Screening Room

November 25, 2015

The Filmable Miss Highsmith 2


What is it that keeps drawing filmmakers to the fiction of Patricia Highsmith?

November 10, 2015

Too Real to Be Real: The Problem of Authentic TV 0


How can something be both entertaining and true to life — which, as we are all acutely aware, is overwhelmingly mundane?

October 26, 2015

In Praise of Cartoon Violence 4


I recently bought a DVD set for my six-year-old son that featured the following offenses: reckless gunplay, the detonation of high explosives, apparent vehicular homicide, assault with a baseball bat, plunges from great heights, electrocutions, jailbreaks, punches, slaps, kicks, and shoves into oncoming traffic. For good measure, there was also a healthy dose of cross-dressing.

August 4, 2015

The Long, Lonely Walk: Hallways in Horror Films 2


Hallway scenes are an essential element of American and international horror films. Hallways are tight, narrow, walled, made for transit — and yet sometimes our most sensitive moments are out in the hall, doors closed behind us. Hallways are places for tense encounters, confusion, and fear.

July 31, 2015

The Unwritten Profile: On The End Of The Tour 13


Perhaps the biggest compliment I can give to The End of the Tour, the new film about a five-day interview between the writer David Foster Wallace and Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky, is that I finally started reading Wallace again.

June 4, 2015

Four Uneasy Pieces: How Detroit Moved Beyond Ruin Porn 3


The facile visual shorthand of ruin porn has eclipsed nuanced narrative as a way of telling the complex story of Detroit.

April 30, 2015

The Implications of Artificial Intelligence: On Alex Garland’s ‘Ex Machina’ 14


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


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


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


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.