Wonder Woman

I recently began reading The Iliad for the first time. Having that in mind when I saw Wonder Woman was helpful in my appreciation of both works. The way Ares interacts with humanity in Patty Jenkins’s excellent film—first subtly, then catastrophically—mirrors that of the gods of The Iliad, who bounce in and out of the affairs of men, sometimes… Read more Wonder Woman

Movies Are Prayers

Tangerine as an opportunity for reconciliation. Top Hat as a jump for joy. 12 Years A Slave as a song of lament. In his new book Movies Are Prayers: How Films Voice Our Deepest Longings, Josh Larsen performs what he calls “cultural refraction,” revealing how the many colors of prayer match quite comfortably with movies of… Read more Movies Are Prayers

Win It All

I watched The Verdict recently. Paul Newman’s lawyer character bluffs his way into a high-stakes case, but repeatedly fails on his way to the climax, when a Deus Ex Machina saves the day. I thought about that while watching Joe Swanberg’s latest film Win It All. Getting past the minor thrill of seeing my current… Read more Win It All

The Family Stone

The Rotten Tomatoes critics consensus of The Family Stone is that “This family holiday dramedy features fine performances but awkward shifts of tone.” Which, yeah. That’s why it’s so good. I didn’t come away loving it when I saw it in the theater. Too mercurial, I thought. And that excruciating dinner scene… But upon further viewings, I’ve… Read more The Family Stone

Escanaba in Da Moonlight

For dose dat don’t know much about the Superior State, dere’s a couple of tings that need to be explained. First ting is, in da U.P., we don’t explain tings. Second ting is, we got some of the best huntin’ and fishin’ in da whole world. So says Albert Soady, patriarch of probably the most… Read more Escanaba in Da Moonlight

La La Librarians

Lots of great anecdotes from the New Yorker story “Scenes from the Oscar Night Implosion“, including this one on the Academy librarians planted in the corner of the press room: In the back corner was my favorite part of the press room: the librarians’ table, where the Academy librarians are on hand to answer questions. Under… Read more La La Librarians

Innocents & Wonder

Synchronicity strikes again. I recently watched Anne Fontaine’s The Innocents, a new film set in post-WWII Poland focused on Mathilde, a young French Red Cross nurse compelled to help a convent of Polish nuns with a dark secret. I watched it while in the midst of Emma Donoghue’s new novel The Wonder, which is also told from the perspective of a nurse,… Read more Innocents & Wonder