Screening Room

September 21, 2011

A Documentary for Our Times: The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 8

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As the divisions of class and race continue to harden and widen in this country, I say we could use more leaders like Stokely Carmichael and Angela Davis, with their beautiful, hard-earned fury.

September 8, 2011

Star Wars, Apatow, and the Death of Classic Comedy 2

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Judd Apatow and friends, with their hyper-familiar brand of hairy-assed humor, have issued a crushing blow to the suspension of disbelief — and made the gap between old comedy and new unbridgeable.

August 16, 2011

Films You Haven’t Seen Yet…The Sequel! 7

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You might think that Real Steel 2 is an exception. You might think that, even by the standards of Hollywood conservatism gone mad, work on Real Steel 2 is a damning, individual act of hubris. But it’s far from the only example.

August 3, 2011

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

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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

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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

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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

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“[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

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

May 25, 2011

Oprahtherapy 5

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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

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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.