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Monthly Archives: January 2020

 

England’s Greenery

January 28th, 2020

When it comes to directors, there are usually two kinds. The first is the artist. When you watch a film by Spielberg, Scorsese, or Tarantino, you’ll know within minutes that they directed it. Shot choices, casting, and even their thematic obsessions will clue you in, allowing you to calibrate your enjoyment appropriately.* You’ll always know you’re watching a film by Brian De Palma, just like you’ll always know you’re watching a film by Kevin Smith. The second category is the artisans. These are filmmakers that usually don’t have a directorial signature. They get in there, do the job,... Read More

Almost, But Not Quite, The Abyss

January 23rd, 2020

If you’re a regular viewer of movies, you know you can track the seasons by the kinds of movies playing. Are the theaters jam-packed with big, loud blockbusters? You’re in summer. Do you have a wide variety of Oscar bait to choose from? Congratulations, you’ve arrived safely in the fall. The depths of winter are when studios give up. They already released the films built to either make an assload of money or attract awards. What’s left is the cinematic equivalent of the island of misfit toys, and production companies frequently throw these redheaded stepchildren into theaters with a hasty... Read More

The Endless Trench

January 14th, 2020

We never really reckoned with World War I, not in any meaningful sense. For a while there it was called The War to End All Wars, despite the fact that its aftermath both caused and led into World War II. Like all wars, its horror recedes in memory. A little over a century later, most of us barely understand why the war happened in the first place. That continues to be shocking, as the casualties of World War I were so high that battles frequently resembled a meat grinder in terms of the staggering numbers of men both sides threw at each other. When you put the numbers into context, it’s literally... Read More

Shifting The Lens

January 6th, 2020

There are two incontrovertible facts: the first is that Louisa May Alcott was a fascinating human being. Her parents were Transcendentalists. She took lessons from Henry David Thoreau. She wrote a play for the Boston Theater and subsequently burned it due to infighting between her actors. Alcott briefly served as a nurse during the Civil War, survived typhoid fever, was a feminist, and was active in the abolitionist movement. To put it plainly, she was a baller. Oh, also? She wrote Little Women. That brings us to the second incontrovertible fact, which is that up until very recently, I was almost... Read More