Screening Room

April 30, 2015

The Implications of Artificial Intelligence: On Alex Garland’s ‘Ex Machina’ 1

by

In subverting current ideas about gender, sci fi, and the thriller genre, Alex Garland delivers a film about theory of mind that is deliciously hard to read.

April 9, 2015

Winter Is Coming: How HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ Is Going off Book and Breaking All the Rules 3

by

Anyone fatigued with Game of Thrones, the socio-technological phenomenon — most illegal downloads! most on-line videos of viewers watching characters die! — may find their interest piqued by the show’s challenge to modern assumptions about adaptation and the idea of canon.

February 13, 2015

The Civil Rights Movement Finally Gets Its Hollywood Close-Up 0

by

Selma is the climax of a cinematic crescendo that has been building for years.

February 9, 2015

Rejoice! A Hollywood Screenwriter Read a Novel Last Year! 6

by

I’m happy to report that the writers nominated for the Adapted Screenplay Oscar mixed a little fiction into their reading diets last year. A very little. One novel.

October 20, 2014

One Long Country Song: What Friday Night Lights Taught Me About Storytelling 7

by

I watched Friday Night Lights in real time, as it aired. I wonder if it would have been as much of an influence if I had “binged-watched” all five seasons back-to-back in one or two months’ time. Instead, the show stretched out over the course of five years, 2006-2011, which for me were years when I had to throw out most of the fiction I wrote.

October 3, 2014

Please, Oh Please: On Madam Secretary and the Ladies of TV     6

by

I want my Secretary of State to be clear that, for as long as her job description includes tending to ISIS, then tending to ISIS is more important than the PTA.

September 25, 2014

A Comic Feast: Michael Winterbottom’s The Trip to Italy 0

by

Beneath the laughs, of which there are many, The Trip to Italy is an anxious comedy supremely anxious about comedy itself.

July 22, 2014

John Waters’s America 1

by

In the back of his mind, Mark Twain probably imagined a dogshit-eating transvestite, but couldn’t find a place for him in Huckleberry Finn.

May 29, 2014

If No One Sees It, Is it Still Art? On Finding Vivian Maier 10

by

The documentary Finding Vivian Maier recently joined the burgeoning conversation about its titular subject, a reclusive Chicago nanny whose collection of street photography was discovered at a storage auction shortly before her death in the form of thousands of undeveloped rolls of film.

April 25, 2014

Darren’s Ark: On Noah 0

by

On the second day, I attended a Seder, with 14 pounds of beef brisket. On the fifth day, I saw Noah, with Russell Crowe looking like 14 pounds of brisket in a distressed denim bag.