About Movies


I spent some years as a pretty serious filmbuff — seeing everything new, exploring old and avant-garde films, hanging out with fans and critics, meeting and interviewing movieworld people, etc. Here’s a collection of the reviews and essays and such that I wrote during that period. You can use the following alphabetical index, or you can throw your fate to the winds by clicking here.



  • Chris Menges’ debut movie, the South Africa-set “A World Apart,” was an overlooked, modest beauty.
  • Polly and I shared some chuckles at the expense of Scorsese’s “The Age of Innocence.”
  • I loved-loved-loved Carroll Ballard’s childrens’ film “The Black Stallion.”
  • Yasuzo Masumura’s Butoh-influenced psychodrama “Blind Beast” is a kinky turn-on.
  • The baseball comedy-romance “Bull Durham” charmed me.
  • The Cooler,” a Vegas-set fairy tale starring William H. Macy and Maria Bello, won me over.
  • Death Becomes Her,” a Robert Zemeckis comedy about women and aging, is an inspired black comedy.
  • I found Denys Arcand’s French-Canadian “The Decline of the American Empire” a stylish, funny and touching pleaser.
  • As ersatz as it was, I still enjoyed the Demi Moore/Michael Douglas sex thriller “Disclosure.”
  • Juzo Itami’s gentle satire “The Funeral” tickled and moved me.
  • The 1984 new-wave-ish sci-fi indie “Liquid Sky” gave me a high.


  • Spike Lee’s biopic “Malcolm X” didn’t persuade me.
  • I found Guillermo Del Toro’s horror movie “Mimic” thrilling — even if he regrets the film.
  • I was one of the few writers who loved Brian De Palma’s “Mission to Mars.”
  • Polly and I giggled over Jane Campion’s period romance “The Piano.”
  • I did a lot of Serious Filmcrit about Robert Altman’s Hollywood satire “The Player.”
  • I’m a huge fan of the French filmmaker Catherine Breillat, and got Salon magazine to let me rhapsodize about her film “Romance.”
  • The Sharon Stone / Sly Stallone action-romance “The Specialist” was one of my favorite bad movies of the 1990s.
  • I raved about an early Roger Donaldson film, the powerful Kiwi marital drama “Smash Palace.”
  • I had a good time comparing Rod Lurie’s feminist 2011 version of “Straw Dogs” with the notoriously sexist 1971 Sam Peckinpah original.


  • I didn’t appreciate Errol Morris’ acclaimed documentary “The Thin Blue Line.”
  • Francis Coppola’s “Tucker” struck me as a lumbering piece of candy-colored self-indulgence.
  • Philip Kaufman’s movie of Kundera’s “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” pleased me no end.
  • Takashi Miike’s “Visitor Q” was a grotesque and campy riot.



  • When Robert Altman’s “Nashville” turned 25, I took the occasion to revisit the movie. I gave the moviegoing years since a look too.
  • David Ansen and I brought readers up to date about recent developments in film editing.
  • Salon magazine asked me for some reflections about eroticism in movies.
  • When he died in 1999, I considered the career of George C. Scott.
  • Jean-Luc Godard’s melancholy “Hail Mary” set me to thinking about his one-of-a-kind career.
  • In 1989, Polly and I talked to Pauline Kael for Interview magazine.
  • In 1994, I talked to Pauline for The Modern Review.
  • Opera News asked me to survey a little-recognized genre: the composer biopic.
  • Chris Marker’s nostalgic and brilliant “The Last Bolshevik” got me musin’ about the fate of movies in the digital era.
  • For Opera News, I did a survey of how people have seen Richard Nixon over the years. It includes some reactions to and reflections about movies that featured Nixon.
  • When his movie “Vincent & Theo” was released, I had a quick visit with Robert Altman.
  • I used to hang out with the infamous renegade filmmaker James Toback. He’s quite a character, as well as an entertaining, superbright guy.
  • I thought that the brilliant New Zealand director Geoff Murphy did a terrific job with the glamorous Western sequel “Young Guns II,” so I gave him a call.