Silence

Silence

You can take the boy out of the Church, but you can’t take the Church out of Marty Scorsese. Fearless and probing, director Scorsese seems unstoppable in his restless (tormented?) quest for redemption. There have been other paths through his personal journey...
the million pink hat march

the million pink hat march

Watching Scarlett Johansson speak at the Women’s March on Washington I found myself thinking and feeling many things. Maybe that short, Joan-of-Arc-ish haircut will inspire lots of young women my students’ age to get rid of their long stringy fashion...
Elle

Elle

Those squeamish viewers who found Manchester by the Sea difficult to watch will find Paul Verhoeven’s new film, Elle, way too much to handle. Refreshingly non-formulaic (i.e. non Hollywood), the film stars a stunning Isabelle Huppert as a successful Parisian,...
La La Land

La La Land

Seven Golden Globes? No way! I saw La La Land, and La La Land was no Manchester by the Sea. Light, upbeat, feel-good, fun to watch, catchy tunes, Ryan Gosling—but nowhere near the award-grade film that some others were. So what’s the deal?  I think I figured it...
manchester-by-the-sea

manchester-by-the-sea

It’s taken a week for me to recover from the emotional impact of this film. The unflinching tale of a family’s tribulation and one man’s inescapable heartbreak is easily the finest film I’ve seen in 2016, showcasing not only director/writer...
fantastic beasts

fantastic beasts

How wonderful to see Fantastic Beasts, and where to find them—this latest tale of magic, darkness, and colorful creatures— without ever having read or seen any of the Harry Potter films. I was in a unique position bringing no expectations or prior acquaintance with...
Two upcoming book events!

Two upcoming book events!

Hitting our stride now! Two Santa Cruz “Inside the Flame” events coming up. Please SAVE THE DATES! Tuesday December 6th we’ll have some dinner, some wine, and I’ll read a bit and reveal a lot @ Gabriella Cafe. Afternoon Prosecco Party at Soif,...
Allied Boredom

Allied Boredom

Since this film will be gone by the time you read this, there isn’t much point in offering an actual critique. Allied is a film loosely structured around Brad Pitt’s ability to wear suits and Oscar-winner Marian Cotillard’s inability to spin straw...
The Trespasser

The Trespasser

As reviewers are writhing all over themselves in praise of Tana French’s latest mystery, The Trespasser, allow me to remove myself from the frothing queue. Still bruised by her last book, I’ve been bruised all over again by this one. I had devoured...
Magical Mystery Tour

Magical Mystery Tour

As I emerged from a period of mourning over the recent election, I headed for what I knew would provide the perfect antidote—a matinee screening of Dr. Strange starring the elegant and resourceful Benedict Cumberbatch. The Big Screen and plenty of popcorn—it was sure...