posted: 05/24/2013 3:08 a.m.
Unlike a lot of people who will read this review, I didn’t know Levon Helm.
posted: 05/19/2013 2:58 a.m.
A friend of mine recently returned from California with a curious story of a woman who professed “to not like art.” Which if true would be akin to not liking oxygen or water—a miserable state in which you’re bound to constantly consume that which you despise.
posted: 05/17/2013 3:22 a.m.
Something about Pablo Larrain’s seriously intentioned, based on-fact No (which was nominated for a Best Foreign Language Oscar, losing to Amour) put me in mind of a story I heard a couple of years ago about a guy who went to a Halloween party as “Don Draper, circa 1976.”
posted: 05/12/2013 3:02 a.m.
How early did summer arrive this year? It snowed in Fayetteville on the morning of the day blockbuster movie season arrived.
posted: 05/12/2013 2:35 a.m.
Revisit with caution the places that awed you in your youth. Too often the rooms are smaller than you remembered, the vistas less grand.
posted: 05/10/2013 3:14 a.m.
As of this writing, I haven’t seen Baz Luhrmann’s highly stylized version of The Great Gatsby, and I don’t know that I will see it in all its 3-D grandeur before it ends its theatrical run. I might wait for the DVD.
posted: 05/10/2013 3:09 a.m.
If you know nothing else about 76-year-old British director Ken Loach know this: He is an unreconstructed lefty.
posted: 05/05/2013 3:20 a.m.
I imagine there is at least some overlap between readers of this column and watchers of the AMC series Mad Men.
posted: 05/05/2013 2:43 a.m.
A few months ago, a reader sent me a gift: three small metal tags with the word “Rescued” inscribed upon them.
posted: 05/03/2013 3:10 a.m.
There are a lot of entertaining and intriguing theories buffeted about in Rodney Ascher’s Room 237, a documentary about the putative “hidden meanings” of Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 horror movie of Stephen King’s novel The Shining.
posted: 05/03/2013 3:06 a.m.
In case you haven’t noticed, it’s been a pretty good couple of weeks for performing artists with Arkansas connections.
posted: 04/28/2013 2:57 a.m.
It is our way to tell stories.
posted: 04/26/2013 3:03 a.m.
One way to look at Arkansan Jeff Nichols’ Mud is that it is a movie about relationships that are tenuous and inescapable, desperate and fraught with misplaced romance.
posted: 04/26/2013 2:53 a.m.
I think it must be very difficult for anyone under the age of 40 or so to imagine what it was like in this country at the end of the ’60s. America was polarized by the struggle for civil rights for blacks and other minority groups.
posted: 04/26/2013 2:51 a.m.
It is sort of a happy accident that Sally Potter’s Ginger & Rosa opens in Little Rock on the same day as Jeff Nichols’ Mud.
posted: 04/21/2013 2:40 a.m.
The final hour of the Masters golf tournament telecast annually provides us with some of the best drama on television.
posted: 04/21/2013 2:24 a.m.
Sometimes I think we deserve the world we have made.
posted: 04/19/2013 2:37 a.m.
Strikingly shot and punishingly long, Cristian Mungiu’s Beyond the Hills plays somewhat like a sequel to his 2007 feature 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes.
posted: 04/14/2013 3:05 a.m.
It is dangerous to meet your idols.
posted: 04/14/2013 2:32 a.m.
My father was a Dodger fan and he meant to inculcate me—who loved Willie Mays and the Giants—with a respect for his bums. So when I was a freshman in high school, he bought me a copy of Jackie Robinson’s biography, I Never Had it Made.
posted: 04/12/2013 3:06 a.m.
Emperor is far from the worst movie of the year, but it’s probably the most disappointing 2013 film I’ve seen so far.
posted: 04/12/2013 3:05 a.m.
Count Leo Tolstoy lived long enough to see the movies and to predict that they would render literature obsolete. That they did not has at least something to do with the fundamental intimacy of the connection between author and audience the act of reading makes possible.
posted: 04/12/2013 2:56 a.m.
Komona (Rachel Mwanza) dwells in an indistinct and unnamed sub-Saharan African country; and as writer-director Kim Nguyen’s Oscar-nominated (it lost to Amour) War Witch opens, she is 14 and pregnant, and narrating, to her unborn (and unwanted) child, the story of how she came to be where she is.
posted: 04/07/2013 2:50 a.m.
In February, Maker’s Mark bourbon announced that it planned to dilute its product to 42 percent alcohol by volume from 45 percent — producing 84 proof whiskey instead of 90 proof. Maker’s Mark President Bill Samuels Jr. was upfront about the reasons — watering down the bourbon would allow Maker’s Mark to produce more whiskey, and since they didn’t intend to lower the price, more money.
posted: 04/07/2013 2:15 a.m.
Did you see the tearful news conference the just-fired Rutgers basketball coach gave the other day?
posted: 04/05/2013 2:49 a.m.
Writing on Rudyard Kipling, George Orwell noted that the poet understood that the “humanitarian is always a hypocrite,” willing to accept the benefits of necessary violence while, in Kipling’s phrase, “making mock of uniforms that guard you while you sleep.” While we might concede the inevitability — if not the necessity — of collateral damage and enhanced interrogation methods, most of us would prefer not to know about the atrocities that have been committed on our behalf.
posted: 03/31/2013 3:06 a.m.
I do this book column every month. This month I just squeaked in under the wire. Fred Waitzkin The Dream Merchant Dunne/St. Martin’s Press, $25.99 It might be reckless to call Fred Waitzkin’s first novel, The Dream Merchant, a great book — having just put it down the night before doesn’t leave much room for reflection.
posted: 03/31/2013 2:30 a.m.
A couple of years ago, on the occasion of the release of a box set of his complete Phillies Record albums, I wrote a piece about the music of Phil Spector.
posted: 03/29/2013 4:12 a.m.
On Tuesday, the Criterion Collection released its edition of Charlie Chaplin’s Monsieur Verdoux (1947), which in addition to being one of the most interesting of Chaplin’s films is also one of his most controversial, largely because it challenged postwar audiences to accept Chaplin in a role decidedly different from his Little Tramp persona. (“Chaplin changes! Can you?” the posters taunted.) It was Chaplin’s first film since the well-received The Great Dictator seven years before. In the interval Chaplin’s reputation had been tarnished by a paternity scandal that mutated into the star’s prosecution by federal authorities who charged him with violating the Mann Act, which prohibited the transportation of women across state lines for sexual purposes. Chaplin was eventually acquitted, but audiences would have a difficult time divorcing the star from either scandal or politics. (It didn’t help that The Great Dictator had ended with a six-minute political speech in which the actor stepped out of character to direc
posted: 03/24/2013 2:42 a.m.
Bouncin’ off a satellite Crushing the last long American night — Bruce Springsteen, “Radio Nowhere” Sometimes at night I hear a radio playing when there is no radio around.
posted: 03/24/2013 2:11 a.m.
“Oh to be a center fielder, a center fielder and no more!”—the love song of Alexander Portnoy in Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint Philip Roth is 80 and done.
posted: 03/22/2013 2:50 a.m.
In a perfect world, one where newspapers had unlimited space and critics boundless energy, we’d be making more of the Little Rock Horror Picture Show that kicks off today in North Little Rock’s Argenta ( venues are Argenta Community Theater and The Joint; you can see the schedule and buy tickets at lrff.eventbrite. com).
posted: 03/22/2013 2:35 a.m.
MURPH: The Protector is one of those movies that ought not be judged by the conventional criteria we apply to entertainment products.
posted: 03/17/2013 2:54 a.m.
A director is the creative intelligence behind a film, the organizing principal who determines the look and tone of the story to be told. It seems a mysterious job to me, for it involves coercion and collaboration as well as the single-minded expression of what — if the film is to succeed as a work of art — must necessarily be a personal vision.
posted: 03/17/2013 2:25 a.m.
I have tried to stay away from writing about this legislative session.
posted: 03/15/2013 1:34 a.m.
The words “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” which I saw on an Italian movie poster, are perhaps the briefest statement imaginable of the basic appeal of movies. This appeal is what attracts us, and ultimately what makes us despair when we begin to understand how seldom movies are more than this.
posted: 03/15/2013 1:30 a.m.
Levi Agee is a new papa. So he has the week off.
posted: 03/10/2013 4:03 a.m.
The stars are never sleeping/ the dead ones and the living … — David Bowie, “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” David Bowie’s The Next Day (Columbia) — which has been streaming online for a week and will be released Tuesday — was the last thing we might have expected from the old duke, who — having survived into his 60s without self-destructing or being torn apart by fans — we might expect to look back more in bemusement than in anger.
posted: 03/10/2013 3:45 a.m.
Things got interesting on Facebook Wednesday afternoon. I noticed a peculiar status update from a very liberal friend on the West Coast: “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I agree with Rand Paul.”
posted: 03/08/2013 3:07 a.m.
Schindler’s List was released in December 1993, but the 20th anniversary Blu-ray has already arrived. That is the way of these things, and no doubt there is a method to the marketing.
posted: 03/03/2013 2:51 a.m.
Some people think shame is a useless emotion. But shame, like tequila, in moderation, has its place. We ought to be self aware enough to understand that we don’t always behave like the people we want to be; insofar as shame impels us to strive to do better, it is a force for good.
posted: 03/03/2013 2:26 a.m.
This used to be a Little Chicago—in the early days of the last century, before Prohibition, Depression, floods and drought extracted what they could from Phillips County. Helena used to be a hoppin’ little river port, with the white clubs shakin’ on Cherry and the black clubs jumpin’ on Elm. There was a Chrysler plant here until 1956.
posted: 03/01/2013 2:44 a.m.
I’m no fan of Seth MacFarlane. I’ve only dipped into Family Guy and its spinoffs a few times, just enough to know that there’s not anything I’m very interested in. Were I a seventh-grader, I might love the shows, but would-be clever, supremely smug snark wears me out.
posted: 02/24/2013 3:06 a.m.
Tonight in Hollywood they will hand out statues and a lot of the world will watch.
posted: 02/24/2013 2:32 a.m.
We tell ourselves stories because we have a need to make sense of the world.
posted: 02/22/2013 2:24 a.m.
The stretch between Christmas and the Oscars telecast is a bleary slog for my ilk. We professional moviegoers see most of the award-seeking stuff in the fall, so we can fill out ballots in December and write our end-of-the year features about what movies we liked (or didn’t ).
posted: 02/17/2013 2:45 a.m.
We mean to keep writing this book column until we get it right. Here’s another try at it.
posted: 02/17/2013 2:17 a.m.
If you are like me, you cannot help but know that today is Michael Jordan’s 50th birthday.
posted: 02/15/2013 2:57 a.m.
What a movie does is put us in places we wouldn’t otherwise be. The camera is our surrogate; we experience what it sees, as it waits unblinking in the corner or pushes up close to the action. In the best movies we forget about the camera, and about the layer of insulating safety it affords us.
posted: 02/10/2013 3:29 a.m.
Old television’s greatest strength was its ubiquity, its infiltration of seemingly every private room and public space. Back in the days when you could count the number of channels on one hand, it could fairly have been called a window into the collective consciousness.