Monthly Archives: March 2012

46 posts

Book Review: May the Road Rise Up to Meet You by Peter Troy

Troy’s novel has much to recommend it, including sensitive character delineation and powerful narrative set pieces. But all Civil War fiction is faced with the almost insuperable task of trying to heal wounds that just go on festering, of finding some sort of redemptive meaning for unparalleled carnage. From the first great Civil War novel, John De Forrest’s Miss Ravenel’s Conversion, published in 1867, the problem for the Civil War novelist is to find a middle ground of hope and harmony upon which the survivors can rebuild their battered lives.

The Walking Dead Recap: “Better Angels” (Season 2, Episode 12)

Things are finally happening! In the opening of this week’s Walking Dead, our cast of survivors comb the woods and fields surrounding Hershel’s farm as Rick eulogizes Dale. As Andrea, T-Dog, and Shane brutally, viciously smash and crush the head of a walker, Rick laments the late Dale’s passion for […]

Book Review: Good in a Crisis by Margaret Overton

By withholding nearly all the details of her marriage, upbringing, and formative relationships with men (and women), she misses the opportunity for a more genuine self-realization and creates a void of understanding that tempts the reader to see all men in this light. This is disappointing on both fronts. There may be kind, compassionate, thoughtful men out there — one or two even exist in the book — but somehow they are not accessible to her. The question she really never asks is: Why?

Movie Review: Silent House

As far as Silent House goes in the remake department, those responsible have managed to pull the original film apart gently, sand off some rough corners, grease a few rusty plot twists, and present the humble horror tale in a more palatable form. Writer and co-director Laura Lau apparently realized that while La Casa Muda had several important scares worth preserving, the audience might appreciate a little more to digest.

Movie Review: John Carter

And the budget? Oh, it ballooned. The movie’s credits include so many visual effects and art department crew members your eyes will cross. The end result, unfortunately, is about two hundred million dollars worth of mediocre. Burroughs’s books were pulpy, light, implausible science fiction, and the movie feels the same despite its ostensible scale.

100 Greatest Gangster Films: Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, #86

He’s a hit man with a sense of honor, working for a crime family that doesn’t have one anymore. He lives in a shack on a roof next to a pigeon coop. His best friend is a Haitian who sells ice cream in the park and only speaks French, a language Ghost Dog doesn’t understand.

Rembrandt and Degas: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

But before he retreated into his private realm of race horses and ballet dancers, Degas was fully engaged with the contest of light and shadow in the spirit of Rembrandt. Degas was greatly affected by Rembrandt’s drawing skill, and the accomplished way that he reproduced his line art in etchings and dry point. The etchings of the Dutch master were an education in themselves.

The Walking Dead Recap: “Judge, Jury, Executioner” (Season 2, Episode 11)

The Walking Dead just lost me again. How many of you out there have read the books? The show has occasionally deviated from the books, but managed to hold its own and wend its way back toward the original plot. Now they’ve taken it overboard and killed the wrong person. […]

Movie Review: Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax

The smooth contours of the prevailing animation style sap so much from the jagged, surreal landscapes of Seuss’s imagination that it would barely be recognizable if not for the distinctive scruff of the Truffula trees. In addition, the script’s occasional throwaway quotes from the original rhyming narrative do nothing to cover the script’s complete lack of wit and heart. Either write the script at least ninety percent in Seuss verse — for crying out loud, it’s already written for you! — or just forget it.

Movie Review: Project X

Project X is a preposterous, implausible celebration of excess that contributes nothing to cinema or filmmaking. More importantly, though, it is incredibly awesome and an opportunity to vicariously participate in the greatest party of all time. Though the movie’s simplicity makes The Hangover look like The Usual Suspects, Project X is probably the most fun you’ll ever have without getting thrown in jail.