Monday Movie: Year of the Dog, by David Bax

30 Nov


During my first couple of years living in Los Angeles, I bounced around from one P.A. job to another. A lot of them were weird one-offs for forgotten TV shows or uncredited freelance work for a weekend here or there. There were really only two movies that I worked on for the duration as a regular P.A. One of those was Mike White’s directorial debut (and still lone feature effort as a director), Year of the Dog. White was already a screenwriter and actor of whom I considered myself a big fan and I was excited to be working on his film. But somehow, when your relation to a movie is defined by sitting in traffic on endless errands and making sure the office fridge is stocked with the right flavor of fancy tea, the experience becomes dimmed. So it took me a long while to address Year of the Dog on its own terms, where I found it to be an insightful and deeply sympathetic look at society’s outsiders, even with its occasionally nasty sense of humor.



30 Nov


In this episode, Tyler and David discuss movies about families gathering for the holidays.

Double Feature: The Insider/Wag the Dog

29 Nov

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 11.53.11 PM

In this episode, Eric and Michael discuss Michael Mann’s The Insider and Barry Levinson’s Wag the Dog.


Rohmerathon: The Bakery Girl of Monceau, by Scott Nye

27 Nov


So here we are, at the start of one of the truly great film sagas ever crafted. After spending so long with Rohmer’s work in the 1950s, and seeing how often his work went unseen or unfinished, the audacity of his gambit with The Bakery Girl of Monceau is all the more impressive. It’s not that there would be mobs coming after him if he didn’t follow up on the promise established by the title card “Six Moral Tales,” and then almost a chapter mark “1” above the film’s title. But one wonders if he worried about getting away with it.


Worth Playing For: “Like Selling Your Soul to the Devil/My Wheels are Spinning”

25 Nov


Tyler and Jenny discuss the latest episode of Survivor: Cambodia!

The TV Room: Project Runway Season 14, by David Bax

25 Nov


Project Runway season fourteen? Didn’t that end, like, weeks ago?” This is what I assume you’re thinking. But Lifetime extended the run this year to include not just the requisite reunion special but, a week later, a clip show called “Tim Gunn’s Ultimate Throwback Thursday,” which purported to be a look back at the biggest moments in the show’s history. Though the hour-long bonus episode contained plenty of fun highlights, it soon became apparent that the show’s “history” in this case referred only to its run on Lifetime and that no clips were to come from the first five seasons. It got me thinking about the history of Project Runway and its current place in popular culture.


The Good Dinosaur: Pass the Rock, by Matt Warren

25 Nov


What does a low-ambition Pixar movie look like? At first blush, the very idea of such an exotic, unfathomable creature boggles the mind. After all, for two decades the Emeryville Elves have been on the bleeding edge of animated filmmaking—the studio’s technological innovations rivaled only by the sophistication of their storytelling. Pixar is itself not unlike a big green brontosaurus towering over the film landscape, devouring competitors like palm fronds and expelling them as enormous putrescent bales of dino-dung. But what happens when Pixar shrugs its shoulders and goes “eh, good enough”? Well, here comes The Good Dinosaur, plodding towards us with the answer to our question.


The Danish Girl: The Girl with the Silk Stocking, by David Bax

25 Nov


If you’re going to have an awards season, you’re going to have some mediocre biopics in there. Last year, we got both Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game and the eventual Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything. Now Redmayne is back to portray transgender pioneer Lili Elbe (though this one is based on a fictionalized novel of her life and therefore not strictly a biopic) in Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl. It should clearly be the favorite in the category of mediocre but heavily awarded prestige films this year. Except that Hooper and his collaborators don’t even rise to the level of mediocrity. The Danish Girl is just plain bad.


I Do Movies Badly: Sweetie

25 Nov


In this episode, Jim finishes up his series on Jane Campion with a discussion of Sweetie.

Criterion Prediction #10: Caro Diario, by Alexander Miller

25 Nov


Title: Caro Diario (Dear Diary)

Year: 1993

Director: Nanni Moretti

Cast: Nanni Moretti, Giovanna Bozzolo, Sebastiano Nardone, Antonio Petrocelli