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American Sniper

American Sniper proves the dictum “never count an auteur out” by proving itself as Eastwood’s strongest directorial effort since 2009's underrated Invictus pretty much right…

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The Interview

Opportunities at rich satire flatten out into Hangover dude-dope-doodoo jokes, where the premise is that there’s nothing funnier than watching over-privileged grown men act out…

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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* This filmography is not intended to be a comprehensive list of this artist’s work. Instead it reflects the films this person has been involved with that have been reviewed on this site.

#237 October 15, 2014

Sheila writes: The New York Film Festival, which ended on October 14, ran a new retrospective of the films of Joseph L. Mankiewicz. In preparation, Adrian Curry (at Mubi) started searching out for cool posters of Mankiewicz's films. Curry writes: "When I started to search for posters for his films I felt a little uninspired myself and wondered whether Mankiewicz’s smart, wordy cinema didn’t really lend itself to inventive visual representation. Some of his best films, like 'The Ghost and Mrs Muir' and 'A Letter to Three Wives', had very mundane American posters. But, digging deeper, I found that there was more than meets the eye, especially among international posters for his films." Go check out the gallery of fantastic posters, one of which, the Japanese poster for "The Barefoot Contessa", is posted below.

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Raising free-range kids

I wrote recently about my childhood growing up in Downstate Illinois. I mentioned me and my friends roaming all over town on our bikes, walking to the movies and the swimming pool on our own, and riding our bikes through rain water backed up after thunderstorms. Also, for that matter, through piles of burning leaves. One of my classmates wrote to mention that the Boneyard, the creek running through town, was a drainage canal. "What?" I asked. "Where we caught crawdaddies?"

One of the comments on the entry was from a reader in Florida who said, rather sadly, that his 15-year-old son had just taken his first unsupervised bike ride through the city park. When he was growing up, he said, things were different. But not "today." We use that word today as code for the dangers lurking everywhere in modern society. Another reader sent me a link to a web site advocating the raising of Free Range Children. I learned this has become something of a movement, cheered by a book by Lenore Skenazy. The movement believes we are punishing our kids by over-protecting them.

Certainly today we take for granted things that we never imagined in our own childhoods, like child car seats, bike helmets, bottled water, security guards, sunblock, hand sanitizer and childproof bottles. I mentioned my childhood memory that we boys would pee behind trees, shrubbery, or garages ("If you run home, your mom might grab you and make you do something"). I forgot to mention that one of the reasons we needed to pee is that when we got thirsty we drank out of garden hoses--our own, and anybody else's.

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