movies

The lives of artists

Featured image I agree with Jonah Goldberg that the “The Lives of Others” is the best Cold War movie, at least of those I’ve seen. Now, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, who wrote and directed that film, has written and directed “Never Look Away.” I wouldn’t call “Never Look Away” a Cold War movie. It encompasses the Cold War, but also World War II. And the last hour or so of this three-hour »

“Cold War,” best Cold War movie ever?

Featured image David French and Jonah Goldberg ask what’s the best Cold War movie ever. French selects “Hunt for Red October.” Goldberg presents this list: 1. “The Lives of Others” 2. “Right Stuff” 3. “Dr. Strangelove” 4. “Fail-Safe” 5. “Red Dawn” 6. “Hunt For Red October” My vote goes to “The Lives of Others”. But now there’s another contender, one I put in second place. It’s a Polish film called, fittingly, “Cold »

Jean Gabin, the Actor who was France

Featured image A few months ago, I wrote about the long and winding career of French actor Marcel Dalio. He’s best known for his role in “La Grande Illusion” (1937) in which he plays a wealthy French Jew prisoner of war (World War I), alongside Captain de Boeldieu, an aristocrat, and Lieutenant Maréchal, a working-class mechanic who serves as a stand-in for the ordinary Frenchman. Maréchal is played by Jean Gabin. He »

Lethal Weapon 5

Featured image Republicans celebrated the passage of the jailbreak legislation known as First Step with an event at a trendy restaurant in Washington. Naturally. What’s the use of passing feel-good, virtue-signaling bipartisan legislation unless you have a great party afterwards? Politico reports that Van Jones introduced Jared Kushner, the man of the hour. Jones, you may remember, was too leftist even for the Obama administration. But he’s not too leftist for Kushner. »

Bernardo Bertolucci, RIP

Featured image Bernardo Bertolucci, the renowned Italian film director, died in Rome earlier this week. By the time he was 30 years old, Bertolucci had directed at least two minor masterpieces: “Before the Revolution” (1964) and, especially, “The Conformist” (1970). In 1972, Bertolucci hit it big with “Last Tango in Paris,” an X-rated psycho-drama starring Marlon Brando and 19 year-old Maria Schneider in a breakout performance. Pauline Kael, the leading film critic »

Revising History, Moon Landing Edition

Featured image A movie titled “First Man” is about to be released. It has been described as a “biopic” about Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. So the 1969 moon landing by Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin is presumably the high point of the film. When Armstrong and Aldrin emerged from the moon lander, the first thing they did was to plant an American flag: The second was to »

The long and winding career of Marcel Dalio

Featured image You probably have never heard of Marcel Dalio, but there’s a good chance you have seen the French actor. He played the croupier in “Casablanca.” When Captain Renault says, “I am shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here”, the Dalio character says, “Your winnings sir.” Dalio’s wife, Madeleine Lebeau, also had a role in “Casablanca” as Yvonne, Rick’s girlfriend at the beginning of the film. Dalio »

Shinobu Hashimoto, RIP [UPDATED]

Featured image Shinobu Hashimoto, the Japanese screenwriter, died last week in Tokyo at the age of 100. Hashimoto wrote screenplays with acclaimed Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, including the ones for “Rashomon” and “Seven Samurai.” He also co-wrote “Ikiru” along with Kurosawa Hideo Oguni. That film, made in 1952 about a dying modern-day Japanese bureaucrat, has little in common with “Rashomon” and “Seven Samurai” although, like Rashomon, it uses flashbacks to great effect. »

“White privilege” and “toxic masculinity”

Featured image Andreas Papandreou became Greece’s first Socialist prime minister in 1981, running against “the privileged.” It was a political master stroke because, as one Greek historian put it, no self-respecting Greek considers himself privileged. Unlike Papandreou, when the modern American left rails against privilege, it leaves no ambiguity about who it thinks are its recipients. The left is talking explicitly about whites — as in “white privilege.” Thus, it is attacking »

Hillary’s horse feathers

Featured image In “Horse Feathers,” Groucho Marx plays the president/football coach of Huxley College. During half time of the game between Huxley and arch-rival Darwin, Groucho gives a pep talk to the players of. . .Darwin. His son informs him that he’s talking to the wrong team. Groucho responds, “I know, but my team wouldn’t listen.” Hillary Clinton has been dispensing political commentary in India and the Netherlands. Her country, and even »

Hollyweird [Updated]

Featured image Last night marked the 35th consecutive year of my Not Watching the Academy Awards, and from early news reports it appears that 20 percent of last year’s audience are following my example. Ratings are at their all-time lowest ever. Host Jimmy Kimmel apparently made a lot of jokes about Trump, conservatives, the NRA, and in support of the #MeToo movement, which is pretty cheeky for someone who hosted The Man »

Andrew Roberts for the Win

Featured image I am pleased to see that on the question of how to think about the Churchill biopic Darkest Hour, the great Andrew Roberts comes down pretty close to where I do–and also where to rank the other major Churchill biopics. Our one major divergence is over Brendan Gleeson’s turn in the HBO production Into the Storm, which I thought suffered more from defective writing and poor direction rather than Gleeson’s »

Sabo: We All Knew

Featured image I’ve never met the California street activist who goes by the name Sabo. He is, I believe, a Hispanic former gang member who discovered conservative principles and has become the conscience of southern California. The Golden Globes, which I take it are some sort of movie awards, are coming up, and Sabo is on the case. He highlights the issue of sexual harassment by liberals, and the complicity of the »

Darkest two hours

Featured image We went to see Darkest Hour last night. The film portrays Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) in May 1940. When Neville Chamberlain stepped down, Churchill became Prime Minister on May 10 and became Great Britain’s war leader. In Five Days in London: May 1940 (1999), John Lukacs focused on these events and took us into the cabinet meetings portrayed in the film. Stick with Lukacs. The film reduces Churchill to a »

Springtime for Marx and Germany

Featured image I suppose it was inevitable, given the left’s re-enchantment with Communism, but I still found news of the 2017 film “The Young Karl Marx” jarring. The American Film Institute will be showing the movie as part of its “European Union Film Showcase” next month in Silver Spring, Maryland. Here is how the AFI describes this German/French/Belgian co-production: Following his documentary I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO, Raoul Peck takes on the »

Al Franken: The movie

Featured image I have written a lot about Al Franken on Power Line over the years. I posted this review of the Doob/Hegedus documentary on Al Franken in September 2006. The movie was a complete and utter commercial bomb (domestic gross: $102,990). Just about no one saw it. As Franken rides out the scandal deriving from recent disclosures of his past behavior, I thought back to the film. A.O. Scott reviewed it »

Kevin Spacey: A modest proposal

Featured image Kevin Spacey will be excised from the movie All the Money in the World. The film, in which Spacey was to play J.Paul Getty, has already been shot. But due to multiple allegations of sexual assault against him, Spacey’s scenes, of which there surely are plenty, will be reshot with Christopher Plummer in the Getty role. I understand the decison, but does it go far enough? I think Hollywood should »