Monthly Archives: December 2009

Ward no. 6

I first discovered the work of Karen Shakhnazarov last year during an MFA retrospective on his work. On a whim, I decided to go to a screening of his film Gorod Zero, a great decision for two reasons: First, the Kafkaesque study of Russia’s modernization is now one of my favorite films of the 1980s, […]

Damian Ortega ‘Do it Yourself’

Mexican artist Damien Ortega’s first comprehensive exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, leaves the visitor a little giddy, as art objects are both literally and metaphorically suspended within the galleries. Material presence seems to be in a state of hanging, suspension, and unsteadily balance. Objects, visitors, artistic concepts, theories and ideologies seem to […]

The Men Who Stare at Goats

In his seminal essay “Bad Movies” J. Hoberman writes that really “bad” movies are not without merit and that “it is possible for a movie to succeed because it failed.” However, sometimes movies come around that are not just bad but something much worse. They are entirely middling. Such is the case with Grant Heslov’s […]

The Last Station

Unfortunately, I am nowhere near as familiar with the works of Leo Tolstoy as I’d like. I’ve been meaning to read War And Peace for years, but it’s hard to find the time. Thankfully, if nothing else, The Last Station, Michael Hoffman’s film on the final year of Tolstoy’s life, only covers Tolstoy as a […]


Erick Zonca’s Julia is a rare type of film, one that works largely in spite of its own script. Yes, it is twenty minutes too long, needlessly convoluted and it ends poorly, but through a combination of fantastic acting and some beautiful photography, it somehow finds a way to succeed. The film starts Tilda Swinton […]


I love Death Wish. It’s an all out crazy movie that is reined in just enough so that it doesn’t become complete parody, unlike its infinite iterations. Charles Bronson, the main star of that movie, is sort of crazy in a Wesley Snipes kind of way, except without the whole tax fraud thing. Bronson became […]

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

At this point, Werner Herzog stands in rarefied air, in the mix for every discussion of the “greatest living filmmaker,” and almost unquestionably the most influential living European filmmaker after some of the surviving members of the Nouvelle Vague, which made the announcement that he would be directing Nicolas Cage in a sort of-remake of […]

Adapting Life Into Pop Art : Godard’s Made In U.S.A.

If there were one film director most analogous to Bob Dylan it would probably be Jean-Luc Godard. Both released an astounding amount of brilliant, medium changing content representative of sixties culture (Godard 18 films, Dylan 9 albums) only to completely shift gears in the 1970s. While Dylan zoned in on the personal and started to […]

Café and Cabaret: Toulouse-Lautrec’s Paris & Albrecht Dürer: Virtuoso Printmaker

Café and Cabaret: Toulouse-Lautrec’s Paris Now through August 8, 2010 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Paris nightlife, with its absinthe-fueled cast of characters, dingy cabarets, and plethora of performers and artists, was not simply the backdrop for Henri Toulouse-Lautrec’s lithographs—it was the main event. In the new print show at the Museum of Fine Arts, […]

2 or 3 Things I Know about Jean Luc Godard

Who is she? Who is “Her?” This is the first question that is inevitably asked of Jean-Luc Godard as the title cards repeat the nationally colored words: 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her. Who is “Her?” “Her” is Juliette Janson, a middleclass housewife, working as a prostitute in order to get by. “Her” […]