- Bake a Motherfucking Cake as Fast as You Can Patti Cake$ a film by Geremy Jasper. With Danielle Macdonald, Bridgette Everett, Cathy Moriarity, Siddharth Dhanajay, Mamoudou Athie. ****
I should admit up front that I’m not a rap fan. I’ve tried—my nephew once made me a tape of rap’s greatest hits—but I couldn’t get into it. I like the rhythm at first, and the whole ... 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
- Doc, Ya Gotta Level Wit Me Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2017
My Lineup: Whose Streets? / Still Tomorrow / The Good Postman / Abacus / Zaatari Djinn / Tribal Justice / Strong Island / Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities / Quest / The Force / May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers
At ... Read more
- Distinctly Praise the Years Atlantis: Three Tales by Samuel R. Delany. Wesleyan/New England. 212 pp.
Every now and then I reread something by Samuel R. Delany because all of his work is intelligent, beautifully written, and unfailingly deep. The fact that I’ve read it before doesn’t in the least diminish it. I love spending time in the presence of such ... Read more
- Maybe Not This Village Twentieth Century Women a film by Mike Mills. With Annette Bening, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, Lucas Jade Zumann. ****1/2
When I first heard the title of this movie, I thought, what the hell is a twentieth century woman? How is she different from a twenty-first century woman? But now that I’ve seen it, I think the ... Read more
- A Star is Torn La La Land a film by Damien Chazelle. With Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Rosemarie DeWitt. *****
I’ve said so many times that a movie is not this that I want to be clear when one is: this is the feel-good movie of the year, 2016, 2017, whatever year you got. From the moment it opens with ... Read more
- Black Boys Looking Blue South to a Very Old Place, Stomping the Blues, The Blue Devils of Nada, From the Briarpatch File from Collected Essays & Memoirs by Albert Murray. The Library of America. 1049 pp. $45.00.
Moonlight, a film by Barry Jenkins, with Mahershala Ali, Duan Sanderson, Naomie Harris. *****
I haven’t finished the last few pieces from Collected Essays ... Read more
- Gusto and a Sense of Elegance The Omni-Americans from Collected Essays & Memoirs by Albert Murray. The Library of America. 1048 pp. $45.00
The Omni -Americans was at least partly prompted by the Moynihan Report (The Negro Family: The Case For National Action) from 1965, and author Albert Murray states his central thesis in the introduction, “Someone must at least begin to try ... Read more
- Maggie’s Farm Chronicles, Volume One by Bob Dylan. Simon & Schuster. 293 pp. $16.00
I’ve been fascinated by the reactions to Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize, which was announced as I was heading to Pittsburgh for my 50th high school reunion. A number of Baby Boomers seemed to regard it as a validation of their whole lives, as if ... Read more
- He’s the Best Friend I’ve Ever Had. He Does Fart a Lot. He’s Also Dead. Swiss Army Man. A film by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. With Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe.
People say this about movies all the time, but in this case I feel fully confident: you’ve never seen anything like Swiss Army Man.
Hank (Paul Dano) has somehow gotten stranded on the proverbial desert island. He has all the ... Read more