Screening Room

August 3, 2011

Ecstatic Truth: Werner Herzog’s The Cave of Forgotten Dreams 6


You don’t have to question Herzog’s honesty in watching his films, though you might start to question his sanity.

July 26, 2011

Friday Night Fumble: When Mediocre TV Masquerades as High Art 44


Friday Night Lights is bad television. And if it is art, then it is art that is purposefully misleading, which is art of the worst kind. Something is truly rotten in the state of Texas.

July 8, 2011

Eye of the Beholder: Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life 23


Critical reaction to Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life has been decidedly garrulous.  A vast majority of reviewers have invoked some kind of “higher” culture to signify the elusive mood or feeling it evokes.

June 29, 2011

Ayelet Waldman talks Hobgoblin and More 2


“[T]he characters and story are very very far from my life. I think [Red Hook Road] is the best thing I’ve ever written, which, when you think about it, is pretty telling. Perhaps we should all be grateful that I’m now writing a TV pilot about magicians and con men who spy for the British in World War II.”

June 9, 2011

Family ‘Tree’ 4


On attending a private, family screening of Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

May 25, 2011

Oprahtherapy 5


Oprah was the perfect hospital show because it mirrored the hospital experience.  Some days it was lighthearted and inspirational, others grave and despairing.

May 6, 2011

Will Ferrell Channels Raymond Carver — And It Works! 12


The 10th Tribeca Film Festival was a richly musical affair. Nearly lost in this pleasing din were two quiet movies, a feature and a documentary, that grew, respectively, out of a work of literature and the misguided urge to lionize writers.

May 5, 2011

Missing Roger Lodge 1


All “on-the-scene: dating shows share similar qualities: the couples have never met before and volatile reactions and hot tub canoodling are encouraged.

April 15, 2011

Friday Night Lights, The Final Season: Join the Team 15


What has surprised – and in a way instructed – me most is how effectively FNL employs what is essentially formulaic drama; that is, how aware we are of being immersed in a constructed moral universe, and yet how little the drama’s predictability compromises either one’s engagement or the show’s objective artfulness and excellence.

February 16, 2011

On Race, Class and the Hollywood ‘Whiteout’ 19


What we need are more serious movies with multiracial characters/casts that aren’t SCARE QUOTES MOVIES ABOUT RACE END SCARE QUOTES. We need more movies that simultaneously are and aren’t about race: movies that are dramas and comedies, about love, death, the usual human plots—and also happen to be about race.