Category: art

  • She Got Her Man Phantom Thread a film by Paul Thomas Anderson.  With Vicky Krieps, Daniel Day-Lewis, Lesley Manville  ***** It’s tough to like a movie when you can’t stand the protagonist.  But I absolutely loved Phantom Thread.  It’s a candidate for my favorite movie of the year. Reynolds Woodcock—who has a hard name to live up to—is a neurotic, arrogant, ... Read more
  • Sex in Heaven Call Me By Your Name a film by Luca Guadagnino.  With Armie Hammer, Timothee Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar. ****1/2 First the things I don’t like: Everybody is so good looking.  They’re all so intelligent, and talented.  This is the kind of movie where people are lying around their Italian villa in the sun, not doing ... Read more
  • Is That a Promise? Ruminations on Star Wars: The Last Jedi a film by Rian Johnson.  With Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega.  ***1/2 For the critics who are now active and influential, the Star Wars movies were their first epics, the movies they grew up on and worshiped.  I’m trying to think of what might ... Read more
  • Who You Really Are (You Knew All Along) Coco a film by Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina.  With Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Alanna Ubach.  ***** I went to this movie as an act of desperation.  Every day I read in the New York Times about the marvelous movies that are arriving for the holiday season and the great reviews they’ve gotten, ... Read more
  • Time is a What? A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan.  Anchor Books.  340 pp.  $16.00. ***** I’m aware as a writer that many people I read are more talented than I, but now and then I’m pulled up short by a writer who does something I couldn’t even aspire to.  I felt that way about War and ... Read more
  • 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