Book Review: The Goldfinch

A time-honored axiom among screenwriters and novelists is “Chase your character up a tree and throw rocks at him.” Get your character in a lot of trouble. Complicate and multiply his problems. Don’t grant him an easy way down. In The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt’s hefty, Dickensian bildungsroman, the Tartt Corollary to the Trees and Rocks … Continue reading Book Review: The Goldfinch

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Book Reviews: “Eleanor & Park” and “Fangirl”, by Rainbow Rowell

I owe Magnificent Nose about 1000 words on these sparkling, sweet-ass novels by Rainbow Rowell, and I don’t know how I’m going to do it. Rowell’s novels are not only a dream-come-true for seekers of smart, surprising YA literature, but offer the kind of writing that makes a writer want to write forever. Eleanor & … Continue reading Book Reviews: “Eleanor & Park” and “Fangirl”, by Rainbow Rowell

Movie Review: This is The End

The post-apocalyptic comedy This is The End may be the best movie I’ve seen all year. I realize these are strong words for a movie that isn’t some dramatic picture about men overcoming disaster (though that is essentially what this is) or some hyper-violent comic-book movie. Not only is it incredibly funny, but it actually contains … Continue reading Movie Review: This is The End

Movie Review: Man of Tai Chi

Man of Tai-Chi (2013), the first film directed by Keanu Reeves, is a formidable picture that fully displays the passion Reeves has for martial arts. Unlike the recent Ninja 2: Shadows of the Tear (2013), Keanu smartly trusts his audience and focuses on the martial artist Tiger Chen rather than an American protagonist. Despite Keanu’s … Continue reading Movie Review: Man of Tai Chi

Movie Review: The Act of Killing

To call the documentary The Act of Killing disturbing is an understatement. The film is the closest most of us may ever have to stare face to face with pure evil. Director Joshua Oppenheimer follows a group of Indonesian thugs who were once part of a military death squad during the 1960s. These men, in … Continue reading Movie Review: The Act of Killing

Movie Review: Her

Moments after Spike Jonze’s science-fiction/romance hybrid Her, I sat in my seat thinking about the movie I had just seen. I didn’t feel comfortable sharing with my friends my thoughts--at least not in that moment. I spent the rest of the night in quiet contemplation. There’s something personal aboutHer; I can imagine people seeing some … Continue reading Movie Review: Her

Movie Review: Before Sunrise

In director Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise (1995)--the first in what is now a trilogy of romantic films--he introduces us to Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy), two romantic hopefuls who have a fateful meeting on a train to Vienna. Featuring the same quiet but assured directing style as Linklater’s cult-classic Dazed and Confused, Sunrise … Continue reading Movie Review: Before Sunrise

Movie Review: Only God Forgives

Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn’s 2011 film Drive was a fairly major sensation. Mixing the sensibilities of an art film with the qualities of a big-budget action flick, Drive became a critical darling with its stylistic violence and pulsing synth-laden soundtrack. Its lead actor, Ryan Gosling who was more known from schmalzy romance films, became … Continue reading Movie Review: Only God Forgives

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Christmas was the ultimate childhood experience. You spent weekends perusing Sears catalogs as thick as phone books. There were nighttime gingerbread making sessions. The very calendar days were made of chocolate. And in the 1970s, the Monday before any holiday at 8pm on CBS was reserved for Charlie Brown. It was a threshold. When you … Continue reading A Charlie Brown Christmas

Movie Review: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

The holidays are the perfect time of year to join friends and family in enjoying holiday themed music, books, and, of course, film. It explains why TBS can get away with a twenty-four hour marathon of A Christmas Story or Home Alone. Christmas puts people in a good mood, and they want that reflected in … Continue reading Movie Review: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang