I’m Not There forces Breihan to throw his hands in the air. Although he’s certainly right that in Haynes’ film the music enforces the Dylan mythos instead of being an end in itself, I’m not sure you can dismiss Dylan’s own propensity for allying himself with history – for wanting to merge with history. I’mContinue reading

Kelly McDonald’s delicately shaded pathos lets the air into the vacuum chamber of the Coens’ adaptation of No Country For Old Men. By filming most of McDonald’s last scene off-camera, they actually improve on the novel; sketching a character’s loss of dignity works best on the page, without the camera’s literalizing tendencies. I also likedContinue reading

Lily Bart killed herself! According to a Charles McGrath story in today’s New York Times, a letter written by Edith Wharton to Dr. Francis Kinnicutt, “a well-known society doctor who specialized in the mental ailments of the well-to-do,” supposedly reveals that Wharton planned on doing away with the heroine of her second and best novelContinue reading

Why Norman Mailer is immortal…

From The Armies of the Night, his essay-novel about the 1967 anti-war rallies, in which he resorts to every bit of skullduggery to get himself arrested: …Mailer finally came to decide that his love for his wife while not at all equal or congruent to his love for America was damnably parallel. It was notContinue reading “Why Norman Mailer is immortal…”

Why Norman Mailer is immortal…

From The Armies of the Night, his essay-novel about the 1967 anti-war rallies, in which he resorts to every bit of skullduggery to get himself arrested: …Mailer finally came to decide that his love for his wife while not at all equal or congruent to his love for America was damnably parallel. It was notContinue reading “Why Norman Mailer is immortal…”

Hilarity and hooey

Matos has a wonderful post about his experience watching The Piano Teacher. When I saw it in 2002 it spooked me in ways that movies rarely do, and for months afterwards I wondered whether Michael Haneke’s immersion in masochism obscured me from judging its merits. It reminded me of Pauline Kael’s caveats about Hitchcock’s Psycho:Continue reading “Hilarity and hooey”

Favorite Hitchens Antic #891

At the National Book Awards dinner last night. Favorite bit: Asked in an e-mail whether Mr. Shelton was telling the truth, Mr. Hitchens responded with an oblique but suggestive message: “The standard of fact-checking for Vanity Fair articles is very high.” EDIT: This kind of nonsense does him no favors. I recall Alexander Cockburn’s remarkContinue reading “Favorite Hitchens Antic #891”