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Monthly Archives: December 2019

 

Pressure Drop

December 29th, 2019

As many of us do, the arrival of the year’s end is a time for me to look back. If I were to sum it up, 2019 was all about surprise. Putting aside the absolute insanity of our politics, the year in film has been wild as hell. We saw both the Star Wars and MCU franchises come to a temporary end. We saw films about cathartic cults, flicks involving doppelgangers, and a number of movies examining class warfare. Perhaps strangest of all, we saw one of the best performances of the year delivered by Adam Sandler. Maybe it’s not so strange, though! I’ll grant you that a cursory look through Sandler’s... Read More

The Force Ricochets

December 22nd, 2019

In the beginning, there was the Word…or a bunch of words, anyway. They began with, “It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.” Once seen, it was impossible to forget. Film historians will tell you the first blockbuster was Steven Spielberg’s Jaws in 1975. That’s true, but there’s a galaxy’s worth of difference between a blockbuster and a frickin’ phenomenon. On May 25, 1977, Star Wars changed everything. The brainchild of George Lucas erupted from theaters and soon laid claim to... Read More

A Death Without a Body

December 16th, 2019

If you’re currently married or you were ever married, I’ve got news for you: your marriage is insane. I hate to be the one to tell you, but there it is. People you know, people you love, will take stock of your relationship and life choices and say, “They’re cuckoo banana-pants. No doubt about it.” Luckily, you aren’t alone. Everybody’s marriage is insane—yes, including mine. From the outside, they’re nearly impossible to understand. From the inside? Well, it ain’t much easier. Some days you can feel an almost religious degree of closeness to your partner, while during others... Read More

The Doughnut Hole

December 8th, 2019

Making a movie is hard. Making a good movie? That’s really hard. Making a good mystery? These days that appears to be damn near impossible, given the relative scarcity of mysteries. Horror movies, superhero flicks, action, and dramas are all doing well in theaters and multiplexes. A good old whodunit? They’re a rare breed. But why? Is it because, as a society, we’re dumber? I imagine that some people of a certain age would sneeringly point to Millennials and the rise of social media and claim their attention spans have been irrevocably damaged.* Yet the average American reads somewhere in... Read More

The Man Who Painted Houses

December 1st, 2019

What is cinema? Is cinema only cinema when you’re watching it in a movie theater? While their methods have changed throughout the years, ultimately a sculpture remains a sculpture and a painting stays a painting. Most of the arts have resolutely remained themselves, but cinema has a kind of protean quality, whether its worshipers choose to admit it or not. Consider that the first movie theater opened June 19, 1905, in Pittsburgh. 96 seats were dragged into an empty store located on Smithfield Street, and when it opened, admission was a nickel. At their height, theaters bore the more grandiose... Read More