Category: art

  • Mother Battles Daughter.  Both Win. Lady Bird a film by Greta Gerwig.  With Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Lucas Hedges, Beanie Feldstein.  ****1/2 I was signed up for this movie as soon as I heard it was by Greta Gerwig.  Gerwig is a fundamentally odd performer: her roles are weird, her characters offbeat; she is slightly awkward physically, though beautiful and winning.  ... Read more
  • Notes on a Remark by Elmore Leonard How He Gave Up Booze and Learned to Relax “By then I was in AA and perhaps not taking myself so seriously.  I do think my writing began to improve at this time, mainly because I wasn’t taking the writing so seriously, either.  I learned to relax and not think of it as writing.” One of the ... Read more
  • The Coma Was a Come-on The Big Sick a film by Michael Showalter.  With Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano.  *****  The Big Sick is so much the best movie I’ve seen this summer (I was happy just to find a movie I wanted to see), so unique as a romantic comedy, so perfect in the way it’s put ... Read more
  • He Cared Too Much Stories by John O’Hara.  The Library of America.  860 pp.  $40.00 John O’Hara was an Irish Catholic and doctor’s son from Eastern Pennsylvania who believed—apparently for much of his life—that he would have been a happy man if he had just gone to Yale.  That didn’t keep him from getting booted from three prep schools, one ... Read more
  • The Wonder of Women Wonder Woman a film by Patty Jenkins.  With Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright ***1/2 Arrival a film by Denis Villeneuve.  With Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker ***** A Quiet Passion a film by Terence Davies.  With Cynthia Nixon, Jennifer Ehle, Duncan Duff ***   I’m as happy as everyone else that we finally have a movie about ... Read more
  • Pip Pip Hooray! Purity by Jonathan Franzen.  Picador.  598 pp.  $17.00. ***** I had an odd and unique experience reading Purity.  I got slightly bogged down in the book’s first section, which focuses on the title character; her name is Purity but she goes by Pip.  She seemed clueless and helpless, living with a collection of strange roommates, burdened ... Read more
  • Alcoholics Preposterous Colossal a film by Nacho Vigalondo.  With Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Austin Stowell.  *??? There’s a mind state called suspension of disbelief, where we overlook an unlikely aspect of a work of art because it is a premise of what we’re watching.  The idea that James Bond would always do the right thing at the right ... Read more
  • What’s Your Name, a film by Makato Shinkai, based on his novel.  With Ryunosuke Kamiki, Mone Kamishiraishi, Ryo Narita. I’ve been reading Kobun Chino’s commentary on the Song of Awakening, and the day before I saw this film read the following passage: “When the body of all the buddhas penetrates my nature there is interpenetration and fusion.  My nature ... Read more
  • Old Corn-Drinking Mellifluous Absalom, Absalom! By William Faulkner.  315 pp.  $15.95 I’m obsessed with the subject of telling stories.  I’ve spoken before about how all stories are false, or all stories true; they are, in any case, human fabrications, which may have little to do with what actually happened.  We love them nevertheless.  Human beings tell each other stories, ... Read more
  • Beckett in the Bardo The Unnamable from Three Novels by Samuel Beckett. Grove Press. 407 pp. $15.95. The mystery of Samuel Beckett continues, at least for me.  Some months back, when I had finally tackled his Three Novels—which had been sitting on my shelves for years—I finished the first two, but admitted publicly, in this space, that I gave up ... Read more