Lost “Sheep”

On my Netflix queue, the new DVD of the long-unavailable, mired-in-music-rights-disputes Killer of Sheep has apparently slipped into “Very Long Wait” status. WTF?

I’m so glad I’ve got TCM in my crib. The greatest non-porno, non-sports cable channel ever will air Killer of Sheep twice (as part of a Charles Burnett festival) on Mon., Jan. 21. [...]

Projection Anxiety

Does anybody else have as much trouble with theater projection as I do? I generally go to theaters in the Santa Cruz area, and almost every time, there is something wrong. The sound drops out; the film stops before the end; the picture is out of frame top or bottom (with that annoying black line [...]

Kimya Dawson on cancelling out a show

As I was saying in my review, even though I hate Juno, I really love Kimya Dawson; this anti-folk singer,  in an open letter to her fans, describes why she canceled out a Boston show at a private house. (That’s what folk singers do a lot of the time.) The memo is significant on two [...]

“I drink your milkshake.”

It’s not funny anymore. Not that it was funny in the first place. I just got an email from the publicist of There Will Be Blood asking me to note the “milkshake” phenom. Rather than that, I’d prefer to be in advance of the milkshake backlash, or, if you will, shakelash.

What movies need when the writer’s strike ends

I liked this description of a heroine in Tod Wodicka’s novel All Shall Be Well etc.”She was that most delightful of anomalies: a sarcastic, ironic, fading flapper of a middle-aged American woman who knew when to drink (all the time) and when to smile (never, unless something horrible was occuring.”Get Laura Linney to play her, [...]

“It might be malig-nant”: When good actors pretend to be crappy ones

The breakout performance in last spring’s little-seen, wildly funny indie movie The TV Set belongs not to its star, recent Golden Globe winner David Duchovny (although in The TV Set, he’s pitch-perfect as a frustrated Hollywood scriptwriter), but to an unknown actor named Fran Kranz.

Loosely based on writer/director Jake Kasdan’s own experiences in the TV [...]

Does Walter Murch ever watch The Wire?

One particular element of The Wire—my favorite show—that I love as much as the writing, the acting and music supervisor Blake Leyh’s choices of diagetic music is the textured sound design. It’s an often unheralded element that’s as integral to the show as the novelistic writing (authors like Richard Price and George Pelecanos are part [...]

Cast of Thousands

The locations, the thousands and thousands of extras, the boredom. Anthony Mann’s 1961 epic El Cid (which finally came out on DVD this month) doesn’t lack for widescreen shots of mounted warriors posed against rock-strewn plains topped by turreted castles. But the plot, stretching over some unspecified length of the life of medieval Spanish hero [...]

El Cid at Last

One of the great sweeping epics (epics are always sweeping; must be the sand) finally makes it onto DVD. El Cid, the 1961 tale of 11th-century conquest starring Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren, just arrived in the mail. This boxed set delivers the goods, complete with a “making of” documentary, an introduction from Martin Scorsese, [...]


Netflix and Apple have both dropped lines into the online movie rental market with two new products, both of which are kind of exciting, but also blow in their own special ways. Netflix’s offering is the simpler of the two—unlimited free rentals to all subscribers on or above its second-tier, $8.99/month plan. Sounds great, [...]