| Mar 29, 2017

'Trump: What’s The Deal,': you can finally find out

“Trump: What’s The Deal,” a documentary completed in 1991, was meant to be the first in a series on the celebrity businessmen who characterized the greed-is-good 1980s. It was never released as Donald Trump threatened to sue any broadcaster or distributor who handled it. ...

'Jackie': More pomp than circumstance

/ Mar 22, 2017

'Jackie': More pomp than circumstance

There’s a scene near the end of “Jackie” where the just-widowed first lady Jacqueline Kennedy (played by Natalie Portman) is talking with her priest (John Hurt) about the meaning of life and asks, somewhat bitterly, “Is that all there is?” In my head, all ...

| Mar 15, 2017

Looking back on the 'trial of the century'

Everywhere you look these days, it feels like it’s just Trump, Trump and even more Trump. It’s worth taking a moment to recall that 23 years ago many people were just as sick of O.J. Simpson when the amiable American football star-turned-TV/movie celebrity became ...

A dystopian future set in the present aftermath

Mar 8, 2017

A dystopian future set in the present aftermath

With “Homo Sapiens”, director Nikolaus Geyrhalter paints a haunting dystopian vision of civilization minus its creators. This unique documentary consists of nothing but steady, perfectly framed wide-shots of abandoned structures and wastelands. Imagine Wes Anderson doing location shots for “The Walking Dead” and you’ll ...

Binge on the best of the Italian neorealists

| Mar 1, 2017

Binge on the best of the Italian neorealists

Even a casual film buff knows that “Bicycle Thieves,” the 1948 black-and-white film by Vittorio De Sica, is regarded as one of The Great Films of All Time. It’s the best-known film by far of Italian cinema’s postwar neorealist movement, but those who wish ...

'La La Land': Sometimes we need a trip to la-la land

/ Feb 22, 2017

'La La Land': Sometimes we need a trip to la-la land

La-la land: the mental state of someone who is not aware of what is really happening, and a nickname for the American entertainment industry centered on Los Angeles. These two meanings bleed into each other in director Damien Chazelle’s multi-Oscar-nominated musical, “La La Land,” ...

'Weiner': America's walking, talking punch line

/ Feb 15, 2017

'Weiner': America's walking, talking punch line

If you feel like your cinematic diet has been a bit lacking in schadenfreude lately, then look no further than “Weiner,” an astounding internet-age documentary of hubris and disgrace, where no stupid behavior, once recorded, ever disappears. Who, you may ask, is Weiner? Well, ...

Punk: How cinema ignored something so loud

Feb 8, 2017

Punk: How cinema ignored something so loud

Once upon a time, Hollywood was good at co-opting and selling youth culture. When rock ‘n’ roll and biker gangs came along in the 1950s, the studios came up with generational totems like “Blackboard Jungle” and “The Wild Ones.” Beatlemania spawned “A Hard Days ...

'Green Room': Saulnier runs a red light on violence

/ Feb 8, 2017

'Green Room': Saulnier runs a red light on violence

The opening aerial shot of “Green Room” soars over the wavy green mass of an Oregon cornfield, before finding a swath through it where a van has swerved off the highway. Inside the van, so shabby you can practically smell the stale beer and ...