“This Is Not My Beautiful City”: I review “Belleville”

for AmCon: A young American expatriate in Paris comes home one afternoon to find her husband, a doctor working on pediatric AIDS for Doctors Without Borders, unexpectedly home in the middle of the day and watching porn. This setup, which could lead to a farce or a realistic domestic drama, instead gets the suspense-flick treatment in Amy Herzog’s tense and thought-provoking “Belleville” (at D.C.’s Studio Theatre through October 12).I’ve seen three Herzog plays so far (and reviewed “4000 Mile … [Read more...]

From “The Book and the Brotherhood”

Rose felt a little drunk and very disinclined to go home. She had frightened herself this evening, had been deeply disturbed by her ridiculous and unworthy feelings of jealousy about Lily and Tamar. Am I to grieve if [Gerard] even looks at another woman, do I, I, then feel so insecure? Yes. After all these years I am absolutely without defence, I can be broken in an instant. Nothing whatever binds him to the relation that we have now, he is scarcely aware of it as a state of affairs that can … [Read more...]

Art as a Vocation: Gay and Catholic Book Extra!

What do we want? Eve's book! When do we want it? ...Soon! (Preorder now; it releases 10/20.)I drafted a chapter on art as a vocation but cut it because I couldn't figure out a structure, which is always a sign that my thinking is disjointed and either muddled or in some important respect incomplete. Fortunately, in a blog post I can just post a listicle and call it a day. YOU'RE WELCOME. So, you know, here are some points about art as a vocation, especially a vocation for gay/queer/same-sex … [Read more...]

“What’s the Punishment for Being a Stock Character?”: I Watch “As Above, So Below”

for AmCon: Well, I’ve never seen a Pelagian horror film before.“As Above, So Below” is a collision of lots of intriguing ideas and settings. It’s about a British professor’s quest to find the Philosopher’s Stone in the Paris catacombs, despite warnings that the Stone is hidden near “the gates of Hell.” So we get treasure-hunt adventure; religious horror; nature horror, as the archeological spelunkers get trapped in cave-ins and swim through tunnels deep underground; and what we might call “j … [Read more...]

No Werewolf But the Class Werewolf: Short movie reviews

The Anniversary: Bette Davis as hell-matriarch in red eyepatch shaped like a teardrop. Swings wildly from ultracamp to the sort of thing you'll instantly recognize if you or a friend had a narcissistic parent. An example of my thing* about how "'Realism' only works for people whose worldviews are already accepted as realistic. The rest of us must make do with genre"--the parent's narcissism distorts the whole family's sense of what is real, so the most outrageous acts and statements seem … [Read more...]

A Mundane Masquerade: Peter de Vries, “The Tents of Wickedness”

This is a little 1949 satire--dedicated "To James and Helen Thurber," if you want to place it in its social world--about a respectable family man in Decency, Conn., trying to figure out which genre of novel he lives in. He plunges strenuously from Faulkner to Greene all the way to Joyce, and the authorial voice shifts with him. At the same time Charles Swallow, our protagonist, is also trying to figure out whether he's a newspaperman, an advice columnist, or a psychiatrist. And he's trying to … [Read more...]

“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...]


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