Category Essays

The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese, 2013)

Nobody in Hollywood can direct a movie like Martin Scorsese, who has made one of his very best with The Wolf of Wall Street. His camera effortlessly soars across crowded rooms, glides through corridors before stopping and following its chosen subject, effortlessly enters and exits the diegesis, and does it all without ever drawing too […]

Cape Fear (J. Lee Thompson, 1962)

There is a scene near the beginning of J. Lee Thompson’s Cape Fear in which we see Max Cady (Robert Mitchum, every bit as menacing as he was in Night of the Hunter) sitting in a bar and eyeing a woman of his liking. We see her at a table, cut back to him looking, […]

Star Trek Into Darkness (J.J. Abrams, 2013)

I was never a particularly big Star Trek fan. I have seen several episodes of each TV incarnation with the exception of Enterprise, I enjoyed a good deal of those, but I never felt the need to turn it on despite being in a household full of Trekkies. The Voyage Home is a movie I […]

Dogville (Lars Von Trier, 2003)

At the heart of Dogville is a paradox that will color many interpretations of the film, but it’s that same trait that makes the film so compelling. It is at once universal and incredibly particular, which makes it misanthropic and arguably anti-American, but also a treatise on democracy, a study of xenophobia, and a multi-layered […]

Les Misérables (Tom Hooper, 2012)

Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables is a two hour-forty minute film based on a three hour musical from 1985, itself based on Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel of over 500,000 words, and I’m afraid that all this trimming is making the story lose its focus. This is an epic, sprawling narrative, but Hooper struggles to tell it […]

NYFF Critics Academy, #3

Here is my third piece, focusing on Last Time I Saw Macao and Like Someone In Love, another strong effort by one of the truly brilliant directors working today. Recent viewings include the good-but-not-great No, the difficult but stunning Leviathan, and the strong Zemeckis vehicle Flight. Outside of NYFF, I caught Silver Linings Playbook today […]

My first Critics Academy feature

This was actually posted yesterday, but in my excitement I forgot to link it here. So apologies and thank you for your patience.