“The Man Who Ate Liberty Valance”: I’m at AmCon

on Ravenous, a cannibal Western with a Looney Tunes win-by-losing climax--yes, I loved it: 1999′s Ravenous turns up on a lot of lists of underrated horror movies. It’s hard to get people to take you seriously when your plot is, “Guy Pearce eats people in the Old West.” But now that I’ve finally taken advantage of “Ravenous”‘s availability through Netflix streaming, I can tell you: This movie is criminally underrated. It’s not just a creepy, haunting cannibal Western from the producer of “Donnie … [Read more...]

Marian Skating for the Feast of the Assumption

Can I find figure skating for every occasion? I CAN TRY.Natalia Annenko and Genrikh Sretenski:Oksana Baiul:Peggy Fleming, especially appropriate for this feast:Rudy Galindo, likewise:Carolina Kostner:Anjelika Krylova and Oleg Ovsiannikov:Elena and Oleg Protopopov:Johnny Weir:Now go to church! … [Read more...]

From Peter de Vries, “The Tents of Wickedness”

The task of rearing a child must have taught her a lot. Taught her that the conformity we often glibly equate with mediocrity isn't something free spirits "transcend" as much as something they're not quite up to. That convention calls for broader shoulders--and, for all I know, more imagination--than revolt. --this is in the voice of the comic hero, so he's kind of a fatuous ass, but the best trick is to put wisdom in the mouths of asses. … [Read more...]

Time Is Like a Dream/And Now–For a Time–You Are Mine: A Few More Thoughts on “Boyhood”

So when I wrote my review of Boyhood I knew it had gotten good press, but I didn't realize that I would be one of only a handful of critics who found the movie lacking. Apparently it sits around 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Now that I've had some time to sit with the movie in my memory, here are some further thoughts: some extra praise and some extra criticism, but mostly a reflection on perseverance.The other critics who disliked Boyhood tend to argue that the "film these people over 12 real … [Read more...]

I Review Christopher Beha’s New Novel of Reality-TV Redemption

for AmCon: Christopher Beha’s Arts & Entertainments is built around a classic morality-tale structure: the devil’s bargain, the spiraling consequences, the choice between a good reputation and a good conscience.Eddie Hartley is an acting teacher of the “those who can’t do” type, whose marriage is being ground down by his wife Susan’s longing for the children they can’t conceive on their own. To pay for another round of IVF treatments, Hartley sells a sex tape from his youthful relationsh … [Read more...]

From Helen Oyeyemi, “The Opposite House”

Despina's [wedding] dress was the second most beautiful in the world--this dress was satin, with a mist of silver mesh, the kind of dress that makes its wearer look newly wept. … [Read more...]

From Christopher Beha, “Arts and Entertainments”

"Eddie, this is Geena Tuff from Star Style. I'm calling to see if you'd like to sit down with me for an interview.""No thanks.""Think of it as a unique opportunity to get your side of the story on the record.""I don't really have a side of the story." --Eddie Hartley, saying something we should all say more often … [Read more...]


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