Movies

Fever Dream

Dostoyevsky famously said all Russian literature emerged from under Gogol’s “Overcoat.” Most of Don DeLillo’s fiction seems delivered from a dingy basement room...

Superfluous

This summer at the movies was the season of franchises. Spider-Man spun himself into a new series, though the older one, with Tobey Maguire, was completed only five...

Whimsical Gallantry

Up to now, watching a Wes Anderson movie was like entering a playground and discovering that the sandbox, the teeter-totters, and all the swings were being hogged...

See Sick

“Off, off, you lendings!” cries King Lear as he strips himself of the royal robes and reduces himself to the state of an “unaccommodated man,”  living with the...

A Rough Injustice

The issue of bullying is everywhere in schools these days. My daughter’s grade school sponsors anti-bullying workshops and plays, keeps an “incident log” in the...

Text & Subtext

The theme of father-son conflict has figured richly in movies, often bearing a conspicuously manly aspect. Consider the generational face-offs in Cat on a Hot Tin...

Sentimentalized Barbarity

When the film adaptation of an immensely popular novel preserves those elements that made the book a success, it is bound to become a classic. Such was the case...

Dishonor Codes

Watching the superlative Iranian film A Separation, I was reminded of Bleak House, Dickens’s account of a dispute grinding through the wheels of justice and...

Surprise Endings

Among the five live-action short films nominated for the 2012 Oscars, there is no masterpiece like last year’s Na Wewe from Belgium, and there are two duds. But the...

Mama’s Boy, Daddy’s Girl

Coriolanus—that sublime numbskull, that Roman Achilles revealed as an Oedipal nut-job, that overgrown Boy Scout turned Benedict Arnold when his fellow citizens,...

Spooks

The gentleman approached the bookstore’s salesclerk and asked, “Have you got that new book with my friend, George Smiley?” It was 1979 in Washington, D.C., and...

Screen Magic

To call a successful film director a movie magician is usually just hyperbolic cliché, but Georges Méliès (1861–1938) was literally a magician of the cinema. This...
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