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.
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.
Monday, August 10 2009
When faced with catastrophe, from wars to natural disasters, the nonfiction novel is sometimes the only medium that can do justice to the chaos.
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
Tuesday, August 12 2014
John Michael McDonagh’s caustic passion play pits one stolid cleric against the whole filthy universe of base humanity, which demands he atone for the sins of the Catholic Church.
Monday, August 11 2014
The careful yet laconic nature of Edan Lepucki’s writing mirrors that of her post-catastrophic setting; life is finely captured but little seems to matter, anymore.
Friday, July 18 2014
The absurd extremes of this story have an expansive quality that leaves acres of room to explore its moral, political, and socioeconomic possibilities. But it doesn't.
Friday, July 11 2014
Matt Reeves’ sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a tight, bleak, and dramatically lopsided tragedy wrapped inside a pummeling summer crowd-pleaser.
Friday, June 20 2014
Clint Eastwood’s bland band biopic approach drains the energy from the stage version of this blockbuster razzmatazz jukebox musical.
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.
Thursday, June 19 2014
Thomas Ricks's 2009 book The Gamble predicted that the 'surge' was far from the end of the Iraq War.
Tuesday, June 3 2014
Joe Strummer cycled through a wardrobe's worth of personas in his career; but it never changed his fundamental authenticity or optimism.
Friday, May 30 2014
These two events grappled energetically with Ireland’s scruffily banging-through post-Celtic Tiger present and the not-so-buried wounds of its terrorized past.