| Jun 22, 2016

'Nina' is still worth watching

The “politically correct”(PC) left is often no better than the Christian right when it comes to looking for ways to be offended by movies. The latest victim of PC backlash is “Nina,” the film based on legendary jazz and blues singer and civil-rights icon ...

'Citizenfour': Big Brother has always been with us

Jun 15, 2016

'Citizenfour': Big Brother has always been with us

The tele-screen received and transmitted simultaneously. … There was of course no way of knowing when you were being watched. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual was guesswork. At any rate they could plug in to ...

The topic of AI always raises HAL and more

Jun 8, 2016

The topic of AI always raises HAL and more

An astronaut in deep space finishes up some repairs to the parabolic antenna on his spacecraft’s exterior. Through his helmet’s microphone, he commands the ship’s controlling supercomputer, HAL 9000, “Open the pod bay doors, HAL.” A second later he gets a calm, cold response ...

'Ex Machina': When the machine has its own ghost

Jun 8, 2016

'Ex Machina': When the machine has its own ghost

When the histories are written years from now, our era will be defined by information technology in much the same way that the 1960s were defined by rock ‘n’ roll and social protest, or in the U.S., the ’20s by Prohibition. People will look ...

The EU is on firm ground when it comes to film

| Jun 1, 2016

The EU is on firm ground when it comes to film

The European Union might be teetering on the brink of collapse politically, but culturally it’s still presenting a united front. EU Film Days, a showcase of movies from Portugal to Lithuania, Finland to Greece, is entering its sixth year in Japan, with daily screenings ...

'Where to Invade Next': Moore still preaching to the converted

May 25, 2016

'Where to Invade Next': Moore still preaching to the converted

‘War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography,” as journalist Ambrose Bierce once put it, and it’s true that many denizens of the Empire have little curiosity as to what goes on outside its borders unless they have to bomb it. This attitude was ...

'Cartel Land' uncovers little hope and no glory

May 11, 2016

'Cartel Land' uncovers little hope and no glory

The debate over border policy in the United States has reached levels of nonsense worthy of Lewis Carroll. On the right, you have presidential candidate Donald Trump tarring all immigrants from south of the Rio Grande as “rapists and murderers,” and pledging to build ...

'Hail, Caesar!': The Coen brothers miss a few pins

May 11, 2016

'Hail, Caesar!': The Coen brothers miss a few pins

The Coen Brothers have always been critical darlings, but their 17th film, the 1950s Hollywood-set comedy “Hail, Caesar!” has shown an unusually wide gap between critical raves and tepid audience response. This despite a star-studded cast that includes George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Josh Brolin, ...

'Victoria': One girl, one city, one take, one dud

May 4, 2016

'Victoria': One girl, one city, one take, one dud

Shortly after finishing a column the other day where I focused on Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and the beauty and power of his long single-take shots, I sat down to watch arty suspense flick “Victoria,” which was shot entirely in one take. If films ...

Lubezki achieves the extraordinary long shot

Apr 20, 2016

Lubezki achieves the extraordinary long shot

At this year’s Oscars, while everyone was fuming about the academy’s lack of diversity, few bothered to notice an incredible achievement: Mexican cameraman Emmanuel Lubezki, also known by his nickname “Chivo,” became the first person ever to win three Oscars in a row for ...