Michael Haneke recieving Palme D'Or 2012

REVIEW: ‘Amour,’ a Winter Sonata in Love Major

I finally got to see Amour, the Austrian film by Michael Haneke that’s actually in French and set in Paris.  It’s not for lack of trying; I simply couldn’t find a theater in L.A. showing it.  You would have thought that a film nominated for five major Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actress and Foreign Film, would be playing at the Arclight, the best darned cinema in the world.  But no.  Fandango didn’t list it as playing near me, either.  Finally, I tweeted Sony Picture Classics in frustration and reprimanded them for not showing such a prestigious film in L.A. of all places. 

French legend Annie Girardot

Remembering Annie—Part Three

Please read Part One and Part Two first.


Recently, I’ve come to view a person’s path in life as being guided by something akin to a GPS navigation system.  I’ve even taken to calling the chick who lives inside that system, placidly and emotionlessly issuing directions, as Felicity Common-Sense.  The mistakes we make, major or minor, silly or fatal, are those turns in the road Ms. Common-Sense told us to make that we ignored.  Never mind: she usually resets and finds an alternate route to get us where we are meant to be.

As a modern Don Quixote, I have often switched Ms. Common-Sense off completely, no doubt annoyed by her monotonous robotic drone pointing at obvious directions that haven’t excited me, preferring instead to go off on my own tortuous, seemingly nonsensical path.

Legendary French actress Annie Girardot

Remembering Annie—Part Two

Please read part one first, or this will make zero sense.


We were on a family vacation in Florida when they told me Oliver Stewart had died—“We have some bad news for you, James: Your friend Oliver is very sick…  actually, he’s dead”—but I didn’t shed a tear.  It didn’t surprise me; I’d done my mourning already in the bathroom of Jules Feiffer’s apartment nine months earlier.  Or maybe shock numbed all normal emotion.  God knows, I can still cry easily enough about it today.

Had we been in New York, I might have made it to the funeral, but it was too complicated to get me to Rome from Florida on such short notice.  As a consequence of not burying him properly, for years I subconsciously believed that Oliver’s death was just another one of his pranks.

I'll Have Your Sacred Cow Medium Rare, Please


by James Killough

Incidents like the protests in Afghanistan over the accidental Quran burnings a couple of weeks ago are always surprising for a post-atheist like me.  I am so on the other side of the religion discussion that I refuse to be ‘a-’ or ‘non-’ anything; why should I be labeled as the negation of something that doesn’t exist in the first instance?  The reason these fatal protests were alarming is it becomes increasingly hard to imagine why anyone would lay down his life in the defense of religion, much less in indignation over an unintentional slight.

Why Crocker? See item two.

Nothing is sacred.  Period.  To proclaim an object, a place, a grouping of words and stories written by a bunch of deranged men centuries or millennia ago as something inviolable and worthy of veneration is heresy against humanity.  All scriptures, be they the Quran, the Bible/Torah, or the Vedas are instruments of tyranny and oppression.