Recommended movies

More Cinematic Injustices

February 2, 2011

Jennifer Lawrence portrays Ree Dolly

I’ve written before about a cinematic injustice that several decades later I can’t forgive. Maybe that’s why I’ve dawdled at seeing the updated version of True Grit despite positive reviews and an admirable cast. Now Salon weighs in with its Top 10 of Oscar oversights, eight of which I’m old enough to remember but doesn’t […]

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Cinematic Injustice

October 5, 2010

Forty-one years after the fact, I’m still incensed that John Wayne won the best actor Oscar for his starring role in the ho-hum True Grit, despite Dustin Hoffman’s mesmerizing portrayal of Ratso Rizzo in Midnight Cowboy. But after watching the trailer for an upcoming Coen brothers remake of True Grit, starring Jeff Bridges in the […]

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Shirley Morris

As guest curator for a recently opened exhibit, “Tall in the Saddle: the Pendleton Round-Up at 100,” I worked with dozens of people across the Northwest. Sometimes the project intersected with the creative work of others. Among them was fine artist Shirley Morris of Bend, Oregon, who’s making a documentary that I’m eager to see. […]

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Best Movie Scenes

March 17, 2010

Post image for Best Movie Scenes

I’m no movie critic but love the medium. That’s why my wife and I yearn for a three-movie day. We squeezed in three on the Friday and Saturday before the Oscars. (Each received a top award: best actor, actress, and movie.) Thus my interest in “The greatest movie scenes ever shot,” touted on the eclectic […]

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Classroom Chaos

April 24, 2009

I can’t imagine a more poignant or tragic portrayal of classroom chaos than that depicted in the French film The Class. Fictional but shot documentary style, the story shows a teacher’s persistent but futile attempt to reach students mired in pubescent rebellion and complex culture clashes. Throughout the film I kept thinking of my school […]

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Harmonies and Howls

April 13, 2009

Last night during a concert of earnest and ethereal harmonies, I struggled to keep another sound at bay. Pressed against the stage at the Crystal Ballroom, five feet from Fleet Foxes‘ lead singer Robin Pecknold and bathed in his melodic voice, I occasionally heard in my head not him but the quavering wail of a […]

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Wrestling With Demons

February 2, 2009

Until seeing Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler last week, I thought only Daniel Day-Lewis could so completely inhabit a movie character. Or Robert DeNiro when he did serious roles. Battling frailties and demons galore, Rourke’s character makes one ponder the fates of wrestlers once age and countless poundings have taken a despairing toll.

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Cannibalism and Love

January 15, 2009

Hard to correlate these two disparate ideas: airplane crash victims lost high in the Andes resorting to cannibalism, and stark humanity imbued with love. But that’s what played out on the movie screen tonight in the documentary Stranded: I’ve Come From a Plane That Crashed on the Mountains. After the plane carrying the Uruguayan ruby […]

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Sometimes, rarely actually, a movie stuns me. Leaves me in awe. Not fully grasping what I’ve just seen, I want to watch it again and again. That’s how I feel twenty-four hours after watching “A Christmas Tale.” The French film examines the complexities of a dysfunctional, estranged family reunited for the holiday. Typically that subject […]

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Swamps in My Blood

November 24, 2008

Until HBO’s True Blood, I can’t recall a television series with an opening sequence more riveting than the show itself. A foreboding mix of lust, religion, and evil, the montage casts a memorable spell. With each viewing, I’m drawn deeper into the stark settings. While I enjoyed the series’ first season, which wrapped up Sunday, […]

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On the radio, Garrison Keillor says writer Charles Webb turns sixty-nine today. Webb wrote The Graduate, the book on which the 1967 movie was based. News to me is Webb’s sequel, published in January. A little research shows Home School is a sequel in name only. Not worth reading, not worth risking the original story […]

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Looking for home

May 31, 2008

How strange to stumble upon photos of my childhood house of the 1960s on a movie web site. I was searching Google images for a picture of Lake Sybelia in Maitland, Florida. Once a quaint hamlet of citrus trees and lakes, Maitland was long ago consumed by the tourist monster that ate Orlando. During my […]

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Flickering images

April 20, 2008

Seeing the haunting movie The Diving Bell and the Butterfly¬†two days ago was timely given the title I’d chosen for my blog. Because of the film I think and look at the world differently, and that’s as grand a recommendation as I can make.Watching with my wife, Suzame, I couldn’t help but think of my […]

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