Not-Oscars 2018

The Academy is always a little bit wrong, which is why I write this post every year. Inevitably, there are writers, directors, actors, composers, and others who don’t get their just desserts from the Academy when nominees are announced — and those whose work is too niche, or too gene, to ever have a chance […]

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Radical Reverence: ‘First Reformed’

A Protestant pastor in upstate New York counsels troubled youths while preparing for his church’s 250th anniversary celebration. That’s not the first narrative that comes to mind for a spiritual sequel to Martin Scorsese’s 1976 antihero landmark Taxi Driver, written by Paul Schrader. But First Reformed, both written and directed by Schrader, comes about as close as […]

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The Not-Oscars 2016

It’s just about Oscar time again — though for once, the Best Picture race isn’t exactly the most disappointing contest I’ll witness over the past year. At times like these, the Academy Awards feel somewhat frivolous. It’s possible that some likely winners — The Salesman, Mahershala Ali, The White Helmets, OJ: Made In America, and even […]

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The Tens: Best Of Film 2004

(A “Then & Now” perspective.) Like my 2005 list, this Top Ten comes at you twenty strong, because that’s how I wrote it back in the day on my LiveJournal. And like last time, I’ll be adding my commentary about how the movies have held up 11 years later, because tastes change. Some of these […]

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The Not-Oscars 2014

Once again, it’s Oscar time. This year’s race is gearing up to be one of the least predictable in recent memory. For every race that has an all-but-guaranteed winner (Julianne Moore, Best Actress; J.K. Simmons, Best Supporting Actor), there are as many that are truly up in the air — some with not only two […]

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The Tens: Best Of Film 2014

It was a very good year at the movies… but a weird one. Reversing the trend of recent years, the summer blockbuster fare offered a surprising amount of good taste, from the goofy-fun Guardians Of The Galaxy to the surprisingly clever Edge Of Tomorrow. Even sequels like Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes and […]

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Boy’s Life: Adolescence Unfolds Before Our Eyes In ‘Boyhood’

Movies entertain in different ways. Many are meant as mere diversions; some aim to bemuse, fewer aim to bewitch. One typically considers independent films less ambitious than their studio-made counterparts, at least on a technical level. But that’s not always the case. Take Boyhood for example — it’s the latest film from Richard Linklater, director […]

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The Not-Oscars 2013

It’s the morning of the Oscar nominations, and I’m not upset. This is weird. All the films I wanted to see nominated for Best Picture are. All the actors I hoped to see receive nominations for this year’s performances were. Compare and contrast to last year’s fatal omission of Kathryn Bigelow as Best Director, or […]

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The Tens: Best Of Film 2013

Hollywood is obsessed with money, I say. Duh, you think in response. But hear me out. In 2013, Hollywood was particularly obsessed with money. Not just with making money, but with telling stories about making — and losing — money. In my Top Ten list last year, I named Zero Dark Thirty my favorite film […]

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