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Feature Well

Here are some recent articles posted at the Boston Globe online and elsewhere:

The most important movies of 2015 weren't in any theater
To watch the citizen videos of 2015 is to become human again. And, just maybe, to begin to wake from the Dream.

Through the years, July Fourth events a microcosm
Happy birthday, America! The Fourth of July means more than you may realize.

A crisp new "Hamilton"
Change happens. Do't let pop-culture replacements throw away their shot.

They live!
Do you mind if I use today's column column for the strictly lightweight task of appreciating some people who are still with us?

Brock Turner and Bro culture
When you read the horrified user comments on news articles about the Stanford rape trial, you hear the reasonable majority say: Enough.

Big screen, small stars
Emilia Clarke is starring in a new movie. Who? Oh, you mean Daenerys.

Take a Chance
You can't touch Chance the Rapper's new album, "Coloring Book," but Lord Almighty, can it touch you.

Who you gonna call?
Apparently the new "Ghostbusters" trailer has kicked off the War Between Men and Women that James Thurber warned us about 80 years ago.

Save yourself, Justin Bieber, and quit
Immense fame visited upon the young is trauma. It is not something you should ever wish on your children.

Charles Schulz, from soup to 'Peanuts'
A herculean re-publishing project comes to an end after 12 years, prompting a fresh appreciation of the cartoonist's grand achievement.

Celebrity archives: The real and the surreal
Are you ready for the Snoop Dogg Collection? Keith Richards' Musical Emporium? Trump! The Library?

The best movie of 2016 (so far)? Beyonce's "Lemonade"
They say there are too few opportunities for female creators in the entertainment industry? Start here. And go from there.

The best movies of 2014
A year of unpleasantries

Sony may set risky precedent by canceling "The Interview"
The studio has lost the first battle in what may yet become a new kind of war.

"Hiroshima Mon Amour": The first great date-night puzzle movie
Alain Resnais's 1959 classic arguably marks the first time mainstream movies had aimed for poetry rather than prose.

Why did we ignore Bill Cosby allegations for so long?
There are a lot of things we don't want to know until we're forced to look at them, and there are profits and careers to be maintained by keeping us from looking.

Ebola virus refuses to stick to the script
Most unnerving is that the virus isn't conforming to popular expectation. A doctor in the full hazmat regalia still got infected? Who's writing this thing?

Is this the end of movies? Video on-demand soars as theaters reel
Seen a good movie lately? Chances are it wasn't in a movie theater.

In "Gone Girl," a twisted view of modern marriage
Writing the story of one's own relationship is really what this movie's about.

Robin Williams entertained us, but pain inside was unmistakable
How much do we require of the people who entertain us and what does it take from them?

The best movies of 2014 so far?

Paul Mazursky: a love story
We should be grateful Mazursky made as many movies as he did.

Harvey Weinstein and the saga of "Snowpiercer"
One of the very best films of 2014 opened in the Boston area Friday, and you almost didn't get to see it in a movie theater.

What those end credits on "22 Jump Street" really mean
The movie's overloaded with laughs, but the last one is most assuredly on us.

Gordon Willis: The cinematographer who created the 1970s
It is he who visually defined the decade's moral shadings, its psychic spaces, its paranoias and pleasures.

Revamped, rejuvenated Television tune in at Paradise
Tom Verlaine is happy! Surely the end times are upon us.

There's more to John Slattery than Roger Sterling
What he really wants to do is direct.

Mickey Rooney, an enduring star
In his ups and downs, ins and outs, marriages and movies, Mickey Rooney actually is the history of stardom in America.

"Noah" part of a flood of Bible-themed films
It may not yet be a cinematic Great Awakening, but something unusual is happening at the intersection of movies and religion...

Much to applaud in Shirley Temple, then and now
Even the Great Depression seemed to buckle before her steel-belted optimism.

Lamented last curtain for Philip Seymour Hoffman
It seems as though a hole just got punched, not just in the movies but in the culture as a whole.

Film explores crimes of Bulger, complicity of FBI
The devil came to the Sundance Film Festival over the weekend...

Film Internet icon, mission in new focus
Almost a year to the day after his death, Aaron Swartz has come to life again on the screens of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

Superlative roles that won't win Oscars
what about those actors who don't stand a chance? The ones who gave performances that can rip your heart out, yet whose movies went largely unseen or were overshadowed by Oscar-friendly costars?

The best movies of 2013
It was a very good year.

Peter O'Toole 1932-2013
He was nominated eight times for an Oscar and -- here's the shame of it -- he never won.

The Graduate: Buck Henry's long and winding road to fame
Entertainment icon Buck Henry is one of a kind -- and still funnier than hell. (Dartmouth Alumni magazine)

PG-13 violence a bow to video games, box office
Quick, which is more violent: a PG-13 movie or one rated R?

A singular message in recent films: We're on Our Own
A man lost at sea. A woman marooned in space. A ship's captain torn from his crew, and a family man torn from his freedom, humanity, even identity. Our movies are telling us we're on our own now.

All hail the women of summer
This summer, the women ended up setting the terms of the zeitgeist in movies big and little.

For Errol Morris, cameras never stop rolling
As crazy busy as he is, the most important thing Morris may do this year is put his name on another man's movie.

Jeff Rapsis Gives Sounds to Silence
Rapsis is one of a hardy breed of musicians who provide accompaniment to classic silent movies -- comedies, dramas, westerns, horror films -- when they're shown in libraries, art-house theaters, and other institutions. They're being shown more and more often.

In Praise of Bigness
Allow me, for a moment, to sing the praises of bigness done right -- of glorious cinematic overkill that plays to a massed crowd rather than a fragmented field of viewers at home alone. At issue is an experience in danger of falling by the cultural wayside: our communal sense of wonder.

It seems just like a movie? Think again.
It has become commonplace in the past decade or so for witnesses to disaster, manmade or natural, to say that what they saw "looked just like a movie." Meaning that what happened was so big, so outside their daily frame of reference, that the only way to take it in was by recourse to Hollywood. This says more about what commercial entertainment is these days, and what we expect it to be, than about any reality it supposedly reflects.

Roger Ebert, 1942 - 2013
What good are movie critics? The question deserves to be asked because Roger Ebert -- who a lot of us thought would never die and now, unaccountably, has -- deserves to be memorialized.

The Ben Affleck comeback
The 15-year arc of Ben Affleck's career -- from brash young talent to overexposed movie star to tabloid celebrity to Most Ridiculed Man in Showbiz and all the way back to humble yet triumphant cinematic craftsman -- is one of the most singular round trips in American pop culture history.

Truthiness and consequences at the Oscars
Should a movie be rewarded -- or, conversely, punished -- for fudging the truth?

Aging truthfully on screen
Why are there so few movies about getting old? Maybe because we know how they have to end. Here are some of Ty Burr's favorite movies on the subject; to be precise, nine movies and one album of songs. All of them rage -- and scoff and laugh and weep -- at the dying of the light.

What was Jodie saying?
In a year of random bloodshed and partisan politics, of storms both literal and electoral, when innocents were mown down in theaters and schools and the very planet seemed to reel from the onslaught, that minor diversion we call the movies seemed to mirror both the chaos and our attempts to grapple with it...

Ty's Top 10 films of 2012
To really parse this particular pop moment, you have to take a step back and understand what makes Jodie Foster unique as an actress and, more important, a public persona.

Ben Affleck comes of age
"If I have another comeback in my career... " Affleck sighs with a touch of whiplash. The director-star is in Boston in mid-September on the local leg of an "Argo" press sprint, holed up at the Four Seasons with a phalanx of publicists but happy to go one-on-one with a reporter in a quiet conference room. He is comfortable in his old hometown and he's comfortable in his skin, but Affleck is also intent on reminding a listener and himself that it is best to keep perspective...

The new soapbox -- in theaters and your living room
It is easier than ever to get a message, innocuous or incendiary, in front of the world's eyeballs, whether through movie theaters that used to play only Hollywood releases or by taking one's case to YouTube.

The many meanings of star death
Whenever I visit Los Angeles, I make a point of dropping into Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, just to see how everyone's doing...

"Celine and Julie Go Boating"
The plain fact is that Jacques Rivette's 1974 cult classic, playing this weekend at the Brattle, makes me happier than any other movie.

Fantasy, masks, and the Aurora gunman
Maybe it's worth having a discussion about an entertainment culture that excels at selling violent power fantasies to people who feel powerless.

NORA EPHRON: 1941 - 2012

Tom Cruise's Odd Career Trajectory
Remember when we thought we knew who Tom Cruise was?

Lights, Camera, Oval Office!
With the arrival in theaters of "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," a new age of mash-up historical meta-fiction is upon us. Following are some movies that we're really afraid will soon be coming to a theater near you...

WES ANDERSON'S OLD NEW ENGLAND: In 'Moonrise Kingdom,' the filmmaker finds a home sweet summer home for his vision
In 16 years of filmmaking, writer-director Wes Anderson has created a singular body of work that divides moviegoers into camps labeled Love Him and Hate Him...

Presenting Alex Cox, a true movie anarchist
What happened to Alex Cox? It's a question that bedevils movie know-it-alls who think they know the answer. The real answer (if you're curious, and you should be) is...

A movie lover's plea: Let there be light
As if rising ticket prices and chatterbox patrons weren't enough, moviegoers in the Boston area are being left in the dark thanks to the regular misuse of the lenses on new digital projection equipment at many of the region's major theater chains. But almost no one at the theaters or their corporate headquarters is willing to talk about it...

The art of being Jodie Foster
There's an elephant in the room and its name is Mel Gibson. The elephant is traveling everywhere with Jodie Foster these days. The actress-filmmaker is in Boston to promote her new movie, "The Beaver,"...

Susanne Bier finds honesty 'In a Better World'
PARK CITY, Utah -- Susanne Bier's world is already pretty good at the moment, but it's going to get better. The time is late January, the place the Sundance Film Festival, and the Danish filmmaker has brought her latest morality play...

A Hollywood giant, right from the start
Elizabeth Taylor, one of the last of the great Hollywood studio stars and the first of the modern mega-celebrities, died of congestive heart failure early yesterday at Los Angeles's Cedars-Sinai Hospital. Although seemingly ageless, she was 79...

In this pivotal year, documentaries had the most movie mystery
How is a critic to interpret a year in film that just didn't send him? Are the movies to blame or is he? For the first time in recent memory, I had to wrack my brain to come up with an annual Top 10 list....

The worst movies of 2010
FURRY VENGEANCE: A bizarre anti-development message wrapped in unwatchable Funny Animal special effects, this "family comedy" seems expressly designed to torment star Brendan Fraser. And us....

Blake Edwards, 88, director of films comic and classic
Blake Edwards, the film director who brought old-school slapstick into the modern movie era with the "Pink Panther" series and who turned a tart novel about a Manhattan call girl into the elegant screen classic "Breakfast at Tiffany's," died at 88 yesterday .....

Unshakable scenes
The moments that still make us squirm. As anyone who watches more movies than is good for him knows, "scary" is not the same as "gory." "Gory" shows, while "scary" implies. "Gory" does all the work for us, while "scary" leaves it up to our imagination - and our imagination ....

A woman for an era when our stars were relatable
Jill Clayburgh personified the drama of the everyday. When I think of Jill Clayburgh, I picture her vomiting. Wait, let me rephrase that. I think of the celebrated scene in the 1978 movie "An Unmarried Woman" when the husband (Michael Murphy) of Clayburgh's character, Erica, ....

From famous to infamous
Big stars can rise after crashing, but can Phoenix? It's the rubberneck effect: Something in us loves to witness a movie star crash and burn, and something in us also hates ourselves for loving it. So when a movie star pretends to implode, why do we just hate him so much? ....

A real flair for the dramatic
Not that he was ever compared unfavorably with his Nouvelle Vague brethren, but the late Claude Chabrol was considered the steadiest, least flashy of the bunch, with the faint whiff of patronization that implies. ....

Stepping into the spotlight
In 'The Big C,' Laura Linney finally has a role that makes her the indisputable star. Back in 2004, in the wake of "Mystic River," I interviewed Laura Linney for an article in this newspaper. At that moment, she was in a curious position for a working American actress:....

Back Catalogue


Reel Boston: What are the best Boston movies? (Feb. 2005)

Are the Movies Dying? (archive fee)

The New Film Canon

When Punk Rock Nostalgia Goes Online (archive fee)

 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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