CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 22, 2012 |
Film critic Andrew Sarris began his rise to prominence in the early 1960s when, fresh off an extended visit to Paris, he became a primary spokesman for a theory that would reverberate throughout the cinema world. Screenwriters and producers may have thought they wielded the most influence. But Sarris, inspired by what Francois Truffaut had called the "politique des auteurs," introduced to America the controversial notion that, despite the collaborative nature of filmmaking, some directors are the "authors" of their movies and that the best directors, by imbuing a movie with their personal vision, make the best films.
December 1, 2011 |
Lucking Out My Life Getting Down and Semi-Dirty in Seventies New York James Wolcott Doubleday: 260 pp., $25.95 James Wolcott, takedown artist extraordinaire, is a byline that sends shivers of schadenfreude up the spines of fellow writers - at least when he's writing about someone else. A literary journalist who blows raspberries at mandarins, he's a mainstay of Vanity Fair's luxurious editorial lineup, his flashy prose outshining those gleaming, Mephistophelean ads peddling fantasies of the lucky one-percenters, his crap-cutting manner adding a bracing machete-whoosh to the magazine's day-spa elevator music.
August 17, 2008 |
How Beautiful It Is and How Easily It Can Be Broken Essays Daniel Mendelsohn Harper: 456 pp., $26.95 -- Here, among the flight of winged darts that pierce the critical essays of Daniel Mendelsohn: Quentin Tarantino is "incapable of saying anything about real life because everything he knows comes from the movies." There is a passivity despite the spectacular goriness, as if instead of confronting an audience with his work, he were a member of the audience watching it. "People worry about Tarantino because they think he represents a generation raised on violence; but it's as a representative of a generation raised on television reruns and video replays that he really scares you to death."
January 6, 2007
I am sure that the Paulettes, the acolytes of the late film critic Pauline Kael, will yell and scream at the suggestion in Jay A. Fernandez's Scriptland column that Kael was an auteurist ["Scary Tale Has a Scarier Subtext," Jan. 3]. After all, it was Kael who first condemned auteurism in her seminal 1963 essay "Circles and Squares." She followed that up with a 1967 essay on the writers of "Bonnie and Clyde" and her famous 1971 essay on Herman Mankiewicz as the writer of "Citizen Kane."
September 29, 2002 |
Jazz critic Francis Davis spent two days interviewing Pauline Kael at her home in the Berkshires in July 2000; she would die of Parkinson's, at age 82, on Labor Day of the following summer. "Afterglow" thereby bills itself as her "last conversation." Though Kael's characteristic tart wit and lapidary intelligence light up this slim volume, it is essentially a sad document. Not because Kael was in decline, or backtracking from her most provocative ideas--quite the contrary.
November 3, 2001
Maybe I was abducted by space aliens and had a false memory implanted in my brain (or maybe a few film critics in town were abducted and had their memory banks wiped clean), but why do the plot line and characters of "K-PAX" sound so oddly familiar? A psychiatrist with family problems who finds himself dealing with a mental patient who may or may not be an alien? Is this a whiff of deja vu or maybe a parallel universe? I'm not sure which book this film claims to be based on, but the obvious cinematic progenitor is the very fine Argentine film "Man Facing Southeast," circa 1986, which is about ... a psychiatrist with family problems who finds himself dealing with a mental patient who may or may not be an alien.