Archives for August 2013

“It Can Entrance You For a Moment…”

The Internet is filling up with tears and tributes to the great poet Seamus Heaney, who died yesterday. Here's a short and sweet one, well worth reading, by novelist Colum McCann.Many thanks to Linford Detweiler for passing along these words... the wisdom of Seamus Heaney, from an interview in The Paris Review: … [Read more...]

Biggest Surprise of This Moviegoer’s Year (So Far)

I had kind of a bummer of a day on Friday. So I decided to move furniture around my living room. It's a rare impulse, but it makes sense to me. If you have one of those days where you work and work and yet feel that you're making no progress... rearrange some furniture!As I did, I thought I'd try out something new on Netflix. I remembered seem some generally positive responses to a Sundance film called This is Martin Bonner. I didn't remember any specifics... except that one review has used … [Read more...]

The World’s End (2013): My Apocalyptic Chat with Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright

Today at Response, you can read my conversation with Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost, the three masterminds of Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and today's sci-fi/comedy extravaganza, The World's End.And by the way, I loved the movie.But don't just take my word for it.Check out the reviews from some of the critics I respect most... … [Read more...]

The Quotable Renshaw

One of this film critics' favorite quotable quotes comes from Roger Ebert: "A movie is not about what it is about. It is about how it is about it." Those two sentences have come in so handy when I've taught film seminars, but they've also come in handy when I've taught creative writing courses or talked about how to read poetry.I think, though, that I'll be carrying around another knockout definition of film criticism in my back pocket to help clarify matters. … [Read more...]

Angela Tucker Found Something on Facebook That Changed Her Life

Ask about “Sandy the Flower Man” in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the citizens will tell you stories. He’s a lively and well-loved local who bicycles up and down Main Street, giving flowers to women and smiles to everybody.But when Angela Burt Tucker found his Facebook page in 2010, she knew she was looking at more than a friendly stranger. He had her smile. And what’s more, his real name matched that of her birth father: Oterious Bell. … [Read more...]

A Coen Brothers Concert and a Line-Up of Must-Play New Releases: Are You Listening?

If I ask "What's on your iPod?", what comes to mind? I doubt that you'll say "The Coen Brothers." But that might be the case, come December.You do have the music from O Brother, Where Art Thou? on your iPod, don't you? I do.Here they come again, with their new film Inside Llewyn Davis. It's already stirring up Oscar buzz, as if that's actually worth something. (In this case, "Oscar buzz" might mean "buzz about Oscar Isaac, the lead actor.") Whatever the Oscars think of it, Inside Llewyn … [Read more...]

The Spectacular Now (2013)

A letter to director Luke Pondsoldt and screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber:First of all, thank you for The Spectacular Now.During a summer overstuffed with blockbuster excesses, I found myself encouraged by the way your movie reminded an attentive Seattle audience that real movie magic comes from human beings, patient observation, truthful storytelling, and nuanced performances from talented actors.Secondly, I highly recommend that all three of you get to know an … [Read more...]

Blue Jasmine (2013)

"You could do better."Have you ever heard a friend say that to you about the person you love? Were they referring to state of the person's finances? If so, well... when it comes to friends, you could do better."You could do better" is the kind of thing Jeanette "Jasmine" Francis tends to say when she encounters people whose affection for each other is based on something other than money. … [Read more...]