Essays

/Essays

Top Ten 2015

January 27th, 2016|

My Top Ten this year is a bit of a cop-out, although not without precedent among major film critics: with no clear standout movie I will list my favorites in alphabetical order. Spotlight was the closest to a flawless movie, but it didn’t have the emotional power of Brooklyn, which was almost indistinguishable from Carol […]

Oscar Dud 2015

February 23rd, 2015|

A big-winner favorite I didn’t like and a self-referential host who wasn’t funny were two of the reasons Oscar disappointed last night. As reported previously, my wife and I walked out of Birdman because we were having such a bad time. The absurdist magical-realism style never connected, and the characters, starting with Michael Keaton and […]

Top Ten – 2013

February 10th, 2014|

At one point, I thought I would use this year’s list to highlight the unconventional approaches to moviemaking that gave me so much enjoyment. The Great Beauty and Blue Is the Warmest Color both benefited from my seeing them while I was rereading Proust. Neither had a traditional story arc; […]

Top Ten 2012

February 6th, 2013|

1. A Separation and Amour. Every year, it seems, there is a critical favorite that avoids the smaller cities until the deadline for my list has passed. Last year it was A Separation, which opened in 2011 but was far and away the best film I saw in 2012. This year it is Amour, which […]

Best Movies 2011

February 27th, 2012|

Top Ten 2011

2011 was, at best, a […]

Oscar Preview

February 27th, 2011|

Having already given my pronouncements on the Best Picture race – for me, it should be Winter’s Bone over Black Swan, by a neck – it is time to look at the individual awards. The pundits are almost unanimous in predicting the actual winners, so I will instead give an […]

Top Ten – 2010

February 16th, 2011|

This year for the first time I am offering three Top Ten movie lists, and the first, for reasons of pre-Oscar urgency, will merely be my capitulation of the ten nominees for best film. For detailed explanation of why I prefer one to another, go to the Alphabetical Listings for 2010 and click on the […]

Oscar Review

March 24th, 2010|

No real surprises among this year’s Oscar winners, although Time’s prediction sheet managed 12 wrong, to 12 right. What dawned on me, however, as it must have before, is how much the Oscars are little more than a popularity contest, rather than a recognition of technical talent. I’m not referring to Sandra Bullock’s win over […]

Top Ten Movies 2009

February 9th, 2010|

      “Gritty” is the word that comes to mind when I think of the movies that made the greatest impact on 2009 for me. I can still feel the Iraqi sand coating my body when I think of The Hurt Locker, the only film in my top 5 that is also garnering critics’ awards, but […]