Category Archives: Movies

SFO’s SHOWBOAT: New Excellence in Live Performance Recording

The recently released two disc DVD of the San Francisco Opera’s 2014 production of Hammerstein and Kern’s pioneer opera Showboat is a treat for many reasons. First, rarely has the art of live performance recording been practiced to such great effect than by screen director Frank Zamacona and his EuroArts team. The shots are beautifully […]

AMERICAN SNIPER: The Sheepdog

The great films of Clint Eastwood have a fascination with the nature of male friendship. From Unforgiven through Invictus, Gran Torino, Letters from Iwo Jima, Flags of Our Fathers, Mystic River, and even Jersey Boys, the director has explored philia (brotherly love) with a depth and understanding rare in any other director. At times Eastwood’s […]

EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS: The Wrong Protagonist

The differences between the Exodus story according to film director Ridley Scott and the Biblical account of the Exodus is in the chosen protagonist (chief actor; hero). Ridley Scott casts Moses as the protagonist; the story is about him. The Bible recounts the heroic actions of God; the story is about Him. Scott’s Moses is […]

ST. VINCENT: Bill Murray Explains It All

Bill Murray has played a remarkable collection of curmudgeons and misanthropes – Tripper, Carl Spackler, John Winger, Dr. Peter Venkman, Frank Cross, Bob Wiley, Phil Connors, Frank Milo, Ernie McCracken, Wallace Ritchie, Herman Blume, and Raleigh St. Clair among them. All seem as warmups to Vincent McKenna in Theodore Melfi’s St. Vincent. Vincent McKenna is […]

BIRDMAN: Macbeth’s Movie

Birdman’s artists – Alejandro González Iñárritu, Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Antonio Sanchez, Emmanuel Lubezki, Douglas Crise, Stephen Mirrione – will be nominated for all of the major film awards, and they probably deserve to win. But Birdman is deliberately unlike other films: Birdman seeks to have no meaning. That’s right. The artists deliberately conspire to […]

A NOTE FROM SISTER VASSA

  To my great surprise and delight, I received a note from my favorite podcaster, Sister Dr. Vassa Larin, host of the wildly popular video series Coffee with Sister Vassa. Sr. Dr. Vassa is a Russian Orthodox ryassofor nun, author of many scholarly articles and a monograph on Byzantine liturgy and theology, and outspoken public […]

What Makes an Audience Like One Character More Than Another?

What makes an audience like one character more than another? This question has bedeviled story makers almost from the beginning of time. Theoreticians tend to think that the characters with attractive traits win the allegiance of the audience. Attractiveness leads to empathy, the ability to project one’s own personality into that of the one being […]

Coming October 1…

Another book about John Ford? Yes! Thank you!

John Ford, America’s greatest filmmaker, has been dead for forty one years. Since his death, every aspect of his life and films has been examined cinematically, psychologically, historically, mythically, sociologically, symbolically, and religiously. So why does Chicago iconographer Joseph Malham think the world needs another book about John Ford, and a modest three hundred page […]

Hamlet in Jack Bauer-land

We returned to the Music Box Theater to see an encore of Nicholas Hynter’s 2010 Hamlet at the National Theatre. First of all, Rory Kinnear may be the finest Hamlet I have ever seen. His clear love of the language and linguistic devices arises from his clear conception of the character and the situation. “I […]