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  • The Male Animal

    The Male Animal

    ★★★★½

    I used to think that if you wanted to understand universities today, you should watch campus football musical comedies of the 1930s. (See here.) But that’s only because I hadn’t yet seen The Male Animal, the more explicit treatment of the same pressures, now with added Red Scare.

    The romance plotlines dominate the second half, with Olivia de Havilland pushing the film somewhere into The Pittsburgh Story. James Thurber’s preoccupation with the battle of the sexes comes through strongly here,…

  • The Absent-Minded Professor

    The Absent-Minded Professor

    ★★★½

    The only good sciences vs. the humanities movie? Well, at least scientists vs. humanists. (That Elliott Reid’s professor is first described as a professor of “Romance languages” then turns out to be Shakespeare-quoting chair of the English department is the careful portrayal of humanities professors we’ve come to expect.)

    Anyways, Fred MacMurray has what the kids these days call BDE. If you think Billy Wilder found a surprisingly dark undercurrent in MacMurray that isn’t present in the Disney films, AMP…

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  • Certified Copy

    Certified Copy

    ★★★★★

    Second viewing confirms this is among the handful of films I'd consider my all-time favorites. Everything I want in a film is here. (Well, I could use a chase scene with a car explosion, I guess.)

    What's the movie about? It's about an hour and forty-five minutes.

    An hour and forty-five minutes of dizzying, glorious, beautiful starts and stops, ideas and emotions, reality and fiction, truth and lies, beauty and deceit. AK demands our attention, but doesn't mind if we…

  • The Social Network

    The Social Network

    ★★★★

    Aaron Sorkin demands that at each moment you recognize exactly how intelligent he is. Every turn of phrase, overlapped sentence, and twist in the argument screams to be heard as written by Aaron Sorkin. The obvious problem with wanting people to know just how intelligent you are is that people will find out just how intelligent you are. One surmises that everything Sorkin has contemplated in relation to technology, online/offline, class, social hierarchies, elitism is right there in the script,…