the info here. And the poster:

After a holiday break, What a Feeling! started up again, with vintage 1980s reviews of five foreign films: Claire Denis’ debut feature Chocolat; Federico Fellini’s Ginger and Fred, starring Giulietta Masina and Marcello Mastroianni; Bruno Nuytten’s Camille Claudel, an Oscar-nominated showcase for Isabelle Adjani; Giuseppe Tornatore’s Oscar-winning smash Cinema Paradiso; and Bertrand Tavernier’s Beatrice, a Middle Ages story with an early role for Julie Delpy.

The Friday (11/27/2020)

Hereditary (A24)

No new review this holiday week. A few happenings:

Tomorrow, Saturday November 27, we convene our final session of 2020’s Scarecrow Academy, presented by Scarecrow Video in Seattle. The free Zoom meeting begins at 2 p.m. Pacific Time; you can register by clicking on a link here. Our subject this year has been “The Art in Horror: Horror and the Director,” and we’ll be talking about Ari Aster’s 2018 film Hereditary. My video introduction is here.

Three 1980s reviews this week at my other website, What a Feeling!, before taking a brief pause for Thanksgiving and other things. Check out the vintage takes on: David Beaird’s My Chauffeur, with Valley Girl star Deborah Foreman and Sam J. Jones (from Flash Gordon); Pat O’Connor’s A Month in the Country, a fondly-recalled British idyll with Colin Firth, Kenneth Branagh, and Natasha Richardson; and Philippe Mora’s Communion, with Christopher Walken in Whitley Strieber’s memoir of alien abduction.

The Friday (8/4/2020)

Yifei Liu, Mulan (Jasin Boland, Disney Enterprises Inc.)

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

Mulan. “The best I can think of for an explanation about the overall slogginess here is that the concept of Mulan really, really needs songs and talking animals.”

Join us tomorrow, Saturday Sep. 5, at 2 p.m., for a session in “The Art in Horror: Horror and the Director,” our ongoing semester in Scarecrow Academy. We’ll be discussing Rosemary’s Baby, directed by Roman Polanski. The meeting is free, via Zoom, and you can register here (and also watch me intro the film, if that’s your idea of fun).

Consider reading my novel Hateful Deeds, a political black, black comedy published on Kindle.

Parallax View rolls out more reviews from the year 2000; my contribution this week is something on Robert Altman’s Dr. T and the Women, a curious ensemble piece led by Richard Gere.

And here’s a handful of 1980s reviews at my other website, What a Feeling!: Jerry Schatzberg’s Misunderstood, a tepid drama with Gene Hackman and Henry Thomas; Armyan Bernstein’s Cross My Heart, a romcom pairing Martin Short and Annette O’Toole; Sandy Wilson’s My American Cousin, a Canadian coming-of-age picture that made a nice impression on the indie scene; a twofer review of Barnett Kellman’s Key Exchange, a pleasant Woody Allen knockoff with Brooke Adams, and Karoly Makk’s Lily in Love, with Christopher Plummer and Maggie Smith; and James L. Brooks’s Broadcast News, a classic.

The Friday (8/28/2020)

Rian Gordon, Viraj Juneja, Lewis Gribben, Samuel Bottomley: Get Duked! (Brian Sweeney/Amazon Studios)

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

Get Duked! “A little like an Ealing film colliding with a gonzo Ben Wheatley picture.”

This week I wrote an obituary for the Seattle Times about Darryl Macdonald, the co-founder of the Seattle International Film Festival (and later executive director of the Palm Springs film fest). A memorable character in the Seattle movie universe, Darryl was 70 – an age he would not have admitted.

Tomorrow, Saturday August 29, we’ll resume our semester of Scarecrow Academy, via Zoom. Our subject is “The Art in Horror: Horror and the Director,” and we pick up with a discussion of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Please watch the movie beforehand! We’ll convene at 2 p.m. Pacific Time; information about registration here.

At Parallax View, we continue to re-visit reviews from 20 years ago, in the 2000 Eyes Project. My pieces this week are on Antoine Fuqua’s Bait, an unlikely thriller with Jami Foxx, and Robert Redford’s dewy The Legend of Bagger Vance, with Will Smith and Matt Damon.

More reviews at my other blog, What a Feeling!, direct from the 1980s to you. Behold: Martha Coolidge’s Joy of Sex, a misfired National Lampoon production; Penny Marshall’s Jumpin’ Jack Flash, the first “vehicle” for Whoopi Goldberg; Howard Zieff’s The Dream Team, led by Michael Keaton; Bill D’Elia’s The Feud, a small-town comedy with Stanley Tucci; and Sam Shepard’s Far North, another small-town comedy, with Jessica Lange.

Also, I published a novel this week: Hateful Deeds, a political black comedy. Download it for free this weekend to your Kindle.