Category Archives: Film

Reviews and essays about movies, directors and actors.

If You Think Aronofsky’s Noah is Wacky, Try Reading the Original

Russell Crowe in Noah

ENTIRE NATIONS have now banned the film Noah. In the United States, Christians are unhappy with a Hollywood movie that substitutes, for the all-knowing and all-mighty LORD God Almighty, a distant, Pagan deity known vaguely as “the Creator.” Aronofsky’s Noah, an emo environmentalist with a too-voguish commitment to veganism and animal rights, is widely denounced, as is the film’s non-biblical (if not anti-biblical) theme – that human sin is against Mother Earth, not God, and that redemption must be found through earth-friendly living.


Who Exactly is Joining the Dallas Buyers Club?

Dallas Buyers Club

MONTREAL DIRECTOR Jean-Marc Vallée first got my attention with the excellent French-language film C.R.A.Z.Y.. Now he’s taken his notoriety to a new level, with Dallas Buyers Club, written by Craig Borten and starring Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner and Jared Leto.

Read More

Is Llewyn Davis a Loser?: The Coen Brothers’ Comedy of Error


THERE’S A STORY about Mike Dubue of the Hilotrons that goes something like the following:

Mike plays a gig in Ottawa. An ex-girlfriend is in the audience, and she loves the show. So she takes out a scrap of paper and writes WOW, hands it to Mike. When he reads it, it’s upside down: he thinks it says MOM. Well now Mike’s freaking out, because he’s got his ex-girlfriend pregnant and he has no idea what he’s going to do.

The story ends with laughter, the imagined scenario having been a case of simple miscommunication. But these things do happen, and if you’re Llewyn Davis – the principal character of the latest Coen brothers’ film Inside Llewyn Davis – they happen a lot.

Read More

Bad Grandpa, Decent America


IN THE PROLOGUE to his ribald and comic tale, contained in Geoffrey Chaucer’s brilliant fourteenth-century poem Canterbury Tales, the Reeve observes of “olde men” that

Till we be rotten, can we not be ripe.
We hop away while that the world will pipe.
For in our will there sticketh aye a nail,
To have an hoary head and a green tail.

Or to phrase it another way – as indeed it is phrased elsewhere in the poem – though there be snow on the chimney, there is fire down below.

Read More

Reflections on Jeff Barnaby’s “Rhymes for Young Ghouls”

Jeff Barnaby Rhymes for Young Ghouls

WE ARE INFORMED by the Oxford English Dictionary that the word “ghoul” derives from an Arabic root whose meaning is to seize. More specific, the term refers to an evil spirit said in Muslim countries to prey on human corpses exhumed from graves. In this case however the seizing and the devouring of human beings are crimes of a Christian character and constitute the explicit subjects of Jeff Barnaby’s first full-length feature, Rhymes for Young Ghouls, which at eighty-eight minutes — short by today’s standard — is an economical and engaging story.

Read More