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  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

    The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

    The Lord of the Rings films represent a last gasp for big-budget Hollywood classicism: arguably the last point at which special effects and technical razzle-dazzle worked in service of the story, and not as a substitute for it. (Maybe Avatar hit this mark, too? But its story was very stupid, and if you put a gun to my head I could not name more than one character from the film.)

    Despite the trilogy's bigness, the films feel handmade. Both in…

  • Innerspace

    Innerspace

    I learned on a recent episode of Pawn Stars that when actor Dennis Quaid voted Ronald Reagan for President, his friends informed him he was "kicked out of the hippies." I'm not sure what hippies existed in 1980, but that's Dennis's story.

    Does knowing he cast his ballot (twice) for "The Gipper," and that he is playing Reagan in a forthcoming biopic that also features Scott Stapp from Creed as Frank Sinatra for some reason, affect my ability to enjoy…

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  • Nomadland

    Nomadland

    Actual dialogue from this movie:

    “Hey Fern, still working at Amazon?”
    “Sure am! The money is great!”
    “Wow! And what about the culture?”
    “The corporate culture is full of positive values, from the CEO Jeff Bezos on down to workers like me on the line at the fulfilment centre!”
    “Are you involved with the unionization effort at all?”
    “Why pay almost $500 in dues? Amazon has me covered: with high wages, health care, vision, and dental benefits, as well as…

  • Can't Get You Out of My Head

    Can't Get You Out of My Head

    The appeal of Adam Curtis, to me, has a lot to do with his style: that mishmash of sound and image that lands somewhere between late Godard and Zeitgeist: The Movie. I understand the criticisms of his work--i.e. that it couches essentially shallow insights in an arch ponderousness--but I also think that his core insights, while perhaps a little low-cal, are nonetheless correct. We do live in dreamworlds conjured by the media. Our cages are merely gilded. The New Age…