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 and Eyes Wide Open 2012: The Year’s 25 Greatest Movies (and the 5 Worst). 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.
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
Thursday, February 19 2009
Unlike stiff features like The Reader or even the wildly uneven Curious Case of Benjamin Button, this year's Oscar-nominated shorts program is pretty much a risk-free venture.
Thursday, February 12 2009
What James Gray bravely does in Two Lovers is return the idea of pain, and the threat of bad decisions, to the American film romance.
Friday, December 6 2013
The Coens appear to be back in Barton Fink mode, setting up a straw man whose creative arrogance ensures that he won’t see a moment’s happiness from his work.
Friday, October 18 2013
J.C. Chandor’s film is a surprisingly unsparing and rigorous piece of work, tinged with an unsentimental fatalism.
Tuesday, October 8 2013
This lurid and choppy morality tale is a pale copy of those Ben Mezrich books about Ivy League guys who get in over their heads by gambling.
Thursday, October 3 2013
The Replacements that showed up in Chicago played like they had just taken a short break to do some solo stuff and were fully confident in returning as the great American rock band.
Thursday, August 29 2013
In John Frankenheimer’s chilly, satirical, noir thriller, the American Dream of starting over is dealt a killing blow.
Wednesday, November 27 2013
If there’s anybody who’s untroubled by the invasion of Iraq, it’s Donald Rumsfeld. Just ask him.
Friday, October 4 2013
By taking the simple leap between a character’s personal isolation and the equally terrifying physical isolation of space, Alfonso Cuaron creates a vertiginous masterpiece.
Friday, August 23 2013
One of the year’s worst films, Luhrmann’s trashy, overhyped, faux- Jazz Age spectacle is so shallow as to be creatively nonexistent.
Friday, August 2 2013
This is beautifully designed but derivative science fiction that suffers more than it benefits from Tom Cruise’s turbo-charged energy.
Monday, July 29 2013
The Chicago cop-turned-actor was one of the modern greats: a heavy and a tough guy who didn't mind being the butt of the joke.