October 2005 Archives

A Circle of Loss

Spider Forest is at once lovely and brutal, delicate and hard, sympathetic and unforgiving. It has a feel both foreign and familiar, like the image in the movie of a girl whose body rises into the air feet-first, as if God’s hand gently plucked her by the ankle and took her into the heavens.

There aren’t many people writing about movies who make me feel inept and small-minded, but the one called k-punk does a pretty good job with these two pieces on A History of Violence: the initial take and a response to another critic. For comparison’s sake, my essay is here.

A History of Violence is a bizarre, challenging film dressed up as a mainstream entertainment, a subversive work bordering on parody yet also deadly earnest. The movie confirms that David Cronenberg has grown into one of cinema’s most sophisticated, rigorous, and probing filmmakers.

War Without End


For the past three decades, Tim O’Brien has been trying to tell true war stories — even though most of them, strictly speaking, are fiction.

You Are Forgiven

Near the end of Nathaniel Kahn’s engaging and illuminating documentary My Architect: A Son’s Journey, one of his interview subjects suggests that some people with greatness in them must be excused for being boorish, emotionally absent, or simply insufferable as human beings. They should be forgiven because they have a higher calling: God’s work.

Ghost in the Shell

I shan’t belabor the point — apples and oranges and all that stuff — but how in the hell do The Jacket and The Grudge score roughly the same with critics?