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A New Leaf, a 1971 screwball comedy written and directed by Elaine May, is a great genre film made by a women. You know how many great genre films were ever made by women? Well, lessee, there was…oh, how about…no, that one was a genre film made by a woman, but it was rotten…hmmm…

Given enough time you’ll come up with something (Ida Lupino, The Hitch-Hiker), but it isn’t really worth the effort. Too depressing.

(more…)

Posted on: January 15th, 2013 | Comments (33)

Free Me From Django Unchained

I waited to write about Django Unchained because I couldn’t figure out how to account for its maddening effects. But they’ve gotten more and more maddening over time, to the point that I found myself in a restaurant the other…

Posted on: January 6th, 2013 | Comments (121)

Skyfall: Die, Bond, Die!

First things first: Roger Deakins is the god of cinematographers. As you know, he’s the Coen Brothers’ long-time DP—your cue to salute—and he’s on the job here in Skyfall, the latest Bond movie. Another Coen film crew member, Dennis Gassner—salute,…

Posted on: November 11th, 2012 | Comments (59)

Halloween Tribute: Val Lewton Sez Death Is Good!

In this festive season of the year when cheery death-related imagery like skeletons and ghosts and zombies cluster all around us, it seems fitting that we celebrate someone who really liked death and tried his best to show us how…

Posted on: October 28th, 2012 | Comments (20)

Seven Psychopaths and One Pissed-off Reviewer

  Seven Psychopaths is one of those movies that’s too cute by half. If I hadn’t been so fried, I’d have paid more heed to the warning signs—the arch title, the “quirky” poster images, the fact that Tom Waits is…

Posted on: October 14th, 2012 | Comments (34)

The Master: Are You Serious?

  As soon as The Master was released, every day it was, “Ja see it? Ja see it yet? Whadja think? Ya gotta go see it.”  Nag, nag, nag. So to give writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson credit, he’s got crass…

Posted on: September 23rd, 2012 | Comments (82)

Hara-kiri: A Good Day for Self-Disembowelment

I was feeling pretty low, so I watched Takeshi Miike’s Hara-kiri: Death of a Samurai. A movie about ritual self-disembowelment was a fitting end to the week I had. So I was more than happy to sit there drinking in…

Posted on: September 3rd, 2012 | Comments (35)

A KOCH AND A SMILE: Zach Galifianakis is Genetically Inclined to Suck

“The Campaign” is a different kettle of fish puke. There’s a weirdly unfunny flatness permeating the entire film: flat writing, flat jokes, flat directing, and above all, Zach Galifianakis’ non-presence, a flatness so flat it’s like convex comedy…

Posted on: August 13th, 2012 | Comments (56)

The Best Film List Ever (Not)

I can’t do Best Film lists. Somebody recently asked me to—a former student—it was sweet of him and all—but I can’t. They’re so embarrassing.  You no sooner put down a title than you feel like an idiot—really, this is the…

Posted on: August 6th, 2012 | Comments (96)

The Dark Knight Rises vs. The 99%

Dear Reader,

This whole review’s a spoiler, so if you’re not prepared to handle an all-spoiler review, take a hike. (You know the drill.)

Yours in despair,

Eileen J.

Posted on: July 22nd, 2012 | Comments (146)

The Amazing Amnesia-Inducing Spiderman

The Amazing Spiderman’s a hit, and I just saw it, and I can’t remember it.  Which is a GOOD thing, in its way.  That’s what loud CGI nonsense is FOR.

Posted on: July 9th, 2012 | Comments (56)

Peter Greenaway’s Battle With Visual Illiteracy

Peter Greenaway outdoes his own imbecility by “proving” to art critics that 17th Century Rembrandt painting foretold the appearance of Dutch immigrant-bashing Teabagger Geert Wilders

Posted on: July 7th, 2012 | Comments (29)

Mitt Romney & The Curse Of Joseph Smith: “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It, And I Feel Gentile”

“Why are you sending me Charlie Manson quotes, Ames? Are you threatening me?”

I didn’t have the heart to tell him I was quoting Mitt Romney’s own personal Yoda or that the thought of an upgraded version of Joseph Smith taking control of the White House should scare the shit out of secular humanists and liberal elites, who, so far, have dismissed Romney’s foundational ideology, treating it with parody or scorn, if at all.

Posted on: June 26th, 2012 | Comments (42)

Prometheus Shoulda Been a Titanic Feat

By now I’m assuming you’ve seen Prometheus, and we can talk freely. If not, beat it, because I’m telling all, plot-wise. Prometheus starts out gangbusters, so beautiful and ambitious that you have to wonder how Ridley Scott is going to…

Posted on: June 10th, 2012 | Comments (94)

Men in Black 3: It’s Still a Good Look

Lotta critics reviewing Men in Black 3 have wondered what was the necessity for it. Who was really craving Men in Black 3? As garrulous A.O Scott puts it, “Can you think of a new movie with less reason for…

Posted on: May 28th, 2012 | Comments (38)

Dark Shadows and the Death of Tim Burton

Somebody stick a fork in Tim Burton; he’s done. Dark Shadows proves it’s about time he retired and took up a hobby. I’d suggest still photography. He’d be terrific at that—he still has a great eye for his personal fetishes,…

Posted on: May 14th, 2012 | Comments (28)

The Avengers: It’s, Y’know, For Kids!

If you’re one of the few dozen people in the world who hasn’t seen The Avengers yet, I’ll tell you the best way to take it in. Hit a matinee screening in a theater filled with kids—especially very small roundheaded…

Posted on: May 7th, 2012 | Comments (75)

Mumblecore Millennialism and Me

Don’t know if you’ve ever seen a mumblecore film. Probably not, if only because the term “mumblecore” is so twee and horrible, it would instinctively repel you. It’s a millennial American film development, around for quite a while now but…

Posted on: April 4th, 2012 | Comments (98)

The Hunger Games: A Belated WTF

Today’s burning moral question: Is it bad to enjoy watching a big-screen entertainment featuring teenagers hunting each other for sport? Answer: Oh, I dunno. Points to be made on both sides. How big is the screen? Bigger ain’t necessarily better…

Posted on: March 29th, 2012 | Comments (106)

Screenwriter Smackdown: Tarantino vs. The Coens

I got ahold of the script for Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, and was mildly smug about it till I found out everyone’s read it already. Apparently it got leaked ages ago. Nobody tells me anything. So what’s everyone saying about…

Posted on: February 4th, 2012 | Comments (86)

J. Hoberman Fired: Happy New Year!

Film critic J. Hoberman got axed from the Village Voice today, and old-school cineastes are rending their garments in grief and crying “Oh the humanity!” Personally, I hate J. Hoberman and the film criticism he rode in on, and I…

Posted on: January 5th, 2012 | Comments (30)

A Film-Lover’s Suicide

While critics go through the farce of compiling their Best Films of 2011 lists, I’m working on my suicide note. Here’s the latest draft:

Posted on: December 30th, 2011 | Comments (48)

Sherlock Holmes 2: Fine, Whatever

So is Sherlock Holmes 2: Game of Shadows a slovenly, slapped-together mess of a big-budget Hollywood sequel, like you might’ve heard? Oh, yeah! You bet it is! One of the slovenliest! Now ask me if I care!

Posted on: December 17th, 2011 | Comments (20)

Hugo: Scorsese Makes Nice

Hugo is an overstuffed candy-box film of the type that some people really, really like. And if you add “A Martin Scorsese Confection” to the tag, everybody’s over the moon with how unexpected it is, this gift to mankind that’s…

Posted on: November 26th, 2011 | Comments (36)

Want to Watch 107 Minutes of Wall St. Propaganda? Then Go See “Margin Call”

You may have heard positive things about Margin Call, a new bankster suspense drama loosely based on the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers. I just saw the film, and my advice: Don’t waste your time and cash, not unless you want…

Posted on: November 3rd, 2011 | Comments (40)