Don’t Rubber Duckie My Religion

Watching the Oscars on your birthday is the worst thing you can do. You are sitting there in your yoga pants eating chocolate when it occurs to you that you are roughly the same age as Natalie Portman, and you feel like a slacker loser because you haven't made a film based upon the work of Alan Moore. Bad birthday television.I love the Oscars, especially when Billy Crystal hosts. I like the glam, the gossip and the suspense. I marveled at how skeletal Angelina Jolie looked, at the trend to … [Read more...]

The Justice of True Grit

True Grit is about justice—both human and Divine.It starts with a call for both Old Testament and American justice on the 1870s frontier. It ends with a neat demonstration of the Law of Return.The main players in this morality tale are Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges), the lawman who acts as if he is above both kinds of Law. And Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld), the 14-year-old girl who starts by invoking the laws of the United States and ends by enacting not just frontier justice, but the most a … [Read more...]

Know Thyself: The King’s Speech

“Know thyself,” admonished the Oracle of Delphi.“If that which you seek you find not within, you will never find it without,” wrote Doreen Valiente.When I saw The King's Speech, I thought about those quotes. And about the kinds of power represented—power that comes from within, from knowing one's self and having a healthy pride in one's abilities and accomplishments. And the kind of power that is accorded by holding a certain place in society. Power that comes from without. Power that comes f … [Read more...]

Guest Post: Kathy Nance on Winter’s Bone

Winter's Bone is named for an old saying. To “throw someone a bone” is to give her a scrap of kindness, a small favor out of one's larger store.To give less, in other words, than one could ultimately afford to give.Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) and her family live on the bones and scraps of contemporary American society. Her meth-cooking father is missing. Her mother has retreated into the dark landscape of her own mind. The 17-year-old girl is acting head of the household. We see her coo … [Read more...]

Going for “Gay Gold” at the Oscars

At this year's Oscars, the film The Kids Are All Right is up (amongst an unprecedented ten nominees) for Best Picture, and Annette Benning is also a nominee for Best Actress in her role as Nic in this film. It will be interesting to see whether or not the film and Benning end up the winners; Benning already won a Best Actress award at the Golden Globes, being nominated alongside her co-star Julianne Moore (as the character Jules) for that award. (Mark Ruffalo is up for a Best Supporting Actor … [Read more...]

Guest Post: Kathy Nance on The Black Swan

Inside each of us is a shadow.For Natalie Portman's brittle ballerina in The Black Swan, that shadow could have been her salvation. Instead, it drove her mad.In Jungian psychological terms, our shadows are the parts of us that we deny, but which must be explored and incorporated in order for us to be whole. One way to work with the shadow is to draw it out in order to explore its attributes more fully. When we know our shadows, we come closer to knowing our whole selves.I couldn't stop … [Read more...]

Divine Drama in The Social Network

With very little reluctance, I must admit I'm more than a bit of a luddite. I see computers as something of a necessary evil, and held off from composing any sort of writing directly on the computer well into my first year of graduate education (1998). The mobile phone I currently own barely answers calls and does text messages; it certainly doesn't connect to the internet or have any "apps" of any description, nor even a camera. And while I have several e-mail addresses, a blog, and … [Read more...]