Work amidst the biomass

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Leviathan (2012) straddles the line between documentary and avant-garde; composed entirely from footage shot on a large fishing boat in the Atlantic Ocean, it hints at how life is lived on the boat, but exists primarily as a visual and auditory experience. Things happen, but there is no plot; our understanding is entirely derived from … Continue reading

A back-to-school list for the rest of us

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A Cancer crab July baby born in the deserts of New Mexico, I tend to love the summer. Breezy nautical styles, scoops of ice cream teetering on a sugar cone, sunshine that feels like it’s baking your body through and through, lazy naps on hot beaches, mmmmmhmm. This year, however, I’ve been itching for fall, … Continue reading

The newspapers of yore

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I love newspapers. When I was a kid we got two on weekdays — the Detroit Free Press and the Lansing State Journal — and every morning I started off with the comics (the Free Press was way better in this regard, and many others, than the Journal). On Sundays, once they finally began delivering … Continue reading

The shadow of the 90s

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Last Friday, while waiting for one of my kid’s PBS programs to begin I saw a commercial for that evening’s American Masters program. I was surprised to find that the ad was for Cameron Crowe’s documentary about Pearl Jam Twenty. I set the DVR with plans to watch the show either in real time or … Continue reading

Howling for authentic biographical cinema: Why the new Ginsberg film succeeds

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When I was a teenage movie-watcher, I was the first to jump on the new-genre bandwagon whenever anyone tried something different that played with, bent or overlapped conventional film structure. Somewhere between those teenage years of wonder when everything was fascinating, and, like, 2008, I got burned by experimental filmmaking. Not enough to make me … Continue reading

The strong weak man

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There’s just something in that face that takes you into an area that’s very dark, personally dark, and heartbroken. —Sidney Lumet (director, Dog Day Afternoon) I’ve had a crush on John Cazale since I first saw him in Dog Day Afternoon (1975) when I was 15. He’s the kind of man you want to protect … Continue reading