“Dooly appointed”

Shutter Island is the kind of movie whose principals (Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo), nervously contemplating the eponymous prison from the boat, get their dialogue squelched before the narrative’s started by a portentous, immersive score (music editor Robbie Robertson requires shock treatment), but not before the boat captain informs them/us that (a) the dock they’reContinue reading ““Dooly appointed””

Wine, and cheese, whatever

An excerpt from my favorite bit of pornography of the last twenty-five years: I remember a Thanksgiving evening in our house eight or ten years ago; he was carving the late-night turkey after a drive from the country, and four of us were seated around the kitchen table with wine, and cheese, whatever… He wasContinue reading “Wine, and cheese, whatever”

I’ve never heard silence quite this loud: Taylor Swift’s Speak Now

The kicker in “Dear John” comes after almost two minutes of singing that verges on the clenched: “Didn’t you think I was too young to be messed with?” She places too much emphasis on the key adjective in the line “your sick need to give love and take it away” — a sign that herContinue reading “I’ve never heard silence quite this loud: Taylor Swift’s Speak Now”

Moloch, with your NPR values and Jon Hamm eyes: Howl

As Allen Ginsberg, James Franco, through a lisp and singsong intonations, explains, as if addressing an NPR donation drive, how he wrote the famous line about Moloch. Jon Hamm and Bob Balaban praise nice liberal values such as “artistic” freedom of expression in speeches that would have gotten them Academy Award nominations in 1956. TimidContinue reading “Moloch, with your NPR values and Jon Hamm eyes: Howl”

“I would follow you into the mists of Avalon if that’s what you mean”

Friends swear by Step Brothers, the 2008 comedy starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly as two grown child-men forced together by marriage (Mary Steenburgen and Richard Jenkins play their parents). One went so far as to say it was the best comedy of the decade. This was okay! Talladega Nights boasted much better one-linersContinue reading ““I would follow you into the mists of Avalon if that’s what you mean””

Lifetime piling up: Please Give

Kate (Catherine Keener) and Alex (Oliver Platt) own a furniture store specializing in accessories bought from the dead. Their daughter Abby (Sarah Steele), a teenager who’s got serious problems with acne, often feels dead. After they buy the apartment next door, they wait for its occupant, a horrible octogenarian killjoy (Ann Guilbert), to die soContinue reading “Lifetime piling up: Please Give”