Chris Barsanti is an habitual scrivener on books and film for the lucky readers of PopMatters, Film Journal International, Film Racket, and Publishers Weekly, and has also been published in The Chicago Tribune, The Millions, The Barnes and Noble Review, and The Virginia Quarterly Review. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and New York Film Critics Online. His books include Filmology: A Movie-a-Day Guide to the Movies You Need to Know, the Eyes Wide Open annual film guide series, and The Sci-Fi Movie Guide: The Universe of Film from ‘Alien’ to ‘Zardoz’. His writings can be found here.
Tuesday, December 30 2014
The odds of discovering gems like Boyhood felt thinner in 2014 than they have for quite some time.
Sunday, January 13 2013
The only movie of 2012 that makes a strong case for America being a cohesive social body with moral purpose binding it together is Lincoln. For those keeping track, that film is set 147 years ago.
Wednesday, August 22 2012
Tony Scott’s take on this violently funny genre mishmash gave his career new life, and also transmitted Quentin Tarantino’s vision more credibly than the screenwriter and then-novice director could have done himself.
Sunday, January 15 2012
While comic-book apocalypses ripped across US multiplexes, some smaller films of 2011 envisioned an icier, more disruptive darkness at the heart of the American family.
Wednesday, January 5 2011
Now that the first decade of the new millennium is done with, despite what the snarking class might say, the state of film is very healthy indeed -- even considering atrocities like Sex and the City 2.
Sunday, March 9 2014
Berryman, Carver, Cheever, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Williams; none could tend the flame of their talent with anything but liquor and devastation.
Thursday, January 16 2014
The year 2013 saw a rash of big new books published, from the likes of Stephen King, Malcolm Gladwell, and David Sedaris; none of whom made this list.
Tuesday, February 19 2013
Lawrence Wright’s devastating, impeccably researched history of Scientology’s “Prison of Belief” vividly illustrates the ability of this “Church” to successfully prey upon nearly every dark strain in the modern American psyche, from celebrity-worship to ego-mania and the lust for power and money.
Wednesday, October 10 2012
Salon editor Joan Walsh’s half-brilliant and half-confused memoir / manifesto posits that many white Americans have historically taken out their frustration over declining opportunities on minorities … and Democrats.
Wednesday, November 3 2010
Two new books on the Obama presidency make clear that the dream, such as it was, is over -- though not necessarily in the way you'd think. Whether or not something has actually died, the obituary has already been written for Barack Obama's promise of progressive reform
Monday, January 26 2015
In Anthony Doerr's richly romantic jewel quest of a war novel, a blind girl and an engineering prodigy pulse ever closer to each other across a ravaged Europe.
Friday, January 2 2015
J.C. Chandor’s crime drama is an exceptionally performed but rote drama about family and ethnic loyalties pushed to the breaking point.
Tuesday, December 23 2014
The Martin Luther King Jr. in Ava DuVernay’s film is a preacher of vision, but he’s also a tactician willing to let blood be shed in order to advance the cause.
Monday, December 22 2014
Tim Burton’s sweet little film about art and identity doesn’t demand enjoyment of Margaret Keane's big-eyed waifs, but instead an appreciation of her sincerity and expression.
Monday, December 22 2014
Disney’s film of Stephen Sondheim’s ironic fairy tale musical keeps the master’s gorgeous melodies, knowing lyrics, and finger wagging intact.
Friday, January 23 2015
Ralph Fiennes holds civilization together with little more than his impeccable manners and mustache in Wes Anderson’s absurdist dollhouse of a tragicomedy.
Tuesday, January 13 2015
Tom Hardy’s visceral performance in this one-man meltdown packs more drama than a half-dozen multi-character stories.
Tuesday, September 9 2014
No, David Cronenberg’s Total Recall never made it to the screen. And we are all the poorer for it.
Wednesday, August 6 2014
What makes James Gunn's scruffier and un-spandex'd band of reluctant heroes so appealing is how they approximate the good-hearted rogues on the raggedy charm of space westerns like Whedon’s own "Firefly".
Friday, July 25 2014
If you surgically grafted a snippet of Flowers for Algernon and a low-end documentary about the human brain onto a Cliff Notes summary of La Femme Nikita, the result might approach the lazy schizophrenia of Luc Besson's latest fembot warrior fantasy.