Ryan Gosling Gangster Squad

REVIEW: ‘Gangster Squad’ Invents a New Genre, Film Orange

It isn’t often that I long for Roman Polanski.  Personally, I find him more than a little creepy and twisted.  If I go back to my one unpleasant encounter with him, at the home of a shady financier of his in Paris in the early 90s, I’d say he reminds me of a character lurking in the background of a Harry Potter film.  He is often, however, a great filmmaker.  Chinatown is his co-masterpiece, the definitive L.A. noir film, alongside The Pianist, a definitive Holocaust film.

Chinatown is so good it almost makes you wonder why they keep trying to remake it in one way or the other every decade with way under-benchmark movies like Ruben Fleisher’s Gangster Squad.  But I suppose Sunset Boulevard didn’t stop The Artist from happening, which renders my wondering idiotic.

Fantasia Redux


by James Killough

It would not be wrong to describe Terrence Malick’s Cannes Palme D’Or-winner The Tree Of Life as a two-hour-fifteen-minute ad for a fictitious Calvin Klein “Existence” perfume, brought to you in part by the Museum of Natural History, the Pritzker Architecture Prize, and the Episcopal Diocese of Waco, Texas.

Tree is for lovers of films with no conventional plot like Baraka and Godfrey Reggio’s Qatsi series.  In other words, smoke a hefty spliff, stack up on the muchie rations and prepared to murmur “wow.”

The ubiquitous walking-into-the-sunlight shot that seems to have pleased the Cannes jury so much. Step away from the shrooms, Mr. De Niro.

I wasn’t in Cannes this year, and per my earlier post it is unlikely I would have seen the rest of the films in competition even if I had been, but I can understand why awarding the Palme D’Or to this caused so much controversy.  It’s beautiful, yes, but it is not great cinema by my standards.  And this is coming from a huge Terrence Malick fan.  It isn’t even intellectually stimulating from an esoteric spirituality point of view.  But, after all those years in India and with the Sufis, I’m really jaded that way.