The 2014 Looking Closer Beauty Pageant — Contestant 1: Ida

Ida 3

"Mirror, mirror, on the wall... who's the fairest of them all?"In the famous fairy tale, that's what the vain and wicked queen asks her own reflection. Nevertheless, when it comes to the women of pop culture, that seems to be the question that American moviegoers can't stop asking. The more I watch the ways in which actresses become household names — making themselves a more popular subject than their characters — the more I see similarities between the Celebrity Factory and the lurid mat … [Read more...]

Looking Closer at How to Train Your Dragon 2

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2

This is the first weekend in a long time that is really a weekend for me. I can rest, read, write, walk, explore... and go to the movies.I'm thinking about seeing How to Train Your Dragon 2.I'm normally frustrated with Dreamworks Animation films — they're usually obnoxious and misguided and pandering. But that film surprised me with impressive characterizations, an unexpectedly thoughtful plot, and 3D flight sequences. We watched a young Viking named Hiccup learn to consider his enemies w … [Read more...]

Confessions of an X-Men Ex-Fan [Revised]

DF-07871   Hugh Jackman as Logan in X-Men: Days of Future Past.

 When Mutants aren't fighting for their rights... what do they do? Do they vacuum their apartments? Do they go to baseball games? Do they watch cat videos?Or does the Mutant Experience require constant employment of powers against those who hate Mutants, or against those Mutants who abuse their powers? … [Read more...]

Why Moviegoers Everywhere Must Learn to Say “Zvyagintsev”

the return - ivan

If you hear film buffs shouting "Zvyagintsev!" in the coming months, do not say "Gesundheit." The proper response is this: "When do I get to see Leviathan?" … [Read more...]

Surely J. J. Abrams Can Do Better: Phantom Menace at 15

star-wars-episode-1-poster

UPDATE: May 2014 Star Wars - Episode One: The Phantom Menace is 15 years old this week. I know, I know. Take a deep breath. Let go of your anger, young Jedi. Most of us agree that it was a major disappointment. Many had hoped for a new trilogy that would be, for a new generation, what that first trilogy was for those of us who experienced it as children — something truly revolutionary, enthralling, and worth watching over and over again. But it was easy to see, right away, that The Phantom Me … [Read more...]

Saving Mr. Banks (2013) … or Squandering Mr. Hanks

smb1

Dear moviegoers who enjoyed Saving Mr. Banks, including those among my friends and family,I'm glad you had a good time at the movies.Seriously.I would be nothing but a snob if I scorned anybody for enjoying a heart-warming work of fiction like this one.I recognize that there are a lot of things moviegoers will enjoy here:Tom Hanks, being witty and skillful; Emma Thompson, being amusing and... British; nostalgic musical celebrations of Mary Poppins™; Paul Giamatti, in w … [Read more...]

Forget Twilight: These Are My Favorite Vampires

RZ6A4085.JPG

We're all vampires.That is to say, we all have particular kinds of "blood" that we seek — sources of sustenance and inspiration that keep our eyes open and our hearts beating in a dark and punishing world. … [Read more...]

Scarlett Johansson is a Monster: Under the Skin

under-the-skin-under_the_skin_stills-193711_rgb

Feel free to eavesdrop as I argue with myself upon exiting the theater after seeing Jonathan Glazer's* troubling new sci-fi horror film Under the Skin. But it's a spoiler-ish conversation... … [Read more...]

Noah (2014): Part Two of a Two-Part Commentary

NOAH

[This is Part 2 of Looking Closer's Noah review. Part One was posted yesterday.]Here's another story.Once upon a time, two total strangers — one a mother and a teacher with a background in business; the other a writer, editor, and film critic — became friends after she invited him to join an online discussion of his book about film. They were both Christians. And they met at an arts-and-faith gathering called Hutchmoot in Nashville. They both agreed that they wanted to work together on so … [Read more...]

Noah (2014): Part One of A Two-Part Commentary

Noah tries to take cover from the flood of wrathful judgment cast by quick-to-anger, presumptuous, unmerciful religious moviegoers.

Once upon a time there was a 13-year-old boy named Darren. He wrote a poem about Noah's Ark for his seventh-grade teacher, Vera Fried. Something about that story stirred up a passion within him. It wouldn't go away.Darren would grow up to become a filmmaker who wrestled with heavy questions. Each of his films would focus on characters who went to extremes in order to achieve a kind of transcendence. They would careen between moments of glory and moments of madness.First, there was Pi, ab … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X