Work amidst the biomass

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

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

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

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

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

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